Terry Mortenson and Thane H. Ury, eds. Coming to Grips with Genesis: Biblical Authority and the Age of the Earth (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2008). ISBN: 978-0-89051-548-8
Dr. Vic Reasoner

THE ARMINIAN MAGAZINE. Issue 1. Spring 2010. Volume 28.
Date Posted July 10, 2010

Fourteen scholars argue in favor of a six-day creation, global flood, and young earth. Genesis 1-11 is defended as literal history. As the book points out, Wesley had the same view of Genesis as the Reformed scholars. In his two-volume Survey of the Wisdom of God in the Creation (1763), Wesley stated his belief that the various rock strata were "doubtless formed by the general Deluge." He believed that the creation account was, along with the rest of Scripture, "void of any material error." Concerning the age of the earth, Wesley said the Scripture was the only book in the world that gives us any account of the whole series of God's dispensations toward man from creation for four thousand years.

While the 1820 conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church recommended that colleges be established under Methodist auspices and conference control, it was not until after the Civil War that these colleges expanded to university status. By 1880 the Methodist Church had forty-four colleges and universities, eleven seminaries, and 130 secondary schools —all under the Board of Education. But they sent their best and brightest to Germany to study under Julius Wellhausen and other higher critics. Inevitably they brought back to their institutions in America academic credibility and liberal poison.

By 1905 there was a struggle to free Vanderbilt University from church control. This struggle continued for ten years and went all the way to the U. S. Supreme Court. Ultimately the church lost control of the institutions which trained its clergy and the result was that these Methodist universities very quickly adopted liberal Enlightenment philosophy, along with the belief that the Bible can be explained in evolutionary terms.

After the turn of the century, Charles H. Fowler, a Methodist bishop said, "It may seem a severe thing for a Methodist bishop, and one who has been president of one of our largest universities to say, but nevertheless I believe it to be true that the schools and universities of the Methodist Episcopal Church belong more to the devil to-day than they do to our Church."

And so the more conservative Nazarenes and Wesleyans withdrew to form their own Bible institutes and colleges. Eventually, they gained academic status and became universities. Today most of them teach the same liberalism as the mainline institutions from which they left. I doubt any of them will acknowledge this book in a positive light, but not all scholars are liberal and neither are all Wesleyans. Thank you, Dr. Ury, professor at United Wesleyan Graduate Institute in Hong Kong, for co-editing this volume!