Thursday, July 24, 2008

Enns no longer to teach at WTS

Westminster Seminary has stood their ground and let go of Pete Enns. There are a host of issues surrounding Enns' dismissal. Out of them all, the main item is the direction the seminary wishes to take within the next forseeable future. Having graduated from Westminster myself, I think I can say that I understand the dilemma.

Westminster is a school that exists primarily to produce pastors for its constituency--and even if this is not its primary objective, it's likely how the school makes most its money. What is such a school to do when faculty begin teaching material that students cannot practically use while pursuing ordination? In other words, what responsibility does the school have when it turns out to be the case that if students parroted back its own faculty's teaching during the course of an ordination examination that those students would not be approved for ordination? WTS would then be failing in its primary objective and in effect cutting itself off from its primary source of income. Such a school would certainly be forced into some type of action and the action they took in this particular case makes quite a lot of sense when viewed from this vantage. I think all discussions surrounding Enns' book have diverted attention from the more fundamental aims that the seminary must continually focus upon such as: why does the seminary exist and is it doing its best to sustain its capacity for accomplishing its primary tasks?

Whether it is time for the culture of the school's church constituency to change is quite another matter. It goes without saying that I think it does, but I think WTS is saying here (among other things) that 1) it will certainly not be the arbiter of such change; 2) it does not (at least publicly) see that there is presently a need for such change; and 3) it will continue to serve the churches it services irrespective of directions taken in contemporary biblical scholarship.