Posts Tagged ‘SEBTS’

SEBTS Denied

September 20, 2011

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I’d like to take a look again at what has been going on in the controversy between Norman Geisler and my father-in-law, Mike Licona. (Yes. I am aware of a possible bias, hence I state it upfront) Though it has not been as widely discussed, Geisler has put up a letter stating why he is not meeting with SEBTS per Licona’s suggestion to have a round table discussion. A link will be at the end of the post.

To begin with, we are told that Geisler has interacted with Licona’s views, but how has this been done? Sure, there have been open letters, but would not face-to-face discussion before a panel of experts count as a better medium to discuss something? Furthermore, several of us have interacted with Geisler’s arguments and found them lacking, even though many of us disagree with Licona’s interpretation. As I have stated, I have no firm opinion on the matter. I am open, but I would want to examine the case closer.

The second is that the issue has been spoken of in two books that will turn out shortly. Now that’s fine to be releasing books on the issue, but if you’re going to do so, then surely one should be willing to face someone who you think disagrees with your view being presented in the book.

If the idea will stand up to scrutiny, then it will be fine and the books will further demonstrate that. If they do not stand up to scrutiny, then the books will only prove to be at best superfluous, at worst, monuments to an idea that could not stand up under scrutiny.

The third is that many Seminaries have spoken on this matter. Indeed they have, but what reasons have they stated? This is simply being an appeal to authority again which is what we have seen going on. We have seen ICBI and ETS pointed to again and again. Geisler has said that as a framer, he knows that Licona’s view was in mind. Well it looks like Moreland and Yamauchi who signed the document as well did not think Licona’s view was in mind. Geisler cannot speak as if he alone knows what was meant and Yamauchi and Moreland do not.

In fact, it seems that’s been something in all of this. Geisler knows what Matthew meant and Licona has it wrong. He knows what ETS and ICBI meant and thus Licona is wrong. What we are not seeing is the arguments that need to be there.

Keep in mind also that ICBI and ETS are not infallible groups. This is especially revealing since it seems ETS is not always as pleasing to Geisler as he’d like. ETS was right when they went against Gundry we are told. They were wrong when they went with Pinnock. They did not take as firm a stance on Inerrancy as they should. However, in this case, we are only to listen to the fact that they were supposedly right on Gundry. In other words, ignore those times they made a bad judgment. It just has the appearance that the reason they are used is because they could be seen as agreeing with Geisler.

As for ICBI, was it really composed of 300 scholars? Going through the list, as my ministry partner is doing at the moment, turns up a number of pastors and others who cannot really be found to have something substantial to them on Google. Very few have the qualifications to address Licona’s work.

Geisler says SEBTS should issue a statement on the matter. That would be fine. But what difference would it make? SEBTS comes out against Licona let’s suppose. Well what will that mean? It will mean they have, but it will not mean Licona is wrong. You can be sure it’d be sounded as a victory.

Let’s suppose however that SEBTS comes out in favor of Licona. What will that mean? Well they would be seen as suspect. Then would come the time to examine the reasons for why they are saying his view is not in conflict with Inerrancy.

Now there’s an idea. Examining the reasons. That’s the kind of thing that can be done at a round table discussion. Unfortunately, the option of meeting in discussion has been turned down. From this point on it would seem that nothing can be said against Licona for when Geisler speaks out it can be said “Well he offered to meet with you and discuss it and you said no.”

While at the start, I believe Geisler did what he did to further show the strength of ICBI, it has done the opposite. Its weakness has been shown. If someone like Licona can be said to be denying Inerrancy, then the statement needs to be amended. Note I am not saying we need to drop Inerrancy. Not at all. We need to have more there however concerning genre interpretation and the role of extra-biblical sources on interpretation.

That will be the work of this generation of scholarly apologists and will continue to be worked on by upcoming generations. We dare not throw the baby out with the bathwater on this one.

Geisler’s letter can be found on the front page of his website here: