Orthodoxy's Best Friend
IS HERESY. In other words, sometimes we just have to give them enough rope, speaking and publishing, to hang their credibility among the otherwise gullible faithful.
This truism is sponsored most recently by the folks at the Biologos web site. Many readers of Reformation 21 will remember the tussle at Westminster Seminary over the teachings of Dr. Pete Enns, whose supporters insisted that he upheld the Westminster Standards despite his teaching that the creation story in Genesis is myth. Carl Trueman and the Board of Trustees were so mean in not extending charity to Enns' viewpoint! Yet, now that Dr. Enns no longer has any reason to maintain the facade of confessional conscription, we read that (surprise, surprise) he no longer considers Adam and Eve to be historical figures.
And what an impressive argument he marshals, showing off the power of the po-mo biblical theological wizardry. The crux of Enns' argument is that the evolutionary findings of secular science are so unassailable that we must re-read the Bible in light of this higher standard of truth. Enns presents his hermeneutical trinity of fixed references for interpreting the Bible: 1) archaelogical findings ("human cultural remains"); 2) scientific data (italicized for reverence); and 3) Ancient Near East religions, and their proof that the Bible is not a unique source of religious thought. In light of these fixed referents of truth, Enns points out that "a strictly literal reading of the Adam story" (you know, one that accepts Adam as an actual person), no longer fits with "what we know" from the higher authority of secular sciences.
What a novel line of argument Enns presents and what impressive biblical scholarship: we have learned that the Bible is wrong because the world says so! Isn't this post-Confessional BT fun! If this is not enough, Enn's mentor Bruce Waltke shows more stunning exegetical virtuosity in his video telling Christians to surrender to evolution or else be considered a dunce by worldlings! Now there's an argument that would have made John Bunyan cringe with fear in his Beford jail cell! (See also Tremper Longman's similar argument that one can accept a historical Adam only through a "highly literalistic" reading of the Old Testament -- you know, one that believes what the Bible plainly says.)
Well, my old OT profs are not batting too well these days. Who could ever have guessed fifteen years ago that these men swearing to uphold the Westminster Standards could have have sunk so low -- except the legions of students who saw this coming a mile away and who for complaining were villified by the administration as miscreant Carl McIntyre clones... Not that this problem is isolated to my dearly beloved Westminster Seminary: Westminster's board merely had the courage to admit it and take public action, for which we highly-literalistic, cultish Adam-and-Eve believers can be forever grateful. Let's hope that our seminary boards are giving some reflection as to how this happened, because the current BT disaster did not occur by accident. (IMHO, a good place to begin is by re-reading Vos and comparing his idea of BT with its misnamed step-child more commonly seen today.)
Lastly, I can not fail to pay tribute to Doug Wilson's dead-on (and hilarious) reflections on Waltke's sad surrender. My favorite of Wilson's notable comments is this single quaint reply: "All truth is indeed God's truth, but it does not follow from this that all lies are God's truth."
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- Praying for Heretics: Irenaeus of Lyons' First Prayer for the Gnostics
- God's Ambassadors: The Westminster Assembly and the Reform of the English Pulpit, 1643-1653
- Ressourcement: Irenaeus of Lyons and His Answer to the Hyper-Spirituality of Gnosticism
- 'Rise, heart; thy Lord is risen'
- Openness Unhindered