Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Alot has been blogged on the Enns/Westminster melee at the moment. The most significants parts are:
1. WTS release of the Official Theological Documents surrounding the discussion that took place at WTS-Philly about Enn's book (I think releasing these publically has been a generous act by the seminary and makes their decisions and actions transparent to some degree).
2. Peter Head blogs on: Peter Enns, Westminster, Inerrancy, and Textual Criticism. Peter hits the nail on the head when he says: At a fairly basic level this reflects an important debate about the role of the phenomena of Scripture in clarifying and modifying a doctrine of Scripture derived initially from Scripture's direct self-testimony; with a predictable division between the biblical scholars ('yes the phenomena are really important' - see the Hermeneutics Field Committee's Reply to the HTFC, pp. 28-97) and the systematicians ('phenomena? ha! they didn't pose a problem in the 17th century so why worry about them now?').
3. Ben Myers offers some brief reflections The theological basis of Peter Enns' suspension where he says this: They counter Enns’ whole approach by asserting that 'Scripture’s author is God, who uses actuaries’ or ‘tabularies’ to write His words,' so that 'what men write down is as much God’s own words as if He had written it down without human mediation.' (Am I dreaming? Did a committee of theologians really produce that statement?) You can see why Enns felt it was necessary to write a book like this. If this is right, and I haven't read the whole report yet, then you've got to say that this is simply bizaar. Can we even conceive of Scripture without human mediation? Would God himself directly write 1 Cor. 1.16 about Paul forgetting who he baptized? If one conceives of Scripture as the dictation of divine propositions about theology (i.e. a confession) then that view could work, but it sure doesn't work with what we have before us in narratives, letters, homilies, apocalypses, psalms, proverbs, and prophecies.
4. Ben Byerly offers some insights (as an ex-WTS student) entitled, Lillback's attack on Enns. Ben's not exactly objective on this one (he should probably drop the rhetoric a gear or two), but he does point out some elements of the report that are questionable.
Let me state my interest in this matter. I'm not trying to accuse or exonerate any one. I'm concerned exclusively with what this entire debate means for evangelicals working in the field of biblical studies.