Thursday, April 15, 2010
Theistic Evolution - Trojan Horse?
Over at Reformation21 Rick Phillips has a provocative piece called Theistic Evolution: A Hermeneutical Trojan Horse. Now I have friends who are special creationists, theistic evolutionists, and progressive creationists. We all get along just fine even though we disagree about how to read Genesis 1-3 and the validity of scientific models for understanding the formation of the universe and the beginning of life. When I was in seminary I read Derek Kidner's Genesis commentary in the TOTC series and I remember him saying that Genesis 1-3 contained a mixture of "history and parable" which seemed pretty good to me and still does. Some of the best Reformed Christians I know in Australia are Anglicans in Sydney who are mostly theistic evolutionists. But I have to ask, why can't you American Presbyterians do the same and recognize that the literalness of Genesis 1-3 is a secondary matter to faith and order? There is nothing wrong with having strong convictions on this area, trying persuade others to your view, contending that one view has negative implications, having forthright and honest discussions in appropriate forums, but we don't lambast people over this stuff. Phillips' piece abounds in highly charged and polemical remarks against Enns and Waltke. I count Enns as a personal friend and the things Phillips attributes to Enns are just plain false: Enns believes the divine authority of Scripture and he believes in the biblical accounts of creation. In the case of Waltke, the tragedy is that he has been so gracious during the whole unpleasant process with RTS, putting the seminary ahead of himself, and yet we see him treated in the most ungracious fashion by Phillips. Waltke is derided as the Trojan bringing in the horse of "atheist" hermeneutics into the church. Would anyone who knows Waltke say that of him? I invite you to read the piece and list all of the things that Phillips accuses Enns and Walke of: smuggling in atheist hermeneutics, naivete, and evacuating the Bible of its divine authority. If he was talking about Jack Spong I could understand, but this is Bruce Waltke for heaven's sake. Some of you objected to my earlier post that it was too stereotypical of Reformed ideologues, yet this is what I'm talking about. A critique of Enns/Waltke is one thing, but to do so in freighted and pejorative terms is unnecessary. How does that glorify God or extend the kingdom? It amazes me that those who believe so earnestly in the doctrines of grace seem to practice so little with those whom they disagree. Furthermore, it seems that Reformation21 has become little more than a podium for irate and self-assured men to make the most uncharitable and ungracious remarks about other Christians who confess Jesus Christ as Lord (note that I'm still annoyed at Carl Trueman's tirade against evangelicals in the Church of Scotland!). Finally, I'm not worried about atheists mocking Christians by saying, "Ha, they don't believe in evolution". But I am concerned about atheists mocking Christians by saying, "Ha, see how these Christians love one another!" .