The John Templeton Foundation has always rejected intelligent design. Five years ago, in Discovery Institute: Francisco Ayala’s Templeton Prize we referred to an earlier post — Discovery Institute: They Get No Respect! — where we said that there had been a note at the Templeton website titled: “Does the John Templeton Foundation support intelligent design?” but that link isn’t working. Fortunately, we quoted its contents at our post.
The result is that the Discovery Institute has been effectively locked out of ever winning a Templeton Prize, and they’re bitter at this rejection. The last time we looked, in 2007, the Templeton Foundation gave out approximately $70 million in grant awards. It’s potentially a rich source of funds for the Discoveroids and other creationist organizations, but we assumed that none of them would ever get any Templeton funds. Or so it seemed. Now we’re beginning to wonder.
In the Chicago Tribune we read Trinity awarded $3.4 million Templeton grant. The news is two weeks old, but we just learned about it. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School has been awarded a $3.4 million grant from the Templeton Religion Trust for a multi-year study project that will examine and develop the Christian doctrine of creation within evangelical theology.
Are things changing at Templeton? The news continues:
The initiative, titled “Evangelical Theology and the Doctrine of Creation Project,” will unfold in three academic years with these theme topics: Reading Genesis in an Age of Science (2015-16), Affirming the Doctrine of Creation in an Age of Science (2016-17), and Reclaiming Theological Anthropology in an Age of Science (2017-18).
That sounds like straight creation science — the sort of thing one can read about at numerous creationist websites. Then the Tribune quotes someone at Trinity:
“Proceeding with both deep confidence in the utter truthfulness of divine revelation and commitment to the value of open inquiry, we are hopeful that this project will bear much fruit,” [Trinity’s Carl F.H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding] Thomas H. McCall said.
“Instead of adopting a defensive posture, this project works hard to lay out what Scripture and the rich theological heritage of the church contribute to our understanding of creation,” Research Professor of New Testament D.A. Carson said. “That heritage must be allowed to speak boldly, graciously, and prophetically, to challenge every cultural stance with a different (and usually much narrower) frame of reference.”
So we went to the website of Trinity International University and found a news release about the grant: Trinity Awarded $3.4 million Templeton Grant. That says:
Among its many benefits, the grant will fund public lectures and events that will feature a broad array of outstanding biblical scholars, theologians, philosophers, scientists and public intellectuals. It also will establish four scholar-in-residence grants on the Trinity campus each year, support six pastors (and their congregations) who are willing to focus on the doctrine of creation, and initiate a writing competition for graduate students who research related topics.
How will this be any different from what goes on at the the Institute for Creation Research? They offer a degree in their brand of creationism — see: ICR Launches Online Apologetics Degree. Anyway, here’s one more excerpt from the Trinity website:
“This generous grant makes it possible for evangelical theological scholarship to explore crucial hermeneutical, exegetical, historical, systematic, and pastoral elements of the doctrine of creation, especially as these relate to important developments in scientific inquiry,” McCall said. An advisory council of about 30 biblical scholars, theologians, scientists and Christian leaders will guide the project.
We have no idea what this means. Is the Templeton Foundation now willing to give grants to outfits like the Discoveroids, or to ol’ Hambo? Who knows? Time will tell.
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