Introduction by Darrel Falk
The BioLogos Foundation exists to help bring harmony between the Christian faith and science. Since BioLogos is an organization of Christians, this means that those who support it are members of a single Body, and by definition this includes people who do not all think about issues in exactly the same way. Jesus prayer for unity in John 17 is our prayer too. Hence, Paul’s I Corinthians 12 and 13 description of how things are to work in the Body of Christ is our calling. Indeed, it is our mandate. With that in mind BioLogos sponsored the In Search of a Theology of Celebration conference between pastors, theologians, scientists, and other scholars in November, 2009. The statement that emerged from that meeting and its signatories has been posted.
We have also been privileged to engage in several discussions with leaders of the Reasons to Believe organization, including an all day meeting in January, 2010. The following joint statement is the product of that meeting.
Report on BioLogos-Reasons To Believe Dialogue
BioLogos and Reasons To Believe are Christian non-profit organizations. Both may be described as science-faith think tanks. Both affirm that the revelations of Scripture and nature testify to the glory of God. BioLogos promotes theistic evolution as the best understanding of life’s origin and history. Reasons To Believe advocates day-age creation that accepts micro-evolutionary but not macro-evolutionary change.
On January 23, 2010, three scientists and a theologian who support BioLogos met in Washington, DC, with three scientists and a theologian from Reasons To Believe to discuss areas of agreement and disagreement. On the broad subject of creation and evolution, our particular focus for this discussion was the biological record of the past 700 million years.
We agreed on four goals for this session of an ongoing dialogue that began more than a year ago:
Clarify for each other our beliefs about and positions on various aspects of creation and evolution. We wanted to establish areas of agreement on science, theology, and philosophy of ministry as well as major differences—with the understanding that secondary differences would require additional discussion at a later date.
Significant progress was made in clarifying similarities and differences and more will be reported on this at a later date
Outline the means by which at least some of the more significant differences between us could potentially be resolved.
We agreed to undertake back-and-forth exchanges—video, written, or a combination—on specific topics.
Set up public forums that will allow both Christians and non-Christians to learn about our respective positions on specific creation and evolution issues, observe our dialogue, and then engage in conversation with us.
We agreed that the emphasis in these events must be on education and discussion, but this does not rule out sincere debate
Consider how our interactions with one another might model for the Christian community at large how to approach differences of perspective and interpretation.
We agreed on the primary importance of showing civility, grace, and unity in the common goal of understanding and submitting to God’s truth.
We’re pleased with the progress already achieved. As far as we’re aware, this is the first time in the recent history of the church when two ministries that share protestant evangelical commitments, but with divergent views on creation, have engaged in dialogue showing respect for each other’s Christian character, professional qualifications, and scholarly integrity. Each participant has embraced the exhortation in 1 Peter 3:15-16a:
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…
Thus, we remain hopeful that at least some of our differences can and will be resolved and that, even with an admixture of agreement and disagreement, our unity in Christ will be upheld and strengthened.