is anyone getting tired of this yet? (yes): Bryan College “takes a stand” on creationism


Here’s the article.

Another college feels it needs to take a “stand” on the Bible–meaning recommitting themselves to a view of the Bible that is inexcusable for an institution granting academic degrees, whether in Bible, the sciences, Christian thought, or anything else.

Professors at Bryan College are understandably worried about their jobs. They will now be required to educate students while at the same time holding to views that are very difficult for educated people to hold.

They will have to choose which side of the line to stand on, for “Bryan’s statement of faith, more than 80 years old, isn’t allowed to be amended or changed, according to its charter.” It can, however, be “clarified,” i.e., tightened so crafty, progressive professors who want to find ways to grapple with scientific facts (yes, “facts”–you heard me) within their conservative tradition will no longer be able to get away with it.

Hence the original statement:

“that the origin of man was by fiat of God in the act of creation as related in the Book of Genesis; that he was created in the image of God; that he sinned and thereby incurred physical and spiritual death;”

is “clarified” thus:

“We believe that all humanity is descended from Adam and Eve. They are historical persons created by God in a special formative act, and not from previously existing life forms.”

So, that’s that.

I’ve said this many times and I’ll say it again. A school can govern itself any way it wishes and can believe what it wants to believe. It can govern itself intellectually back into the Stone Age for all I care (provided that Stone Age didn’t begin more than 6000 years ago), and students and their parents are free to pay nearly $30,000 a year for the right.

The shame, the travesty, and I will even say the injustice, is that thoughtful people who are academically trained in various disciplines, who are supportive of their tradition, who have given their lives to be thoughtful men and women of faith, and who in their experience and wisdom see the need to bring their disciplines into some conversation with that tradition, are barred from doing so, because…well…we just don’t do that around here.

This is what a dying tradition looks like.


  • ajl

    This is a dying tradition we are witnessing. More and more of these schools are doubling down on the creation issue as you illustrated here – being even more rigid in their view of the creation narrative. They are also competing for a shrinking population. And the irony is that they are creating that shrinking population by being so rigid.

    So, with a smaller pool of applicants espousing those beliefs what is the answer? Yep, get even more narrow to carve out a niche into the remaining population pool. We may be seeing a bit of a death spiral coming.

    Some schools will survive (i.e. the big ones like Liberty), but the smaller schools will have a tough time keeping their doors open.

    • Censored

      > dying tradition

      More so that you might think. What is dying is the belief in the supernatural.

      Americans’ Belief in God, Miracles and Heaven Declines
      Belief in Darwin’s theory of evolution rises
      New York, N.Y. – December 16, 2013

      “And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerve in the brain of Jupiter. But may we hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this most venerated reformer of human errors.” ~Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823

      • Luke Breuer

        I’ll add the Huffington Post’s 2/6/11′s The Complicated Connection Between Religion and the Paranormal:

        What Bader, Mencken and Baker find in their research is that both individuals with no religious beliefs and the most committed individuals — those who attend services weekly — are among the least likely to hold paranormal beliefs. Those who believe the Bible is the literal word of God are also highly unlikely to hold paranormal beliefs.

        It is in the middle, among people who have an interest in religion but who are not regular attenders, that there is greater belief in the paranormal. Belief in paranormal topics is at its highest level among people with more liberal views of the Bible, researchers said.

        • Censored

          Resurrection is paranormal, i.e., outside “the range of normal experience or scientific explanation.” That research suffers from poor definitions.

          • Luke Breuer

            If you collapse categories, you destroy communication. Consider Nietzsche’s “There no facts, only interpretations.” That could be taken as a complete denial of objective reality; this would probably have torpedoed science if it had been fully accepted.

          • Censored

            • I believe in Ghosts! = paranormal.
            • I believe in the Holy Ghost! = not paranormal?

            If you exclude categories, you destroy communication.

          • Luke Breuer

            The difference is between:

                 (1) one intelligence being in indisputable control
                 (2) multiple intelligences warring with each other

            This is illustrated brilliantly in Isaiah 45:7, which is oft-cited by atheists as evidence of God creating evil. And yet, if we do a bit of research, we find this Hermeneutics.SE answer to the question What did Isaiah intend with his unusual usage of “create” in Isaiah 45:7?:

            However, Isaiah is addressing himself to a different question than the one you’re concerned with. According to Zoroastrian theology, light and darkness and good and evil are created by two separate deities who are constantly in competition with each other. The creation story in the book of Genesis is parallel in many ways to the Zoroastrian creation myth, and is also a polemic against the notion of more than one God and the notion that some of God’s creations are “evil.”

            The Bible holds that Yahweh cannot be effectively challenged. He apparently gives his created beings much freedom, but none offer a true challenge to him. Good and evil are not equally matched. This is in contrast to many religions out there.

          • Censored

            The Bible holds that the Yahweh skygod was plagiarized from earlier Ugaritic tablets, as Dr. Smith (Skirball Chair of Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at New York University) demonstrates:

            For example: “[T]he priestly theological treatment of Israel’s early religious history in Exodus 6:2-3 identifies the old god El Shadday with Yahweh:
            And God said to Moses, “I am Yahweh. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as El Shadday, but by my name Yahweh I did not make myself known to them.”
            This passage shows that Yahweh was unknown to the patriarchs. Rather, they are depicted as worshipers of El. In Israel El’s characteristics and epithets became part of the repertoire of descriptions of Yahweh. Like El in the Ugaritic texts, Yahweh is described as an aged, patriarchal god …, enthroned amidst the assembly of divine beings”
            Mark Smith (2001) The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Israel’s Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts. Oxford University Press, p. 141.

          • Luke Breuer

            I don’t see a problem with the facts you cite, although I probably disagree with your interpretation thereof. It may help to know that I am probably in large agreement with Peter Enns’ Inerrancy: I think someone forgot to tell the Bible.

          • Beau Quilter

            Just out of curiosity, how do you interpret the polytheistic origins in biblical texts differently?

          • Luke Breuer

            You may find this comment interesting. I think God is reaching out to be people in all sorts of ways. He called Abraham out of the land of Ur, out of a land of polytheism. So I’m not sure how to answer your “differently”; differently from what/whom? My “probably” in my comment above is due to the fact that I’ve not exhaustively compared my viewpoint to Enns’ viewpoint.

          • Beau Quilter

            I meant differently from Brian Bowman, since you said, “I probably disagree with your interpretation thereof.”

          • Luke Breuer

            His interpretation is likely that religion is a purely human phenomenon, with no God-input. This is likely false, which Keith Ward illusrates in Is Religion Dangerous?

                The reason why it is not possible to give a general answer to the question, ‘Does religion make people more conservative or more radical?’ is that religious institutions are made up of people who already have certain moral and political opinions, and will seek to mould the institution accordingly. Their children in turn will be moulded in part by those institutions, but they will also encounter many different attitudes in the general culture. So, apart from a very detailed analysis of particular histories and cases, there is little that can be usefully said in general about the social effects of religion. (Despite this, I will return to the subject in chapter 10.)
                In some contexts, religious institutions can become centers of social dissent, and even revolution. During the years of Communist occupation, the Catholic Church in Poland became a focus for anti-Soviet feeling, and was a major cause of the collapse of Communism in Poland. It was a radical social force. But since that happened, the Polish Catholic Church has come to be seen by many as a conservative force trying to enforce strict sexual control and traditional family values. Radical nationalist groups have even appealed to ‘Catholic loyalty’ in attacks on Muslims, foreign workers and immigrants—on all things that they feel to be alien cultural influences. Thus in a very short space of time a major religious institution can move from being a focus of radical political thought to being a morally ambiguous defender of conservative national values.
                The lesson is: do not generalise in abstract terms. See religious movements in their historical and social context. And acknowledge the inescapable diversity of human political, moral and religious attitudes. This might make it sound as if religious beliefs are not primarily important and we can explain religion very well simply in social terms. But that would be the opposite error. It is an error to see religion just in social terms. But it is equally an error to think that religions add nothing to the social context. They do add something, but what they add depends not the context and on who is doing the adding. (48-49)

          • Beau Quilter

            Right … I’ve read some of Ward. I find the “possibilities” that he suggests a bit vague. The clear textual evolution of the Old Testament from early polytheistic beginnings to later deuteronomical and post-exilic revisions, makes the supernatural OT miracle tales fairly unlikely (I think the same of NT miracle tales).

            I think I understand that there are current forms of Christianity that simply see biblical miracle tales as human attempts to capture some more holistic “ground of being”.

            But that’s a rather new way of viewing scripture, isn’t it?

          • Luke Breuer

            Ward may be vague, but that is better than making wrong statements. Many atheists and skeptics make statements that simply aren’t supportable by the evidence, like:

            religion is a purely human phenomenon, with no God-input.

            If I ask, “How would you know?”, I never get a solid answer. It’s just vagueness, like “evolutionary psychology can explain it, or will explain it”. This is a just-so story until backed up by evidence, evidence which has been tested in a crucible. For now, it is largely one just-so story against another just-so story, except that the atheist/skeptic argues that his is better because of <insert dogma here>.

            But that’s a rather new way of viewing scripture, isn’t it?

            Is what? I believe in miracles. I believe in tremendous power. But I believe it is to be used to bring about unity in diversity on the earth—shalom. Not magic tricks. Or even true, healing miracles, that merely serve to let people continue to do what they want to do.

          • Beau Quilter

            How would I know that there is no supernatural input in the world?

            I suppose I don’t “know”. I simply see no evidence for it.

          • Luke Breuer

            All evidence is viewed through a grid of presuppositions. Logical Positivism failed; Quine’s Two Dogmas is true. Even scientists are accepting this; see Hawking and Mlodinow’s model-dependent realism. The idea that we objectively observe reality is foolish and absurd. What we can do is truth-seek. You might like my Phil.SE question, “I trust my senses” — Why does this tend to be restricted to the external senses?

          • Beau Quilter

            I’m familiar with Hawking and Mlodinow’s model-dependent realism. Hawking and Mlodinow would find your co-opting of the view to support theism most amusing (and ultimately silly), since the models they describe relate observations to observed behavioral rules, i.e. evidence garnered from the external senses.

            The real and important difference between actual evidence (what you call evidence restricted to the external senses), and what you might call spiritual senses or religious experiences, is that actual evidence is repeatable, measurable, and verifiable to all observers. As Keith Ward points out, “The omens are not good for the very specific claims that many religions make about God, spirits and the afterlife. Each cultural tradition builds up an increasingly detailed set of such claims.”

          • Beau Quilter

            Of course, if free will and evil do not offer a true challenge to Yahweh, this only exacerbates the theological problem of evil.

          • Luke Breuer

            How so? If God is truly free, then certainly he can make truly free beings? And if there is value in those beings being truly free, then he cannot control what they do, lest he make them robots. I suspect there is a logical contradiction in your formulation of the problem, but do feel free to flesh it out.

          • Beau Quilter

            There are all sorts of ways to flesh out the problem of evil. My thought was that if free will isn’t a challenge for God, then presumably he is powerful enough to prevent evil while at the same time allowing free will.

            One might define free will as the ability to choose good or evil, but this doesn’t preclude the possibility of preventing other individuals from being harmed by evil.

            Of course, if you see the ability to do evil to other persons, as inherent in free will, then I suppose the problem of free will is not “exacerbated”.

            But it’s still a problem.

          • Luke Breuer

            My thought was that if free will isn’t a challenge for God, then presumably he is powerful enough to prevent evil while at the same time allowing free will.

            There is a logical contradiction: either God can create first-cause beings whose actions he by definition cannot control, or God can create beings whose actions he completely controls. I do not believe God can create square circles. I do not believe he can merely nix every evil choice in the bud. I do not think this makes sense if one explores the idea thoroughly and tries to construct a realistic, possible world in which moral evil is prohibited but moral good is possible. There is a question here, “Is there sin in heaven?” I do not know enough to give this question a good answer.

            One might define free will as the ability to choose good or evil, but this doesn’t preclude the possibility of preventing other individuals from being harmed by evil.

            I do not believe it is possible to allow true love, without allowing true hurt.

            But it’s still a problem.

            No doubt! But saying that the resolution is that God doesn’t exist is not a solution. And Jesus offers a profound solution, one that we are called to walk in, like Paul:

            Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, (Col 1:24)

            The song Jesus paid it all is potentially deceptive; it threatens to make meaningless the following:

            The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (Rom 8:16-17)

            I believe that Christians are called to continue Jesus’ program of reconciling the world to him, and that this involves “deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow Jesus”. Why the cross? Because there is much evil in the world and Christians are called to redeem it, sucking it out of the world and somehow mystically taking it to the Cross. Someone’s got to suffer in order to make things better. Christians are called to voluntarily suffer, even though they don’t ‘deserve’ to. Jesus didn’t deserve to suffer, either. He led the way (in particle-and-field reality, replete with resurrection); we are called to continue in his path.

          • Beau Quilter

            I generally don’t presume to deny the existence of God, since the the multitude of definitions for God is too large to address.

            I don’t particularly see the sense in the version of God you’re describing, though. I don’t see anything inherently profound about the concept of rejoicing in suffering.

          • Luke Breuer

            One rejoices in suffering if that suffering is a necessary step toward a glorious future.

            Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12:1-2)

          • Beau Quilter

            Yes, I know that’s the Christian belief. There’s nothing particularly rational about it.

          • Luke Breuer

            There’s nothing rational about happily paying the price to get something one deems worth it? Seriously?

          • Beau Quilter

            Just to parse out your free will rationale a bit more … you say …

            “God can create first-cause beings whose actions he by definition cannot control, or God can create beings whose actions he completely controls.”

            Interesting that your “definition” of free will leaves no middle ground here. I don’t completely control my children, but I can prevent them from hurting themselves. I just don’t see why an all-powerful God couldn’t allow free will while preventing holocaust.

          • Luke Breuer

            Oh, God could indeed have prevented the Holocaust. But guess what, the reason the Holocaust happened was that we humans were terrible specimens. Had God prevented it, we would not have known it. We have repeatedly ignored the illustration of the human condition spelled out in the Bible, and history. What is left for God to do, if we won’t listen, than to let terrible things happen? The alternative is permanent baby-hood, where we humans don’t have a flying f*ck what it means to treat the next guy with dignity.

          • Beau Quilter

            No. Still doesn’t make any sort of sense.

            If God had not allowed the beings he created to perpetuate a holocaust, we would all be babies? We would have no sense of human dignity if God didn’t allow the most horrific of human atrocities?

            It’s clear that you believe this nonsense; no reason for me to.

          • Sven2547

            There is a logical contradiction: either God can create first-cause beings whose actions he by definition cannot control, or God can create beings whose actions he completely controls.

            This is basically restating the omnipotence paradox. Unless the omnipotence paradox can be overcome, God is logically disproven*, since the concept of omnipotence is inherently self-contradictory.

            *if one defines “God” as omnipotent

  • Rachel Held Evans

    Bryan College is my alma mater and we are devastated by this development. The faculty is totally demoralized and some of the best and brightest will lose their jobs over this sudden change. The mark of a quality education is teaching students how to think, not what to think. Devoted Christians hold a variety of informed views around origins and the interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2, and students deserve to be exposed to those views. Shutting out those who believe science and faith to be compatible does a grave disservice to students, and I fear many will go on to struggle with serious doubts about their faith when they are confronted with the evidence upon graduating. Dan and I are saddened by these changes and we grieve with those forced to leave a school they love as a result.

    It seems to me that Christian education is at a crossroads. Some schools will move forward and remain academically relevant, while others will go the way of fundamentalism.

    By the way, Pete, you should know that your work really made an impact on me when I was struggling to make my way outside this world. You helped restore my love for Scripture and taught me to honor it for what it is, not what I’d been taught to force it t be. So thank you for that.

    • John Hawthorne

      Peter, I think you just got all the credit for Rachel’s break from her early training!

      Seriously, though, Rachel — your point about a bifurcation in Christian higher education is on target. The schools that can figure out faithful discipleship without these rigid attempts at control will serve the Church well in coming decades. The ones that create structures to inhibit conversation and intellectual discourse will be seen as faithful in the short run but do serious damage over the long haul.

      • Jordan Bates

        So wait… Peter influenced Rachel who triggered Ken to write an article which prompted Bryan College to buckle down under pressure? I’m… really impressed, actually.

      • Jack Heller

        John, guess who else attended Bryan College. Class of 1985.

    • Censored

      Do you believe literally in any supernatural accounts in the Bible, and if so, why some over others?

      Understanding biological evolution precludes belief in either the virgin birth or the resurrection.

  • Jacob Lupfer

    This is a bad development, but truly there is nothing new under the sun. Colleges affiliated with Baptist state conventions have been dealing with similar issues (often to much greater degrees) ever since the Fundamentalist Takeover/Conservative Resurgence. I notice that the Council for Christian College and Universities has been silent on fundamentalist encroachment at member institutions. The fact that you have some evangelical colleges happily employing women as Bible professors and presidents, while others are reverting back to literal-Bible fundamentalism, shows that this is just another fault line in the broader schism within evangelicalism.

    See my Save OBU blog, which has chronicled such encroachments at Oklahoma Baptist University, Cedarville University, Shorter University, and elsewhere:

  • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist

    Chin up, Dr. Enns. I know this kind of development hits home for you, but marketing took over academics quite a while ago. At least they are being open about it, and not sneaky.

    • peteenns

      Thanks :-) My chin is up, though.

  • Beau Quilter

    At what point do such closed-minded, unscientific approaches to learning cause an institution to lose it’s varied accreditations:

    How can anyone argue that academic freedom exists in “school” such as Bryan? How can anyone take a “biology” degree from Bryan seriously?

    • Ivan A. Rogers

      Biological evolutionists have hit a brick wall. All the latest genome sciences and studies demonstrate conclusively that evolution cannot have happened, especially in the creation and development of sentient life. But most evolutionists are not informed on this and those who are will deny it on a stack of Bibles (pun intended). Diehard evolutionists still insist that their nearest relatives were hairy, stinky, grunting, slobbering, knuckle-dragging, cootie-picking primates. Oh, well, if they insist, who am I to second-guess their miserable self-image?

      • peteenns

        Although, you’re not a scientist, right?

      • Sven2547

        All the latest genome sciences and studies demonstrate conclusively that evolution cannot have happened, especially in the creation and development of sentient life.

        Funny; I’m not hearing any expert in genetics say anything of the sort. “ALL the latest studies”, you say? Can you cite even ONE?

        Genetics is some of the strongest evidence for evolution, not against it. What, you think it’s just a coincidence that we are so genetically similar to other primates? Do you really think that genetic similarity has no bearing whatsoever on shared ancestry?

        • Archaeologist

          Of course you won’t. Most geneticists are unbelievers who will refuse to prove the Bible true.

          There is no evidence for evolution in genetics.

          • Censored

            Au contraire.

            Nachman, M. W. and S. L. Crowell. 2000. Estimate of the mutation rate per nucleotide in humans. Genetics 156(1): 297-304.

            Elena, S. F., V. S. Cooper and R. E. Lenski. 1996. Punctuated evolutioncaused by selection of rare beneficial mutations. Science 272:1802-1804.

            Boyden, Ann M., Junhao Mao, Joseph Belsky, Lyle Mitzner, Anita Farhi, Mary A. Mitnick, Dianqing Wu, Karl Insogna, and Richard P. Lifton. 2002. High bone density due to a mutation in LDL-receptor-related protein 5. New England Journal of Medicine 346: 1513-1521

          • Sven2547

            A lie, followed by another lie.
            Scientists follow the evidence. If the field of genetics proved the Bible true, what would they gain from hiding it? Why would they remain non-believers if they knew their position was false?

          • Guest

            Of course you won’t.

            Then why did you say

            All the latest genome sciences and studies demonstrate conclusively that evolution cannot have happened, especially in the creation and development of sentient life.

            if you won’t accept anything offered by actual experts in the subject at hand?!

      • Klasie Kraalogies

        Bearing false witness is a sin, or so I thought…. Or is it ok when used against the infidels?

      • Censored

        > All the latest

        Cites? Just one cite?

      • Archaeologist

        Having studied genetics I can say that that is true. Genetics does not support evolution in any way shape or form. It takes a lot of eisegetical work on the part of evolutionists to shoe horn their false theory into the field of genetics.

        The complexity alone in the microscopic world testifies against the evolutionary theory and points everyone to God and his creative genius. The mere fact that a person dies if they miss one or more chromosomes denies an evolutionary process and development.

        Genetics have shown Darwin to be wrong concerning the different races of humans. Yet no evolutionist will admit that fact. They cover it up and continue on their way.

        Evolution has no room for disease, sickness or death and cannot pinpoint their origin rendering their existence as evidence against the evolutionary process. Genetics proves Genesis chapter 3 not overthrows it.

        Yet again, those who take science over God’s word will ignore that fact.

        • Beau Quilter

          What a bizarre claim!

        • Klasie Kraalogies

          As I replied to Ivan: I thought bearing false witness is a sin?

        • Sven2547

          Evolution has no room for disease, sickness or death and cannot pinpoint their origin rendering their existence as evidence against the evolutionary process.

          Are you joking? Evolution explains not only diseases, but why they adapt so quickly. Many modern infections are immune to the antibiotics we used 50 years ago. Why? Evolution.

          Genetics have shown Darwin to be wrong concerning the different races of humans. Yet no evolutionist will admit that fact. They cover it up and continue on their way.

          To the contrary: I’ve never heard one “evolutionist” deny it. Darwin had some quirky ideas about race. That doesn’t mean evolution is bunk.

          Having studied genetics…

          Based on your paltry knowledge of the subject, I guarantee you have never studied genetics at a professional level, nor at a graduate level at any school with a respectable science program. Maybe Liberty University, Bob Jones U., or some other Christian diploma mill.

        • jonphillips

          Because you studied it, therefore it’s true. Yeah right.

          You set up a premise that one must choose between God and evolution. It’s possible to choose both.

          • Censored

            Evolution does away with the Pauline magic show of salvation. There was no single breeding pair of humans circa 4004 B.C., or anywhere close. There was no “Adam” other than mythological.

            • “just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous” Romans 5:19

            • “as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” 1 Cor 15:22

            Pauline soteriology requires literalist creationism, (or at least a literal Adam.)

      • Beau Quilter

        Can you cite any such genome sciences and studies that make such a claim?

  • Rick Allen

    I’m not allowed to be on my church’s staff or electoral role because I can’t sign their faith statement. The clauses I can’t sign are regarding marriage being a creation ordinance in genesis, and the in-errancy of scripture as outlined in the Chicago statement.

    • Ross

      That situation was the same for me. It was very uncomfortable, after yet another painful “split” of the congregation, “inerrancy” was raised into the statement of faith. I tried to resist this and couldn’t in clear conscience ascribe to it, so became “unsuitable” to lead a home group and effectively marginalised. Luckily I can and did leave and can worship and be a full member of a congregation close to home.

      If belief in inerrancy is a definition of being an Evangelical, then I am definitely not one of those. I wonder what, if any value there is to the term “Evangelical” any more. In many respects it seems to represent what I believe, in a belief in a real God and a high view of scripture, but looking at what the term often seems to relate to I wonder if it is just a simulacrum of the real thing.

      • Censored

        I’ll ascribe to inerrancy if churchgoers will admit that they worship Satan and the Lord as one. ;)

        ● II Sam. 24:1 And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.

        ● I Chron. 21:1 And SATAN stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.

        And they are one. “Satan” is merely a metaphor for slander. Apparently, even God tells lies and slander to provoke good folks.

        The term “devil” is a development into English of the Greek word diabolos…Diablos was used to translate the Hebrew word satan…Diablos and its related words denoted something or someone “slanderous.” Socrates declared that the reason he had been condemned at trial was the “slanderers” (diabolai)….

        ~Gregory Riley (2001) The River of God: A New History of Christian Origins. “Chapter 4: The Devil, the Demons, and the End of the World.” HarperCollins. pp. 95-96.

  • Ivan A. Rogers

    Peter Enns would rather get his knowledge of “Origins” from Charles Darwin who was NOT a scientist and whose highest earned academic degree was in the field of (gasp!) theology. Here following is something most evolutionists would rather you didn’t know:

    Charles Darwin rejected both the positivistic outlook and the biblical literalism that were championed in his day. Although he is usually thought of as subversive to all creation theories, an examination of his personal writings and his major work, Origin of Species, shows this view to be incorrect. He related some themes of biblical theology to natural selection in a sophisticated manner. His formal education gave him excellent preparation for the religious aspects of this endeavor, since the only academic degree he ever earned was in (gasp!) theology, after a three-year course of study at Cambridge University.

    • peteenns

      A couple of points, Ivan. I hear what you are saying, but there is no need to personalize this as if “I” am getting some private knowledge somewhere. I am part of the 99%, as it were. Second, and related, neither I nor anyone else is getting anything from Darwin but from 150 years of scientific advances in fields and by means Darwin never could have conceived of.

      • Sven2547

        I was about to post, but you said it better than I would have.

        Adding onto that thought: creationists (and theistic evolutionists) seem to love latching onto Charles Darwin, as if discrediting him as a person somehow discredits the huge and well-established scientific field of evolution. It’s like criticizing a modern jet fighter because of a design flaw in the Wright Brothers’ Kitty Hawk Flyer.

        • Klasie Kraalogies

          I like that last sentence especially…

          • Sven2547

            I need to find who first used that comparison because it’s really good. I do not deserve credit for it.

          • Censored

            Orville converted back to bicycles on his deathbed. ;)

  • Randy Hardman

    Like @RachelEvans:disqus this story hits home to me on a personal/insider level. While I was never a student at Bryan College, I worked on their campus every year since 2006 and have developed strong relationships with many of their professors, some of which will now be removed under this position. I’ve been watching this whole thing happen–I saw hints of it last year–for the past week and a half and have spoken with a couple professors and alumni who are just…as Rachel said…”demoralized.” Prayers are going out to the school, but please keep the faculty who will likely lose their jobs due to this in prayer as well.

    Rachel, how much of this, do you think, has anything to do with your association with Dayton and Bryan, Eisenback and Ken Turner’s work with Biologos?

    For the record (or selfish endorsement), I’ve just written on the topic from the perspective of a somewhat…kind of..not really, but partly “insider”:

  • Collins

    Pete, what do you think that the more “progressive” minded professors will do? Is it just going to be like the great purge of the SBC with a mass exodus? Or do you think that there will just be people that have a HIGHLY nuanced understanding of the word “formed” in the clarification?

    • Andrew Dowling

      Honest question . . why is Bryan College the employer of choice for more “progressive minded” professors? As an outsider (from conservative evangelicalism) I just don’t understand why moves like this come as a surprise to anyone. Did Bryan start super conservative and then gradually become more moderate (as things often do, especially in academia)?

      • Sven2547

        “More progressive minded” is relative here. Nobody can accuse Pat Robertson of being a “progressive”, but even he rejects YEC.

  • Censored

    When a college believes in supernatural explanations, why would anybody expect them to not believe in one particular supernatural explanation?

    If evolutionary facts trump creationism, then gravity facts trump the ascension, biology facts trump virgin birth and resurrection, and physics and chemistry trump miracles.

    Sure, they’re doubling down. Doubling down on the supernatural.

    • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist

      I don’t think your second paragraph equates, Brian, although I won’t argue with your larger point. I believe you are missing a major premise or two.

      • Censored

        There has to be a First Adam for the Pauline “Second Adam” Salvation Magic Show to work correctly. That “First Adam” is what Bryan College and Ken Ham are trying to preserve.

        If we evolved (we did), there was no Adam, except allegorically, and no actual fellow committing disobedience, and thus no original sin. Nor is any salvation necessary.

        • “just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous” Romans 5:19

        • “as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” 1 Cor 15:2

        That is why literal creationism is so vital to faith. Evolution proves there was not a single breeding pair 6000 years ago. There was no Adam. Thus, no original sin. Thus no need for Pauline salvation.

        Suits me. I’m a Christian without all that pauline salvation baggage.

        • “Of this band of dupes and impostors, Paul was the great Corypheus, and first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus.” ~Thomas Jefferson (Jefferson’s Works, Vol. ii., p. 217)

        • “To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence; & believing he never claimed any other.” ~Thomas Jefferson, letter to Benjamin Rush, May 21, 1803

    • Sxeptomaniac

      Firstly, I have never heard a Christian say “evolutionary facts trump creationism”, because many Christians don’t believe there is a conflict between the two.

      Secondly, a belief in natural law not only isn’t a problem for miracles, it’s necessary. A virgin birth isn’t particularly amazing if there isn’t a known law for how conception occurs, and resurrection isn’t very impressive if there aren’t natural laws regarding death and decay. The same applies to all miracles.

  • Daniel Merriman

    I live about 75 miles from Dayton, and local cable TV is inundated with ads featuring their President extolling the virtues of a Christian education. At least locally, Bryan has always been known as far out fundamentalist, to the point of people saying that their being accredited was a joke. I am sure that this will be upsetting to many people, and for that I sympathize, but I suspect that many parents will applaud.

  • Archaeologist

    Good for Bryan College. Christian universities and Bible Colleges need to stand with God and the Bible. Part of academic freedom is teaching what the Bible says, anyone who disagrees is a hypocrite.

    What is sad is that supposed Christians like Enns and Herd are actually criticizing this move when they should be standing with God and his word. We now know the master they serve and it isn’t God.

    Those two, and people like them, are simply Jesus’ fair weather friends who refuse to pick up their cross and follow Him. Read the rest at

    • Carlos Bovell

      Anyone who disagrees with the anonymous “Archaeologist” regarding academic freedom is a hypocrite? Enns, et. al. are “supposed Christians” because academic freedom does not mean the same thing to them as it does to you?

      Mr./Ms. Archaeologist, you may want to take a moment to try to take a more objective look at how you are representing Jesus in your anonymous, inflammatory accusation against Enns and particularly in your equating Jesus’ invitation to take up our cross and follow him with cleaving to fundamentalist interpretations of scripture.

      • Archaeologist

        I said, those who disagree with the fact that teaching the Bible as true is part of academic freedom is a hypocrite. Why? Because they are restricting their definition of academic freedom to only their approved subjects and censoring out those they do not like.

        Mr. Enns is supposed to be a Christian and on God’s side yet when a university decides to side with God he is against the move. There is nothing inflammatory in that comment, he has shown that he does not side with God.

        We know this because, God did not provide any document, ancient or modern that ‘corrected’ Genesis 1. There is no ancient manuscript in any textual record that shows God saying anything different than what he said in Genesis 1.

        The information contradicting Genesis 1 comes from false teachers and other unbelievers so the source of that information is evil. Those who side with evil are not siding with God.

        Taking up one’s cross also means one sides with God even when science says otherwise.

    • Luke Breuer

      Part of academic freedom is teaching what the Bible says, anyone who disagrees is a hypocrite.

      You remind me of what John Calvin said:

      Whoever shall maintain that wrong is done to heretics and blasphemers in punishing them makes himself an accomplice in their crime and guilty as they are. There is no question here of man’s authority; it is God who speaks, and clear it is what law he will have kept in the church, even to the end of the world. Wherefore does he demand of us a so extreme severity, if not to show us that due honor is not paid him, so long as we set not his service above every human consideration, so that we spare not kin, nor blood of any, and forget all humanity when the matter is to combat for His glory.

    • Sven2547

      Part of academic freedom is teaching what the Bible says, anyone who disagrees is a hypocrite.

      In a theology, philosophy, or literature class, sure. In science, absolutely not.

      • Archaeologist

        Yes in the science class because evolution and other alternatives are not the source of origins thus they are not scientific but false teaching and lies.

    • jonphillips

      What is sad is supposed Christians like you…

    • Lamont Cranston

      Please never stop preaching! When intelligent people hear what you have to say, they will want nothing to do with you or your “savior” whatsoever. You’re doing great work!

      • Beau Quilter

        Yes, because it’s so much easier to claim that those to whom you are opposed have satan as their master …

        than it is to actually have an intelligent conversation about your views.

        • Archaeologist

          You want an intelligent conversation? Then start with Hebrews 11: 1-2 and see where you can shoe horn your evolutionary thoughts into that passage.

          You see, God does not include science in the discussion, he calls for faith and a choice. Why are you trying to force science into the discussion when it is not allowed?

          • Beau Quilter

            Why would I want to shoe horn a modern scientific field with the evidence of hundreds of thousands of research papers in support, into a passage from an anonymous 1st century letter writer?

    • Melissia

      There’s no hypocrisy in saying “you’re wrong, here’s why”, and backing it up by scientific fact.

      • Archaeologist

        except that science isn’t an authority, doesn’t have the evidence and is spewing false teaching

    • Sxeptomaniac

      So who decides “what the Bible says”? You? This is the biggest problem I have with people who think they can dictate theology to other believers. Jesus, Paul, Peter, and many other great leaders spoke with authority, but that’s not the same thing as dictating. Jesus didn’t answer challenges with “you’re a hypocrite if you disagree with me”, but with a solid, difficult-to-refute argument (i.e. Matthew 22:15-22).

  • Steve Aldridge

    As a molecular biologist and evangelical Christian (including pastoring), I had to go to a Big Ten research university to get my biology graduate degree so I could have the freedom to ask any question and do honest research for answers. This includes being mentored by professors who did not have artificial restraints on them. I cannot say the same about my seminary experience. The entire three years of seminary was based on apologetics. Any of my questions that challenged the presuppositions (including the faith statement) was met with a quick verbal “you’re a liberal,” “you don’t believe the Bible.” I’ve seen and worked on the facts of mitochondria human DNA that proves our current origins 170,000 years ago. The Christian college community is painting itself into a corner it it continues to lock onto a non-contextual interpretation of the Bible. I feel bad for the intelligent men and women who are being forced to give up their academic integrity to pay their mortgage.

  • Censored

    “We believe that all humanity is descended from Adam and Eve.”

    Without that, Pauline soteriology is destroyed. (Romans 5:19, 1 Cor 15:22)

    • Sxeptomaniac

      Not really. The key part of Pauline soteriology is the salvation through one man, and the corruption of our personal sin nature, not the source of the sin. As seen in Romans 7:18-20, it’s much more about our personal failings than blaming this on Adam.

  • Bob Seidensticker

    When feeling put upon, Christians like to point to universities as a contribution that they’ve made to Western civilization. Fair enough, but the original Christian universities were not dissimilar from this college.

    The marvelous work that Harvard, Princeton, Oxford, and other colleges with Christian foundations has come about only because they’ve dropped that dedication to Christianity.