The attacks upon the evangelical faith, from within, just keep rolling. There is no relenting it seems on which fronts are being compromised, slowly as well as quickly. The issue of theistic evolution (evolution designed and created by God) has been simmering for some time, gaining strength, until finally it has boiled over and become very public, so public that ABC News even did a story on it (see below). And all this is happening within the Reformed scholarly community in particular.
Dr. Bruce Waltke, a highly distinguished Old Testament professor at Reformed Theological Seminary resigned (from his perspective was forced to resign because of the theology police) due to his issues with “traditional” understandings of Genesis and his acceptance of evolution as a legitimate understanding that fits.
As Rick Phillips points out in this article on the Reformation21 blog, much more is at stake in this debate than issues of science. The very issue of hermeneutics is at stake, that is, our method of interpreting Scripture itself (hence the title of the article Theistic Evolution: A Hermeneutical Trojan Horse). In addition, the issue of the authority of Scripture is also at stake. And the logic is that if it can be argued that Adam and Eve weren’t literal, historical people who God created in the garden but rather products of evolution, there is no stopping how far “reinterpretations” or new interpretations will soon take hold of other doctrines.
This excerpt from Phillips’ article explains the strangeness of how he and others (such as Dr. Peter Enns who was suspended from Westminster) have come to their conclusions which is of particular importance:
Most significant is the fact that neither of these Old Testament scholars [Waltke and Enns] base their arguments on the Old Testament at all. Rather, their claims are based on evidence from outside of their academic competence – science and archaeology – and only then do they turn to the Bible, seeking to harmonize Scripture with the scientific orthodoxy. This is, in fact, the true issue that has people like me so concerned: our supposedly eminent Bible scholars are now going on record to say that we must subordinate the authority of Scripture to the higher and more objective standard of secular science.
Before long, as doctrine after doctrine is either denied or reinterpreted under the pressure of a worldview that presupposes the non-existence of God, you have little left of the faith. All that is left is a void of darkness that will collapse in on itself. That was the story of mainline Protestantism in the 20th century in Europe. What is it, 2% Christian now? Denominations married ideas and concepts within the Bible to the ideas and concepts of modernism and the result was that the whole thing has almost completely wiped out the church in Europe. Sure, there are plenty of churches as well as monuments to times past. But there are few Gospel-preaching churches and people, with a few fine exceptions that stand out like lights shining in the darkness.
This is an issue that will continue to gain steam in other theologically conservative evangelical circles, mainly because Dr. Waltke has not left a conservative seminary for a liberal one, but has simply found safe haven in another conservative seminary: allegedly Knox Theological Seminary (?). That could turn out to be inaccurate, but we’ll see. Very interesting times in the history of the church.