Evangelical Theological Society: Scope Creep?

I’ve been a member of the Evangelical Theological Society since 1994 and I could not agree more in principle and in detail with all that is said by Stan Gundry’s “Whence and Whither ETS?: An Open Letter to the Members of the Evangelical Theological Society.” Dr. Gundry is a model statesman for the Academy AND the Church. His letter is worth the read and raises several issues that, in my estimation, are beyond the boundaries of this Society. I’m so very thankful to Dr. Gundry for his boldness and moral courage, making clear what this Society is and is not about. I do hope and pray every member will read and heed the alarms he is sounding and take appropriate action. The letter abstract and four resolutions (which I vehemently disagree with) follows:

In the last business session of the 2015 national Meeting of ETS a set of four resolutions was moved and passed that affirmed human dignity and worth, marriage as a life-long union of one man and one woman, sexual intimacy as reserved for such marriages, and an affirmation of distinct traits of manhood and womanhood as an unchangeable gift that constitutes personal identity. In the aftermath some ETS members expressed dismay that any ETS member would vote against passage of the resolutions. Others, I among them, were shocked that resolutions of this nature would be proposed and passed by a substantial majority. In this open letter to ETS members, I explain the problems with the resolutions and the real issue at stake: Will ETS be true to is Doctrinal Basis and its Statement of Purpose? Hence, my open letter to ETS members, Whence and Whither ETS?

(1) We affirm that all persons are created in the image and likeness of God and thus possess inherent dignity and worth.
(2) We affirm that marriage is the covenantal union of one man and one woman, for life.
(3) We affirm that Scripture teaches that sexual intimacy is reserved for marriage as defined above. This excludes all other forms of sexual intimacy.
(4) We affirm that God created men and women, imbued with the distinct traits of manhood and womanhood, and that each is an unchangeable gift of God that constitutes personal identity.

Roger Olson goes so far as to say “the future of ETS depends on our repudiation of what happened in that session and that ETS members must realize that resolutions of this nature are not consistent with the nature of the Society.” I fear he may be correct regarding the future.

Scot McKnight has also chimed in waving the flag for everyone to take heed. He says “passing resolutions last year was actually designed to put a block against anyone in ETS who affirms same-sex marriage and to slow down, if not block, egalitarianism…”

While I’m going to the annual meeting this year in San Antonio, my presence there will, to some degree, be colored by these four resolutions and especially by Dr. Gundry’s most excellent and gracious response. Finally, please do note that where I stand on these four issues raised by the resolutions is distinct from my disagreement with the ETS adopting them as resolutions for this Society. Whence and Whiter indeed!

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