A Response to Jonathan Bonomo on Christotelicism

Jonathan Bonomo has written a piece defending the Christotelic hermeneutic (what I will abbreviate here as the Two-Readings View, TRV). I thought I would interact with this a bit, and then in a follow up post interact with Doug Green on Psalm 8 and the Enns/McCartney article on Hosea 11:1.

First, we’ll deal with what we agree on, and then move to areas of disagreement. Bonomo and I agree on what Luke 24 is saying: that the entire OT is about Jesus. We also agree that the historical context of the OT is important to help us understand how the first audience would have heard something. And, being somewhat guarded here, we agree that Christ is the telos of the Old Testament. Telos is, after all, a word that the New Testament uses to describe Christ’s relationship to the OT. We should not avoid the term simply because the TRV has taken it over. Otherwise, we would have to throw out Romans 10:4 and other passages. Bonomo and I also agree (with McCartney) that we should employ the hermeneutics of the apostles. What that hermeneutic actually is will be the question under discussion. We also agree that the human authors did not know the full extent of the meaning of what they wrote. Full stop. Read that last point again. I think Bonomo thinks the point is in dispute, when in fact it is not. 1 Peter 1:10-12 says as much.

We disagree in several areas. I would first point out a rather large tu quoque. He says,

You who are in Reformed churches should care, because we now seem to live in an ecclesial world where it is supposedly OK for men to make accusations against other men and take action against them without any substantiating evidence and without clearly divulging the reasons for their accusations and their actions.

First of all, I don’t see WTS making accusations or taking action against people, although they have been accused of that. I certainly don’t see why he can say that there is no substantiating evidence at this time, since Bonomo is not privy to the inner workings of the seminary. How does he know 1. that there was “action taken against someone,” and 2. that if there was, there was no substantiating evidence? Was he at the board meetings? the faculty meetings? How does he know this? At the moment, the best information he could possibly have would only constitute one half of the story. He doesn’t know WTS’s side of the story. Also, I have written before about the why’s and wherefore’s of whether a seminary divulges all the reasons for what they do or not, and when (the wheels of an institution can often turn slowly). Apparently, Bonomo has been influenced by Longman and others who are making rather large claims to knowledge which they cannot possibly have. By what right does Bonomo get to level accusations like these against an entire institution, drag an entire institution’s name through the mud, and make accusations against an entire institution without substantiating evidence? Tu Quoque, Mr. Bonomo. You need to be much more careful. In my opinion, we can talk about Green/Enns/McCartney’s views. Their writings are public. The actions of WTS are not fully public, the discussions are not public, the reasoning is not public. Wouldn’t it be best to wait on judging WTS, until we have more public information?

Secondly, Bonomo’s version of the TRV does not square with other versions of it. Take Pete Enns’s book Inspiration and Incarnation, for instance. On page 115, he lays out in option 1 the very position that Bonomo was claiming is the TRV, and then rejects it. Option 1 is actually the correct position to take on the New Testament’s use of the Old Testament. Instead, Enns’s conclusions are as follows: “1. The New Testament authors were not engaging the Old Testament in an effort to remain consistent with the original context and intention of the Old Testament author: 2. They were indeed commenting on what the text meant. 3. The hermeneutical attitude they embodied should be embraced and followed by the church today” (emphasis original, pp. 115-116). For our purposes, the first conclusion that Enns states is the important one. The original context and intention of the Old Testament authors is irrelevant to the NT author in the view of the TRV. Later in the book, it becomes clear that God can have a meaning that He intends for a text to have that has nothing to do with what the human author meant. This is definitely not the theory of concursus, folks. Either the human author is hijacking God’s meaning, or God is hijacking the human author’s meaning. Never the two do meet (or at least, rarely! This CANNOT be squared with 1 Peter 1:10-12).

To take a specific example of Enns’s teaching, in The Evolution of Adam, pp. 86-87, we find some very clear statements on how the TRV sees Paul’s handling of Adam. He says that “Paul’s use of Genesis is clearly rooted in something other than a simple reading of that story. There is more at work in Paul’s thinking than simply repeating the plain sense of Genesis” (p. 86). Does this mean that he thinks it is still possible for Paul’s interpretation to be in line somehow with Genesis? Not at all. On page 87, he says, “Paul’s reading of Genesis is driven by factors external to Genesis. Paul’s use of the Old Testament, here or elsewhere, does not determine how that passage functions in its original setting.” On page 103, he says, “Paul does not feel bound by the original meaning of the Old Testament passage he is citing.” Jesus Christ is a wholly unexpected transformation of the Old Testament story, according to Enns (p. 104 and 82). How can a “wholly unexpected” transformation of the OT story be in organic unity with it? According to Enns, the one meaning of the OT has nothing to do with Christ. Only on the basis of Second Temple Jewish interpretative techniques can Paul (and other NT authors) get Christ out of the OT. In other words, Christ is not in the OT, according to Enns. Certainly, Jesus would be wrong to claim that Moses wrote about Him. Jesus is talking, in John 5, about authorial intent. No doubt, Enns would claim that this flattens out the development of the OT story. Not at all. Does looking at a fully grown oak tree flatten out the development of that oak tree? If one takes pictures at various times of the growth of the oak tree, one can see all the contours of growth one could wish. But the oak tree is not a unicorn. It stays an oak tree throughout.

I want to point people to read Dr. Gaffin’s response to Clair Davis once again. Read especially Gaffin’s comments about Vos’s position on the relative position of history and revelation. Bonomo is claiming that Gaffin is wrong (not directly, but indirectly). Gaffin’s understanding of the TRV is certainly the same view that I hold. Enns is clear on this. Next up will be an examination of Green and Enns/McCartney.

34 Comments

  1. Reed Here said,

    September 29, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    Helpful Lane.

  2. Joe S. said,

    September 29, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    Lane,

    I know for a fact, because I’ve seen it, that there is a sealed box in the basement of the Montgomery Library with Carl Trueman’s thoughts and writings on the Enns and the circumstances that lead to his dismissal that is sealed and not to be opened for a couple decades. Even in a couple decades when the box can be opened I wonder if its contents will ever be available to the public.

    Your point that we only know half of the story is fair and valid. The frustrating thing is that your angle gives WTS all the power in the situation and makes them able to proceed without accountability if they choose to never make their side of the story known. They could bury it in a sealed box in a cold dark basement for a couple decades if it suited them.

    Accountability is important particularly for a parachurch organization like WTS. The fact that WTS will not clearly disclose more details in the case of Green and Fantuzzo is disheartening. I think that Machen would be very displeased. Have you seen the following article by Machen?

    http://www.thisday.pcahistory.org/2014/09/november-24-2/?

    I think that Machen would echo a call for WTS to come to the light so people and churches could judge and act accordingly. Here is Machen’s last paragraph:

    “The time has gone by, if there ever was such a time, when Christian people, particularly in the Presbyterian Church in the U. S. A., could afford to be in ignorance of the facts. We must know the facts in order that we may lay them before our God in prayer and ask Him to give us courage to act in view of them as Christian men and women ought to act.”

    I hope that WTS will disclose the facts surround the Green’s retirement and Fantuzzo’s abrupt dismissal soon. Until they do so I think that it is not improper to say that they are doing a disservice to christian men and women as well as local churches around the globe.

    As far as unsubstantiated claims go do you remember this document?

    http://files.wts.edu/uploads/images/files/News/Christocentric/BriefSummary.pdf

    Jeff’s document sounds a lot like your blog. It makes claims about Christotelic hermeneutics or TRV that aren’t substantiated with anything beyond you assertion of how you seen things. Take Jeff’s third point. Do you really think that Green, Fantuzzo, McCartney, or Bonomo deny the presence of Jesus Christ in the OT? To use the “Bill Smith” hermeneutical approach … just because you ponder what an OT text mean to its original audience doesn’t mean you are denying Jesus Christ’s presence in the text!!!

    In the document that Dr. Lillback posted to the same WTS page…

    http://files.wts.edu/uploads/images/files/News/Christocentric/Christocentric,%20Christotelic%20Statement.pdf

    ..he makes a statement in the third from last paragraph that the Christotelic hermeneutical approach adherents use it to diminish or deny that Christ is the heart of the scriptures. Again, do you really think that Green, Fantuzzo, McCartney, or Bonomo are trying to diminish or deny that Christ is the heart of the scriptures? Again, there is nothing to back this claim up with except his own assertion of this to be the case, therefore it is entirely fair to call this claim unsubstantiated.

    These two specific claims are not only unsubstantiated but I don’t think that they are true. You may not agree with what you are calling TRV but would you say that the TRV method denies Jesus’ presence in the OT and denies that Christ is the heart of the scriptures? Those are serious claims to throw around and they deserve to be backed up with specific evidence but none seems to be provided.

    I stand by Machen and say to WTS, “Come to the light”…..

  3. Kevin Davis said,

    September 29, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    He doesn’t know WTS’s side of the story.

    That’s the problem. No one knows “WTS’s side of the story,” except those within the most inner circle and, presumably, some influential donors. Why the secrecy? WTS has brought this whole mess upon themselves. It’s an embarrassment. Like many others, I think they made the right decision with Professor Enns, but the lack of discernment here is appalling.

  4. September 29, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    Lane, thanks for the interaction, but I think you may need to employ a second level read of my post.

  5. September 29, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    Oh, sorry, forgot winking smiley face indicating comment made in good fun. Here: ;-)

  6. greenbaggins said,

    September 29, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    Joe, a couple of things to say in response. Firstly, WTS is an institution. It has a board that has real authority. It is not connected to any ecclesiastical institution. There are few avenues of appeal. It has the right to hire and fire at will. You say, “The fact that WTS will not clearly disclose more details in the case of Green and Fantuzzo is disheartening.” I would respond by saying that if WTS decides to respond, it would probably take a while, don’t you think? After all, who is authorized to speak for WTS? The board? The faculty? The president? If a consensus document is desired, it would take rather a long time to put it together, don’t you think? How do you know what they are doing and what they are not doing? Rather than make any assumptions about this, it would seem best here also to exercise a little patience and wait. Kevin, that goes for you too. In an internet age, when information is usually available at the touch of a button, it is quite easy to forget that institutions CANNOT move that fast. It is quite unreasonable to expect that they should have had something available by now.

  7. greenbaggins said,

    September 29, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    So, Jonathan, the second reading would presume, I assume, that some eschatological revelation happens to me, and I suddenly become ever so much smarter than I was before? Do please correct my total inability to read English.

  8. September 29, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    As I said, Lane, in good fun. I’m sure you can read English just fine. I just found it interesting that in a response to me, you found it worthwhile to critique a view that you already admitted is something other than the one I hold and that I believe is held by Green and McCartney, in the works of a man I never once mentioned in my post.

  9. greenbaggins said,

    September 29, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    Jonathan, the question seems fairly simple: what is the TRV? You asserted that it is something that I don’t believe it is. Enns is fairly acknowledged to be an adherent of the TRV, or wouldn’t you agree? Also, as I said, Green and McCartney will be the subject of the next post, DV. Are you planning on substantive interaction on this?

  10. Joe S. said,

    September 29, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    Lane,

    You raise fair points. Things do take time. I guess I would be more patience and have more confidence if the first round of documents had been more specific with substantiating evidence in tow. Let’s be honest… we are talking about brilliant men. I’ve seen Dr. Lillback write articles where the footnotes are almost as long as the article itself. It just strikes me as odd that they put forward documents publicly with no evidence attached for Green’s dismissal.

    Perhaps you received it but word on the street is that WTS sent out a clarifying letter to select alumni stating that the article that they had asked Green to rewrite on Psalm 23 to retain his position was, in fact, not the reason why he “retired”after all. All that to say that for a lot of people the waters are muddy and, while it may take some time, it would behoove WTS to come to the light sooner rather then later.

    The WTS board can fire and hire who they want. I don’t think anyone is questioning that. I think that people have a right to be critical about how they go about it. Fantuzzo’s case in particular is sad and takes on a fascinating twist when you realize that he worshipped in the same local OPC body with many of the men who were very critical of him and responsible for him getting released without even a severance package. Since the board isn’t accountable to an ecclesiastical body I think that the accountability for WTS is going to take the form of future student population levels. With the potential balkanization in the PCA due to the fact that some sessions might follow Green’s and disagree with WTS about Green falling outside of the WCF it makes the situation more challenging.

    Unfortunately WTS’ finances are tied student attendance in a significant way. I know that they were aiming for an increase in FTE to offset financial hardships that they have faced the last couple years. With the lack of clarity as to TRV in general and Green’s retirement specifically there is potential there have a significant negative impact on incoming numbers.

    Speaking of TRV I find it fascinating that you think what Bonomo is describing isn’t in fact TRV. What if Green or Fantuzzo lined up more closely to Bonomo then to Enns? This is where clarity from WTS in Green’s “retirement” would help everyone….

  11. September 29, 2014 at 11:58 pm

    “a Christotelic hermeneutic sees the entire OT – and not merely a handful of passages as in strict grammatical historical – as messianic in nature. ”

    That’s just stupid. Anyone with common sense would reject this, and all other Calvinist hermeneutics out of hand as purely idiotic. They have no connection with reality whatsoever.

  12. Joe S. said,

    September 30, 2014 at 12:16 am

    Um… Davy… do you mean “Christotelic” instead of “Calvinist”? Because Calvinist would probably exclude just about everyone who reads this blog.

    Give us something to interact with besides your own personal assertions. For example you could show why it is stupid, why people with common sense reject it, why it is purely idiotic, and why it is not connected to reality in any way.

    Come on, man, you can do better!

  13. Nathanael Johnston said,

    September 30, 2014 at 6:36 am

    I believe firing one professor and forcing another professor to retire count as actions taken against them by WTS. The fact that WTS has been vague about the reasons for these actions does not mean we must be silent until we get all the facts. On that logic, no one could ever critcize corrupt politicians, and I don’t think that’s where you want to end up. Based on the information we have it appears to me and to many others that WTS acted unjustly. Until such time as they deign to produce evidence to the contrary I believe public outcry and calls for clarity on WTS’s actions are justified and necessary.

  14. greenbaggins said,

    September 30, 2014 at 7:42 am

    Nathanael, that’s just the point. You use words like “firing” and “forcing” because you only have one half of the story. Would you use such words if you knew the whole story? Maybe, maybe not. You are jumping the gun, jumping to conclusions based on insufficient evidence.

  15. Reed Here said,

    September 30, 2014 at 8:27 am

    Jonathan, might you differentiate for us where you think Lane’s assessment is not accurate of what you’ve said? Not looking for details, just one or two sentence bullet points that readers can then cross check between what you’ve both written.

    Also, second request, on the Evans response post Dr. Rick Phillips has made two helpful comments. In them he offers a clear focusing of where the problem lies.

    Do you agree with his take on the focus, that this is accurate of Enns, Green, McCartney, et. al., position?

    If yes, agree, disagree that this us how to read the Bible? Why?

    If no, then where is Phillips wrong?

    Thanks. And to be clear, I’m asking to understand.

  16. Reed Here said,

    September 30, 2014 at 9:05 am

    Guys, may I urge those of you who think that WTS’s recent staffing decisions are wrong to pause in your voicing of your anger? Whether you are right or wrong in your opinion of the justice of the decision, nothing of real value, that which glorifies God, is to be secured via opinions based on less than full information. Rather, such discussions run the risk devolving into gossip, slander, backbiting, etc.. I’m sure that this is not the intention, but it does happen to us, and far to easily, as we all can agree, in the format of a blog.

    And no, we’ve no “right” to demand further information than that which has been offered by WTS and the men in view. We’ve the right to ask, humbly and graciously, for the information reasonably to be expected of one asked to support the mission of WTS, and that’s it, the right to ask. If we decide thT the information given is insufficient then rather than tempt ourselves to sin in gossip, slander, et.al., why not simply make our decision on that basis?

    Meanwhile, the discussion of the TRV is worthy, provided that here too we recognize that how we speak is as important as what we speak.

    Please forgive me in any manner I haven’t lived up to my own sentiments here. I admit to be a recovering “professional arguer”. I am grateful that our Peace makes His peace grow in our hearts.

    Thanks for considering my request.

  17. Bill Smith said,

    September 30, 2014 at 9:47 am

    One of the “disheartening” things about the way WTS has handled this matter thus far is that it reminds me of the way RTS handled the firing of Greg Bahnsen. I was no Bahnsen follower then and all these years after have very little sympathy for the theonomists. In fact you can call me an anti-theonomist. (Years ago, I wrote something for the long defunct Session to Session to which Bahnsen took strong exception in correspondence with me.) However, the way he was got rid of was ugly. RTS did what it did because it could and felt it owed no explanation to those who questioned it. WTS can be defended for not telling us anything because it takes time to prepare a consensus statement, but only so long. To say we don’t know the Westminster side is true. However, the reason we don’t know the WTS side is because we have not been told it. The other disheartening thing is that there is this, another fight among conservative reformed men. Some fights are necessary, but which ones? For instance, with regard to the matter at hand, now you’ve got two “obedience boys” – Evans and Phillips – who have felt it necessary to point out the “errors” of Escondido having an argument about Green and the Chistotelic hermeneutic. It sems everybody has a check-list (“obedience boy” or “grace boy”? what did the prophets now and when they know it? objective union with Christ or subjective union? etc.) against which they check out everyone else. It gets wearying just to keep up with all the fights, and much more wearying to figure out what side one is on.

  18. Stuart (OPC) said,

    September 30, 2014 at 10:58 am

    Re #17, etc.: All independent ministerial agencies (seminaries, mission boards, etc.) pose an interesting issue about accountability and the market seems to be one major factor in such cases. Since WTS-P is not apt to become affiliated with one denomination anytime soon (unless something is going on that I know nothing about), there are limits to what can be expected from all sides. I was concerned when WTS had Enns in their midst that the seminary would be of little value or potentially harmful to the reformed churches that I feel at home with. Now the issue is framed slightly differently but boils down to the same inability to resolve conflicts through use of church courts. Even church courts, IMO, need to be careful in a litigious world of lawyers, We should not arm unduly some offended members we may have dealt with or disciplined with grounds for civil action. If a seminary or other non-affiliated ministry desires to make known problems that could be construed in a civil court as tortious or as slander, they would be foolish to go into detail about communications and discussions held in camera. Such entities have even less protection than churches which are increasingly under assault. In saying this, I am not implying anything about Green’s inclinations. I do suspect, however, that past experience might make a board member leery on how much to share with the public.

  19. Reed Here said,

    September 30, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Bill, no. 17: I appreciate for some that this staffing decision is hurtful. but I think far too many are reading into this their own sense of significance. Respectfully, I think you echo that in your comment here.

    I know nothing of Bahnsen-RTS. I do not know if your assessment is accurate or fair. I do find myself very uncomfortable, as you are using heavy words that infer sinfulness on the part of RTS. Given my own experience in life of judging without either full information, or calling for such judgment, I want to stay away from such foolishness. I have experienced the rod of God’s discipline expressed in Mt 7:2 because of my own such foolishness.

    And yes, I am saying that I hear kind of foolishness at least echoed in some of the expressions of concern.

    I disagree with Lane a bit here. I think WTS HAS explained themselves. Clearly it is not adequate enough for some. O.k. What troubles me is the language that then gets used. It infers a judgment on WTS that they have therefore sinned in not explaining themselves to the satisfaction of their interlocutors. Then, sadly, a second inference gets loaded in, this being that the staffing decisions were in some manner sinful on WTS’ part.

    If these inferences ARE NOT intended, then those using such language need to consider their words – exactly what Lane suggests in his post here. At best they are unwise, at least suggesting a standard of judgment that God is NOT going to honor.

    I do not think any of us can conclude that WTS sinned in their actions vis-a-vis Green, et.al..We may disagree positionally (i.e., think their teaching is sound), but WTS has the right to decide for themselves this and no one has the right to label such decision as sinful.

    Disagree with them? Yes. Use language that suggests they’re sinning? Absolutely not. Even in the discussion here of the TRV, no one is saying one side or the other is sinning.

    Your comment talks about similarity of appearance between a situation that many of us do not know about and WTS. You may have need to ask if this comparison is fair. I don’t know. I do know that a blog where none of those interacting are parties in the decision is far from a wise place to seek the answers you need.

    Why not leave it at this? WTS has the institutional right to decide the direction of their mission. We have the right to agree or disagree with that direction. They’ve explained this recent action. If their explanation is insufficient then contact them directly. If the response you get is still inadequate in your judgment – leave it at that. Express your opinion when asked in reference to a valid need (e.g., someone thinking about attending WTS asking for your advice). To express it beyond that is to behave in an unwise manner, one that can only hurt self, others, the Church, Christ Himself.

    Note, I am NOT saying don’t explore the differences in position, the TRV, Christotelic position. By all means this IS a responsibility we have. But discussing this does not need to delve into the question of WTS’s staffing decisions.

    Please don’t read any unkindness or harshness in my words. I’m seeking to be brief and clear, risking sounding unkind. Please forgive where I have, ask me to amend (I will), and trust my motives are those of a brother talking with a brother.

  20. Reed Here said,

    September 30, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Jonathan, no. 15? Thx.

  21. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    September 30, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    I agree with Bill Smith. (That may come as a shock to him. ;) )

  22. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    September 30, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    (In his #17)

  23. Bill Smith said,

    September 30, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    #19 The WTS “staffing decision” on a personal level is neither hurtful nor unhurtful to me. I do not know Doug Green. I doubt I had ever heard of him before this controversy broke. Moreover, I neither endorse nor condemn his views. But, the “staffing decision” is not purely a staffing decision. I think you are unsuccessful in trying to cast this as merely such on the part of WTS. Overwhelming evidence of that is the amount of space Lane, Bill Evans, and now Rick Phillips have devoted to Green, his views, and Westminster’s decisions about him. So far as WTS made, as a business, a business decision, to “retire” Green, that is their right as a business, as I acknowledge elsewhere. It is also the right of others to ask themselves and WTS, and WTS not necessarily in private correspondence, if that business decision is a worthy one. That, however, is not the reason so much space has gone to this discussion. So far as this decision was based on doctrinal considerations, it is appropriate for others to engage the matter which again has happened at this site and Bill Evans’. And, as an institution that has a constituency, it makes sense that that constituency should not be asked merely “to trust us.” When something like this happens, it is reported, discussed, commented on in public. In an open society such as ours, and especially where an institution that trains the church’s ministers for ministry of Word and sacrament but is not under the oversight of the Church which could with ecclesial authority settle such matters, it is inevitable, and probably healthy, that the broader constituency of WTS should ask for explanations and give opinions. As to RTS and Bahnsen, as you say, you have no knowledge of it. I will leave it at that. These things said, I wonder, if you wish to offer correction, perhaps you would want to do that in private correspondence.

  24. Bill Smith said,

    September 30, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Benjamin, #21, I may have to revise my millenial view based on this.

  25. Reed Here said,

    September 30, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    Bill: please note my distinction between discussing the issue of the TRV hermeneutic vs. the issue of WTS’ decision.

    My criticisms of your post no. 17 refer to the latter issue, not the former.

    And yes, if correction were of such a significant nature, and/or the matter was solely private, yes I would offer correction in private.

    But here I am not offering correction as in assessing sin and correcting. Nor is this a private matter. Nor do I think it is a significant issue. Hence my offering an opinion on the wisdom of pursuing this topic of discussion: the why’s and wherefores of WTS’ decision, with the inference of determining sinfulness.

    I sought to be careful in my language to NOT accuse you or anyone else of even that intention (let alone action). Rather I tried to say that this is an inference that I hear. I am sorry for any lack of clarity.

    My comments then are offered as a suggestion for better expression, the same as your criticism of my comments here is offered to me, yes?

    FWIW.

  26. Reed Here said,

    September 30, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    Jonathan, no. 15?

  27. Bill Smith said,

    September 30, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    With re to the question with which #25 closes, my answer is No. I am tempted but I will resist the temptation to be the dog with the bone as to other matters raised in #s 17, 19, 23, and 25. I’ve had my chew and others can pick it up if they wish.

  28. September 30, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Reed, we disagree altogether as to whether it is fair or accurate to lump Enns, Green, McCartney, and Fantuzzo (and me, and hundreds of other Reformed ministers who think the two readings method is helpful) as all holding identical positions. We need to deal with particular men as particular men, and not a priori label them and then attack those labels. I did not mention Enns once in my post, so from my perspective Lane’s response is an exercise in begging the question.

    And, no, I do not at all agree with Dr. Phillips. I do not think his presentation of McCartney is fair or accurate. I already gave my interpretation of McCartney in my post, so I don’t see why I should have to further elaborate here. I also think it is very odd to be hearing about McCartney as the main source for the seminary’s decision 4 months after the announcement in the comment thread of a blog post.

  29. Reed Here said,

    September 30, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Bill, no.27, sorry you feel that way. Didn’t see that this would be something to disagree on.

  30. Reed Here said,

    September 30, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Jonathan: thanks.

  31. Stuart (OPC) said,

    September 30, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    I guess there is agreement that there is some X or unknown in recent WTS decisions. Is there anything in Lillback’s statement that might narrow the range of possibilities regarding a doctrinal issue? See the last four paragraphs in which a variety of possible Christotelic emphases are recognized: http://files.wts.edu/uploads/images/files/News/Christocentric/Christocentric,%20Christotelic%20Statement.pdf
    It looks to me like WTS is not identifying just one Christotelic or TRV position that could be at issue. Maybe Green does not fit any but I would be surprised if he did not at least come very close to one of the possibilities mentioned. The position paper is presumably relevant. I look forward to the further elaboration of this and have given his Psalm 8 paper a second reading.

  32. Joe S. said,

    September 30, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    Reed,

    If you look at the statement that Stuart (OPC) linked to are you satisfied with it? I’m not and what troubles me is that WTS is expecting people to think like this:

    1.The board has determined that Green’s Christotelic hermeneutics no longer fall under the WCF.

    2. The Christotelic hermeneutical approach diminishes or denies that Christ is the heart of scriptures, says that the OT and the NT may contradict each other, the OT is blind to the ultimate coming of Christ, the NT reads Jesus back in the OT, the OT in spite of disjunction and ignorance was moving towards Christ, and the outright denial of a historic Adam. ( all from Dr. Lillback’s short article that Stuart linked to)

    3. Therefore Green must embrace the characteristics of the hermeneutical approach as outline by Dr. Lillback.

    The problem is that there no clear connection between points 1 and 2. The WTS board voted 10 months ago that they considered Green to no longer fall under their interpretation of the WCF. I would hope that they had specific examples of where they thought Green erred. Examples that would connect points 1 and 2. And yet the best they can produce is a document that is full of unsubstantiated claims? There has been no clear connection between points 1 and 2 in Dr Lillback’s document. This approach may satisfy you in this matter but for a lot of people it leaves them scratching their heads in bewilderment and wondering where’s the substance. To quote an old commercial, ” Where is the beef??”

    Why is it not okay to query WTS and ask them publicly to please connect the dots? Why do we have to tone it down?

  33. Nathanael Johnston said,

    September 30, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    So, I must admit that I’m a little confused right now. On the one hand I hear people saying that Westminster has not given their side of the story so I should withhold criticism until it is given. On the other hand I hear people saying that Westminster has adequately explained themselves so I should stop badgering them to give reasons for their actions. So which is it?

  34. greenbaggins said,

    October 1, 2014 at 8:34 am

    I have been consistently advocating patience. Let’s wait and see. I would be astounded if WTS doesn’t think that it should do some explanation, or that they are not aware of the issues people are having. One thing is for sure, however. If WTS comes out with an explanation, it will not satisfy some people who want every single detail about everything. WTS will not be able to do that, because of confidentiality issues. That fact needs to temper our expectations of what WTS will cover in any kind of explanation.


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