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Bruce Waltke Resigns over Evolution Statement

April 9, 2010

Apparently anti-intellectualism is still alive and well in United States. As John Hobbins has already posted, Inside Higher Ed has an article reporting on Bruce Waltke’s resignation from Reformed Theological Seminary. Waltke’s hasty exit comes in the aftermath of a statement he made at a BioLogos workshop, a group that supports and encourages the interaction of faith and science.

The offending comment?

If the data is overwhelmingly in favor of evolution, to deny that reality will make us a cult … some odd group that is not really interacting with the world. And rightly so, because we are not using our gifts and trusting God’s Providence that brought us to this point of our awareness.

All in all this is not a shocking statement. It’s pretty much what Mark Noll was saying over a decade ago in The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. Of course, Noll no longer teaches at an evangelical school, and now Waltke doesn’t either.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Peter J Berol permalink
    April 9, 2010 3:43 pm

    Makes me say; “Do’h!”

  2. April 9, 2010 4:28 pm

    LOL. Of course, both Noll and Waltke remain evangelicals.

    I regret that Noll teaches at Notre Dame (not really), but your quip brought to mind the response a Jesuit-educated friend, and staunch Catholic, gave to my teasing (this was years ago) that Raymond Brown, the foremost Catholic biblical scholar of the last century in America, was teaching at Union Theological in New York:

    “That’s just because UTS has such a great library.”

    I’m sure Notre Dame’s library is great, too.

    As for Waltke, he has been very promptly hired by Knox Theological in Florida. But I don’t know anything about their library. I’m hoping it’s good.

  3. April 9, 2010 7:09 pm

    I doubt that Knox’s library is any good–the seminary is basically the annex to Coral Ridge church. However, from the sound of it Waltke seems to fly in for short intensive classes and probably doesn’t camp out at the library. I bet Waltke just loves teaching and wants an outlet even though he’s basically retired. I don’t know much about Knox but I would have guessed that they were more conservative than RTS but I’m out of the loop on that…

    John, your story about Raymond Brown was great though–I’ll definitely remember that one.

  4. Jeremy permalink
    April 10, 2010 11:21 am

    Shoot! And I was hoping we papists would get Waltke too. As to Brown, he may have found Union more open than many places Catholic. We’ve got our fundies too, just by a different name. But it could also be that he was just very ecumenically minded as his study of Mary with Protestant scholars also demonstrates.

  5. James Green permalink
    April 23, 2011 9:45 am

    As illustrated by Bruce Waltke, there is a pressing need within Christianity for a credible explanation of Genesis, one that respects the biblical text (1) yet allows for extensive time (backed by solid evidence) and (2) rejects evolution (random, undirected change) as a powerful constructive mechanism. Millions of years are not a cure for the severe limitations of random change.
    I have just finished reading The Real Genesis Creation Story: A Credible Translation and Explanation at Last by J. Gene White. Of all the books I have read on the subject that attempt to explain Genesis, this is the most comprehensive, lucid and logical. Based on solid scientific evidence and his in depth analysis of the Hebrew text, he appears to have a translation and explanation of Genesis Chapter 1 and 2 that finally makes sense. Without giving away the main thesis of the book, I will say that he does not focus on redefining the terms, “day, create, make, heaven or earth.” He does not treat any verses as metaphorical, mythological or untrue. He does not view evolution as a powerful constructive force. His book can be ordered from the publisher’s website at http://www.sunnybrookepub.com/.

    • April 23, 2011 10:26 am

      James,

      I’m slightly disturbed by your (the copy’s) sentence: “He does not treat any verses as metaphorical, mythological or untrue.” The text of Genesis 1-11 is so blatantly mythological I barely need to comment (e.g. a man name “human” with a wife named “bearer of life” live in a paradise with talking animals). However, I’m not so a proponent of Platonic thought that I immediately see myth as untrue. Something can be true without being factual. Ironically, the author seems to be falling into the same old trap of young earthers: arguing against science from a scientific perspective. As long as one tries to explain a premodernist text using a modernist epistemology they are destined to fail.

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