Wayne Grudem's "An Open Letter to Egalitarians" and "Six Questions"

Wayne Grudem's "An Open Letter to Egalitarians" and "Six Questions"

wayne_grudem on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

In 1998 Wayne Grudem wrote “An Open Letter to Egalitarians” and in the letter he gave six questions that he said have never been satisfactorily answered.

This is the first in a six part set of posts addressing Mr. Grudem’s questions.

First of all I will reprint the “Open Letter” that is found on Mike Seaver’s Role Calling blog.  Right after that comes the refutation of Mr. Grudem’s question #1 by Suzanne McCarthy and after that I pose my own question to Complementarians on the error of their teaching that there is an eternal subordination in the nature of the Trinity.

An Open Letter To Egalitarians

by Wayne Grudem

“Here Are Six Questions That Have Never Been Satisfactorily Answered”

Dear Egalitarian Friends,

We know that many of you within the evangelical world hold your views because you have been convinced that egalitarianism is what the Bible teaches. You tell us that our differences on male and female roles are just differences in interpretation, and that Biblebelieving Christians can honestly and fairly interpret the Bible to support complete equality in most or all roles for men and women in the family and the church. You say that you are sincere in adopting your views not because of modern cultural pressures but because you think that the Bible itself supports your position. In response to this, we want to say that we appreciate your sincerity in these matters and we believe that you are telling us the truth about your motives.

There are, nevertheless, certain questions of fact that come up frequently in your writings. We focus on these specific questions in this letter because they do not involve detailed arguments about interpretation, but involve only matters of factual data. We are simply asking to see the evidence that has convinced you about certain key interpretations of Scripture passages. If you can point out this evidence to us, then we will be able to understand more fully how you have come to your understanding of key passages. But if you cannot point out this evidence, and if no one among you can point out this evidence, then we respectfully ask that you reconsider your interpretations of these passages.

Here Are Our Questions:

1. kephale: Where the Bible says that the husband is the “head’’ (kephale) of the wife as Christ is the “head’’ (kephale) of the church (Eph. 5:23), and that the head of the woman is the man (1 Cor. 11:3), you tell us that “head’’ here means “source’’ and not “person in authority over (someone).’’ In fact, as far as we can tell, your interpretation depends on the claim that kephale means “source without the idea of authority.’’

But we have never been able to find any text in ancient Greek literature that gives support to your interpretation. Wherever one person is said to be the “head’’ of another person (or persons), the person who is called the “head’’ is always the one in authority (such as the general of an army, the Roman emperor, Christ, the heads of the tribes of Israel, David as head of the nations, etc.) Specifically, we cannot find any text where person A is called the “head’’ of person or persons B, and is not in a position of authority over that person or persons. So we find no evidence for your claim that “head’’ can mean “source without authority.’’

Does any such evidence exist? We would be happy to look at any Greek text that you could show us from the 8th century B.C. to the 4th century A.D. (a span of 12 centuries). In all of that literature, our question of fact is this: Will you please show us one example in all of ancient Greek where this word for “head’’ (kephale) is used to say that person A is the “head’’ of person or persons B, and means what you claim, namely, “non-authoritative source’’?

If you can show us one example, we would be happy to consider your interpretation further. But if you cannot, then we suggest that you have no factual basis for your interpretation of these key verses, and we respectfully ask that you stop writing and speaking as if such factual basis existed. We would also respectfully ask that you also reconsider your understanding of these verses.

=========================

Answer to Mr. Grudem’s Question #1 from Suzanne McCarthy
Kephale [head]

Dr. Grudem writes,

Specifically, we cannot find any text where person A is called the “head’’ of person or persons B, and is not in a position of authority over that person or persons.

One occurrence of kephale that Dr. Grudem often cites is,

    The King of Egypt is called “head” of the nation in Philo,

Moses

    2.30, “As the

head

    is the ruling place in the living body, so Ptolemy became among kings.”

The full citation for this is,

    the whole family of the Ptolemies was exceedingly eminent and conspicuous above all other royal families, and among the Ptolemies, Philadelphus was the most illustrious; for all the rest put together scarcely did as many glorious and praiseworthy actions as this one king did by himself, being, as it were, the leader of the herd, and in a manner the head of all the kings. Moses 2:30

Philadelphus is described as the head of all the kings, because he is the most illustrious. The kings, of whom Philadelphus was the “head,” are the other kings in the family of the Ptolemies. This reference includes Ptolemy 1 Soter, who was the founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty and the father of Philadelphus.

Philadephus was, for two years, a co-regent with his father, but he was not the authority over his father. This passage also refers to the descendants of Philadelphus, who were kings and queens after him. The king of Egypt was not the “head of the nation” as Dr. Grudem cites, nor was he the authority over the kings that he was head of.

We can rightly say that,

    Person A, Philadelphus, was called the “head” of person B, Ptolemy Soter, and Philadelphus was not in a position of authority over his father, Ptolemy Soter.

===================================

Now to the corresponding question for Complementarians on this same issue:

Question #1 for Complementarians by Cheryl Schatz

1.  If you say that “head” (kephale) means authority of one person over another and that this also means that God is the authority over Christ (1 Cor. 11:3), then can you show us where in the nature of the Trinity that one person of the Trinity takes authority over another person of the Trinity?  Where in the Old Testament is the Word of God (outside of the incarnation) ever placed under the authority of the Father?  If you can point out this evidence to us, then we will be able to understand more fully how you have come to your understanding. But if you cannot point out this evidence, and if no one among you can point out this evidence, then we respectfully ask that you reconsider your interpretations of these passages.

The fact is that Jesus is both God and man.  In order to become man, the Word of God (the second person in the Trinity) humbled himself so that he could become man (Philippians 2:7).   Yet in eternity in the nature of the Trinity, the Word of God was never under the authority of the other persons of the Godhead.  He was not in an eternally humbled position but voluntarily humbled himself in order to become man.

Our DVD set on the Trinity called “The Trinity Eternity Past to Eternity Future” refutes the false teaching of the Eternal Subordination of the Son.  See several short clips from this DVD set on youtube at  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLe-qF2nptA

The correction against the false teaching of the eternal subordination of the Son has not been refuted.  We would like to ask that you consider the evidence and either refute the complete Sovereignty of the Son of God or turn from this false teaching.

The Trinity Eternity Past to Eternity Future, by Cheryl Schatz & MM Outreach

(More information on the DVD set is found at http://mmoutreach.org/trinity.htm)

Question #2 will be in the next post.

Links to more posts on Answering Wayne Grudem’s “Open letter to Egalitarians” part 1part 2part 3part 4part 5part 6

24 thoughts on “Wayne Grudem's "An Open Letter to Egalitarians" and "Six Questions"

  1. Thank you Cheryl for bringing this up to the forefront again, even though (as Just A Berean wrote on Severs Blog) it has been answered ad nauseum by Christian egals, citing many more than one instance of answers.

    It is indeed time that Grudem started some attempts at answering the refutations to his teachings on these issues.

  2. Thanks tiro. I do believe that it is important to continue to make the answers known as Grudem has not withdrawn his open letter or “six questions that have never been answered”. I will be adding my own thoughts/questions to the mix in the next 5 posts as well.

  3. Since my general area of study is marriage, I will take a crack at the Ephesians reference.

    There are two primary indicators that “head” does not involve “authority over” as Grudem claims.

    1. The headship of Christ in relation to the church is used to create an environmental or relational picture from which to understand the submission of the wife to her husband (and later, the sacrificial service of the husband to the wife). But that submission is of the same kind that all believers are to have in relation to one another within the body. Any time someone in the body submits to another, the other is treated as “head”, yet the relationship contains no authority structure. Believer A’s voluntary attitude of submission toward believer B does not grant believer B any actual authority over believer A. The same is true in marriage. The only difference in marriage is that such submission is particularly difficult for wives toward their husbands. So, the strong word picture of Christ and the church is presented to help wives get over their resistance. It still does not grant the husband any inherent authority over the wife. In fact….

    2. The model of Christ as husband/head contains no authoritarian actions. In fact, Christ’s headship as husband is a complete contrast to the worldly model of kephale. Rather than operate as authoritarian ruler over his wife, the church, Christ acts out headship by being a sacrificial servant. Over and over again in scripture this picture of Jesus persists. As “head” he washes the disciples feet. As “head”, he pleads with the Father in prayer that the body may be “one”. As “head”, he insists his followers not to “lord it over” others. As “head” he suffers and dies so his bride can be cleansed. Paul stresses this sacrificial service when addressing the husbands in this passage (and all believers leading up to it). Certainly, no one can have the sense they are an authoritarian ruler over the one submitting to them after they get through with Paul’s description of the “head of the wife”. I challenge any complementarian to show the scriptural basis for husbandly authority in the description of who the head is and what he does as outlined in Ephesians 5:25-30.

    Now, Christ is mentioned as “head” with authority in several passages, most notably in the opening of Ephesians (Eph 1:22). But Christ’s authoritarian headship there is not in relation to his bride but in relation to all of creation and for the benefit of the church. So, Christ as head of the universe is not the same as Christ as head of the church, and whereas Christ exercises unlimited authority over the universe, he never does so as husband/head of the church.

    So, the answer to Grudem’s question is simple and we don’t have to go outside fo scripture to find it. You see, he forgot to include his proof verse in Ephesians 5 as one of the examples of headship. Right in front of his nose is the example of kephale without inherent authority.

  4. Perhaps i can have a crack at the ‘Trinity’- it is a very difficult doctrine none the less.

    Father, Son and Spirit are all equally God but perform different functions. The Son is of the same ‘substance’ of the Father, but also subordinate to Him. The problem is people think ‘subordinate’ means ‘lesser being’, which is not true because we know that Jesus and the Father are one in substance. Jesus did indeed humble himself to be led like a lamb to be slaughtered because the Father ‘sent’ Him, although he was obedient because he is equally God. On the night before he was crucified, Jesus was pained with anguish because of what was before him, then he prayed (Mt 26:39) not my will but yours. Jesus was subordinate to the Fathers will, but was obedient because he was part of the Triune God. Likewise the Father and the Son ‘sent’ the Spirit at Pentecost. This is the traditional, orthodox view of the Trinity expressed throughout Church history.

    The OT is a more difficult question obviously because the revelation of God the Son had not come in salvation history. When understanding the doctrine of the Trinity the bible as a whole must be envisaged. The primary theology for the Trinity is in the NT. It is clear to see the Trinity in the OT, but i think it is probably impossible to show His subordiantion there because the Jewish writers would not have had a full understanding of the Triune God.(feel free to show me wrong) Indeed it even took several hundred years AFTER Chirst for this doctrine to be understood.

    Perhaps someone could outline how the Father is the ‘source’ of the son more clearly.

  5. Mark,
    Welcome to my blog! I am just packing up for a ministry trip out of country. If I can get stable internet service while we are away I will respond to your posts. If not I will get back to you when I return to the office.

  6. Hi Mark,
    You said:

    Father, Son and Spirit are all equally God but perform different functions.

    While the incarnation was a difference in function since only the Son became human, I would like to challenge your view of different functions. The Scriptures reveal a unity rather than different “functions”. I ask you whose function it was to be “Creator”? Who functioned as “Savior” since the Father also called Himself Savior? Who raised Jesus from the dead?

    The “role” issue is something that is commonly appealed to by complementarians but it isn’t Biblically supported since all worked together on everything.

    The problem is people think ’subordinate’ means ‘lesser being’, which is not true because we know that Jesus and the Father are one in substance.

    The Bible never describes the Word of God in the Trinity as subordinate. This is unsupportable and is Biblically wrong. Jesus is equal in Will, in Authority and in Power.

    On the night before he was crucified, Jesus was pained with anguish because of what was before him, then he prayed (Mt 26:39) not my will but yours. Jesus was subordinate to the Fathers will, but was obedient because he was part of the Triune God

    Obedience was not a part of His character as God. It was a part of His humanity. If it was part of God, then please show obedience of the Word to a command in the OT. You see there is no need for obedience in the Godhead because all have the same Will. There is no difference of Will that would make one command the other or take authority over another Person of the Godhead.

    This is the traditional, orthodox view of the Trinity expressed throughout Church history.

    No this is not the traditional orthodox view of the Trinity. There is no subordination in the nature of the Trinity. Only equality is emphasized in the Godhead.

    The OT is a more difficult question obviously because the revelation of God the Son had not come in salvation history.

    My portion of the DVD “The Trinity Eternity Past to Eternity Future” traces Jesus as The LORD of Hosts in the OT. It is an amazing thing to see what the LORD of Hosts does, how He uses His Will and there is not a single sense of subordination or less authority or will at all. I would recommend that you get a copy of the DVD to be challenged on who Jesus is in the Trinity.

    It is clear to see the Trinity in the OT, but i think it is probably impossible to show His subordiantion there because the Jewish writers would not have had a full understanding of the Triune God.

    Although the Jewish writers were used to write the Bible, they were not the Author. God used writers to record things that they didn’t understand themselves. To think that God was unable to express a revelation of who He is as God because He used human authors is a really bad idea. (Did I express this okay? That it is your idea that is bad, not your motive or you yourself?)

    When understanding the doctrine of the Trinity the bible as a whole must be envisaged. The primary theology for the Trinity is in the NT.

    But what you have missed is that the humanity of Jesus cannot be used to teach what He is in the Trinity. You must go to the OT to see the full complete Deity of Christ without His humanity.

    Perhaps someone could outline how the Father is the ’source’ of the son more clearly.

    God is the “source” of the Son as the Son came down from Heaven and God provided a body for Him. As the Son came out from God, the starting point is God. Just as the “head” as of the river is the source of the river, so God is the source or starting point of the Son.

    I have to run now as I am still on the road. I will answer the other posts that you commented on when I have time to get back on the computer.

    Blessings!
    Cheryl

  7. Thankyou Cheryl for both the response and the gracious nature you have-praise God.

    I would argue that that the scriptures reveal both unity and functions-that is the precise nature of the Trinity, 3 persons but all equally God. I will tackle your questions one by one that way i don’t write a massive blog.

    Creation- all three were clearly present. ‘God said’, ‘the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters’. John 1, tells us that Jesus was the instrument used to make the world. Therefore the Father spoke, Jesus did it, and the Spirit hovered over the waters.

    Saviour- Jesus functioned as saviour. John 17 shows the relationship between Father and Son and clearly the Father sent the son. Part verses 1-4 shows how it was Jesus who redeemed humanity. We cannot say that the Father was the one who died on the cross.

    Resurrection- this is a good one, i have never really considered it to be honest, but we must clearly state that it obviously wasn’t the person of Jesus who did the raising. If we try and seperate Jesus deity at this point i think we may be wrong. For it was necessary for the Son of God to endure the wrath of God not merely his ‘human’ side. Besides once resurrected ‘the christ’ didn’t then re-unite with the human Jesus. I’d be interested in your take on this?

    Could you point out to me your scriptural basis for all memebers of the Trinity working together in ‘everything’ It was the Father who sent, the Son who saved and the Spirit who sanctifies. I feel the bible clearly teaches this.

  8. “Resurrection- this is a good one, i have never really considered it to be honest, but we must clearly state that it obviously wasn’t the person of Jesus who did the raising. If we try and seperate Jesus deity at this point i think we may be wrong. For it was necessary for the Son of God to endure the wrath of God not merely his ‘human’ side. Besides once resurrected ‘the christ’ didn’t then re-unite with the human Jesus. I’d be interested in your take on this?”

    Hi Mark,

    Food for thought…he died King of the Jews and was raised King of Isreal.

  9. I’m not sure why you have come to the conclusion that there is only one will in the Godhead-where is your scriptural basis for this. I don’t believe it is right to seperate Jesus deity at any points, for the point of salvation is that God himself comes to earth to die the perfect substitutionary death in our place. If it was purely Jesus human side at the cross then his death is ineffective. Who was tempted in the desert- Jesus man or Jesus God.

    How do you understand the passages where Jesus claims that authority has been ‘given’ to Him

    My point wasn’t to claim that God was unable to reveal things because of human authors- and no you didn’t offend me :), but that there is no complete triune revelation of God until Jesus came. I agree that the hebrew authors didn’t know alot of what they wrote specifically in alot of instances, but to imply that a complete revelation of the character of God was revealed in the OT i think is wrong. After all the New Covenant is a re-interpretation of the old in alot of ways. The New Covenant, i.e Jesus death and resurrection is the complete revelation of God in his redemptive plan. Therefore i don’t agree that we can have a complete understanding of the Trinity purely from the OT (if this is what you are imlying?)

  10. thanks for the clarification of the ‘source’, but im still not convinced if i am going to be honest. The implication is that Jesus is just some emination from God and not equally God. But i’m sure it is just another example of trying to understand each others ‘terminology’, becasue i know you clearly teach that Jesus IS equally God.

  11. “But what you have missed is that the humanity of Jesus cannot be used to teach what He is in the Trinity. You must go to the OT to see the full complete Deity of Christ without His humanity.”

    Is this an oxymoron. Isn’t Jesus deity his ‘Godness’ and his ‘humanness’. How can you see the ‘full complete deity of Christ’ in the Old Testament- his deity didn’t exist yet! Have i explained what i am trying to say 🙂 !!!!

    Are you talking about seeing the character of Jesus in the OT before his incarnation, so seeing the full ‘God’ side of his character before his incarnation. And that his incarnation only represented his human side?

  12. “I’m not sure why you have come to the conclusion that there is only one will in the Godhead-where is your scriptural basis for this”

    Unfortunately I am quite busy today, but I’ll try to get back and comment more. In the meantime, this statement is important.

    The Athenasian Creed, which you can find online, was composed to correct a movement that was promoting the error that God the Father was more important, more powerful, having more authority, etc. than God the Son, or God the Holy Spirit. If it were true, then we would have 3 Gods and not One God as Scripture says. Our God is ONE, a perfect unified ONE. None is before or after, none is lessor or more than the other. That is the truth in Scripture. God the Son (Yahweh) calls the Father God. God the Father calls the Son God at whose feet even the angels bow. God the Holy Spirit speak only the word of the Lord, and every word from God is enveloped in the Holy Spirit to be sent where He wills. Christ said we can blaspheme Him (He is both human and God) but if we blaspheme the HS, it is an unforgiveable sin! There is so much throughout Scripture where we see the perfect 3 in ONE unity of the Trinity.

    Subordination only entered the picture when YahWeh took on human form to walk among us and became Christ. There was never a need for subordination or obedience (Christ learned obedience – Phil. 2 I think) because they were ONE, having ONE will, ONE authority. They were never in disagreement.

    more later….

    blessings

  13. “Is this an oxymoron. Isn’t Jesus deity his ‘Godness’ and his ‘humanness’. How can you see the ‘full complete deity of Christ’ in the Old Testament- his deity didn’t exist yet!

    OH MY! Jesus tells John in Revelations that He is the Alpha and Omega. That is a reference to the meaning of Yahweh. Yahweh means “I Am, Was, Will be”. It also references that He, Christ as Yahweh, is creator, see John one.

    The miracle of Christ is that God (the Trinity) took of Himself and put something of His essence into the womb of a human virgin and we then have God with us in human form, God clothed with human flesh. God does not die or have beginning or not exist and then exist. God causes all to exist and not exist. God created the mechanisms of life. And all the Godhead was involved in creation. Jesus Christ is God clothed in human flesh walking among us, then crucified , suffering everything we suffer, then rising from the dead so that He can then cleanse anyone who believes and trusts in Him, from the power of sin and evil. For only cleansed can we approach the living Holy presence of God.

  14. Hi TL,

    Thanks for your engagement. I think you have misunderstood me. What i was questioning was Cheryls comment

    “But what you have missed is that the humanity of Jesus cannot be used to teach what He is in the Trinity. You must go to the OT to see the full complete Deity of Christ without His humanity.”

    I honestly think Cheryl has probably just worded this badly, because my point is that Jesus deity (man- ness and God-ness) can only be present when he is both. I am not saying Jesus didnt exist until his incarnation-that is complete heresy, do not think this is what i mean.

    I agree with your definition of the Trinity. The problem i see is this, when we stress the unity of the Godhead and neglect the individual persons of the Godhead we fail to fully describe the Trinity. This is what was known as Monarchianism or Modalism in the early church and was condemned as heresy. Essentially the teaching is the Trinity are so united that they claim the Father was the one crucified- there is no direct dstinction between the persons of the trinity. Therefore i will always claim that the Father sent the son. The son redeemed us, and the spirit sanctifies us. I am not saying that any member has more authority than the others, just that they have different functions in salvation history.

    Hope this helps understand my position. If it doesn’t or you disagree please le me know.

  15. #7 Mark,

    Regarding what you said were “roles” I asked you who had the “role” of Creator? Who then is “called” the Creator? The one “role” of Creator is given to all three. Jesus is not the only one who “did” creation. Who did Job say made him?

    Job 33:4 “The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

    Isa 40:28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable.

    The work of creation and so the title of Creator clearly belongs to Jesus to:

    Heb 1:10 And, “YOU, LORD, IN THE BEGINNING LAID THE FOUNDATION OF THE EARTH, AND THE HEAVENS ARE THE WORKS OF YOUR HANDS;

    Therefore all three are the Creator.

    Who is the Savior? You said it is Jesus:

    Saviour- Jesus functioned as saviour. John 17 shows the relationship between Father and Son and clearly the Father sent the son. Part verses 1-4 shows how it was Jesus who redeemed humanity. We cannot say that the Father was the one who died on the cross.

    However it is God who is called Savior in the OT, not just the God-man.

    Psa 106:21 They forgot God their Savior, Who had done great things in Egypt,

    Hos 13:4 Yet I have been the LORD your God Since the land of Egypt; And you were not to know any god except Me, For there is no savior besides Me.

    Isa 45:21 “Declare and set forth your case; Indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me.

    Isa 43:11 “I, even I, am the LORD, And there is no savior besides Me.

    Clearly it is the triune God who is the Savior, not just Jesus who died on the cross.

    Regarding the resurrection of Jesus and who raised Him, you said:

    Resurrection- this is a good one, i have never really considered it to be honest, but we must clearly state that it obviously wasn’t the person of Jesus who did the raising. If we try and seperate Jesus deity at this point i think we may be wrong. For it was necessary for the Son of God to endure the wrath of God not merely his ‘human’ side.

    It most certainly was Jesus who raised Himself. Jesus said:

    Joh 2:18 The Jews then said to Him, “What sign do You show us as your authority for doing these things?”
    Joh 2:19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
    Joh 2:20 The Jews then said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”
    Joh 2:21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body.

    Who raised the body of Jesus? Jesus said that He would raise up his own body. Yet we also know that the Father raised Jesus from the dead

    Gal 1:1 Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead),

    and the Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead:

    Rom 8:11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

    There is only one God and that one God is Creator and the one who raised Jesus from the dead. That one God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

    There is only one God (not three Gods) and there is only one Lord (not three Lords). That one God has one will (not three wills) as God is united in one being. Three persons, one being, one will, one God.

    Mark, you said:

    Besides once resurrected ‘the christ’ didn’t then re-unite with the human Jesus. I’d be interested in your take on this?

    The Athanasian creed says:

    Although He is God and man, He is not two, but one Christ.

    Jesus is still in heaven as the Christ, the glorified Son of God. He IS God and man and was resurrected as a man.

    I am not altogether sure what you mean that “the christ” didn’t reunite with the human Jesus after the resurrection. It seems to me that you are denying that Jesus was resurrected as a man?

    As far as showing that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit work together in all things, I have shown this throughout this comment. All are the I AM, The first and the last, The rock, The Savior, Lord of lords and God of Gods. They work together as God in unity. There is only one God, only one King and only one Glory and one Will. There is complete unity in the Trinity as the Athanasian Creed shows:

    This is what the catholic faith teaches: we worship one God in the Trinity and the Trinity in unity…But the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit have one divinity, equal glory, and coeternal majesty. What the Father is, the Son is, and the Holy Spirit is.

    I hope this helps!

  16. #9 Mark,

    You said:

    I’m not sure why you have come to the conclusion that there is only one will in the Godhead-where is your scriptural basis for this. I don’t believe it is right to seperate Jesus deity at any points, for the point of salvation is that God himself comes to earth to die the perfect substitutionary death in our place. If it was purely Jesus human side at the cross then his death is ineffective. Who was tempted in the desert- Jesus man or Jesus God.

    There is only one united will in the Trinity because God is united as one Being although three persons. In the Old Testament there is never any difference of will between the persons. In the New Testament Jesus claims to be one with the Father.

    Joh 10:30 “I and the Father are one.”
    Joh 10:38 but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.”

    Since one can never find disunity in the Trinity and since all agree and all work together and all are the one Being of God, there cannot logically be a opposing wills.

    It wasn’t just “God Himself” who came to earth to die other than the person of the Word of God came to take on flesh. God cannot die. God also cannot be tempted so we can understand that it was the humanity of Jesus that was tempted.

    Jas 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.

    It is incorrect to say that the death of the God-man would be ineffective if only the flesh died and God didn’t die. Since God cannot die, but He can take on flesh, it would be the flesh that died not God Himself. Yet as truly God, Jesus’ death had infinite value.

  17. #10 Mark,

    thanks for the clarification of the ’source’, but im still not convinced if i am going to be honest. The implication is that Jesus is just some emination from God and not equally God. But i’m sure it is just another example of trying to understand each others ‘terminology’, becasue i know you clearly teach that Jesus IS equally God.

    Jesus isn’t just equal with God, He IS God. But He isn’t just God, He is also the God-man. As God He had no beginning and He will have no end. As man, He came from God. As man He had a beginning and as man His source of origin is God.

    Does this help?

  18. #12 Mark,

    You said:

    Is this an oxymoron. Isn’t Jesus deity his ‘Godness’ and his ‘humanness’. How can you see the ‘full complete deity of Christ’ in the Old Testament- his deity didn’t exist yet! Have i explained what i am trying to say !!!!

    Are you talking about seeing the character of Jesus in the OT before his incarnation, so seeing the full ‘God’ side of his character before his incarnation. And that his incarnation only represented his human side?

    Let’s word it this way: Jesus had no beginning as God. As God he was The Word or the LORD of Hosts. As the Word of God in the OT as the second person of the Trinity we see his full place of God in the Trinity without a connection to the humility that He took on as a man.

    It is important that we do not look to the manhood of Jesus and say that this is what He is as God. For example Jesus in his humanity had to sleep, yet God does not sleep. We cannot say that Jesus as God showed that God has to sleep. Also we cannot show that the human nature of Jesus is exactly what He was before He became man. This is not the correct way to see the full Deity of Jesus. The limitations of the man are often appealed to by the cults to prove that Jesus is not fully God. We want to be careful that we do not do that. We can clearly see His Deity in the OT and there is no submission of His will, nor any less authority or power shown in the revelation of the LORD of Hosts in the OT.

    You asked:

    Are you talking about seeing the character of Jesus in the OT before his incarnation, so seeing the full ‘God’ side of his character before his incarnation. And that his incarnation only represented his human side?

    No, I am not saying that His incarnation only represented His human side. I am saying that His human side often hid His Deity because He was 100% human and 100% God so we need to be careful that we do not mix up His human nature with His nature as God otherwise we have a God who needs to sleep, eat, doesn’t know the future or who touched Him.

  19. #15 Mark,
    You said:

    I honestly think Cheryl has probably just worded this badly, because my point is that Jesus deity (man- ness and God-ness) can only be present when he is both. I am not saying Jesus didnt exist until his incarnation-that is complete heresy, do not think this is what i mean.

    Mark, I think that you are likely wording this badly as it comes across as if Jesus cannot be God unless He is both God and man. Since He was not man in the OT, then was He also not God? You seem to imply this, but somehow I don’t think this is what you mean.

    Perhaps I can reword again for you to understand better. The Word always existed as God and He didn’t stop being God when He became man. We call Him Jesus but He wasn’t known as Jesus before He became man, but none-the-less He existed as God in full and complete unity with the Father and the Holy Spirit. As a human He was not two persons but He had two natures as He was not 50% God and 50% man but 100% God and 100% man. If we want to know that the Word of God is within the Trinity we want to be careful to see Him as He is without confusing what He is with the human nature He took on. If we only look at His Deity in the NT as the man Jesus, then we may be confused and say that as God He has a will that is different than the Father’s. The fact is that God has one united will as God is one united Being.

  20. Mark,

    I would also like to thank you for your gracious discussion here. This is a very important subject and we are all motivated to have the truth of God’s word because of our love for God. It is challenging and fun to discuss this very important subject! Thanks for your input.

  21. Hi Cheryl,

    Thankyou for all your explainations. I fear that i must not be very clear in what i am trying to say and i apologise for that. I don’t have any problems with anything you have said about the Trinity- especially about the unity of the Godhead. What i am trying to emphasise is that Jesus and the Spirit are not just ‘faces’ of God, but distinct people in the Godhead. Do you disagree with this?

    I’m afraid i still dont agree with head being ‘source’. I have read all the arguments for both sides which im sure you have aswell. I still dont believe that this is the true implication or explanation of this word as used in its biblical context- but thanks for your imput.

    I am intrigued with how you link Jesus or the second member of the Godhead with Lord of Hosts in the OT. Hopefully i get a chance to see your DVD on it at some stage.

    Thanks again. P.S- how is your ministry trip going?

  22. Hi Mark,
    I don’t expect everyone to be clear on the Trinity. It is a difficult subject to comprehend and explain.

    You said:

    What i am trying to emphasise is that Jesus and the Spirit are not just ‘faces’ of God, but distinct people in the Godhead.

    Certainly all three are distinct Persons in the Godhead. We don’t want to “confound” the Persons when we emphasize their unity.

    I’m afraid i still dont agree with head being ’source’.

    1 Cor. 11 is a good test case. Here we see three that are the “head of” another. The context will define the meaning of each passage. We can easily get “source” as the meaning of the man as “head of” the woman because of the word “origin” in verse 12.

    1Co 11:12 For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God.

    Something that has an origin from another is said to have that thing as its source.

    The question then is whether we can get a sense of “authority over” in this text? Which part of this text uses authority as something that one partner has over the other? Also notice that it is never “head over” in this passage as one “over” another. If authority over another is not in the passage, then why can’t we just take the plain meaning of verse 12?

    I am intrigued with how you link Jesus or the second member of the Godhead with Lord of Hosts in the OT. Hopefully i get a chance to see your DVD on it at some stage.

    I hope you will be able to get the DVD. It is so jam packed with information it really deserves several views to take it all in. This is also what most people told me about my DVDs on women in ministry. I can’t help it. I am thorough by nature in the area of ministry.

    P.S- how is your ministry trip going?

    It went really well. We are back now and trying to catch up with what we missed. This time was filled with work and ministry meeting but we did have time too for sleeping in and a little shopping. It made it a very relaxing time. Thanks for asking!

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