By JOHN FORTMEYER
PORTLAND — A Gresham-based creation science group says it is “shocked” that Multnomah University has accepted a large study grant, alleging that the organization behind the funds runs counter to Biblical beliefs.
But the Portland-based Christian university responds that there is no need to worry.
“We were surprised — no, shocked — to see the announcement that the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has awarded a large grant to Multnomah Biblical Seminary,” wrote J.D. Mitchell, executive director of the Institute for Creation Science, in an Oct. 27 letter to Multnomah President Craig Williford. “There is an ongoing war between the Biblical Christian and the secular worldview, and AAAS is on the wrong side in that war.”
As reported in the November issue of Christian News Northwest, the seminary was one of only 10 schools nationwide — and one of only two in the western United States — to be awarded funds for pilot programs that integrate science into core theological education. Multnomah faculty member Paul Metzger, who spearheaded the school’s application for the grant, declined to specify the amount of the award, but termed it significant. Goal is to establish a sustainable program that initially will focus in selected seminary courses on astrophysics, human cognition and microbiology, he said.
According to Mitchell, the AAAS defines science as naturalism, a philosophy based on atheistic presuppositions and tilted toward evolutionary theory. He charged that the AAAS is opposed to “true science” and has the stated goal of making the Biblical Christian worldview “totally irrelevant in the Church. The result would be that the traditionally accepted truths of Jesus Christ and the Bible would be completely eradicated in the American culture.”
Mitchell said his group was praying for Williford and the seminary, and specifically that they will not allow themselves “to be compromised by the secular worldview due to this dangerous AAAS grant.”
Should Multnomah proceed to accept the money, he wrote, “we believe you should allow equal representation in educational materials and instructional time to creation scientists and biblical apologists.” Otherwise, “you can be sure you will only hear evolution and millons of years from AAAS-sponsored sources and speakers.”
In a statement of response issued to Christian News Northwest, the university affirmed that it is “a learning community committed to honoring God as the sovereign Creator and His truth as revealed in the inerrant, inspired Bible.”
“We believe the best way to study the Bible and theology is to do it in close communion with the arts and sciences — disciplines that give life, expression and context to our understanding and application of God’s Word … The (AAAS) grant will allow us to provide solid, science-focused instruction to our seminary students, and it will allow us to do so in a way that is consistent with our faith statement and our belief in the Bible as God’s authoritative truth.”
By JOHN FORTMEYER