The Evangelical Theological Society after Obergefell

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Jim's picture

The ETS’s doctrinal basis only requires a belief in the Trinity and Inerrancy. Ray Van Neste has argued that in the wardrobe of doctrinal statements, the ETS’s is a bikini. It covers some essentials but does not cover nearly enough.

Wayne Wilson's picture

I am honestly baffled as to why so many who denounce and separate from so many ministries for deviations and errors (and many times with good reason to do so), will continue to support and participate in ETS. I really don't get it. 

Anyone out there who can explain it?

Paul Henebury's picture

Prestige and money

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

TylerR's picture

Editor

Here is where separation comes in. Triage at will, folks, triage at will . . .

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Ed Vasicek's picture

I know there are differing views when it comes to separation, but most of us here (myself included) will separate over the accepted fundamentals.

Why don't believers separate from apostasy?  I think the answer is that they believe one good apple in a barrel of bad apples with make the rotten apples good.  I don't think they give enough credit to the destructive power of apostasy -- we might argue that it is a failure to separate from error that helps propagate error.  Such attempts at rescue endanger or harm the rescuer more than they are likely the rescue those committed to error. 

In addition, there is something horribly anti-social and embarrassing about separating.  When we separate, part of us wonders if we are not, in fact, running.  We are viewed not just as narrow, but afraid.  So people think by not separating, they are actually courageous soldiers of Jesus Christ, infiltrating the ranks of the enemy. They hope to persuade others by virtue of their academic excellence and intellectual arguments.There is much to be said on behalf of the non-separatisit position.

The intentions of the non-separatist are therefore mixed, part courage and part ego.  The problem is that the Scripture commands us to separate from theological error, even if the lines of separation are not always obvious.

In a way, most of us do not fully separate even over the essentials.  For example, we may read books with pertinent information written by people who deny Jesus is the Messiah (for example, one of my favorite resources is the Jewish Encyclopedia).  We may take classes that have theological significance at a secular college/university (e.g., philosophy).  I would guess some view the ETS in a similar light -- as a place for possibly useful information.

I think it is rather ridiculous to associate with an organization like that, especially when it has the name "evangelcial."  At the same time, I might read some of their papers!

 

"The Midrash Detective"

WallyMorris's picture

Wayne Wilson wrote:

I am honestly baffled as to why so many who denounce and separate from so many ministries for deviations and errors (and many times with good reason to do so), will continue to support and participate in ETS. I really don't get it. 

Anyone out there who can explain it?

Read my series at Proclaim and Defend from last Spring. It may help. http://www.proclaimanddefend.org/2015/04/10/scholarship-separation-and-ets-1/

I raised this very point in my articles. Those Fundamentalists who are members of ETS or who support ETS membership will find their positions increasingly difficult and, as much as some would not like to, they will have to make a decision about what they really believe. The current leadership at ETS does not have any interest in raising controversial issues which could split the organization. Some leaders are even willing to reinstate Gundry (if he is even interested).

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

Steve Davis's picture

WallyMorris wrote:

 

Wayne Wilson wrote:

 

I am honestly baffled as to why so many who denounce and separate from so many ministries for deviations and errors (and many times with good reason to do so), will continue to support and participate in ETS. I really don't get it. 

Anyone out there who can explain it?

 

 

Read my series at Proclaim and Defend from last Spring. It may help. http://www.proclaimanddefend.org/2015/04/10/scholarship-separation-and-ets-1/

I raised this very point in my articles. Those Fundamentalists who are members of ETS or who support ETS membership will find their positions increasingly difficult and, as much as some would not like to, they will have to make a decision about what they really believe. The current leadership at ETS does not have any interest in raising controversial issues which could split the organization. Some leaders are even willing to reinstate Gundry (if he is even interested).

I'm not sure I follow the logic for a need to make a decision about ETS. I've attended a couple ETS conferences over the years. There's plenty to disagree with. So what's new? I would've gone this year if I had time off from work.  I am not a member to my knowledge unless someone put me on the list. However, I found the conferences extremely beneficial. The last one I attended had sessions with N. T. Wright and Tom Schreiner and others. It was a fascinating interchange and extremely helpful. Plus the rare times I attend I enjoy seeing people I haven't seen for years and catch up on life and ministry. Does membership in these types of organizations imply agreement with everything presented? What would separation from ETS look like? Stop attending? Stop sending membership dues? Hey, I've even been to some FBF conferences over the years (but not lately) in spite of disagreements. 

WallyMorris's picture

The problem is not "disagreements". The problem is ETS refuses to enforce its doctrinal statements. The current leadership (Dan Wallace, for example) is willing to reinstate Gundry and believes those who pushed for his removal were "extreme factions". They are glad to have scholarly exchanges as long as no one tries to enforce the doctrinal statements. For many in ETS, inerrancy has become a hollow concept that allows almost any belief as you don't formally say you don't believe in inerrancy. As long as you "reinterpret" the Bible instead of "denying" the Bible, then you're OK. Those in the ETS who have tried to get the ETS leadership to address their concerns about allowing membership to those who deny, in practice, inerrancy have been met with a stone wall. Sad days ahead for ETS and those Fundamentalists who are members. Of course, membership in ETS does not imply agreement with every lecture or presentation. But membership does imply some desire to help enforce the doctrinal statements you say you believe in. Otherwise, a person is accepting the benefits of the organization without participating in the effort to maintain the integrity of the organization. Separation from ETS would involve revoking your membership and clearly telling the officers why you are doing so. The ETS is basically a bankrupt organization living off of the fumes of its past. 

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

TylerR's picture

Editor

What is the point of ETS, besides networking? The organization, from a Biblical point of view, is completely apostate. They tolerate open theists. They are evidently friendly to the idea of the re-definition of marriage. Consider their very name:

  • Evangelical = about the Good News, the Gospel
  • Theological = knowledge of God
  • Society = an organization built around the Good News of the Gospel, rooted in study and knowledge of God

I know some people may become exasperated with me, but doesn't the entire tenor of Scripture tell us to  rebuke erring brethren in love, to evangelize unbelievers, and to mark and avoid deliberate, unrepentant sinners? When you examine the heresies this organization has tolerated and had trouble repudiating, you begin to wonder why on earth actual Bible-believers actually associate with it. Consider this tidbit from their own website:

the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) is a group of scholars, teachers, pastors, students, and others dedicated to the oral exchange and written expression of theological thought and research. The ETS is devoted to the inerrancy and inspiration of the Scriptures and the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

I don't believe it. It's a lie. Yes, I'm aware that a lie is a deliberate falsehood, and I do believe that the ETS is lying if it claims to believe that statement. Open theism is a damnable heresy. Tolerating re-definition of marriage is a fundamental betrayal of the Gospel and a damnable heresy. Both of these issues strike at the very heart of both (1) the evangel itself and (2) the doctrine of God, all of which begs the question, "why call yourselves the Evangelical Theological Society?"

I just don't understand. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?