Attempting to show that science doesn't have to be a threat to religion, a diverse panel of “evolutionary” Christians will discuss evolution and the Christian faith in live online seminars beginning Saturday.
The six-part series will draw speakers from across the theological spectrum, including BioLogos Foundation's Karl Giberson, representing an evangelical viewpoint, and the emergent church's Brian McLaren.
Michael Dowd, author of Thank God for Evolution, will host of the series entitled, "The Advent of Evolutionary Christianity."
Speaking to The Christian Post, Dowd said he hopes the roundtable discussions will present science as God's way of divine communication to this generation.
The 90-minute conversations, he added, will focus more on what "evolution-celebrating" Christians have in common than on their differences.
"We all honor scientific evidence as God's communication and that God is communicating new truths to Christianity today," said Dowd.
Some questions that he intends to tackle during the sessions include: how churches can evolve and be faithful to what God is revealing through science as opposed to Scripture, how Christianity is related to other people equally committed to a healthy future for the planet, and the difference between evolutionary and non-evolutionary Christians on how they relate to others on their faith.
Participants will also get the chance to ask their questions live.
An advocate of the "Epic of Evolution" or "The Great Story," Dowd argued that there are "truths" God has revealed through "evidential knowledge" today that could not have been revealed in the Bible.
While science today lends evidence to tectonic plates as the method God used to create the Atlantic Ocean, he explained, people living during biblical times would have simply said, "God spoke it into being," or offered "mythic" explanations.
"Had God tried to communicate to the Apostle Paul how creation was really created, Paul would have thought it was bizarre. And if Paul had written about it, nobody else would have thought it was inspiring but they would have completely rejected it," said Dowd.
Dowd's views on God and naturalistic evolution have drawn criticism from one prominent evangelical.
R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., has criticized Dowd for rejecting biblical Christianity and the belief in a personal God.
"There is no subtlety to Dowd’s total rejection of theism, the supernatural, and any belief in a personal God," said Mohler in a commentary last summer.
But Dowd contended that his embrace of "evidential knowledge" does not suggest a rejection of the Bible.
"It's just realizing that Scripture has continued and what I mean by Scripture is divine guidance. Divine communication just didn't stop in the Bible. I'm not suggesting that people ignore the Bible or treat it any less way as divine revelation," he told The Christian Post.
"When people can see that scientific evidence can be legitimately seen as God's Word and guidance then all of a sudden the conflict between science and religion are dissolved and then people can be nourished in their faith walk and have a more intimate walk with God, with Christ," offered Dowd.
The first seminar of "The Advent of Evolutionary Christianity" begins Jan. 15 at 11 a.m. PST and goes through Feb. 1. Participants are required to register at evolutionarychristianity.com in order to join online.