Twelve OPC Ministers And Elders Ask Westminster Board To Lift Waddington’s Suspension

Carl Trueman and eleven other Orthodox Presbyterian Church ministers and elders from five presbyteries ask the WTS board to lift a temporary suspension on an adjunct faculty member.

Obviously, those of us who sent the letter understand that we cannot dictate employment policy to the Seminary, but we are hoping that the Board will honor the commitment not to allow the Seminary to prejudice the trial and, above all, will show some compassion to Jeff and his family, by overturning the Administration’s decision. 

 

In a letter of concern about the temporary suspension of an adjunct faculty member, twelve ministers and elders from five presbyteries of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, asked the board of Westminster Theological Seminary to lift the suspension. The ministers and elders wrote “to express our deep concern over the suspension of the Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Waddington from his teaching assistant duties as of the end of this academic year.”

In his comments on the letter to the WTS board, Dr. Carl Trueman, a former member of the WTS faculty and now on the faculty at Grove City College, emphasized that the letter was “asking for some grace to be shown to the Waddingtons in this matter.”

The letter indicated that “the suspension is on the grounds that Jeff signed charges against Dr. Oliphint and is to be for the duration of the trial process.” As was reported, 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.

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.

Trueman’s response also stated, “In making this plea, we ourselves have absolutely no desire to prejudice the church process. Our concern here is purely with Jeff’s employment situation.”

Dr. Trueman’s comments on the April 11, 2019 letter to WTS Board regarding Jeff Waddington’s suspension:

I was very sad to hear of Jeff Waddington’s suspension by Westminster.  He is currently without a pulpit and this will cause him and his family some financial hardship.  For this reason, I and a number of other OPC office-bearers from five different presbyteries have written a letter to the Westminster Board of Trustees, asking for some grace to be shown to the Waddingtons in this matter.

The fact that the suspension is on the grounds that Jeff signed charges against Dr. Oliphint and is to be for the duration of the trial process, is also a cause of grave concern.  This is very hard to reconcile with Dr. Lillback’s statement that the Seminary would leave the matter to the courts of the church.

Obviously, those of us who sent the letter understand that we cannot dictate employment policy to the Seminary, but we are hoping that the Board will honor the commitment not to allow the Seminary to prejudice the trial and, above all, will show some compassion to Jeff and his family, by overturning the Administration’s decision.  In making this plea, we ourselves have absolutely no desire to prejudice the church process. Our concern here is purely with Jeff’s employment situation.  It is surely very strange that Jeff, a presbyterian minister, is being punished by a presbyterian seminary simply for following presbyterian procedure in the courts of the church on an issue which Westminster has itself known about and regarded as problematic for many years.

Westminster Seminary was asked to respond to this matter and has not yet provided a response.