by Christopher M. Rios
Over the course of the twentieth century the concept of complementarity earned considerable support among evangelical scientists. Leading figures in both the USA and Britain argued that science and theology offered distinct perspectives of the natural world that were reconcilable, if recognized as complementary descriptions rather than mutually exclusive claims. Though not without critics, this logic was employed by the most conspicuous evangelical researchers who attempted to ease the tension between Christianity and modern science. The benefit of such a view, they argued, was the avoidance of reductionism: neither Christians nor scientists could claim that their view of the world invalidated the other perspective. Drawing on the history of the American Scientific Affiliation and the Research Scientists’ Christian Fellowship (now Christians in Science), this article examines the past use of complementarity in light of recent criticism and asks why it became so broadly espoused by leading members of these groups.