Posted on: May 22nd, 2008 WTS Christology not actually Reformed

Bruce McCormack, professor of systematic theology at Princeton Theological Seminary, has commented on the text which (one subgroup of) the faculty of Westminster wrote to justify its opposition to the Christological analogy Pete Enns relies upon in his book Inspiration and Incarnation.

McCormack succinctly does a geneaology of Reformed christology, culminating in John Owen and visible in the Westminster Standards, tracing it back to Chalcedon. The upshot is that the Reformed tradition, in opposition to some patristic readings as well as most Orthodox readings, locates the personhood of Christ in the hypostatic union, and not simply as derivative from the pre-existing Logos. Interestingly, the main motivation for this on the part of the Reformed tradition was to preserve the real humanity of Christ in all its fullness, resisting the idea that Christ’s humanity is just an instrument of the Logos.

Here as elsewhere, the Reformed theological tradition rocks. What is sad, though, is that WTS, as a part of its condemnation of Pete’s book, is departing from this.

What is even sadder is that they probably did not even realize what it was doing, so low is its interest level in the patristic thought and the ancient context of Chalcedon. McCormack reminds us that doing theology is impossible apart from doing history.

Hmmmm … isn’t that also what Pete is saying (among other things) in his book?

Bad things happen when we (ie, evangelicals or conservative Reformed types) let our doctrine of Scripture drive the rest of our theology, which seems to me to be what is going on at WTS. The need nostalgically to defend (a relatively recent conception of) the Bible drives all else.

For the text of the McCormack piece, go here.

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