Michael Bird, down in Australia, is watching from afar but he gets it: there’s something going on in Old Testament scholarship among Reformed evangelicals that has many people concerned, and it’s all lit up in the news — to the point that USA Today covered one of the stories. Here’s a clip from Michael Bird’s blog, and you can weigh in here (or at Michael Bird’s site). I want this conversation to be civil, and I would love it if some Reformed folks who support some of these moves (or all of them) to weigh in. I will do my best to keep this conversation civil today, and I won’t permit false accusations against any of the people involved — including the leaders at WTS and RTS. How do you folks explain what is going on? Here’s Michael Bird’s opening salvo:
As a biblical scholar of a Reformed Evangelical persuasion, I confess that I find myself scratching my head about what is happening in North American circles with respect to biblical studies, particularly the Old Testament.First, there was the Peter Enns affair at Westminster. Now truth be told I’m not sold on Enns’ model of applying the incarnation to Scripture (J.I. Packer and John Webster have given reasons for rejecting that model), but Enns’ attempt to situate the Old Testament in the context of ANE literature is fairly standard and uncontroversial in Christian circles outside of North America.Second, we have this week seen the resignations ( = dismissals) of two of the most eminent Evangelical Professors of biblical studies in the USA, Bruce Waltke and Tremper Longman, from their adjunct posts at Reformed seminaries. Waltke was fired [or resigned] because he asserted in a video that evangelicals should embrace evolution as being consistent with the biblical accounts of creation and Longman was fired [or resigned] because he stated in a video that belief in a historical Adam was not necessary. The story about Waltke even made the news at USA Today (HT Camden Busey) and Christianity Today.Then there is the very critical response made by Vern Poythress of Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia to John Walton’s book, The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate, which Poythress says “makes unsound claims” about creation.Combine this with the vituperative responses made against the writings of N.T. Wright and the chorus of rebuke at John Piper for inviting Rick Warren to speak at the Desiring God Conference, all coming from Reformed circles, and you have a clearly discernible trend. This trend is what I simply have to call a Fundamentalist Resurgence in what were once historical Evangelical Denominations and Institutions.