Peter Enns and Bultmann?

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jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
Some backround to this question, or observation, might be helpful. Rudolph Bultmann, In my humble opinion, sought the task to demythologize the New Testament. This was different from the liberal theologians who said that we must find all mythological elements in the bible and discard them (ressurection, virgin birth, miracles, etc...) to get to the real truth of the biblical message. Bultmann agreed that there were mythological themes in the New Testament but he argued that these were essential to the message of the bible.

The more that I listen to Peter Enns and his "mythological" take on the Old Testament it reminds me of Bultmann. He, like Bultmann, does not seem to want to take the away the "mythological", in his opinion, elements of the OT but rather to get the true message of the bible from these "myths" to accommodate modernism, which Bultmann was doing as well. Does anyone else see this or am I chasing the wrong rabbit down the wrong hole?

Here are some of youtube clips to illustrate my point:
Pete Enns on Understanding Origins and the Ancient Mind - YouTube
Lecture: Erasmus Lecture -- Peter Enns, Feb. 9, 2011 - YouTube
Peter Enns on the future of Biblical Studies - YouTube
Peter Enns on the Apostle Paul and Adam - YouTube
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
In this link that I gave, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36T3tbygQgA, Enns says that Paul uses Adam to say (mythologically?) that we all have a problem and we shouldn't take the creation story literally. Wow, did Paul come down from heaven and give Enns the inside scoop on what he meant? Contrary to what christians have beleived for 2,000 years? I cannot begin to comprhend why he is still a TE in our denomanation. If you look at Christianity Today which I believe to be charectaristic of Evangelicalism today, and they affirm women pastors and Open Theism (and they seem to be closer than they should be to affirming homosexual pastors). If our members of the PCA are more evangelical like this than Reformed. So we must in my mind combat this danger more than anyother. I may be alone in this but it troubles my spirit to hear him speak and I promise you that it will only be a wildfire that will spread.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
Here is another video to illustrate my point, in which Enns completly abuses the idea of "condescension" to make his point.
Peter Enns on Incarnational Scripture - YouTube

---------- Post added at 12:04 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:59 AM ----------

There is a radical difference between arguing that modern man cannot believe in the miraculous and suggesting that the genre of Genesis is not that of an historical narrative.

I am no fan of Enns' hermeneutic, nor of most of the so-called "literary" approaches to Genesis (cf. Kline's "framework"). My sympathies are with the much maligned Ken Ham and the Answers in Genesis gang (now a couple of Eastern Nazarene profs are coming out with a Harvard press book slamming Ham). However, it seems like bearing false witness against a brother to put the errors of Enns in the same category as Bultmann.

I am grieved by the latitudinarianism of broad evangelicalism -- whether in the arena of Genesis (e.g., Enns, Waltke, and Collins) or with respect to including people like Sanders and the late Pinnock in the ETS despite their open theism. But, this is not merely a "broad evangelical" problem. Tentative forays into the area of homosexuality (cf. Calvin College), non-historical interpretations of Genesis (e.g., many Reformed seminaries), and the near unanimity in the academy regarding egalitarianism show this to be a problem for the confessionally Reformed as well, as the names of Enns, Waltke, etc. bear witness.

I appreciate and agree with much you have to say but I must humbly disagree that it seems to me that there is no difference between the two thinkers. Enns says many things to say that we modern christians cannot accept the "mythological" elements of Genesis, what Bultmann did for the NT Enns is doing to the OT. Enns is coming from and massivly abusing the Reformed method to make his case and Bultmann wasn't. But the end result is the same, so what really is the difference?

---------- Post added at 12:04 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:04 PM ----------

There is a radical difference between arguing that modern man cannot believe in the miraculous and suggesting that the genre of Genesis is not that of an historical narrative.

I am no fan of Enns' hermeneutic, nor of most of the so-called "literary" approaches to Genesis (cf. Kline's "framework"). My sympathies are with the much maligned Ken Ham and the Answers in Genesis gang (now a couple of Eastern Nazarene profs are coming out with a Harvard press book slamming Ham). However, it seems like bearing false witness against a brother to put the errors of Enns in the same category as Bultmann.

I am grieved by the latitudinarianism of broad evangelicalism -- whether in the arena of Genesis (e.g., Enns, Waltke, and Collins) or with respect to including people like Sanders and the late Pinnock in the ETS despite their open theism. But, this is not merely a "broad evangelical" problem. Tentative forays into the area of homosexuality (cf. Calvin College), non-historical interpretations of Genesis (e.g., many Reformed seminaries), and the near unanimity in the academy regarding egalitarianism show this to be a problem for the confessionally Reformed as well, as the names of Enns, Waltke, etc. bear witness.

I appreciate and agree with much you have to say but I must humbly disagree that it seems to me that there is no difference between the two thinkers. Enns says many things to say that we modern christians cannot accept the "mythological" elements of Genesis, what Bultmann did for the NT Enns is doing to the OT. Enns is coming from and massivly abusing the Reformed method to make his case and Bultmann wasn't. But the end result is the same, so what really is the difference?
 

iainduguid

Puritan Board Sophomore
Just for the record, I don't believe that Peter Enns is (or ever has been to my knowledge) a TE in the PCA. In his later years at WTS, he was not attending a Reformed church, and I doubt that he has moved to one since. He has served in the past as "Visiting scholar" at a PCA church, which may still support him financially out of their missions budget for his work at Biologos (!), but I don't think he is under the oversight of any PCA Presbytery.

His work may seem to have some similarities to Bultmann (in particular the amount of ground he seems to grant to "what modern people can believe"), but the differences of philosophical context between the modernist world of Bultmann and the present post-modern world mean that such comparisons aren't necessarily helpful. It's better to try to interact with his work in its own right.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Once a person has accepted human evolution they have to treat the story of the Creation of Man and the Fall as myth.

Why anyone needs to accept human evolution or feel the need to accept it is down to them esteeming current popular biology and TV programmes more than Scripture. By exposing themselves to such unbelieving scholarship on origins, even genuine believers, are gradually boiled like a frog in a kettle.

Are there any good works which compare the myths of the heathen in the Ancient "Near" East, and elsewhere, and Genesis?

Schaeffer's "Genesis in Space and Time" makes a lot of good points, but only a taster in doing a critique of the myth myth, from a truly Reformed perspective.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
Finally, PCA Teaching Elder Dr. Peter Enns, former professor of Old Testament at Westminster Seminary, currently Senior Fellow of Biblical Studies for The BioLogos Foundation and an itinerant speaker, gave a presentation in which the main point was:

Since we must presume an evolutionary paradigm (otherwise there is no problem with believing in the historicity of Adam), then we need to find a better way to synthesize evolutionary theory and evangelical Christianity.

This is from a conference at the Metro New York Presbytery here:
http://theaquilareport.com/index.ph...ricity-of-adam&catid=51:ministries&Itemid=134.

After more thought though I recognize how different they are so I concede my original point.
 

Wayne

Tempus faciendi, Domine.
Lynnie is correct -- Dr. Enns has never served as a teaching elder in PCA. Ditto for the OPC, just to cover that base.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
Lynnie is correct -- Dr. Enns has never served as a teaching elder in PCA. Ditto for the OPC, just to cover that base.

Than why does that conference list him as a TE? Also in this response to Enns why would Richard Pratt say this:

As far as I am concerned, my talk completed my service in these matters by calling the attention of our presbyters to anonymous but dangerous trends in my denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America. In my estimation, Dr. Enns’ responses are of such ecclesiastical consequence that the courts of the church should guide the future of any conversation.

Here is the link: http://thirdmill.org/newfiles/ric_pratt/ric_pratt.ennsonpratt.html.
 

caoclan

Puritan Board Freshman
Enns says of himself: "In June of 2006, Dr. Richard Pratt, formerly of RTS-Orlando, and now fulltime with "Third Millennium Ministries," a wonderful organization he founded, gave an address at the PCA General Assembly. I was not present, but, being a ruling elder in the PCA myself, I was quickly apprised of the event."
 

Wayne

Tempus faciendi, Domine.
Hopefully Sean's quote (lacking citation as to where he found that) helps clarify.

I should have stated in my own post that Dr. Enns is not listed in any of the PCA Yearbooks as a teaching elder, those Yearbooks being my point of authority (the Yearbooks list all of the living TEs each year, along with a biographical sketch, when provided).

The Third Mill link was interesting, but I found the interspersed bold type comments by Enns to be a distracting format that tended to make his comments look like cheap shots.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
Hopefully Sean's quote (lacking citation as to where he found that) helps clarify.

I should have stated in my own post that Dr. Enns is not listed in any of the PCA Yearbooks as a teaching elder, those Yearbooks being my point of authority (the Yearbooks list all of the living TEs each year, along with a biographical sketch, when provided).


The Third Mill link was interesting, but I found the interspersed bold type comments by Enns to be a distracting format that tended to make his comments look like cheap shots.

OH, you are the director of the Historical Center. What do you think that means for this link? It is probably a typo or mistake than? You probably have lists of all the church officers don't you? I'll take your word over some paper on the internet anyday, thanks for clarifying.
 

Wayne

Tempus faciendi, Domine.
Anyone stating that Dr. Enns is a teaching elder, such as in a conference or in a report, is simply mistaken or mis-speaking.
 

caoclan

Puritan Board Freshman
Hopefully Sean's quote (lacking citation as to where he found that) helps clarify.

I should have stated in my own post that Dr. Enns is not listed in any of the PCA Yearbooks as a teaching elder, those Yearbooks being my point of authority (the Yearbooks list all of the living TEs each year, along with a biographical sketch, when provided).

The Third Mill link was interesting, but I found the interspersed bold type comments by Enns to be a distracting format that tended to make his comments look like cheap shots.

Sorry about the lack of citation. http://thirdmill.org/newfiles/ric_pratt/ric_pratt.ennsonpratt.html

It is not far down the page, in the section where Dr. Pratt places Enns' introductory comments.
 

Phil D.

Puritan Board Junior
It seems there may be some confusion regarding whether Dr. Enns is a Teaching Elder vs. a Ruling Elder. The post in question (which claims his own authorship) states the latter. Even if this distinction is accurate, I would still find his position within the PCA to be highly problematic.
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
I don't read Genesis "mythologically" the way Enns does, and I can see how that is problematic, but how does that put him in violation of the Westminster Standards?
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
I don't read Genesis "mythologically" the way Enns does, and I can see how that is problematic, but how does that put him in violation of the Westminster Standards?

See questions: 17, 21-22 in the Wesminster Larger Chatechism. I don't see how he can claim to be confessional and leave those questions as is. That is why, aparently, Peter Choong has, I've read, called for the WCF to be rewritten to conform to an evolutionary understanding of things. It is not compatable with the confession. Plus I believe that the study report, which Wayne correct me if I'm wrong here, on creation in the PCA condemed theistic evolution or mythological understandings of Adam and Eve. I believe, and again correct me if I'm wrong Wayne, the study report and its recomendations were "upheld", I don't really know how that all works but I am learning, by that general assembly. If thats true than Enns, Choong, and maybe Keller (and anyone who openly agrees with them) are out of accord with the confession and the PCA. Here is the link to that study report:

PCA Historical Center: Creation Study Committee Report to the 28th General Assembly, June 21, 2000.

The orthodox view includes the following elements: that Scripture is the inerrant Word of God and self-interpreting, the full historicity of Genesis 1-3, the unique creation of Adam and Eve in God’s image as our first parents, and Adam as the covenant head of the human race. A necessary corollary of this view is the fact that the curse and the resultant discord in the universe began with the sin of Adam. It is the incomprehensible God who has revealed himself clearly in nature and in Scripture. He has revealed exactly what He intended, and those areas which are not revealed belong to the Lord our God (Deut 29:29).

This is especially helpful, section VI "Advice and Councel of The Commitee."

All the Committee members join in these affirmations: The Scriptures, and hence Genesis 1-3, are the inerrant word of God. That Genesis 1-3 is a coherent account from the hand of Moses. That history, not myth, is the proper category for describing these chapters; and furthermore that their history is true. In these chapters we find the record of God’s creation of the heavens and the earth ex nihilo; of the special creation of Adam and Eve as actual human beings, the parents of all humanity (hence they are not the products of evolution from lower forms of life). We further find the account of an historical fall, that brought all humanity into an estate of sin and misery, and of God’s sure promise of a Redeemer. Because the Bible is the word of the Creator and Governor of all there is, it is right for us to find it speaking authoritatively to matters studied by historical and scientific research. We also believe that acceptance of, say, non-geocentric astronomy is consistent with full submission to Biblical authority. We recognize that a naturalistic worldview and true Christian faith are impossible to reconcile, and gladly take our stand with Biblical supernaturalism.

Bottom of that same section. So just toe be clear Enns is a Ruling Elder, I know now that he is not a TE? This may be outside the post but can a RE be brought up on chrages for teaching openly what he is teaching or is it different? If this is outside the post too much just moderate it and I will start a thread in another section to deal with this, I don't want to break the rules.
 
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Wayne

Tempus faciendi, Domine.
Dr. Sean Lucas offered a helpful clarification on the place, worth and authority of such studies. He speaks here in reference to the FV/NPP study, but in principle the same would apply to the creation study:

Actually, the body of the FV/NPP report was “commended” for study and the nine declarations were “recommended.” When the 2007 GA adopted the committee’s recommendations, they approved commending the report and approved recommending the declarations. They went further and adopted the recommendation that urged ministers and presbyteries to use the declarations to examine themselves and make any differences known.

But you actually raise the interesting and debated point about “in thesi” deliverances and their authority in the church. In enumerating the powers of the GA, BCO 14-6 notes that GA has power to bear testimony against error in doctrine; and BCO 14-7 says that such testimony should be “given due and serious consideration by the church and its lower courts when deliberating matters related to such action.”

And so, the action of the 2007 GA was not merely pious advice. It actually was a testimony against error in doctrine, adopted by an overwhelming majority of that assembly. As such, it should be given due and serious consideration when similar matters are dealt with in the lower courts.

Whatever the flaws may be of that particular report, the fact that so much of that report cohered with what every other major Reformed denomination has said on the matter (as Alan Strange has pointed on) should suggest that as a testimony against error, it actually got a great deal correct and should be given respect by the lower courts as a result.

[Source: http://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/2...y-exonerates-te-greg-lawrence/#comment-91407]
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
While it is important to know what office Dr. Enns holds, I'd think the main concern would be the influence Dr. Enns has and has had on TE's in the PCA as well as evangelicals generally. I know of academics and leaders in other ostensibly conservative evangelical denominations that are being influenced by this kind of thing. Evidently it is happening in the PCA too, in the Northeast and perhaps elsewhere.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
While it is important to know what office Dr. Enns holds, I'd think the main concern would be the influence Dr. Enns has and has had on TE's in the PCA as well as evangelicals generally. I know of academics and leaders in other ostensibly conservative evangelical denominations that are being influenced by this kind of thing. Evidently it is happening in the PCA too, in the Northeast and perhaps elsewhere.

Thats a very good point. You know I cannot find anywhere online if anything is being done about this whatsoever.
 

Oecolampadius

Puritan Board Sophomore
Peter Enns' latest post on his blog is quite troubling.

Last week I spoke to a gathering of pastors from the NY Metro presbytery of the Presbyterian Church of America on the problem of evolution and Adam. This topic is a particularly pressing problem for this denomination, since the Westminster Confession of Faith (their doctrinal standard written around 1650) presumes, understandably, that Adam was the first human, created specially by God without any preceding evolutionary process.

So, Enns says that he spoke to these pastors "last week" and this post was made today. Obviously, he (and probably these pastors as well) is quite aware of the fact that the WCF stands in the way.


This group of pastors was already (largely) aware that evolution cannot be dismissed, and so we proceded to other things.

I may be misreading this but it seems like he's saying that these pastors have come to accept evolution.

And, if it is true that they have accepted evolution, where does that lead them to? Enns makes it clear that by accepting evolution, one rejects the biblical worldview.

If one accepts evolution, the first thing to note is that one has left the biblical worldview. I think this is an obvious point, but needs to be stated clearly. As soon as evolution is accepted, the invariably result is some clear movement away from what the Bible says about Adam.
[emphases mine]

Maybe a separate thread needs to be started on this one. I'll leave it to others to decide.


What are the options that Enns proposes?

Whether you be for evolution or not, Enns doesn't want a historical Adam. Of course Enns wants us to accept Evolution and ditch the biblical worldview. But he also thinks that the position that holds to evolution and yet insists on a historical Adam, which makes him either a homonid or a group of hominids, is an untenable position. So, he says that the best alternative is to have a "non-historical Adam–meaning Adam in the Bible as parabolic, metaphorical, symbolic, or “supra-historical” (a term I learned from Richard Clifford, meaning a truth transcends history but told in historical terms, and therefore not meant to be taken literally)."
 
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Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
But he also thinks that the position that holds to evolution and yet insists on a historical Adam, which makes him either a homonid or a group of hominids, is an untenable position.

It is untenable to have Adam and Eve raised by non-humans. :p

The unbelief is astounding.

"Tarzan" is a better story.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
Peter Enns' latest post on his blog is quite troubling.

Last week I spoke to a gathering of pastors from the NY Metro presbytery of the Presbyterian Church of America on the problem of evolution and Adam. This topic is a particularly pressing problem for this denomination, since the Westminster Confession of Faith (their doctrinal standard written around 1650) presumes, understandably, that Adam was the first human, created specially by God without any preceding evolutionary process.

So, Enns says that he spoke to these pastors "last week" and this post was made today. Obviously, he (and probably these pastors as well) is quite aware of the fact that the WCF stands in the way.


This group of pastors was already (largely) aware that evolution cannot be dismissed, and so we proceded to other things.

I may be misreading this but it seems like he's saying that these pastors have come to accept evolution.

And, if it is true that they have accepted evolution, where does that lead them to? Enns makes it clear that by accepting evolution, one rejects the biblical worldview.

If one accepts evolution, the first thing to note is that one has left the biblical worldview. I think this is an obvious point, but needs to be stated clearly. As soon as evolution is accepted, the invariably result is some clear movement away from what the Bible says about Adam.
[emphases mine]

Maybe a separate thread needs to be started on this one. I'll leave it to others to decide.


What are the options that Enns proposes?

Whether you be for evolution or not, Enns doesn't want a historical Adam. Of course Enns wants us to accept Evolution and ditch the biblical worldview. But he also thinks that the position that holds to evolution and yet insists on a historical Adam, which makes him either a homonid or a group of hominids, is an untenable position. So, he says that the best alternative is to have a "non-historical Adam–meaning Adam in the Bible as parabolic, metaphorical, symbolic, or “supra-historical” (a term I learned from Richard Clifford, meaning a truth transcends history but told in historical terms, and therefore not meant to be taken literally)."

It is scary. I think that Enns would at least follow Bultman in maybe this one respect. For liberal theologians the task was to discover mythology in the bible and get rid of it to reveal the real "message" of the scriptures. Now Bultmann comes along and declares that impossible, because for him the "myths" were essential to the message. In essence he thought that "myths" had deep theological value, contra the liberals, despite being "myths". Now Enns in another way says the same thing. He assumes that Adam was a myth, per se, but that is o.k. because that "myth" still has theological value as a proto-Isreal story of Adam being called out of the peoples, or apes I can't figure out which one, to be God's people.

So there is a small overlap here between the two thinkers here in the sense that they both held to a view that parts of scripture are "myth" but that that is o.k. because these "myths" still have significant theological value.

---------- Post added at 09:13 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:12 PM ----------

It is untenable to have Adam and Eve raised by non-humans.

The unbelief is astounding.

"Tarzan" is a better story.

Amen Brother!
 
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