Westminster Honors

Posted by T on January 21, 2008
Current Discourse

Guess which of the following are honored at Westminster Theological Seminary with a day off. You may select more than one of course. (Note: you may regard one of the selections as a joke.)

  • George Washington
  • Gresham Machen
  • Stonewall Jackson
  • John Calvin
  • Cornelius van Til
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.

Briefly, let’s consider why each of these would merit such an honor.

George Washington was the heroic founder of our country. Gresham Machen was the heroic founder of Westminster Seminary. Stonewall Jackson was a great example of a pious Presbyterian and man of action. Calvin, of course, is the patriarch of the church and theology that Westminster is dedicated to promulgating. Cornelius van Til is the only original faculty member whose outlook is required to be adopted by all subsequent faculty. Martin Luther King, Jr. is the joke — ha ha, just trying to make sure you’re not skimming too fast.

Ready to guess?

While you are guessing, allow me to distract you with a couple tangents. It may seem like changing the subject, but it is not.

Consider one of the academic policies taken so seriously that it is described on the web page: the use of plagiarism. Plagiarism is not tolerated at WTS. Several professors take the matter so seriously, I can testify, that they distribute supplemental material on it with their course syllabus.

A bit of historical background on WTS might also be helpful. The founder, Gresham Machen, was a nationally–known leader of fundamentalism against liberal Christianity in the 1920’s. He wrote a book, “Christianity and Liberalism” that is still in print and still studied. The argument of the book is that Liberal Christianity is not Christianity at all: it is a different and alien religion.

Enough stage-setting. Have you guessed yet?

Of course the answer is that (1) only one of the names listed is honored with a day off and (2) that one is, of course, the “joke”: Martin Luther King, Jr.

They honor a man whose rank plagiarism would lead to expulsion from WTS itself, and rescission of any degrees granted.

They honor a man whose chronic and unrepentant fornication would render him unfit to be ordained in the denominations served by WTS grads. Nay, if Martin Luther King, Jr. would return from the dead, WTS would not rationally dare to allow him to stay over in their coed dorms!

They honor a man resistance to whose theology was the very reason for the formation of WTS. Actually that doesn’t capture it: the move was largely anticipatory, and even to this day Princeton Seminary’s theology is not uniformly as bad as Martin Luther King’s.

WTS must believe in racial solidarity. They must believe that guilt and atonement are racial matters – and by that, I don’t mean the Adamic race; I mean the white race. Martin Luther King, Jr. must be functioning as the substanceless symbol of a new atonement; one that Machen did not know about.

Brothers, I beseech you: reconsider this insanity. At the time King-day was instituted, there may have been a partial excuse. But too much is known now. Too much is known. It is shameful. Back out of your mistake!

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22 Comments to Westminster Honors

  • and by that, I don’t mean the Adamic race; I mean the white race.

    The two are one and the same. Ross and Rana’s Reasons to Believe organization clearly offers a biblical counterpart to the heretical Hamite ‘all one blood’ heresy, and their book, ‘Who was Adam?’ points out that what is known as Homo Sapiens Sapiens and the Caucasoid race emerge from the historical record at roughly the same time.

    Add to that the Hebrew word “aw-dam’ means (as per Strongs’) ruddy rosy of face or hair, and you have a working definition for the White race.

    Stop being a multiculturalist, even in the most minute way, and honestly adopt the racial uniqueness our forefathers held to, in thinking themselves, and themselves ONLY, as the ‘sons of Adam’ and not every ape that walks on two legs.

  • Dear friends,

    If WTS is so ready and willing to capitulate to the outside, societal pressures of honoring an individual who shared, in a very real sense, little to nothing that this seminary was established or (hopefully) continues to represent; and in fact actually spoke and conducted himself in a manner that is much to be abhorred, how much more so is this particular seminary and Christianity in general compromising on issues much, much closer to home?

    May God help us.

  • Father (#1) — you are hanging an awful lot on the etymology of “adam.” Let me make some remarks on this, continuing my numbering of your theses from the earlier blog. Thus,

    Father John’s Thesis #4. “Adam” means “ruddy,” therefore, only people that can claim to be of ruddy complexion are humans let alone capable of salvation.


    1. The principle of “kinds” is thoroughly established in Gen 1 and clearly has to do with the boundary of reproducibility. Thus, all creatures than can mutually reproduce are of the same kind. Hence, all the races that can reproduce with men are men.

    2. Etymology is always dangerous to rely on. First, it is not certain that Hebrew is the primeval language. Thus, the naming convention in the Hebrew text may refer to “best fit” of the more primeval name by way of semantic association; a given lexical meaning might be coincidental. Adamah means “earth”; it may be that some sort of earth-tone was keyed in to. Clay is reddish. So was Adam the first red man? Maybe not. Maybe “earth” more broadly speaking was in mind — like brown or black soil. You assume it had to do with “blushing”, but (a) that may not be the reference, and (b) other races also blush, though it may not be as immediately noticeable as when an Aryan does so.

    3. If Adam was a “Negro,” does that mean the jig is up for us? Of course not. Whatever the genetically-maximal composition would need to be, is what Adam would have been. It wouldn’t bother me in the slightest if Adam was a Negro; nor would I harbor a secret resentment, that “I wish I was a Negro like Adam.” This whole line of thought misses what is important about tribal solidarity.

    4. There is not the slightest hint in the OT that the patriarchal line, and subsequently the nation of Israel, was chosen because of being “ruddy” (whatever that might mean). On the contrary, every prior claim imaginable that might lead to complacency and pride in the people of God is explicitly rejected, in favor of the inscrutable favor of God.

    5. How much less, in the NT. Here, every tribe and nation is explicitly invited into the kingdom, and jews (whom you are going to be forced to say, were the “ruddy” people) are explicitly rejected. What do you do with the Ethiopian eunuch? There is simply no thematic coupling in the NT to the notion, “rejoice, white people: your ethnic origin is your salvation!”

    6. Ken Ham’s “of one blood” is not so much a heresy as a huge misunderstanding and capitulation to political correctness of our time. There is no reason to adopt your view to refute Ham.

    7. You keep mentioning the view “our forefathers held to,” but you are surprisingly chary in giving examples. The one example you set forth earlier, I think I sufficiently negated in that post.

  • Hey Mark. Yes, I remember our conversations with a great of pleasure. Miss you.

    We toyed with a couple basic approaches for the icon: one squeezing the letters “FW” (First Word) into various configurations, the other a flag concept. We considered the Confederate flag, but decided against that in favor of the more generic St Andrew’s cross. Then, as I was doodling around with it at lunch, I noticed that if you lowered the cross a bit, it formed a sort of suggestive “W”; by adding the angle to the left cross-bar, it gives an “F”. So we got both the “FW” and the flag. Tilt your head a bit to the left and see if you can see it.

  • Yes, I noticed that too, and mischievously did not allow that to cancel the idea. However, that was not its origin. The swazi is also a beautiful flag, and if we go to a banner of flags some day, I would be open to including it. However, I am not sure, since it is not part of our direct heritage. In any case, I’d be interested if you and the others see the “FW” now that you know the context.

  • I’ve always thought it was a close up of the swastika, too. But I also knew it would have a double meaning for you guys as well.

  • The accidental meaning is obvious, espcially given the fondness for Germany seen on this site. The true and creative meaning is still difficult to see. I don’t see the suggestive “W”.

  • Well, the upside-down “V” at the bottom is the link. The shanks of the W don’t connect directly, it’s sort of cubistic. It seems so to me, but I make no claim to being an artist. Perhaps we should revert to the simple St Andrew’s?

  • Okay, I see it now. I like the symbol. I would only be worried if it suggested a star of David, or an American flag.

    While we’re on webpage cosmetics, do you use a category plugin, or is the organization part of the Indexnet theme?

  • I wouldn’t be interested in what Mark Traphagen thinks about this site, or anything else, for that matter. Visit his blog and you’ll see that he worships at the altar of Harvie Conn. (For those of you who know little or nothing about the illustrious Conn-man, read Gary North’s “Westminster’s Confession”). That tells you all you need to know about him.

  • Andrew — Harvie Conn spoke at my church back in the 70’s and at the time I was quite impressed by his wisdom and humor. And he was a man of great courage with his work in Korea. I can’t remember what Gary said, but let’s at least nuance it. Mark is a good guy and I wish he liked our blog — or would take a stab at rebutting what he doesn’t like.

  • T, you’re a far more charitable and gracious man than I. All I know about Dr. Conn is from Dr. North’s book and similar works, so I’ll defer to your judgment on him. I don’t think Dr. North is infallible, but his judgment about people (rather than events like Y2K) is generally spot-on.

    Regarding Mr. Traphagen: He shows up here and baits you with a question about the icon — which you answer, in the words of Luther, “without horns and without teeth.” Rather than interact with anything on the blog, Mr. Traphagen simply dismisses it and, by extension, you — his former seminary colleague, who extended to whom a gracious welcome — as a contemporary incarnation of National Socialism.

    Your genteel response to this insinuation — which is the equivalent of the kiss of death in our politically-correct society — shows you to be a Christian gentleman. May our gracious God bring me to such a place of sanctification.

    (As an aside, yes, I’m well aware that most thoughtful people wouldn’t get too excited about being called a “Nazi,” as it is a wax nose charge. But that doesn’t diminish the malicious intent of the person who employs it against arguments, individuals, or organizations he doesn’t like).

  • Andrew –

    Good comments and thank you on behalf of my colleague for your defense.

    As you know, we live in an era where taboo labels are applied to people freely with little thought. Our approach is, generally, not to fight the labels, at least not directly. If Mr. Traphagen wants to label us Nazis, that is okay, just so long as he provides us with a definition. We can then either embrace or disown the label.

    What we want to do is surgically remove the rhetorical shock that people intend by using such labels. This is half the battle. When the hurlers of labels realize that it does not work with us, two things happen. First, it emboldens others not to be afraid to be labeled an x. Second, it forces the hurler to either defend his label, which is almost always based on a caricature, or bug out, showing that he is a fraud. In the former case, we can have a real discussion, in the later we don’t waste our time.

    Edgar Steele provides us with a fine model of this tactic. When he is called an “anti-semite” his reply is, “that’s ‘Mr. Anti-semite’ to you.” In other words, he is willing to provisionally accept the label, but demands that his opponent then interact with his arguments. His opponents are used to cowing others merely by the use of labels. When he calls their bluff, they usually have nothing to offer.

    Our strategy is likewise to call our opponents’ bluff, for while we are willing to be argued out of our views, we are not willing to be bullied out of them.

    This is what I call applied confessionalism. I hold to the Westminster Standards. This is where I draw the line. I will argue with someone about these standards, but such an argument is apologetic in nature. On extra-confessional and catechetical topics, I am much more open minded. On these issues, while I may have opinions, even strong ones, I am willing to be refuted. This gives me a great sense of liberty; I don’t fear label-mongers.

    Our hope is that more and more will also be freed from the grip of the pc and judaic thought police who tell us that our beliefs must conform to their anti-Christ worldview. Once this grip is loosed, real debate can begin.

  • Yes, we have to realize that our people are in the grip of a controlling fear. Courage is needed to overcome that fear, and begin to think with honesty. Once “real debate can begin,” the real debates won’t take very long — even the ones that seem intractable and insoluble in our current atmosphere of fear. What is difficult is not understanding the truth, but overcoming one’s fear of the consequences.

  • I need to apologize to Westminster Seminary.
    During the time I was a student there, I never organized a protest against the seminary’s annual honoring of the adulterer/plagiarist/theological liberal. Never even wrote a letter to the dean.
    You get so busy, you’re just glad for the day off.
    But it is microcosm. Multiplied by one hundred million men, this is why we are losing our country.

  • Hey T,

    Yes I find it very problematic given that, the Seminary can ask professors to leave their post for problematic teaching that does not come as close in heretical teaching as MLK teaching and theological views were. So maybe , if they continue to observe the holiday they need to apologize and invite the professors back….

    Also I wonder if the accreditation has anything to do with the observance.

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