If you haven't yet read the blog of Michael Jinkins, President of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, do yourself a favor and read this post entitled "Why Tenure Matters." Needless to say, this one hits too close to home for too many of us.
I appreciate a lot of what he has to say, but I want to highlight something he points out about the work of William Robertson Smith. The bit of his writing that was oh-so-controversial and warranted, in his context, removal from his professorial chair, is completely commonplace today and non-controversial. The church tradition I came from essentially ruptured over German Protestant theological liberalism. When I read or hear about those battles today, I come close to laughing at how non-controversial the issues are now. Too often in theological controversies, at stake is not the text itself or even the God to whom it points, but rather the familiar forms of the discussion about both of those entities that have become enshrined in a community.