Saturday, May 31, 2008

McGowan part of Old Princeton/WTS?!

"We must also note that confessional statements ought to be constantly subjected to scrutiny by careful exegetical work and should always be recognized as transient documents. Confessions should be written regularly so that the church always has a doctrinal statement that deals with the issues and concerns of the day. The fact that most of the confessions in use in Protestant churches were written in Western Europe in the seventeenth century is a strange phenomenon. Is it not remarkable that none of us has confessions that deal with the principal difficulties that have assailed and are assailing the church, namely liberalism, pluralism, relativism, postmodernism and so on?" (A.T.B. McGowan, The Divine Spiration of Scripture, 186.)

These are very interesting points that McGowan makes here; certainly ones that I think should be mulled over with all seriousness. What's even more interesting is that McGowan says straightaway that he's a conservative, Reformed vanTillian. In fact, the back cover of his book lists him as being (among other things) a visiting professor at "Westminster Theological Seminary, USA"!

He advises, "The inerrantist position was created in the heat of battle. Liberal theology was on the march and evangelicals struggled to find ways of defending a high view of Scripture. Unfortunately, in the heat of battle a hardening of positions often takes place, where people are forced into more and more extreme statements by their opponents, afraid to give any quarter lest the battle be lost. This is, I believe, what happened in the debate over the doctrine of Scripture." (121)

I wonder if similar things can be said about the formation and evolution of WTS itself: created in the heat of battle, finding ways to defend a high view of scripture, hardening of positions, forced into more and more extreme statements, afraid to give any quarter lest the battle be lost...