A singer of Christian worship music who ignited a hellfire of controversy due to his belief that events in the Bible’s Book of Genesis did not actually take place is now denying he’s an “apostate,” “heretic” or “false teacher.”
As WND reported, Michael Gungor of the band Gungor became a lightning rod of wrath for suggesting Jesus may have been wrong about the Creation story, or even lied about it to fit in with popular culture.
The comments rocked the singer’s world in a most unwelcome way, including vicious verbal attacks from believers, at least one church canceling a concert, and a Wisconsin radio station removing itself from an event featuring Gungor, saying it “cannot be a party to introducing more doubt into the hearts and minds of young Christians already being fed doubt and lies by the world.”
Gungor, whose hits include “Beautiful Things,” “Say So” and “Dry Bones,” subsequently pulled out of a Christian unity conference called “The Power of One” this month in Appleton, Wisconsin, where the band was scheduled to lead worship music.
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In an attempt at damage control, Gungor hired Frederick & Associates, a public-relations firm specializing in crisis management and image restoration.
As part of his image repair, Michael Gungor, the son of a preacher, has just penned a commentary for Relevant magazine, in which he proffers a personal defense.
“In modern Christendom, I’m afraid we too often let our friction veer into blatant and hateful division,” he writes.
“In the last few months, I personally have been called a heretic, a blasphemer, a twofold son of hell and a fool that is leading thousands to hell, in which I happen to have a special spot reserved for me.
“Why? Essentially because I (like a lot of Christians) believe evolution is the means by which God created us. And I’m certainly not the first or the only Christian to receive the brunt of this sort of evangelical fervor for saying so.
“Again, I do not have a problem with Christians disagreeing with me about how I read Genesis. I don’t even have a problem with them getting angry and passionate about their opinion. The real problem begins when we start throwing around words that are intended to break unity, loaded words like ‘apostate,’ ‘heretic,’ ‘false teacher,’ and so on.”
Gungor explained that 2,000 years after Jesus walked the Earth, “The Christendom that claims to follow Jesus is divided into tens of thousands of bickering sects and denominations, more splintered and fragmented than ever before.
“I actually think a little healthy friction in a team is OK. It’s understandable for the violinist to get a little frustrated at the timpani player for playing louder than the dynamic marking on the page dictates. But friction and division are not the same thing. There is a big difference between ‘you’re not doing your job well enough!’ and ‘I’m not playing on the same team with him anymore!'”
Gungor stressed the need for unity among believers, and noted, “Perhaps we might do well to ask ourselves what our endgame actually should be as Christians.”
“Many of us would say our endgame is to draw people to Jesus. However, some might respond to that with questions about ‘which Jesus, exactly’ or ‘what specifically about Jesus’ do we hold as the most important endgame?
“So what if we let Jesus tell us what the greatest endgame should be as people who want to follow Him? “What,” we might ask Jesus, “is the ultimate goal for the Christian? What does every piece of Scripture – every command, prophecy, story, history, parable and piece of tradition hang on?”
Gungor said Jesus’ answer is found in Matthew 26: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Watch Gungor perform “Beautiful Things”:
Jesus Himself talked about people and events recorded in the Book of Genesis, stating in the Gospel of Luke, for instance: “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:26-27).
Some of Gungor’s most controversial comments which sparked the firestorm include:
“To just see a few words that somebody said, that Jesus said about Noah, and you assume that you can get into Jesus’ mind and know exactly how he thought about the whole situation, and how He considered history versus myth versus whatever – how do you know?”
“And even if He was wrong, even if He did believe that Noah was a historical person, or Adam was a historical person, and ended up being wrong, I don’t understand how that even would deny the divinity of Christ. The whole idea of the divinity of Christ being fully human and fully God, that God lowered Himself to become a human being with a human brain, in a human culture with human language and human needs and human limitations,” he explained.
“The point is it wouldn’t freak me out if He was wrong about it, in His human side. But I still don’t see the issue. If Noah and Adam were mythical ideas, the point of what Jesus was saying still applies to me. … It has very little to do, in my perspective, with Jesus trying to lay out a history of the world for a historical-minded people. … Even if Jesus knew that Noah and Adam were mythical, but knew He was talking to people who thought they were real, that’s another possibility. Jesus was just referring to a story he was part of to these Jewish people that know that story,” added Gungor.
The singer’s views have been strongly criticized by Ken Ham, director of Answers in Genesis.
“If we can’t trust God’s word in Genesis, then why are we to trust His word in the gospels, particularly when Jesus affirmed Adam and Eve, Noah and the Flood?” Ham told the Christian News Network.
In a blog post last month, Ham wrote: “So not only does Michael Gungor deny the historical accuracy of the creation and Flood accounts, but he believes Jesus Christ was probably wrong, too! Or worse yet, that Christ might have just lied to the Jews about it. This is a sad place for a professing Christian to be in.”
Ham explained Gungor had also recently written on Facebook, “There is a trend in modern society, no more than a trend … a religion, an idolatry that elevates Scripture above Jesus.”
Ham responded, “Jesus Christ Himself said the Scriptures testify about Him. And He quoted the Old Testament Scriptures while also teaching truths recorded in the Gospel accounts. Our God doesn’t lie and He doesn’t change – so how could it be idolatry to take the Bible at its word? Such arguments are just rationalizations from someone who doesn’t want to believe what the Bible clearly says.”