Bethel College Professor Resigns Amidst Origins Controversy

Since 2013, Stump has served on the staff of BioLogos, which advocates "an evolutionary understanding of God’s creation.

BioLogos President Deborah Haarsma issued aresponse to news of Dr. Stump’s resignation. She writes about how “disheartened” those at BioLogos are at the decision by the college, which put Dr. Stump “in the painful situation of having to choose between the scholarship to which he feels called and the academic community to which he has belonged for decades.” However, she recognizes Bethel’s “right to set boundaries” on the subject of Origins. Haarsma is concerned, however, the policy with cause students of science to feel they have to choose between science and Christianity.


On Thursday, Bethel College released an Educational Philosophy of Origins policy, adopted by the Board of Trustees in June. Due to the controversy over the literal view of the creation of humanity, Dr. Jim Stump had resigned from the college June 26. Stump was a Professor of Philosophy at the college, and had been associated with it as a teacher or administrator since 1998. He also provided leadership for the college’s BUILD honors program.

In a joint statement released at the time of Stump’s resignation, college President Gregg Chenoweth praised Dr. Stump’s relationship with the college, and stated Stump was helping the college transition and assign new leadership for the BUILD program.

Bethel College is associated with the Missionary Church denomination, which states in their Articles of Faith and Practice: “We believe that the first man, Adam, was created by an immediate act of God and not by a process of evolution.” Bethel has long maintained a dialogue with other organizations which teach evolution, and the new policy apparently still encourages that. However, the reason Stump resigned has to do specifically with the last paragraph of the document, which includes this wording: “..faculty are not to advocate for, nor hold leadership positions for, nor sustain a contractual relationship with an academic community which may be at variance with the Statement.”

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