I received word this morning that neither Norm Geisler nor Michael Licona are members of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS), so I thought it would be important to make that clarification because one of the main concerns seemed to be Geisler’s reference to Robert Gundry was his way of hinting to Licona that he would seek to remove Licona like he did Gundry. Why is this important? Well, because whatever one may think of ETS this situation has little to do with the society except indirectly as we discuss the doctrine of inerrancy, its meaning, and its usefulness (or lack thereof, depending on your view).
I apologize for anything on this blog that may have mislead readers to assume that this is an ETS controversy. It still matters for evangelicalism, it seems to have impacted the Licona family as his son-in-law has commented here, but it has nothing to do with ETS.
See, if I would just bother to submit my membership renewals on time, I could have looked that up for us.
Not only that, but check out what Gundry actually wrote in his commentary:
Go to the end. Gundry actually takes a view that Geisler and Mohler agree with.
The ETS parallel is still relevant though, to a point.
Like ETS, many evangelicals have put themselves in a place where inerrancy is a presupposition that guides [determines/limits] how we can approach a text, rather than a statement about the authority of that text after it has been studied and debated.
The problem is you’re then forced into opposing interpretations (like Licona’s) on principle, rather than based on the historical-textual evidence. Even if ETS isn’t involved in this debate, it is an issue that has often caused tension in that community, like it currently is in evangelical academia at large.
here is what irritates me. Dr. Geisler has stated that Dr. Licona is a member of ETS and the inference that he also is. But, if they are both not, doesn’t that knock that argrument down? I further find it amusing that Dr. Geisler set himself up as authoritative as to who is orthodox.
@Marc: True, I blame you! 🙂
@Adam: Thanks for sharing. I’ll take a look.
@Mason: Indeed, the similarities are still there, but the nature/impact of Geisler’s and Mohler’s threats seem minimized a bit (in this regard).
@Doug: Geisler’s wording did seem to imply that this was a inter-ETS debate.
I just went back and double-checked Geisler’s open letters, and Doug is right. He does clearly state that Licona is a member of ETS. I’m sure it was an honest mistake, but at least I feel better that this wasn’t something that we just wrongly inferred from that exchange.
That is good to know.
Very fair Brian. I will no longer connect this to ETS. Thanks for pointing that out. I think Licona has said all he needs to for now and should just move on. Let the fundy’s debate about it. It’s like a cancer that eats at them. I’m so glad I’m free from that. Christian faith rests on the results of Mike Licona’s book. Did Jesus rise from the dead? Not, is scripture somehow inerrant in a way agreed upon by a bunch of dudes in the 20th Century.
@Greg: Amen. Our faith in Christ is grounded in the event of the resurrection. As N.T. Wright’s taxi cab driver once said, “If Jesus rose from the dead, everything else is rock & roll!”
For what it’s worth, I just had a stroll over to the Evangelical Philosophical Society site and noticed that the doctrinal standard for membership is the same as that of ETS, including the inerrancy clause:
I don’t see any reference to the Chicago Statement as an explanatory standard, however.
@Darren: Interesting. I wonder if the allusion to CSBI is a major difference between the two societies? Maybe EPS has the Plantinga Standard! 🙂
Sorry to resurrect a dead post but there’s been a rather helpful irenic Southeastern Theological Review round-table discussion on this issue here.
It’s 28 pages, but well worth the read.
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