Evangelicalism in Confusion

What is evangelicalism these days? It used to believe in Scripture, but an increasing number of evangelical leaders and publications are stepping back.

Case in point: creation. Christianity Today has a blog post by Rob Moll critical of “youth earth creationism.” It links to a New York Times article, “Rock of Ages, Ages of Rocks,” which notes that Wheaton College is also stepping back:

The statement of faith for Wheaton College in Illinois, Billy Graham’s alma mater, for example, says that Scripture is “inerrant in the original writing” and that “God directly created Adam and Eve,” but when it comes to pinning down the age of the earth, the school balks. Wheaton has a strong geology department. Its professors argue that the Bible makes no specific mention of the age of the earth. They belong to groups like the Geological Society of America and wring their hands about the “geo-literacy” of the church. “Geology at Wheaton is presented and practiced much the same way as at secular universities,” the department chairman, Stephen Moshier, said in a recent talk. Other professors have issued long tracts comparing the various methods of radiometric dating and showing that they all agree: The earth is over four billion years old. …

“It can get so frustrating,” he said. “Many of us at Christian colleges really grieve at what a problem this young-earth creationism makes for the Christian witness. It’s almost like they’re adding another thing you have to believe to become a Christian. It’s like saying, You have to believe the world is flat to be a Christian, and that’s absolutely unreasonable.”

4 thoughts on “Evangelicalism in Confusion

  1. Although I believe in the seven-day creation, I’m one of those who believes that the genealogies of Genesis (and most other places in scripture) are symbolic. As to the age of the earth, my current guess is 50,000 to 100,000 years.


  2. Hi Bill. In fact, Wheaton is not “stepping back” on the issue of old earth vs. young earth. Except for one under qualified science instructor in the 1920s, professors teaching geology have been in the old earth-camp on this issue since Jonathan Blanchard recruited a young natural historian from Yale in 1861. In the 1930s, one Wheaton chemist who also taught geology wrote “old earth” articles that were published in Moody Monthly. Billy Graham endorsed Baptist theologian Barnard Ramm’s book that took an old earth, progressive creationist position in the 1950s. I really don’t think my comments are radical or that Wheaton is moving away from evangelicalism. The best way to check that out is to come and see for your self.

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