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Creating an

Evangelical Statement
on Evolution

Author:
Steve Martin

Document Version: 1.0


Last Updated: September 12, 2009

This document is a compilation of weblog posts; the individual articles remain the property of the author. You are
free to share, copy, or distribute this document in full within the limitations of the Creative Commons Attribution-
Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License and the Creative Commons Attribution-
Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Canada License. To view copies of these licenses, visit
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/ and http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.5/ca/.

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Table of Contents

A) INTRODUCTION...........................................................................................................................................3

B) THE SIX ESE ARTICLES .............................................................................................................................4


I. Building a Community of Evolutionary Creationists ........................................................................................4
II. An Evangelical Statement on Evolution (ESE): Objectives .............................................................................5
III. An Evangelical Statement on Evolution (ESE): Approach ...............................................................................6
IV. An Evangelical Statement on Evolution (ESE): Contents.................................................................................7
V. ESE Contents: Addendum .................................................................................................................................9
VI. The Process of Building an Evangelical Statement on Evolution ...................................................................10

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A) Introduction
This Ebook contains six articles that discuss the creation of an Evangelical Statement on Evolution (ESE). These
articles were published as a series between June 15 and September 7, 2009 on the weblog An Evangelical Dialogue
on Evolution. The series was motivated by a post by Francis Collins on “Science and Sacred” where he asked for
ideas on building “a new and vibrant community dedicated to finding the truth in both science and faith”. I believe
the ESE could be a catalyst for just such a community.

The first post in the series, entitled “Building a Community of Evolutionary Creationists”, introduces the concept of
the ESE and outlines why I think it would be helpful. Posts two to four in the series outline my view of objectives
for the ESE, the approach we should take, and a framework for the contents of the ESE. Throughout the series I
received excellent and thoughtful feedback from other Evolutionary Creationists (ECs). Some of this feedback
prompted me to augment my ideas with a “Contents addendum” article – this was post#5. The sixth post provides
an overview of the process I believe should be followed to ensure the success of the project.

Once again I would like to thank all those who provided their thoughts, ideas, and reactions to the series within the
comments sections of the individual blog posts as well as to those who contacted me via email to provide their
private comments, criticisms, and encouragement. It was greatly appreciated.

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B) The Six ESE Articles
There are encouraging signs that people who
I. Building a Community of trust both God and science are beginning to
create such a community.
Evolutionary Creationists
Published June 15, 2009 All of us should be thankful to Collins, Falk,
Giberson, and the rest of the Biologos team for
Many of us that accept the scientific consensus for starting to provide resources for building this type of
evolution find it difficult to find like-minded community. I’m also happy to see Collins is looking
individuals interested in exploring the theological for input from other EC/TEs. He states:
implications of an evolving creation. Many others
(maybe most Evangelical ECs) would risk These are just initial efforts to help catalyze a
membership in their Christian community (Church, community devoted to seeking harmony in science
mission, etc.) if their views were known. (See for and faith. We'd love to hear any ideas that could
example our past discussion on the question: Would help in building this community.
your church allow you to publicly support evolution).
A Suggestion
In a new post on changing beliefs, Cliff Martin Well, since he asked, here is my suggestion. I think
comments on his frustration in finding this type of we should publish an “Evangelical Statement on
community: Evolution” that succinctly states that an Evangelical
expression of the Christian faith, and the scientific
So I am facing a conundrum. I am motivated to theory of evolution are compatible. This could be
prepare my friends for what I consider an modeled after the Clergy Letter Project, but crafted in
inevitable paradigm shift, and to develop a a way to ensure it has an explicitly Evangelical
community of believers who will study the Bible character. The statement sponsoring signatories
with me from an evolutionary perspective. But I should include evangelical leaders from 1) a broad
am having no success. And I risk alienating my range of denominations 2) several different academic
own friends if I continue. disciplines (at least scientists, biblical scholars and
theologians - yes, we definitely need those timid
The irony is that in seeking to bring together a theologians) and 3) a cross section of Evangelical
community that values integrity in both science and organizations (eg. missions, umbrella groups like the
faith, we risk being ostracized from both the EFC and the NAE). The statement should also have
community of faith and the community of science. some mechanism for allowing the rest of us to sign
on as well.
Collins on Creating a New Community
Francis Collins is trying to rectify this problem. In a And, come to think of it, that November meeting that
recent post on “Creating a Community to Explore the Tim Keller, Collins and other leading scientists,
Harmony of Science and Faith”, Collins stated that biblical scholars, and theologians are having would
he would like to: be a great forum to launch this initiative.
[encourage] a new and vibrant community
dedicated to finding the truth in both science and Your Feedback
faith. The shrill voices at the poles of the science Ok, that’s my idea. What do you think? Do you think
and faith discussion that claim the scientific and the time is right for an Evangelical Statement on
spiritual worldviews are incompatible have their Evolution? Would it be a positive step in the
own organized communities. But what about the discussion, or would it serve only to raise more
vast majority that seeks a third way? divisiveness? Do you have any other ideas you’d like
From my own limited experience / knowledge, I to suggest to the Biologos team?
think Collins belief that a “vast majority” seek this
3rd way is probably overly optimistic. But he is
absolutely right that the situation is much better now
than it was even a decade ago. He comments that:

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worse, most Evangelicals seem completely unaware
II. An Evangelical Statement on that any other view is possible, and that many within
their faith community, including some of their own
Evolution (ESE): Objectives leaders, have already reconciled biological evolution
Published July 7, 2009 with their faith. A key objective of the ESE will be to
raise awareness that coming to peace with evolution
In the last post we discussed the possibility & value is a theologically acceptable perspective for
of building an Evangelical Statement on Evolution Evangelical Christians.
(ESE for short). Personally, I think the time is right
for Evolutionary Creationists (ECs) to produce such Objective #2: Provide Encouragement for those
a statement. However, I also think we need to be very Struggling with the Perceived Conflict between
careful; there are some risks in a project like this. If Science and Faith
not done right, the results could be very
counterproductive. For many, the perceived conflict between faith and
science is irreconcilable and thus a choice must be
A New Series made. This choice can be emotionally and spiritually
In the next several posts I’d like to take a preliminary destructive. The ESE should provide encouragement
stab at: to those struggling with this conflict, and provide a
catalyst for them to come to peace with both their
a) the objectives we should define for the ESE Creator and his creation. This applies to at least three
b) the approach and character of the statement groups of people:
c) the contents of the statement
d) the process by which we should build it (hint: the a) Evangelicals considering abandoning their faith
answer isn’t the internet let alone this blog). because of the evidence for evolution

I should stress that these are merely preliminary Evangelicals are often told that evolution is
ideas. I’m hoping that they can serve as a catalyst for incompatible with Christianity and that it is
other ECs to come up with something even better. unsupported by the scientific evidence. However,
Actually, most of these ideas are not my own, but many Evangelicals that actually examine the
merely a synthesis of ideas that others have evidence for biological evolution find the evidence
contributed here and elsewhere. At the end of this quite persuasive, and, because of the conflict thesis,
series I’m mulling over conducting a survey to get they incorrectly believe that their faith must be
further feedback. Let me know if you would like to abandoned. The ESE should demonstrate that many
participate (or better yet, if you have a good idea on other Evangelicals have accepted the evidence for
how such a survey should be conducted). evolution without abandoning the core elements of
Evangelical theology, and while maintaining an
authentic and vibrant faith in the risen Christ.
A) ESE Objectives
First we need to define objectives. Why do we really b) Evangelicals that are fearful of science
need a statement like the ESE? What are we trying to
accomplish? Just as importantly, what is beyond the Evangelical students will often avoid science (I did)
scope of the ESE? We need to set practical because they are afraid that it will be detrimental to
objectives; setting unachievable objectives is simply their faith. The ESE should show that Christians have
a recipe for failure. Since (I believe) we want to nothing to fear from studying science, and that a
achieve a broad consensus on what the statement deeper understanding of creation can lead to a deeper
contains, we better have agreement among ourselves appreciation of the Creator.
on what we are trying to accomplish.
c) Those prevented from putting their faith in Christ
Objective #1: Communicate the Harmony of Faith because of the perceived science / faith conflict
and Science to the Broader Evangelical
Community It is my impression that many people who are
science-literate have difficulty accepting the Gospel
Most Evangelicals believe that modern science, and because they equate the evidence for biological
biological evolution in particular, is the enemy of evolution with evidence against Christianity. This
orthodox Christian theology and faith. What is conflict-thesis stumbling block must be removed if

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the good news is to be received. The ESE should ESE will not result in an immediate and dramatic
make it clear that evolution should not prevent change of attitude among a majority of Evangelicals.
anyone from making a faith commitment. If we can simply start a dialogue, and bring hope to
those struggling with the issue, the ESE should be
Objective #3: Serve as both a Resource and considered a great success.
Encouragement for ECs
4. Defend the Integrity of Science in Public
Many EC’s are part of communities that are hostile to Education
evolution. These ECs are often reluctant to discuss
their ideas within this community for fear of being Christians should be particularly concerned about
ostracized. The ESE should provide encouragement integrity. So, it is galling to see dishonest methods
to ECs by demonstrating that many Evangelical used by some Christians in attacking the teaching of
leaders share their perspective. It should also be a evolution. But defending the teaching of evolution
simple and non-threatening resource that can be should not be the goal of the ESE. That should be left
shared with friends and other members of their to organizations like, for example, the NCSE.
community. Hopefully, this in turn will lead to
positive dialogue regarding faith and science. So, what do you think? Are these valuable
objectives? Are they achievable within a reasonable
B) Other Worthy Objectives that the ESE amount of time? Has the bar been set to low? Too
should not try to Accomplish high? What other objectives would you like to see?

To be successful, the ESE should not try to


accomplish too much. Below are a few objectives III. An Evangelical Statement on
that, although desirable goals in their own right,
should not be considered as objectives for the ESE.
Evolution (ESE): Approach
Published July 13, 2009
1. Provide Counterarguments to those Raised by
AIG, ICR and other Like-minded Organizations In the last post we discussed the objectives for the
ESE. Before moving on to the content of the
“Anti-evolution Creationist” organizations are well- statement (that will be the next post in the series), I’d
funded and relatively powerful within the like to first share my view on the ESE’s approach.
Evangelical community; no doubt they will attack the What should be its character? If someone read the
ESE with vigour. However, it would be impossible to ESE for the first time, how would they describe it?
respond to every argument these organizations put
forward if we want the ESE to be shorter than a Characteristic #1: Positive in Tone and
book. We have a multitude of other methods and Content
resources that provide persuasive counter arguments
Sadly, many Christian position statements seem very
to the conflict-thesis mantra. The ESE should simply
negative, both in their tone (aggressively attacking
make a positive statement on the compatibility of
whatever is perceived to be the problem) and in
biological evolution and the Christian faith without
content (defining itself by what it is not, rather than
trying to provide a detailed defense of Evolutionary
what it is). Given the polarization of positions in the
Creationism.
faith / science dialogue, a negative statement by
Evolutionary Creationists (ECs) would only
2. Provide Counterarguments to those that use exacerbate this polarization. Special creationists are
Evolution to Attack Christianity not our enemies; they are our brothers and sisters in
Christ. Atheists are not our enemies; they too are
For a similar reason, Christian apologetics should not created in the image of God (even if this is not
be the goal of the ESE. Again, there are other acknowledged). If we want our message to be heard,
resources for this purpose. we need to state our position with grace and
compassion. If our objective is to win hearts and
3. Trigger a Wholesale Change of Attitude within minds (or at least convince others that there is no
the Broader Evangelical Community need for warfare), we need to articulate positive
aspects of an EC position (see HornSpiel's comment).
We need to be realistic; a simple statement like the

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Characteristic #2: Displaying a Spirit of Characteristic #6: “An” Evangelical
Humility statement; not “The” statement
All of us have been wrong at times. Many of us were No one can claim to speak for all Evangelicals, and
once very wrong on the evidence for evolution (and this is especially true in the polarized science-faith
maybe, to our shame, made aggressive claims that we dialogue. On the one hand, the ESE should clearly
now regret). Since we are called to clothe ourselves state that the position it espouses on scripture,
with humility (Col 3:12), the ESE should echo that creation, and evolution is consistent with the
humility. ECs are not necessarily smarter, more Evangelical tradition and that it is accepted by a wide
honest, or more Christ-like; we have simply variety of Evangelicals. However, it should also
discovered (often through painful experience) that acknowledge that this position will not be acceptable
the science-faith war is completely unnecessary. The to all Evangelicals, at least in the short term.
ESE should be written to share this good news, and
not as an opening salvo for renewed debate. Questions
Is this an approach you think would work? Are there
Characteristic #3: Modest in its claims other characteristics that should be considered?
I like Allan’s point in an earlier comment that the
ESE should be modest in its claims. Scientific
theories are continually being corrected and modified IV. An Evangelical Statement on
(see Irenicums comment) and we should not tie the
ESE to specific (and possibly debatable) aspects of
Evolution (ESE): Contents
the theory. Allan’s proposed affirmation that: Published July 29, 2009
science suggests that God may have used
evolutionary processes to create, and from a Crafting a statement on evolution may be difficult for
Biblical and theological standpoint it is OK if Evangelical Evolutionary Creationists (ECs). On the
that's how it happened one hand, this is a very contentious topic in the
broader Evangelical community and we must be
may be too modest for some of us, but I think it is careful if we are to have a positive impact on that
good place to start the discussion. I suspect the extent community. On the other hand, many salient aspects
of the modesty will be one of the more difficult of the dialogue are contentious even within the very
decisions to make when crafting the ESE. small EC community. In the last post we discussed
“How” we should say what we need to say; in this
Characteristic#4: Broad appeal one I’ll lay out my suggestions on “What” we should
One of the most attractive aspects of Evangelicalism say.
is its ability to see beyond denominational
boundaries. Most Evangelicals are very willing to Some Initial Notes
work with others in advancing the Kingdom of God, I) A qualification: This is a broad overview of the
even when theological differences abound. The ESE content, and not a suggestion for the final (or maybe
should take this approach as well, and appeal to the even initial) wording. My hope is that others will
entire Evangelical spectrum. This means that the ESE take this content and create the final statement (more
should avoid specific theological claims that would on that in the next post)
be unacceptable to Reformed, Arminian, Lutheran,
Anglican, Anabaptist, or any other Evangelical II) A note on style: I see three options for the ESE
theological tradition. (other suggestions welcome)
1. A style similar to the Clergy Letter Project
Characteristic #5: Short
If the ESE is to raise awareness of the faith-science 2. A “We believe” statement – somewhat like a
dialogue within the Evangelical community, it will statement of faith
have to be relatively short. A long, detailed document
will not be broadly read, and will mean that certain 3. An Open Letter to our Evangelical community
interpretations of the ESE (probably unfriendly) will My initial vote would go with #3.
be read more than the ESE itself. If the ESE is longer
than this blog post, it is probably too long.

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III) Sections: I have divided the content into 6 statement needs to say something as simple as
sections: Creation, New Creation, Scripture, Science, “God’s Word is not intended to teach us science”.
Biological Evolution, and Purpose. These do not
need to form 6 sections in the final ESE but I believe 3. More fundamentally, what does the ESE state
all of this content should be included in some about specific interpretations of Genesis –
manner. particularly Gen 1-11 or maybe just Gen 1-3? I am at
a loss on what to say here – I’m tempted again to
A) Creation remain silent. How does one produce a statement
The ESE should begin with an emphatic affirmation which is acceptable to both staunch concordists (eg.
that we believe in creation. We trust in a God to Glenn Morton and Dick Fischer) and to those who
whom the universe owes its origin and being. We maintain that the early part of Genesis bears little
trust a loving Creator who continues to sustain his relation to historical or scientific fact (eg. Denis
creation from moment to moment. Even though the Lamoureux and Paul Seely)?
term “creation” has been tarnished in our modern
culture, we need to reclaim and proclaim creation. As D) Science
Richard Bube outlined most eloquently back in 1971, Two things we should mention:
“We Believe in Creation”.
1. Christians are called to be people of integrity. This
B) A New Creation includes the area of science. We need to go where the
We also look forward to a new creation, when “All evidence leads us, not where we think the evidence
things will be made new”. The resurrection of Jesus should go.
Christ is both our hope and our promise. But this
New Creation is not something that is restricted to 2. Many Evangelicals fear science (see ESE objective
the future. It is in our hearts. The Kingdom of God 2b) . This is highly regrettable. Since science is the
has already come. This is the good news we want to study of God’s handiwork, Christians should revel in
share with others. the study of creation. As Stephen Matheson noted,
opponents of faith stole the reverent study of science
C) Scripture from the Church; it may be time to steal it back.
As Christians, we are “People of the Book”; as
Protestant Christians we maintain the authority of E) Biological Evolution
Scripture; as Evangelical Protestants we continue to I have already received several suggestions for what
affirm the inspiration and authority of the Bible, from to include here. My view is that we include only
Genesis to Revelation, even when many of our those claims that are well supported by the evidence.
Protestant cousins no longer agree with this claim. This basically maps to E1, E2, and E3 from Allan’s
definitions for evolution:
Three points for discussion here:  The earth is billions of years old and the
geological record shows a progression in the
1. I believe the ESE should remain silent on development of life over many millions of years.
inerrancy, even as umbrella organizations like the
NAE and the EFC are silent. Some Evangelical EC’s  Common descent: The evidence strongly
may still strongly affirm inerrancy (although, maybe indicates links between all living organisms both
not the version articulated in the Chicago Statement). in the present and in the past. Thus we can say
Other Evangelical EC’s (maybe most) have strong with some confidence that any two living
reservations on inerrancy or at least would wish to organisms on earth today share a common
qualify the term. ancestor (maybe in the very ancient past).

2. I am not sure if the ESE should say anything about  Many different evolutionary mechanisms (eg.
scientific concordism. Some (probably a very few) natural selection, genetic mutations, genetic
ECs still maintain this hermeneutic strategy. So I’m drift) are important factors in the development of
tempted to be silent on this as well since a) I think life on earth. It appears that God used these
the ESE should be as “big a tent as possible” and b) I mechanisms in creating life, including the
think we should minimize negative terminology. On creation of humanity, the living organism he
the other hand, as Rob mentioned here, scientific created in his own image.
concordism is very problematic. So maybe the

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My suggestion is that we leave out E4 (that objective #2 defined earlier, ie. Helping those
evolutionary mechanisms completely account for struggling with issues of faith and science. We might
common descent). Personally, I have no problem articulate it as follows:
with E4 and believe it is theologically attractive and
 To those Evangelicals considering abandoning
sound. However, I also believe the really important
their faith because of the evidence for evolution
hurdle for the Evangelical church is common
we say, “The conflict between science and an
descent; let’s not make the bar higher than it needs to
Evangelical expression of the Christian faith is
be (or possibly higher than it is warranted).
completely unnecessary. We can trust the
Creator God even if our understanding of how
F) Purpose he created has changed over the centuries.
Many people equate evolution with purposelessness.
We must state categorically that this is incorrect. God  To those Evangelicals that fear science we say,
has a definite purpose for creation; he has revealed “Do not be afraid. Science is simply the study of
much of that purpose through his written Word and God’s creation. A deeper understanding of
the Word made flesh. God has both the ability and creation can lead to a deeper appreciation of the
the will to accomplish that purpose, no matter what Creator.”
the cost (and thus his ultimate sacrifice). That his
purpose will be accomplished is ultimately assured –  To those who are considering a commitment to
even though he has given much freedom to his Christ we say, “You CAN have the best of both
creation (including rebellious humanity). worlds; both the one that leads to forgiveness,
love, and spiritual fulfillment and the one that is
I suggest that the ESE remain silent on design. I am intellectually satisfying and coherent with a
sure that some ECs will be passionate in their desire scientific worldview.
to include some positive affirmation of design in the
Ok, in my last post I said the ESE should be short.
ESE; I am equally sure that many others (maybe
However, in describing the contents I wrote possibly
most) would just as strongly wish to articulate a
my longest post ever. Maybe this is going to be even
rejection of Intelligent Design (at least the ID
more difficult than anticipated.
movement). I think neither strategy would be helpful
in accomplishing the goals articulated earlier. Design
is a slippery concept, and I doubt we will achieve
consensus on how we should articulate our position V. ESE Contents: Addendum
on it. More pertinent however, even though all of us Published August 10, 2009
believe that an intelligent designer (our God) was
responsible for creation, design is not nearly as In preparing this series on the ESE, I never intended
strong as purpose, is not as scripturally relevant as to get bogged down in the details of the actual
purpose, and is not as theologically important as statement – that is a future task. However, after
purpose. Thus purpose must, in my opinion, be receiving feedback on the content in the last post, I
included the ESE while design should be neither think this brief content addendum is required to fix
affirmed nor rejected. some glaring omissions (three), and to suggest that
one of our objectives should be addressed more
G) Conclusion indirectly.
In our conclusion, I think we should affirm that we
believe that harmony between faith and science can A) Randomness and Purpose
be achieved. However, we should also acknowledge
that there are differences of opinion on how that Reconciling the randomness in evolution with God’s
harmony is reached. There is no point in pretending sovereignty is a huge hurdle for many (see comments
there is consensus when there may be significant by Vance); the ESE should address this, if only
differences of opinion between us on matters like briefly. In the section on purpose, we could mention
biblical interpretation and models for divine action. one or more of the following:
What we share however, is a faith in the Creator
God, and a desire demonstrate integrity in the study 1. randomness is closely tied to
of his creation. unpredictability. Unpredictability is often
simply a function of human limitations. God
Finally, I believe we should directly address does not have these limitations.

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2. Scripture asserts that God is in control &
can accomplish his purposes even in random D) Positive Statement on the message of
events (eg. Prov 16:33, Acts 1:26) early Genesis
3. God provides true freedom to his creation
Stating something positive on the message of the
(eg. humanity) but is in complete control,
early part of Genesis is, I suspect, the most glaring
and can accomplish his purposes, even when
omission in the previous post – several people
that freedom is abused.
identified it (Joel was first). As a couple people noted
Whole books have been written on this subject (eg. (Allan & Cliff), Evangelical OT scholars have taken
God, Chance, and Purpose by David Bartholomew) several different (often overlapping) hermeneutic
and rigorous debate on this reconciliation still approaches to the first few chapters of Genesis.
persists, even within the EC camp. So we need to Therefore we should be careful not to adopt one
carefully consider what we say here. But to Vance’s single approach. Still, I think there are some
point, we can not be silent. theological statements that should be mentioned. An
example of what we might say is below (a slightly
B) Scientific Explanations and God modified version of what Allan proposed):

Something should be mentioned about the The early chapters of Genesis have much to teach
relationship between scientific explanations & divine us about God (his sovereignty over all of
action. Two related points here: creation, his faithfulness, and his love), creation
(it is good, it owes is being to God) and humanity
1. Scientific explanations are not an alternative for
(our creation in the image of God, our
God’s action in the world; divine action and
disobedience, and our dependence on God’s
natural events are not mutually exclusive (see
faithfulness to repair our relationship). However,
Hornspiel’s comments). The resolution of this
the inspired writers were not trying to convey
false dichotomy has been so ingrained in the EC
scientific information in these early chapters and
mindset (or at least mine) that we sometimes
we should not expect it to answer our modern
forget others may consider it a problem. Since it
scientific questions.
is a significant issue for many in our audience,
we should definitely make some statement
So, yes I am abandoning my initial hesitation on
addressing the false dichotomy – maybe it
taking a firm stance against scientific concordism.
should be the first item mentioned in the section
on science.
Whew …
2. On the other hand, science does not exclude the
possibility of miracles (eg. Comment by Vance). Not sure if I mentioned it before, but writing a short
Making scientific statements like “this event is statement is probably going to be an order of
extremely unlikely to occur given our current magnitude more difficult than writing a long one.
knowledge” or “no scientific explanation for this
past event can be made at this time” are valid
claims. However, science cannot rule out any VI. The Process of Building an
event a priora. As Evangelical Christians we Evangelical Statement on
firmly believe that God can, has, and continues
to perform miracles within his creation, and that Evolution
some of those miracles would be deemed Published September 7, 2009
“impossible” by science.
C) Mention of the Fear of Science I would like to thank everyone who participated in
the conversation on the ESE, both in the comment
An explicit statement to those “who fear science” sections and via email; in particular I’d like to thank
may be counterproductive. Per the conversation in those who provided emails of encouragement. To me,
the comments with wtanksley (#1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, it is clear that the time is ripe for this type of
and #7), I agree we should take the explicit statement statement from Evangelical ECs. This (much
out of the ESE but address it indirectly since this delayed) final post outlines my own ideas on how we
target audience is important (even if there are many should tackle the project.
in this group that would not admit membership in it).

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Even though the internet is ideal for connecting those church and parachurch leaders, as well as
with common interests, I believe that it is imperative Evangelical scientists from the various scientific
for the ESE to be launched and lead by a group that disciplines relevant to the study of evolution.
can meet (at least initially) in face-to-face Recruiting these founding signatories will be crucial
discussions. What the ESE says and how it is for the success of the ESE. It would also be helpful if
communicated to the broader Evangelical community these signatories committed to providing an
will be scrutinized very closely. Since the ESE is a introduction to the ESE (either formal or informal) to
message of hope for our (current and future) brothers their own constituency in a forum that seems most
and sisters in Christ, we must make every effort to appropriate to them.
avoid careless, uninformed, or insensitive statements.
Face-to-face discussions should minimize this risk. 5) Define the process for drafting and
achieving approval for the final statement
The Process Although the authors are tasked with drafting the
The tasks listed below are the ones I believe are statement, they should solicit input from a wide range
necessary to make the ESE a success. This is a more- of Evangelicals. At a minimum the entire leadership
or-less chronological process although some overlap group and founding signatories would need to
is possible. approve the final wording. Yes I understand that this
step could significantly delay the publication of the
1) Formation of the ESE leadership group statement. However, I believe that formulating a
The first step is to form a leadership group that can high-quality statement is more important than
provide oversight to all aspects of the project, and releasing a hasty statement.
who will be accountable for its ultimate success. This
group should have experts from various academic 6) Publish the ESE
and vocation backgrounds (scientists, theologians, This is probably the easiest task; the internet is the
biblical scholars, pastors) and should reflect the ideal place to publish a statement of this sort and
broad theological diversity within Evangelicalism. there are lots of options available. The leadership
group could also augment this with other targets (eg.
2) Definition of vision and objectives Evangelical publications like Christianity Today).
The first task for the leadership group is to define the
vision and objectives for the ESE. The discussion 7) Implement a communication plan
during this blog series (particularly in the objectives The initial publication of the ESE will certainly be
and approach posts) may be a helpful starting point important. However, we are after lasting impact, not
here. simply a flurry of publicity. As such, there needs to
be an ongoing communication plan to ensure that
3) Define and enlist a roster of authors believers and seekers continue to hear and have
A small group of authors should be enlisted to draft access to the message that faith and evolution are not
the ESE. This group could be a subset of the in conflict. Fifteen or twenty years from now the
leadership group; it should certainly include the same Evangelical church may have come to a lasting peace
theological, academic, denominational, and with science. Until then we need a plan to continue
vocational diversity. Ideally this roster would be communicating the harmony between faith and
composed of 4 to 6 individuals; anything more could science.
prove unwieldy.
8) Implement a mechanism to enroll other
4) Define and enlist a group of Founding signatories
Signatories Finally, the ESE should have some mechanism for
The roster of founding signatories may be even more other Evangelical ECs to sign the statement. As well,
important than the roster of authors; ie. who signs the there should be processes in place for the ongoing
document may be just as significant as what it says. management of this list.
Ideally, all denominational, theological, and
international constituencies that are included within
Evangelicalism will be represented within this group
in some form. The group should also be composed of
respected Evangelical theologians, biblical scholars,

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The First Step forum to launch the discussion. The focus of the
From my viewpoint the first step is to form the ESE workshop will be on:
leadership group. And although I believe this blog
series outlines a solid framework for launching the celebrating God’s creation in light of 21st
ESE project, and that an informal group made up of century knowledge about the universe and our
EC bloggers and our readers could publish a fairly place in it.
good statement, we could never come close to
maximizing the potential of this project. As I hinted Worshiping our Creator and celebrating his creation
earlier, I think the Biologos Foundation is ideally brings joy to both us and Him. But not everyone feels
positioned to initiate this project. That fall workshop this sense of wonderment and contentment. For
led by Tim Keller with 15 leading scientists, 15 many, discussions about how the Creator created
leading theologians, and 15 leading pastors from the produce only cognitive dissonance. We must go
Evangelical community seems to me to be an ideal beyond celebration and communicate to others why
this celebration is both possible and warranted. I
believe the ESE can help accomplish this goal.

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