Saturday, November 10, 2007
The perception from the CRPC Session and the new/non-resigned KTS Board appears to be that the Gage/Hermeneutics fiasco is over. That is, the CRPC Session this past week passed three motions (not exact verbiage):
· The Knox Theological Seminary Board that did not resign is the official Knox Board.
· The pronounced “official” Knox Board had the authority to place additional demands on the resigned board members who were originally asked to return without any additional conditions.
· Since the resigned board members did not respond within the allotted time to the new, additional demands calling them to recant and repent of their actions and beliefs pertaining to Dr. Gage and his hermeneutic, they therefore are no longer eligible for service on the Knox Board – hence, they are not on the Board.
Needless to say, this is not how many were hoping and praying the situation would end – whether they agreed with the confessional concerns against Dr. Gage or not. Also, I believe that the resigned board members have appealed to the South Florida Presbytery. However, as a current student who is extremely concerned over how this situation has played out, I believe there are several pertinent and pressing questions facing Knox Seminary and CRPC as currently constituted:
· How will Knox Seminary and Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church regain any vestige of Reformed orthodox legitimacy within academia and the broader Evangelical environment?
o Context: Nationally respected theologians, professors, and pastors (to include Dr. Sproul, Rick Phillips, Cortez Cooper, and several Knox professors), pronounced Dr. Gage and his hermeneutic to be outside the bounds of the Westminster Confession only to have their thoroughly researched analysis rebuked in two weeks. Seminaries and churches are often only known for the orthodoxy of their leaders. If such leaders leave an institution, particularly in mass, then how does such an institution recover for the “good”?
- What will the Knox Seminary Board and the CRPC Session do in relation to those professors who believed and probably still believe that Dr. Gage is contra-confessional? Will they also try to make them sign a paper about recanting and repenting of their beliefs? Will they force them out? Or, will they deal with the doctrinal / hermeneutical issue?
- How will Knox Seminary establish any academic legitimacy if the professors who believe Dr. Gage is contra-confessional are forced out?
· Who will the Knox Seminary Board and CRPC Session appoint to the Knox Board to replace the doctrinal qualifications of Dr. Sproul, Rick Phillips, and Cortez Cooper? Will they be able to attract anyone given the circumstances over which the former board members resigned?
· Does a conflict of interest exist in that some of the newly appointed Knox Board members are also current students of Knox Seminary?
· Is Knox Seminary’s accreditation threatened?
o Context: The ATS mandates that the Board of all accredited schools must have the credentials and qualifications to lead a theological school and the Board must also reflect the gender, race, and ethnicity of the school. Currently, there is only one PhD on the board and one of the new members is still working on his M.Div – not to mention that I believe they are all white males while Knox is extraordinarily diverse.
· Who will Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church attract as a senior pastor to replace their former Reformed orthodox leader, Dr. Kennedy? Again, will they be able to attract anyone given the circumstances over which the Reformed orthodox leaders left Knox?
· Who will Knox Seminary appeal to in the realm of new customers/students?
- Context: That is, since the exodus of such Reformed orthodox leaders as listed above by default brings any institution’s orthodoxy and commitment to the Westminster Confession into question, then to whom will such a school appeal? Technically, it cannot appeal to Reformed orthodox students, for obviously leaders that these students look up to have fled the seminary because of its doctrinal stance. Do they then appeal to liberals? Yet, Knox is not technically a liberal Protestant school. Will their only appeal be to local commuter students? There is nothing wrong with this, but Knox will have an extraordinarily difficult time becoming the Old Princeton which Dr. Kennedy had hoped it would be.
- Since some Federal Vision (and some NPP) advocates appear to endorse Dr. Gage and his hermeneutic (for instance, Peter Leithart) – since Dr. Gage’s hermeneutic does provide an exegetical basis for their theology – then will the Federal Visionists see this as an opportunity to move into Knox Seminary and establish a Federal Visionist and New Perspective on Paul institution and ministry?