1. Dear Joel:

    I think that Dr. Blowers made it fairly clear that he was tired of engaging comments from onlookers in the stands because it was distracting him from coaching the game on the field, so to speak. But perhaps I can address some of your concerns, speaking as just another person looking with interest on what Dr. Rollston has done.

    At http://www.ecs.edu/HEA/general.aspx the first sentence states:

    “Emmanuel Christian Seminary is a Graduate Christian Seminary committed to the lordship of Jesus Christ, the authority of Scripture and to the vision of the unity of world Christianity as arising from the work of such thinkers as Thomas and Alexander Campbell and Barton W. Stone.”

    Thus it is a real problem when a professor at a school which has presented itself as an institution /committed to the authority of Scripture/ openly states that a particular doctrine taught in Scripture is incorrect and should not be valued by anyone.

    In addition to some specific shortcomings in his interpretations of some passages of Scripture, I see two problems in general with what Dr. Rollston has done. First, his interpretive approach is flawed by a tendency to define Biblical teachings as anything taught in the Bible to anyone at any time (without regard for covenants/dispensations, special circumstances, etc.). Instead, he should define Biblical teachings as what the Bible teaches to us at this end of the continuum of revelation. Any doctrine can be vindicated via anecdote. If one is not teaching what the Bible, taken as a whole, reveals to the church, for the church, then one is not teaching Biblical doctrine, any more than a person with paints has a painting.

    Second, although he is an employee of an institution that presents itself as a school committed to the authority of Scripture, the title of his Huffington Post article describes the marginalization of women as a Biblical value, and as he concludes the article he states, “To embrace the dominant biblical view of women would be to embrace the marginalization of women,” and, “The Bible often marginalized women and that’s not something anyone should value.” Thus it seems clear (to me) that he has no reservations about rejecting a Biblical teaching. To the extent that this is the case, it contradicts the self-description of Emmanuel Christian Seminary as a school committed to the authority of the Bible.

    So: who does Dr. Blowers represent? It looks to me like he has spoken for himself. But I suspect that his situation may be shared by other school-stewards who do not want to contradict the way they have described their school; that is, he represents some people who feel obligated to maintain the integrity of the school and their own integrity.

    I hope that they can get this worked out.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.


    1. James,

      His insistance came after I posed my question. And, as I have shown, I am not in the stands. Other agree. His cliche is nothing more than an attempt to deflect.

      Your take on the article is from a confessional standpoint, but not the academic standpoint – something ECS also claims to see. What exactly is wrong about Rollston’s article? Or, another way. Slavery is a biblical value. Should we embrace that? So is kidnapping and raping wives. Do we equally embrace this, or do we turn a blind eye? Perhaps we should simply speak where Scripture speaks and be silent where Scripture is silent? So that we embrace slavery, we embrace polygamy, and we embrace the stoning of unruly children.

      As you said, Blowers wants to coach. Therefore, he does not represent himself. He represents ECS, although it may be that ECS will soon find this representation unwanted.

    2. Mike DeVries


      I have to agree with Joel’s assessment here, as it appears that the issue of authority and interpretation have been conflated (or as Joel states–“confessional” vs. “academic”). There are many universities that rigorously embrace the authority of Scripture, yet would agree with Rollston’s conclusions. The issue it seems is the fundamental difference between the authority of Scripture and the “authority” of a particular interpretation of Scripture. Rollston’s conclusion does not speak to the inherent authority of Scripture–but does challenge a certain interpretation of Scripture. While one may not agree with Rollston’s conclusion, one is hard pressed to allege Rollston has denied the authority of Scripture. In other words, you may not like his interpretation, but to accuse him of not holding to the authority of Scripture is a completely different matter altogether.

      In the end, matters of interpretation need to be handled as such and not escalated into challenges of absolute “Biblical” authority.


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