Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Tremper's temper tantrum

Tremper LongmanSeptember 7 at 1:41pm In a word, the present administration insists on a “single meaning” hermeneutic centered on the conscious intention of the human author. Otherwise, they claim, the Old and New Testaments are not really held together.
And this brings us to the pragmatic reason for Doug’s “retirement.” Here we do well to remember then dean of the faculty Carl Trueman’s public statement (even gloat) about the tactics (which I consider manipulative and cynical) of “taking over” the seminary that I posted earlier.
So pragmatically, we are hearing nothing because they are hoping to hunker down and weather the storm.
So what is the take home message from this sermon? I love the history of WTS and what it used to stand for. But I for one, say “don’t support it in any fashion.” They have the right to take the seminary any direction they want, of course. But if you disagree with the direction and even if you do if you find the tactics disgraceful like I do, then don’t give your money, don’t encourage students to go there, don’t support it in any way.
Westminster Theological Seminary is a toxic environment for the training of future pastors. But there is one thing you should do for it… PRAY. Pray that God will save the seminary.
Please feel free to share this post wit anyone, but especially with anyone on the board, faculty, or administration of the seminary. 

i) I have it on good authority that Carl Trueman has been on Sabbatical since January, so he wasn't party to this particular action. Now Longman will have to find another actor to play the villain in his melodrama. Maybe Christopher Walken is available. Or perhaps Mads Mikkelsen could reprise his role as Le Chiffre. That would necessitate WTS relocating to Montenegro, but we mustn't let logistics get in the way of a promising thriller. 

ii) I don't know for a fact why Green was ousted. But I think Longman et al. are acting like babes in the woods to assume it was just a matter of fine-grained hermeneutics. Green has a nearly nonexistent paper trail, so I seriously doubt it was based on his publications. 

Rather, I assume it was based on his classroom teaching. And I figure his views were sufficiently similar to those of Enns to merit the same treatment. I could be wrong about that. But it wouldn't be the first time a WTS prof. developed a reputation based on what he said in class.

iii) I wouldn't say a seminary that has Vern Poythress, Gregory Beale, and Iain Duguid is toxic. WTS is stronger in some departments than others. But that just means no one seminary has all the best scholars. 

Of course, toxicity is relative to one's species. In science fiction, aliens often find earth's atmosphere toxic. So I understand why progressives find the air of orthodoxy unbreathable. They can't survive outside their secular space suit. 


  1. And I figure his views were sufficiently similar to those of Enns to merit the same treatment. I could be wrong about that.

    That's the key, really. If it is really just the "christotelic" issue, then WTS really has some problems and Longman is right. But if Green has been advocating, for example, that whole swaths of the OT misrepresent God, as Enns has done, then that's a serious problem and few evangelicals would fault WTS for the decision to force his retirement.

    The problem is that WTS has not been clear, and so people are left speculating.

    1. I agree with you that the public explanations lack clarity.

  2. From what I have been able to put together, this hermeneutic is one that posits that the OT really didn't prophecy about Christ. Someone from WTS told me that Enns basically said the OT was like a seed that germinated and it looks like its going to come to fruition but instead turns into a car in the NT. It was something that was unexpected and so the NT writers took texts out of context and applied them and said Christ fulfilled that arbitrarily.
    This would fall into some ramifications that perhaps the OT weren't saved by looking forward to Christ from the shadows, or so I am told.

    As for Tremper's leaving and his lamenting WTS, he says that the place as become defensive of confessionalism rather than really trying to export it. He left on his own accord but, the fact that he has teamed up with Biologos denying a literal Adam that has consequences for a federal theology he was supposed to teach and defend and yet he thinks it no big deal that says a lot about the man. Now he is Robert Gundry Professor at Westmont, how fitting!

    1. *edit* "...perhaps the OT 'saints' weren't saved..."

  3. This might be of use to you:


  4. I agree with the statement insofar as the two articles by Green cited by the WTS administration are inadequate grounds for his dismissal. I also have it on good authority that there's more to the story than the official explanation–although I don't have the details.