Bruce Waltke’s Dismissal from RTS
Professor of Old Testament Studies Bruce Waltke’s dismissal from Reformed Theological Seminary is making its rounds on the Internet these days. For those that haven’t heard, Waltke posted a video on the BioLogos website where he argues that evolution is compatible with Christian orthodoxy. In part, USA Today reports that he said:
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. (source)
I want to seize on what I think is the key phrase in that, that not believing evolution “make[s] us a cult. . . some odd group that is not really interacting with the world.”
There is no doubt that we should interact with the world. However, there is a huge danger in adopting a worldly belief system, just so we don’t seem like a cult. The apostle Paul exhorts:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Rom 12:2)
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (Jms 1:27)
And later states:
Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (Jms 4:4)
The apostle John weighs in as well:
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world— the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. (1 Jn 2:15-17)
The conclusion is best stated by saying that we should be in the world, but not of the world. It seems as though Warnke is saying that we should accept the scientific conclusion that man evolved from other organisms, in a branching tree of life that eventually whittles down to a single common ancestor for every life form. And we should accept that scientific conclusion so that we don’t seem so different, so set apart from the rest of the world.
Well, the Bible states that we should be separate from the world. The apostle Peter says:
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Pet 2:9)
If we become like the world, how then are we supposed to witness to it? We are supposed to live a holy life, dedicated to God. If there is no difference between us and the average pagan, how will anyone see a clear difference in being Christian?
I will close with one of my favorite quotes from St. Francis of Assisi: “It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.”