Apparently my comments on Dillard and Longman have fired up the discussion boards.
There’s a natural, if chauvinistic, tendency to love our own. When one of our own publishes a book, we let our guard down.
So, if, for example, Dillard and Longman take the same positions on higher critical issues as Fuller faculty, then we give them a pass although we’d be quite hostile if the same book were written by Fuller faculty.
I don’t share this double standard. If anything, we should hold our own to a higher standard, not a lower standard.
As most of us know, when Princeton went liberal, Westminster was founded as the conservative antidote.
To the extent that Westminster faculty have come to espouse the same views as those of the Princeton faculty, whom the founding faculty of Westminster opposed, it's subject to the very same indictment.
I'm not making a general statement about the faculty at Westminster. Poythress, for example, is a true-blue conservative.
But the problem is larger than Enns. If what Enns is writing is tolerated, then the problem is larger than one faculty member.
If you compare E. J. Young's OT introduction with the Dillard/Longman work, or with the book by Enns which I reviewed, it is obvious that Dillard/Longman and Enns have pretty much capitulated to the historical-critical method. To Wellhausen and his contemporary counterparts.
They're not as radical as, say, James Barr. Liberalism is incremental. But we've been down the same road many times before. We know where it ends. And they’ve already gone too far--even if they don't go the distance.
Of course, whether this trend is objectionable or not depends entirely on one's own view of Scripture. There are folks who will defend Dillard/Longman and Enns because they share their same low view of Scripture, and want to see that become the norm.
When a man is sowing seeds of doubt into the hearts and minds of seminarians, I think it's good that he dies prematurely, the sooner the better, to lessen the direct damage and the collateral damage.
If I’d substituted “Wellhausen” for “Dillard,” would anyone object to my thanking God for removing Wellhausen from the scene?
But if Dillard takes the same position as Wellhausen, then his person is sacrosanct.
Well, I beg to differ.
If anything, the enemy within does more damage than the enemy without. And a good man can do more harm than a bad man.
Should I not thank God for what he did? Was God wrong to do what he did?
Many prayers in Scripture are prayers to God to remove an enemy of the faith, and when their petitionary prayers are answered, they offer up prayers of thanksgiving.
I agree with O. Palmer Robertson, who was, himself, a professor at Westminster, in his concluding remarks on Dillard and Longman:
“It is not a light thing to recite the testimony of the Lord and his gospel writers and then to brush their uniform witness aside as though it were irrelevant to issues of faith and life today. Numerous ecclesiastical communities that have accepted negatively critical perspectives on questions such as the authorship of Isaiah have, within a generation or two, ended in bankruptcy regarding matters of faith and morals,” The Christ of the Prophets (P&R 2004), 235.