Further Motions on "Affirmations and Denials"

December 28, 2009

WTS Board Makes Further Motions on the "Affirmations and Denials"

At the regularly scheduled December 2009 meeting, the Westminster Theological Seminary Board of Trustees took decisive action concerning Professors Douglas J. Green and Michael B. Kelly of the Old Testament department.  Over the course of recent months, Professors Green and Kelly have interacted extensively with a committee of the Board of Trustees, whose task was to engage these men on their response to the WTS Affirmations and Denials on the doctrine of Scripture.  Following the series of documents produced by the faculty and Board of Westminster in recent years, the Affirmations and Denials provided a formal response to the content and methodology of the controversial book Inspiration and Incarnation (written by former WTS Professor Peter Enns).

In December 2008, the WTS Trustees unanimously voted these Affirmations and Denials to state Westminster’s view on the doctrine of Scripture.  Following this action, Professors Green and Kelly expressed initial questions about some wording of the Affirmations and Denials.   With the determination to ensure the theological integrity of the institution, the Board formally engaged these men in full examination, culminating in an extended interview on December 8, 2009.

Given the written and verbal testimony of both men, the Board recognized their exceptions and clarifications to be fully consistent with the heart and substance of the Affirmations and Denials, and voted 18-0 to affirm the orthodox commitments on the doctrine of Scripture of Professors Green and Kelly.  Pursuant to this action, the Board has formally called the Westminster faculty to open and careful discussion on all the pertinent issues, in order to build upon the board’s public confirmation of these two members of the Westminster Theological Seminary faculty.

Summarily, in relation to the Affirmations and Denials and the status of Old Testament faculty members Doug Green and Mike Kelly, the Board’s actions of December 8-9, 2009, include the two following motions:

It was moved, seconded, and approved 18-0 that the Board accept Doug Green’s and Mike Kelly’s endorsement of the “Affirmations and Denials” and regard their written statements as containing acceptable clarifications and allowable exceptions.

The Board also approved the following motion with an 18-0 vote:

"Behold how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity," Psalm 133:1

Whereas the board has to deal specifically with its responsibility of overseeing and governing the seminary, and
Whereas this requires the board to deal with anything, theological and/or relational, that would endanger the seminary's mission, and
Whereas in demonstrating that responsibility in being certain that the mission, the core values, and overall purpose of the seminary be faithfully executed; and
Whereas, by the grace of God, the board has sought to deal faithfully, sensitively, and prudently in keeping the seminary true to its mission; and
Whereas, the board gives thanks to God for the good spirit demonstrated by those involved in this process;
And whereas the faculty has endeavored to maintain the vision and mission of the Seminary through a long and difficult controversy;

Therefore, be it resolved, that the board urges the faculty to work together with them in carrying out our mission with a spirit of Christ-like unity, speaking the truth in love, working together to keep the seminary faithful and true to God's Word and our theological position, ‘as iron sharpening iron,’ encouraging one another to appreciate their diversity of gifts and insights in order to develop a greater unity in a manner that will please God and demonstrate to the Westminster community and world our oneness in Christ.

Photo by Chae Chong, MDiv student, luxdei photography.