Re: [asa] RE: TE and apologetics

From: Merv Bitikofer <>
Date: Fri Sep 18 2009 - 06:51:50 EDT

Thanks, John and Ted for the highly pertinent citations on these
historical landmarks (If I may call them such) of evangelical history.
This post is going into my "special" folder of posts to refer back to.

I do have a short response. Fosdick with his position as Ted describes
it, would seem to me to be a conundrum for many TEs on this list. He
would seem to be evidence that "what goes around is still coming around"
and that TEs who easily chide YECs for being afraid of any "slippery
slope" are themselves not at the bottom of it [yet?]. I.e. If most of
us a generation ago were more aligned with YEC convictions that we have
now emerged from, is there a continuing trajectory in this that has us
continuing to "emerge" to a point where, like Fosdick or now Borg and
Jesus seminar folks, we are able to let go of convictions regarding
bodily resurrection and able to "re-interpret" many central passages
from gospels like John in ways that at least some of us here still find
to be heterodox. Yes -- I know that some here have already gone down
that path and that folks like Marcus Borg are tremendously respected and
associated views accepted --which highlights my following conjecture:
Aren't the suggestions of the recent Southern Baptist University
professor (I can't remember his name, but I believe John Walley was
mediating his participation on this list) --aren't his predictions
powerfully confirmed by all this? I.e. that those who accept evolution
will, within some span of time, be rejecting the bodily resurrection. I
think Billy Graham should be one powerful antidote or counter-example
for that suggestion (thanks, John). I realize that some on this list
who may be too modest to put themselves forward also may serve in the
same regard--thinking of you Ted, or George Murphy or Keith Miller.
But who has the more numerous or luminous examples as fodder for their
position here?


Ted Davis wrote:
>>>> John Walley <> 9/17/2009 1:53 PM >>> writes:
> Not so. BG was very outspoken on TE and a real conundrum for evangelicals who didn't know how to deal with him other than just trying to ignore hin. Below is just one of his many powerful quotes on it:
> "I don't think that there's any conflict at all between science today and the scriptures. I think that we have misinterpreted the Scriptures many times and we've tried to make the Scriptures say things they weren't meant to say, I think that we have made a mistake by thinking the Bible is a scientific book. The Bible is not a book of science. The Bible is a book of Redemption, and of course I accept the Creation story. I believe that God did create the universe. I believe that God created man, and whether it came by an evolutionary process and at a certain point He took this person or being and made him a living soul or not, does not change the fact that God did create man. ... whichever way God did it makes no difference as to what man is and man's relationship to God."Billy Graham: Personal Thoughts of a Public Man, 1997. p. 72-74
> ***
> Ted comments:
> Yes, a famous quotation. The final part of this quotation is remarkably like something that Harry Emerson Fosdick wrote in 1922, responding to William Jennings Bryan. Here is the passage I have in mind:
> "So long as God is the Creative Power, what difference does it make whether out of the dust by sudden fiat or out of the dust by gradual process God brought man into being. Here man is and what he is he is. Were it decided that God had dropped him from the sky, he still would be the man he is. If it is decided that God brought him up by slow gradations out of lower forms of life, he still is the man he is."
> >From EVOLUTION AND MR. BRYAN, a pamphlet reprinting an op-ed piece he wrote for the NY Times. Fosdick was of course far more liberal, theologically, than Billy Graham. He didn't believe in the virgin birth, the incarnation, or the bodily resurrection. He did believe in sin and redemption, however, though redemption came by following the godly example of Jesus and not by his shed blood. The 9 word sentence, "Here man is and what he is he is," is classic Fosdickian, if that's even a word. Fosdick was an immensely practical theologian, greatly admired in his day and with an enormous popular following -- he had one of the first national radio programs, "National Vespers," which my father's family heard regularly. The late Martin Luther King, Jr., regarded Fosdick as the greatest preacher he'd ever heard. I'm really struck, now that I read it again here on the list, how closely Graham sounded like Fosdick, in this particular instance. Perhaps there's something deeper h!
> , about why both men have been so popular with Americans.
> Ted

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Received on Fri Sep 18 06:52:30 2009

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