the green fields beyond


Location: Charles City, Virginia, United States

Friday, August 08, 2008

Of PhD's and Smoke-Screens

The Westminster administration has released some statements and reflections on the seminary's recent controversies and battles. These documents reveal some new information, and I do appreciate that. I'm glad that the seminary is reflecting on what it has recently gone through...but my goodness, there's also a WHOLE lot of spin going on here.
One particularly egregious example caught my eye: in this document, the VP for academic affairs (Dr. Trueman) discusses the pressure on WTS to have professors with PhD's in order to be accredited. He strongly implies that certain recent departures (Steve Taylor, perhaps?) were made necessary not for theological or personal reasons but only in order to fulfill accreditation requirements and to secure WTS' status as an academically respectable institution. He says things like this:
"That seminaries have typically had lower standards on this matter and
employed faculty who have spent many fruitless years on doctoral
programs has not served them well but has rather compromised their
academic integrity."

Just a quick reminder, in case anyone had forgotten:
Professor Al Groves never got a PhD. Neither did John Murray or John Frame. And we all know how much those men compromised the academic integrity of WTS.
As far as I can tell, these current and former WTS professors were hired years before they completed a PhD, ThD or equivalent...some never did. If they had been asked to leave, would we have had much of a faculty left?

  • Poythress [he had a PhD in an unrelated field and didn't do a ThD until later]
  • Oliphint
  • Leonard
  • Gaffin
  • Green
  • Edgar
  • McCartney
  • Murray
  • Groves
  • Frame

Are we supposed to believe that if accreditation standards hadn't been so "lax" in earlier years, these men wouldn't have been able to teach at WTS? If Westminster's academic integrity has been so compromised, why have recent graduates been accepted to doctoral programs at Harvard, Yale, Duke, Oxford, Cambridge, Notre Dame, Brown, U.Chicago, U. Michigan, Columbia, Saint Andrews, and William & Mary, just to name a few?
What "weakened" the seminary's academic credentials more: the laxity that allowed these professors to teach, or, perhaps, the forced departure of Pete Enns, one of the most highly qualified men on the faculty (Harvard PhD, numerous publications)? Why the reluctance to admit that theological issues may have had something to do with Taylor's departure?

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Saturday, August 02, 2008

Who in the World...?

Half of my work-week is spent at Peace Hill Press, helping to create quality educational materials (especially in the fields of history, grammar, reading, and composition). I wear lots of hats there: sometimes a fact-checker for history textbooks, sometimes proofreading composition books, and sometimes overseeing some new products. Two of those new products were released this past week: audio versions of some junior-level biographies we had released earlier.
So...yeah...these are my first audiobooks: Who in the World Was the Secretive Printer? The Story of Johannes Gutenberg, and Who in the World Was the Unready King? The Story of Ethelred. They're also available on Amazon, if you want to give your money to the Internet Behemoth instead of a brave little family business. :)
Next up: The Acrobatic Empress and The Forgotten Explorer. I love being a history nerd.

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