Sheffield and some odd comments attributed to BW3
Many things have been said about the situation at Sheffield and many, many nice things. Predictably enough, let's focus on the negative... In a recent Christianity Today article there were a couple of strange comments but none more annoying than the following attributed to Ben Witherington III.
Other faculty [at Sheffield] were "bent on the deconstruction of the Bible, and indeed of their students' faith," according to Ben Witherington, a New Testament scholar at Asbury Theological Seminary.
I do not know if Witherington said these things but this is a direct quotation and I don't know if it is one of those Dever-style attempts at being 'provocative'. If Witherington did not say such things or if he was ripped out of context then presumably he has cause for some complaint against the way he was portrayed because this reads like a pretty nasty dig. Whatever, whoever is responsible for such a weird slur is deeply inaccurate. I have been in
Students raise such questions of faith regularly and good for them – they discuss and debate these issues openly with one another. One of the striking things about the recent student reaction was that there was unity, from atheists and agnostics to conservative evangelicals and charismatics, united in defence of the academic study of the Bible. When I put the Witherington quotation to a group of students the reaction was one of incredulity and it was laughed off. I have many evangelical students and the issue of faith rarely comes up. Their work is judged on whether it is well-argued or not. It is not nice to see such an obvious inaccuracy/slur in print and I hope a fellow New Testament scholar is not responsible for such insultingly inaccurate sentiments. If Witherington did say such a thing then he clearly knows nothing about the Department of Biblical Studies at the