Science in Christian Perspective
Creation and the Churches
J. W. Haas, Jr.
From: PSCF 51 (March 1999): 1
The understanding of the opening chapters of the Bible has been a particularly difficult question for Christians in the more conservative wing of the church. Our founders wanted the ASA to be a mediating force. This was not to be the case as the ASA was fractured by a group who formed an organization to proclaim their truth. The issue arises periodically in all conservative groupsóBaptist, Reformed, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Nazarene, Methodistóon the floor of denominational conventions, in the local church, Christian schools and colleges. The fires are fueled by TV evangelists, traveling lecturers, and (today) the Web. The matter becomes personal when candidates for the ministry are denied credentials, church board members brought to trial, and Christian teachers and college and seminary professors are attacked for their views.
PSCF has offered papers on all sides of the question over the last five decades. While there appears to be a shift from a wooden, literal interpretation almost universal in an earlier day, there is still a vocal and influential minority which sees "loss of faith" in such a move. The lines seem to be cast in concrete.
There have been two recent signs of hope. A World magazine article, "The Genesis of the Problem" (World 12 [July 26/August 2, 1997]), emphasized the need to discuss issues rather that snipe at one anotheró"more discussion, less defensiveness...more debate, less denouncement." A Nazarene church conference of biblical scholars and scientists found common interests and respect for each group's concerns. Evangelicals need to address science/faith questions in the core curriculum of their colleges and seminaries in ways that will enable students to grasp the issues and the solutions that have been offered. Church-related study groups and the inclusion of science/faith discussion in the Christian education program at all levels can be effective.