There are two main groups within evangelicalism debating the issues of subordination (lesser authority) among the members of the Trinity and subordination among male-female relationships. (This is part 2 of a 2-part series.)
In this 2-part series, I will address and support the necessary qualitative distinction between the eternal inner life of the Trinity and the temporal inter-relationships of women and men in church and marriage.
In CBE's 2016 ETS journal, authors weigh in on the debate over whether the Son is permanently subordinate to the Father within the Trinity, and on the implications of this view on other theological matters.
This journal, distributed in 2011 to members of the Evangelical Theological Society, argues for mutuality and equality in the Trinity, countering the teaching that the Son is eternally subordinate to the Father.
A special CBE publication developed for members of the Evangelical Theological Society, this journal offers a biblical, theological, and practical challenge to the idea that women are inferior at the level of being and should therefore hold roles of submission to men.
Etienne Gilson spoke of medieval theology as an attempt to build great “cathedrals of the mind,” mental constructions meant to bring glory to God and to inspire worship as soaring stone cathedrals across Europe have since the same time period. Like any architectural achievement, these mental cathedrals brought together the many pieces of Christian doctrine into coherent and often beautiful structures of thought, building idea upon idea until great theological and philosophical systems emerged from scriptural foundations. This architectural analogy implies something important—it is rarely possible to shift the ground floor of a building without the entirety of the construct tumbling down. Only with great caution and preparation, whereby new supports are carefully constructed before the old are removed, can such a change go smoothly. Unfortunately, evangelical theology finds itself today in a situation where a great shift in a foundational doctrine of Christian theology has occurred—in the doctrine of the Trinity. This shift threatens several important Christian teachings and compromises the basic orientation of Christian ethics. As complementarian theologians increasingly speak of the eternal functional subordination of the Son (hereafter EFS), they move a central pillar of the cathedral of Christian doctrine, unaware that such a change could bring down the entire edifice of Christian theology.
As many of you are aware, a particular debate involving the doctrine of the Trinity is causing no little stir in American evangelicalism. This past Thursday (June 16, 2016) Christianity Today even felt it necessary to write a primer on the discussion.
Ignorance of the doctrine of the Trinity is endemic in the church. Karl Barth initiated a change, at least for theologians. Now theologians agree that the doctrine of the Trinity is the foundational Christian doctrine. We Christians on the basis of Scripture believe that God is one yet three co-equal "persons" (not individuals). Moreover, the divine three work as one (being and function are two sides of one coin). Thus, according to historic orthodoxy and modern theology, the Trinity is inherently "anti-subordinationist."