Scripture has been the first casualty of BioLogos's efforts to "reconcile" science and Christianity. Precisely what kind of Christianity are they selling? And how much more are they willing to sell out to scientism?
et me say this as emphatically as possible: My main objection to the BioLogos agenda is theological, not scientific.
Evidently I need to underscore that point, because every time the subject comes up here, our comment-threads swarm with zealots who are keen to debate about geology, paleontology, astronomy, the fossil record, the age of the earth, or whatever—as if my criticisms of BioLogos were scientific rather than biblical and doctrinal. To date, not one person who supports the BioLogos agenda has even acknowledged (much less replied to) the real point we've been making.
So I'll say this once more: What concerns me most about BioLogos is not merely the enthusiasm with which they champion theistic evolution (bad as that is). I haven't complained about their baffling opposition to the simple, obvious teleological arguments of the "intelligent design" community. And what spurred my objections to their campaign has nothing to do with the old-earth/young-earth conflict per se.
But my greatest concern—by far—is the blithe willingness with which they are prepared to trivialize, disregard, discard, or denounce the foundational doctrines of Christianity.
In every post I have made about BioLogos, I've been critical of two things in particular: 1) their relentless assault against the authority of Scripture, and 2) an attitude toward the doctrine of original sin that ranges from utter indifference to condescending dismissal.
The authority of Scripture and the doctrine of original sin are, of course, bedrock truths of all historic Christianity; they are not merely Reformed or evangelical distinctives. (Nor are they trifling "exegetical molehill[s]," as Peter Enns suggested in his reply to Al Mohler.)
The serious doctrinal problems raised by the BioLogos campaign don't end with those two issues, either. As I pointed out in an earlier post, if the BioLogos team applied their Genesis hermeneutic consistently to the gospel accounts and the resurrection narratives, they would soon relinquish every essential element of the Christian faith.
Of course, they haven't gone there. I don't expect they will. Demythologizing Scripture to that degree would utterly discredit them among whatever constituency they have cultivated on the "faith" side of the science/faith divide. But issues like those certainly deserve more attention (and more input from truly conservative theologians) than BioLogos has yet allocated space for.
Incidentally, BioLogos's notion of "leading evangelical theologians" is revealing. Their theological headliners are men like Peter Enns, Greg Boyd, and N. T. Wright, not one of whom is truly evangelical in the historic sense of that term. Enns was dismissed from Westminster Seminary in August 2008 for his low view of Scripture. He and most of his supporters protested at the time that his views had been misrepresented and that he had been treated unfairly. But his contributions to BioLogos furnish ample proof that he did not, in fact, agree with Westminster's doctrinal standards. Boyd, of course, is well known as a cheerleader for Open Theism, which denies both the true omniscience and the immutability (not to mention the sovereignty) of God.
Having blended a low view of Scripture with an implicit denial of original sin, with a humanized view of God, and with a skeptical stance toward the miraculous elements of Scripture, BioLogos is actually peddling a brand of religion that has much more in common with Socinianism than with biblical and historic Christianity.
Some of the scientific specialists at BioLogos make no profession of faith at all, as far as I can determine. I'm thinking, for one, about "Francisco Ayala, the former Dominican priest who went on to become one of the world’s leading evolutionary biologists." I wonder: did he leave the priesthood because he lost his "faith" completely? According to the New York Times, "Dr. Ayala will not say whether he remains a religious believer."
“I don’t want to be tagged,” he said. “By one side or the other.”
Let's face it: statements of faith aren't really a BioLogos "thing." The organization has no formal doctrinal standard and (as far as I can tell) no real theological boundaries at all. Everything is negotiable. Scripture is rarely if ever defended. Evangelical truth is not proclaimed at BioLogos. What does get aggressive promotion and a vigorous defense is anything that undermines a high view of Scripture. And why not? Open Theism, Sadduceeism, and neoorthodox notions about inspiration and inerrancy are rooted in the same kind of skepticism that underlies BioLogos's treatment of the early chapters of Genesis.
Here is the closest thing to an official statement of faith you'll find on the BioLogos website: "We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God." Really? Perhaps if we posit an infinitely flexible definition of the word inspired, a claim like that might have a some thin thread of credibility. But search and see for yourself: BioLogos's website is full of articles attacking the accuracy, believability, authority, and verbal inspiration of Scripture. I can't find a single article where any of the contested claims of Scripture are defended against the attacks of secular materialists.
But here is what "faith" really looks like in practice at BioLogos: "I have no interest in preserving Christianity . . . I believe because, as I understand it, it makes sense of human experience. But if it turns out that Christianity fails to do that, I’ll simply turn elsewhere"—Kenton Sparks, BioLogos blogger.
BioLogos says their goal is to integrate the findings of science with Christian Faith. But let's face it: on the "faith" side of the chasm, BioLogos is almost entirely bankrupt. Whatever BioLogos is peddling, it isn't Christianity. It isn't faith of any kind. It's scientism masquerading as faith—but lacking in spiritual, philosophical, and intellectual integrity.
To be more precise, it's a sterile hybrid of scientism and Socinianism. That's why the BioLogos crew frankly aren't interested in defending what the church has affirmed for 2000 years. Their real goal is to marginalize key features of Christian belief and biblical truth that scientists have disputed for the past 200 years. On close examination, BioLogos looks very much like a campaign against Christianity, funded by a hefty Templeton grant. In effect, that's precisely what it is.
I'm not suggesting that's the conscious intent of all BioLogos's key participants. While I despise what they are doing, I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to motive. Still, whatever their motives, what they are actually doing is destructive to genuine faith and subversive of the authority of Scripture. It is not something that deserves the support of faithful Christians.
And this is the key point: You can't legitimately claim to be trying to reconcile science and the Christian faith if your methodology entails systematically dismantling the very foundations of Christianity.