fundamentalists and ETS

Over at Theologically Driven, John Aloisi makes these remarks:

Trueman believes that the main problem with the “evangelical mind” is not that Christians are absent from the academy, but rather that both within and without the academy “evangelicals” lack any agreed upon gospel.

… In light of where I acquired my copy of this book [the recent meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society], I thought it rather ironic that Trueman singles out the ETS for special criticism in this area. He notes that the society’s innocuous 43-word statement of faith could be affirmed with integrity by conservative Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and Eastern Orthodox people alike. If such is the case, why call it the Evangelical Theological Society?


I have long argued that the ETS is no place for fundamentalists. Trueman’s observation is absolutely correct, the ETS has a very minimalist doctrinal statement that almost any professing Christian, of almost any stripe, could sign without any twinge of conscience.

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the perils of the naive

Jeff Straub publishes a report on the ETS proceedings concerning the late attempt at tightening up the ETS doctrinal basis. His report, especially the last four paragraphs, provide interesting reading.

The Vote—The final business meeting came early Friday morning. The final issue on the agenda was this vote which was placed before the membership. Less than 5 percent of the society’s 4,600-plus members attended the business meeting, but the constitution specifies that such an amendment requires an affirmation from 80% of those attending the business meeting, not of ETS as a whole. A standing vote took place, and 46 of the 177 members who voted favored the amendment. Apparently, people who attended the business meeting simply abstained. Immediately after the vote, ETS secretary-treasurer James Borland moved to adjourn. President Bullock accepted the motion with a second, despite loud objections. He then put the motion to the gathered members. Over the voices of more noisy protests, the motion carried and the meeting was adjourned. Members quickly filed out of the hall.

Several members approached the platform to question President Bullock’s speedy closing of the meeting. Grudem, among others, was frustrated that his planned proposal was preempted. Bullock explained to those gathered around him on the platform that had the vote been stronger, he would have allowed for the Grudem motion. Since, in his opinion, there was a weak showing to the amendment, he felt justified in closing the meeting. Other members of the executive committee seemingly were caught off guard. It was an unexpected and disappointing conclusion.

If the ETS follows Robert’s Rules of Order, a motion to adjourn cannot be debated, it is a privileged motion. Since this is so, the abrupt ending without debate was legitimate under the rules of order, but it also was clearly a power play on the part of quicker witted opponents of doctrinal amendment.

Should we be surprised? It is ever thus!

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more musings on the ETS

Is there a more defining evangelical organization than the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS)? Some might say that the quintessential Evangelical organization would be the National Association of Evangelicals, but would that really be true? One key area of comparison is the doctrinal standards of each organization. The NAE requires members to affirm their statement of faith. The ETS requires members to hold to their doctrinal basis. (Of course, the ETS requires a level of scholarly attainment for membership as well, due to its differing nature. We are not comparing that aspect of these organizations.)

Now, which organization requires the more exclusive standard of doctrinal agreement as its foundational basis?

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