Saturday, January 10, 2009

Westminster Theological Seminary Document

WTS-Philly has released a document on "Affirmations and Denials" related to recent controversies over biblical interpretation.


Angie Van De Merwe said...

Today, I think there is a REAL problem with understanding scripture as inerrant or infallible. Christianity should not be an exclusivistic religion, but an inclusive one. I think especially in light of NT. studies and what has been understood recently. There really is no reason to believe that Christian faith, that is Jesus as stated in Western Augustinian understanding is valid, scientifically....Surely, no one that is rational can believe that Jesus as born of a virgin...meaning a woman who had not had intercourse. Supernaturalism must die, if there is to be any validity to Christian faith as far as I am concerned.

Tony Stiff said...

Here's some predictions:

1) Most if not all of the biblical studies Profs. that have taught at the seminary for the past years pre-Lillback will no doubt move on to greener pastures.

2) Guys with ST degrees will be hired to teach BS (make of the initials what you will).

3) Westminster five years from now will have a very hard time landing any of their students in Ivy League Biblical Studies programs.

4) The world of Evangelical biblical scholarship will be the poorer for it... Tony Stiff

The Pook said...

Ignoring the ridiculous and irrational assertion that people who believe in the virgin birth are irrational...

It's interesting that the document does not include the word 'inerrent,' does include the word 'infallible,' and upholds Presuppositionalism but not Evidentialism. Yet what it affirms and denies could be held equally by Inerrantists or Infallibilists. I think it is a very well thought out and expressed statement.

I am disturbed by one statement in it, however:

"We deny that there are truths found in Scripture but not in the Standards [ie the Westminster Assembly documents] that overthrow or undermine any element in the system of doctrine expounded in the Standards."

This sails pretty close to the wind. Despite the explicit denials that the Subordinate Standards are on a par with Scripture, this document not only denies that they are dispensible but says that nothing in Scripture can overthrow any significant element in them. Surely that not only sets the WCF higher than its framers intended, but also assumes a certain omnisicience on the part of the framers of this document???

John Foxe said...

Your conundrum can be solved when you realise the "system of doctrine" in the Westminster Standards is a narrower concept than the Standards themselves. It's more akin to saying "the essential doctrinal stuff without which the Standards fall apart".

In Christ,


The Pook said...

Thanks for that clarification John Foxe. You are correct about the definition of "system of doctrine" in the historical context of discussion about the Standards, however, the Westminster college statement says "any element in" the system of doctrine, which seems to me to be far more specific.