Bruce Waltke and the Reformed Theological Seminary

[Update]Check out Bruce Waltke: Myth, Evolution and Genesis 1-3, an new note from Dr. Waltke. [/Update]

Bruce Waltke, professor emeritus from Regent College, has resigned from the Reformed Theological Seminary because of making statements about “why the church must accept evolution” (even if he would rather have said “should” as opposed to “must”). There have been a number of blog posts and comments in response to this news. Many of them, which I will link to below, have said things much better than I so I will keep my comments short. Both parties have been very amicable in the split; you can read Waltke’s statement here and RTS’s statement here. As I said, very cordial in nature. But being mature Christians and wanting to avoid any unnecessary schisms and problems within the church doesn’t give RTS a free pass here.

If you have read my blog before, you know that I have a background in the sciences and definitely don’t buy into the Young Earth Creationist stories. I believe they have incorrectly interpreted Genesis and its creation narrative. Waltke is an expert in Old Testament Theology and Genesis is something that he has spent lots of time around. He is definitely one to understand the cultural and literary context of the creation narrative. If he can find a place for evolution in that narrative, I think we should be fine with it as well.

A few of the blog posts worth checking out:
John Stackhouse: RTS, Bruce Waltke, and Statements (and Non-Statements) of Faith:

Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS) has dismissed Dr. Bruce Waltke because he recently stated publicly two radical convictions: (1) that a Bible-believing Christian could believe in evolution; and (2) that the church needs to beware of becoming a cultural laughingstock for retaining anti-evolutionary views that cannot be supported scientifically.

What�s pathetic about this action is that those points weren�t even radical in the nineteenth century, when Darwin himself had a number of orthodox defenders. So RTS apparently is not quite ready to catch up with almost two centuries of theology/science dialogue.

Read the full post. There are also some good discussion happening in the comments (along with a number of asinine comments as well).

Regent College’s Cosmos by Ross Hastings: Resignation of Bruce Waltke over issues of science and faith:

Our own majority view on this Cosmos project is that Genesis 1 and 2, as interpreted in light of its literary genre and in light of its ancient near eastern context, is about theology and not chronology. As such it permits a harmonization with the best theory true science can offer for the way in which our cosmos and humans came into being. Do we insist as a faculty at Regent that all must hold to this to teach here? This would be to exalt a non-confessional issue as a ground for unity in a manner that mitigates against the apostolic appeal for unity which is based on foundational, Trinitarian essentials (Ephesians 4:4-6)

Wonderfully said! I think this is a key distinction that Creationists miss: interpretation in light of literary genre and cultural context. Creationists seem to think they don’t interpret, they just have a “plain reading” of the text. They say this without realized that they ARE making an interpretation when they make those statements.

Conrade Yap: Another Video Bites the Dust (On Dr Bruce Waltke’s Resignation from RTS):

From day one, the Internet has the potential to provide both information as well as misinformation. Given the spread and ease of information distribution electronically, it is important for us to be wise and discerning on the use of information. Right use leads to enlightened minds and grateful hearts. Abuse leads to unhealthy controversies and bitter arguments.

Thanks for providing some perspective Conrade!

Anyone want to add their $.02? Any Young Earthers want to chime in?

Some of my previous and related posts:
The God of the Bible is also the God of Science
Creation Science
Science vs. Religion

Also, some notes from Waltke and Peterson’s Regent Tradition Conference back in 2005.
Feel free to check them out!