Tim Widowfield has a provocative entry up on Vridar about "Old Earth Creationism", with special mention of James McGrath.
McGrath is seen as the bête noire of the kind of mythicism-friendly perspective that's promoted on Vridar, and with good reason. Dr McGrath is anything but tolerant of Jesus mythicism, comparing it (unjustifiably in my opinion) to Young Earth Creationism and any number of other regressive fringe movements. The tone of debate has been acerbic from the get-go... arguably with both sides equally short tempered.
Putting aside the mythicist/historicist conflict for a moment, maybe it's useful to take a few deep breaths before a further stouch is ignited over "Old Earth Creationism".
The first point I'd want to make - at the risk of oversimplifying a complex set of developments - is the difference between European Protestant Christian thought on evolution and belief, and the American experience. American fundamentalism was a reactionary movement that took fright at the rational approach that was emerging in European Christianity at the turn of the last century. The enemy wasn't, at least directly, science; it was the spectre of fellow Christians accommodating the post- Enlightenment knowledge then emerging about our world. This process was already well underway in mainline denominations.
The second point is that while this European tradition retained great influence even after the First World War, following World War II there was a huge shift. German theologians in particular were seen as dubious and discredited - it's easy to understand why - and the progressive momentum that had been built up was swept aside. Into the vacuum came the neo-orthodox theologians. Bultmann was ditched for the thin gruel of Karl Barth and his disciples who firmly rejected what they called "liberal theology". While they were certainly not fundamentalists themselves, their theology served to facilitate a return to the kind of myopic Bible-first mindset which then abandoned the field - especially among lay people - to the bottom feeders. Southern Baptist hell-fire and guilt evangelist Billy Graham, for example, was welcomed as a respected voice of Christianity well beyond the borders of the United States.
This reactionary form of Christianity was now exported on an unprecedented scale to other parts of the world, infected with fundamentalist presuppositions; witness the rise of Pentecostalism and the "prosperity gospel". In Europe, where the established churches had understandably lost credibility due to their pathetic response - or lack thereof - to the rise of fascism, the new populist memes quickly gained ground, appropriating terms like 'evangelical' to themselves.
It follows then that it's not quite correct to say that Christians of a liberal, progressive or radical persuasion today are just trying to backtrack, or indulge in devious apologetic moves. Nor is it exactly fair to lump those who fully accept evolution in with Genesis gap theorists of the Scofield Reference Bible variety - they are very different things. A label like "Old Earth Creationism" confuses categories horribly.
Which isn't to say that Tim hasn't made some telling points. The BioLogos statement he quotes, for example, seems facile and compromising. Progressive Christianity of the Sea of Faith variety, for example, is very different from that kind of dogma.
To be clear, I'm absolutely not trying to be an apologist for any kind of theism, or atheism for that matter. But theologies, like philosophies, can be subtle beasts. It doesn't hurt to acknowledge that.