Like many people living overseas, I like to keep up on events back home. A subscription to The Economist gives me the pulse of English politics, theLondon Review of Books helps me keep my English academic feet wet, and regular visits to the BBC Sport website allow me to follow the disappointments of the England football/soccer team. But there is nothing like a trip home to find out how home is really doing. … Elliott for drowning squirrels. Alister Chapman is associate professor of history at Westmont College. more
The Search for the Historical Adam: The center of the evolution debate has shifted from asking whether we came from earlier animals to whether we could have come from one man and one woman
Secularist brows furrowed in 2009 when President Obama chose prominent atheist-turned-Christian Francis S. Collins to be the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Under the Los Angeles Times headline “Fit to Head the NIH?,” Skeptic magazine’s Michael Shermer fretted that Collins’s beliefs might somehow corrupt America’s biggest biomedical research agency. In a New York Times piece, atheist Sam Harris was similarly “uncomfortable,” fearing in particular that a Collins administration might “seriously undercut” fields like neuroscience. Jerry Coyne, a University of Chicago expert on evolution, carped that the nominee’s “scary,” “bizarre,” “inane,” and “snake oil” ideas “pollute his science with his faith.” … In yet another BioLogos article, Tremper Longman III of Westmont College admits, “I have not resolved this issue in my own mind except to say that there is nothing that insists on a literal understanding of Adam in a passage [Gen. 1-3] so filled with obvious figurative description.” He is similarly open-minded on the question of Paul’s epistles because “it is possible, even natural, to make an analogy between a literary figure and a historical one.” After BioLogos promoted Longman’s views in a video last year, Reformed Theological Seminary ended Longman’s role as an adjunct faculty member. more
The Search for the Historical Adam: The center of the evolution debate has shifted from asking whether we came from earlier animals to whether we could have come from one man and one woman.
In yet another BioLogos article, Tremper Longman III of Westmont College admits, “I have not resolved this issue in my own mind except to say that there is nothing that insists on … more
Why Natural Law Arguments Make Evangelicals Uncomfortable: A recent paper highlights the differences between evangelical and Catholic defense of traditional marriage
Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision to overturn California’s Proposition 8 poured gasoline on an already raging debate about whether the state should recognize permanent, monogamous gay and lesbian relationships as marriage. … The formula was replicated in mid-February of this year, as evangelical political theorists gathered at Westmont College to discuss the prospects and limitations for an evangelical appraisal of natural law. more
Scholars and ‘Snake-Handlers’: Society of Biblical Literature accused of evangelical pandering—and secular bias.
A professor of Hebrew Bible at the University of California–Berkeley quit the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL), voicing concern that North America’s leading organization for biblical scholarship had welcomed “the views of creationists, snake-handlers, and faith healers.” In an op-ed in the July/August 2010 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, Ronald S. Hendel complained that SBL had ended its annual joint conference with the American Academy of Religion (AAR) after 2007 and reached out to “evangelical and fundamentalist groups” to boost its numbers. … As for Hendel, he got an earful—in person—from at least one evangelical scholar. Tremper Longman III, professor of biblical studies at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, said he and his friend Hendel talked about the article at dinner, and then exchanged e-mails about it. more
Robert Wennberg, who taught philosophy at Westmont College for 37 years, retiring in 2005, died on July 18. Although I didn’t have Bob as a professor, I came to know and respect him during my time at Westmont, and I read his books over the years with profit—most recently Faith at the Edge: A Book for Doubters, published by Eerdmans in 2009. Below are tributes from former students and colleagues.—John Wilson, Editor, Books & Culture. more
Bruce Waltke built a national reputation teaching the Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS) for more than 20 years. But in March, when he seemed to challenge evangelicals in a video interview to consider the possibility of evolution or risk being seen as a “cult,” Waltke’s scholarly life exploded. more
I’ve heard the quote once too often. It’s time to set the record straight—about the quote, and about the gospel. Francis of Assisi is said to have said, “Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words.” To be sure, words used cheaply, thoughtlessly are worse than no words at all. As Westmont College professor Marilyn McEntyre says in an essay in the upcoming August issue of Christianity Today, “In an environment permeated with large-scale, well-funded deceptions, the business of telling the truth, and caring for the words we need for that purpose, is more challenging than ever before.” more
Westmont President Gayle Beebe released a statement yesterday that said no Westmont students were to blame for starting the California fire that destroyed more than 200 homes and several campus buildings. Ten men and women, ranging in age from 18 to 22, built a bonfire Wednesday night to warm themselves, authorities told the Los Angeles Times. Other schools in Santa Barbara include the Brooks Institute of Photography, Santa Barbara City College, and the University of California Santa Barbara. more
Westmont College professors and students began sifting through the ashes yesterday as some coped with the loss of their homes and departments. Classes were canceled until December 1 to give the campus time to recover from the November 13 fire that destroyed 20 percent of its buildings but injured no one. The fire destroyed three academic buildings, more than 30 dorm rooms, and 14 of the 41 college-owned faculty houses at the Christian liberal arts college in Santa Barbara, California. more