The cover photo shows an icon in which a group of church leaders display a rather large banner containing the opening lines of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed of AD 381. Kevin Giles explains the Trinitarian Christology of this creed in the first article of this issue of Priscilla Papers. Among his emphases is a clarification of the Greek word monogenēs, which modifies the creed’s first occurrence of “the Son.” The word means “unique,” “one of a kind.” Dr. Giles says it best: “What this clause in the creed is saying is that Jesus’s sonship is not like human sonship. There is something about his sonship that is absolutely different from creaturely sonship” (p. 4). Monogenēs occurs nine times in the NT, including John 3:16. Older English versions such as KJV and ASV tend to mistranslate it as “only begotten.” More accurate translations include “only” (NRSV, CEB) and “one and only” (NIV, NLT, NET).
Consider how monogenēs is used in Hebrews 11:17, “By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son . . .” (NIV). Isaac was not Abraham’s “only begotten” son, but he was indeed Abraham’s “unique, one of a kind” son.
John 1:18 presents an interesting case, for the numerous manuscripts here differ, referring either to “the monogenēs Son” or to “the monogenēs God.” Most English translations follow the former (e.g., KJV, RSV, NRSV, CEB). A few follow the latter (e.g., NASB, ESV). Modern editions of the Greek New Testament differ as well, but lean toward “monogenēs God.”
Our second article is by Millard Erickson, who inspects—and finds deficient—the logic of Bruce Ware’s and Wayne Grudem’s arguments for the eternal subordination of the Son. This article was presented at the 2016 meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, in tandem with the article by Kevin Giles. Dr. Erickson here capsulizes what is argued more fully in his book, Who’s Tampering with the Trinity (Kregel, 2009).
The third article, by Cristina Richie, evaluates both the practices and the symbolism of engagement and marriage, especially modern American wedding ceremonies. Dr. Richie presents an insightful and uplifting theology of Christian marriage as sacrament and as covenant.
Our fourth and final article is by Rosemary Hack. The article won third place in the student paper competition at CBE’s 2016 conference in Johannesburg, South Africa. She reveals that many Christians have been strongly influenced by worldviews which lead to unhealthy views of gender and even to abuse.
These four articles are significant additions to egalitarian thought and to the archives of Priscilla Papers. May they be a blessing to you as well.