Asking about the Resurrection


#1

Me and BioLogos…

Recently found out the hard way that BioLogos forum moderators are uncomfortable with me explaining why I am not part of BioLogos any more. For understandable reasons, both (1) some people just assume I am part of BioLogos, and (2) others are very curious why I Ieft. BioLogos understandably wants to move past our conflict from last year, and it’s to their advantage if I’m perceived as having “returned to the fold.”

We are not in conflict right now, however we are also not in the same camp. A good summary is that we have very different values, and right now those values often place us cross purposes. Though we have a great deal of common ground, the differences are too great for us to work together right now (http://peacefulscience.org/confessing-scientist/). Without getting into details, it seems that feeling is mutual too.

I think these differences are important to delineate. So I am going to occasionally post on this forum what I am seeing what some of these differences in values are. This is not meant to be aggressive or an attack on BioLogos but as a helpful way of understanding values that we both think are important.

Is it Polite to Ask About the Resurrection?

There are two values both BioLogos and I have, but might see a different interaction between:

  1. Confessing the Resurrection in the public square.
  2. Refusing to divide the Church on evolution.

For this reason, BioLogos is spending this month writing several articles on the Resurrection, and I am entirely supportive of this. I think it is a great move, and a departure from some of their past patterns. In this series, an important exchange took place:

I thanked Dennis Venema for confessing the Resurrection in a post (https://biologos.org/blogs/guest/can-a-scientist-believe-in-the-resurrection-part-1), something I had not clearly seen him do in the past. One of the BioLogos staff (@Brad_Kramer) responded:

Wouldn’t it be nice if someday an openly Christian scientist who affirms evolution would not automatically attract doubts about his belief in the Resurrection.
https://discourse.biologos.org/t/can-a-scientist-believe-in-the-resurrection-part-1/38197/4?u=swamidass

I thought about that a bit, and I think I really disagree.

First, this brought some context to some strange conflicts last year. I asked some theologians making some “far out there” claims if they affirmed the Resurrection. This deeply offended one of the BioLogos staff, because it was seen as rude. However, I was disoriented by their claims, and understanding where they stood on the Resurrection helped clarify if I was talking to someone who was part of orthodox Christianity or not. It was not rude, but necessary to make sense of what they were saying.

Second, a confession of the Gospel in public square (#1 above) is more important than being default accepted in the Church (#2 above), and that confession might even be how the Church can recognize who is a Christian when they affirm evolution. For me, I’m glad to get the question, because that gives me opportunity to declare the Resurrection in the public square.

This, it seems, might be a very real difference between me and the standard strategy at BioLogos, though let’s not read too much into a single comment. I might be placing a higher value on declaring the Resurrection, even if it means tolerating exclusion in the Church to do so. Moreover, I think the most likely way for that exclusion ot end is by confessing the Resurrection too. Asking questions about the Resurrection, to me, seems to be clear command of Scripture, especially when we face disagreement on doctrine (1 John).

To be clear, BioLogos does affirm the Resurrection. I also affirm that Christians who affirm evolution should be included in the Church. I, however, think that exclusion will most likely end when we make a habit of confessing with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and that he rose from the dead. I welcome the questions too, because it is an opportunity to confess Jesus in the public square. I hope the questions do not stop.


#2

Really? So, since you ‘affirm evolution’ (lots of ‘affirmations’ in the text above) what does that say about you among Christian evangelicals? Aren’t you suggesting you also “should be excluded from the Church”?


#3

Typo =). Fixed. I have an annoying/charming tendency to have critical typos like that. Sorry.


#4

I found Biologos to be very uneven in what they considered offensive. Christians could not ask the least pointed, or even probing, questions of non-believers while the Atheists/Doubters who practically ran the board (despite not being the moderators) could be much more blunt and direct with Christians. It is a waste of time to engage in such discussions if we cannot scrutinize one another closely. I prefer more frankness.


#5

In their defense, there is quite a bit of real injury among theistic evolutionists. Many of us have been unfairly excluded. I bear wounds myself. I am only glad that I found something greater than my wounds in Jesus.


#6

We all have our injuries. What is more injurious or offensive than being told that we are wretched sinners? That even the best of our deeds and motives are filthy rags? That the only righteousness we will ever have is to be found in the imputed righteousness of Christ? He is indeed “A rock of stumbling and a stone of offense.”

I am glad they are finally getting around to affirming the resurrection. But I fear they are putting themselves in a place where they dare not talk about the crucifixion, and the very reason Christ had to suffer and die. The Law preceded the gospel for a reason. Both are a necessary part of bringing humans to the point where they are willing for God to be God.


#7

George Murphy talks primarily about the Crucifixion, right? They do affirm we are all sinners, at least most of them do.


#8

@swamidass,

When I saw the sentence with the typo… I just about flew out of my chair … sooo relieved that it was just a typo…


#9

As usual, the last and most definitive word on this subject is to be found in The Babylon Bee: