Re: [asa] RE: TE and apologetics

From: John Walley <>
Date: Fri Sep 18 2009 - 08:56:10 EDT

I don't see the theological crime of accepting evolution as being the watershed spirtual apostasy event that my friend Richard Howe and most other evangelicals make it out to be. Granted it does redefine our understanding of scriptural revelation and is the final nail for the common understandinings of inerrancy and concordism, but that is not the end of my faith and it doesn't have to be for the church in general.

As far as rejecting the resurrection, I have given this some thought and I don't think I am willing to go there now nor do I foresee myself as ever being able to or hopefully ever having the desire to. Even in spite of the fact of that I have had to let go of a lot of my preconceived interventionist and miraculous events of the Bible, i.e. special creation and the global flood, I still believe the essence of Christianity is a supernatural God who actively intervenes in the world and in the lives of men and confirms His true spoken word with signs and wonders. Further I believe this is still His intention and His desire and the ongoing way in which He reveals Himself today. So since I accept the fundamental premise of God being a supernatural God even today, do I have a problem with the resurrection? Not at all. Can I prove it? No but I don't need to or try to. I am willing to accept it by faith. The virgin birth is another similar example but my response
 is the same.

And this faith endures the possibility of various other recorded miracles maybe even potentially being revealed to have been embellished. I refer here to the possibility of what I call the Da Vinci code scenario and those of you who read the book know what I am referring to. Whether there would ever be any truth or relevance to it or not, it is possible that some supposed historical documents could surface to challenge some of the accounts in the gospels and I think we should be equipped in our faith to handle that if it did happen. So in summary, knowing now what I know about the nature of scriptural revelation, I am willing to concede a lot on the historical context of the scriptures including possibly even some miracles having been embellished, but I think I would have to draw the line at the virgin birth and the resurrection.


----- Original Message ----
From: Merv Bitikofer <>
To: Ted Davis <>; asa <>
Sent: Friday, September 18, 2009 6:51:50 AM
Subject: Re: [asa] RE: TE and apologetics

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

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.


To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Fri Sep 18 08:57:03 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Fri Sep 18 2009 - 08:57:03 EDT