Thursday, November 23, 2006

Back from ETS-IBR-SBL 2006 (Part I)

After 29 hrs of travel, I'm back in Dingwall, catching up on classes, working through an infinite number of emails, and marking.

I'll bring up the highlights in a number of posts over the next few days. At ETS the Trinity and Gender paper went well. My basic point is that I think biblically speaking that the eternal functional subordination of the Son is correct (although it needs to be carefully constructed in order to avoid Arianism), however, I do not think it wise to use Trinitarian relations as a complete prescriptive model for male-female relations. Yes, the Trinity indicates that it is possible to have ontological equality with differences in rank; but, nothing in Genesis 1-3 indicates that rank should be determined by gender. What is more, unless your marriage consists of some bizaar love triangel with two male persons, applying Trinitarian relations to human relations is going to break down at some point. I am suspicious of the fact that most egalitarians are against functional subordination and that most complementarians are for functional subordination. I wonder if the debate has been hijacked by theological issues concerning gender. All the same, Millard Erickson, Bruce Ware, and Kevin Giles all gave interesting papers on the subject and Wayne Grudem was there to put in his two cents during question time. Ron Sider gave a top paper detailing the suffering and oppression of women around the world.

Papers on the New Perspective by Andrew Das and Don Garlington were most stimulating, although, I regret to say that I cannot follow Garlington on his use of 4QMMT where he thinks the "works of the law" are the distinctive laws of the Qumran sect. The laws seem to me to include much more than than, and include that which is good, desirable, and righteousness before God.

Of course meeting new people is always the fun part of the ETS-SBL circuit. My honour this year was meeting up with Frank Thielman whom I accidentally sent to the wrong meeting room in my error. And who could forget seeing Denny Burke (see photo of us) as well as the likable Jim Hamilton. Denny gave a good paper on “The ‘Fresh Perspective’ on Paul: A Theology of Anti-Americanism”. There was also lunch dates with Michael Pahl and Alan Bandy - both of whom are doing well - (see the photo here). I met up with my main-man, Joel Willitts, and we had lunch with Scot McKnight (and Scot is taken to speaking Italian these days). Lunch also included time with Jason Hood and Mark Booker (long live the AMiA!!).

Bruce Ware was also made Vice-President, so good for him. Also, ETS adopted the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy as Chris Tilling opines in this post. All I can say is that if you are going to affirm inerrancy, then the Chicago Statement is probably the best way to go about doing it. To all critics out there, remember that ETS reached the decision democratically and the Chicago Statement has long been endorsed by institutions. Personally, I would rather see ETS define the evangel as the sine qua non of evangelicalism in conjuction with a statement on Scripture taken from one of the confessions. One can still have a high view of Scripture without using the language of inerrancy (e.g. Westminster Confession), alas, there were Christians before B.B. Warfield. What is more, I would like to forewarn many at ETS that next year my learned colleague Andrew McGowan intends to present a paper called The European Alternative to Inerrancy based mainly on the approach of Bavinck - watch this space!

1 comment:

TheBlueRaja said...

I commented on the inerrancy issue in regard the way its being used against open theists in the society, if you're interested. I'd love to hear your thoughts (either here or there) on what the intended doctrinal scope of ETS should be, and how to maintain it.