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

Whatever.

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.

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship 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
      harrisinteractive.com/NewsRoom/HarrisPolls/tabid/447/ctl/ReadCustom%20Default/mid/1508/ArticleId/1353/Default.aspx

      “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.

        • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship 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.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship 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.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship 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.”

          • Luke Breuer

            Is ‘love’ “repeatable, measurable, and verifiable to all observers”?

          • Beau Quilter

            Is “love” a single person or entity?

            Or is “love” a word used to describe a variety of emotions and physical sensations, some shallow, some with deeper imprints on our personal experience?

            Category confusion just highlights your confusion. It elucidates nothing. I’m not a reductionist. I’ll happily sing-along with “What the world needs now is love, sweet love”. Because poetry and abstract expressions are valuable in describing our experience.

            Is your “God” an abstract word describing human emotion and experience?

          • Luke Breuer

            God is abstract as Jesus was when he came to earth.

          • Beau Quilter

            Exactly. When you talk about God or Jesus, you are talking about a person – you not talking about a descriptor for a feeling or an emotion.

            Which is why asking if “love” is “repeatable, measurable, and verifiable to all observers”, is an evasive bit of category confusion that makes no salient point.

          • Luke Breuer

            How was it evasive? You said this:

            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.

            You are saying that the particulars are more ‘real’ than the universals, that particles-and-fields are more real than personality, and this means love takes a distinct back-seat in the way you think about the world. In the way I think about the world, love is much more important than the substrate upon which we live. We would still be minds if we were silicon-based or quantum computer-based or whatever. So while the laws of physics are wonderful to discover, the laws which govern minds are so much more important!

            If you give particles and fields priority over people and what makes people people and not animals, you dehumanize people.

          • Beau Quilter

            Now who’s arguing with straw men!

            At what point did I prioritize particles and fields over people? At what point did I say love is less important than scientific studies. Don’t put words in my mouth.

            I said (quite clearly I think) that love is a different category of word, an expression for something that is abstract. I never said that abstract things are unimportant! Far from it! Love is an abstract idea that I fully celebrate – so you can shout that last little sermon to someone else, thank you very much!

          • Luke Breuer

            I am sorry that I came across as putting words in your mouth. Sometimes I construct a model of what I think the other person is saying, and sometimes I extend it a bit to try and advance the conversation more quickly. This has offended you; my apologies.

            I’m getting the sense that our mutual understanding of each other is greatly diverging. Unless you can help me rectify this, I think we should let this tangent die. Perhaps at a later time, I will be better able to discuss this stuff. Perhaps not.

          • Beau Quilter

            Well, for now, just keep in mind that if someone asks for evidence of God, it makes no sense to ask “what’s the evidence for love” or “what’s the evidence for hope”, unless you want to argue that God is an abstract concept like love and hope.

          • Luke Breuer

            The thing that keeps tripping me up is that love et al seem much more important than particles and fields, to our lives. It’s kind of like thinking of an algorithm independent of what programming language it is written in or what chip it is running on. Don’t get me wrong; I love science. But particles and fields are often elevated above other things in discussions like this, such that if they don’t exist, whatever it is that is being talked about collapses into nothingness. I know this is hyperbole, but it’s the holistic sense, or intuition, I get.

            It’s almost as if love is ‘real’ because it supervenes on particles and fields; since God doesn’t supervene on particles and fields in this way (he is spirit), he is therefore not real. It just seems like a kind of reductionistic bent. It seems like saying that parts are more real than wholes, instead of the more natural thing to me, which has wholes being more real than their parts.

            Maybe this makes me a Platonist? But the ironic thing is that I’m bad at theory until I’ve looked at enough particulars and can partly derive the theory—the universals—from real data, from the shape of real data.

          • Beau Quilter

            Yes! Evasive!

            Love is abstract. You are pretty clear that your version of God is not abstract.

            Abstract ideas are important and valuable (I never said they weren’t), but you obviously don’t provide evidence for abstract ideas like love and joy, the way you do for non-abstract phenomena like gravity, particles, historical persons, and (in your case) God.

            So don’t try to evasively confuse the issue by accusing me of making value judgments. I have a graduate degree in the fine arts. I most certainly value abstract ideas.

            But unless you are arguing that the word “God” is an abstract expression, then, yes – you were being evasive.

          • Luke Breuer

            I’m sorry I come across as evasive. Because I do not yet know how to avoid this competently enough, I will cease this tangent for now.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            Religion is a purely human phenomenon, with no God-input. If you have evidence to the contrary, pray tell.

          • Luke Breuer

            You’d have to tell me if any evidence could possibly suffice. Recall Clarke’s third law: miracles won’t suffice. So how would we tell God-input from no-God-input? I think it’s actually a terrifically hard problem. Surely no god-of-the-gaps type solution is sound? So what evidence would work? What I can point to is the triad Mt 5:43-48, Jn 13:34-35, Jn 17:20-23, articulated in Francis Schaeffer’s The Mark of the Christian. Unity amidst diversity of people would be amazing, especially if it increased without bound. But would even this constitute evidence? I’m not sure.

            I’m a little worried that nothing would suffice for you, Brian. But I also know very little about you, so perhaps you could shed some light on the situation?

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            You don’t have any evidence, right? So quit trying to weasel out of that and blame me for your lack of evidence.

          • 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

            Quite seriously!

            How convenient that you’re now referring to “suffering” as the softer “paying the price”. Yes, there’s nothing rational about promoting “suffering” to pay for an imaginary Valhalla.

            Not rational for two reasons:

            It is not rational (and there is no evidence) that such an imaginary afterlife exists.

            It is not rational that the entrance “price” (your word) for such a place is suffering.

          • Luke Breuer

            Do you know of secret ways to fight evil and make the world a better place that do not cost anything, that do not ask people to sacrifice time, energy, money, health, and even their lives? If so, please do share! I do not know of any such ways, but if you have some excellent secrets I am all ears. I do look for how to make the world a better place in more and more efficient ways, but I have yet to find zero-cost ways. Perhaps you have?

          • Beau Quilter

            I can think of all sorts of ways to better the world that require hard work, thoughtfulness, time, and even personal sacrifice. I perform my share of them. If you would like to call any of these “suffering”, fine, but I don’t perform them to follow Christ, and I don’t find the image of a man being tortured to death a particularly inspiring metaphor for acts of kindness.

          • Luke Breuer

            I don’t “perform them to follow Christ” if I understand what you’re saying. I opt to suffer because that is the cost required to fight evil and make the world a better place, a place a little more like the kingdom of heaven.

            The image of Jesus being tortured to death is not meant to inspire in the way you seem to think? Instead, it is an illustration that the innocent must suffer voluntarily in order to fight evil. This is the only way to fight evil without using evil. If you use evil to fight evil, evil wins. (source)

          • Beau Quilter

            Yes, I can see how your personal motivation for making the world a better place is tied to your Christian beliefs, but there are quite a few of us in the world who work to make it better without the need of Christian beliefs.

          • Sven2547

            Explain how cancer makes the world a better place in any sense whatsoever.

          • Luke Breuer

            I do not have a good answer to this. It is an ‘irreducible complexity’ right now. It is a huge problem, but I’m not going to discard my understanding of the world because of it. There is too much else that still makes sense.

          • Beau Quilter

            I might add that while I work hard and make many sacrifices to make the world a better place (I’m not bragging, most of us do), I do not do any of these things to gain entrance to an afterlife. I do them to make the world better in the here and now or for the future of our children on earth.

            Your taunts about “secret ways” notwithstanding, the sorts of sacrifices I am describing here are not what you had in mind when you said “suffering is a necessary step toward a glorious future”, so don’t talk to me about “straw men”.

          • Luke Breuer

            the sorts of sacrifices I am describing here are not what you had in mind when you said “suffering is a necessary step toward a glorious future”

            Why are you so sure about this? If you’re going to insist that you knew exactly what I meant to say, I will be unable to communicate to you.

          • Beau Quilter

            If you were discussing the betterment of mankind on earth, great – but I don’t equate all sacrifices for good as “suffering”, nor do I associate them with an ancient Roman cross, so you can see how you confused me.

            And don’t pretend you haven’t made huge assumptions about my intent, indeed, more demeaning assumptions – proposing below that I devalue love and personality and human worth.

          • 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.

          • Luke Breuer

            So which evils does an omni-god allow, in your model of what an omni-god would do. None whatsoever? I couldn’t for example, give candy to all of the kids in a classroom except for one? That is evil, in my view. Would the world you describe disallow it?

          • Beau Quilter

            I don’t entertain a model of a world with a benevolent god overlooking it – that’s the model that makes no sense. The world I can see just has humans struggling imperfectly along at the culmination of a 100,000 years or more of cultural evolution.

          • Luke Breuer

            The only way you can say a model makes no sense is if:

                 (1) it is disastrously incoherent
                 (2) it does not match reality well in any respect

            You have demonstrated neither of these. It is a straw man to make up a bad version of (2), say it doesn’t match reality, and declare victory. You’ve got to try really hard, giving it your best shot. Have you done this? If so, would you be willing to share about your attempt to do it?

          • Beau Quilter

            But how is your model coherent? How does it match reality?

            Where is the evidence for the most vital elements of your model, a benevolent god and afterlife.

          • Luke Breuer

            I don’t have evidence of the afterlife, other than Jesus’ resurrection. And if you don’t buy that it happened, I’m not interested in convincing you. Convincing you of facts will not convince you to follow Jesus. But I am willing to defend intricate connections between the following triads and reality:

            Mt 5:43-48, Jn 13:34-35, Jn 17:20-23
            Mt 5:23-24, Mt 18:15-20, Eph 4:25-27
            Mt 7:1-5, Mt 23:1-4, Gal 6:1-5

            Would you like me to? If so, pick a triad. All three triads help me understand reality better, by giving me better ways to think about it and act in it.

          • Beau Quilter

            No, I don’t buy that 2,000 year-old resurrection story, and if that’s all the evidence you’ve got for an afterlife, it’s a pretty poor case.

            You don’t need to defend the bits of wisdom offered in these passages to me. I’ll happily concede that there are true and wise sayings to be found in the bible – just as there are true and wise sayings to be found in Plato, the Tao Teh Ching, and the Bhagavad Gita.

          • Luke Breuer

            What it sounds like is you’re willing to grant anything except that an omni-god exists and cares about us. That, you will have none of. Would Jesus appearing to you change anything in your life? If he showed up and tried to describe what true love, building-up love is, would you say that you want it, even if that required giving up some ideas about is and ought you may hold?

          • Sven2547

            What it sounds like is you’re willing to grant anything exceptthat an omni-god exists and cares about us.

            Does your god care about my coworker who has terminal cancer? Did your god care about my friend’s grandson who died at Sandy Hook? Does your god care about my young cousin who is rapidly going blind and nobody can figure out why?

            Your god is indistinguishable from nothingness.

          • Luke Breuer

            Rational arguments cannot counter the searing losses which you have described. I believe humans are made of heart, will, and mind, all unified by soul. Rational arguments work for the mind, but not for the heart.

            Cancer is wrong, Sandy Hook was wrong, and I would argue even death at all is wrong. Tears are a required response to all of these; without tears, I am but a noisy gong or clanging cymbal. Wrongness must be grieved, must be engaged with the whole being, not just the intellect.

            After grief (to the extent it ever ends), there is the question of what to do next. My answer is to fight the wrongness. This is what Jesus did, and I think we are called to follow in his footsteps, denying our wills in our Gardens of Gethsemane, and picking up our crosses. The only solution to the problem of evil of which I know is to fight, to conquer. I believe this is why Revelation contains “one who conquers” 7+1 times. Giving up the fight is what lets evil continue and grow. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

            What else can be said?

          • Beau Quilter

            No, I’m not willing to grant just ANYTHING.

            I don’t grant astrology. I don’t grant miracle healings. I don’t grant arks that ride out world-wide floods. I don’t grant bigfoot or lochness. There are lots of things I don’t grant.

            And they all have one thing in common – no evidence.

            I’ve raised a loving family in my lifetime, and we do what we can to help the world around us – I doubt you have anything to teach me about “true love”.

          • Luke Breuer

            I never said I had anything to teach you about true love. I said Jesus does. I’m not Jesus, I’m just Luke Breuer.

            As to the evidence; I would ask you what the evidence is for hope. Why hope for better things? Why hope for what mankind has never been able to do? And yet, I do hope for these things. I hope for the realization of e.g. Mt 5:43-48, Jn 13:34-35, Jn 17:20-23. The NT describes a kind of “unity in diversity” of people that is both fabulous, and otherworldly. And yet, I hope that it can happen. Do I have evidence? Only the smallest of slivers. That is good enough for me. If it is not good enough for you, then ok?

          • Beau Quilter

            Category confusion, yet again.

            Check our discussion of “love” below. One would think you knew the difference between abstract concepts such as love, hope, joy, etc. and non abstract phenomena such as gravity, particles, and historical events.

            You’ve already said that you don’t think God is any more abstract than the personhood of Jesus.

            So why do you persist in equating evidence for God with evidence for abstract concepts like hope and love?

            I have hope for many things – hope for the happiness of my children, hope for peace in the middle east, hope for the impoverished. Hope can be a fine, motivating part of life.

            But I don’t hope for fairy godmothers, or fountains of youth. I don’t hope for an afterlife.

          • Luke Breuer

            I think love is more real than gravity. As to the afterlife stuff, I barely think about it. I try to create heaven on earth, small step by small step. I refuse to do it like Hitler, Marx, Pol Pot, etc.: forcing others to suffer. Instead, I choose to suffer in order to fight evil. This is Jesus’ example. Anything else is fighting evil with evil.

          • Beau Quilter

            Certainly I can say that the concept of love is more important to me on a daily basis, enters my thoughts more often, than the phenomenon of gravity. Is it more real? I have no idea what it would mean to compare the reality of love and gravity.

            Not everything we do for good is a struggle. I work hard to care for my family and give a portion to important charities. I volunteer for the community, sometimes in ways that require a bit of sweat. And sometimes I may sacrifice a little more to stand up for justice. My nephew has sacrificed much more to fight for our country overseas and I honor him for that, though I don’t always agree with the battles our leaders have chosen to fight (my nephew has the same quandaries). There is some suffering involved in all of this, certainly, but not all of doing good requires suffering. In fact, I would say that giving of your time, money, and labor to serve other people is quite often a joy – not an act of suffering.

          • Luke Breuer

            In fact, I would say that giving of your time, money, and labor to serve other people is quite often a joy – not an act of suffering.

            Well, scripture does talk a lot about having joy in the midst of suffering, almost as if one can morph one’s expectations such that it is no longer even suffering. I’m not sure my interpretation of scripture and your position are so far apart.

            One could ask how much MLK Jr. suffered, or how much Gandhi suffered. William Wilberforce seems to have suffered a lot. Not that we all need to be like these folks, but I’m just trying to sketch out the space here, the space of suffering-for-a-purpose, and I’m guessing not suffering needlessly, or ‘inefficiently’.

            I think returning good for evil is pretty hard to do without suffering at least a little bit. Does this make sense?

          • 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

          • Luke Breuer

            What, precisely, is your definition of ‘omnipotence’? My best guess comes from Kenneth Pearce and Alexander Pruss’ 2012 Understanding omnipotence.

          • Sven2547

            Pearce and Pruss define omnipotence in a novel way that imposes limitations of will.
            But an omnibenevolent being has an unlimited will for good.
            Thus we circle back to the Problem of Evil.

          • Luke Breuer

            If you are in control of the definitions, you get to define your way to victory.

          • Sven2547

            If you are in control of the definitions, you get to define your way to victory.

            You have just described Christian apologetics for the last 1900 years. That’s why it’s such a worthless discipline. It exists solely to argue something into existence, rather than going through the rigor it takes to prove something exists.

          • Luke Breuer

            You are that acquainted with Christian apologetics? Consider, briefly, that most of everything is crap. Call it Pareto’s principle, call it whatever you want. Most stuff out there is of low quality. Given this, what is the best Christian apologetics you know of, out there?

            My biggest critique of Christian apologetics is that in my admittedly biased sampling of it, it prefers theory almost exclusively over and above experiment. This is very Aristotelian. I prefer to mix theory and practice properly; it works in software design, in science, and I believe, Christianity.

          • Sven2547

            I haven’t seen one that can address very basic problems with god’s hypothetical existence, nor one that doesn’t resort to fallacy, lies, straw-men, or general brazen stupidity. I could no sooner choose a “favorite” apolegetic than I could choose a favorite method of torture.

            How about you? Any favorites?

          • Luke Breuer

            My favorite so far is Keith Ward, although Randal Rauser’s Faith Lacking Understanding and Theology in Search of Foundations look promising. I haven’t dug into them enough yet. Other than that, I like some of Francis Schaeffer’s stuff. CS Lewis is good in some places, although he tends to be vague. His Till We Have Faces is fantastic, but not really apologetics per se. Other than that, I’m not sure! There’s so much crap out there. There are so many Christian apologetics books that just give easy answers, answers which would be trivially shot down in any serious discussion.

            You didn’t answer my question; can you pick no “best Christian apologetics you know of”? Nothing whatsoever qualifies?

  • http://rachelheldevans.com 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.

      • http://theburningquestions.com/ 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.

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship 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: http://www.SaveOBU.blogspot.com.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ 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:

    http://www.bryan.edu/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.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship 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?

          • Archaeologist

            Yet the Bible doesn’t say ‘follow the evidence’ does it?

          • Sven2547

            So you’re telling me that by deciding to follow the evidence, scientists are already being prejudicial against the Bible?

          • Archaeologist

            What evidence are the following??? They are using the natural method which allows them to misidentify the evidence they come across. BUT God did not say origins came about the natural way…

            He said it was done via his power by speaking–the supernatural way …thus your supposed experts are following the wrong method and the wrong evidence to the wrong conclusion.

          • peteenns

            Neither does the Bible say, “Read me as a science book.” The impasse here is that you feel the Bible answers scientific questions by how it depicts physical reality (which includes a dome over head, a flat earth, no outer space, etc.) My sense is that this is where the impasse is, and which will not be addressed given the direction of the current comments here.

          • Archaeologist

            The mistake you make is assuming that origins was done the scientific way and it wasn’t. i was done the supernatural way as God said.

          • Archaeologist

            i = it

          • 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?!

          • Archaeologist

            who is the greater expert? God or some human unbelieving scientists?

          • Sven2547

            You are not God.

          • Archaeologist

            You ignored my question. Who is the better expert God or unbelieving humans?

            Didn’t say I was God.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            > Who is the better expert God or unbelieving humans?

            Can you provide a single article or book that God wrote?

            P.S. People who write books and then claim that their God wrote them do not count. I can do that here myself. “God wrote this.” Yay, it has to be true, because that’s what it says.

          • Sven2547

            God has not weighed in on the subject of genetics. Humans claiming to speak for God have.
            Given that human experts have actually shown their work, I’m going with them. Human science gets results.

      • Klasie Kraalogies

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

      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship 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.

          • Archaeologist

            No Sven, it doesn’t. If you read the books by Ridley and others you will see that they constantly say they do not know the source for any disease, let alone death.

            Evolution explains nothing. The ‘explanations’ depend solely upon speculation. Immunity isn’t evolution in action. You cannot ink that to the evolutionary process. Humans become immune to certain diseases yet do not pass that trait down to their children.

            Contrary to popular thinking, change is not evolution in action.

          • Sven2547

            If you read the books by Ridley and others you will see that they constantly say they do not know the source for any disease, let alone death.

            WOW, we are exploring vast depths of craziness here. Are you actually denying germ theory, and also suggesting that modern science doesn’t know why people die?! Am I understanding you correctly?

          • Archaeologist

            No you are not and you are willfully twisting my words. I said nothing about how people die, I was speaking on the ORIGIN of disease and death and evolution does not explain how they came into existence and there is no room for those two things in the evolutionary theory.

          • Sven2547

            there is no room for those two things in the evolutionary theory

            The more you talk, the more obvious it is you have no idea what evolution is. Disease is obvious: it’s generally caused by either pathogens (viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites), genetic disorders, or the body’s reaction to other foreign substances (like how asbestos fibers cause mesothelioma). All of these things work perfectly within the framework of evolution, so I fail to see what you couple possibly mean here.

            Death is an even bigger example. Not only is death accountable within evolution, evolution is impossible without death. In the absence of death, populations aren’t going to evolve, since undesirable traits never get weeded out. The old would just continue taking resources from the young. You have no flipping idea what you’re talking about here.

        • 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.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship 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.)

          • Archaeologist

            No, I am just stating that I have studied genetics thus I have an informed opinion and have looked at the evidence.

            The claim by beau quilter is misleading as the majority of genetic studies published come from evolutionary thinkers thus they are not going to say they or their theory are wrong and it is impossible to quote from a genetic study since most of you refuse to accept the Christian scientist’s work proving evolution false.

            His demand is unrealistic but it is par for the course by those who do not want to hear the truth.

          • Beau Quilter

            MY claim is misleading?!

            It was Rogers who said above, “All the latest genome sciences and studies demonstrate conclusively that evolution cannot have happened” …

            … which, far from being misleading, is a blatant lie.

          • Archaeologist

            he is right as I said. Anything about evolution has to be read into the studies and is not evident from them.

          • Beau Quilter

            You clearly don’t read many genetic studies, do you? Try reading Frances Collins, a Christian, the director of the National Institutes of Health, and the head of the Human Genome Project. His work very directly connects evolution to its evidence in genome studies. You are obviously poorly read on this topic.

      • Beau Quilter

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

      • Beau Quilter

        “All the latest genome sciences and studies demonstrate conclusively that evolution cannot have happened”

        Didn’t your mother teach you not to tell lies?

  • http://opensauce.no-ip.biz/ 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.

      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship 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.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship 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”: http://thebarainitiative.com/on-bryan-college-and-creationist-politics/

  • 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.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship 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.

    • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ 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.

      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship 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.

      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

        Not a conflict between creationism and biological evolution? Weird, that’s what this post is all about.

        > A virgin birth isn’t particularly amazing

        True, back in Jesus’ day, such stories were a dime a dozen. Do you believe all of them? If not, why not?

        • Sxeptomaniac

          “Not a conflict between creationism and biological evolution? Weird, that’s what this post is all about. ”

          Then you failed to read it. This is about a college administration attempting to force a conflict where many professors do not see one. As the article says, these professors are attempting to bring known facts “into some conversation with [their] tradition.” Just because you want there to be a conflict doesn’t mean there necessarily is one.

          “> A virgin birth isn’t particularly amazing

          True, back in Jesus’ day, such stories were a dime a dozen. Do you believe all of them? If not, why not?”
          This attempt to dodge my demonstration that your claim regarding theology vs. science was false is not terribly subtle. I don’t see a reason to chase rabbit trails for the sake of your ego.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            Just because you don’t want a conflict doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

            And you’re dodging that Jesus was just another of many virgin birth stories back in the day. Again, do you believe them all? If not, why should I believe your silly story?

  • 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

    http://theologyarchaeology.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/taking-a-stand/

    • 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.

        • Carlos Bovell

          I think from the way you are expressing yourself that maybe the Bible has become your God. There are many places in your comment above where you appear to hold “God” and “the Bible” to be synonymous.

          For example, you appear to me to be saying, “Taking up one’s cross also means one sides with the Bible even when science says otherwise.”

          And in the context of our present discussion, you appear to be meaning: “Taking up one’s cross also means one sides with my interpretation of the Bible even when science says otherwise.”

          Is this your position then: “Everyone who does not read the Bible the way I do is not on God’s side.” I mean, imagine that somebody else had written that comment. Wouldn’t it come across as at least a little grandiose?

          • Archaeologist

            you are wrong, the Bible is God’s word and since God wrote the Bible then we have his revelation to us about things we did not observe.

            The theory of evolution does not have such an author and is merely a construct of sinful man because they reject the truth.

            Your distortion of my words is very apparent. Jesus stood with his Father and taught creation. If Genesis was wrong, do you not think that Jesus would have corrected it during his time on earth?

            Do you not think that we would have ancient manuscripts with Jesus teaching something different? We have the Gnostic gospels thus if Jesus did teach something different than Moses then we woul dfind some fragment or full mss. with that difference.

            BUT Jesus said if you do not believe Moses how will you believe my words? There is no alternative to creation or Genesis 1.

    • 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.

        • Sven2547

          What does “science” mean to you?

          • Archaeologist

            Evolution isn’t science. There has not been one scientific evolutionary experiment to date. All the experiments conducted for evolution have been attributed to that theory but not one is evolutionary.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            Au Contraire.

            Macnair, M. R., 1989. A new species of Mimulus endemic to copper mines in California. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 100: 1-14.

            Van Valen, Leigh M. and Virginia C. Maiorana, 1991. HeLa, a new microbial species. Evolutionary Theory 10: 71-74.

            Wake, David B., 1997. Incipient species formation in salamanders of the Ensatina complex. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA 94: 7761-7767.

          • Beau Quilter

            Tip of the iceberg, mon’ami, tip of the iceberg!

          • Sven2547

            There have been many, many scientific observations testing and confirming evolution to date. Even Darwin’s observations of finches are a simple example. Lenski’s e.coli was more sophisticated. The discovery of DNA and its study have all confirmed evolution scientifically. Population drift within humans and many other species. Ring species. The fossil record. Vestigial features. The examples are endless.

            Again: what does “science” mean to you? I ask because you seem to be operating under a bizarre definition of science.

    • jonphillips

      What is sad is supposed Christians like you…

      • Archaeologist

        If you are a Christian, why are you siding with secular science over God and his word? It demonstrates that you do not believe the very God you claim to serve and follow.

        • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

          God and his word?

          The Bible is a collection of books written by people.

          The best information comes from the ‘Verse. The one ‘Verse, the universe.

          The best way to “read” the “Verse is via science.

          So why do you have a problem with reading the ‘Verse?

    • 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?

          • Beau Quilter

            “Why are you trying to force science into the discussion when it is not allowed?”

            … said the man typing on a computer invented by a gay atheist.

          • Archaeologist

            Computers and the internet were not the invention of homosexual men. ALso, who provided the raw materials and the intelligence to humans and taught them how to investigate?—- God.

            Your supposed gay man was using God’s gift of intelligence, God’s raw materials, God’s instructions on how to work with those raw materials.

          • Beau Quilter

            You’ve clearly never heard of Alan Turing, the gay atheist who helped us win the war against Hitler, and developed some of the first computers, computer prototypes, and computing concepts.

            It’s hard to keep science out of the discussion when you’re using science to stay in it!

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            > who provided the raw materials

            Stars.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            Your faith is merely an abdication of your mind’s ability to read the ‘Verse. The one ‘Verse. The uniVerse.

            “For God so loved the Cosmos…” ~John 3:16 Better get to watching some Carl Sagan, now.

    • http://abipwu.blogspot.com 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

        • http://abipwu.blogspot.com Melissia

          Science is nothing but evidence.

          Quite literally, there is no faith involved. Just evidence.

          Methodical, observational, and objective evidence.

          The evidence of science doesn’t contradict my faith, but then again, I don’t try to force awkward interpretations of the bible, either.

          • Al Cruise

            Well said.

        • Sxeptomaniac

          You’re not an authority, either, so who’s to say you’re not “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).

      • Archaeologist

        No he just called them vipers, and other bad names didn’t he.

        • Sxeptomaniac

          He called them out for hypocrisy, not for asking questions or challenging him. Either way, what makes you the dictator of what is valid Christian theology?

        • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

          He was addressing people like you.

  • http://biblicalrenaissance.org/ 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.

    http://biblicalrenaissance.org/

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship 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.

      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

        “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners…” ~Romans 5:29

        Humans didn’t come from one man.

        Sorry, but that sinks the whole concept behind the supposed need of salvation.

        • Sxeptomaniac

          “Humans didn’t come from one man.
          Sorry, but that sinks the whole concept behind the supposed need of salvation.”

          Hate to burst your bubble, but not remotely. You’re taking one verse out-of-context. Paul references the story of Adam as a way of making a symbolic link to Christ (this is sometimes referred to as “the last Adam” or similar), but sin ultimately depends on breaking laws, not on Adam (Romans 5:13). What you’re doing is like saying that proving there was no literal Jonah would disprove the resurrection (Matthew 12:38-45).

          That’s just a small piece, though. Paul’s soteriology is spelled out in the first 8 chapters of Romans, and elsewhere. Taking a small piece and declaring it vital doesn’t work all that well, because a lot of what he was doing was basically redefining existing stories for the new Christian context.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            I hate to burst your bubble, but I’m not taking one verse “out of context.” The meaning is plain.

            Intellectual frauds like you think “context” means “in harmony with your particular interpretation of Bible,” which is not at all what “context” means.

            youtube.com/watch?v=PK7P7uZFf5o

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined 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.

    • Andrew Dowling

      “has come about only because they’ve dropped that dedication to Christianity.”

      Sorry, this above statement is not substantiated with any semblance of fact.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        Good point. I meant to say: “has come about since they’ve dropped …”

  • Archaeologist

    One thing to consider: No ancient civilization has an evolutionary myth or record. Not even a bed time story. They all have a creation and flood story. If creation did not take place as God said then no creation story would be in existence and so widespread.

    Even though evolutionary thinking goes back to the 6th Cen. BC approx., those ideas are isolated and individualistic not accepted or promoted by the whole of society.

    Ancient man would know if they evolved or not because the history and knowledge of creation would be absent from their thinking. Evolution does not enjoy a historical foundation like creation does and it does not enjoy a textual record like creation does.

    The modern scientist can claim all scientific experiments are evolutionary BUT that doesn’t mean they are. Evolution does not have a track record it can base its claims upon and no scientific experiment has replicated one claimed historical change or transition.

    Nor can evolutionists produce anything related to the original event–whether it be the one-celled creature, the original conditions or even the common ancestors of each animal. Those are important and needed if evolution is to be proclaimed true.

    Nor can they show how the different common ancestors produced their ‘different offspring’ or in what numbers they were produced. If evolution were true their existence and record would not be such a mystery.

    Evolutionists would also not be stumped by the origins of disease, death, color, thought, intellect, and a host of other characteristics that would not exist if evolution was true.

  • Zeke

    Archaelogist may possess the scientific understanding of a toddler, but at least it’s refreshing to see someone stick to their guns and maintain a valid reason for their belief – Adam and Eve were historic people created by a deity ex-nihilo, they committed original sin, and this required a savior and a human sacrifice. The tall tales in the bible are true, and this book contains something worthy of organizing ones life around. If this foundation isn’t true, the whole enterprise crumbles. He’s right.
    I actually prefer the integrity of people like this over his “progressive” Christian brethren, backed into a corner by modern human knowledge, but still granting essential truths to a book long ago proven to be written by mere uninspired, superstitious humans typical of the period. They maintain that Adam was a metaphorical figure, despite Jesus clearly believing otherwise, yet somehow Jesus was required to atone for some metaphorical sin. They believe evolution is true, but guided by god, which of course denies the true beauty of evolution – that the complexity and variety of life on earth required no guidance.
    So Dr. Enns, who are you to tell Archaelogist that god didn’t create the earth 6,000 years ago (but in a way that made it appear billions of years old), yet have no problem accepting equally preposterous claims of virgin births, raising the dead, and numerous assorted miracles and ANE myths as truth?

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

      “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners…” ~Romans 5:29

      Since we now know humans did not descend from one man, the salvation magic show, based on brutal human sacrifice of a virgin, is debunked. And good riddance to the “heathen mysteries” that are an “engine of grief” to the world. Maybe we can get back to the real doctrines of Jesus’ ethical teachings now.

      “I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved—the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!” ~John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson, September 3, 1816

      “…I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus, very different from the Platonists, who call me infidel, and themselves Christians and preachers of the gospel, while they draw all their characteristic dogmas from what it’s Author never said nor saw. they have compounded from the heathen mysteries a system beyond the comprehension of man…” ~Thomas Jefferson, letter to Charles Thomson, January 9, 1816

  • Alwehbeh

    ‘All cultures are, inherently, negotiated compromises between the already established and the imaginatively possible. . . . cultures in their very nature are marked by contests for control over conceptions of reality. In any culture, there are both canonical versions of how things really are and should be and countervailing visions about what is alternatively possible. What is alternatively possible comprises both what seems desirable or beguiling, and what seems disastrous and horrifying. The statutes and conventions and authorities and orthodoxies of a culture are always in a dialectical relationship with contrarian myths, dissenting fictions, and (most important of all) the restless powers of the human imagination. Canonicity and the ordinary are typically in conflict with imaginable “otherwises”— some inchoate and even private, some vocal or even clamorous, some quasi-institutionalized as cults or movements of dissent. The dialectic between the canonical and the imagined is not only inherent in human culture, but gives culture its dynamism and, in some unfathomable way, its unpredictability—its freedom.’

    —Anthony G. Amsterdam and Jerome Bruner, Minding the Law

  • Ross

    “Crumbs Penfold”, this post has launched a fair amount of discourse and not a little unpleasantness. As someone who’s only recently re-entered the ground of the thoughts discussed by Dr Enns and only very recently started following this blog it fascinates and appals me.

    What I seem to see is, particularly from those who appear to be “inerrantists”, the attitudes of the Inquisition, possibly as the context is particularly, though not exclusively, American, not dissimilar to the McCarthy “witch hunts”. I also see a frustration from those who are truly trying to follow God, though cannot call themselves inerrantists (though I may be “projecting somewhat here). Additionally I think there are also some similar reflections in the opposite direction(s). Unfortunately from the outside, I think someone may just see a fair bit of hate-fuelled internecine battling. The cause of this battling seems to be the drawing up of narrow delineations of “true belief” around the inerrancy doctrine. Ultimately it’s not a particularly good “witness” and we all need to think about how we present our case in a respectful but still human manner. I don’t think expressions of frustration or anger are wrong, but if we are to love our enemy we need to be careful how we direct these feelings.

    Now whether this is the on-going rumblings of the ancient battle or not I don’t know, however from the position I was confronted with 2 or 3 years ago, I came away with the impression the battle was hotting up. Can anyone comment on that or post a link?

    Having been influenced greatly by the works of Francis Schaeffer I can clearly see a lot of what he wrote about in much, if not all of these arguments. I don’t come to the same conclusions as him, particularly in regards to inerrancy, but I did note that he felt the “camp” he represented was often ungodly in how it treated those who didn’t agree with it’s stance. Can anyone comment on how his influence may be manifesting these days?


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