Machen, J. Gresham
Dr. J. Gresham Machen established Westminster Theological Seminary to produce “specialists in the Bible” who would preach and teach “the whole counsel of God.” Following Machen’s lead, Westminster has historically stood for the truth of Scripture. One dimension of this commitment is that Westminster teaches its students to preach Christ from the entire Bible—from both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
In order to fulfill its founding vision, Westminster’s faculty members, throughout the seminary’s history, have taken an “ex animo” vow, that is, a sincere, heartfelt commitment, to the Westminster Standards. These confessional documents, the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, are held as the best expression of the system of biblical truth—“the whole counsel of God”—thus far developed in the church of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is from these documents that the seminary takes its name.
This introduction calls attention to the consistency of biblical interpretation that exists today at Westminster Theological Seminary. The harmony among the theological disciplines at Westminster is due to a shared method of interpreting Scripture, a shared hermeneutic, that is drawn from Westminster’s confessional standards. Although expressed in distinctive ways, Westminster’s hermeneutic remains cohesive and compatible throughout the theological curriculum. It is my privilege, then, to introduce this collection of brief essays written by four of Westminster’s leading scholars. Herein, you will find a witness to the hermeneutical unity at Westminster through the perspectives of Dr. Vern Poythress, Dr. Iain Duguid, Dr. Greg Beale, and Dr. Richard Gaffin. Their reflections span the whole of Scripture and express the deep continuity that courses through the diverse fields of biblical interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary. - From the Introduction
Table of Contents:
Introduction – Peter A. Lillback
1. Biblical Hermeneutics – Vern S. Poythress
2. Old Testament Hermeneutics – Iain M. Duguid
3. New Testament Hermeneutics – G.K. Beale
4. Systematic Theology and Hermeneutics – Richard B. Gaffin Jr.
A. Westminster Theological Seminary: Its Purpose and Plan – J. Gresham Machen
B. Affirmations and Denials Regarding Recent Issues – Board of Trustees
C. Biblical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary – Richard B. Gaffin Jr.
“As true heir of Old Princeton, Westminster Theological Seminary has borne the torch of Reformed theological inquiry and pedagogy like no other North American seminary. Recent debate among its own faculty over two approaches to Scripture—Christocentric and Christotelic, respectively—called forth this book. With compelling appeal to Vos and Machen, and with succinct hermeneutical statements by current faculty, the authors rearticulate what Christocentric interpretation means and will continue to mean at Westminster.” - Robert W. Yarbrough, Professor of New Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary
“I am happy to recommend this book because, as a Westminster Theological Seminary student in the 1970s, I was so excited about what I was learning that I could hardly wait to get to my classes. Especially wonderful were classes that showed the amazing unity of the Bible when understood in a system of Christ-centered biblical interpretation. That is the same system of interpretation that is taught at Westminster today and is affirmed so clearly in this book. I am also glad to see that this book clearly explains and rejects alternative approaches that deny the complete truthfulness of Scripture and that are inconsistent with the legacy of faithful commitment to Scripture that has marked Westminster Theological Seminary since its founding.” - Wayne Grudem, Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies, Phoenix Seminary
“The organism of divine Christ-centered verbal revelation that we know as the Bible is both more deeply encultured and more profoundly transcultural than any of us ever grasps; but Westminster Theological Seminary has always led the pack in this quest, and still does, as the present book shows. It is very much on the right lines.” - J. I. Packer, Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology, Regent College
“A depth of riches. That’s what Westminster is as an institution. And that’s what comes through in the pages of this brief but signicant book.” - Nancy Guthrie, Author, Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament series