Professor resigns after Bethel College policy on creation
MISHAWAKA, Ind. (AP) – A philosophy professor has resigned from a Christian college in northern Indiana after it recently adopted a statement affirming to a belief in God as the creator of humanity.
Jim Stump, a 1991 Bethel College graduate who has been a professor at the evangelical liberal arts school since 1998, announced his resignation in a joint letter with the college’s president, Gregg Chenoweth.
“In considering this corporate commitment, I decided to resign from my position at Bethel in order to pursue alternate work, rather than remain under the new statement and bring tension to the Bethel community,” Stump wrote in the June 26 letter.
Stump, a scholar of the philosophy of science, has served since 2013 as content manager for BioLogos, an online forum that focuses on the intersection and harmony of faith and science.
Chenoweth said the statement was the result of 2½ years of work. The policy prohibits faculty members from holding leadership positions or contracting with groups that do not conform with Bethel’s beliefs. The Bethel College Board of Trustees adopted the statement June 9.
“This statement does not intend to suppress faculty opinions about Origins, but prevent public contradiction or disparagement of this corporate commitment,” it reads in part. It’s based on the views of the Missionary Church, with which Bethel is affiliated.
The statement does not limit what may be taught in classrooms and affirms that “faculty are supported to investigate and teach all viewpoints on Origins.”
Deborah Haarsma, the director of Grand Rapids, Michigan-based BioLogos, said it was “disheartened by the situation.”
“We do not see evolution as inherently atheistic,” Haarsma said. “We love the Bible and we make the case for evolutionary creation: that God used the natural process of evolution to create all of life’s diverse forms, including human, as supported by abundant genetic and fossil evidence.”
Chenoweth encourages people to read the policy for themselves. It is posted online at www.bethelcollege.com/believe .
“I also wish to affirm Bethel’s commitment to academic rigor within Christian context,” Chenoweth wrote in the joint letter with Stump.
In the letter, Stump also wrote that Bethel has been an important part of his life and he was thankful for his time there. Chenoweth wrote and that “countless alumni and current students name Jim as one star in the constellation of their Bethel experience.”