I heard from an Old Testament scholar from a prominent seminary that the news going around the recent meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society in San Francisco was that Pete Enns was ‘fired’ by BioLogos since the two parties were going opposite directions in their theology.

I did some research through Google (what else?) and found the following blog w/ comments thread.  If you scroll down to the comments and begin with the ID “peteenns” on November 24, 2011 you will see an exchange where Enns states he left BioLogos.  Enns goes on to claim that BioLogos didn’t renew his contract since they are “moving in a more conservative direction, i.e., keeping Southern Baptists and other literalists on board.”

I am not sure if Enns is going more leftward (as claimed by this OT scholar) or if BioLogos is going more conservative as claimed by Enns.  Perhaps a little bit of both is true.

While I have no personal ill toward Enns, I do think this move is for the best.  While I have been uncomfortable with some of the papers, posts, and videos from BioLogos (particularly on Adam & Eve), I never wished the death sentence on the organization.  We need Christian theologians and Christian scientists (lower case ‘s’) to dialogue and engage one another on these issues within the boundaries of orthodoxy (i.e. the Great Tradition).  BioLogos started off with a reputation toward this end (Erskine College & Seminary’s own President David Norman helped edit the early content).

In my opinion, the organization failed in its rhetorical humility, philosophical precision, and theological competency.  The tone was somewhat militant against any group that disagreed with theistic evolution.  In addition, as with the faith & science debate in general, the lack of professional Christian (evangelical) philosophers to steer some of the issues hurt the dialogue as brash statements and unwarranted conclusions were given without careful thinking.  Finally, the theological and exegetical competency was hurt by the hiring of Enns himself.  Even if Enns has something useful to offer to the discussion, he currently generates more heat than light and only turns away many evangelicals who know his backstory.

In other words, BioLogos seemed to care little for the sensitivity of Bible-believing evangelicals who may also see the high value of engaging general revelation.  The fact that BioLogos (with the exception of articles here and there) didn’t seek more gracious, nuanced avenues of persuasion and didn’t help readers put together a compelling perspective as to the relationship between general revelation and special revelation (as well as failing to give an explicit definition of Scripture’s authority) left the organization wide open for criticism.

All this to say, I hope this is a new chapter for BioLogos and other organizations like it.

(And this is coming from a six day young earth ‘literalist’!)

 

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