At the Daily Beast, Karl Giberson tells us,
In a story becoming all too familiar, another pro-evolution faculty member has been forced to leave his evangelical institution. Jim Stump, longtime professor of philosophy, productive scholar, and popular, award-winning teacher at Bethel College in Indiana, resigned his position in June because of pressures put on the college by its sponsoring denomination, the Missionary Church.
The issue, once again, was evolution. Most members of the Missionary Church reject Darwin’s theory of evolution in favor of a literal interpretation of the creation story in the Book of Genesis. But many faculty members at Bethel College accept evolution and consider it part of their “teaching ministry” to help their students do the same, within the context of their faith. Such divergences exist in most evangelical denominations that sponsor liberal arts colleges but as long as faculty members are clearly evangelical in their faith the tensions are often manageable and an uneasy peace can be maintained.
First, it would help if Christians for Darwin groups were completely discredited, as they deserve to be, in these times of ferment around Darwinism.
Predictably, we are told,
Deborah Haarsma, the president of BioLogos, describes the organization she leads as “disheartened” by developments that put Stump “in the painful situation of having to choose between the scholarship to which he feels called and the academic community to which he has belonged for decades.” More.
Yes, this is all painful. But it raises a couple of questions: First, didn’t the guy notice after all these years how his denomination felt about these matters? Stump should be free to follow whatever scholarship he feels called to. But it doesn’t follow he can teach at an institution explicitly committed to a different vision.
What if I, a Catholic, were teaching at a Jehovah’s Witness institution, and promoting the views of the Catholic Church instead of those of the JWs? What should I reasonably expect to happen?
That is just the market functioning the way it is supposed to.
The many ID theorists driven out of institutions are actually in a quite different position from Stump: Their institutions accept the tax or donation dollar claiming that they do not support metaphysical naturalism in principle. But then it turns out they do, when anyone challenges them on an evidence or probability basis!
(At some Christian schools, you can holler all you want for Jesus, as long as it doesn’t make any sense.)
They just don’t want that to be generally known. Bethel was laudably clear as to what the institution exists to affirm.
If Stump is as good a prof as—so one gathers—he is, there should be no shortage of institutions happy to grab him.
See also: Theologian Peter Enns talks about why BioLogos did not renew his contract
Bill Dembski on the Evolutionary Informatics Lab – the one a Baylor dean tried to shut down (See Holler for Jesus as long as it makes no sense.)
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