Dr. Bruce Waltke, professor emeritus of Old Testament Studies at Regent College, has just resigned from his position as Professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS), as the result of a strife over his (somewhat reluctant support) for theistic evolution.
His remarks on this theme were made in a video filmed during the 2009 Theology of Celebration workshop in New York City. RTS asked Dr. Waltke to request the video to be taken down from the website that presented it (see HERE), which Waltke did, adding some ‘clarifications’, which were probably (strongly?) suggested by the seminary (you may find these and other details on this matter HERE). And a new comment HERE.It seems, however, that after obtaining what they requested, and thus humiliated the famous Old Testament scholar, that was not sufficient for him to keep his teaching position.
Whatever your position on the creation vs. evolution dispute, I hope you will agree that what we have here is a typical manifestation of autocracy. And, what is even more problematic, it is probably motivated not so much by concerns over ‘orthodoxy’, but by fear that this scandal, stirred up by negative comments from fundamentalists like John MacArthur and Douglas Wilson, will affect in a negative manner the financial support of RTS from staunch enemies of the theory of evolution, in whatever form it comes.
Commentators of this shameful political decision speak about the ‘culture of fear within evangelicalism in today’s world”. I cannot agree more. To this I am my recent comment about this matter on Facebook (thanks to my friend Florian Cosma for making this known to me):
What a sad story! It seems that fundamentalist paranoia is a problem not only among Romanian Evangelicals, but also among American Evangelicals. Or maybe, more plausibly, the latter are the ones who exported it to Romania, together with their financial support. For, as the Golden Rule says, ‘ those who hold the gold, make the rules’.
UPDATE: HERE is an update on the resignation of Prof. Bruce Waltke from RTS. The confusion is growing, rather than dissipating, which is typical for oppressive situations.
LATEST NEWS: Dr. Waltke may be teaching next year at Knox Theological Seminary in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl., announces Christianity Today. The same review made public a letter of Bruce Waltke to RTS. Here is a fragment:
Holy week and the Monday through Wednesday of this week have been a uniquely hectic experience in my 79 years, to say the least. So hectic, I did not even follow the New York Yankees in the New York Times, my team for more than 70 years! I knew the issue of Genesis 1-3 and evolution was emotionally charged, but not this charged. Worse yet, I unwittingly involved the RTS community, especially Ric, in the brouhaha. I sincerely apologize to you and especially to Ric for not handling the matter more discretely.
Ric’s acceptance of my resignation has only added to the emotional turmoil; I have received letters from many quarters condemning RTS for his action. In fact, I was asked to be interviewed about my resignation on ABC News with Diane Sawyer! Of course, I refused because I am certain it would have been spun to reflect negatively on RTS and the church.
Read on… It is worth it, and revelatory of this confusing situation.