Is Darwinism Theologically Neutral?

Francis Collins, a devout evangelical who headed the Human Genome Project, founded the BioLogos Foundation in 2007 for the purpose of advocating evolutionary theory as a viable option for evangelicals. When Collins stepped down from BioLogos to become the director of the Health and Human Services agency, Darrel Falk became president of the foundation. At Falk’s request, a number of professors at Southern Baptist seminaries have submitted articles to the BioLogos forum to express our concerns about the foundation’s promotion of theistic evolution. These articles are part of a series entitled “Southern Baptist Voices” in which consists of each article paired with a response from a BioLogos fellow.

The first article (which I wrote) is entitled “Expressing our Concerns” (found here), to which Kathryn Applegate, Darrel Falk, and Deborah Haarsma responded (found here).

Today (May 2) BioLogos posted the second article written by Bill Dembski of Southwestern Seminary entitled “Is Darwinism Theologically Neutral?” (which can be found here). The BioLogos response will be posted before the end of the week.

Other articles to follow have been written by Steve Lemke (NOBTS), John Laing (SWBTS), John Hammett (SEBTS), Bruce Little (SEBTS), and James Dew (SEBTS).  I hope you will take a look at the discussion.  It is a model of how Christian brethren, who have serious disagreements, can debate an important issue with candor and mutual respect.

This post has been cross-posted at theologyforthechurch.com

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  12Comments

  1. Thomas   •  

    Can we really consider Francis Collins a “devout evangelical” in light of his views on evolution, and his work in promoting such a view?

    Thanks for your paper Dr. Keathley!

  2. Ken Keathley   •     Author

    Hi Thomas. I don’t question Dr Collins’ devotion to Christ or to the gospel. In that respect he is very much a devout evangelical. I would use the same expression to describe Tim Keller, Alister McGrath, or J I Packer, who all appear to hold to positions similar to Collins. Even though I have serious disagreements with Collins, I believe he is a brother in Christ. Blessings, Ken Keathley

  3. Paul   •  

    Thanks for joining in the discussion. Though I land solidly on the Francis Collins side of this spectrum, I’m grateful to hear balancing views from brothers and sisters in the family of Jesus. Though we may disagree on the how of creation, together we reverently worship the Who of creation.

  4. Thomas   •  

    Dr. Keathley,

    Thank you for your response.

    I’m wondering how would you define/classify who/what an Evangelical is?

  5. Ken Keathley   •     Author

    Typically an evangelical is understood to be someone who has received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and who affirms the inspiration and authority of Scripture.

  6. Thomas   •  

    Dr. Keathley,

    Thanks again for responding.

    Should we not question someone or an organization’s “evangelical” credentials if they claim to hold to the inspiration and authority of Scripture, and yet question the validity and truthfulness of parts of the Scripture?

    For example, if one questions, or doesn’t believe in the historicity of Adam, do they really hold to the inspiration and authority of Scripture? Christ and Paul held to the historicity of Adam, so can we really be “evangelical” if we don’t?

    And, so you know, I’m not a rabid YEC guy, I’m OEC. So I’m not trying to pick a blog fight or anything like that, I’m just a young Pastor working through some of these issues.

    Thank you for your time Dr. Keathley

  7. E.G.   •  

    Thomas: “I’m not a rabid YEC guy, I’m OEC.”

    If one questions or doesn’t believe in the historicity of a young earth, do they really hold the inspiration of Scripture?

  8. Ken Keathley   •     Author

    Thomas, yes, I believe we should challenge the evangelical credentials of someone who denies the historicity of Adam or who rejects the inspiration and authority of Scripture. Some theistic evolutionists affirm the historicity of Adam while others do not. B.B. Warfield and A.H. Strong are examples of conservative evangelicals who attempted to reconcile a high view of Scripture with evolution (Warfield coined the term “inerrancy”). Collins appears to want to identify with Warfield, Strong, and C.S. Lewis. In my essay, this is one area where I challenged BioLogos to make their position clear.

  9. Ken Keathley   •     Author

    E. G., absolutely. For example, Wayne Grudem is an inerrantist, and he holds to an old-earth position.

  10. Thomas   •  

    Thanks Dr. Keathley.

  11. Art   •  

    Dr. Collins is director of the National Institutes of Health, an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (www.nih.gov).

  12. E.G.   •  

    Ken, yes. I was making that precise point. I.e., there are so many “flavors” of Christian thinking on origins that it’s pretty disengeuous to question the faith of those who think differently.

    In the case of Thomas, a self-described OEC, he obviously differs from those who are YEC. Some of those might (wrongly) question his faith on that account. I do not. But neither should he question the faith of those with varying viewpoints.

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