Not that I think anyone will be surprised by this, but Art Boulet is linking to a joint statement from Peter Enns and Westminster Seminary.
The gist of the statement is that; 1) WTS agrees that Peter Enns is an evangelical, 2) Peter Enns agrees that WTS thinks he isn’t Reformed (or at least their brand of Reformed).
I have only a few thoughts on this; 1) Not surprising, 2) Peter Enns has guts, 3) it will be interesting to see what the future holds for Dr. Enns.
I’ve listened to the special chapel discussion that took place at Westminster today. Here are my impressions and thoughts on the chapel itself and the broader issues taking place at Westminster:
1. I thought that the students did an excellent job of being respectful and yet asking very pertinent, at at times pointed, questions.
2. The administration representatives did as all such representatives do, they dodged. That isn’t to say they didn’t answer questions, they did. But they were quick to hedge their comments with cautions.
3. At least one of the questioners asked if Dr. Enns had been formally charged with anything. This was perhaps the most interesting question posed in the entire 36 minute chapel. The answer included a double helping of hedging but it eventually came out that, no he had not been formally charged, though there were allegations that were brought. The way I see it, the Board of Westminster has gotten themselves into a pickle. They decided to ignore the faculty vote on his orthodoxy, and go ahead and suspend Dr. Enns. As a result they appear to be suspending him for the nebulous “disunity” on campus. Which of course, leads back to his book which is the reason for the disunity. But, if Dr. Enns is still in agreement with the WCF, which a majority of faculty say he is, then there is no cause for disunity surrounding the book.
4. I think that the very fact that there are some who are questioning Enns’ conservatism shows a tendency among conservative evangelicals to go on witch hunts. This concerns me greatly. The fact that Westminster is getting all bent out of shape because Dr. Enns said Christians don’t need to be afraid of critical scholarship is simply astounding.
5. All of this leads me to the question of whether or not true scholarship can take place at confessional schools. Scholarship naturally involves questioning. When someone is stopped from questioning, that’s a bad thing. Of course, one could make the argument that any Christian school that attempted to hold to any kind of creed (even something as basic as the Apostles’ Creed) would eventually stop people from questioning things. I understand and agree with the sentiment. But the Apostles’ Creed, for instance, would allow much more room for questions than something like the WCF.
So, with all of this the question remains for me, how can scholarship take place in conservative evangelical circles when it would appear that if one acknowledges some of the findings of scholarship over the past hundred years they are immediately labeled “liberal.” Such labels are unhelpful at best and dehumanizing at worst. Relatedly, I find Michael’s questions quite interesting.
As promised, today, Tuesday April 1st, there was a special chapel held at Westminster Theological Seminary to bring the student body up to date on the goings on at the seminary. Art, a friend and current student at WTS, recorded the discussion and has posted a link to the mp3. I will not link directly to the mp3 from here because it appears that the site which was hosting it is under quite a bit of strain trying to serve up all of the requests. I do, however, highly recommend that everyone grab the mp3 and take the time to listen to it as soon as possible.
I will update this post if another link to the mp3 becomes available. I’ll also have another post with my impressions as soon as I’m able to listen to the mp3.
Update – The link to the mp3 from Art’s blog appears to be working wonderfully now.