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5 Christian Denominations With Most Liberal Stance on Evolution

By    |   Friday, 22 May 2015 09:45 PM

While some Christian denominations believe the narrative of the Bible and the theory of evolution are not compatible, many others find the two beliefs can align.

Joel Martin examined the issue in the "Evolution: Education Outreach" journal and said, contrary to what many think, a majority of Christians find evolution compatible with their beliefs.

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Martin said this majority is partly due to a large Catholic base but also the many “mainstream” Protestant denominations. The following seven denominations are the ones with the most liberal stance of evolution:

Roman Catholic
As Martin pointed out in his study, Catholics make up a large portion of the Christian population worldwide as well as a significant denomination in the United States. The Roman Catholic governing body has found compatibility between some evolutionary perspectives and their religious ideology.

However, the Catholic Church laid out strict constraints as to what is reconcilable with its beliefs. Catholic Answers said that when it comes to human evolution, “It allows for the possibility that man’s body developed from previous biological forms, under God’s guidance, but it insists on the special creation of his soul” and “in no circumstances permits belief in atheistic evolution.”

United Methodist
The United Methodist Church, unlike the Roman Catholics, are not as nuanced about their acceptance of evolution.

Simply, their website says, “We find that science’s descriptions of cosmological, geological, and biological evolution are not in conflict with theology.”

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Evangelical Lutheran Church of America
This Christian denomination is facing internal conflict regarding the basis of their beliefs, including evolution. The group ELCA Today operates a website with a stated mission “to provide you with information, documents, articles, … all dealing with the increasingly troubling non-Scriptural teachings … of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.”

ELCA Today criticized the 1,500 ELCA leaders that signed “The Clergy Letter – from American Christian Clergy: An Open Letter Concerning Religion and Science,” in which it stated that the Bible is not to be read literally like a science textbook. The letter said that while many biblical stories such as Adam and Eve and Noah and the ark are important stories that demonstrate the relationship between God and society, religious truth is different from scientific truth.

Furthermore, one faction of the denomination – the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church – takes a completely conservative view of evolution.

Presbyterian Church
The stance of the Presbyterian Church U.S. has remained the same since its 1969 General Assembly statement. It stated that the “true relation between the evolutionary theory and the Bible is that of non-contradiction” and the Church “should carefully refrain from either affirming or denying the theory of evolution.”

Episcopal Church
The Episcopal Church offered a statement over the Episcopal News Service in 2006 regarding its stance on evolution. The Bishop-elect at the time advocated for teaching evolution in schools since creationism does not have such strong supporting data as evolutionism.

Bishop-elect Katharine Jefferts Schori said, “I believe in the creeds. They say God created the world, but they don’t say how.”

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While some Christian denominations believe the narrative of the Bible and the theory of evolution are not compatible, many others find the two beliefs can align.
Christian denominations, evolution, liberal
Friday, 22 May 2015 09:45 PM
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