If you think evolution is unrelated to church work, some very rich people disagree. They’re spending millions to make the church an evolution-friendly place.

Nearly every hour of every day, headlines
flash across major TV news
channels telling the story of passionate
men and women driven to change
the world. From Sara Greenberg-Hassan,
a mother in Minnesota raising
funds to buy lunches for low-income
kids, to thousands marching against
abortion in Washington, DC, our culture
wants to be heard. When it comes
to the creationevolution debate, in
contrast, many of the organizations
most dedicated to undermining the
Bible’s teachings in the church aren’t
picketing on national TV or launching
social media fundraisers for little kids.
Instead, they prefer to work quietly
behind the scenes.

The John Templeton Foundation
is one such organization. Its tendrils
are everywhere, seeking to influence
the church both directly and indirectly
to embrace a view contrary to
God’s Word. With a bank account of
more than three billion dollars, this
nonprofit organization is known for
its philanthropic efforts to bring scientists
and religious leaders together.
Less well known is how it has been
lavishing millions of dollars—through
both secular and religious fronts—to
advance belief in and teaching of evolution
in the church.

In the Founder’s Words

The organization officially claims to bring people together
as “a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the big
questions of human purpose and ultimate reality.” But look
closely at its mission statement. The organization supports
“research on subjects ranging from complexity, evolution,
and infinity, to creativity, forgiveness, love, and free will. We
encourage civil, informed dialogue among scientists, philosophers,
and theologians and between such subjects and the
public at large, for the purposes of definitional clarity and
new insights.”

John Templeton

John Templeton wanted to finance “humility,” but he
encouraged people to question the authority of God’s Word.

On the surface, it sounds innocent. John Templeton,
founder and billionaire who made his money selling globally
diversified mutual funds to investors, established the foundation
in 1987, supposedly to promote scientific research
about basic human problems. Although not a well-known
philanthropist at the time, he passionately believed science
could resolve religious conflict. Notice, however, what he
meant by “science”—evolution.

Although he was a Presbyterian elder and active in his
denomination, Templeton said he had a “humble approach”
to theology. He declared little is known about the divine
through holy books and present-day theology because it
has failed to engage the real world of science, where all the
answers lie. He predicted that “scientific revelations may be
a gold mine for revitalizing religion in the 21st century.”

In his view, science, not religion, is where we can truly
understand God and answer the challenges of the human
condition. He called it science, anyway. But the science
he promoted is evolution—a religious viewpoint about the
origin of life that is built on unprovable assumptions, not
observation. And it is contrary to the revealed history in the
Bible, given to us by the God who was there and who passed
down an eyewitness account of what happened.

Templeton came across as humble in regard to religion,
which is disarming. In one interview, he said, “I grew up
as a Presbyterian. Presbyterians thought the Methodists
were wrong. Catholics thought all Protestants were wrong.
The Jews thought the Christians were wrong. So, what
I’m financing is humility. I want people to realize that you
shouldn’t think you know it all.”

But think about the implications. He is calling on people to
question the final authority and trustworthiness of the Word
given to us by the Creator of the universe. That is not humility.

Funding Secular Organizations to Promote Evolution in the Church

So far, the foundation has given away tens of millions of
dollars in research grants and programs to bring together
Christians and secular thinkers working for a variety of
academic and scientific organizations. These grants are in addition to the annual $1.7 million Templeton Prize, given to
honor a person who “has made an exceptional contribution
to affirming life’s spiritual dimension.”

After Templeton’s death in 2008, the foundation clarified
its grant-making process to support five core areas. These
include innocuous-sounding goals like promoting character
development, freedom and free enterprise, exceptional cognitive
talent and genius, and genetics. But the largest funding
area is still science and “big questions.”

Through their life sciences donations, in particular,
the foundation supports the spread of theistic evolution
(the belief that the Bible is compatible with evolution from
the big bang to humans). Nearly $5 million was granted to
fund 11 projects between 2014 and 2016 at the Institute of
Human Origins, a completely secular organization that
studies and promotes human evolution and what it means
to be human.

Religion and Science Together

In addition to financing the research of evolutionary
thinkers and organizations, the Templeton Foundation
also spends loads of money to promote these ideas through
Christian organizations. One organization primarily was
kick-started with funds directly from Templeton. Grant
money—$9.8 million and counting—flows into its coffers. Its
name is BioLogos.

Since its founding in 2007, BioLogos has quickly grown
to become the most influential Christian think tank that
advocates evolution as God’s method
for producing all the life on earth. The
primary goal of its members is to convince
fellow evangelical Christians to
embrace evolution and an old earth.
Throughout their mission statement
they affirm “the belief that the Bible is
the inspired and authoritative Word of
God,” and yet at the same time, they
make it clear that they believe evolution
can and should be harmonized
with the Bible.

That’s what makes them so dangerous.
And that explains why the
Templeton Foundation is so eager to
support them. They say they have the
same fundamental beliefs as other
evangelicals, but in practice they
encourage believers to reinterpret
clearly revealed Scripture to line up
with flawed human understanding
about the origin of the universe and
life on earth. This approach, taken to
its logical conclusion, reinforces John
Templeton’s original motto that science
trumps revelation.

The man who founded BioLogos is
the eminent Dr. Francis Collins, former
director of the Human Genome
Project, which completed sequencing
the human genome in 2003. His book,
The Language of God: A Scientist Presents
Evidence for Belief
(2006), shared
his own transition from atheism to
a Christian belief, arguing that evolution
is not in conflict with biblical
faith but enhances faith. He presents
an active, “caring” God who created
the life-forms we see today through
evolutionary processes (including millions
of years of death, suffering, and

The book’s success motivated Collins
to start a website, where he asked
philosophers and scientists to provide
readers with answers to questions of
science and faith. One financial supporter
and content contributor to the
original website was, not surprisingly,
the Templeton Foundation.


The Templeton Foundation’s “Science for
Seminaries” program funded the teaching of
evolution in prominent seminaries such as
Regent University School of Divinity.

Since evolution over millions of
years contradicts the Genesis account of history, BioLogos has to reinterpret
the Bible. Their mission statement
says they “affirm evolutionary creation,
recognizing God as the creator
of life over billions of years.” That kind
of thinking caught the eye of Templeton
and its financial machine.

The only way to reach BioLogos’
conclusion is to reject the Bible’s
supreme authority—giving priority to
the claims of man’s word about the
past instead of God’s Word. Their website
makes no apologies for their view:
“Many independent measurements
have established that the earth and
the universe are billions of years old.”

BioLogos, which survives in part
on money from Templeton, spreads
its bounty into the church. In 2009,
2010, and 2012, for instance, they organized—and Templeton funded, to the
tune of half a million dollars—a Theology
of Celebration conference in New
York City, where 60 Christian thought
leaders came by special invitation. The
aim of this all-expenses-paid trip was
supposedly to explore the possibilities
for the origin of life, but in fact it
excluded biblical creation from the list
of alternatives.

Another initiative is the “Evolution
and Christian Faith” campaign.
As part of this effort, BioLogos has
donated more than $3.6 million in grants to churches, parachurch
groups, and academics. This money promotes evolution
through the publication of hundreds of books, videos,
and other teaching materials worldwide.

Science for Seminaries

Templeton’s vision and endless stash of cash has spread
to even the most unlikely of places. It includes prominent
seminaries such as Wake Forest University School of Divinity,
Columbia Theological Seminary, and Regent University
School of Divinity (founded by evangelical Pat Robertson).
Why would the Templeton Foundation target seminaries,
and why would these religious teaching centers accept
financial grants from an organization like this?

The outreach to seminaries began with a five-million-dollar
donation to the American Association for the
Advancement of Science (AAAS), a secular science organization,
to establish a program called Dialogue on Science,
Ethics, and Religion (DoSER). Begun in 1995, its aim is to foster
communication between scientific and religious communities
to create unity instead of dissension.

A major portion of more recent funding went to the “Science
for Seminaries” program, from 2014 to 2016, which
encouraged seminaries to promote the understanding of “science”
among future religious leaders. But if you think this
means studying the periodic table or photosynthesis, you
are mistaken. The topic that matters most to the Templeton
Foundation can be summarized in one word: evolution.

The Templeton influence extends to more than just liberal
seminaries. One of the leading evangelical seminaries, Trinity
Evangelical Divinity School in the Chicago area, received
a $3.4 million grant from the foundation in 2015. The grant,
the largest in Trinity’s 118-year history,
supports the school’s new “Evangelical
Theology and the Doctrine of
Creation Project.”

This multiyear study project will
examine and develop the Christian
doctrine of origins within evangelical
theology. The initiative claims to
pursue “Reading Genesis in an Age
of Science, Affirming the Doctrine of
Creation in an Age of Science, and
Reclaiming Theological Anthropology
in an Age of Science.” I submit that Trinity
uses the word creation but really
means “evolution over hundreds of
millions of years.”

This project teaches scientists and
theologians how to combine creation
and evolution (so-called “science”) and then push these ideas on students (and the congregations
they soon lead) through lectures, conferences, resources,
websites, and sponsoring of research scholarships.

There seems no end to the creative ways the Templeton
Foundation has found to spend its money to slip evolution
into the church, some direct and others not so direct. Over
$1 million was awarded to the Smithsonian’s Human Origins
Program and the American Library Association, and even this
was intended to penetrate the church.

They created a traveling exhibit on human evolution
based on the David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins at the
National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. It
didn’t just go to the big cities but also to small and mid-sized
towns in America, and religious leaders from the community
were invited to talks held at the same libraries where
the exhibit was set up. The tour ended this spring.

The hope of the exhibit’s curator, Rick Potts, was to “spark
a respectful and positive conversation across the country
about what it means to be human and inspire people to contemplate
their place in the natural world.” In other words,
we need to contemplate that we are evolved from ape-like

We must all be on the lookout in our churches,
denominations, educational materials, and even public libraries
for both subtle and blatant efforts to advance causes contrary to the Bible.

Christians would be foolish to
believe that no dark forces are working
behind the scenes to undermine
the gospel. God’s Word warns us to
“walk circumspectly” (Ephesians 5:15).
We must all be on the lookout, in our
churches, denominations, educational
materials, and even our public libraries,
for both subtle and blatant efforts
to advance causes contrary to the Bible.

John Templeton was a wealthy man
driven by his passion to promote what
he considered science but which was
in fact evolution. He yearned to help
mankind, but in reality, his initiatives
drive people away from the one thing
they need most—the message of the
gospel of Jesus revealed in God’s Word
and founded upon its true history.

The Bible’s history explains mankind’s
real dilemma—rebellion against
God. And it provides our only solution,
the sacrifice of our Creator Jesus
Christ, who became man, lived a sinless
life, died in the place of sinners on
the Cross, and rose again to provide
eternal life to all who trust and receive
Him as Savior.

We don’t learn these life-saving
truths from science, since science
is limited to describing the physical
world. We know them because God
recorded them for us in His Word, and
we can trust what He says.

Those who have found this solution
to the human condition, available only
in Jesus Christ, should be challenged
by Templeton’s example. He gave three
billion dollars to promote a cause he
believes in. Are we willing to dedicate
ourselves even more passionately to
the correct message?

Melissa Skinner earned a degree in communication print
journalism from Liberty University and spent four years
working as a news writer for Liberty’s News and Media
Relations Office. She is a former editor for Answers magazine.

This post was originally published on this site