Thursday, January 29, 2009

Peter Enns attending Arminian church

According to his website, Peter Enns is now attending an Arminian church. I think this is pretty cool.

Enns is a scholar who until recently taught at Westminster Theological Seminary. Last year he was suspended and later parted ways with WTS because of controversy over a book he authored that promoted an "incarnational view" of scripture.

You can read about the controversy here: Christianity Today

HT: Quadrilateral Thoughts


bossmanham said...

I don't completely understand, even from that article, what the debate was about. Was Enns diminishing the divine inspiration of the Bible? Any Nazarene (since he's going to a Nazarene church now) I've ever known has been a staunch defender of Biblical inerrancy.

Pizza Man said...

Hi Bossmanham!

Good question. I haven't read his book. From what I gather, Enns would state that he holds to inerrancy, while WTS would say that he doesn't.

From what I've read he argues that scripture is limited by the way that it was written. For example, Jesus became human, and logos being in the flesh was a limitation to him. Likewise, God communicated his written word through men who were limited (by their humanity, and by the culture in which they lived). Enns argues that scripture is best understood with that contextual background.

It's an interesting argument, but I can see how it could be taken too far as well.

A.M. Mallett said...

I was under the impression that Enns issue was over the inspirational status of all scripture i.e. not all of scripture is the inspired word of God. For example, this comment by Paul might fall into the debate over Enns position:

But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.” (1Co 7:12 AV)

Perhaps I do not fully grasp the Enns issue but WTS actions strike me as less than theologically academic.

Pizza Man said...

Hi AM, thanks for stopping by. That is a good example that you gave. I don't understand all the nuances of what was going on, but agree with your assessment.

Jnorm888 said...

Peter Enns was advocating a Chalcedonian Christology in understanding the 100% Divinity & 100% Humanity of scripture.

The problem is "some" of his reformed & Calvinistic brethern adopted a Nestorian formula.

Rob(Perry) over at energetic procession"

Did a great job at showing what the heart of the infighting was about.

This is what I wrote about his blog post.

""Rob over at energetic procession had a post that spoke about Peter Enns's book and the infighting going on right now about Christology and their view of the inspiration of scripture. Rob does a good job in showing how Chalcedonian christology is different from Reformed Christology, in which he (and some of the people he quotes) calls "Nestorian". It seems as if you have some within the Reformed camp that want to embrace a "chalcedonian" form of christology. But you have others that don't. And depending on how one views Christ will depend on how one will interprete the scriptures and ultimately view the scriptures. Well, that's what I got from the post. It's a great read .

This is a little of what he had to say.""

(A little of what he said on his blog)

""For those of you who don’t know there has been a
controversy among the Reformed (like, when isn’t there some new dire threat to
“the gospel?” among the Reformed) surrounding OT professor at Westminster
Seminary Peter Enns. It seems the axe is laid at the root in terms of his stay
there unfortunately.

Enn’s bookis in part concerning how to think about
the inspiration of the Bible, particularly the OT using Christology as a grid.
Enns maintains that the proper relationship between the divine and the human in
the OT is not one of a subordinating relationship. This has obvious cross-over
significance to much of what we write about here concerning St. Maximus and his
refutation of Monotheletism and Monoenergism. And for those of you thinking
about the relation of the OT accounts and surrounding cultures and inspiration,
Enns I think is on the right track and worth reading. Even if I don’t agree with
everything he has to say, the progromatic nature of his book and the project
itself is worthwhile and helpful.

I have been contributing to a largely
Reformed discussion of Enns over at Green Baggins. Some of Enns’ responses to
various critics can be seen here, here, hereand here.

Lane G. Lipton
defends what he takes to be the tradtional Reformed view of inspiration where
the humanity of Christ is given via the Spirit “created graces” giving the
relation between divine and human not noly a pnuematological structure but an
extrinsic and subordinating gloss. Note what he writes for example,

divine and human in the God-man, therefore, are not equally ultimate, existing
in some sort of parity with one another. The divine is primary; the human, while
real, is subordinate. (Emphasis his)

Uh, I don’t think so. Needless to
say I think Lane’s account of Chalcedon is an exercise in misunderstanding, not
to mention the obvious lack of biblical support for the notion of “created
graces.” (I have to wonder if he is even aware of the history of such a notion
coming out as it does from the medieval Catholicism that Calvinists love to
detest. How ironic.)

Other critics like Paul Helm and John Frame have
chimed in. (At this point after reading all of the reviews, the critics just
seem to be feeding off each other.) Enn’s reply to Helm is here. I think Helm
simply at best picks at the edges and doesn’t really get to the heart of the
matter, specifically because he ignores the obvious Christological import. What
is occuring here is a confrontation between two rival Christologies and to put
it in Van Tillian terms, Helm failed to “press the antithesis.”"

I bought Peter Enns book sometime last year, and outside of a few things I disagreed with......over all I thought it was a great read. A really really great read. His view of Scripture is pretty much the same as the E.O. view.


Jnorm888 said...

Oh, just for the record, we have a synergistic view of Scripture.

We believe it's origins are both DIVINE and HUMAN. So it's 100% Divine & 100% Human.

And from Reading Peter Enns book .......I think he was trying to say the samething.

Take care and God bless!


Pizza Man said...

Hi Jnorm, That was helpful. Thanks for the link and comments.