Westminster Theological Seminary's board voted to suspend tenured professor Peter Enns last week after a two-year theological debate over his 2005 book, Inspiration and Incarnation.
The board chairman, the president, and the secretary of the board addressed a standing-room-only group of students for about 30 minutes Tuesday morning to discuss the board's decision.
The board voted 18-9 to suspend Enns, an Old Testament professor whose book created controversy on how to interpret the Westminster Confession of Faith, a 1646 document that the faculty must affirm.
"It was made not on the basis of personality, but on the basis of the judgment on the part of a substantial number of the trustees that Inspiration and Incarnation was outside the bounds of the standards of Westminster Seminary, namely the Westminster Confession of Faith," chairman of the board John White told Christianity Today. "The essence of the question is, Does the II book fall within the parameters of the orthodox, Reformed understanding of the doctrine of inerrancy?"
The seminary's personnel committee will make a recommendation at the board of trustees' May meeting to decide whether Enns's position will be terminated. Enns declined to comment.
President Peter Lillback said he supports the board's decision. "Every institution with a theological controversy that impacts its unity is going to have to have a resolution and this is a method to accomplish that," he told CT, declining to comment on specifics of the controversy.
The board vote comes four months after the faculty voted 12-8 that Enns's book falls within the Westminster Confession, a motion that nine trustees supported in their dissent from the board's majority decision.
"We're very disappointed because we think ...1