Stump stepped down because of the divisive, absurd, unnecessary and ridiculous (I’m sorry — am I editorializing too much?) decision by the college’s board of trustees last month to adopt a new “philosophy of origins” policy that includes the statement: “We believe that the first man, Adam, was created by an immediate act of God and not by a process of evolution.”
Teachers at the college had previously had to affirm annually certain core Christian doctrines like the infallibility of the Bible and the second coming of Christ (which makes total sense). It’s not clear whether teachers must explicitly affirm the new statement on “origins” (which would be pointless and dumb), but it is clear that the college expects its faculty to “toe the party line.” From ChristianToday:
The new statement says the special creation of Adam by God “should be advocated as the official, meritorious, and theologically responsible position of the College, without disparagement.”
The aim is not to suppress views on evolution, but “prevent public contradiction or disparagement of this corporate commitment,” the statement says.
Let me be clear that I respect Jim’s decision and think he made the right call. Jim, with whom I worked on a piece BioLogos published last year, is an incredibly smart guy, a terrific writer and an important asset for the kingdom and body of Christ. If Bethel doesn’t appreciate his talents, then he should go elsewhere.
It’s just a real shame (not to mention a terrible witness) that this had to happen, and that the college’s trustees would claim to do what they’re doing in the name of “unity” is shameful. For future reference, guys: Forcing out people who disagree with you on non-essential matters is a really terrible way to build Christian unity.
In other Bethel-related news, the college has officially renamed its science department “The Pseudoscience Department.” Said one trustee: “You know, we had done everything but change the name, so we figured we might as well go all the way.”