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Creation debate roils Bryan College

"Creation debate roils Bryan College" Continued...

“I think we sense a lot of factions rising and people taking sides,” Baker, a 21-year-old senior, said. “We want unity.”

Haynes denied the board had timed the clarification to coincide with contract renewals. “It’s obviously amplified by that, but [faculty and staff] have signed this Statement of Belief every year.”

Asked what would happen to faculty who could not sign the clarified statement this month, Haynes said, “I’m confident that there will be some very serious discussion with them about whether they should be teaching at Bryan College.” He said he did not think the clarification required faculty to affirm a young Earth.

“You’ve got to stand on the Word of God and judge science by that,” Haynes said. “You can’t stand on science and judge the Word of God.”

The clarification has already provoked at least one resignation. Former Trustee Mark Trail, a Bryan graduate, stepped down from the board Feb. 17. He said in his resignation letter he could “not ascribe” to the board’s interpretation of the Statement of Belief. “I believe we don’t know exactly how God did it,” Trail told me by email, adding there were “many unanswered questions about our genetic similarities with Neanderthals and Chimpanzees, for example, that I think demand remaining open to testing various hypothesis.”

Hollingsworth said he personally believes in six-day creation, and was not surprised that Bryan would affirm a created Adam and Eve. “I didn’t have a problem with the clarification,” he said. “It was just the rush. I know that my president is a man of integrity. … I feel confident that he believes he is doing the right thing. … It’s just the way he’s gone about it is a little disconcerting.”

Haynes said ultimately, the clarification doesn’t change the college’s position.

“The dilemma is we’re responding to people trying to chip away at the Statement of Faith,” he said. “The timing is unfortunate. But this is where Bryan College stands. We did not move. Somebody else did.”

Daniel James Devine
Daniel James Devine

Daniel is a reporter for WORLD who covers science, technology, and other topics in the Midwest from his home base in Indiana. Follow Daniel on Twitter @DanJamDevine.

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