The Evolution of Theologian Bruce Waltke

Is Bruce Waltke heading to Knox Theological Seminary? Apparently so, according to Justin Taylor of Between Two Worlds. (Christianity Today is working on confirming the rumor; there’s no announcement from Knox as yet.)
By now you may have heard about the controversy surrounding a video of Waltke we posted a few weeks back, in which he said that continuing to reject the overwhelming data in favor of evolution would turn Christianity into 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.” BioLogos recorded the video at a November workshop in New York.
Well, Waltke has now resigned from his post at the Reformed Theological Seminary, where he was a professor of Old Testament studies. After the video went public, Waltke told BioLogos that the seminary wanted it taken down, even though Waltke “still agreed with the content” and had “written previously on his support for theistic evolution (discussed here).” As BioLogos adds:

The fact that Dr. Waltke felt he was unable to leave the video in place, despite the fact that he still agrees with its contents, is an extremely important statement about the culture of fear within evangelicalism in today’s world. Leading evangelicals who support evolution are rightly fearful of personal attacks on the integrity of their faith and character.

Michael Milton, interim president of the Orlando campus of the seminary where Waltke taught—and which upholds a belief in the inerrancy of the Bible—told Inside Higher Ed that faculty members can have a “diversity” of views on creation, however, the Web site reports:

Darwinian views, and any suggestion that humans didn’t arrive on earth directly from being created by God (as opposed to having evolved from other forms of life), are not allowed, he said, and faculty members know this.

Waltke, for his part, says he wishes he had made it clearer “that by evolution I mean theistic evolution, not naturalistic evolution. And I would have defined theistic evolution as I do in my Old Testament Theology.”
While Darrel Falk, the president of BioLogos, is disappointed Waltke insisted his video come down, he applauds the evangelical theologian for again going public with his beliefs:

Decades from now, when the Evangelical Church has come to terms with the reality of evolution, we hope she will look back at those who were the pioneers on its journey toward a fuller understanding of the manner by which God has created. … Right there alongside them will be Dr. Bruce Waltke who, in the latter phase of an extremely distinguished career, had the courage to tell the Church what it needed to hear.

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  1. James Green says:

    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/.

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