Monday, April 12, 2010

Disturbing News From Reformed Circles

By way of one of my regular readers, I was directed to a post by Michael Bird over at Euangelion about some news from the halls of Reformed Seminaries. It is not good. He writes:
First, there was the Peter Enns affair at Westminster. Now truth be told I'm not sold on Enns' model of applying the incarnation to Scripture (J.I. Packer and John Webster have given reasons for rejecting that model), but Enns' attempt to situate the Old Testament in the context of ANE literature is fairly standard and uncontroversial in Christian circles outside of North America. Second, we have this week seen the resignations ( = dismissals) of two of the most eminent Evangelical Professors of biblical studies in the USA, Bruce Waltke and Tremper Longman, from their adjunct posts at Reformed seminaries. Waltke was fired because he asserted in a video that evangelicals should embrace evolution as being consistent with the biblical accounts of creation and Longman was fired because he stated in a video that belief in a historical Adam was not necessary.
I am not reformed in my thinking and, therefore, will not tread to deeply into this area but I have been led to believe that part of most reformed confessionals is a statement that Adam and Eve were historical individuals and our current predicament results from their fall away from grace. Consequently, to alter from that perspective would seem to me to be a significant step. Having said that, there are perfectly good theological arguments for doing so. He argues that it is a result of a "resurgence" of fundamentalism. He comments further:
Perhaps the chief irony in all of this is that B.B. Warfield, who is revered in some circles as a virtual emmanation of the Logos, was himself a believer in Evolution (or at least held do its compatibility with the Bible). So it seems that even B.B. Warfield (peace be upon him) could not teach in many Reformed Seminaries these days! Note, I'm not saying that theistic evolution is the model of choice. Yet special creation, theistic evolution, and progressive creation are all consistent with a Christian worldview and a high view of the Scriptures.
I should add that it was B.B. Warfield's seminal paper "On the Antiquity and the Unity of the Human Race" that was a huge stepping stone to me accepting that there was scriptural justification for accepting that evolution is possible in God's creation. The news above seems to indicate that the increasing radicalization of North American Christianity to conform to the fundamentalist perspective has begun to affect the academy. Something is, indeed, rotten in Denmark.

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1 comment:

  1. Jason1:52 AM

    So Waltke was Expelled. I guess propping him up as an example of a respected reformed believer who otherwise accepted reality (namely evolution) would no longer be a winning strategy.

    I was reformed at one time, right up til the end, but I am no longer a believer at all. I'm sad for these two men that their careers, respect, and dignity must suffer for something so blatantly obvious. Just because they aren't idiots and are honest with themselves. I hope they find peace in their lives.