The Fool and the Heretic - another book that may spark interest

Darrel Falk and Todd Wood have written a book together called “The Fool and the Heretic: How Two Scientists Moved beyond Labels to a Christian Dialogue about Creation and Evolution”. I came across a link to a short interview with the two authors - click here.


Excellent book.

The first part of the preface, from the downloaded Kindle sample:

This is the story of a disagreement. We seem to be surrounded by increasing numbers of disagreements. Today’s disagreements go beyond simple differences of opinion. They’re increasingly marked by breakdowns in relationships. When I learn you voted for that candidate, I instantly conclude there must be something wrong with you. And you think the same about me for voting for the other one. We look at each other and ask ourselves, “How could he possibly think that way?” We can’t comprehend how someone could get things so wrong. And the feeling is mutual.

As we stare at each other in baffled confusion, walls go up between us. And new walls are rising up all around us. Blacks and whites can’t understand each other. It’s the same with men and women, liberals and conservatives, gun owners and gun banners, mainline Christians and evangelicals, gays and straights. We try to correct the other side, but they argue or refuse to listen. We get angry, and outrage feels good (for a moment). As they continue to refuse to get it, we write them off as stupid—or evil. This sort of reactionary wall-building is the new normal. We see it every day on the news and live it out on social media and around the Thanksgiving dinner table.

Once we’ve written off those on the other side, we’ve really set ourselves up. It’s only a small step from confidence in our position to self-satisfied smugness and ultimately full-blown arrogance. In anger, we call them fools, and so grant ourselves permission to belittle their intellect and then their honesty. As we dehumanize them, it becomes easy to bully them for our pleasure. My snarky jabs increase my stature among those dwelling on my side of the wall. Before long we’re competing for who can create the cleverest put-downs. It escalates naturally. But it’s okay because, after all, those other folks are the real arrogant bullies, not us. We start telling half-truths that favor our side, and justify them because of the huge lies the other person is telling. And they started it anyway.

Who’s right and who’s wrong here? The twist in the plot comes from the way the original disagreement has receded from view. Our focus is less and less on our points of disagreement. We’ve shifted to a smear campaign that simply uses the issues as tools for demonstrating our superiority and their inferiority. Strangely enough, for those who have eyes to see, our differences are overshadowed by the ironic reality that our two sides find themselves strikingly agreed on how we should handle our disagreement. And it’s not pretty. Whether it’s Fox News or CNN, the basic teaching about how to handle our differences is the same. Bad behavior isn’t the sole possession of either the left or the right.

What if there’s something more important at stake than our original argument?

Sounds too familiar.

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I don’t understand your point.

It happens here and I’ve participated?

Try explaining yourself. I have no idea what your point it is. You have to string multiple sentences together into a coherent point.

That reads like a statement (an assertion), but there’s a question mark at the end. I’m confused. Or one of us is confused.

Or more than one.

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The paragraphs I quoted were about disagreements and their divisive and alienating language and attitudes. ‘Sounds too familiar’ and ‘It happens here’ means it has happened here at PS.

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I read the intro and boy can relate! And i am probably quite different in my views than both that would provide an even more extreme divide to those represented on this site.

Here is a statement that was confusing in the intro:

“Darrel isn’t quite the heretic others take him for. Actually, he’s a decent, kind gentleman, and as far as I can see, he’s a real Christian. And that makes our disagreement all the more difficult.”

Being decent, kind and gentlemanly does not make one a real Christian nor does it define heretic vs non heretic. I have even learned in seminary classes at Trinity that the pharisees in Jesus day would have probably been decent gentlemanly types on the outside much like todays politician. When we think of phariseeism, we think outward arrogance, but reason has it that the pharisees would be better described as actors of righteousness for personal acclaim than they be downright pompous in appearance. That is why Jesus called them whitewashed tombs. So not sure how much this resource is going to get down to the real theological issues at stake in this debate by the very fact that this sentence seems to equate personal demeanor with Christian standard.

With that being said, i must say that as much as i forward high disagreeability towards many views promoted on this site, many of which are upheld fr an atheistic worldview, i would never show unkindness or a bitter vengeful spirit towards those people in personal relationship. This site is so impersonal…most times i wonder if the person on the other end is really expressing their true views or just looking for a reaction. So i have chosen to just be firm and biblically focused and as respectable as possible and let God deal with how it will fall on all of the ears,in all the differing perspectives. I have many aquaintences who are like many represented here in their worldview whom i have kind relations with. I would not yoke myself to them in an attempt to tag team a study on the truths and correct worldviews of life in Sunday school. But i can still have peaceable relations in general.

The big beef i have with this site is that the seeming intention seems to be to sway others towards a likeminded and quite unorthodox position that is historically foreign to the most common understanding of Scripture and the gospel. This means that the branches of the teaching here may find themselves creeping into the dorm room or living rooms of my two daughters and my son one day down the road and that gets papa bear stirred. I can go and play some golf and grab lunch and a beer with a person who seems too comfortable to exchange more of a common interpretation of Genesis that can significantly affect the terms of the gospel. But i would never dream to allow him to have a one on one with my kids in effort to influence them in such a direction. I then think about our church friends and their kids and the kids our kids will be having.

So where does this leave me? I believe we must ask what are the fruits that are born from the various perspectives. How is the gospel literally being effected by the perspectives. What is the crowd like that gathers in the various prospectives corner in support? And what is the opinion from the majority of the most gospel focused theologically savy sender oriented churches around the world suggesting.

When i look at some of this nations most humble, God fearing, gospel oriented pastors in churches today, they might be old earth or young earth, but would stand with the idea of God as direct Creator who transcends nature and not one who embodies it to evolve creatures. They would stand with Adam and Eve being the first hunans who were created out from nothing and who not only seeded the planet with all human life but additionally brought upon us sin nature. And after God created everything, He called it good meaning that forms unbecoming of the idea of goodness before the fall or of the influence of satan could never be associated with God and His creation. This last part is a difficult one to tie into an older earth…

@DaleCutler Are you simply trying to say that the kinds of disagreements and lack of communication that are described in the intro to the book are similar to those kinds of disagreements and lack of communication that occur here, at PS, as well?

If so, that is certainly true.


Yep. I didn’t say it simply enough for all, apparently.


Thanks for clarifying. @DaleCutler

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Interestingly, i just came across this article on John pipers website. Piper has traditionally been old earth creationist but may lean young earth today. The guest contributor today on his site wrote a statement fitting of this discussion here: Can Christians Believe in Evolution? | Desiring God

What in the world makes you say this??


Yes, citation please.

Hahahahaha! :rofl:

Sorry, proceed.

I have noticed patterns in recent church history where my only guess is that theologians, in view of the current mainstream science about the age of the earth being old and not young, will cling to theological perspectives on Genesis to accomodate that science. In guys like piper and chandler, they chose to lean old earth and be accepting of Sailhamers view on the interpretation of Genesis. I read about this view and seemed reasonable to the most important tenants of the Christian faith. But as time went on and i analysized further, and noticed those accomodating science by taking Scripture and doing a bit of gymnastics w it to conform giving license to do the same in other areas of theology. I have always loved pipers and chandlers bible teachings and would never suggest that i ever heard them go off the deep end. But was curious if i would notice any pattern of incredibly slow acceptance of questionable theological ideas that were accepted on the license seemingly given by the works of sailhamer…afterall, if science said the earth is young, we all know that Sailhamers theological conclusion on the interpreration of Genesis would be far and away different as it is really easy to interpret early Genesis in a young earth interpretation.

So fairly recently i heard Piper make the declaration that if the Bible is truly saying in early Genesis that the earth is young as it contends against mainstream science, that he sides with Scripture. That was very encouraging to me! I wont suggest that piper is young earth, but he is thinking about the terms and may be waivering.

With that said, the big question becomes,"how does the Christian theologian deal with what i believe is a real theological problem of God calling his creation “good” if suffering, disease and death is apparent before the fall of man? This immediately causes me to question the goodness of the idea of “good” and God seems to me to be pretty precise in moral terms…so much so that He sacrificed Himself in His perfect love and Justice to save people.

I love God and take Him at His Word and i dont get a paycheck fr a yec organization either. So i am open to learning about old earth theological perspectives that separate God calling His creation good while distancing the idea of good fr suffering, disease and death. Are guys like Piper up for the challenge? I only read a synopsis of Sailhammers teaching and not the entire book…i wonder if He addresses this in a concise way or not.

That’s dissapointing about Piper. Piper will continue to get more conservative and Brian McLaren will continue to get more liberal. There was a couple at a my seminary that came out of an emergent Church related to McLaren. They said most people that didn’t convert to Orthodoxy ended up atheist.

Most Piper-ites will just continue to crawl closer and closer to fundamentalism while most McLaren-ites will edge closer and closer to pure secularism. This is why I’m Orthodox, I couldn’t take the reformed/emergent dichotomy any longer.

Anyways…sounds like a much-needed book!

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@cwhenderson Thanks I enjoyed this. Any chance these gentleman would come here and subject themselves to the warmth and kindness of PS?