Monday, April 14, 2014

Not Just For Nazarenes: A Review of "Nazarenes Exploring Evolution"

I have been reviewing a lot of resources, particularly youth ministry resources, which deal with science... there's not a long list... especially if you're looking for something that's not presumptuously "apologetic" in defense of "creationism"... there's virtually nothing that's not dominantly preoccupied with human origins.

Most recently, I read a book called Nazarenes Exploring Evolution. Even though I am growing less patient with resources that are so preoccupied with this relatively narrow discussion of science's role in theological reflection, I kinda liked this one. That is to say, I think it will be helpful to a lot of evangelicals. This book is the product of a unique and courageous denominational endeavor--courageous because of the pervasive conservatism in the Nazarene tradition--to articulate the possibility of taking evolution seriously without fear. In case you're not familiar, the Nazarene tradition is essentially an evangelical and Wesleyan tradition. As such, they fall on the conservative side of the theological spectrum, which is why evolution is hot-button issue and why, again, it's admirable that this collection of scholars and pastors came together to take it seriously. Taking scripture, theology, and Christian tradition even more seriously, the contributors of this book show the potential compatibility of evolution and creation, of Christian theology and serious science. Many traditions have already resolved their tensions on this issue, but many evangelicals are still struggling. If you have been conflicted before about having to 'choose' between science and faith, between Christianity and evolution--if all you have heard is that evolution is a completely different 'world view' from that of Christian faith--you should read this book. Even though this endeavor is in the Nazarene church, all of us can learn from it! This book is not just for Nazarenes!

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