Saturday, March 14, 2009

The enemy of my enemy is my friend / Beale replaces Enns at WTS

So Enns is no longer at WTS but that does not seem enough to contain the damage that he did while there, at least according to the powers that be. There is also the matter of sending a powerful political message to anyone concerned for WTS's commitment to narrow, Reformed orthodoxy. The message is that WTS is so committed to narrow, Reformed orthodoxy and so against anything that Enns says in Inspiration and Incarnation that they have arranged to have Gregory Beale---who recently compiled his published objections against Enns into a book, The Errosion of Inerrancy in Evangelicalism---teach one of Enns' former classes. Beale will not be teaching OT Wisdom, a class on Exodus, or Old Testament Introduction, areas of specialization for Enns. Rather, in fall of 2009 he's scheduled to teach Enns' New Testament Use of the Old course, another of Enns' acadmic pursuits and a class he co-taught with NT professor Dan McCartney---who coincidentally is leaving WTS-Philadelphia after teaching there 25 years.

Lest anyone be worried that WTS has suffered a loss with respect to academic and scholarly standing by ousting Enns (Enns earned his PhD at Harvard University, was seen as an OT scholar who was obviously and fruitfully in contact with non-evangelical academia, and was also asked [and accepted the invitation--at least from what I remember] to teach a course at Princeton Seminary while at WTS), the write up on Beale emphasizes:

"Professor Beale is a respected evangelical leader and renowned scholar. He has published both for the evangelical constituency, with monographs for Baker, Crossway, InterVarsity Press, and Eerdmans, and for the mainstream academy, with a monograph for Sheffield Academic Press...Indeed, Dr. Beale is a scholar with a heart for the church and the desire and the ability to interact outside of the normal boundaries of broad evangelical discourse and publishing." (See

So there you have it: strict, narrow, Reformed orthodoxy and scholarly, academic respectability. Who could ask for anything more? I think the move is brilliant. Students who may have taken this class with Enns can take it again with Beale to have what he taught them corrected. Students who may not have taken the class with Enns but have nonetheless been exposed to I&I's "heresy" can take the class with Beale and undo any damage. Yet it seems to me that the most significant fallout of assigning Beale Enns' NT use of OT class is an undeniably clear public statement to the effect that the cancerous effects of the Inspiration and Incarnation era at WTS has not only come to a definitive end but has been furthermore put into absolute and permanent remission via this symbolic replacement of Enns with his congregationalist public disputant. Now people who may have had some reservations about WTS's claim to orthodoxy can feel a little better about giving them money again.