Bruce Waltke built a national reputation teaching the Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS) for more than 20 years. But in March, when he seemed to challenge evangelicals in a video interview to consider the possibility of evolution or risk being seen as a "cult," Waltke's scholarly life exploded.
Seminary administrators asked Waltke to have the video removed from the website of BioLogos, a nonprofit promoting the integration of Christianity and science. Waltke promptly did so, but the video already had kicked up controversy. In early April, the renowned scholar resigned from RTS's Orlando campus.
Waltke's video addressed the barriers evangelicals face in considering the possibility of evolution, a process he believes is guided and sustained by God. Waltke said that "if the data is overwhelmingly in favor of evolution, to deny that reality will make us a cult … some odd group that is not really interacting with the world."
According to RTS interim president Michael Milton, Waltke's resignation was accepted because of his "mainline evolutionary" views and "uncharitable and surely regrettable characterizations" of those who disagree with his biblical interpretation.
Waltke said he does not fault RTS—which still praises his scholarship—and that he resigned willingly. But he also does not regret stirring up controversy about an important issue.
"I see it as Providence," said Waltke, who has been hired by Knox Theological Seminary. "I'm very glad the discussion has come to the fore."
Tensions continue between Christian scholars and their institutions over how to present the findings of science while upholding theological convictions.
Westmont College biblical scholar Tremper Longman III was disinvited ...