A Charge Brought Against Dr. Scott Oliphint, Professor of Apologetics at Westminster Seminary

Dr. Peter Lillback addresses the Westminster Seminary community in chapel about the charge that has been brought against Dr. Oliphint.

The charge alleges that Dr. Oliphint, in his book “God with Us: Divine Condescension and the Attributes of God,” presents a view of God’s immutability that appears to allow that God can assume new properties and changes in relating to creation, and that such a view is contrary to the Scriptures and the Westminster Standards. Dr. Oliphint is a ministerial member of the Presbytery of the Southwest of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC), where the charges have been filed.

 

At its March 27, 2019 chapel service, Dr. Peter Lillback, President of Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia, informed the student body regarding a charge that had been brought against Dr. Scott Oliphint, Professor of Apologetics. Dr. Lillback indicated that the charge is on Dr. Oliphint’s expression of the doctrine of the immutability of God.

The charge alleges that Dr. Oliphint, in his book God with Us: Divine Condescension and the Attributes of God, presents a view of God’s immutability that appears to allow that God can assume new properties and changes in relating to creation, and that such a view is contrary to the Scriptures and the Westminster Standards. Dr. Oliphint is a ministerial member of the Presbytery of the Southwest of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC), where the charges have been filed. According to the OPC Book of Church Order, his Presbytery is responsible to receive and review this charge and to conduct judicial process if warranted.

Dr. Lillback’s comments can be viewed here. He addressed three points: (1) A statement regarding our doctrinal statements themselves, the Westminster Standards; (2) a statement of events that have occurred here at Westminster in recent days; and (3) a president’s statement of his sense of the faculty at this moment.

With regard to Dr. Oliphint’s expressions on divine immutability, Dr. Lillback indicated that the seminary had purchased the rights to the book, God with Us, from the publisher and the remaining copies of the book were destroyed. This was done in order to give Dr. Oliphint time to perfect his views. A manuscript of his new book is with a publisher, is still being edited, but has not yet been printed. The faculty has been discussing the matter among each other and with Dr. Oliphint. Dr. Lillback requested the students to pray for the process that is now ongoing, at the seminary and before the Presbytery.

In his concluding remarks, Dr. Lillback read a statement from the faculty affirming their commitment to the Westminster Standards and promised to continue to adhere to them. As president, Dr. Lillback urged the Westminster community to allow the process before the faculty and the church court to work its way through these respective steps.