What Denominations are Tolerant of Evolution yet Conservative?

(Jay Johnson) #91

No, Hugh Ross isn’t excluded, any more than you are. Whether people agree or disagree is their choice, not an act of inclusion or exclusion on the part of BioLogos.

You just seem bound and determined to question the character and beliefs of everyone associated with the organization, despite your occasional protest to the contrary. BioLogos affirms all the historic creeds of the Christian church. Is that not orthodox enough for you, or is there a further test that we must all pass to meet this inquisition?


I’m very sorry if I’m coming off that way, it’s really not my intention. There are some things that BioLogos has done that I think are really good, and in some places they really have helped me. I’m sorry if Im sounding really negative. John Walton’s Old Testament work has been a real help for me. I really do apologize for coming off that way.

That said, I don’t think that I was factually wrong in what I said. There does seem to be a higher standard for scientific orthodoxy than historic Christian orthodoxy. That’s not something I necessarily have a problem with, but I think it’s true. I’m sorry to come off as hostile if I do.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #93

As you note in the same post, there are atheists (of various kinds from agnostic to more confident) who participate in good standing in this forum.


agnosticism? --we’re pretty seeker friendly, and will strive to be a beacon on a hill.

atheism? – we’re pretty seeker friendly, and will strive to be a beacon on a hill.

militantly atheistic? --are usually welcomed for good arguments [and great science!] … ‘beacon bit’ still applies.

YEC? – welcome, kindred in Christ – we’ll gently (or not) try to set you straight.

Old Earth? – glad you saw the light there at least. have a seat in the shade over here.

Irreducible complexity? --GET BEHIND ME, SATAN!

Okay – that might have been [was] a bit tongue-in-cheek and even though it should go without saying, none of us (moderators or not) speak for Biologos. Seriously, people can always visit the “what we believe” pages if they really want the true flavor of “biologos orthodoxy”.
[with edits]


Yeah, but I was talking about the people who become official parts of the staff and write articles (I.E. Could George or T_Aquaticus become president of Biologos if they wanted to?). I explicitly stated that it makes absolutely no sense to put restrictions on the forum. As far as I know, we don’t have any atheists among those. And just to be clear, I think that I myself would probably be too unorthodox for that.

I mean religiously unorthodox. The limits for scientifically “unorthodox” are very clear.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #95

Yeah – sorry. I was just having a bit of fun with how that plays out “forum-side”. Regarding who gets invited in to write articles and such … that’s probably going to be a smaller circle, obviously. I’ll leave any others to say more about that.


No problem, I just wanted to make sure my message was clear. Also, I’m not stating that Biologos definetly should make these restrictions, the Faraday Institute for instance, has already invited many atheists to give talks and I really enjoy them. I’m just saying that it is a fair point to discuss.

(Randy) #97

@HmanTheChicken, you are doing well. However I agree with your earlier suggestion that reading more would help. Reading Enns’ Evolution of Adam really does help understand his extensive Ancient Near East knowledge better. It also explains his understanding of Paul’s take on the atonement…it was an “aha”
moment for me and really helped me comprehend the OT background in the Jewish Roman context better. Counterpoints is still in my opinion the most efficient way of learning both biblical and scientific contrasting opinions. Denis Lamoureux has an incredibly helpful free online course at Coursera. I was amazed at how much I learned once I was able to contrast viewpoints. I also look forward to the book between RTB and Biologos sometime soon. Thanks. For your genuine concern for salvation and the lost…restoring relationship with God.

(Darek Barefoot) #99

Acknowledging the evidence for evolution does not entail denying the virgin conception of Jesus or his resurrection. If the reasons for believing in those miracles had plausible, naturalistic explanations, then Christian belief would be in trouble. I don’t think they do.

However, I have to take issue with your statements about geocentrism. Do you mean to say that before humans orbited the earth, the clear statements of the Bible about the earth being immovable were to be trusted as inerrant? That it would have been admirable for believers to dismiss a wide range of empirical clues in favor of heliocentrism up until space travel and photographs from the moon?

And do those photographs and the experiences of astronauts constitute direct observation of heliocentrism? You might visit http://www.fixedearth.com/ and http://geocentricity.com/bibastron/index.html for a different perspective. Fundamentalists will be happy to tell you that neither man’s sinfully flawed reason nor his ability to interpret his experience are to be trusted outside of the simple statements of Scripture, taken plainly, the way a 12-year-old child would understand them.

As for observation of past events, I cannot observe Mt. Vesuvius erupting in AD 79. I can be relatively certain that it did because an abundance of evidence points in that direction. Just as with evolution.

(Chris Falter) #100

Enns disagrees with you quite firmly on this point. He had written a very good scholarly book called Inspiration and Incarnation that explains why. I don’t agree with Enns 100%, but his book makes many good points and is worth the read.

(Randy) #101

Yes. He has helped me a lot with understanding this, as well. In fact, the Gospel makes even more sense with this book (along with Evolution of Adam) to me.


I’ve read part of his book and I don’t think he’s particularly orthodox. He seems to believe there are moral errors in the Bible and I can’t really tell what he thinks is inspired about it. I don’t think anybody before 300 years ago would have believed what he believed or accepted it.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #103

Enns is pretty provocative in the way he expresses his ideas, maybe taking a bit too much delight in jabbing sharply at everything associated with fundamentalism – as I think some like @Simone have discovered.

There is some sense of recovery happening today, trying to get back to the Bible in the way that Jesus used it that is seen to be way too radical for those who want a thoroughly deciphered code book they can wield as a weapon against others. It kind of reminds me of the violent (R-rated apocalyptic) movie: “Book of Eli” which on the one hand showcases and exposes this misplaced vision about what the bible is, but then ironically goes on as a movie to miss its own point that it had just made so well.

[Enns, and many others today, do well to expose this; and we neglect their warnings at our own peril.]

(Randy) #104

@Mervin_Bitikofer, thanks for your comment. I lost your thought on the Book of Eli. I’ll have to read on that, but can you clarify for me more as I don’t follow your thoughts yet?

@HmanTheChicken, the more I read, the more I realize that I don’t know what I’m talking about. I think it really helps me to read more than one point of view–or I swallow too much in this complicated world for granted–that one expounder may not even be aware of in terms of prejudice. Good for you for reading that difficult book. I think that even Enns would agree that there are valid criticisms of his book. I think there are more than I realize; that’s why I have a list of 15 more books to read (and growing, including William Lane Craig, who I have never read before). Do you have others that you recommend? I really like the Counterpoints as to Historical Adam, as that’s the theological approach from many folks that I all actually agree with to a certain point (even Barrick). But you’ve evidently been reading and have some more you can recommend.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #105

[I will blur the spoiler parts below in case somebody wants to see the movie and is sensitive about spoilers, though you could look at this first part which does not really give away any surprises.]
The premise for the story (based on my one viewing from several years ago at least!) is that the main character, “Eli” has the last existing copy of the Bible which he struggles to protect as he navigates the apocalyptic landscape. His mission is to get it delivered to a safe enclave or hidden “library” where people are working diligently to rebuild civilization and preserve such knowledge as they can from the last one. But between him and that goal, the nefarious villain (who stands out above all the other ‘run-of-the-mill’ thugs that populate the story) has learned of this bible and wants to get possession of it for himself because he perceives that it is a book of power, and that if he possesses it; it will secure his own little tribal domain of power and allow him to expand it. So much of the movie is spent following Eli on his quest, and this villain trying to thwart him.

So I see in the movie a much needed critique for the fundamentalistic outlook today that would have us believe there is something “magical” about scriptures and that those who have “correct” understanding (i.e. have properly decoded the valuable message there) now have access to some secrets of life that should give them a significant leg up over everyone else, and the eternal approval of God. While everybody else who either was not lucky enough to have it, or worse yet, fell afoul of some (probably liberal) doctrines that prevented them from correctly decoding the message there are condemned. In short: the bible is a book all about power … power that manifests itself in ways that the world would be forced to acknowledge and respect here and now.

Where the movie falls short in the end is that instead of taking the biblical message to heart for what it scandalously is: meek submission and self-sacrifice as a response to evil instead of reciprocating violence; the movie instead ends up being a vindication of the myth of redemptive violence and a yet further enshrining of this “magical book of powers” for some future civilization. In other words the message (to my memory) ends up being: “So the obviously evil villain completely misunderstands the importance of Scriptures. Duh! But now we’ll preserve these same scriptures for the later ‘good guys’ so that they can correctly decode them and have the benefit of that power.”

So the movie (rather predictably --what do we expect out of Hollywood?) misses an opportunity to show how scandalously revolutionary the real message of scriptures actually is. That evil and empire has already been defeated by a cross instead of cavalry or show of force.

[You could even look at the second blurred section above, because I still don’t reveal the main surprising developments and ending the movie has in store for the viewers. You only get my interpretation of the movie’s message.]


(Christy Hemphill) #106

Anything by Phillip Yancey. I’m re-reading The Bible Jesus Read with my kids now.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #107

Ditto to what Christy said above. I’m about to re-read another Yancey favorite of my own: “Soul Survivor – How Thirteen Unlikely Mentors Helped My Faith Survive the Church” (2001). In that he gives a powerful smorgasbord of individuals and their stories that he found formative. I remember being really impacted by much of it, but have forgotten enough that it’s worth a re-read.

(Randy) #108

Thank you! Food for thought. My brother in law just lent me that book too.


I don’t know if this is allowed (And any mod can delete this if it’s no good), but I have a sub on Reddit that has a lot of resources of different kinds:


This specifically has a lot of things I’d recommend: https://www.reddit.com/r/ConservativeBible/comments/8qf6uh/good_resources/

If you want specific topics I can think of more

(Christy Hemphill) #110

This is fine. It’s okay to point people to resources relevant to the topic at hand. What isn’t allowed is putting links to your own stuff in an OP or making basically every response an advertisement for your content elsewhere.

(Albert Leo) #111

There is ample evidence for the “brokenness” of humankind, and so for the first decades of my life I could see no alternative but to believe that God created us essentially good and we subsequently Fell. Since there is no scientific evidence for such a Fall, I kept searching for a rational scenario that would justify the Christian belief in Jesus’ role as Redeemer but without Adam Eve’s role as primeval sinners. I finally came up with such a scenario that, for me, is satisfactory, which is based on Teilhard de Chardin’s view that God wanted an evolved, selfish Humankind to be his image bearers–actual co-creators with Him. Our troubled society results from the failure of so much of humanity being unwilling to freely give up their selfish, evolved nature to achieve that goal–to “take up the cross and follow me.”

I have posted this view a number of ways on this Forum, but I realize that it will seem to ‘heretical’ for most Christians to accept. Even so, I think it may become the ‘orthodoxy’ of future Christianity. God Bless.
Al Leo