Science in Christian Perspective



Richard H. Bube, Editor

From: JASA 35 December 1983): 

"For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven," says the author of Ecclesiastes. A time for taking on the job of being editor of the journal ASA, and a time for relinquishing that job for whatever else the Lord currently holds in store. Readers will forgive me a little sentimentality in making this decision after 15 very fulfilling and satisfying years as editor. I rejoice that I can pass along the editorship into the capable hands of Dr. Wilbur L. Bullock of the University of New Hampshire, a longtime stalwart contributor to the ASA, and to Ruth A. Herr at the central ASA office in Ipswich where managing editor functions will be carried out.

In one sense at least, it is the end of an era. As the number of published pages per year increased from 136 in 1969 to 256 in 1983, and as the number of subscribers increased from 2100 to 4435 over the same period, it has become clear that the job of editor as originally conceived is a bit much for a part time job. For the past 15 years, with the able and constant help of Book Review Editors, Stephen W. Calhoon Jr. and Bernard J. Piersma, and Consulting Editors whose number has increased from 18 to 25, 1 have had the fun of serving as editor-in-chief, managing editor, proof reader, copy editor, layout person, photographer, advertising editor, journal correspondent, and general purpose typist. I would like to mention by name those Consulting editors who have served faithfully for the same total 15 years: Dewey K. Carpenter, Gary R. Collins, Walter R. Hearn, Robert D. Knudsen, Gordon R. Lewthwaite, Russell Maatman, Russell L. Mixter, W. Jim Neidhardt, E. Mansell Pattison, and Claude E. Stipe. Of course. I am grateful as well to the others who have served for part of that period, and to the constant support of the Executive Office, with Executive Directors H. Harold Hartzler, Bill Sisterson, and Bob Herrmann.

If the ASA has had an identity problem over the 42 years of its existence (professional society, branch of the Church, or what?), the Journal has shared in this search for an identity. I am not sure that we have always been successful. The format has remained essentially that of a professional publication with almost all of the contents of any issue consisting of the printed word and being almost completely free of extensive art work or artistic elaboration. Several years back we joined the Evangelical Press Association, who conduct an annual contest among the many publications who are members. We participated in that contest for a number of years, but not in the last few; we were simply "not making it" in the attractiveness and eye-appeal departments to have much of a chance of winning any awards. The contrast between the Journal ASA and almost any other Christian publication has deepened over the past decade, as most other publications have almost unanimously adopted styles and devices for catching the eye of the Christian public. This is well and good for a publication directed to the general public, but at least to date it has been our goal to keep the Journal ASA as a semi-professional publication with strong scientific and theological integrity.

I frequently tell people that the ASA represents the only organization in the United States dedicated to the pursuit and interpretation of authentic science
and authentic biblical theology. If this is true, or even if this is our goal, then what is presented in the pages of the Journal should have a professional quality and authenticity about it that is unmistakable. Such quality and authenticity sometimes lead to material that is not easy to read, that must be studied rather than simply browsed over devotionally. There is also the need to cover a wide diversity of material: foundational theory, description of practice, and interaction with the social conscience, to mention just a few. Inevitably this leads some of our readers to feel that papers in theJournal are too difficult to read, that we need to tone down the quality level in order to reach a larger audience with the distilled and simplified consequences of the interaction between science and the Christian faith. We have taken the position that a simplified presentation may well be needed, but that it should not be done at the expense of the professional contributions and level of the journal. 

It has sometimes been complained that I have been too much of a writing editor, with the implication that an editor should shuffle the papers but leave the writing to others. I have to plead guilty to the charge. I hope that our readers have not suffered too much. Ever since my mother put a typewriter in front of me at age nine and started me on " a,s,d,f . ." writing has been my avocation. A colleague of mine once said that a blank sheet of paper was an affront to me. The pages of the Journal have provided me with marvelous opportunities for which I shall be forever grateful. Hopefully future editors will still be plagued with my manuscripts coming across their desks. I leave you all with my series on "Science and the Whole Person" which concludes with the installment in this issue, and which the ASA has graciously consented to pull together in a special collection that will be available on a special order basis.

Although I have not tried to appeal to the eye with special artwork, I have tried to appeal to the intellect with the stimulation of controversy  in the pages of the journal: not controversy, hopefully, for the sake of controversy (or even of subscriptions!), but controversy as a means to elucidating the truth. Only twice in the post 15 years has there been a major uprising with the purpose of effecting my resignation, and in both instances the Executive Office was so supportive of the editor that I suspect almost none of the members were even aware of it. To my way of thinking both of those instances give a positive comment since a publication on science and Christian faith that provokes no one to stern attack over a 15 year period is probably not doing much to challenge or stimulate its readers' thinking.

Perhaps its been some time since you wrote to the editor with comments, support, criticism, or ideas for the Journal. Now would be a good time to do just that. Let Wilbur Bullock and Ruth Herr know that you welcome and support them. And don't forget the Letters department of the Journal as a first rate opportunity to share your response with others.

Thank you one and all. It's been a great 15 years.  Lord willing, you haven't heard the last from me yet.


Wilbur Lewis Bullock is Professor of Zoology at the University of New Hampshire where he has taught courses in Parasitology and Vertebrate Histology since getting his Ph.D. at the University of Illinois in 1948. More recently he has been teaching a course in the natural history of human disease, a course designed to acquaint non-biological science majors with the global impact of infectious diseases from a geographical, historical, social, and ethical perspective.

Dr. Bullock's research has been mostly in the area offish parasitology and histology, although he has also published a few papers on medical parasite problems in New England and Costa Rica. He has had grant support from NSF and NIH as well as research sabbaticals in Florida, Texas, and Costa Rica. In 1963 he was an LSU Medical School Fellow in Tropical Medicine and Parasitology in Central America. He has served on the Editorial Boards for the Proceedings of the Helminthological Society of Washington and the Journal of Parasitology.

Dr. Bullock has been a member of ASA since 1950. He was elected Fellow in 1956 and was vice-president in 1958. As a Christian biologist he has written and spoken on some of the issues raised by creation and evolution as well as the environmental problems which concern us all. He has been an active member of several Baptist churches and is currently an elder and coordinator of discipleship for Durham Evangelical Church (Conservative Baptist).


Ruth A. Herr is a graduate of Wheaton College, (Wheaton, Illinois), with a degree in Anthropology. Special emphasis included cross-cultural communication, Bible, and literature. Her husband, David, is preparing for the pastorate. Their interests include concern for healthier American family life, building the church, and missions.