Trinty And Truth

There is an interesting blog called Trinity And Truth that primarily reviews books on… you guessed it: The Trinity! The author comes from an egalitarian perspective on the man-woman debate and an eternal subodinationist view of the Son-Father debate. Here is a section from his review of Bruce Ware’s Father, Son, & Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles, & Relevance:

Chapter 4 “Beholding the Wonder of the Son” is without a doubt the best written chapter in the entire book, which funnily enough seems to be the case with most books that address the doctrine of the Trinity. He begins by noting the general agreement between egalitarians and complementarians that the Son submitted to the Father while incarnate but then he goes on to make an argument for eternal submission on the part of the Son. This is where Ware is at his best as he makes his case for the Son’s obedience in eternity past based largely on the sending language of John’s Gospel. My own research has yielded similar results. But from these results he forms a dubious conclusion. Ware says:

    It is not difficult to see why some find the Son’s eternal submission to the Father an objectionable concept. For if the Son eternally submits to the Father, this would indicate that authority and submission are eternal realities. [p. 76]

So far so good. This is a logical conclusion. He continues:

    And if so, would it not stand to reason that when God creates the world he would fashion it in a way that reflects these eternal structures? [p. 76-77]

Again, nothing too objectionable with this statement. But he continues:

    And would it not make sense, then, that the authority-submission structures in marriage and church leadership are meant to be reflections of the authority and submission in the relations of the Persons of the Godhead? [p. 77]

No, it would not make sense specifically because the analogy doesn’t match up. One can see how the Father-Son relationship is analogous of parenting, sure. But how the Father-Son relationship is analogous of the marriage relationship is forced and unnatural, not to mention that the Holy Spirit is never given adequate attention in such analogies.

He is also critical of Kevin Giles:

So according to Giles all the interpreters throughout history who recognized the Son’s subordination to the Father in the Incarnation are justified in their belief but those who recognize an eternal subordination are not. But in his assertion he never presents a reasoned argument of why this is so. He simply says:

    If the Son must always obey the Father, then he must be in some way less than the Father. He lacks something possessed solely by the Father. His role is determined by his being. Historic orthodoxy has long seen this conclusion and has argued in the opposite direction. Because the Father and the Son are one in being, they act as one. It is thus impossible to avoid the conclusion that the eternal role subordination of the Son implies the ontological subordination of the Son despite any protestations to the contrary. [p. 85]

But this is clearly a non sequitur. If the Son must in “some way” be less than the Father because of a “role subordination” it does not follow that this way “must be” ontological. It is hardly “impossible to avoid [Giles’] conclusion.”

Also disappointing was Giles’ assertion that: “This innovative form of subordinationism arises entirely in connection with attempts to preserve what to them [evangelicals in the latter part of the 20th century, i.e. complementarians] is a fundamental truth: namely, male ‘headship.'” [p. 109] But as an egalitarian I take issue with this assertion because I have come to exactly the same conclusion without any desire to preserve male headship. In fact, it is on this point that I would assert both parties err. Giles is as guilty of reading egalitarianism into his doctrine of the Trinity as he asserts complementarians are of reading complementarianism into theirs. In my judgment, the doctrine of the Trinity is not a model for male-female relationships and to say that it is, is a gross mixing of metaphors.


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