The BioLogos Foundation February 2012 Newsletter

Education Initiatives

Of all of the initiatives in which BioLogos is involved, our workshops for Christian school science teachers are among the most fulfilling ones (see here for our discussion of this two months ago).

In January, BioLogos (together with Point Loma Nazarene University and Seattle Pacific University) sponsored a small summit meeting of a group of 22 science, theology, and education professionals at Seattle Pacific.

Our goal was to talk about how university professionals who are Christians, especially those in the sciences, can come alongside science teachers in Christian schools to provide professional development opportunities in a worshipful and highly supportive environment.

The group members all believe God created through an evolutionary process. But there was also a strong conviction that our task is not to change teachers’ minds if they believe the earth is young or that no evolution has occurred. The purpose of forming these professional relationships, instead, is to help these Christian school science teachers prepare to protect their students as they’re exposed to discussions about evolution in universities.

Evolution is not antagonistic to Christian faith, and we want teachers to be prepared to help those students who believe that it is. Too many young adults lose their faith in that type of academic setting.

As shown in a recent Barna survey, 59 percent of Christian young people “disconnect either permanently or for an extended period of time from church life after age 15.” The perceived antagonism of Christians toward science is one of the main reasons for walking away from that which had been so important in their youth.

The meeting in Seattle was a great step of like-minded professionals thinking about how best to come alongside teachers to protect Christian young people in this scientific age.

Understanding What Our Pastors Think about Evolution

A recent LifeWay survey explored the views of 1,000 Protestant pastors regarding their thinking about evolution. According to the results, of those who lead churches averaging 250 or more in weekly attendance, only 4 percent “strongly agree that God used evolution to create humans.”

Although we are saddened by the results of this survey, we aren’t disheartened by it. Pastors—our shepherds—have many responsibilities to attend to. Therefore, most pastors are unable to devote a great deal of time to studying science and its conclusions.

What this illustrates is the importance of our work at BioLogos. How do we ensure that a highly charged issue doesn’t polarize the church, while also gently helping pastors come to trustworthy conclusions? That is the question we seek to answer, and we’ll continue to do so prayerfully and through the support of our Members.

This study has prompted us at BioLogos to commission an analysis that will parallel the LifeWay survey. We’ll keep you posted on the results of our work as it unfolds.

Evolution and Christian Faith Grant Program

The BioLogos grants program, Evolution and Christian Faith, will commence soon!* We will offer about 60 grants averaging $60,000 each to support research and collaboration among scholars, church leaders, and parachurch leaders to address theological and philosophical concerns commonly voiced by Christians about theistic evolution. For more information on this project, please see the program description here. Pre-proposals are due May 15, and final awards will be announced early in November.

We expect this work will not only bring clarity to the concept of theistic evolution, but also enrich worship and even evolutionary theory itself when it’s viewed through a theistic lens.

* - Subject to formal approval by the John Templeton Foundation.

Featured Blog & Video of the Month


An Unfolding Creation by Kerry Fulcher, biologist (courtesy of filmmaker Ryan Pettey)


Creation? Which Creation?
by Thomas Burnett, science writer

We take a look at the seven models of creation presented in William P. Brown's The Seven Pillars of Creation: The Bible, Science, and the Ecology of Wonder.

BioLogos Team Member Spotlight: Kelsey Luoma

Kelsey LuomaA recent college graduate from Point Loma Nazarene University, Kelsey Luoma has been an important part of the BioLogos team for almost two years.

Many BioLogos followers will remember one key component of her work during her first summer with us. As a student she critiqued Dr. Michael J. Behe’s book The Edge of Evolution. It was a great project for a student majoring in biology. (If you haven’t read Kelsey’s review yet, it’s well worth doing.)

Kelsey has contributed to numerous projects for The BioLogos Foundation from research to editing to organizing the Search by Topics section of our website and, of course, writing. Her latest project has been a trio of podcasts that explains some of the evidence that supports the theory of evolution in a way that everyday Christians can understand. The first two—on the fossil record and genetic evidence—are available now.

For Kelsey, the podcast projects have had some personal importance as well. “What’s important to me is to reach out to students because that’s the point when you are starting to question the beliefs you’ve grown up with and look for answers for yourself,” said Kelsey. “Personally, that was a difficult transition. I was blessed to go to a university where discussion was encouraged, and I had access to resources like this. I want other students who are unsure [about] what to believe to have the same resources so they can see what science shows us and take those facts and incorporate them into their own journey.”

Kelsey will soon be leaving BioLogos as she sets out for a six-month journey through Central and South America. With multiple acceptances in hand, she’ll enroll in medical school when she returns to the United States.

Upcoming Events

BioLogos Workshop: Theology of Celebration III, March 2012
In one month, 80 leading evangelical scientists, theologians, pastors, and authors will gather in New York City for the BioLogos Workshop: Theology of Celebration III. This is a celebratory event—coming together to worship the God of Creation, while exploring the theological and pastoral aspects of mainstream science.

Q&A

On a daily basis, info@biologos.org receives questions on the issues of science and faith from people all over the world. We never approach a question as a battle—as if it’s “us against them.” In every answer, we hope to encourage both the writer and the many people who read the dialogue to prayerfully seek the Lord’s guidance. Check out this question we recently received.

Question:
I'm surrounded by many YEC [Young Earth Creationists] and am interested in learning how to—in a positive way—counter their intimidation and point them to science as not being our enemy, but perhaps our ally. Are there groups and support for such an endeavor as this? How would I go about something like this?

Answer:
The most important thing when talking to people who think differently than you do is to enter into the discussion with love and respect. You might find this article ["Christian Geologists on Noah’s Flood: Biblical and Scientific Shortcomings of Flood Geology"] to be helpful. The article’s authors are very committed to helping YECs, and they also have a ministry called Solid Rock Lectures (their email addresses can be found within the article). We hope this helps!

Book Recommendation

by G.R. Davidson
Malius Press, 2009
Buy on Amazon

In this book, G.R. Davidson offers a simple three-step approach for examining scripture and science any time the two appear to clash. -Amazon

Testimony

Thank you so much for this resource. I often feel like there is nowhere for me to turn for info, and that I am completely adrift. I truly believe Christ was God, born of a virgin, and died and rose again. I also believe in evolution. It seems like there isn't a group that believes both at the same time. I am ecstatic to have found this site! Please keep it going ad infinitum! God bless.