May 27, 2016

Bruce Waltke on Staying in the Discussion

Posted by Chaplain Mike.

Bruce Waltke is a renowned conservative Old Testament scholar. He served on the translation committees for the NASB and NIV Bibles. Waltke is a professor emeritus of Old Testament studies at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia and a former president of the Evangelical Theological Society. His commentary on Genesis is one of my favorites.

In this video from one my favorite sites, BioLogos, Waltke appeals to the church to stay in the discussion when it comes to issues of contemporary science, particularly the issue of evolution. He cautions:

“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. And rightly so, because we are not using our gifts and trusting God’s Providence that brought us to this point of our awareness.”

Personally, I have never understood the fear Christians have when it comes to the findings of science. And it strikes me how ignorant most Christians are of earlier battles from which we should have learned. The classic example is how the church handled Copernican theory and Galileo. The church had “Biblical truth” and evidence on her side against the “godless” theory that the earth orbits the sun rather than vice versa.

Of course, one could still take a consistently “Biblical” position (as understood in a 16th century way) and end up a “geocentrist.” Maybe you’d like to follow teachings like those found on fixedearth.com, where it is taught that the earth is not going around the sun, and that it does not even rotate. Or, you could join the Flat Earth Society, which reflects the views of Samuel Rowbotham in the 1800’s who, based on literal interpretation of Bible passages, held that “the earth is a flat disk centered at the North Pole and bounded along its southern edge by a wall of ice, with the sun, moon, planets, and stars only a few hundred miles above the surface of the earth.”

Christians have nothing to fear from science. What we should be afraid of is being marginalized, not because of our thoughtful and considerate faith, but because we think it is somehow faithful to refuse to imagine we might be wrong in some of our assumptions or commitments.

I, for one, am thankful for serious Bible scholars like Waltke, who has not stopped thinking and who continues to use his gifts in active engagement with truth from many different sources.