"What RTS Believes: An Affirmation." That's the title of the Spring/Summer 2010 issue of Reformed Theological Seminary's quarterly magazine, Ministry & Leadership. When I reflexively rolled my eyes upon seeing it, the light hit the cover at just the right angle and I noticed a textual hologram embedded just underneath the subtitle. It read, "In Contradistinction to What Bruce Waltke Said Last Month."
As you can see, the cover depicts, maybe a tad piously, an open Bible, suggesting that the "Affirmation" will have something to do with RTS taking the Bible seriously. And so it should. The other, somewhat ironic, thing you'll notice is that the "Affirmation" coming from this Reformed seminary is taking place within the walls of a rather ornate sanctuary. Folks, if that's not traditional Anglican, it's Roman Catholic. Nevermind that the writers of the Confession this seminary confesses would roll over in their graves at the sight of all those "idolatrous images."
At any rate, the article, written by Chancellor Ric Cannada, covers the suspected ground—"The Westminster Shorter Catechism provides an excellent summary of biblical truth" (p. 4). And what biblical truth would he/they like to highlight? Unsurprisingly, questions 9 and 16 (question 33 is also included, but it's more of an appendix in this article), both of which deal specifically with the work of creation and the doctrine of original sin and its relationship to the covenant of works. There is no way that those two questions would have been chosen (if such an "Affirmation" would have even been undertaken) had not the Waltke row erupted last month. After quoting WSC 9, Cannada writes:
Among our RTS constituency and also among RTS faculty members we have different understandings of the length of those "days" and such things as the age of the earth, but everyone at RTS clearly affirms God as creator and also the special creation and historical reality of Adam and Eve, including their fall into sin that affected us directly as their descendents. (pp. 4–5)Of course, as I've written elsewhere, Waltke also appears to affirm these points, though admittedly Cannada's emphasis on the "special creation" of Adam and Eve is meant to preclude, I assume, an evolutionary process, instead of an act of sudden creation in time and space. If that's the case, then I guess theistic evolutionists are flat-out precluded from teaching at RTS.
This isn't a criticism, however. RTS can and should restate its commitments to certain doctrines in light of circumstances that could have been perceived by its constituents (and potential seminarians) to be undermining those doctrines. It's simply interesting to me to see the extent to which this institution has gone to counteract this particular episode revolving around Waltke and evolution.