I see that Scott Clark has chosen to launch a public attack on John Frame:
It would have been preferable to avoid a public scene, but like a screaming kid who hurls her cup of soup in the face of the waiter, Clark’s outburst necessitates some firm adult intervention.
Since Scott Clark is not the only one with inside information on the past controversy, I’ll take the occasion to put his distortions in perspective.
1. Back when I was there (1993-1994; 1999-2000), WSC, as it now calls itself, was quite cliquish. One reason, I think, is that it's so much easier for factions to fester in a smallish seminary than one of the larger institutions where the sheer size and rapid turnover of the student body naturally diffuses and dilutes that divisive tendency.
2. Among other factions, there was a Klinean coterie, represented by Kline himself as well as the then-librarian.
They venerated biblical theology as the only heaven-sent theological method.
In addition, Kline has a view of church/state relations which resembles Anabaptism.
This ended in the train-wreck of Lee Irons' heresy trial.
3. Then you had Joey Pipa. Pipa's a deep-fried S. Presbyterian. I think he's still fighting the War of Northern Aggression.
He's since taken the helm of Greenville Seminary, which views itself as heir to the grand mantle of Dabney, Thornwell, and Girardeau.
We might dub it Confederate Calvinism! :-)
4. Then a major change took place when our man Godfrey become Prez.
i) Bob Godfrey is a church historian. So he has shifted the theological orientation away from exegetical theology to historical theology, teaching Reformed theology out of the creeds and confessions rather than straight from Scripture.
ii) This reorientation is seconded by the fact that Godfrey identifies himself with the Dutch-Reformed tradition. Dutch-Reformed theologians like Bavinck, Berkhof, Hoeksema, Hepp, and Berkouwer are far more in the groove of historical theology than exegetical theology.
As the Prez, Godfrey is in a position, through hiring and firing, to remake the seminary into his own image.
5. By contrast, Frame stands in the Princetonian tradition of exegetical theology. Charles Hodge, J. A. Hodge, Warfield, Machen, Vos, and Murray were all exegetes, writing commentaries and/or exegetical monographs. Obviously, this tradition goes all the way back to Calvin himself, the premier commentator of the Protestant Reformers.
6.Another flashpoint of controversy was the regulative principle of worship. At one level, I’ve never known what all the fuss was about since, to my knowledge, none of the faculty ever worshipped in the auld Skreegh-me-dead style.
If you want to get a flavor of the debate, go here:
In my opinion, Hart came out of this encounter in about the same shape as a possum challenging the business end of an eighteen-wheeler, but I leave it to each reader to judge the performance for himself.
7.Yet another source of friction was overemphasis on the objectivity of assurance at the expense of the subjective dimension.
Frame takes the traditional position, but others, like Horton, overemphasize the objective dimension.
I’m not quite sure where this is coming from, although it may have something to do with Horton’s checkered theological background, as he’s drifted from fundamentalism to Anglicanism to Presbyterianism, with some carryover from each. If you combine Anglican sacramentology with the residual antinomianism of eternal security, so popular in fundamentalist circles, you can easily end up with a doctrine of assurance in which the objective aspect eclipses the subjective.
8.Scott Clark’s equation of the traditional Reformed theological method with the archetypal/ectypal axis is incredibly parochial.
By his provincial criterion, Calvin, Cunningham, Helm, Hodge, Murray, Owen, Turrettin, Vos, and Warfield aren't doing Reformed theology.
Truth be told, while there’s definitely such a thing as Reformed theology, there is no one Reformed theological method.
9. Notice too, and this is typical of Scott Clark in my personal experience, how he doesn't actually show where Frame goes wrong. All he does is to say that Frame isn't quite Gordon Clark, and isn't quite Van Til. But, of course, that's not an argument for or against any of the three parties. Nor is theological cloning always a virtue.
10. Likewise, Frame doesn't both affirm and deny that we can know God. Rather, Frame carefully distinguishes between the ways God can and cannot be known. Scott Clark simply disregards the nuances.
11.The same holds true for his simplistic summary of Frame’s position on Biblicism.
Just compare his tendentious characterization with Frame in his own words:
12.The same holds true for his simplistic summary of Frame’s position on analogy.
A pretty shabby performance, all and all. But perhaps his comments read better in the original Latin.