Reasons to Believe

History of the BioLogos-Reasons To Believe Dialogue

The relationship between Reasons To Believe and Biologos formally began on October 17 in 2006 when Fuz Rana and Dave Rogstad interviewed Francis Collins for two hours for Reasons To Believe’s Creation Update podcast. That podcast is still available on Reasons To Believe’s website at http://c450903.r3.cf2.rackcdn.com/2006/cu339.mp3. However, informally the relationship extends back to the early 1990s.

Hugh Ross interviewed Jeff Schloss on the subjects of altruism in nature, the biological anthropic principle, and human exceptionalism for several television episodes broadcast on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. (Those episodes currently are being rebroadcast on the Church Channel.) In the late 1990s Darrel Falk had brief informal meetings with Fuz Rana and Hugh Ross and Hugh Ross and Jeff Zweerink interacted with Deb Haarsma in her capacity as the executive director of the chr-astro website.

The next formal meeting occurred on June 22, 2009 when Darrel Falk had lunch with all the Reasons To Believe (RTB) scholars at RTB headquarters. After the lunch meeting the RTB scholar team and Darrel had a phone meeting with Francis Collins during which we discussed getting the leaders of the BioLogos (BL) and RTB teams together for a private day-long dialogue. Before that dialogue took place Darrel Falk had an extended afternoon meeting on August 24, 2009 with Fuz Rana and Hugh Ross at RTB’s headquarters and by phone with Lynn Carta, an RTB volunteer who heads up a government evolutionary biology research lab.

The first dialogue between the BL and RTB leadership teams occurred on January 23, 2010 in Francis Collins’ home. The BL participants included Francis Collins, Peter Enns, Darrel Falk, and Jeff Schloss. The RTB participants were Lynn Carta, Fuz Rana, Hugh Ross, and Ken Samples. The purpose of the meeting was to clarify our areas of agreement and disagreement and to establish goals for future dialogues between the two organizations. The four agreed upon goals were:

  1. Clarify for each other our beliefs about and positions on various aspects of creation and evolution.
  2. Outline the means by which at least some of the more significant differences between us could be resolved.
  3. Set up public forums that will allow both Christians and non-Christians to learn about our respective positions on specific creation and evolution issues, observe our dialogue, and then engage in conversation with us.
  4. Consider how our interactions with one another might model for the Christian community how to approach differences in perspective and interpretation.

The next dialogue meeting between BL and RTB was a day-long meeting on September 14, 2010 at the home of an RTB board member in Laguna Beach, California. Participants included Darrel Falk, Jeff Schloss, Fuz Rana, and Hugh Ross. Most of that meeting focused on our respective positions on the origin and history of life and the genetics of human origins.

On November 11-14, 2010 the Vancouver RTB chapter sponsored debates between Fuz Rana and Dennis Venema on whether or not humans were the product of common descent and whether or not humans were descended from only two individuals. The debates took place at Trinity Western International University and at Redeemer? Seminary. At other times Hugh Ross was engaged in debating atheist scholars but was present at both Rana-Venema debates.

The second public engagement between BL and RTB scientists happened in Hong Kong at a conference on February 17-19, 2011. Several churches and the International Christian School sponsored the conference. The conference theme was origins where students, teachers, and church leaders were exposed to three different Christian models on origins: the BL model presented by Darrel, the RTB model presented by Hugh, and the young-earth creationist model presented by Jerry Layton, executive director of the Creation Science Training Center in Philippines. The three of us gave several talks each followed by panel discussions where we posed questions to one another and fielded questions from the audience.

Francis Collins and Fuz Rana had a breakfast meeting in Washington DC on April 8, 2011. They discussed their respective models on human origins, how their models interfaced with relevant biblical texts, and possible means for testing their models.

On May 11, 2011 Darrel Falk and Hugh Ross had a long lunch meeting where they discussed how the dialogue so far between the two organizations had benefitted the two organizations and mapped out where we should take future dialogue to maximize additional benefit for the two organizations and the Christian community at large. Darrel informed Hugh that BL had made a theological pivot to align more closely with the evangelical community, a pivot that included the departure of Peter Enns and an effort to commit to biblical inerrancy. Darrel also said that BL no longer would tolerate a belittling tone in their blog critiques of RTB. Hugh and Darrel finished the meeting by making specific plans for how the two organizations could graciously engage one another in public events.

Darrel Falk, Jeff Schloss, Dennis Venema, John Walton of BL, Fuz Rana of RTB, and Ian Tattersall, an atheist anthropologist each gave lectures at the Becoming Human in Theistic Perspectives conference sponsored by the Templeton Foundation at the Amelia Island resort in Florida on Feb 26-29, 2012. In addition to the talks, this conference provided a lot of time for informal interaction among the speakers.

A similar conference took place a month later (March 29, 2012) at a Wheaton College Science Symposium. The symposium title was Genes, Theology, and the Origin of Humanity and featured among other speakers featured Fuz, Darrel, and Jack Collins of Covenant Seminary in St. Louis.

The first media dialogue between BL and RTB occurred on the flagship program of our nation’s largest Christian audience radio station KKLA on July 10, 2012. Frank Pastore moderated a one-hour dialogue between Darrel and Fuz on the topic, Comparative Genetics: Common Descent of Common Design, during afternoon drive time. A critical component that made the dialogue so successful and popular was a lunch meeting between Darrel and Fuz on June 8, 2012 during which they mapped out how they wanted the dialogue to proceed.

A few days later on July 14, 2012 the Orange County RTB chapter sponsored Darrel and Fuz in a public 2-hour forum. Their topic was the same: Comparative Genetics: Common Descent of Common Design. One hour of that forum was reserved for Q&A with the audience of approximately 200. Informal Q&A in the foyer and the parking lot lasted an additional hour.

The BL-RTB public events in Fullerton, Hong Kong and Vancouver all drew audiences intensely interested in the subject matter. In spite of the long Q&A sessions that followed each of the events our audiences expressed disappointment that the Q&A sessions could not be even longer.

A day-long meeting between BL and RTB leaders took place on August 23, 2012 at the home of an RTB donor in Newport Beach, California. Participants from BL included Darrel Falk, Jeff Hardin, Jeff Schloss, and John Walton. RTB participants included Fuz Rana, Hugh and Kathy Ross, Ken Samples, and Jeff Zweerink. Much of the dialogue centered on how to interpret the two-books doctrine, different concordist models of interpretation, and how to interpret Paul’s writings in Romans 5-8. Given the geographical separation of the BL and RTB scholars, we agreed to supplement our face-to-face meetings with phone meetings. Fruitful phone meetings took place between Darrel and Fuz on February 11, 2013, between Darrel, Fuz, and Jeff Schloss on January 21, 2014, and between Deb and Hugh on July 9, 2013 and on January 17, 2014.

The next public events between BL and RTB occurred on October 3, 2013 and February 11, 2014. At the Areopagus Event in October Jeffrey Breshears moderated lectures and Q&A by Darrel, Fuz, and Jeff on the subject of human originsat Perimeter Church in Johns Creek, Georgia. In February, Azusa Pacific University, CRIS, and Foothill Center Church in Azusa sponsored an armchair dialogue, titled A Gracious Dialogue, between Deb and Hugh. Discussion topics included origins of the universe, life, and humanity and the biblical creation texts.

Thanks to the generosity of the Templeton Foundation, BL and RTB had their first two-day dialogue that incorporated most of the BL and RTB leaders and three Southern Baptist theologians. This meeting, Bridges of Understanding, took place October 3-5, 2013, at Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort, Stone Mountain, GA. Participants from BL included Darrel Falk, Deb Haarsma, Jeff Hardin, Jeff Schloss, and John Walton. Ken Hultgren (outreach director), Fuz Rana, Hugh Ross, and Ken Samples made up the RTB team. Southern Baptist theologians included Ken Keathley, John Laing, and Steve Lemke. This was the first of four meetings that focused on the development of a book or a series of books where BL and RTB would engage one another on their respective creation/evolution models that would be moderated by a team of Southern Baptist theologians.

Thanks to the generosity of the Southern Baptist convention and the continues generosity of the Templeton Foundation three more book development meetings took place:

  1. May 13-14, 2014 at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary attended from BL by Ted Davis, Darrel Falk, Jeff Hardin, Jeff Schloss, Ralph Stearley, Jim Stump, and John Walton, attended from RTB by Joe Aguirre (editor-in-chief), Ken Hultgren, Fuz Rana, Hugh Ross, Ken Samples, and Jeff Zweerink, and attended from Southern Baptist seminaries by Ken Keithley, John Laing, Steve Lemke, and Robert (Bob) Stewart
  2. November 19, 2014 at Town and Country Hotel in San Diego (before and after our forum presentation at the Evangelical Theological Society) attended from BL by Darrel Falk, Deb Haarsma, Jim Stump, and John Walton, attended from RTB by Joe Aguirre, Fuz Rana, Hugh Ross, Ken Samples, and Jeff Zweerink, attended from Southern Baptist seminaries by James Dew, Ken Keathley, and Robert Stewart, and attended by Andrew LePeau from InterVarsity Press
  3. April 30-May 1, 2015 at Southeastern Baptist Seminary attended from BL by Ted Davis, Darrel Falk, Deb and Loren Haarsma, Chad Meister, Jeff Schloss, Ralph Stearley, Jim Stump, and John Walton, attended from RTB by Joe Aguirre, Fuz Rana, Hugh Ross, Ken Samples, and Jeff Zweerink, attended from Southern Baptist seminaries by Ted Cabal, Jamie Dew, Ken Keathley, John Laing, Steve Lemke, Robert Stewart, and attended by David Condon from InterVarsity Press.

RTB let BL know that it was intending to publish an extensive update of the human origins book, Who Was Adam? that it released in 2005. Darrell and Jeff Schloss offered their services in providing critical review. Two day-long meetings in May and December, 2014 took place at RTB headquarters during which such review was assessed and incorporated into the new addition.

On November 19, 2014 BL and RTB held their first public forum that was moderated by Southern Baptist theologians. The 3.5-hour forum was part of the joint annual conference sponsored by the Evangelical Theological Society and the Evangelical

Dr. Hugh Ross

Reasons to Believe emerged from my passion to research, develop, and proclaim the most powerful new reasons to believe in Christ as Creator, Lord, and Savior and to use those new reasons to reach people for Christ. Read more about Dr. Hugh Ross.