ETS President, Dr. Hassell Bullock, comments on our amendment proposal in an interview with Collin Hansen for Christianity Today. Here’s the relevant section:
CT: Is there any merit to suggestions for changing the ETS doctrinal basis?
BULLOCK: The recent return of Francis Beckwith, the ETS president, to the Catholic faith of his childhood, has obviously and understandably created questions within the society about the adequacy of our theological basis, which is quite brief: “The Bible alone, and the Bible in its entirety, is the Word of God written and is therefore inerrant in the autographs. God is a Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each an uncreated person, one in essence, equal in power and glory.”
The society was founded upon a simple theological basis rather than a statement of faith, with the intention of providing a broad evangelical basis for academic discussion, thus allowing and encouraging diversity within unity. While the proposed amendment will not change that basis, it will expand the statement quite significantly, and, while solving one problem, may create others.
However the society decides this issue, I hope ETS will continue to see itself as a wide space for discussing biblical-theological and related issues within the bounds of an unshakable commitment to the inerrancy of Scripture.
I am heartened that Dr. Bullock has gone on the record to say that our amendment will not change the “broad evangelical basis for academic discussion.” We certainly agree with this assessment. Our amendment would accommodate the wide variety of theological traditions within Evangelicalism and would continue the tradition of “diversity within unity” that has always characterized the ETS.
Given the President’s positive evaluation of the amendment, I am wondering what “problems” he thinks this amendment will create. Perhaps the answer to that question will have to wait for the debate.
Does the doctrine of justification really matter at ETS?
I’m curious as to what you think.
I’m a full member of ETS and I’m with you on adding language to the ETS Constitution. We need to better define our boundaries–as you say, we’re leaving too much up to hermeneutics. The UK statement has a good track record and will do us well.
BTW–An excellent book that discusses boundaries–defining them, moving them, and using them for welcome and exclusion–is “Good Fences” by Caroline Westerhoff.