March 27, 2008
Westminster Theological Seminary Suspends Peter Enns
Critics said his 2005 book, "Inspiration and Incarnation," violated statement of faith.
Two of the hottest issues in evangelical theology right now are the New Testament’s use of the Old Testament and evangelical textual criticism. Peter Enns’s 2005 book, Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament, aimed to pose difficult questions about the human aspects of Scripture. It received both praise and criticism from noted evangelical scholars.
And it made things difficult for Enns at his school, Philadelphia’s Westminster Theological Seminary. A battle over whether the book undermined or contradicted the Westminster Confession of Faith has been raging for some time now, and apparently came to a head Wednesday at the meeting of the school’s board, which decided to suspend Enns.
This note is now circulating from board chairman Jack White:
Thank you very much for your prayers for the special meeting of the Board of Trustees that was held on March 26 to address the disunity of the faculty regarding the theological issues related to Dr. Peter Enns' book, Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament. After a full day of deliberation, the Board of Trustees took the following action by decisive vote:
"That for the good of the Seminary (Faculty Manual II.4.C.4) Professor Peter Enns be suspended at the close of this school year, that is May 23, 2008 (Constitution Article III, Section 15), and that the Institutional Personnel Committee (IPC) recommend the appropriate process for the Board to consider whether Professor Enns should be terminated from his employment at the Seminary. Further that the IPC present their recommendations to the Board at its meeting in May 2008."
In order to provide the entire Westminster community with a more complete understanding of the Board's decision and to offer an opportunity for questions and dialogue, the Chairman and Secretary of the Board will join the President on campus for a special chapel on Tuesday, April 1 at 10:30 am. Students and staff are encouraged to attend and participate. Following that special chapel, they will hold a separate meeting with the faculty.
Our concern is to honor the Lord Jesus Christ and assure a faithful witness for Westminster for years to come. To that end, please pray for everyone involved during the next two months.
The campus politics are particularly sensitive, since the seminary faculty had voted 12-8 to support Enns. In the meantime, both supporters and opponents of Inspiration and Incarnation had framed the debate as a battle for the future of the school.
We’ll have more on this story and its implications soon.