It’s all out in the raw; Westminster documents (quotes and observations)

Most of you probably know by now that Westminster has released documents related to the Peter Enns’s book Inspiration & Incarnation (I&I, only $12). The official parsing of the book is now 3/4 as long as the book itself. Add to that all the articles, blogs and comments that have been written about it . . . all 146 pages of the Westminster documents are available in PDF here (Thanks: Conn-versation; Between Two Worlds; Art Boulet, where comments are growing.) Evangelical Textual Criticism weighs in too, and Joel Garver and Ben Myers have the most pointed reflections I’ve seen yet.

  • Statement from the Chairman of the Board
  • Preface to the Historical and Theological Field Committee (HTFC)
  • Historical and Theological Field Committee Report (HTFC)
  • Preface to the Hermeneutics Field Committee’s (HFC) Reply
  • Hermeneutics Field Committee’s Reply to the HTFC (HFC)
  • Edgar-Kelly Motion
  • Minority Report
  • “‘The Infallible Rule of Interpretation of Scripture’: The Hermeneutical Crisis and the Westminster Standards” (Lillback article 26 Feb 2008 ; the last 43 pages of the PDF document.)

Although these documents are fascinating reading for Westminster alumni like myself, I recognize that most of this is insider stuff (comparing I&I to the Westminster Standards and parsing various reformed theologians) and may not be of interest to the general public.

Still, I can’t resist making a couple of comments. These documents give you a front-row seat on some important debates. It will come as no surprise that I am biased. ;-). I loved Groves, Green, Enns, and Kelly. I’m a biblical studies guy, and I believe in respecting Scripture enough to let it speak for itself in its original context (see page 29 in Westminster PDF document).

This is a classic study in some of the tensions between systematic (esp. confessional) theology and biblical theology.

[Note: All page # references in this post refer to the pages of the entire PDF document, not individual sections]

The five main concerns from Westminster’s historians and systematic theologians about Incarnation and Inspiration (I&I) in their order of importance (p. 4):

1) a doctrine of Scripture that diverges from the classic Reformation doctrine, in particular Continue reading

More on Enns and Westminster

I’m not following all the Enn’s links (most are here). (Thanks Brandon!! I don’t know you, but I appreciate your work.) I wanted to mention a couple updates here:

Christianity Today has a follow-up article describing yesterday’s meeting with students (standing room only) and has quotes from the President, chairman of the board, old faculty and students. The vice-chair of the board Peter Janssonvice is quoted as saying,

We’re very disappointed because we think it’s a mistake, possibly a serious mistake . . . The nine of us strongly support Dr. Enns.
[The board vote was 18-9]

A long discussion on related issues (142 comments at the moment) is going on at Green Baggins with people like Kent Sparks weighing in. (A couple of the other comments are a little frightening.)

Michael Bird asks Reformed Theologians four genuine historical-critical questions. “I honestly want to know how Reformed Theologians address these issues.”

1. What is the “Reformed Orthodox” view of using extra-biblical sources in exegesis? What led you to this answer and what (if anything) makes your answer prescriptive?
2. Why is Genesis 1-3 similar to the Enuma Elish? On what do you base your answer?
3. Did the Apostle Paul believe in the inerrancy of the autographa? Why are Paul’s citation of Scripture often different from the wording and meaning in the original Hebrew Bible and even the Septuagint (to give one example: Isa. 59.20 cited in Rom. 11.26-27)?
4. Did the historical person of Enoch prophesy about the coming of the Lord (Jude 14-15)? Why does Jude cite this extra-canonical source (an Enochic tradition?), without differentiating it from the Hebrew Scriptures that he also quotes in his short epistle?

Moreover, what I want to know is:

– What is the evidence and reasoning behind your answer?
– How do you differ from Enns’ answer?
– What are the theological implications of your answer (if any)?

Click here for the full post and responses.