It would be an understatement to say the scriptural literacy bar at Prison Fellowship Ministries (PFM) is set below sea level, and that’s before the sea level rise that Chuck Colson denies. PFM’s premier science writer PhD physicist and “Centurion”, Regis Nicoll demonstrated that he is not a bible scholar in his December 18 “Thinking Christianly…” column when he said:
Of all the miracles recorded in the bible, none has been derided as much as the virgin birth. A skeptic who turns a cool ear to stories of walking on water, healing the infirmed, and raising the dead will likely snort at the mention of the Immaculate Conception. For many folks, it is a difficult doctrine — one that has caused them to stop short of faith, or so they claim.
It is as if the One who spoke the world into existence and created the first humans without a sexual act, lost his ability a few millennia later. Yet Jesus was not the first child brought into the world in an unconventional manner. Isaac was born to a barren, geriatric mother, and so was John the Baptist…
Oops! “The Immaculate Conception is, according to Roman Catholic Dogma, the conception of the Virgin Mary without any stain (macula in Latin) of original sin.” The “Immaculate Conception” (parthenogenesis) dealt with Mary’s conception, not the virgin birth. Confusing the Immaculate Conception with the Virgin Birth is excusable for a layperson, but “Regis Nicoll is a Centurion of Prison Fellowship Ministries Wilberforce Forum. In addition to writing Thinking Christianly, Regis is a columnist for BreakPoint, Salvo, and Crosswalk, and a contributor to Prison Fellowship’s worldview blog, The Point.”
In his column, Regis plugs the Centurion program:
My compass bearings came two years later with the Centurion Program, a ministry of Prison Fellowship aimed at training leaders to shape the culture through Christian worldview teaching and application. As I was being mentored by a world-class staff and networking with like-minded individuals…
“Christian worldview teaching” doesn’t appear to be theological training, or Regis would have known what the Immaculate Conception is. “Christian worldview teaching” is code for political activism and if you follow Regis’ writing, you will see that he writes primarily in opposition to evolution. He heavily promoted the “Darwinian worldview persecutes Christians” Ben Stein movie “Expelled” that has been debunked and exposed. With less frequency, Regis opposes GLBT rights. His sophomoric writing repeats the usual anti-gay myths and markets “reorientation” as in this article where he claims that it is not possible to be gay and Christian.
Exodus International is a Christian-based ministry that over the past three decades has helped many people caught in the grip of homosexuality. The organization emphasizes that while sexual reorientation is difficult, and by no means guaranteed, it is possible through the grace of God.
Being a scientist, Regis makes an engineering argument against GLBT people. Try not to laugh.
Having worked as engineer for 30 years, I know something about design… A design begins with a need or desire to be met. That leads to functional requirements which determine the form, fit and features of the end product…however well a product is made, its reliability and service will be less than optimal if not used in accordance with its designed specifications… Take a car, for instance… Making my Honda Civic serve as a farm tractor guarantees poor performance and shortened life. The same is true for human sexuality…Misusing our physiology in ways it doesn’t fit, or for which it wasn’t designed, is unhealthy or injurious. This is readily borne out by the disproportionate rates of disease and mortality among homosexuals—not to mention their increased risks for substance abuse, mental health problems, and suicide.
Regis, also calls up the “evil Darwin” when convenient.
From a naturalistic perspective, homosexuality may be natural, but it’s a natural loser. According to Darwin, the “winners” are those with “survival value”—life forms adept at getting their genes into the next generation. Whereas heterosexuals are inherently fertile, homosexuals are inherently sterile.
And Regis takes on Mel White from Soulforce with a Bible exegesis that makes it all the way through Genesis chapter 3. Regis dismisses “personal experiences” and and asks why Jesus didn’t “expand marriage to other constellations of relationships (man-man, woman-woman, groups, human-nonhuman, etc).” It seems to Regis that this is a very simple issue.
“If I rationalize that my propensity for anger is “a gift of God” and excuse my outbursts as products of my genetic makeup, I am not living in accordance with the teachings of Jesus. The same holds for those who profess to be Christian while embracing their homosexuality as a divine blessing.”
Dennis W. Wiley and Christine Y. Wiley, two local pastors who wrote a December 20 op-ed in the Washington Post would disagree. They would refer to Regis’ political activism as bibliolarty, a term coined by Harvard provessor Peter Gomes:
“bibliolatry” — the practice of worshiping the Bible rather than worshiping God. It is also found in a “literal” interpretation of the Bible that focuses more on the letter of the text than on its spirit, and concentrates on passages about domination, oppression, hierarchy, elitism and exclusion rather than on the major themes of love, justice, freedom, equality and inclusion that run throughout the Bible.
In this time of budget crisis, Loudoun taxpayers are subsidizing a quarter million dollar tax deferment to fund this idolatry. PFM’s property was assessed at $23,916,300 and PFM receives a 100% tax deferrment. PFM pays zero taxes. Enough. PFM has every right to practice biblioloty and call it whatever it likes, but it doesn’t deserve to be subsidized by our hard-earned tax dollars.