Award-Winning Worship Leader Generates Controversy for Rejecting Genesis as Literal

GungorAn award-winning worship leader continues to generate controversy after revealing that he no longer accepts the Genesis account of creation as being literal.

Michael Gungor and his wife Lisa, who in 2006 formed a congregation called “Bloom” in Denver, are known for their the Dove Award-winning and Grammy nominated worship music, such as Beautiful Things, Say So and Dry Bones. In 2013, they won an award from the Independent Music Awards for their live performance album A Creation Liturgy.

But in 2012, Michael Gungor, the son of pastor and author Ed Gungor, revealed in a blog post entitled A Worshiping Evolutionist? that he had concluded that the Genesis account is only figurative.

“I guess I’ll have to come out of the closet and admit…no, sorry kid, I don’t believe in a literal six-day creation,” he wrote.

“[I]n my Christian school growing up, we’d all snort and chuckle when a scientist in a documentary would mention evolution or talk about how this sort of animal existed millions of years ago,” Gungor said. “But now that I am a songwriter, I see this whole thing as absolutely absurd. Genesis is a poem if I’ve ever seen one.”

Upon posting the blog link to Facebook, fans were divided, with some expressing support and others feeling deep disappointment.

“Beautiful,” one follower named Alex wrote. “I think it is imperative that we remember that the Bible was inspired by God, yet written by human hands, trying to understand life just as we are today.”

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“[Creation] matters for one reason alone: If there were no First Adam, how could there be a Second One?” added another named Jon.

“The fall of man and Christ’s death/resurrection have everything to do with each other,” chimed in Ben, who likewise disagreed with Gungor. “If Genesis is a poem (not literal) then the gospel might as well be, too.”

But earlier this year, Gungor revealed his thoughts even further, explaining in a blog post entitled What Do We Believe? that he “has no more ability to believe” in Genesis as being literal.

“I have no more ability to believe, for example, that the first people on earth were a couple named Adam and Eve that lived 6,000 years ago,” he wrote. “I have no ability to believe that there was a flood that covered all the highest mountains of the world only 4,000 years ago and that all of the animal species that exist today are here because they were carried on an ark and then somehow walked or flew all around the world from a mountain in the middle east after the water dried up.”

“I have no more ability to believe these things than I do to believe in Santa Claus or to not believe in gravity,” he continued. “But I have a choice on what to do with these unbeliefs. I could either throw out those stories as lies, or I could try to find some value in them as stories.”

Now, Gungor is involved with a collaborative project called The Liturgists, which features controversial author and speaker Rob Bell, singer Nichole Nordeman, writer Rachel Held Evans and others, who characterize themselves as being “decidedly Christian in practice.” One of the EP’s, entitled God Our Mother, explores moving past seeing God in the masculine, but also as a motherly, comforting figure.

“God our Mother/Leading us into peace/Drawing and comforting all those in need,” the song rings out.

Also included is an apophatic meditation that asks listeners to contemplate “who is God?”

“This meditation will consist of a series of phrases. The first will be a positive statement. Something like ‘God is our Father.’ … The second phrase will be a negation of the first: God is not our Father. The word father applies to a human male who either raises a child, contributes sperm for conception, or both. This is not the case with God,” it outlines.

“The third phrase will then negate the negation: ‘God is not not our Father,'” the meditative piece continues. “To the mystics, we perhaps are now present with God. Here in the lack of any understanding. Here in the murkiness of mystery, when we have stopped making an idol of God with our concepts and language… we are finally just present with the great ‘I will be who I will be.'”

Word of Gungor’s direction continues to sadden some Christians.

“He seems confused about what the word of God is and what he believes,” wrote one commenter. “It is impossible to believe only ‘part’ of the Bible. You either believe it all as truth and God’s word or none of it.”

Photo: Facebook/Gungor/Mary Caroline Man

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  • Tim Hall

    Not a fan of Bell and think Gungor could make a better choice of teammate, but his view does not invalidate the power and truth of his worship music–which is a breath of fresh air in CCM–nor does his view (in itself) make him unorthodox even by evangelical standards. For a good explanation of Genesis in its Ancient Near Eastern context, see John H Walton, _the Lost World of Genesis One_, and for a view of biblical inerrancy that admits a variety of interpretations of Genesis beside Ken Hamm’s, see Kevin Vanhoozer’s essay in J Merrick, _Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy_. American evangelicals are outliers in world Christianity; most Christians around the world in their insistence on a literal reading of Genesis 1.

  • Mark

    Embracing this heresy will mislead others.

    IF the earth is millions of years old and all life descended from a single cell that somehow appeared, then it endured death, disease, and misery before Adam and Eve were born. How does this fit with God creating and calling it GOOD?

    Evolution is incompatible with the Bible narrative of the fall of man and the redemption from the death and resurrection of Christ.

    • Marie Adigwe

      You’re right, it is incompatible, but you’re ignorant. No offense or anything, but people who do not believe in evolution do not understand it. Maybe you should try reading a few science journals to educate yourself, and the earth is not millions of years old. It is 4.45 billion years old, and it is not a closed system. Everything that the earth is made of came from space. The simple organisms that evolved over millions of years to create complex life, which then evolved further, did not come from nothing. Maybe the statistics are true. Maybe religious people and religious fundamentalists are more ignorant than spiritualists, atheists, agnostics, and everybody else even if it is by -.24. I honestly do not mean any offense, and I’m sorry if this offends you, but you honestly need to educate yourself a little bit more.

      • Rick

        Educate? Have you given thought as to how any organisms came to be? NO scientist can spark life, even at its simplest form! And if organisms came from space, how did they come into existence? And Gravity? Explain gravity! Gravity on earth, and/or in space, which no scientists will ever figure out! Gravity isn’t an element, a protein, an organism, electricity, atoms, or magnetism! Gravity is one of God’s creations and cannot be duplicated by man. How can everything on earth be pulled towards the center of the earth? Speed of light? I have faith that there is a faster speed, and it’s the speed of God! God is all knowing, all powerful, and he’s my savior! With God, anything is possible. Go’s has done miracles for me, and I have felt his hand pick me up and place me down in safety. Go’s has changed reality for me, so the outcome of reality was better than all probability! I have faith and a relationship with Jesus that no one will ever break! I would die to defend Jesus name! I will never lie to deny Jesus, even in the face of death! Scientists will never have complete faith in anything, because they will never have all the answers. I do however thank god for scientists, because God has given them just enough to help humanity.

      • Mark

        Ignorant? I have BS in computer science. Undergraduate work require chemistry, physics, and biology. In addition, I’ve been reading science fiction for about 37 years. I have a descent background in science.

        Maybe you should do some self educating. Try reading “Darwin’s Black Box.” It explains how the complexity of biological machines (aka life) cannot be generated by haphazard chance but must be start out as complete functional entities.

        Furthermore, to accept the theory of evolution and the millions/billions of years before man appeared, then you have to say that God created death, disease, and misery.

  • Chuck

    Michael Gungor’s god is much smaller than my God. He has substituted the wisdom of men for the power of the God who created men.

  • Jilly

    You only need look at the words spoken by this man to see that they do not align with God’s word.
    God’s word brings order and peace, while things of the world and from authored by the enemy are designed
    to bring chaos and instability within the body of Christ. The Bible warns to watch for wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing. Clearly he is misguided and may lead others away. True sheperd’s of the flock always seek to point the way
    back to the Father and his words do not accomplish this in any sense of the word. It leaves new and unbelievers
    more open to the world.

  • The Road from Damascus

    I think it’s wonderful so many Christians here recognize the fact that either the bible is correct in its Word, or evolution is true and the universe is billions of years old. I think this kind of intellectual HONESTY is something to be truly admired. Unfortunately however, evolution occurs everyday, we’ve see it demonstrated regularly. Even more unfortunately, the universe IS BILLIONS of years old, we know this for a fact, as the expansion measured by the Hubble telescope proves this with about 99.99999% certainty. The ‘red shift’ we see when looking into deep space also confirms this, also to about 99.99998%, and the possibility we’re wrong on both observations is something like 99.99^20, basically a mathematical IMPOSSIBILITY, and this all without factoring in the countless other bits of evidence such as observable light from distant galaxies. The argument made here that God made the universe with the appearance of age is laughably the most desperate of all post-hoc rationalizations Christians can assert. I know you’re aware of the weakness of the ‘argument’.

    So, again, I congratulate you all for the intellectual honesty you’ve demonstrated. I am sorry however that you’ve picked a religion that risked all its credibility on hoping we’d never discover reality. It would do you all well to acknowledge your mistake and work to build a society based on truth, not on Truth (with a capital ‘T’).

    For those of you who will disagree, please know that I research cognitive dissonance in the human mind for a living, and I’m quite aware of the power the mind has to reject facts that shake its core beliefs. For most of you, the task of breaking through this dissonance is no longer even possible as you’re too deeply rooted in your delusion, but if any of you can still see reality for what it actually is, I implore you to continue to question the “truths” you perceive.

    • Veritacity

      “The task of breaking through this dissonance is no longer even possible as you’re too deeply rooted in your delusion, but if any of you can still see reality for what it actually is, I implore you to continue to question the “truths” you perceive.” I couldn’t agree more. Life from dead matter? Information arising from matter? No empirical evidence found. Just a determined adherence to a tired, ever adjusting theory. I commend you for your strong faith 😉

      • Science confirms God’s Word

        LOL! Spot on, Veritacity!

  • SM

    The problem is how we read the bible. It is literature. As such it uses allegory, metaphor, hyperbole, parables, historical fact, apocalyptic and anthropomorphic language. The danger is interpreting and reading all of it in a literal wooden fashion. Balance is the key. I believe it is inerrant in the original autographs. I don’t believe for one moment the earth is only 6000 years old, you can’t prove that from a proper reading and understanding of the bible. The earth is very old there is empirical evidence for that; however that does not negate the creation story,that man was created by God, or the historic fact of resurrection. That there are changes or mirco-evolution within a species overtime is scientific; the bible affirms that, look at the degradation in human physiology since Adam. Changes within a species can be brought about by selective breeding , resistance to disease, diet etc. Whatever the change however, there is no scientific evidence, for example, that a bird overtime will become a fish and a fish overtime will become a man. The entire universe since the creation is degrading it has an end; it is not renewing or recreating itself through “evolution”. Darwinian evolution (evolution from one species or kind to another) is an untenable theory and more of a religion than anything else.

  • Louise Shaw

    This was prophesied that they would have ears that itched for something other that the Word of Almighty GOD.