Change in Statement of Faith Splits Faculty at Bryan College, in Tenn.

Bryan College, a small Christian institution in Dayton, Tenn., could lose as much as one-quarter of its full-time faculty in a dispute over the college’s statement of faith, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports.

The dispute, which led to a no-confidence vote in the college’s president in February, concerns the trustees’ addition to the statement of what they described as a clarification. It asserts that Adam and Eve were historical figures not created from previous life forms, according to the Associated Press.

Faculty members are required to affirm the statement of faith when they turn in their employment contracts. Some professors have objected to the clarification as a narrowing of the belief in creationism. Others have said that the college’s charter forbids changes in the statement. Amid the controversy, seven of the college’s 44 full-time faculty members are leaving, and seven others may leave as well.

The college was founded in the aftermath of the 1925 Scopes trial, over the teaching of evolution, and its name honors Williams Jennings Bryan, a prosecutor in that trial, which took place in Dayton.

Bryan’s president, Stephen Livesay, who has retained the trustees’ support, explained the rationale for the clarification in an interview last month with the Christian News Network. According to the Chattanooga newspaper, he said that if Adam and Eve were not historical people, “then the credibility of all Scripture is at stake.”

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