Saturday, March 29, 2008

Enns and WTS Links

I'm not going to make this blog a clearinghouse for All Things Enns, but I'll try to link to items that I find especially helpful:

1. R. Scott Clark (Westminster Seminary California) offers A Word to Students in the Midst of Controversy. Conclusion:
For the moment, in this situation, seminary students are like the congregation but it will not always be so. Before students poke indignant fingers into the chest of faculty or administration members whom they perceive to be in the wrong, pause for a moment and consider that not too many years hence the shoe will be on the other foot and that they too will be doing their prayerful and tearful best before God and his church. Then, when hair is gray (or gone) and they have been up late for yet another painful meeting, they will understand these sorts of processes in a way that they cannot now. Between now and Tuesday a lot of seminary students have an opportunity to save themselves an occasion for remorse in later years. Let us hope that the wisdom, self-restraint, and discretion which will be required of them very soon is sufficiently formed in them in time.

2. Andrew Compton offers some good suggestions on what to read the books/documents involved in the controversy and how to read them. Upshot: "What is crucial is that readers do everything in their control to learn what is actually being said in the discussion." (Trevin Wax is trying to do that, and has sought to discern from the writings what people have found problematic in Enns's work.)

3. Jim West (a more moderate Baptist pastor-scholar whom no one will accuse of being a "TR") writes:

Westminster was well within its rights to dismiss Peter Enns. That statement may come as a shock to some, but as a simple matter of fact, institutions are within their rights to establish boundaries. Just as Enns stepped outside those boundaries in the exercise of his academic freedom (and he had every right to do so!) WTS had the same right to take action to preserve its own standards.

Too often these days ‘individual rights’ are seen as the summit of all truth and the exercise of personal beliefs the standard by which everything else is judged. But I maintain that institutions have both a right and a responsibility to preserve their own standards. . . .

WTS was well within its rights. Enns knew what it stood for before he joined the faculty. He knew their viewpoints and he decided to disagree with them. He could, and should, if he felt compelled, speak his mind. But he should not be surprised (and no one should) when WTS asked him to leave.

Again, Enns can say and write what he wants. And - my point is - so can Westminster Theological Seminary. Divorce is sometimes the only avenue when two parties come to a clear parting of the ways and there are irreconcilable differences. No one has the right to be outraged at Westminster any more than anyone has the right to be angry at a wife whose husband has cheated on her and she decides on divorce. Enns cheated. Westminster wants a divorce.

More to come, no doubt.