Some of my fellow Christians are just dolts. Look at the slogan of this outfit, which has multiple campuses in Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Washington, D.C.

You might think that this would be an outfit that would not be afraid to consider alternate viewpoints within the Christian tradition. But, as this article from USA Today shows, there are Reformed Church leaders who would rather permanently disassociate themselves from one of their denomination's leading scholars rather than countenance any possibility of being associated with the acceptance of biological evolution.

See, this is what the face of honest doubt can look like. It turns out the offender is one of the campus's most respected scholars. Did he offend in the course of teaching impressionable young Presbyterians under his charge?

Actually, there is no evidence that he did that, either. Rather, he made some statements that were videotaped in a conference with a bunch of other theologians. In that video, he (gasp!) allowed himself to make some sympathetic noises to the notion that evangelical churches need to openly engage the facts of nature as revealed by science in order to retain their credibility. This video eventually made its way onto the Templeton Foundation-sponsored, entirely religion-friendly site BioLogos associated with evangelical Christian Frances Collins.

But I can't show you the video. It was removed in an (apparently unsuccessful) attempt to preserve Dr. Waitke's status with his employer and his denomination. There is a lengthy explanation of that here.

A few statements caught my eye. What does Waitke actually believe? He issued a clarification, as follows (this is also on the BioLogos site):

  1. Adam and Eve are historical figures from whom all humans are descended; they are uniquely created in the image of God and as such are not in continuum with animals.

  2. Adam is the federal and historical head of the fallen human race just as Jesus Christ is the federal and historical head of the Church.

  3. I am not a scientist, but I have familiarized myself with attempts to harmonize Genesis 1-3 with science, and I believe that creation by the process of evolution is a tenable Biblical position, and, as represented by BioLogos, the best Christian apologetic to defend Genesis 1-3 against its critics.

  4. I apologize for giving the impression that others who seek to harmonize the two differently are not credible. I honor all who contend for the Christian faith.

  5. Evolution as a process must be clearly distinguished from evolutionism as a philosophy. The latter is incompatible with orthodox Christian theology.
So, apparently believing in a literal Adam-and-Eve, denying that human beings share common descent with organisms, opening the door to other (more conservative) ways of interpreting Genesis 1, and declaring a philosophy of 'evolutionism' as incompatible with orthodoxy are not enough. Apparently, even the slightest possible positive-sounding murmur is enough to give ol' Dr. Waitke, distinguished or no, the pink slip.

Well, they certainly are within their legal rights to do this, but the leadership of Reformed Theological Seminary is certainly not honoring their own motto. Their public relations skills need some serious Reformation, as how they handled this constitutes an unbelievably stupid and destructive policy. For the record, they say they accepted Dr. Waitke's resignation, which means that he cares so much for the institution that he would rather go through the pro forma exercise of pretending to bow out gracefully rather than forcing them to accept full responsibility for his dismissal.

As if this whole exercise is Waitke's fault? Shameful!


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