It is hard to follow up on Gaffin’s critics, however, I think Oliphint’s piece has some strong supplemental points.
1) The quoting of Dr. Moises Silva on what is proper Biblical Exegesis (hence, Reformed Calvinistic Biblical Theology.) One is fooling himself if he thinks he can “keep your systematic theology out the door” when you approach any particular text. We all approach the Bible with a systematic understanding of who God is, and any other relevant categories. We certainly don’t check our systematic understanding of “myth” out the door, why does a supposively “good exegete” have to divide God up into the true God of universe and “the God of this particular text”?
2) Quoting of Murray in the organic nature of Scripture. Once again rebuting Dr. Enns’ fervent assertion that he’s well within the trajectory of WTS BT.
The language of “reacts” isn’t of itself problematic or compromise impassability. Plenty of the Fathers and Scholastics spoke this way, including Aquinas. All that is required for example is that one understand it in terms of say antecedent and consequent willing.
And if God’s omniscience is known via natural revelation and that this can be brought to bear on understanding Genesis 6, this not only seems toleave the door open to natural theology, but also seems to cut against total depravity.
If our biblical theology is a funciton of our theological committments and hermeneutical principles, this seems to imply a theological understanding that acts as a rule prior to the text, which seems to run counter to sola scriptura.
I don’t claim ST to rule over BT, but ST does inform BT and guards BT from going on routes that’s unbiblical.
The hyper-regard for BT has one fatal assumption: exegesis always come before theology (and even superior to). The assumption of exegesis –> hermeneutical methods –> theology. I believe the right way to look at it is that instead of being a straight cause-n-effect line, but rather it’s a circle that mutually informs each other. Exegesis does influence our hermeneutical methodologies, and theological concepts (all theology should be grounded to exegesis!) However, one is not neutral when approaching exegesis. No matter how you try to be neutral you are bringing in some type of theological understanding into your exegesis. Your choice of definitions, your preference of grammar, your arguing for syntatical relations, they are all influenced in various degrees, by your pre-conception (i.e. theology.)
When someone approach a text and claims: “Ok, I will not bring doctrine of God into this passage, I will be neutral and ‘let the passage speak.’ Let’s see, God seems to lie here, so this is what the passage spoke, so God lied.” This is not neutral at all.
1) You made a prior committment that ST, the richness of previous generations exegetical conclusions, means nothing to you. Or at least should not bound you.
2) You made a prior committment that what the “passage says” trumps all. Even trumps God’s self-revelation in the entirety of the Bible. The committment that the micro somehow trumps the macro.
3) Then you made a leap of faith that “God seems to lie” but that does not contradict with ST’s God eternal providential and truthful nature. Why? Because it’s “faith” that we believe in the ST God, but it’s bad exegesis when we bring that ST God into the passage. So again the pre-committment that exegesis is the normative rule that trumps all other discipline in the Church. The issue with this is that this is only ONE way of exegesis, not the ONLY way of exegesis, but usually people in this camp think this is the ONLY and RIGHT way of exegesis (again a pre-committment.)
Put it another way, there’s a dangerous thrend in today’s theological pupils that somehow they get the following pre-committments from their BT professors.
1) ST is inferior to BT when all is said and done. Or in terms of priority in exegesis ST plays little if any role, and it’s purely an independent exegetical enterprise.
2) This particular brand of exegesis (check your ST at the door) is the ONLY and RIGHT way to do it. Any other way of exegesis are merely “compromise” or “theologically driven” rubbish.
3) What if this version of BT expressed something that’s different than ST? At best “it’s ok, just believe ST by faith”, and at worst, “let’s re-write our ST”
Once again these are things people like Hodge, Vos, Warfield, Calvin, etc. will never say in their wildest dreams.
In glossing the relation in a circular fashion you make my point. If there is no neutral exegetical methodology, then what the text means is relative to and a function of some theological model and vice versa. Consequently throwing verses and facts about Greek back and forth is futile in justifying a model since there aren’t any neutral facts to be had. Exegetical methodologies therefore do not float free of views about Christ.
Consequently, I don’t see how 1-3 are applicable to me.
Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens; Justification, by John Fesko; The Wheel of Time, by Robert Jordan; Recovering the Reformed Confessions, by Scott Clark; Brief Outline of Theology, by Friedrich Schleiermacher; Principles of Sacred Theology, by Abraham Kuyper
Books I am now reading
Exodus commentaries; Matthew commentaries; Turretin's Institutes of Elenctic Theology; Baker's new history of the church
Books for future reading
Turretin's Institutes; Joseph Caryl on Job, German encyclopedias of theology