Tim Keller on Evolution
By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
– HEBREWS 11:3
If we say that we believe the Bible to be the Word of God, we must say that about the whole of the Bible, and when the Bible presents itself to us as history, we must accept it as history. I would contend that the early chapters of Genesis, the first three chapters of Genesis, are given to us as history.
– D. Martyn Lloyd-jones
By Rachel Green Miller:
FIRST BioLogos Workshop, 2009 (excerpts):
An invitation-only event, the [first] workshop is organized by some of today’s most influential evangelical leaders: Andy Crouch, Os Guinness, Joel Hunter, Tim Keller, John Ortberg, and Philip Yancey. Rev. Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church serves as our local host in New York City…
We hope that, decades from now, evangelical historians will point to the BioLogos workshops and say that the sea of change began here: because of the fruitfulness of these meetings, the evangelical church entered into a productive and meaningful engagement with science.
At the end of the first workshop, the attendees released a signed statement about the event: “Many voices in our current culture assert that there are irreconcilable conflicts between science and faith in Christ. We, the undersigned Christian pastors, theologians, scientists, and other scholars, respectfully disagree…”
Signatures include: Dr. Keller, Dr. Peter Enns, Bishop N.T. Wright, Dr. John Walton, Dr. Bruce Waltke.
SECOND BioLogos Workshop, 2010 (excerpts):
The [second] workshop produced a much longer signed statement which included the following:
We agree that the methods of the natural sciences provide the most reliable guide to understanding the material world, and the current evidence from science indicates that the diversity of life is best explained as a result of an evolutionary process. Thus BioLogos affirms that evolution is a means by which God providentially achieves God’s purposes.
Based on our discussions, we affirm that there are several options that can achieve this synthesis, including some which involve a historical couple, Adam and Eve, and that embrace the compelling conclusions that the earth is more than four billion years old and that all species on this planet are historically related through the process of evolution.
The list of workshop attendants includes Dr. Ron Choong and Dr. Tim Keller, among many others.
THIRD BioLogos Workshop (excerpts):
The third BioLogos “Theology of Celebration” workshop was held in New York City last month. Christianity Today magazine published an article about the workshop. The title, “Evangelical Evolutionists Meet in New York,” is followed by the subheading, “N.T. Wright, Tim Keller, John Ortberg among Biologos conference attendees.”
Few Christian colleges or seminaries teach young earth creationism (YEC), participants noted during discussion groups. But less formal, grassroots educational initiatives, often centered on homeschooling, have won over the majority of evangelicals. “We have arguments, but they have a narrative,” noted Tim Keller. Both young earth creationists and atheistic evolutionists tell a story tapping into an existing cultural narrative of decline. To develop a Biologos narrative is “the job of pastors,” Keller said.
By Bill Schweitzer:[E]volution was conceived by those outside the biblical faith, is currently taught by those outside the biblical faith, and is widely embraced by those outside this faith. If it were hypothetically possible to build a mediating bridge between these radically different perspectives, I am not sure we would want to. In any case, it is highly unlikely that it is indeed possible to build such a bridge. At least, as I think we have seen, no one has yet been able to do so… Keller moves us away from the proper domain of faithful apologetics—clarifying the Christian position in contradistinction to the world’s errors—into something else entirely. In Keller’s framing of the problem, the only possible solution is some form of accommodation.
By Tim Keller:
[T]here are a variety of ways in which God could have brought about the creation of life forms and human life using evolutionary processes, and…the picture of incompatibility between orthodox faith and evolutionary biology is greatly overdrawn.
J.Gresham Machen: In trying to remove from Christianity everything that could possibly be objected to in the name of science, in trying to bribe off the enemy by those concessions which the enemy most desires, the apologist has really abandoned what he started out to defend.
By Richard Phillips:As Tim Keller wrote for BioLogos: “To account for evolution we must see at least Genesis 1 as non-literal.” I would alter that somewhat, since the issue really is not the absolute literalness of everything we read in Genesis. Rather the question is whether or not Genesis 1 is a historical narrative that intends to set forth a sequence of events. Evolution requires that Genesis 1 is teaching theology but not teaching history. But is this an acceptable categorization of Genesis 1?
By William VanDoodewaard:
Where evolutionary models of human origins inherently require the possibility of some humans being more evolved and advanced than others, the traditional Christian understanding of human origins presents a foundational unity and equality of all humanity through our first parents, Adam and Eve (Gen. 4–5, 10). God made from one man every nation of mankind. (Acts 17:26) Although it is manifested in various ways, the ultimate reason for disunity, rivalry, bitterness, oppression and other evils perpetrated between nations, ethnicities, families, or individuals is spiritual: it is a result of sin. (Gen. 3–4; Col. 3:11–13)
Firm Foundation Partnership
Theistic evolutionists have a strong foothold in the PCA. Pastor Tim Keller, for example, a well-known theologian in the PCA, is a theistic evolutionist. William VanDoodewaard, in his book, The Quest For The Historical Adam, classifies Dr. Keller as a theistic evolutionist based on Keller’s written contributions to Biologos and his public position as a delegate to the General Assembly of the PCA with regard to the issue of theistic evolution.
VanDoodewaard provides a sobering revelation of the state of the PCA by contrasting the position of the ARP on the issue of theistic evolution with that of the PCA. The 2012 minutes of the General Synod of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church show that theistic evolution was denounced by a score of several hundred to three.
By William H. Schweitzer, ed.
“Dr Keller is committed to a culturally-contextualized version of the Christian faith designed to attract urban intellectuals. He frankly acknowledges that he has, at least in the cases of the doctrines of creation, sin and hell, come to an alternative rendering with the objective of making it less offensive. On one hand, this strategy in the hands of such a highly gifted man means that his writings have become among the most popular and influential in Christendom. On the other hand, the resulting teaching in his writings is predictably at variance with Scripture on a number of important points.
This being the case, the need for this book unfortunately remains. The contributors of this book do not relish this kind of work and would much prefer to devote ourselves to purely positive pursuits. Nonetheless, the need to clarify the truth for Christ’s flock is unequivocal and so we have been urged to publish this second edition. It is my hope that there will be no need for a third edition. Rather, I pray that Dr Keller would retract the aspects of his teaching that are identified in the chapters of this book. This would be best for the church and best for his legacy.
Finally, in this age of growing divergence between progressive and conservative schools within Reformed denominations, please join with me in praying for the unity of the church—a unity based on our common Head and his eternal truth. ‘…till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ’ (Eph 4:13).” – William M. Schweitzer, ed.