Famous Evangelical Scholar Resigns Over Evolution

A number of news sources have reported that theologian and evolutionist Bruce K. Waltke has left his position at the Reformed Theological Seminary (Orlando) because of his stand on evolution. A video was recently published showing the noted evangelical scholar endorsing mainstream evolutionary theory. He also said that evangelical Christianity could face a crisis for not coming to accept science. In the video Waltke is quoted as saying:

“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…”

Those words set off a furor at the Reformed Theological Seminary, where Waltke was — until this week — a professor. The statements so upset officials of the seminary that Waltke had to ask the BioLogos Foundation, a group that promotes the idea that science and faith need not be incompatible, to remove it from its website (which the foundation did) and to post a clarification. The video was shot during a BioLogos workshop. But even those steps weren’t enough for the seminary, which announced that it had accepted his resignation…

Michael Milton, president of the seminary’s Charlotte campus and interim president of its Orlando campus, where Waltke taught, confirmed that the scholar had lost his job over the video. Milton said that Waltke would “undoubtedly” be considered one of the world’s great Christian scholars of the Old Testament and that he was “much beloved here,” with his departure causing “heartache.” But he said that there was no choice.

Asked if this limits academic freedom, Milton said: “We are a confessional seminary. I’m a professor myself, but I do not have a freedom that would go past the boundaries of the confession. Nor do I have a freedom that would allow me to express my views in such a way to hurt or impugn someone who holds another view.” Indeed he added that the problem with what Waltke said was as much his suggestion that religion will lose support over these issues as his statements about evolution itself. (The statement of faith at the seminary states: “Since the Bible is absolutely and finally authoritative as the inerrant Word of God, it is the basis for the total curriculum.”)

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See also the following video:  Link

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18 thoughts on “Famous Evangelical Scholar Resigns Over Evolution

  1. It seems to me that Christianity started out as a “cult”, out of touch with mainstream thinking and “reality”, and will end up just as out of touch as it started in a very secular post-modern world. Mainstream reality should not be the basis of the Christian Faith or Gospel message…

    The SDA faith is also “confessional” in a sense and our pastors and teachers should be held to this confessional standard. I agree with Milton’s comment that “academic freedom” within the Church should end where the confessional pillars of faith of the Church, as an organization, begin. The individual, regardless of how important or famous he or she may be, is not to be free to undermine the Church’s fundamental goals and ideals on the Church’s dime…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  2. It truly is amazing how some Christians, including some contemporary Adventists, get high blood pressure over being called dirty names by others. As Sean said, early Christians were likewise known as a cult. It was precisely this desire for mainstream acceptability which half a century ago initiated the departures from doctrinal integrity in modern Adventism whose baleful consequences we are now confronting.

    I appreciate the integrity demonstrated by the Reformed Theological Seminary on this issue. The same must take place in every Seventh-day Adventist institution. For those not wishing to wholeheartedly, enthusiastically endorse the Bible-based fundamentals of our faith, the door which let them in must politely let them out.

    God bless!

    Pastor Kevin Paulson




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  3. If you guys really want to resolve the crisis in SDA science education–which happens to be a chronic rather than an acute crisis–here is what I suggest that you do.

    First, I suggest establishing lucrative graduate scholarships to entice bright, young scientists to study to become science professors in SDA institutions. To ensure the scholarships benefit only future SDA science professors, perhaps they can be issued as loans that are forgiven once the student is hired by a SDA institution, but would be paid back with interest if not hired.

    Second, I suggest establishing fully-funded endowed chairs in various SDA institutions of higher education. You can offer a lucrative salary and a budget for research, and control the selection of a professor for each chair who would satisfy your criteria of being an outstanding scholar who is firmly grounded in the fundamental beliefs of the SDA church.




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  4. Third, we need to strengthen our existing educational institutions. Our professors need to feel appreciated and respected, not regarded as second class citizens, which is going to require a change in our culture. Let’s be honest, we live in a materialistic culture. But despite paying lipservice to living a simple lifestyle and serving the needs humanity, many if not most SDAs embrace materialism. We want our children to be successful, which means getting a quality education, obtaining a high-paying job, and attaining an influential position in society. In other words, becoming rich. Am I mistaken?

    In our culture of service, what have we urged our children to become? Pastors, teachers, doctors, dentists and nurses. But which of those professions is the lowest paid and least respected by the denomination? Teachers! Anybody who teaches in a SDA college or university knows that many if not most of the brightest students aspire to become doctors and physicians, and such students comprise the vast majority science majors (e.g., biology, chemistry, biochemistry, physics). Why has health care become the holy grail of SDA professions? Is it because doctors, dentists and nurses are more motivated than teachers to serve people? Is it because doctors, dentists and nurses are less motivated than teachers to make money?

    Each fall hundreds of wannabe doctors, dentists and nurses arrive at SDA colleges and universities eager to begin their undergraduate education. But within months, dozens trickle into the offices of their advisors, distressed and overwhelmed by their science classes, and sometimes in tears. When asked why they were pre-med or pre-dent or pre-nursing, many concede that their parents cajoled them to be. Some are distraught because their parents have threatened to stop funding their tuition if they don’t get better grades or if they change their major. I know what I’m talking about, because I can name a well-respected SDA physician who threatened to take away his son’s computer and stop paying for tuition if he didn’t get a 4.0 GPA during the next term. Have you ever heard of a parent cajoling their child to become a college or university professor?

    As I have mentioned in other threads, SDA professors with PhD degrees in some institutions are paid less–in some cases up to 25% less–than SDA primary and secondary school teachers on the same campus. Can we really expect to recruit bright and aspiring SDA students to become professors who may be perpetually in debt to credit cards, will usually drive a clunker more than 10 years old, and may never afford to buy a home?




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  5. There is some logic in what Waltke said, but he does not go far enough. You cannot have it both ways. Either Christianity is true or Darwinist evolution is true, but not both. “Choose you this day whom you will serve.”

    Kudos to Reformed Theological Seminary for seeing the light on this topic.




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  6. Pastor Paulsen, The door letting them out will have to have some “escorts” as the profs are not going voluntarily. So, it may not be so “polite!”




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  7. Eddie, your suggestions are all very very good. It’s sad that no one here really wants to engage productive conversation. Ron, I wish you haad some substance to offer.




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  8. @Eddie:

    As I have mentioned in other threads, SDA professors with PhD degrees in some institutions are paid less–in some cases up to 25% less–than SDA primary and secondary school teachers on the same campus. Can we really expect to recruit bright and aspiring SDA students to become professors who may be perpetually in debt to credit cards, will usually drive a clunker more than 10 years old, and may never afford to buy a home?

    Of course not. This is a real problem. If the SDA Church is really serious about its educational system, it will have to become much more serious about the way it compensates its professors or it will very quickly not have anyone willing to work in an SDA school who is actually good at what they do…

    Just add this to the list of the many very serious problems the SDA Church is facing today. The active promotion of evolutionary doctrines in our schools is by no means the only problem. However, this website is not intended to address every problem within the SDA Church – even related problems. There is only one targeted problem being addressed here – the promotion of the theory of evolution at LSU as the true story of origins. And, we are unapologetic about this sharp focus on one particular issue here at EdTruth. If this particular problem is at least recognized, officially, for the serious problem that it is, the other problems that you mention here are very likely to be addressed at the same time…

    Of course, you could start your own campaign in an effort to better address such problems – problems which you do not think are being effectively addressed in forums such as this one. I would certainly applaud such an effort. Becoming good friends with someone like Bill Gates would be a great start! ; )

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  9. Dear Eddie:

    I appreciate the candor with which you address this issue. But while I strongly believe we should pay our professors a better wage, I would not want “materialistic” Adventists–as you describe them–getting into teaching positions in our schools anyway. What we need, first and foremost, are young people who pursue the scientific disciplines in the fear of the Lord, and who desire to educate the church’s rising generations as to the truthfulness and integrity of the Biblical creation story and its implications for the Christian message.

    Revival and reformation on Adventist campuses must be combined with a similar agenda throughout the entire church. When the Biblical message, prophetic destiny, and lifestyle witness of fundamental Adventism is recovered once again, we will find good teachers for our schools who will instruct the young faithfully and cogently in the message God gave us for the world.

    God bless!

    Pastor Kevin Paulson




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  10. There are still some churches that really believe in the authority of Scripture? It is surprising that this professor who does not believe in the Genesis account of creation is an “expert” in Old Testament. How expert can one be when they deny creation? Maybe as an expert, he helped to translate some of the new “Bibles”?

    What does the Reformed Theological Seminary think of our dealings with La Sierra? We have not been a very good witness. Maybe La Sierra encouraged this professor to stand up to his church? If a Seventh-day Adventist school could get away with it, why not him?

    We are a savor of life unto life, or death unto death. Right now, La Sierra is not a savor of life. I pray that the GC in session will deal with the issue as has the Reformed Theological Seminary. Sad, that this was not taken care of at the local level long ago.

    This is not a new problem. The GC over ten years ago put into place a procedure to keep our schools accountable. The IBMTE (International Board of Theological and Ministerial Education) was to oversee boards in all divisions that would implement a procedure to measure the success of our schools in nurturing our young people according to our doctrinal beliefs. It was never put into operation after the NAD “higher education” elites became grossly irritated and screamed “academic freedom”. The new GC administration did not follow through and we are left with what we now have at La Sierra. Other schools have serious problems with theology. It will come out sooner or later. This is just the tip of a very large problem.

    Richard Myers remnant-online.com




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  11. Dear Richard:

    You are quite right. This is indeed the tip of a very large problem. The creation issue is only one area where too many contemporary Adventists have compromised the purity of our faith. The even-more-basic doctrine of inspiration (including the doctrinal authority of Ellen White), the doctrines of sin and salvation, Christology, the sanctuary, the Biblical understanding of human sexuality–these are but a few of the principles regarding which so many among us have moved away from the written counsel of God.

    A general revival and reformation is desperately need. Half a century of wandering from God’s truth must at last be corrected by courageous leadership prepared to exchange vacillation for valor and consensus for conviction.

    Let us all unite in prayer for the session soon to open in Atlanta.

    God bless!

    Pastor Kevin Paulson




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  12. Amazing that a non-SDA institution “gets this right” but an SDA institution that HAS 3SG90-91 still cannot navigate their way out of that paper bag.

    Why so slow LSU administrators?

    How sad that those with even more light on this subject should be the tail in trying to solve this problem.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  13. Dear Richard:You are quite right. This is indeed the tip of a very large problem. The creation issue is only one area where too many contemporary Adventists have compromised the purity of our faith. The even-more-basic doctrine of inspiration (including the doctrinal authority of Ellen White), the doctrines of sin and salvation, Christology, the sanctuary, the Biblical understanding of human sexuality–these are but a few of the principles regarding which so many among us have moved away from the written counsel of God.A general revival and reformation is desperately need. Half a century of wandering from God’s truth must at last be corrected by courageous leadership prepared to exchange vacillation for valor and consensus for conviction. Let us all unite in prayer for the session soon to open in Atlanta.God bless!Pastor Kevin Paulson  (Quote)

    It was predicted that the first step would be a general undermining in confidence of the 1Cor 12 gift of the Holy Spirit – and next would come direct attacks against the Bible itself not merely the Gifts of the Spirit.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  14. Eddie, your suggestions are all very very good. It’s sad that no one here really wants to engage productive conversation. Ron, I wish you haad some substance to offer.  (Quote)

    Geanna, As you probably already know, when I offer something of “substance” Shane edits, deletes, and censors it! So, you will continued to be disappointed.




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  15. Why is there an evolution-creation debate? In spite of the fact that the evolution hypothesis is stuck in step 3 of the 7- scientific method and there are 4 gaps in the hypothesis that evolutionary scientists admit cannot yet be explained, Evolutionists have already won. Evolution is taught in public schools, creationism is prohibited. Evolutionists have won in the courts. The media unanimously supports evolution. Why don’t Evolutionists simply ignore the Creationists’ objections? Or, why not point out that Creationism is not within the purview of science because God is not a falsifiable hypothesis nor can he be proved by science?
    Consider the fact that of the 6 major theological positions on creation, 3 allow for evolution, albeit with a divine influence of some sort, such as to fill those 4 gaps that scientist are struggling with. There are 2 reactions when a Creationist proposed theistic evolution as an answer to the incomplete hypothesis testing and the 4 gaps. An evolutionary scientist would respond by admitting there is no scientific explanation for the gaps, as yet, and dismiss the influence of God as something outside the purview of science. The Evolutionist philosopher, however, becomes extremely agitated at the mention of God because Evolutionism is about atheism, not science.
    As a philosophy, Evolutionism is not held to the rigor of hard science – the scientific method can be ignored. As a philosophy, Evolutionism can object to theism whenre hard science cannot comment. Evolutionism is a major cornerstone of Marxism and Human Secularism because is supports those philosophies built on atheism. Twenty-five percent of the Humanist Manifesto is devoted to opposition to religion and theism, and the establishment of evolution and atheism. As long as there is a God, those philosophies fail. But Darwin supplied the “missing link” to their philosophies,; a way to explain how we got here – without a God.
    Science and faith are not mutually exclusive, but theism and atheism are. So when a supporter of evolution attacks creation (and usually the Creationist), he does so as a philosopher, not as a scientist. And, when a Creationist opposed evolution, he must do so as a philosopher/theologian – not as a scientist. An excellent resource regarding the creation-evolution debate can be found at http://sechumanism.blogspot.com/p/secular-humanism.html




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  16. Well stated Patrick. In fact, “creationism” in all its forms IS marginalized by the evolutionary mouthpieces. Witness the “cold shoulder” Intelligent Design is given by all major evolutionists.

    Evolutionists are philosophers, but want a philosophy that is “exclusive” and cannot have any competition by any others, including anyone who questions Darwinism.




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  17. It is always unfortunate that so much discussion of evolution proceeds with no clear understanding of which definition of evolution is being discussed. Unfortunately Prof. Waltke has chosen to align with BioLogos’ unapologetically Theistic Evolution interpretation that is difficult to distinguish from the science establishment’s Naturalistic Evolution.

    One must agree with Prof Waltke that confrontation with the science establishment runs the risk of getting branded a cult. But the science establishment strives hardest to conflate critics of overarching evolution with Young Earth Creationism that is much easier to brand as a cult.

    This was recurrant before the Texas Board of Education in an effort to retain unqualified evolutionary indoctrination rather than scientific education in biology textbooks. Evolutionists use ad hominem argument because scientific support for overarching evolution is crumbling as fast as acceptance of many Intelligent Design arguments, particularly regarding the origin of life, is growing.

    It is regrettable that Prof. Waltke suffered for taking the declining, naturalistic side in the scientific argument. Supporting BioLogos’ vigorous advocacy of Theistic Evolution also joins Prof. Waltke to virulent attacks on Intelligent Design. Even if Prof. Waltke doesn’t regret stirring up controversy over an important issue one could wish he hadn’t missed the truly critical issue, Young Earth Creationism.




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