Hierarchical teaching influences the doctrine of the Trinity

April 20, 2008 — 119 Comments

One of the ways that hierarchical teaching has influenced the church since the 1970’s is in the area of the doctrine of the Trinity. In hierarchical teaching, the Trinity is no longer three functionally equal persons who share the same nature. Instead Jesus and the Holy Spirit become functionally subordinate to the point that Jesus no longer has a will that is exercised. Instead of a functional equality with the Father, it is now claimed by some hierarchists that Jesus as the pre-incarnate Son of God had to have permission to create the world since the authority even for creation rested on the Father alone. It is also claimed that the Jesus is so unequal in authority with the Father that we are not biblically allowed to pray to Jesus or have intimate communication with him. These claims more closely resemble the teaching of some well-known cults than they do of historic Christianity.

Will the church stand back and allow the Trinity to be downgraded so that the persons of the Trinity are no longer equal in authority, in their will or their work? We are now seeing a ground swell of opposition to the hierarchical teaching that tries to equate women’s subordination with an re-invented eternal subordination within the Trinity (this is not the first time in church history that the issue of subordinationism has reared its ugly head). Our new DVD on the Trinity is just getting ready for filming in early May 2008 and the second DVD in this 2 DVD set will focus on a refutation of the hierarchical distortion of the Trinity. Although the subordination of women will not be mentioned in the DVD, the foundation of the modern subordination movement that bases the subordination of women on the supposed eternal subordination of Christ in the Trinity, will be thoroughly refuted. There will also be many audio clips from noted hierarchical teachers such as Bruce Ware that documents the faulty logic used to downgrade Jesus to a lesser authority than the Father (the same logic they use to downgrade women as under the authority of all men).

Others who are bringing to light the connection between the hierarchical movement and the subordination of the Son are doing a good job at drawing our attention to the attacks on the doctrine of the Trinity from within our Christian churches most notably from within the Southern Baptist Convention.

Be sure to read Wade Burleson’s blog post and Dr. Cynthia Kunsman’s post discussing the censorship that she has experienced by merely talking about patriarchy and views espoused by hierarchists such as Bruce Ware and CBMW.

We believe that our new DVD will bring to light evidence of the tampering of the Trinity by modern Evangelicals that may shock a lot of people. One thing that I have found most disturbing is that in the written material that I have read from Dr. Bruce Ware as well as in all of the lectures that I listened to by Ware on this subject, he never fails to connect the Trinity to the women’s issue and the subordination of women. This is extremely troubling to me that he would be so passionate to limit the full usage of women’s gifts in the church that he has become passionate in the last dozen or so years to make the Trinity an issue of eternal subordination. I do want to point out that in email correspondence with me Ware has denied that he sees Jesus as less than equal with the Father in function because he sees women also in the same lower “role”. However his inability to even discuss the Trinity without bringing the women’s issue into play makes his denial very suspect. Ware simply sees the two issues so intimately connected that he cannot discuss the Trinity without making application to the “glorious” pattern of male authority over women which is a reflection of the Trinity. I related to Bruce Ware that whether women are or are not subordinated to men does not reflect on the full equality of the Son. Ware does not see it this way. He has been one of several who have dedicated themselves to teaching the eternal subordination of the pre-incarnate Christ. This is not good nor is it right.

It is about time that we set up a flag in the ground and a line in the sand and say “No more!” We will fight for the truth and expose the error. No longer should we stand by to see Jesus dishonored by those who wish to remove his full and equal function as Deity.

Cheryl

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119 responses to Hierarchical teaching influences the doctrine of the Trinity

  1. Well there’s no place else for a gender hierarchalist with an agenda to turn, having tried to claim a subordinated eternal Trinity and the gospel itself for support, or is there?

  2. Cheryl,
    Thanks for all your hard work on these forthcoming videos.  I have been trying to closely follow the fiasco going on with some modern complimentarians denying the equality that Christ has with the Father within the Trinity.  I can only hope that these DVDs will be widely distributed and powerfully used to forward the truth about our dear Lord Jesus.  Thank you for your service to Christ and His kingdom!

  3. Watcher,
    The gender hierarchalist would certainly get some help from cult literature in how to take the time of Jesus’ humility as a man and turn it into his eternal state.  Such a shame, though, don’t you think?
    Several years back I sat in a lecture on the Trinity by Bruce Ware and I was sitting with two former Jehovah’s Witnesses who had come to Christ.  I told them that Ware lowers the Deity of Christ in much the same way as they were taught to believe, but I don’t think they believed me until they heard it for themselves.  Their mouths dropped open in shock and they told me that this is what they used to believe as Jehovah’s Witnesses.  To hear an evangelical Christian spout the same doctrine was truly shocking to them.

  4. Dusman,
    Thank you for your encouragement!  We too want the new DVDs to be widely distributed.  We feel that if today’s Pastors are not going to protect the sheep, then God will bypass the pastors and protect the sheep through our hard work.  It certainly is time that the nonsense about the eternal subordination of Christ is exposed and it is done in a format that is not so high above the “normal” individual that they would not benefit from it.  Our intent is to be scholarly yet to bring it down to the barn floor where the sheep can feed from it.  Our intention is also to distribute the DVDs on Amazon.com, our web sites and through word of mouth by people interested in this project and who are willing to pass it on to other blogs, etc.  This is not a secondary issue of faith.  It is a precious foundational truth that must be defended.

  5. If you would have told me that this was being taught by conservative SBC professors I would never have believed it unless I saw it for myself. People are really having a hard time believing it. These men have lots of credibility and influence. I have been told that I have misunderstood what they are REALLY saying or that I am applying it wrong. Or, that it is not an ontological thing.
    (I was told this exact same thing when I spoke of Ware’s teaching that women are made in the ‘indirect’ image of God)

    So much of what they have written or spoken is so convulted that unless you are vigilent and bring it down to basic questions they can spin what they are saying any way they want. We hold them accountable to clarity.

    But, the bottom line is that for so many, these men just cannot be wrong. And that is a dangerous place for too many.

    This is nothing less than an attempt to create a new religion that makes gender roles primary doctrine.  But, without the Supremacy of Christ…it is not Christian.

  6. Lin,
    You are absolutely correct in that these men have credibility and influence and this is used to allow them to teach things about Christ that is against our historic faith. Others who do not want the “scholar” to lose that credibility will defend them vigorously. You are also very right in saying that the teachings are themselves convoluted. The problem is that when one uncovers the “spin” that they have put on the doctrine of Christ, they refuse to communicate further with you. That is the position that I am in right now. Greg Koukl a well-known apologist has developed a technique for getting at the “bottom line” truth of an issue and it is called “taking the roof off” the argument. It is a very effective technique used to show the person where there is a faulty foundation of the person’s logic.

    I “took the roof off” of Bruce Ware’s argument on the eternal subordination of Christ. I did it in a very gentle and respectful way but he would not allow his teaching to be challenged. He told me that he would no longer answer my emails and he apparently is not interested in receiving a free review copy of our Trinity DVD either. From my interactions with him, it appears to me that he has so bought into a mindset that gives him an edge over women because he is the “direct” image of God while women are only an “indirect” image of God, that he will not allow his view of the eternal subordination of Christ to be tested and challenged. I suspect that it would result in his own superiority being challenged and that is unacceptable to him. I was willing to continue to work through these issues and I was completely open for him to challenge me back but he was unwilling to continue our communication. That is his prerogative, but it seems to me that it isn’t the way of a real truth lover. After all he was aware that we are producing a DVD set on the Trinity and using his teaching as the example of error and soundly refuting him. I would think that he would have been more open to show me the error of my way instead of saying “God have mercy on your soul” and cutting off communication.

  7. Cheryl,

    Thank you for this encouragement and validation. 

    God richly bless you for all the labor that you’ve put into this and may he heal the wounds you’ve sustained as you’ve studied this.  I know how difficult it is to read and read these things, and I have not done nearly the amount of work that you have in this area.  May God heal and restore you, making you stronger than you were before.  May God gird you with strength and make your way perfect!

  8. Thank you Cindy!  I accept that prayer on my behalf.

  9. “I would think that he would have been more open to show me the error of my way instead of saying “God have mercy on your soul” and cutting off communication.”

    This is a variation of one of the standard responses when they see you are NOT coming around to their way of thinking. It is meant to be a conversation stopper and it works. Another one that is used quite a bit is “It is in the bible you just don’t believe it”.

    I would be interested in a link or resorce to the Koukls ‘raise the roof’ technique to get to the bottom line of a debate.

  10. Lin,

    Greg Koukl’s tactics are available here.

    It is called Tactics in Defending the faith.  It is a great series and I have learned a lot from Greg.

  11. By the way Lin, nice picture!

  12. This development is not TOO suprising, as the non-egals find hierarchy where it is not in the church and home, they also find it where it is not in the Godhead.  From anyone standing outside their worldview, it is clearly because they are wearing hierarchical lenses, so they see hierarchy everywhere.

  13. Don,

    What shocks me is that this is coming from the top levels of a Southern Baptist seminary (SBTS, in fact).   And that a whole seminary faculty can listen to this stuff and not be up in arms.  And that all but for about no more than 10 people (Cheryl and I included in that number!) say anything about it.  And the rest of the church marches on, asleep.

    Though I grew up in the Pentecostal Church, I always had the utmost respect for the Southern Baptists and their dedication to the Word of God, the “people of the Book.”  I went to a Christian highschool that used ACE curricullum (basically Baptist), and it was so sound and good.  I attended a huge Baptist Church in Louisiana in the ’90s, and I was crushed to discover how Biblically illiterate most people there were.  Eighteen years later, if my experience there was anything like the state of affairs anywhere else, I’m not surprised that Ware’s teachings have gone unchallenged.

    I’m deeply grieved at the state of affairs of the church anyway, but to witness all this in the SBC really disappoints me.  This is a very sad commentary on the whole Evangelical church.

    But I have to wonder why there are only 10 or so people up in arms over subordinationism and not at least 10,000.  Maybe I don’t even want to know the answers.

  14. That is,

    10 people or organizations that are willing to make very public statements…  Why is not every apologetics minded Christian and group not speaking out?

  15. Don Johnson wrote:  “hierarchical lenses.”

    FYI:

    This is taken directly from Ware, from at least 3 sources that I can name, one of which is his book on the subject.

  16. R.K. McGregor Wright April 21, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    Dear Cheryl: Subordinationism is a heresy of very long standing, that re-entered the protestant movement soon after the Reformation through Socinianism.  These people inherit the argumentaton of the Arians of the fourth century.  This is why they have similarities with the JWs.  I don’t know how much historical background you have been able to consider for the forth-coming DVD, but this issue is also tied up with the Socinian assertions about libertarian freewillism.  They argued that if freewill is essential to personhood, it follows that the Persons of the Trinity must also have this kind of freewill, and this makes the Trinity a committee of voluntary members.  The only question then is who is the most powerful member, and naturally they held that the Father holds this position.  Mormons reason similarly.  Arians also used this libertarian freewill argument to change the Bible’s doctrine of salvation through Grace alone.  Read the book Early Arianism on this topic of Arian salvation theory, by Gregg and Groh.  It’s on BookFinder.com for less than $20 including S&H.  Libertarian freewillism is also the guiding principle behind Openness Theology, as I argued in “No Place For Sovereignty” (IVP, 1996).  The error of Subordinationism was long ago declared a heresy by historic Christianity in Church Councils, and the result is summarized in the “Athanasian” Creed at articles 25-26.  THe argument for eternal subordination of the Son and Spirit is only made plausible by abandoning the orthodox distinction between the ontological Trinity (as it was in Eternity before creation) and the economic Trinity (as it is viewed during the drama of redemption in time.  To blend time and eternity is a philosophic disaster for Christian theology, and leads to pantheism in which the world and God are part of the One Ultimate.  The appeal to an eternal subordination of the Persons in the Trinity is probably the most dangerous heresy to reappear in many years, and will decimate the Evangelical movement.  There can be no compromise with it.  It just goes to show how far redeemed sinners will go to protect their male supremacy stance.  If Bruce Ware became an egalitarian he would be fired immediately by Mohler.
    Love,
    Bob K. Wright

  17. Thanks, Dr. McGregor Wright for that great information! We have been thinking about a further DVD set that will deal with historical heresies on the Trinity and the early church fathers & creeds etc. This one we have stayed with scripture alone. In my research I noticed that hierarchical teachers complained that in defending the Trinity Kevin Giles appealed to the creeds and early church fathers and they say that these fathers agree with them and not Kevin Giles. They are also saying that they are winning the argument because only they are appealing to scripture. Kevin Giles of course has a second book out called Jesus and the Father so he has done a well-rounded view of the Trinity from scripture. Yet there are conjectures by hierarchists and challenges that need to be answered. We believe that we have answered these challenges in a very upfront way with scripture alone. There is of course more to be said that wouldn’t fit on the DVDs.

    Thanks for the information and I will have a look as will, I am sure, many others!

  18. Thank you, Bob K. Wright!

    Cheryl,

    I too am baffled at how Bruce Ware can remotely and with any sense of good conscience quote Augustine (when discussing Christ being the Eternal Son of the Father — which does not in any way mean that Christ has non-supreme authority) when in my reading, he completely destroys Ware’s argument.  I can’t wait to study how the freewillism aspect plays into this, which is an ironic twist and pretty funny (likely as offensive to Dr. Ware as the term subordinationism proves for him).  It is frustrating to read Ware after Augustine, because Augustine was so committed to the same-ness of the power of each Divine Person.  I’ve also found two quotes from Tertullian that destroy what Ware suggests, yet the hierarchalists claim a long litany of church father’s that supposedly prove their point.  Actual reading of them, even including RL Dabney, strongly argue against their thesis, that which is presented as the most solid argument of doctrine in Christendom.  I was admonished to present my refutations of Ware online by the spokesman for the apologetics group that disavowed me, but it is very difficult to wade through on an emotional level.  If I put up only the quotes from Ware and others without calling the problems out that are so blatantly clear to me, I believe that people will miss the error, as they have done so all along.  The appeal to authority is a strong master for so many.

    I’m re-reading some old stuff about the difference between social trinitarianism which prefers emphasis on the diversity of the Divine Persons which sees the Persons as each having very discrete and separate consiousness, intellect and free will.  This view is predisposed to a type of polytheistic tri-theism.  (Something Barth wrote quite a lot about, not that he elucidated all things clearly in orthodox fashion.)  This is opposed to an “anti-social Trinitarianism” that prefers the view and perspective that there is one God with a consistency or uniting of intellect and will that is in no way compromised by the Three Persons.  Anti-social Trinitarianism risks falling off into unitarianism or monism.

    That is why, in Trinitarian matters, I always lean to Iraneaus and what I understand typified his perspective:  we must stay grounded in solid Christology which will keep us balanced.  We must stay committed to the historical Jesus and what we know clearly and absolutely from the Word based on what eventually would become a solid hermeneutic.  (I learn best with a grammatico-historical one and find that best for my brain as it makes its attempt to put things together in a meaningful way.)  I also come back to what Harold Brown says about heresy in his book on the topic:  it is the intent that one brings to the study.  Either one seeks out Scripture to confirm an hypothesis or one comes to the Scripture with the paramount interest to discern what what we know from Scripture, committed to discern the truth regardless of what we would like the conclusion to be.  That is what distinguishes heresy even from a misguided teaching — intent and motive.

    I would like to throw this into the mix as well concerning motive and behavior such as the use of “I will pray for your misguided, errant soul” tactic.  I recently heard Dr. Paul Martin of the Wellspring Center in Ohio teach (at the unnamed apologetics conference where I spoke).  He pointed out that there were 210 Scriptures in the Bible dealing with false teachers, abusive shepherds, Pharisees, etc.  Of those Scriptures, this is what each verse is concerned with:

    99 verses (47%) concern Behavior

    66 verses (31%) concern Fruit
    24 verses (13%) concern Motives
    21 verses (10%) concern Doctrine

    It’s hard for me to process the rebukes to ignore behavior, fruit and motive in favor of doctrine when this is exactly what the Word of God teaches us to do.  I believe that this politically correct Christianity is likely responsible for the mess in which we now find ourselves.

    God have mercy on us all and give us abundant wisdom that we might discern just even the basics of the Word.  God help us.

  19. If Bruce Ware became an egalitarian he’d have a lot to lose…. which is why he probably won’t without a thunderbolt of some sort from God.

  20. I read somewhere that it is impossible to convince a person whose livelihood depends on them holding the opposing view. Someone who is a member of CBMW and who has put into print the subordination of Christ will not be convinced no matter how much evidence one has.

    Lightning
    But we definitely could provide some lightning!

  21.  
    Not to imply that these specifically relate directly to this situation or whether this reflects my position on the matter…  Just an offering for contemplation about how far people will go or why they will not go to any extent when their convictions potentially influence their ability to earn their sustanance.

    Favorite Quotes on Authority, Employment, Livelhood and Basic Human Need  (paying the rent and putting food on the table):
     
     
    “Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say ‘what should be the reward of such sacrifices?’ Bid us and our posterity bow the knee, supplicate the friendship and plough, and sow, and reap, to glut the avarice of the men who have let loose on us the dogs of war to riot in our blood and hunt us from the face of the earth? If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!”
     
    Samuel Adams
     
     
    “We have corrected Thy work and have founded it upon miracle, mystery and authority. And men rejoiced that they were again led like sheep.”
     
    Fyodor Dostoevski

  22. LOL  that made my day Cheryl.  Where do you get your art work?  Do you do it yourself?

  23. Cindy,
    Lots of things to think about, for sure!
    Tiro3,
    I am privileged to have lots of subscriptions because I am a video editor. The one I like best that I use on this blog is clipart.com  It is lots of fun for me to express myself through graphics.
     

  24. Watcher,
    The gender hierarchalist would certainly get some help from cult literature in how to take the time of Jesus’ humility as a man and turn it into his eternal state.  Such a shame, though, don’t you think?

    Several years back I sat in a lecture on the Trinity by Bruce Ware and I was sitting with two former Jehovah’s Witnesses who had come to Christ.  I told them that Ware lowers the Deity of Christ in much the same way as they were taught to believe, but I don’t think they believed me until they heard it for themselves.  Their mouths dropped open in shock and they told me that this is what they used to believe as Jehovah’s Witnesses.  To hear an evangelical Christian spout the same doctrine was truly shocking to them.’

    My beginnings in lessons in cults began with the JW’s. Yeah it was hard trying to sort everything out, so long ago at the time but I did note that at the beginning of my research into the man/woman debate that gender hierarchlaists teachings showed that they viewed women the same way as the JW’s. 

    Regards to the Trinity I remember having an inckling or something that the same proponents of gender hierachy probably subordinated Christ. So I went into a christian book store, picked up Grudem’s ‘Systematic Theology’ and my suspicion was confirmed. I couldn’t believe it! Before my intuition was confirmed I had thought to myself something like ‘there is no way they could do that because that is just beyound…’ When I found out, I was there in the store completely heart broken. The church was a failure. It failed on the issue of women and Christ. That was probably one of the worst days of my life, that be ‘the’ worst. Where was the church I thought?

    Anyway, I was just sharing some past experiences that relate to JW’s and the false teachings of the Trinity. I didn’t let the JW’s attempt to doctrinate me for too long, I did fall for some things for a time out of confusion. I just couldn’t get the confusion sorted out cognitively at the time. I remember them showing me a vidoe on the Trinity though everything in the video was so confusion, the verbiage, concepts etc for me. It all seemed wrong but I soo wanted to understand what was what! So these are things I remember of my experiences related to JW’s, the man/woman debate and the Trinity. 

  25. I meant ‘indoctrinate’. Sorry for the typos and other mistakes!

  26. Watcher,
    I knew exactly what you meant.  Thanks for sharing your experience!  I am sure that would have hit me hard too had I been in your place and seen the subordination of the Son in a Christian book store.  I was oblivious to this teaching for the whole 16 years that I lead a support group to help JW’s come out of their own indoctrination.  Had I known that this stuff was also in the church, I would have been very discouraged.  JW’s come out of the Watchtower confused as it is.  I have found some men who came out of the JW’s are hierarchists merely because this view is the closest to the JW thinking about Jesus so the easiest to accept for them.  I am expecting that the DVD set we are producing will set a lot of these men free and clear up the years of confusion.

  27. Dr. McGregor Wright,
    I ordered the book.  Should be an interesting read, I am sure.

  28. R.K. McGregor Wright April 22, 2008 at 8:49 am

    Cheryl K.’s thoughtful comments (at 18 above) prompt me to comment on the technique of quoting early church Fathers to support a resurgent heresy.  Most of us who have read somewhat in the Fathers (the field is called “Patristics”) know quite well that most of them were unsound on one thing or another.  Many are also wordy, inexact, boring and idiosyncratic).  One can always select from such a large body of documentary testimony, the kind of emphasis that will support one’s views.  The Tractarians (the Anglo-Catholic movement in England in the 1800s) soon discovered that when they pleaded that the earliest Christianity must have been the purest, they quickly confronted the fact that the Fathers contradicted each other on almost everything .
    Since references to the Trinity in the Fathers fall into the two categories of references to the Ontological OR the Economic Trinity, and since most of the references are to the Economic Trinity as God interacts with history in time, the vast majority of quotes on the Trinity in the Fathers is naturally going to include a lot of verses and interpretations implying subordination of the Son in time to the Father.  This is NOT EVIDENCE OF ETERNAL SUBORDINATIONISM, but only of passages describing or assuming the Economy of redemption.  Like certain other speculative theories, eternal subordinationism has disastrous implications for other areas of theology, as the followers of Origen eventually were forced to see.  There are very good reasons why, despite his real devotion to Christ, and his enormous scholarly output and vast and respectful following in the ancient churches, Origen is not “Saint Origen.”  The main one is that eternal subordinationism is flatly a heresy and the Holy Catholic Church has recognized this uniformly for well over 16 centuries (i.e., since 325 AD with the use of homoousios at Nicea).  Once more, notations of the economic aspects of God’s actions to redeem us in time have no bearing whatever on whether the three Persons are related in Eternity by a subordination of either function or being.  When the Reformed half of the Reformation insisted that “Finitum non capax Infinitum” (the finite is not capable of encompassing the Infinite) they were making this very point.  Therefore it is a serious error to measure what God “must” be like in Eternity (before the creation), by what we see him doing in the flow of time.  It should be the other way around: the Trinity is the presupposition and Origin of Meaning for understanding everything else.  Without assuming the Creator-creature distinctionm, we are just stuck with various grades of Pantheism.
    The methodology of the New Subordinationism is to start with how they think of women in their churches, then move from that as a model to insist that Jesus was subordinate to the Father in the drama of redemption (which nobody denies, as it was a condition of the Incarnation) to then arguing what God “must” be like in Eternity.  In the fourth century, this was the method of Arius, with VERY bad results.
    Love,  Bob K. Wright

  29. FWIIW, I see the 2nd century as being the flowering of the gentilization of the church, this was a sea change from the 1st century Jewish believers at first.  I see this loss of Hebrew context as one reason for the allegorical method of interpreting Scripture, since it was the word of God, it needed to be put to SOME use but some parts were not understood in their original context and this neededcontext was lost more and more over the centuries.  So while the early church fathers provide SOME evidence, they are certainly not infallible, not even as a group, contra the RCC and EOC claims.

  30. ” Most of us who have read somewhat in the Fathers (the field is called “Patristics”) know quite well that most of them were unsound on one thing or another.  Many are also wordy, inexact, boring and idiosyncratic).  ”

    Thank you!! My sentiments exactly.

  31. You know what I find most ironic about all this? These professors are doing exactly what many of them have accused Rick Warren of doing: Interpreting scripture to fit a premise.

    We all know, if the premise is wrong then all of it is wrong.

    Grumdems “Systematic Theology” is being taught everywhere. It is basically a textbook in the SBC now. I am still trying to figure out how Grumden comes to the conclusion that God is subordinate when He helps us. Parents are subordinate to kids when they help them and so on. All of this to PROVE ezer means subordinate. Mohler highly promotes both his books which means every seminary student in the SBC will read them and take them to heart.

  32. All of us can do that and might not even realize it.  We need to be humble when we approach the word of God and be willing to learn more so that we understand it better.  Its depths are inexhaustible, so I am skeptical of Grudem’s efforts, it smacks too much for me like treating the Bible as if it was like Euclid’s Elements, which it most certainly is not.  But because it is supposedly a logical construct, if he gets even one thing wrong, say by missing an idiom, big sections of the whole structure might collapse.

  33. R.K. McGregor Wright April 22, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    It seems Don Johnson sees eye-to-eye with me on these issues.  The systematization of the contents of the Bible is certainly not an exhaustive deductive process, but it is true that because of the “unity of Truth in the Mind of God,” it is both appropriate and necessary that we uncover the internal relations and interconnectedness of the various doctrines found in the Word as written.  God doesn’t tell us lots of things we would like to know, however, so we have to be satisfied with what he does give us, and not water it down with alien philosophic notions from the surrounding culture.  Many of the Fathers of the first five centuries certainly were guilty of this sort of thing.  If anyone wants my essay against allegorism it can be sent from my e-mail at rkwjc@charter.net  as an attachment and printed off to read at leisure.
    Love,  Bob K.
     

  34. Per Bob Wright’s comment about Jesus’ subordinate position per the incarnation, ‘my’ church uses this belief to ‘justify’ the subordination of women to their husbands, etc. in this lifetime (not in the hereafter).  They don’t think Jesus is meant to be in an eternally subordinate position-just while on earth.  How does one address this variation on Jesus’s earthly subordination being used to justify women’s earthly subordination? 

  35. Lin,
    My husband pointed me to Grudem’s Doctrines of the Bibles in which he explains his understanding of the subordination of the Trinity on pp. 113-117.  Basically he states that the Trinity is equal in <em>being</em> but the Son and Holy Spirit are subordinate to the<em> </em>Father in <em>function or role</em>.  IMHO, Grudem has a worldview that is seriously skewed toward hierarchy and is unable to understand that different functions or roles do not necessarily imply subordination.  Therefore, since men and women are different in some ways, in his worldview that would mean there would be a heirarchy of some sort.  He certainly has a skewed view of help as his teaching on <em>ezer</em> clearly shows. </p>
    <p>The more I look at this teaching, the more concerned I become, first of all as a Christian and second of all, as a member of a SBC church.   AND thanks to some creative teaching by Don (thank you) I understand much more clearly the equality that exists between the Trinity.  I can certainly see how this heresy can lead to teachings such as the JWs on Christ.  Scary stuff.

  36. A MAJOR stumbling block for Jews and Moslems believing in Jesus as God is the idea of God being 3 “gods” somehow which simply cannot be monotheistic, so any idea of permanent subordination they see right thru for what it means, which is tritheism.

  37. Don,
    It’s only recently that I’ve understood that, in many Christian’s minds, the Trinity is actually viewed as 3 Gods, though they might deny this if asked.  It apparently colors their perceptions of their Bible readings.  I see this as a warning for myself to be careful to remember that I’m certainly fallible and to test my beliefs to see if they are true reality or just my perception.

  38. R.K. McGregor Wright April 23, 2008 at 7:55 am

    Truthseeker asks a perfectly good question in #34 above.  The answer, I would think, is not to deny that under particular circumstances, person X may be subordinate, or subordinates his/her self to person Y, but whether this is a natural ontological order of a hierarchical nature, or simply a moral relation in a particular context.  Ephesians 5:21 states as a general principle that Christians should be mutually submissive “to each other.”  This is strictly unintelligible on a hierarchical basis, but is a perfectly normal moral relation between believers, on which the rest of the examples in the verses following make sense.  It suggests that in one situation, I will be “submissive to” my wife and in other situations she will be to me. that in some situations I will give place to a respected Christian leader who I differ from on some point, while on some matter in which he realizes I know more than he does, he will “submit” to me.  This is not some ontological rigidity, but a flexible pattern of relationships conditioned by love of the brethren, like everything else in the Christian life.  It’s GIFTS that should determine who takes the lead in a particular situation, not an ontological hierarchy.  My wife has different gifts than I do, and I submit to that fact, ordained as it is by God (1 Cor 12:4 fol.)
    Mutual submission is much more difficult to practice than hierarchical submission.  The first is a moral relationship, a balancing act within a love-framework, while the second is an automatic acceptance of an inflexible state of affairs.  There is no question that hierarchicalism if assumed, will trump love every time….
    Love, Bob K.

  39. Everyone,

    Ethics Daily contacted me late yesterday and posted an online article about this whole affair.

    The Dallas Morning News Religion Editor has posted a blog item this afternoon asking for theologians to comment on the matter.  Denny Burk is over there posting.  Anyone game?

    http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2008/04/is-jesus-subordinate-to-god-an.html

  40. Thank you, B. Wright.  I agree with what you have said.  You explained it very well.   In my case, the church would say they agree, also, then make it clear that while they might submit to women in some instances, in all cases of pastoral and teaching ‘leadership’ as well as headship in the home, women are to submit to them/their husbands.  Sort of a case of ‘partial mutual submission’ if you will, based in part on their application of the verse telling us to ‘obey those who are in authority over us’.   

  41. ‘Sort of a case of ‘partial mutual submission’ if you will, based in part on their application of the verse telling us to ‘obey those who are in authority over us’.  ”

    Ah, another verse which is misused quite a bit. You wouldn’t obey your ‘authority’ in the church if he all of a sudden decided you should move to Guyana and drink some kool-aid. :o) 

  42. Lin, that is so true.  I wonder why it is that subordinationists or comps, etc. fail to sufficiently account for the fact that the bible lists pastoring and teaching (among others) as GIFTS, not as offices to be filled by human discernment and discretion as is the case with elders and deacons?  No where does the bible say that gifts are given or restricted based on an individual’s gender.  Neither for that matter, does it say so regarding eldering and deaconing though that mistake, based on the ‘husband of one wife’ phrase is easier to understand.  These things seem so straightforward-especially per the gifts of pastor, teacher, etc.
    If, as a woman, I didn’t value my hair, I think I would be pulling it out by now!

  43. Dr. Wright,
    Your comments here have been like a B-12 shot in the arm for me!
    I so appreicate what you’ve written.
    Thank you!

  44. Well I posted at religionblog…. All I can say is that I hope I didn’t burn anything.

    I’m gonna go get some water to cool off!

  45. Lots of good thoughts, all of you! I kept myself away to let you talk. I should be back tomorrow.

  46. Dear Cheryl,
    Thank you so much for your hard work in serving the Body of Christ.  You are a blessing to us all!!!

  47. http://www.EthicsDaily.com just published their second article this week about my patriarchy workshop and this controversy.  This article goes into their werid “militant fecundity” business and how it overlaps with ideologies held by powerful leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention.  It’s today’s headline article.  It makes you wonder when they will stop using John 3:16 and Eph 2:8-9 to witness and share the Gospel message to women in favor of I Tim 2:15 (women are saved through childbirth).  I had no idea that the ties were so strong between the SBC and the patriocentrists.

    It’s been a blessing and amazing to me to see people come from out of nowhere to speak out against this stuff, especially nice after getting “disavowed” by the apologetics group that asked me to speak on the subject.  Cheryl has been such a great support and so validating to me.  Now EthicsDaily.com is plugging at this.

  48. Cindy, I wrote the editor and thanked him for helping to connect some of the dots with this doctrine and the SBC.

    Your presentation has opened many doors and I am thankful.

    I have been stunned to read on blog comments how many SBC pastors believe that the passage in 1 Tim 2:15 refers to women staying in their role and bearing children. It does not occur to them that this would be a WORK for salvation. They do not see that. They say it is not a work but an admonition to stay in their God given role. They are blinded.

    Can you imagine? Only women have to earn salvation through a role?

  49. Cindy,

    It is an amazing thing to see several blogs and news forums pick up the story about your lecture and the reaction to your lecture.  It appears that people are willing to take a risk and speak out against injustice and faulty biblical thinking even in the Southern Baptist Convention.  I hope that many will read these excellent news links and think again what happens to the church when we set up faulty tradition as the norm and then set up boundaries to stop us from questioning these traditions.  It is a healthy thing to question.  The one who has the truth should be solid enough not to be offended by the questions that are asked.  Truth is provable and solid and need not fear.  A faulty foundation will produce fear from those who are building on that foundation but don’t want others to see the cracks and holes.  Error at times runs and hides and at other times it attacks to deflect that attention away from the questions.  May we always be humble enough to admit our mistakes and to turn towards the firm foundation.

  50. Lin,

    I was in correspondence with Andreas Kostenberger while I was writing my script of WIM.  He is the one who proposed that 1 Timothy 2:15 means that women were promised by God that they would be kept spiritual safe if they stayed within the boundaries of their roles as wife and mother.  I asked him if this meaning was the true meaning of the verse why God would be prejudiced against men by not promising that they would be kept spiritually safe by remaining in their “roles” as husbands and fathers?  I also asked him wouldn’t this mean that God failed to keep his promise since many women who have stayed home to remain in their domestic “roles” have fallen prey to the Jehovah’s Witnesses?  He did not have an answer to my questions.  I think the view is faulty and unsupportable by either scripture or factual evidence.  It also doesn’t take into consideration that Paul uses both the singular feminine and third person plural in the verse.  I believe that without paying close attention to the inspired words, we are easily captured by our society’s preconceived patriarchal thinking.

  51. I asked him if this meaning was the true meaning of the verse why God would be prejudiced against men by not promising that they would be kept spiritually safe by remaining in their “roles” as husbands and fathers?

    Cheryl,
    Your comment #50 points out a really great example of how so many of these spiritually abusive and manipulative teachers take their words to create the illusion of a false dichotomy so that the listener can see only two alternatives or views of a given topic.  Especially in a congregation, all the influences of the environment and the setting reinforce this for the unsuspecting, earnest, trusting follower sitting in the pew.  You have minister who takes a passage of Scripture that actually falls within a number of possible interpretations that are within an acceptable, sound Biblical view, yet will use the pressure of the group and their own skill to promote only one alternative as correct.  They can also “paint the picture” so that not only is their view the only view, in matters of intramural issues in the church-at-large, they can promote these intramural issues as those that are not peripheral but central, critical, defining doctrines of the Christian faith.

    People are especially vulnerable to this influence when they are in the moment in fellowship with one another.  The minister uses appeal to authority to his (or her!?) advantage, and can use homiletics in their favor.  The group pressure is strong, as it is our basic human nature to conform in group settings, particularly for the Christian, those that accompany reference for God’ house.  (If you disagree with the minister, it shows disrespect to the House of Prayer and God Himself if one were to protest then and there.)  The minister has cooperation of the congregants in the service, so they are willing to comply with expected behaviors, and this diminishes and competes with one’s ability to objectively evaluate the message, especially if the message is questionable.   Thought reform theory says that gaining behavioral compliance gives the speaker a foothold into one’s thoughts and emotions, so just by routine compliance with the group norm increases the power of their message.  Then add in there the social pressure and social mentoring influence when you might have doubts about what was said, but everyone around you nods and says “Amen.”  It is basic human nature to check oneself in these circumstances (basically designed for our survival and protection, but can work against us when we are being “led” to accept a false dichotomy).

    I sit here tonight with part of mind saying “How could anyone not consider that this protection message for women through role performance not apply to men?”  But then I also consider my experience of having been in congregations wherein these many powerful pressures caused me to accept these false dichotomies and other doctrines that, under other circumstances, I would have outright rejected.

    I’m so blessed by this internet discussion and other ones that give earnest people an opportunity to put the brakes on some of these processes by bringing attention to the holes in the arguments of some of these folks who have such rigid gender views.  In a forum where people are not wrestling with the immediate pressures that they would be when listening to a sermon or sitting in a pew, people can have more of their internal resources available to take a second look at the teachings.  I believe that’s what we are seeing now on the internet, and the powerful, agenda driven pontiffs aren’t too happy about it.  When people are given the support and opportunity to think things through like Bereans in a safe place like the one you’ve created here in cyberspace, many people figure out that they have an alternative to the “black and white world” that many of these teachers have created and manipulated.

    I’m so encouraged by all of this at work this week, here and on other places on the internet.  People realize that they have choices and that even Jesus invited Thomas to examine His wounds so that he might believe.  Jesus wanted Thomas to have faith in Him and not faith in what he thought he should or had to believe.  I believe that the Word teaches that the goal of Christian living is intimacy with the Lord where we love Him with our hearts, minds and strength, not a goal of high-performance of man’s standards and a relationship based on “shoulds.”

    Keep fighting the good fight and creating this place where people can hash out their thoughts and ideas concerning so many of these all or nothing alternatives posed in the gender debate.

  52. “I was in correspondence with Andreas Kostenberger while I was writing my script of WIM.  He is the one who proposed that 1 Timothy 2:15 means that women were promised by God that they would be kept spiritual safe if they stayed within the boundaries of their roles as wife and mother.”

    That explains a lot. Because many of these pastors/seminary students mention his name. It is amazing how a ‘view’ of one teacher can become  prevelant so quickly.

    It is as if CBMW has become the only source for this issue in these circles.

  53. “Especially in a congregation, all the influences of the environment and the setting reinforce this for the unsuspecting, earnest, trusting follower sitting in the pew. ”

    Cindy, this really resonated with me. In 1 Corin, Paul talks about several speaking when they meet and then others would judge. Can’t we see how this would lead us to scripture when we meet and help keep out error?

    A few years ago, I decided to study scripture with only the thought of looking at what the early church was like. I found little that looked similar to what we do now.

    Normally, I am not a big fan of Barna but I bought his book, Pagan Christianity, written by him and Frank Viola. It is a look at the history of church. He tracks all the things we do now in church, even our buildings and tells us where this ‘tradition’ came from. Some of it I had already researched with the conversion of Constantine. It is quite shocking what we have added. And what we have added speaks to your comment above. The ‘environment’ is perfect for thought reform through a captive ‘audience’ and perceived authorities we should not disagree with publicly.

    Just as an example, Barna/Viola track the single ‘sermon’ by one person with a ‘pulpit’ and people sitting in rows facing the speaker to listen…… to Greek Orators who came into the church. It was a tradition in the Greek world to listen to ‘orators’ and it was a big deal to be an ‘interesting’ and well spoken orator. Does this sound familiar?

    But Paul makes it clear that he did not come with good speech or fancy words but with truth.

    There was also very little ‘overhead’ in the early church as they met in homes, etc., sitting around listening, taking turns in praise, singing, teaching, etc. I try as hard as I can to imagine Lydia not saying a word in her own home or not even sharing a testimony in this setting for fear of teaching men. Did they just use her place or was having the Body meet in her home a serious commitment to her?  Or even Phoebe coming back from visiting Paul and not sharing the wonderful truths she learned from Paul while there and teaching it to others in the Body at Cenchurea. (sp?)

    It just makes no sense. We love our traditions too much.
     

  54. R.K. McGregor Wright April 26, 2008 at 10:39 am

    Some of us have wondered why so few people are willing to speak out against hierarchicalism (as Cindy at the end of posting #13).  In my opinion, the main reason is because the idea of arranging everything according to grades of being or of importance, etc., is just a reflection of what I have dubbed the “generic pagan” worldview called the Great Chain of Being.  This august model of an evolving reality is basic to Neoplatonism, Aristotelianism, (to mention only two powerful past influences on Christian thinking), Gnosticism, Hinduism, and many other Eastern-derived world visions.  It is also an important component of Darwinism as it frames an evolutionary view of life and human affairs, and strongly penetrates the realms of science fiction and fantasy.  It is one of the most pervasive models of reality ever devised, and permeates much secular thinking also.
    If anyone wants to see the three essays I wrote long ago (Cheryl has them), about why the CM&W statement is nonsense, I can send them at request  to my e-mail address   rkwjc@charter.net   I will send them as attachments to be printed off.  The third discusses hierarchical thinking.  They are dated and need to be rewritten, but the essence of my repudiation of Chain-of-Being thinking is there.
    Love,
    Bob K.

  55. I would recommend anyone interested in seeing the foundation of this thinking to take Dr. Bob at his offer and get his material.  While many think that the hierarchal way of looking at things is biblical, Bob shows where it is not.  It is awhile since I read his material and I should go back myself and reread to freshen up my thinking.  Thanks Bob for reminding me and us all!!

  56. Lin #52,
    What is interesting about Andreas Kostenberger is that at the time of our correspondence he remarked that his view on 1 Timothy 2:15 was not accepted by some in CBMW yet since that time, it appears to have moved from a outside-of-the-norm view to become a very prominent view popular with hierarchalists. His interpretation has holes big enough to drive a mac truck through so I am mystified his interpretation has become so widely accepted.

  57. “What is interesting about Andreas Kostenberger is that at the time of our correspondence he remarked that his view on 1 Cor. 15 was not accepted by some in CBMW yet since that time, …”

    Cheryl,

    1 Corin 15? The Resurrection of the Dead?

    You probably meant 1 Tim 2, right? :o)

  58. Oops, yup, you are right. It is verse 15 or 1 Timothy 2 not 1 Cor. 15. I have 1 Cor 15 burned into my mind these days as it is part of the “proof” of those who believe in a hierarchy in the Trinity and my refutation of their view from the passage itself is still fresh in my mind. I stand corrected, thanks Lin! I corrected my error in my comment above.

  59. The idea of a “great chain of being” was a 19th century fad, but I do not think any scientist today believes it.

  60. Dear Cheryl,

    Thanks for all your hard work Cheryl! Exposing error with the Light! These men will finally be exposed out in the open once and for all to see! It’s all done in Love and it will be a great witnessing tool!

    I Can’t wait to buy a few copies! Also, Please pray for me Cheryl, I’m going through some hardtimes right now (Personally issues), I’m hanging in there! Thanks

                       Much Love In Christ and Many Blessings, Michael

  61. Michael,

    We are to pray for one another and I have been praying for you.  I trust that the Lord will see you through this difficult time.  Sorry it took me so long to get back to you.  I have been very distracted after coming back from vacation.

  62. I am really interested in hearing in this debate that will take place on the 9th of Oct.

    http://sunestauromai.wordpress.com/2008/08/07/ware-grudem-vs-mccall-yandell-on-the-trinity-teds-debate/

  63. Have you heard if it will be taped and available on the internet?

  64. Hello,

     When does the Trinity DVD come out? I’ve been busy with school, I need an update (Smile)! Bye

  65. The Trinity DVD will be complete and ready for distribution by October.  Hopefully it will be early October and it depends on how long it takes for stamping and for the production of the covers.  It won’t be long now.

  66. Don,

    From the comments here, I don’t think it sounds like it will amount to much more than a graduate student indoctrination session.  It sounds like these former students are actually admitting that there is an “arian” eternal subordination, with “hard” and “soft” interpretations.  Soft subordination is not heretical.   Note the comments on the thread.

    http://theologica.blogspot.com/2008/08/trinity-debate.html

  67. We will see if they discuss Jesus in the wilderness and Joseph’s dreams.  These are relevant to the discussion, IMO.

  68. Jesus in the wilderness was LED by the Spirit, so I do not know how that fits with a hierarchical Trinity.

    Joseph’s dreams have symbols interpreted by Jacob that say his father and mother would bow to him.  Bowing represents submission.  Joseph is a type of Christ.  But who does his father represent?  IMO, this shows mutual submission.  P.S. The Holy Spirit in Hebrew is grammatical feminine gender.

  69. The hierarchical position is that although the Holy Spirit is under Jesus, Jesus was under the authority of the Holy Spirit during his time on earth.  The question one must ask, then, is if Jesus was under the Holy Spirit here on earth but in eternity, the Holy Spirit is under him, then how does being under the Father here on earth prove the Jesus is eternally under the authority of the Father?  There are more questions than answers in that view.

  70. Another question is: Who is the Spirit of Christ?  Is this the same Spirit as the Spirit of God?  I think it must be.

    My take is that all descriptions of God are metaphors.  One way to describe God is to say there is one will called God’s will.  Another way is to say there is mutual submission among the persons of the Trinity.  These are just different ways the Bible uses of explaining the same thing to our finite minds.

  71. Yes, the Spirit of Christ is the same Spirit as the Spirit of God.

    While we can say that there is mutual submission in the Trinity it is a bit of a moot point since there is one will.  For example the Holy Spirit does not submit his will to the Father since there is no reason to submit.  They both have the exact same will.  Submission can be in relationship but again how does all of that work when they all share the exact same will?  There cannot be one will submitting to another will.  The submission that was shown in their relationship became known to us when the Word of God became flesh.  It was when humanity was added to his identify as God that there could now be a will (a human will that was added) that would be willing to submit.

  72. I wonder what spin that the hierarchalists would put on this and how many paragraphs it would take them to communicate it?

    This is all so plain and clear to me, that submission is functional or economic and not one of essence, I can’t even anticipate what arguments they will offer.   I can usually anticipate the arrogance with which the arguments are made, however.  Most all that I have heard assume a proud sense that they cannot be wrong and no other interpretation warrants any merit.

  73. On one will, I wonder if this is like one God.  God is echad, a plural unity (like the USA in some ways).  This is why I find the mutual submission metaphor helpful, it may not be helpful to others.

  74. Don,

    Yes I do think that one will is like one God.  There are three who share the one will just as three are the one God.  So just as there are three persons you could say there are three wills but the wills are exactly the same.  In essence it is one will.  There is never a time when one person has a will that is in opposition to the others.  That means that one person would never have to submit his will to another because they are in opposition.  Could there be other reasons for submission?  Sure, I suppose but not for a difference in will.

  75. This is why the mutual submission METAPHOR is useful for me, when 2 are PERFECTLY mutually submitted, then there is only one UNIFIED will.  If this does not work for you, that is OK with me, but it works for me.

  76. Don, that is they way I like to see it also. The difference is that we as humans with sin still in our lives, have to work to achieve this kind of unity and only achieve it on occasion. God however, in perfection does not have a struggle at all.

  77. If anyone is interested, I contacted the Henry Center and discovered that Ware’s debate on October 9th, 2008 discussing subordinationism will be both” webcasted” and recorded.  It will be made available at some point on the Henry Center/Trinity Evangelical Divinity School website.  So I don’t know if they will stream it live on Oct. 9th, but it will be made available eventually.

  78. Cindy,

    Thank you for that information!  I won’t be able to listen online myself as I will be traveling during that time, but good to know that they will make it available.

  79.        My dear friend and theological mentor, Dr. Robert K. Wright, told my about your sight, Cheryl, and the discussion on the current Neo-Arian heresy that has arisen within the Evangelical churches, thanks to George Knight III and Wayne Grudem.   Several years ago, Bob’s wife, Julia, gave a presentation on the Trinity and Suboridinationism, in which she predicted that the traditionalists would consider this cardinal Christian and its application to the “women in ministry and leadership” issue, and see the errors of their ways.  Her predication came true, partly; they did consider this doctrine, but lacking the necessary moral and intellectual integrity they profess, perverted this doctrine and threaten the life of the church, as did Arius in the fourth century.
           I recently read Kevin Giles’ Jesus and the Father: Modern Evangelicals Reinvent the Trinity.  By the time I got to the end of the third chapter, where he clearly outlines the concepts and arguments of Grudem and company, I realized, “My God!  These people are Arians!”  And they have embraced this damned heresy solely for the wicked and injust purpose to “keep women in their proper place,” as some say!  From that point on, I determined, like St. Athanasius before me, to dedicate myself, in every way I can, to fight and defeat this heresy that will eventually destroy the Evangelical churches if not stopped.  And so on my website, I have written a three part article, “The Trinity and Evangelical Neo-Arianism” where I not only expose this teaching as damned heresy, but call concerned Christians to rise up and fight it!
                 Now, as to resources to combat this heresy, I would refer you not only to Kevin Giles’ The Trinity and Subordiantionism and Jesus and the Father, but also high recommend Millard J. Erickson’s God in Three Persons: A Contemporary Interpretation  and B. B. Warfield’s “The Biblical Doctrine of the Trinity,” Biblical and Theological Studies.  And this heresy we must fight, because, as far as I am concerned, these people are preaching a different God, a different Jesus, a different Spirit, and a different Gospel (cf. 2 Cor 11:1-14).
                And I see that some of the commentators on this blog are friends I have previously contacted on the CBE blog, “The Scroll.”  Hello, my friends; hope all is well with you.  And Cheryl, my Christian sister, I also support you as one who preaches, teaches and defends the true Gospel Faith.  Don’t let anyone rob you of your confidence as one gifted to preach and teach God’s Word because they misuse two Pauline texts to put you down.  They err, because as Jesus said of the Pharisees, they do not really know and understand either the Scriptures or the gifting and calling of the Holy Spirit, who is the Power of God at work in all true children of God.    

  80. Frank,

    Welcome!

    The issue of the subordination of Christ is certainly a serious issue today in the church and has so infected the seminaries that many have just accepted this teaching as if it is the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity instead of a modern day distortion of the full Deity of Jesus and the Holy Spirit – equal in power, authority, honor and glory and every right to their nature as God.

    By mid October our new DVD called “The Trinity Eternity Past to Eternity Future, Explaining Truth & Exposing Error” will be ready for sale and this DVD has two sections dedicated to exposing this error.  We decided that the exposing of this error should concentrate on our own measure for truth – God’s word.  We believe that it is important to soundly refute the subordination doctrine by the scriptures and show where the error lies and how the scripture presents the truth in context.  I will be announcing on this blog when the DVD is finally ready for distribution.  There are audio clips in the DVD which document the teaching of those who believe in a hierarchy in the Trinity and then scripture is appealed to that refutes their teaching.

    I had a quick look at your pages on the Trinity.  Keep up the good work!

  81. Frank,

    I should add that I appreciate your affirmation of my ministry.  Thank you!

  82. Hello,

     I need Prayer because once I get some copies of the DVD set on the trinity one is going to Harvest Church in IL.. It’s a BIG church and just pray that God works on there Hearts and That this DVD set shows them the Truth and Convicks them too make a Change for Jesus and about Women that they have been wrong and need to repent!

  83. Will be praying for you Michael!  God bless your heart and your boldness.

  84. hello all,

    I got an email back from this one Church that I’m sending the DVD too! Praise Jesus, I/We got are foot in the door! A copy of the e-mail is below, any comments would be great, he also gave me a link that he post on! I need help! Thanks Cheryl for the Trinity DVD!

    Michael,
     Thanks for sending the DVD. I’ll happily watch them and let you know what I think.
     Also, since our last conversation, I’ve read many of the anti-Arian/Trinitarian writings of Augustine, Athanasius, Gregory of Nysa, Chrysostom, and Gregory of Nazianzus. I wrote about it on my blog here. As you’ll see in the post, I concede a few of the points you made in our previous exchange, though I still find the contemporary egalitarian position deficient. You may find it interesting.
     Many blessings, Gerald

  85. Hello all, I pulled this off of a blogsite and this is what “Gerald” posted. My throughs are this, The Husband is NOT Christ, we are ALL too follow Christ example. Second he is using 1 Peter 3:7 out of context, God did not make the woman (EVE) with defects, because with evil things God CANNOT be tried! I think what Peter is saying hear is that (And I’m also taking into account All of scripture and History etc) That the woman has a double disaveraged because of the fall. #1 she now has a sin nature and #2 Man will rule over her! The bigger picking on the smaller! We also see that with other men too. I was very short/small in 8th grade 4’8! Yes I was picked on because of that. Now I’m about 5’6 (Smiling).

    I think what Peter is saying in that account, that it’s up to the Man or Husband to make sure that the Woman or wife has a equal share in ALL things and to make sure these sinful attiudes do not rule!

    Second, in my mind, the complimentarian logic is grounded much more solidly in the Christ/Church relationship, than in the God/Christ relationship. Ephesians 5:21-33 pretty clearly draws a parallel between the husband/wife relationship and Christ/Church relationship. Paul’s whole logic of how the husband and wife should treat the other is clearly patterned after the way that Christ and the Church relate to each other. Whatever one might conclude about the economic equality of God and Christ, there is certainly some measure of economic inequality between Christ and the Church.

    The reason why the complementarian logic applies most immediately in the home and in the church (besides the fact that we think Scripture teaches it) is because both of these communities more closely reflect the final escatological community. The mandate of love and respect within the husband/wife relationship need not be extended to all male/female relationship because not all male/female relationship reflect the relationship between Christ and his Church.

    Third, I think that the disparity of physical strength between men and women is not without significance. I’ve written about that elsewhere (search 1 Peter 3:7 under the “complementarian tag” on my blog if you’re interested). God chose to make the woman physically vulnerable before the man. It is this very brute and basic fact that accounts for so much of the way women and men have related throughout human history, both good and bad. I would add the general observation that the vulnerable by nature of their vulnerability, tend to follow those to whom they are vulnerable, particularly if the one in the less vulnerable position treats them with love, dignity and respect. The egalitarian nature of our western legal codes, along with modern technological advancements, has made the vulnerability of the woman less, and therefore the woman has less of a need to depend upon/follow the man. But in most cultures throughout history, the egalitarian mindset just wasn’t possible–even if both men and women had wanted it. Too much in life required physical strength (war, hunting, building, etc.), thus putting the woman in a place of deference before the man.

  86. (All my comments are before that)

    (This is where “Gerald’s” comment start)

    Second, in my mind, the complimentarian logic……

  87. Too much in life required physical strength (war, hunting, building, etc.), thus putting the woman in a place of deference before the man.

    This comment of Gerald is troubling to me. He is using the affects of the Fall & and the after affects of Noahs Flood to base Male & Female Relationships on! War, hunting, etc was all forgein to Adam & The Woman (Eve) BEFORE the fall!

  88. Here are some ideas.

    See Bilizekian’s essay on husband being a head, free at CBE.  He goes into Eph 5.  The main point is that Christ as head SERVES the church, the metaphor (and we KNOW head/kephale HAS to be a metaphor) is one of service and there is no Scriptural warrant to turn that into a leading function.  See all the verbs in that section of Eph 5.

    1 Pet is about unsaved husbands (and later unsaved wifes).  In that case in 1st century it was just assumed that the wife obeys her husband, but Peter carefully never says that.

  89. Michael,

    I put the quote into a block quote to help make your quote clear. 

    I am also very happy that this pastor is willing to look at the evidence.  He also seems to have changed his mind about saying that the Son was eternally subordinated from eternity past.  Now he just needs to work on the eternity future to get the full, complete biblical picture.  It is very encouraging to me to see someone who can change his view with the evidence.  There is great hope in that!

    You are right in that the husband is not Christ.  That would make a good post for me to consider in the future.  I have just been re-reading things from CBMW about the husband being Christ to his wife and their errors need to be cleared up and dealt with.  I intend to do this in a future post.

  90. Thanks Don and Cheryl.

    Gerald is a member at Harvest Church and also is Pastor James MacDonald! It’s like a mega church, the church is huge and then there is their small Library with tons of books by Bruce Ware etc. Not one book is on there shelf to explain the otherside or to rebuke there false teaching! Why not present Both sides and let the Spirit do the leading! Reminds me of the JW’s!

  91. I just typed this below on Geralds blogsite! I didn’t give my name.

    Gerald typed:

    Interestingly, nowhere in Scripture is the husband told to “lead” his wife. He is told to protect, care for, love, etc.

    My Comment:

    So why do you add something to Gods word by teaching Husbands/Men must lead Women/Wifes cannot. Why can’t Husband and Wife work things out together as Teamwork/One Flesh!God gave equal rule to both Adam and The Woman (Eve)in the Begininng. Christ is the one who undos the affect of the Fall.

    Eph5:21 is for ALL believers!

    Ephesians 5:21
    21Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

  92. Michael,

    Amen!  Good thoughts!

  93. I notice a commen theme in those who opposes our viewpoint. They say ONLY married people can “Reflect” Christ in the Home and Chruch ( a brick building made with human hands). ALL believers can Reflect Christ weather Single or Married no matter where they may be at, Home,School,Work,Driving,Walking etc! ALL believers are part of the “Church” and part of the “Bride” Men Too and ALL are “Sons Of God” women too!

    Gerald saids on his blog:

    Second, in my mind, the complimentarian logic is grounded much more solidly in the Christ/Church relationship, than in the God/Christ relationship. Ephesians 5:21-33 pretty clearly draws a parallel between the husband/wife relationship and Christ/Church relationship. Paul’s whole logic of how the husband and wife should treat the other is clearly patterned after the way that Christ and the Church relate to each other. Whatever one might conclude about the economic equality of God and Christ, there is certainly some measure of economic inequality between Christ and the Church.

    The reason why the complementarian logic applies most immediately in the home and in the church (besides the fact that we think Scripture teaches it) is because both of these communities more closely reflect the final escatological community. The mandate of love and respect within the husband/wife relationship need not be extended to all male/female relationship because not all male/female relationship reflect the relationship between Christ and his Church.Gerald also saids: 
     
     As to your second paragraph, I think I would want to make a distinction between “functioning under men” and “functioning without men.” I’m not aware that all (most?) complementarians insist that women cannot function without being under a man. The main thrust of most complementarian thought is that in the home and the church, the relationship between men and women should in some measure reflect the relationship between God and Christ, and Christ and the Church.

     But this is not to say that women (or men, for that matter) have no individual worth apart from how they, together in union, image forth these higher relationships. Both men and women exist in the image of God as individuals, and thus have value and dignity beyond the ways in which they relate to each other. Or to say it another way, single men and women exist in the image of God just as much as married men and women, even if in different ways.

    Gerald also saids:  But in most cultures throughout history, the egalitarian mindset just wasn’t possible–even if both men and women had wanted it. Too much in life required physical strength (war, hunting, building, etc.), thus putting the woman in a place of deference before the man.

    My comments on all this:
     
    All cultures/The Nations (Except Israel) are of mans doing! You can’t make sinners do the right thing, they can’t, let alone a whole Pagan sinful Nation/Nations! War and Hunting is of the Fall/Sin/Post flood conditions etc! Only those who Repent and get a New Heart and Spirit From Christ/God can change! Eze. 11:14 and 18:31

    Also they can use all the “smooth saying” “Many Words” etc. How a womans submition (Subordination) is of her free will and The Husband Leads in a Loving way (Hierarchy)! It’s all boils down to a Sinful false view called Heirarchy!

     Paul talked about in Gal. “Don’t Return/go back to bondaged!” The Heirarchist view of women is no different that much then how Islam treats there women!

     

  94. Yes, the comp system of males on top means it is very important for the male to be mature and not insist on his way.  I do not know why any would want to take this risk, as we all sin.

  95. Yeah your so right Don.

    Also when the comps open/hold a door open for a woman and say Ladies first, deep down in there heart/thinking/mind, they don’t really mean it!

    Also Jesus said those who want to be first will be last….
    Also  in the book of Matt. Cha20

    24And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren.
     25But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
     26But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
     27And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

    Jesus said he DOESN’T want a Hirarchy like the pagans! Jesus spoke so clearly here! So why do they go against the Teachings/Words of Christ!

    Matthew 24:35
    Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

    or what about Matt 15:6Matt. 7:21!

  96. I think they believe they are “so not” like pagans.  We need to see the pagan in ourselves, the potential for ANY sin.

  97. The Henry Center posted “live blog” notes from Ware’s debate at TEDS this past week.  I did not watch the streaming video and have not reviewed what is written here, but I’d thought I’d post the link to the blog.  I also have not figured out if they’ve posted the audio anywhere.

    Here’s the blog post with a summary:

    http://www.henrycenter.org/blog/?p=36

  98. Wade Burleson posted a follow-up post to a previous one on semi-Arianism.  It’s a very interesting read.  A professor at Duke Divinity School who is a Baptist from what I can ascertain stated that this doctrine (likely only meant to advance complementarianism) is like Unitarianism of the First Person of the Trinity.  Most Baptists, he observes, are more like functional Unitarians of the Second Person (Christ).

    Anyway,  someone posted a link to Cheryl’s post discussing how one cannot rightly pray to Jesus in Ware’s world, and the discussion turned that way.

    Someone wrote this nice comment there that I didn’t want anyone to miss.

    Anonymous said…
    After 9/11, when the government failed to investigate thoroughly, a valiant group of women went to Congress and demanded a complete investigation. These women were known as the ‘Jersey Girls’. They were widows of victims.

    Cheryl: how is it that you remind me of the Jersey Girls? Thank you for your work and for your courage: you can only make things better for the women of the Church. Keep up the good work. There is a story out there to be told. You are on the front lines, as are others on this blog. Be of good courage. They have much to hide. We have much to find out. You serve a just and right cause.
    God bless.
    Sun Oct 12, 08:59:00 PM 2008

  99. The complementarian foundation for the subordination of Christ in the Trinity is the complementarian interpretation of 1 Co 11:3, that is, verse 3 as isolated from the rest of the passage and interpreted in hierarchal fashion, being that “God” in v3 (meaning the Father) is the “head” (meaning authority) of Christ, yet all the the other four uses of “God” in the rest of the passage (vv. 7, 12, 13, & 16) show that “God” in 1 Co 11 means the “Godhead” rather than “the Father”.

    Man is the image of God (Godhead) v7, not the Father alone, everything comes from God (Godhead) v12, not the Father alone, Paul is asking the Corinthians to judge for themselves whether or not it is proper for a woman to pray to God (Godhead) v13, not the Father alone, and Paul refers to the churches as “the churches of God” (the churches of the Godhead) v16, not the churches of the Father!

    And so it seems to me that complementarians have alot of explaining to do since the passage glaringly shows that the Godhead is the kephale (translated, “head”) of Christ showing that the idea that the Father is the head of Christ is a myth, something that is read into the passage by isolating one single verse – v3. I think then that complementarians have an impossible task at hand which is to show that all the uses of “God” in the passage mean the Father rather than the Godhead. I would love to see complementarians deal with this.

    7A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.

    12For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.

    13Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?

    16If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice—nor do the churches of God.

  100. “I related to Bruce Ware that whether women are or are not subordinated to men does not reflect on the full equality of the Son. Ware does not see it this way.”

    He cannot see it that way because 1 Co 11 where the term kephale translated “head” is used is also used in Eph 5, so the two passages go hand in hand. If “head” in one means “authority over” then it also means the same thing in the other passage. First though he needs to prove that “the Father” is the head of Christ in v3 rather than the Godhead as the passage does support.

  101. He cannot see it that way because 1 Co 11 where the term kephale translated “head” is used is also used in Eph 5, so the two passages go hand in hand. If “head” in one means “authority over” then it also means the same thing in the other passage – according to gender hierarchalist thinking.

  102. pinklight, #102-outstanding point and one I have never seen addressed (in my limited range of reading about it)! I will have to chew on that one for a bit.

  103. Thanks Truthseeker!
    I had never read about it either any where. It HIT me some time last week…the context can only support who Paul was refering to in v3 when he penned the word “God”.

    I want to see CBMW ACTUALLY deal with the context of 1 Corinthians 11!

    “In recent years, 1 Cor 11:3 has been used to buttress a complementarian model of sexuality (men and women are spiritual equals, but have different, complementary gender based roles). The relevance of this text to clarify gender role debates is patently clear. Paul gives us an instructional model for male leadership-the man is the head of the woman as God [the Father] is the head of Christ. The eternal functional headship or authority1 of the Father over the Son, often referred to as functional subordination within the Trinity, has been well developed by others.2 My concern is rather to build on this theological principle by teasing out some of the implications of functional subordination affirmed in 1 Cor 11:3 to correct misunderstandings and distortions of male headship.”
    http://www.cbmw.org/Journal/Vol-8-No-1/A-Corrective-to-Distortions-and-Abuses-of-Male-Headship

  104. The case IS closed, but nonetheless, CBMW and other comps need to deal with the context. I won’t let this go…

  105. “Instead of a functional equality with the Father, it is now claimed by some hierarchists that Jesus as the pre-incarnate Son of God had to have permission to create the world since the authority even for creation rested on the Father alone. It is also claimed that the Jesus is so unequal in authority with the Father that we are not biblically allowed to pray to Jesus or have intimate communication with him. These claims more closely resemble the teaching of some well-known cults than they do of historic Christianity.”

    These beliefs bring me right back to vv 12 & 13 of 1 Co 11. It seems the comp mind is interpreting “God” to be a reference to “the Father” in vv 12 & 13 if one is even using 1 Co 11 at all for a foundation of his beliefs on the Trinity which I’m sure is the case… So one might as well say also that man is made in the image of the Father and that the churches are the Father’s. Can one be consistent, please?

    7A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.

    12For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.

    13Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?

    16If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice—nor do the churches of God.

  106. It cannot be denied that the main scripture used to subordinate Christ to the Father (eternaly) is one verse, 1 Co 11:3 (taken out of context).

  107. Pinklight, I am back-had to take care of work. You have an absolutely stunning revelation there. If God is translated as Father, it DOES become very problematic when applied in the rest of the passage, yet how could kephale NOT mean the same thing throughout the passage? Therefore, it seems to irrevocably substantiate the meaning of kephale as Godhead rather than the Father in I Cor. 11:3. That is a profound blow to the ‘subordinate Christ’ view and the ‘authority over’ view. Wow!!!!

    It is shocking that some teach that we are not to pray to Jesus. They would have to believe that, though, if they want to stay consistent within their ‘subordinated Christ’ view.

  108. truthseeker,

    You got it!!

  109. fyi, I live by truthseeking. :)

  110. #110-I meant to say it substantiates the meaning of God (not kephale) as Godhead rather than the Father… Which still means, as you pointed out, Pinklight, that kephale can’t mean Father in this whole passage.

    So, if kephale means head in a non-‘authority over’ way in this passage because of the Godhead meaning of God, that means it can’t be used as a given that head in Ephesians 5:23 means ‘authority over’, either, as an extension of 1 Cor. 11:3. If kephale in Eph. 5:23 is claimed to mean ‘authority over’, it will have to be substantiated apart from the meaning of kephale in I Cor. 11:3.

    Truthseeking is the only way to go, isn’t it?! :)

  111. Oh, dear! I don’t know why all those backslashes appeared!

  112. Hahaha! You got it, truthseeker! Hahaha!

  113. well, the Vatican definately is a hierarchy, the farther up you go, the more a cloistered Men Only club. And boys will be boys…

  114. Laurie, welcome to my blog.

    I am not sure if men realize, but God said in the beginning that a male alone club is “not good”.

  115. As the discussion of subordinationism unfolds, I notice a curious fact. When the egalitarian offers a non-traditional interpretation of 1 Tim 2, the male-supremacist refers to Gen 3 which, it is claimed, reveals the same subordinationist view of men and women, which he claims is “the creation order.” When we turn to Gen 3, and offer a perfectly normal but non-traditional interpretation of, say, verse 16 as a prediction rather than a prescription, the traditionalist refers us to 1 Tim 2, where, he says, a subordinationaist teaching is found. Neither passages actually teach what the subordinationist claims they do, but one arbitrary traditional interpretation feeds off the other. They “prove” 1 Tim 2 by appeal to Gen 2-3, then prove their view of Gen 2-3 by appeal to 2 Tim 2.
    The same thing happens with their claims about the Trinity. They appeal to a subordinationist view of the Trinity to prove the hierarchical view of men vs. women, then appeal to hierarchical views of men and women to prove that that’s how the Trinity works.
    It should be obvious that these interpretational moves are arbitrary and circular. Merely providing a reasonable exegetical alternative understanding undermines the whole silly procedure. It’s like the JW’s claiming that “My Father is greater than I” disproves the doctrine of the Trinity. When we point out that this is Jesus referring to his subordinate relation as man in the incarnation, and that this is the economic Trinity unfolding in history, not the ontological Trinity in Eternity prior to creation, and is therefore an important part of the trinitarian doctrine, they turn to other passages and depend on their subordinationist theory because “My father is greater than I.” Huh?? Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? If we fry the chicken and boil the egg, the question remains. Most people will happily agree that the OT existed in Hebrew long before Paul wrote 1 Timothy, so it would seem that the story in Gen 2-3 should be the place to find male supremacy. But it’s just not there. The “creation order” they think is found in 1 Tim 2 turns out to be a misunderstanding of Gen 3:16 as a prescription instead of a mere prediction, and the animals were created before Adam, so “must” be superior to him, right?
    If we need X to prove Y and Y to prove X, no proof of either is available, and we need to start again.
    But starting again might lead to egalitarianism, and that’s too scary, so….
    I think this is the reason why Bruce Ware can’t talk about the Trinity without appealing to the subordinationism of this view of women. He’s reasoning like a Jehovah’s Witness. Last time Evangelicals did that was with the rise of Socinian Arianism in New England in the 1700s. The result was the destruction of evangelicalism in hundreds of churches, Presbyterian , Congregationalist, Anglican and Baptist, and their replacement by Unitarianism. “Those who refuse to learn the lessons of history (read; Southern Baptist Seminary) are doomed to repeat them.”

  116. Hierarchal teaching influences the doctrine of the Trinity

    Yeah, some wacked out theology there! Well, it cannot be called theology really and it’s not dignified. Nothing like circular reasoning lol
    Ugh

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