Dr. Peter Enns suspended from WTS

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daver

Puritan Board Freshman
A5POINTER,
I appreciate the admonition to refrain from unwarranted assertions about motives. I made a general statement which may apply to some professors and indeed scripture testifies to this fact. See Romans 16:18, 2 Peter 2:1, 2 Peter 2:4. Actually I was more “charitable” to alleged “false teachers” than Calvin and Luther were to those who corrupted the faith. (Not that I would be even qualified to clean the stables of those great men.)
I was trying to point out one of the “flaws’ I see in the current reformed theological education system. Perhaps this thread was not the best one to use to state my personal observation. In any event it is good to know that someone in Babylon pays attention.:)
 

A5pointer

Puritan Board Sophomore
A5POINTER,
I appreciate the admonition to refrain from unwarranted assertions about motives. I made a general statement which may apply to some professors and indeed scripture testifies to this fact. See Romans 16:18, 2 Peter 2:1, 2 Peter 2:4. Actually I was more “charitable” to alleged “false teachers” than Calvin and Luther were to those who corrupted the faith. (Not that I would be even qualified to clean the stables of those great men.)
I was trying to point out one of the “flaws’ I see in the current reformed theological education system. Perhaps this thread was not the best one to use to state my personal observation. In any event it is good to know that someone in Babylon pays attention.:)

Wow, who the heck are you referring to with that?:think: And what does it mean?:think:
 

daver

Puritan Board Freshman
A5POINTER,
Your Signature states: First Presbyterian PCUSA(I know yuk)
I guess I was just agreeing with your comment next to PCUSA in your signature. I know nothing about the individual congregation you belong to and apologize if I wrongly applied the name Babylon to your specific church. I would not back off of my use of that name as applied to the PCUSA.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
Josh, I think we're aiming at the same thing, so, no problem. Folks on the board: we need to give newbies a bit of room, especially as many of them probably don't have a lot of experience in internet communication. Newbies, do please realize that since we don't know you that well, yet, we may not be able to tell whether you're joking or not. So, a certain exaggerated clarity would be in order until you become very well known in terms of your habits.
 

A5pointer

Puritan Board Sophomore
I don't think there was anything wrong with Daver's comments. Let's move on, please.

Should I change my sig to "Someone from Babylon"? GB you must be mad at me for suggesting you look old to condone that comment. I am kind of shocked:lol:. I thought I was reading wrong when I saw the post. I have thick skin as we all should but that was a sucker punch. Where is the turning the other cheek moticon? I need it.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
I don't think there was anything wrong with Daver's comments. Let's move on, please.

Should I change my sig to "Someone from Babylon"? GB you must be mad at me for suggesting you look old to condone that comment. I am kind of shocked:lol:. I thought I was reading wrong when I saw the post. I have thick skin as we all should but that was a sucker punch. Where is the turning the other cheek moticon? I need it.

There I go now, not being clear! **Slaps myself** Bad boy, Lane, you hypocrite! No, I was not offended by your earlier comment about Sarah in the slightest. I was merely asking for clarity. And in my reference to Daver's comments, I was not trying to slap you at all. I was just trying to move the conversation along.
 

A5pointer

Puritan Board Sophomore
I don't think there was anything wrong with Daver's comments. Let's move on, please.

Should I change my sig to "Someone from Babylon"? GB you must be mad at me for suggesting you look old to condone that comment. I am kind of shocked:lol:. I thought I was reading wrong when I saw the post. I have thick skin as we all should but that was a sucker punch. Where is the turning the other cheek moticon? I need it.

There I go now, not being clear! **Slaps myself** Bad boy, Lane, you hypocrite! No, I was not offended by your earlier comment about Sarah in the slightest. I was merely asking for clarity. And in my reference to Daver's comments, I was not trying to slap you at all. I was just trying to move the conversation along.

We all suffer from lack of clarity, I knew you were not mad at me complimenting your wife. Your post was not a slap, just shocking a mod not having a problem with the sucker punch from my new friend Daver. It was in my opinion a low blow. But as someone who requires much grace I freely offer much. Peace.
 

Archlute

Puritan Board Senior
I listened to the audio of the chapel explaining the goings on over at Between Two Worlds...in that audio the President of WTS PA mentioned that two (I believe PCA) presbyteries informed them that as long as Prof Enns was there they would not be allowing or admitting young men who desire the office to attend. Something it seems had to be done. If Presbyteries won't send their own men there, the "Main Seminary" then that is trouble.

For the seminary, the PCA, and Professor Enns’ sake, I hope the report is not accurate for it sounds like ecclesiastical blackmail to me.


In this case, I would say that one man's blackmail is another man's wisdom.
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
In this case, I would say that one man's blackmail is another man's wisdom.

There is no wisdom in ill-conceived tactics. Or perhaps the presbytery is admitting it knows of no better way to deal with an unaccountable entity like WTS/PA. Could it be that economic pressure is all that remains?
 
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tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
Well here goes with my first post. Here are a couple of thoughts I have in general about those in the “profession” i.e. seminary professors. There appears to be a temptation to “make ones bones”. In the mafia world this refers to someone who has performed their first mafia “hit”. My analogy is that some theologians write in order to establish their reputation among their peers, instead of edifying the church. The end result is a”hit” is made upon the faith of their pastoral students. My suggestion is that any “unique” insights into scripture should first be discussed with ones peers while enjoying a good cigar and a refreshing beer. Hopefully any errant theology will disappear with the cigar smoke before it ends up in the class room or a GA .

I'm just wondering, do you have any reason to think that was not what took place in this instance? I understand a good percentage of the WTS/PA faculty is OK with Enn's teaching. Could they not have arrived at that level of support from cigar caucus gatherings?

I'm still looking for some confirmation that Enn's presbytery is concerned about these views.
 

HaigLaw

Puritan Board Sophomore
Between Two Worlds: Peter Enns of Westminster Theological Seminary Suspended

Talk amongst yourselves...

I read some of that and didn't understand a lot of it, but did understand this comment by Jeremy Pierce:

"It's about inerrancy. Enns says he affirms the Westminister statement of faith, but he in fact denies inerrancy in practice even if he doesn't admit it. An example is his claim that the daughter of Pharaoh didn't say what the text says she said. That kind of attribution of historical error in the Bible is compatible with Fuller's denial of inerrancy but not with Westminster's acceptance of it."

There were other examples in different comments, but this one made more sense to me. :detective:
 

HaigLaw

Puritan Board Sophomore
It seems that a board should be able to draw a line between things it can legislate and legitimately judge, and those it cannot. If a seminary wants to only employ confessional men (which is a legitimate desire), it must also be willing to acknowledge that confessionalism may only be determined by the candidate’s denomination, not some ad hoc hearing process of the seminary.

in my opinion, this should be obvious to a seminary that professes to have a high view of the Church.

I don't follow the logic of that. WTS provides pastors to several Reformed denominations. If it wants to assert that it is at least as Reformed as the most-Reformed of the denominations it serves, then it can and should make orthodoxy determinations on its faculty.

Otherwise, it would in effect be only as Reformed as the least-Reformed of those denominations, and have its graduates be rejected by the more-Reformed denominations. :detective:
 

HaigLaw

Puritan Board Sophomore
economic pressure, or ecclesiastical jurisdiction?

There is no wisdom in ill-conceived tactics. Or perhaps the presbytery is admitting it knows of no better way to deal with an unaccountable entity like WTS/PA. Could it be that economic pressure is all thay remains?

I don't see this as an issue of economic pressure.

Let's say the professor is in denomination A. Denomination B has trouble with his orthodoxy, but all A and B have is fraternal delegates to each other's GA's. B has no jurisdiction over the professor's orthodoxy or over his denomination A.

All B can do is contact WTS and say -- hey, we're not sending our candidates there anymore because the professor is not orthodox.

WTS has no jurisdiction over denomination A either.

But it does have jurisdiction over its professors. It would be foolish to have tenured professors it could not deal with unless their presbyteries disciplined them and that discipline held up at their denomination's GA. :detective:
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
I don't follow the logic of that. WTS provides pastors to several Reformed denominations. If it wants to assert that it is at least as Reformed as the most-Reformed of the denominations it serves, then it can and should make orthodoxy determinations on its faculty.

I’m not sure what is so hard to follow. The questions are simple and straightforward, in my opinion.

How does the faculty of an independent non-ecclesiastical entity like a seminary assert that collectively it does, in fact, correctly interpret whatever confession it claims to stand upon?

What authority does it bear which gives it any right to make such a claim? Are they claiming a divine charter and mandate?

How does any such claim not undermine the legitimate authority of the Church to make such determination for itself and for its officers?

Otherwise, it would in effect be only as Reformed as the least-Reformed of those denominations, and have its graduates be rejected by the more-Reformed denominations. :detective:

Not to be redundant, but that is the nature of an independent seminary. Who claims that it has the right to any such high ground? It is de facto independent. It has no authority to make a collective assertion for itself since it is not an ecclesiastical body. It is merely a collection of independent parts (faculty and staff) who may only properly be judged by their constituent denominations wrt confessional fidelity.
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
There is no wisdom in ill-conceived tactics. Or perhaps the presbytery is admitting it knows of no better way to deal with an unaccountable entity like WTS/PA. Could it be that economic pressure is all thay remains?

I don't see this as an issue of economic pressure.

Let's say the professor is in denomination A. Denomination B has trouble with his orthodoxy, but all A and B have is fraternal delegates to each other's GA's. B has no jurisdiction over the professor's orthodoxy or over his denomination A.

All B can do is contact WTS and say -- hey, we're not sending our candidates there anymore because the professor is not orthodox.

WTS has no jurisdiction over denomination A either.

But it does have jurisdiction over its professors. It would be foolish to have tenured professors it could not deal with unless their presbyteries disciplined them and that discipline held up at their denomination's GA. :detective:

Then make it a denomination, ordain all the faculty, and give it those rights. :D

Of course WTS has no jurisdiction over A or B. It’s not a church, but it cannot help acting like one when it comes to defining orthodoxy within its ranks. That is the nature of parachurch organizations; it is very difficult for them to not act like a Church at times.

I realize the Church at large has a difficult time with jurisdiction. And if B chooses not to pay any attention to the concerns of A, then there is no much that A can do except stop exchanging fraternal delegates with B

But the problem is only made worse by the existence of independent seminaries that wield quasi-ecclesiastical powers over their faculty.

It would be refreshing to see WTS or any other seminary that feels it needs to address the content of an instructor’s teaching to do so with the aid and direction of the instructor’s presbytery, rather than just giving him the old heave ho. Instead we see them responding to the closing of denomination B’s purse strings.

The present situation just appears like the worst we see in the world for resolving these types of conflict.

Perhaps I'm just being too naive and idealistic in this modern age.
 

HaigLaw

Puritan Board Sophomore
Or, maybe, it's just a matter of remembering the histories of the various organizations.

Was God mistaken in letting Machen and Van Til found WTS first, or should He have had them be involved in organizing the OPC and put WTS under it before returning to seminary teaching?
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
Or, maybe, it's just a matter of remembering the histories of the various organizations.

Was God mistaken in letting Machen and Van Til found WTS first, or should He have had them be involved in organizing the OPC and put WTS under it before returning to seminary teaching?

I would not go so far as to attribute the potential errors of God's saints to God Himself.

But the question is legitimate; was Machen acting properly when he worked to form not only WTS but also the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions? Or should he have arranged these activities within the context of a new presbytery/denomination?

Have the concerns of conservatives within the UPSUSA of that day negatively influenced churchmen today when it comes to defining the sole prerogatives of the Church?

Should we really think that anyone can come along and start a missions board just cuz Machen did?

I have not resolved these issues in my mind.
 

BJClark

Puritan Board Doctor
tcalbrecht;

For the seminary, the PCA, and Professor Enns’ sake, I hope the report is not accurate for it sounds like ecclesiastical blackmail to me.

How would it be blackmail?

If they disagree with what is being taught, isn't it more respectful and even Godly, for them to go and explain why they will no longer be sending candidates to their college instead of just stop sending candidates and leaving the leaders at the college wondering why?

But more importantly, how are the leaders of the college going to KNOW something is amiss if nobody tells them??
 

Archlute

Puritan Board Senior
In this case, I would say that one man's blackmail is another man's wisdom.

There is no wisdom in ill-conceived tactics. Or perhaps the presbytery is admitting it knows of no better way to deal with an unaccountable entity like WTS/PA. Could it be that economic pressure is all that remains?

It is neither blackmail, nor an ill-conceived tactic. It is men who are putting their pastoral concerns into action. Any and every pastor should be free to encourage or discourage a future seminarian from attending particular institutions based on his convictions. There are no "safe havens" for institutions just because of pedigree, affiliations, or by-gone glory days. These are men who are seeking to safeguard the future of their congregations, and fulfill their role as undershepherds.
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
tcalbrecht;

For the seminary, the PCA, and Professor Enns’ sake, I hope the report is not accurate for it sounds like ecclesiastical blackmail to me.

How would it be blackmail?

If they disagree with what is being taught, isn't it more respectful and even Godly, for them to go and explain why they will no longer be sending candidates to their college instead of just stop sending candidates and leaving the leaders at the college wondering why?

But more importantly, how are the leaders of the college going to KNOW something is amiss if nobody tells them??

Who is to say without all the facts? How would a presbytery know that something is amiss with a seminary instructor? Could you really figure that out from reading a book, or listening to the statements of a student? And if they do, why would they go to the seminary and not the presbytery of the instructor (assuming they are an officer bearer)?

Also, if the seminary doesn't know there is a problem, doesn't that kinda undermine the notion that they are capable to sit in judgment of the instructor's confessional integrity?

I'm thinking you can't have it both ways.
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
In this case, I would say that one man's blackmail is another man's wisdom.

There is no wisdom in ill-conceived tactics. Or perhaps the presbytery is admitting it knows of no better way to deal with an unaccountable entity like WTS/PA. Could it be that economic pressure is all that remains?

It is neither blackmail, nor an ill-conceived tactic. It is men who are putting their pastoral concerns into action. Any and every pastor should be free to encourage or discourage a future seminarian from attending particular institutions based on his convictions. There are no "safe havens" for institutions just because of pedigree, affiliations, or by-gone glory days. These are men who are seeking to safeguard the future of their congregations, and fulfill their role as undershepherds.

I'm rather surprised that folks don't seem very concerned about ninth commandment wrt the instructor in question, and due process with the brother. I would very suspect of any pastor who starts giving advice to students under his care based on such testimony. Being an undershepherd does not give one the right to judge a brother on confessional integrity. Perhaps they could look for guidance from the presbytery, or the presbytery of the instructor, but they are not charged to be a lone wolf on such judgment calls.

Maybe I'm missing something, but I thought that's what presbyterianism was all about.
 

HaigLaw

Puritan Board Sophomore
why not read the professor's book?

I'm rather surprised that folks don't seem very concerned about ninth commandment wrt the instructor in question, and due process with the brother. I would very suspect of any pastor who starts giving advice to students under his care based on such testimony. Being an undershepherd does not give one the right to judge a brother on confessional integrity. Perhaps they could look for guidance from the presbytery, or the presbytery of the instructor, but they are not charged to be a lone wolf on such judgment calls.

Maybe I'm missing something, but I thought that's what presbyterianism was all about.

Yeah, I think you're missing something rather obvious -- this professor published a book 3 years ago. Any pastor can read the book and advise young pastoral candidates under his care whether he thinks the book is heretical or not. He would be remiss not to, but instead to withhold judgment until some presbytery somewhere, perhaps in another denomination, pursues an examination of the book and its author.

:detective:
 

Archlute

Puritan Board Senior
There is no wisdom in ill-conceived tactics. Or perhaps the presbytery is admitting it knows of no better way to deal with an unaccountable entity like WTS/PA. Could it be that economic pressure is all that remains?

It is neither blackmail, nor an ill-conceived tactic. It is men who are putting their pastoral concerns into action. Any and every pastor should be free to encourage or discourage a future seminarian from attending particular institutions based on his convictions. There are no "safe havens" for institutions just because of pedigree, affiliations, or by-gone glory days. These are men who are seeking to safeguard the future of their congregations, and fulfill their role as undershepherds.

I'm rather surprised that folks don't seem very concerned about ninth commandment wrt the instructor in question, and due process with the brother. I would very suspect of any pastor who starts giving advice to students under his care based on such testimony. Being an undershepherd does not give one the right to judge a brother on confessional integrity. Perhaps they could look for guidance from the presbytery, or the presbytery of the instructor, but they are not charged to be a lone wolf on such judgment calls.

Maybe I'm missing something, but I thought that's what presbyterianism was all about.

Well friend, I've been in enough presbytery meetings where the "9th Commandment!" was wrongly invoked with the intent of keeping sin stuffed in the closet, and the truth of a matter locked up from proper discussion, that these sort of appeals no longer phase me. The folk who make constant appeal to this often overlook the fact that "outfacing and overbearing the truth...concealing the truth, undue silence in a just cause, and holding our peace when iniquity calleth for either a reproof from ourselves, or a complaint to others" is just as much a part of keeping the 9th (according to WLC#145) as anything else.

Presbyterianism can be used as a tool both to impede righteousness or to advance it, the system in and of itself is no cure for the sins of leaders in the church.
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
Yeah, I think you're missing something rather obvious -- this professor published a book 3 years ago. Any pastor can read the book and advise young pastoral candidates under his care whether he thinks the book is heretical or not. He would be remiss not to, but instead to withhold judgment until some presbytery somewhere, perhaps in another denomination, pursues an examination of the book and its author.

:detective:

Not if he has any regard for Christ's church beyond his own four walls, in my opinion. Is it the pastor's place to make a heresy judgment against a brother elder in his own or fraternal denomination? Isn't that what church courts are for?

Or is it OK to function as an independent when we think it is expedient?
 

A5pointer

Puritan Board Sophomore
Any thoughts onLongman and his work? I enjoyed his commentary on Ecclesiastes although it has an untraditional view. It made sense to me.

Tremper Longman Says:
February 1st, 2008 at 12:43 pm
I cannot speak to all the issues that this web page
addresses, but I can speak with some measure of
authority concerning biblical studies at WTS. I was a
student from 1974-1977, where I was captivated by the
teaching of many professors, but most notably Ray
Dillard who was my mentor and was soon to be my
colleague and close friend. I taught Old Testament at
the school from 1981 to 1998 with Ray, Bruce Waltke,
and Al Groves. I was involved with these friends in
the hiring of Peter Enns (as well as Doug Green). I
have continued as Visiting Professor of Old Testament
since 1998 till the present. I have recently written
an article on E. J. Young for the Dictionary of
Biblical Interpreters that has taken me back to the
earlier history of the school’s instruction in
biblical studies.
I have a great love for the school to say the least. I
like to say that there is no institution I love as
much as Westminster Seminary. However one of the
reasons why I left in 1998 was my perception that the
seminary was beginning to change from the deeply
Reformed but outward facing institution that it was
from the time that I first knew it in the 1970’s to a
more inward defensive institution. I remember talking
to one colleague, for instance, who told me that if I
felt the Bible taught something that the Confession
did not that I had to side with the Confession. That’s
not the Reformed approach to the study of the Bible
that I know and love. However it is a perspective that
I think has only grown with time.
In any case, I have no desire to cast aspersions on
anyone. I think everyone is acting out of a good
conscience in this. This, however, I can say with a
great measure of confidence. The present Old Testament
department represents continuity with the past. I work
closely with Peter Enns. We are co-editing two Bible
dictionaries together and are on a number of editorial
boards. I have served as his editor for his wonderful
Exodus commentary and have read his important
Incarnation and Inspiration three times. In my own
speaking and teaching, I have talked to countless
people whose faith has been increased and whose
confidence in the Bible has been enhanced by reading
this book. His thinking is clearly within the
Princeton-Westminster tradition. If WTS loses him or
anyone else, I worry who might replace them. Will they
continue the WTS tradition while still not “shirking
the difficult questions”? I know what I think about
the matter and I am confident that my dear departed
friend Ray Dillard would agree.
I would encourage my former students and others to
express their support for the OT department at WTS.
Notice I am asking for shows of support. We can do
this without casting aspersions on anyone at the
seminary.
 

Scott

Puritan Board Graduate
Any thoughts onLongman and his work? I enjoyed his commentary on Ecclesiastes although it has an untraditional view. It made sense to me.

Tremper Longman Says:
February 1st, 2008 at 12:43 pm
I cannot speak to all the issues that this web page
addresses, but I can speak with some measure of
authority concerning biblical studies at WTS. I was a
student from 1974-1977, where I was captivated by the
teaching of many professors, but most notably Ray
Dillard who was my mentor and was soon to be my
colleague and close friend. I taught Old Testament at
the school from 1981 to 1998 with Ray, Bruce Waltke,
and Al Groves. I was involved with these friends in
the hiring of Peter Enns (as well as Doug Green). I
have continued as Visiting Professor of Old Testament
since 1998 till the present. I have recently written
an article on E. J. Young for the Dictionary of
Biblical Interpreters that has taken me back to the
earlier history of the school’s instruction in
biblical studies.
I have a great love for the school to say the least. I
like to say that there is no institution I love as
much as Westminster Seminary. However one of the
reasons why I left in 1998 was my perception that the
seminary was beginning to change from the deeply
Reformed but outward facing institution that it was
from the time that I first knew it in the 1970’s to a
more inward defensive institution. I remember talking
to one colleague, for instance, who told me that if I
felt the Bible taught something that the Confession
did not that I had to side with the Confession. That’s
not the Reformed approach to the study of the Bible
that I know and love. However it is a perspective that
I think has only grown with time.
In any case, I have no desire to cast aspersions on
anyone. I think everyone is acting out of a good
conscience in this. This, however, I can say with a
great measure of confidence. The present Old Testament
department represents continuity with the past. I work
closely with Peter Enns. We are co-editing two Bible
dictionaries together and are on a number of editorial
boards. I have served as his editor for his wonderful
Exodus commentary and have read his important
Incarnation and Inspiration three times. In my own
speaking and teaching, I have talked to countless
people whose faith has been increased and whose
confidence in the Bible has been enhanced by reading
this book. His thinking is clearly within the
Princeton-Westminster tradition. If WTS loses him or
anyone else, I worry who might replace them. Will they
continue the WTS tradition while still not “shirking
the difficult questions”? I know what I think about
the matter and I am confident that my dear departed
friend Ray Dillard would agree.
I would encourage my former students and others to
express their support for the OT department at WTS.
Notice I am asking for shows of support. We can do
this without casting aspersions on anyone at the
seminary.

Longman's thoughts mean little. It seems that when people's jobs depend on confessional subscription that they will bend over backwards to show how some new or contradictory view meshes with the Confession. We see this extensively in the Federal Vision debate now, we saw it in the Norm Shepherd issue, and the like.

Regarding Longman's statement that someone told him that if he believes the Bible teaches something other than the confession, he should side with the confession, that is just silly. If he believes the Bible teaches something other than the confession, he should boldly announce his exception to the confession. If it it a serious enough matter, he should leave posts which require confessional subscription (whether in the seminary or church). He can go somewhere else and do something else.

Westminster is a confessional seminary. That is what gives it is unique value. The world does not need yet another non-confessional seminary. Those are innumerable. If professors want to take non-confessional views, then they should go to other seminaries. There are plenty of seminaries that do not subscribe to the confession.
 

HaigLaw

Puritan Board Sophomore
Individual judgment starts any heresy determination

Is it the pastor's place to make a heresy judgment against a brother elder in his own or fraternal denomination? Isn't that what church courts are for?

Or is it OK to function as an independent when we think it is expedient?

Every heresy trial at every presbytery starts with a charge by an individual elder stating the kinds of opinions that you are saying no elder can express apart from the collective judgment of some presbytery.

:detective:
 
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