I’m a fan of Christian higher education. All three of our kids went to a Christian college, and we are deeply grateful for the impact it had on them. Having said that, I am genuinely distressed about the direction of much Christian education. Why? Because it continues to drift with our culture and shows little signs of stopping. Parents should take note.

Here are only a few examples:

Dr. John Walton is one of Wheaton College’s premier Old Testament scholars, but is now a theistic evolutionist (someone who believes in a personal God, who also accepts biological evolution as a fact). Walton nuances sentences about understanding the “archetypes” in Genesis, or the difference between interpreting Genesis in terms of “material origins” vs “functional origins.” To put it simply, Walton does not believe in a first, historical, biological couple named Adam and Eve who are the genetic ancestors to all of us.

Enter Scot McKnight of Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, IL. Scot is a brilliant New Testament scholar who also openly advocates theistic evolution. Scot has drifted a lot since I had the privilege of studying under him at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He’s now co-authored a new book promoting theistic evolution with a prominent biologist from Trinity Western University in Canada (an Evangelical Free Church college in British Columbia). The title is, Adam and the Genome: Reading Scripture after Genetic Science. Scot now argues for a literary Adam in Genesis, not a literal Adam.

Calvin College in Grand Rapids Michigan is well documented to be evolutionary in their biology department. I’ve read the books of some of their professors, and talked with students there. World Magazine also did a full cover story on this sad drift a few years back.

Then there’s Peter Enns from Eastern University (affiliated with the American Baptist Church). Enns is now the Abram S. Clemens professor of biblical studies at Eastern University. Enns also has lots of doubts it turns out. He doubts Adam and Eve were literal human people. He also doubts that Moses wrote the Pentateuch. He also doubts that God created the world as described in Genesis. But one thing he doesn’t doubt is the biological theory of evolution. He revels in evolution. What’s even more troubling is how Enns handles the Apostle Paul (who clearly believed that Adam really existed. See Romans 5). Enns argues in his book, The Evolution of Adam, that Paul was wrong about a historical Adam. Yes, that Paul was wrong. He simply bought into the primitive cosmology of his day. Then Enns goes one step further, saying in a footnote (on page 153) that even Jesus did a similar thing. In other words, Jesus was wrong!

Just to be clear, Christian Colleges should discuss biological evolution, the role of women, refugees, cultural hot topics, LGBTQ issues, and higher criticism. But this needs to be done by competent scholars who are confessional evangelicals. Men and women who hold to the authority and inerrancy of the Scriptures without reservation. When the academic environment (publish or perish) becomes the dominant controlling ethos, we are in great danger of losing our evangelical heritage in higher education. This happened before in American history and led to the Bible School movement in the late 19th century. North American theological schooling (e.g. Yale, Harvard, Princeton) had embraced European scholasticism and enlightenment rationalism. Higher criticism and its accompanying a priori rejection of the miraculous, became the new epistemological and methodological orthodoxy. We may soon be approaching a similar juncture in our Nation’s higher education history. May God give us wisdom, grace and courage to navigate the path forward.

by Jay Childs, Senior Pastor
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