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It’s vital to talk about motivation in the debate about ‘Eternal Relations of Authority and Submission’ (ERAS Part 1)

Go here to read Part 2 of this series on ERAS.

I believe Bruce Ware and Wayne Grudem and quite a few others are so in love with their idea of gender roles that their Roles Ideology has become the lens through which they are apprehending the relations between the Persons of the Trinity. They are reasoning from the creature up to the Creator Godhead and back down again, ….with the result being a mess of pottage.

I believe their Husband Authority/Wife Submit lenses are fixed so firmly on their noses that they are imagining they can see Authority and Submission in the eternal relations of the Trinity. They are asserting the Primacy of the Father and the Eternal Submission of the Son (father-son) … and then they are mapping that assertion back downwards, not to father-son, but to man-woman and to husband-wife.

But it is a defective circular argument based on selective perception. Prejudiced perception. They deny that they are making a circular argument. They deny that they are arguing this way in order to push a particular social agenda (complementarianism) — but I don’t believe them. I think they know, deep in their hearts, that they are doing it. And they don’t want to admit it.

I  believe they would like to keep women and wives in the position of children. I believe they are intent on not respecting women as adults. I believe they want to de-voice women, to marginalise them and keep them out of the important conversations.

I believe Wayne Grudem and Bruce Ware do not want to have to accord the same degree of respect to women that they accord to men. Putting this another way, I believe they do not want to give up their male privilege. I believe they are fighting to maintain their male privilege. “Fighting” is not too harsh a word for it, in my opinion.

_______

Why am I saying this with such passion? Why now? In the last week there has been a giant boil-up on the web about a doctrine called “the eternal relations of authority and submission” (ERAS). This doctrine is being promoted by well known leaders: Wayne Grudem, Bruce Ware, Denny Burke, Owen Strachan and others. Some other well known leaders have called it out as dangerous doctrine. The protagonists, and many of their opponents, are from the complementarian camp.

By the way, the doctrine of the Eternal Relations of Authority and Submission (ERAS) is also known by other names: Eternal Functional Subordination (EFS), and Eternal Submission of the Son (ESS). I am using the term ERAS because that is what its proponents are preferring it be called.

The ERAS doctrine in a nutshell:

The Father is the authority of Christ, and always has been…There is no Holy Trinity without the order of authority and submission (Strachan and Peacock, The Grand Design).
 
I hold to the eternal submission of the Son to the Father. (Wayne Grudem)
ERAS as articulated in more depth by Bruce Ware (here) and endorsed by Wayne Gruden (here):

Notice that the Father elects us in the Son (Eph. 1:4-5), creates the world through the Son (John 1:2, 1 Cor. 8:6, Heb. 1:2), sends the Son into the world (John 3:16), and delegates judgment to the Son (Rev 2:27), while the Son after his Ascension sits at the right hand of the Father (Acts 2:32-35), receives from the Father the authority to pour forth the Holy Spirit in New Covenant fullness (Matt 28:18; Acts 2:33), makes intercession before the Father (Heb. 7:25), receives revelation from the Father to give to the church (Rev. 1:1), and will eternally be subject to the Father (1 Cor. 15:26-28). Again, not one of these relationships is ever reversed – the Son does not elect us in the Father, does not create the world through the Father, does not send the Father into the world, does not delegate judgment to the Father, nor does the Father sit at the right hand of the Son, or bring intercessory prayers to the Son, or receive revelation from the Son to give to the church, or become eternally subject to the Son.

We agree that the actions of any one divine person involve the other Trinitarian persons in corresponding ways. But whenever Scripture specifies actions that occur between two or more members of the Trinity, the position of greater authority is always held by the Father, while the position of submission to that authority is always held by the Son and the Spirit. This principle is simply inviolable in Scripture.

Here is another summary of ERAS.  This one uses more theological terms.

The claim under debate is essentially this: There is within the life of God (and not strictly in the economy) an eternal relationship, or structure, of authority and submission.  The Son shares the essence of God the Father and so is not ontologically subordinate to the Father, but the Son is functionally so. (source)

Proponents of ERAS are using key terms. I would call these ‘code words’. I’ll give you those terms in capital letters here to help you embed them in your brains, dear reader. The terms are:

  • Eternal Authority of the Father
  • Eternal Primacy of the Father
  • Eternal Submission (or Subordination) of the Son
  • Eternal Functional Submission of the Son

Now, we all know that the Son submitted to the Father in the incarnation and the work of redemption. That’s not in dispute. All sides of this debate also affirm that the plan of redemption was decided upon in the secret counsel of the Godhead in Eternity, before time began.  Classic trinitarian theology says that the Father is unbegotten, the Son is begotten of the Father, and the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.

The point at issue is: can we take those truths and start using language like The Eternal Authority (or Primacy) of the Father, and The Eternal Submission of the Son? What’s with that kind of language? Is it safe? Is it wise? Is it helpful? Is it orthodox? Is it dangerously pushing the envelope towards Arianism? (an ancient heresy).

Heavyweight theologians have weighed in. I’ll give you links at the end of this post if you want to dig in to the theology and the debate.

But the main reason for this post today is to make the case that it is vital to talk about motivation in this debate.

It is vital to talk about motivation in this debate

Why do I need to say this? Because some people are trying to shut down all talk about the motivations of the participants. I believe we MUST talk about motivation or else we will not be able to pop the boil fully. It will go underground and fester again.

Carl Trueman has noted that in some quarters, the ERAS debate has moved to ascribing motivation to the protagonists and besmirching their character He said:

My basic point remains: if you argue for EFS and/or reject (or even regard as negotiable) eternal generation, then you stand outside the bounds of the historic Nicene Christian faith as set forth at Constantinople in 381 and held thereafter by the church catholic. I understand that many hold these views sincerely, without realizing the historical/theological/creedal implications; but my point has been confirmed by both Michel Barnes and Lewis Ayres.  The argument on that issue really is now closed, which may – if I might speculate a little myself — explain why the polemic has now apparently moved in some quarters to character and motivation. (Carl Trueman, Motivated by Feminism? A Response to a Recent Criticism – boldface mine)

Yes; the polemic has moved in some quarters to character and motivation.

The site where Trueman’s post are published, Alliancenet, has closed down comments on posts. I’m guessing that they closed comments because the commenters started talking about character and motivation. In particular, yours truly. Alliancenet published three of my comments at Dr. Liam Goligher Responds to Dr. Mike Ovey. But my next three comments there never saw the light of day. In those comments I had raised serious issues about the motivation of Grudem and Ware. Bam. Shut down. Pretty much straight after I’d submitted those three comments, Alliancenet seemed to have closed comments on all their posts to do with this debate.

UPDATE: (~ 1600 hrs, 19 June, 2016, Pacific Time USA)
I misconstrued. My three comments that didn’t go live at that post were not published because they included one or more links. Thanks to Rachel Miller and Aimee Byrd for tipping me off the comments had not been closed. I misconstrued; I ought to have double checked. I really appreciate Aimee for allowing comments on her Mortification of Spin posts. I wish Carl Trueman and Todd Pruitt would follow suit with Aimee. I have now submitted a couple more comments at that post and they have gone live. Bless you, Aimee!

Five points about motivation

For the remainder of this post, which is Part 1 of a series, I am going to make five points about motivation. Tomorrow, I will go into more detail about what I think is motivating Grudem and Ware and their mob in this debate. (In Aussie slang, ‘mob’ is not pejorative, it’s just a casual term for a group of people, so be gentle on me.)

Firstly, is it biblical to ascribe motives to people?  The canons of niceness in the church say that it isn’t. But most assuredly it is, if you have reasonable evidence or grounds to do so. In Acts 8, Peter ascribed motives of greed and love of power to Simon the Sorcerer.  In Matthew 23, Jesus ascribed motives to the Pharisees — The motive of pride and self-conceit: They do all their deeds to be seen by others.  The motive of covering up their wickedness under a guise of godliness: … you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Secondly, the motivation of the protagonists should not be off limits in this debate because they may in fact be central to the debate. I believe motivation is the bed from which the whole theology of ERAS, as propounded by Ware, Grudem and Strachan, has grown.  It is vital to consider motivation if we are to understand the root of this tree, the real problem that has brought this all about.

Thirdly, both Carl Trueman and Liam Goligher (who are key objectors to ERAS) have made inferences about the motivation of Ware and Grudem. Here are some examples:

The leaders of the organizations which represent New Calvinism have weathered storm after storm, from Driscollgate onwards, by maintaining a firm grip on the mainstream New Calvinist media, by licensing just enough criticism to reassure concerned onlookers, and by stoic public silence in the face of numerous scandals and controversies.  But this one is surely too big and the stakes are too high.  It has to be addressed.  (Carl Trueman Fahreheit 381)  

This is true. And Carl Trueman is implying something about these leaders’ motives: he’s inferring that they are motivated by a desire to control the conversation. The words “firm grip” tell us that.

They are building their case by reinventing the doctrine of God, and are doing so without telling the Christian public what they are up to. What we have is in fact a departure from biblical Christianity as expressed in our creeds and confessions. Out of that redefinition of God their teaching is being used to promote a new way of looking at human relationships which is more like Islam than Christianity; more concerned with control and governance than with understanding the nuances of the relationship of the Son with His Father in eternity on the one hand and how that differs from the roles they adopt in the economy of redemption on the other. (Liam Goligher, Is it okay to teach a complementarianism based on eternal subordination?)

Goligher is ascribing motives to Ware and Grudem by using this language: “Doing so without telling the Christian public what they are up to“. Goligher is suggesting that Ware and Grudem have been behaving in an underhand, secretive way, with dubious motives.

And Goligher gets even more pointed here: “[Their] redefinition of God … is being used to promote a new way of looking at human relationships which is more like Islam than Christianity; more concerned with control and governance than with understanding the nuances of the relationship of the Son with His Father in eternity…”  In this passage, Goligher is pointing (rightly, I believe) to Grudem and Ware’s motivation. He’s asserting that Grudem and Ware are deliberately promoting their ERAS doctrine for an agenda, an agenda that is driven by a love of control. Being in control. Governing the home and the church and the doctrines of the church. I’m spelling it out more than Goligher did, but what I’m pointing out bluntly, is what Goligher is pointing out less bluntly. (I’m not bound by the canons of niceness. If the Emperor has no clothes, I will say it out loud.)

While we were sleeping, feeling secure that they were not tampering with the glory of the gospel, they were in fact tampering with the glory of the eternal Son of God!

The church long ago rejected any form of primacy of the Father within the eternal Trinity, though there were some among the fathers who wanted to assert primacy to justify bishops in the church, just as there are some among evangelicals who want to assert primacy to justify patriarchy in the home and beyond.

What we face in evangelicalism today is at best shoddy thinking and at worst ungodly thinking about the first principle of our religion – “Who is God?” The teaching is so wrong at so many levels that we must sound a blast against this insinuation of error into the body of Christ’s church. Before we jettison the classical, catholic, orthodox and reformed understanding of God as He is we need to carefully weigh what is at stake – our own and our hearers’ eternal destiny.  To say that there is a real primacy of the Father or subordination of the Son within the eternal Trinity is to have moved out of Christian orthodoxy and to have moved or be moving towards idolatry. (Liam Goligher, Reinventing God )

With his words, “[they] want to assert primacy to justify patriarchy in the home and beyond,” Goligher is ascribing motivation to Wayne Grudem and Bruce Ware. Goligher is making a clear assertion: that ERAS people want to assert X in order to justify Y. That Grudem and Ware want to assert the Eternal Primacy of the Father and the Eternal Subordination of the Son in order to justify patriarchy in the home and beyond.  ‘Want’ implies desire, motive.

And when Goligher says “they were in fact tampering with the glory of the eternal Son of God!”  the word ‘tampering’ is pejorative (rightly so!) and it suggests a dark motive.

~~~ UPDATE (as per above update) Now that I realise I had misconstrued in thinking that all comments had been closed on Housewife Theologian, my fourth point no longer has the weight I originally gave it. But because I believe in ethical journalism, I am leaving it as originally written.~~~

Fourthly, why is it okay for Alliancenet to publish Goligher and Trueman’s inferences about Ware and Grudem’s motives, but shut down comments when people like me start saying things about the motivation of Ware and Grudem?  And why is it okay for Carl Trueman to make inferences about motivation, but raise his eyebrows when others make inferences about motivation?

Come on guys! Is it okay to ask for a level playing field? Is it okay to ask for some respect?

There is motivation in deciding to block comments although comments had been allowed originally  (as Alliancenet has done). There is motivation in never allowing comments. (CBMW, TCG and Reformation21 never allow comments). I know that there could be many reasons why the site owners don’t allow comments, not least of which is how much time it take to moderate them. But still…. Not allowing comments keeps some genuine Christians out of the debating room, and that is not wise if it seriously impacts the health of the body of Christ. Which in this case, it does. (see here if you want proof)

I think Goligher has correctly pinpointed the motivation of Grudem and Ware and their ilk. I think Trueman has correctly pointed to their motivation too, though less pointedly than Goligher. But why does Alliancenet then block commenters like me who can amplify — and give documentary backup — to the points that Goligher and Trueman are making about Grudem and Ware’s motivation? ( I will be giving that documentary backup later this week, but you if you want to see it right way, I posted most of it at Wendy Alsup’s blog here.)

Fifthly, since I’m arguing that motivation IS important in this debate, let me state my own motivation lest it be misconstrued.  

Carl Trueman has been challenged about his motivation. In Carl’s post Motivated by Feminism? A Response to a Recent Criticism he defended himself (in part) by saying this:

I am not motivated by any ecclesiological, let alone feminist, purpose.  I am motivated by a desire to see bad teaching corrected so that both this generation and future generations will be saved from some of the erroneous positions of the past.

I say the exact same thing for myself as Carl said.  I am not motivated by any ecclesiological purpose; I do not partake in the debate for or against women’s ordination.  I have never engaged in that controversy. It doesn’t interest me. I think that debate has been missing many of the most important things. And the word ‘feminist’ is used in so many ways by people (on both sides, multiple sides…) that I step aside from labelling myself one way or the other there.

I am motivated by a desire to see bad teaching corrected so that both this generation and future generations will be saved from some of the erroneous positions of the past. And I am motivated by a desire for justice and truth, and a desire to bring release to the captives and the oppressed. 

Specifically, I desire to see justice and truth applied in the church to victims of abuse — spouse abuse, child abuse, spiritual abuse, psychological abuse. My own work focuses on domestic abuse (spouse abuse) but domestic abuse overlaps with those other kinds of abuse. Often all kinds of abuse co-occur as the victim seeks help by disclosing to the church and to counselors … and if the victim divorces, there is often legal abuse via the courts. (Family Court processes and rulings not uncommonly give fathers more scope to abuse their children.)  It’s systemic abuse really, a tightly structured system of webs which bind the victim/survivor.

Any doctrine which compounds this systemic web of entrapment for the victims of abuse is a doctrine I will criticise. ERAS is one such doctrine But I’m not doing this from an agenda of feminism or women’s ordination: I’m doing this because I believe in according respect to the victims of injustice and oppression.

I want to see respect shown to the abused, and I want the perpetrators and their allies to be exposed and called out. That will bring truth and justice. Sometimes the abuser’s allies are witting; sometimes they may be unwittingly condoning the abusers’ agendas.  I challenge both the witting and the unwitting. Wherever a person or an organization falls on the spectrum, from tacit silent acceptance of the abusers’ ideas and conduct, right through to witting defence of the abusers and witting crushing of victims: I will point it all out.

Respect means giving the abused oxygen, giving them a place to speak, giving them a level playing field from which to speak into the communal conversation.

And that is NOT what is being given to victims of abuse at the moment.

Coming up tomorrow: The ceiling came down, so it’s time to inspect the whole building. (ERAS Part 2)

***

Quick guides to the debate:

Andrew Wilson:
Eternal Submission in the Trinity? A Quick Guide to the Debate

Caleb Lindgren
Gender and the Trinity: From Proxy War to Civil War

***

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Further reading for the dedicated!

I have noted in red in this list the posts that are still open to comments.  I encourage readers to comment on those posts, so that our point(s) of view can receive more oxygen.  Item that I have added to this list since the post was published are marked NEW.

Adam Parker has compiled a timeline compendium of many (but not all) contributions to the debate:
Trinity Controversy Omnibus

Jack Jeffery’s timeline bibliography:
Thirteenth updated edition of The 2016 Trinity Debate: A Bibliography — Is it Okay to Teach a Complementarianism Based on Eternal Subordination?
[Note added 7 Oct 2016: I think may be the only bibliography which is still being updated.]

From the ERAS camp

Note: the ERAS camp is not completely homogenous —  some people in it are not arguing exactly the same way as Grudem and Ware are.

Wayne Grudem:
Whose position on the Trinity is really new?
Biblical Evidence for the Eternal Submission of the Son to the Father

Bruce Ware:
God the Son–at once eternally God with His Father, and eternally Son of the Father
Knowing the Self-Revealed God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

Bruce Ware and John Starke (Editors):
One God in Three Persons: Unity of Essence, Distinction of Persons, Implications for Life 

Owen Strachan:
The Glorious Godhead and Proto-Arian Bulls

Owen Strachan and Gavin Peacock:
The Grand Design: Male and Female He Made Them  

Denny Burke:
A brief response to Trueman and Goligher

Mike Ovey:
Your Will Be Done: Exploring Eternal Subordination, Divine Monarchy and Divine Humility
Should I resign? 
Should I resign?  On the Eternal Subordination of the Son

John Stevens:
Are We All Heretics Now? Reflections on the Furore About Eternal Subordination Within the Trinity

From complementarians who are objecting to ERAS

Note: Since it’s Grudem and Ware’s version of ERAS that is causing most discomfort, I’m placing in this group all those who seem uncomfortable with Ware and Grudem’s version.

Rachel Miller:
Continuing down this path, complementarians lose  —this post is open to comments
Does the Son eternally submit to the authority of the Father?  —this post is open to comments
NEW  
The Grand Design — a review —this post is open to comments
NEW Which Is It?

Fred Sanders:
Things Eternal: Sonship, Generation, Generatedness 
18 Theses on the Father and the Son
A Plain Account of Trinity and Gender

Liam Goligher:
Is it Okay to Teach a Complementarianism Based on Eternal Subordination?
Reinventing God
Dr. Liam Goligher Responds to Dr. Mike Ovey
NEW A Letter to Professors Grudem and Ware

Carl Trueman:
Fahrenheit 381 
A Guest Post [from John Calvin]
A surrejoinder to Bruce Ware
Motivated by Feminism? A Response to a Recent Criticism
Once more unto the breach… and then no more: A final reply to Dr. Grudem
Rachel Miller on CBMW and EFS/ERAS
The Ecumenical Consequences of the Peace

 

Aimee Byrd:
A Plea to CBMW

Todd Pruitt:
Barnes and Ayres Weigh In
1 Corinthians 11:3
Why I Am Not Mortified
Let’s All Be Nicene
Will CBMW Refute EFS?

Michel R Barnes:
Patristics Scholar Michel R. Barnes Weighs in on the Intra-Complementarian Debate on the Trinity — this post is open to comments

Lewis Ayres:
Patristics Scholar Lewis Ayres Weighs in on the Intra-Complementarian Debate — this post is open to comments

Carlton Wynne:
A Guest Post by Carlton Wynne

Wendy Alsup:
The eternal subordination of the Son (and women?)   — this post is open to comments

Mark Jones:
Why did the Son become incarnate? Because he submitted?
God’s Will And Eternal Submission, Part One   — this post is open to comments
Eternal Subordination of Wills? Nein! Part Two — this post is open to comments
Subordination in the Pactum? (And the irony of ESS) — this post is open to comments
Wayne Grudem’s Historical Theology Analyzed — this post is open to comments
Propositions on God and Questions (for Fred Sanders) on the Trinity

Alistair Roberts:
Series on EFS: Here, Here, Here, Here, and Here

Keith Johnson:
Is The Eternal Gernation of the Son a Biblical Idea?
What Would Augustine Say to Evangelicals Who Reject the Eternal Generation of the Son? 

Sam Powell:
Eternal Subordination: it’s a salvation issue — this post is open to comments
NEW   Unintended (?) Consequence — this post is open to comments

Kyle Borg:
Trinitarian Controversy: Necessary Sharpening or Unnecessary Strife?

From “Goldilocks” complementarians (neither hot nor cold on ERAS)

Matthew Barrett
Better late than never: The Covenant of Redemption and the Trinity Debates — this post is open to comments

From egalitarians who are objecting to ERAS:

Steve Holmes:
Reflections on A New Defence of Complementarianism — this post is open to comments

Darren Sumner:
Some Observations On The ‘Eternal Functional Subordination’ Debate  — this post is open to comments
What Is the Immanent Trinity? A Clarification for the Eternal Subordination Debate — this post is open to comments

Scot McKnight:
Is it New? Yes. Is it Orthodox? No.

Kevin Giles:
The Trinity and Gender: The Recent Debate Among Evangelicals

Dee from The Wartburg Watch:
The Battle for the Eternal Subordination of  Women Disguised as a Disagreement on the Functional Roles of the Trinity. 

22 Comments

  1. Jeff Crippen

    Barbara – The Lord looks at a man’s heart and considers one’s motivation as really more important than outward actions. He may look as white as snow but inside be full of dead men’s bones. Motivation cannot be ignored, as you point out here, and it is no good for anyone to simply avoid the issue by claiming “but only the Lord knows a person’s heart. Who are we to judge?” The fact that the Lord knows the heart perfectly is meant to be an encouragement to the righteous and a fearful warning to the wicked. It is not to be used as some excuse to fail to make judgments that the Lord has called us to make – you shall know a tree by its fruits.

    Your work here on this subject is indeed making a judgment about motivation. The evidence is overwhelming that these men who are pushing the ESS teaching are the very same ones whose main issue has been, for years, wives submitting to husbands and NOW, women submitting to men, even for all eternity. It would be very foolish to ignore this evidence. Yet in the world of academia, and too often in the church, the big guns cry “foul” when motives are questioned. Too bad. Keep questioning.

    Good job!

  2. healinginhim

    Thank you Barbara for this post and the extensive list of links for further study.
    And Jeff I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told and continue to hear in sermons, “but only the Lord knows a person’s heart. Who are we to judge?” Your comment today and your present sermon series, “Wise as Serpents” has brought great encouragement; like you stated, “The fact that the Lord knows the heart perfectly is meant to be an encouragement to the righteous and a fearful warning to the wicked. It is not to be used as some excuse to fail to make judgments that the Lord has called us to make – you shall know a tree by its fruits.”

    “you shall know a tree by its fruits” has been used against me as my adult children claim that I am not bearing much fruit for the Lord with my life. This is very painful as they condone the behaviour of their father and others who ostracize me for my faith in the true Gospel. I am praying that after many years there indeed may be evidence of ‘fruit’ as some have suddenly appeared and desiring to talk with me concerning my testimony but more importantly they have been drawn to want to read The Word. This must be the work of God not me. Praise HIM! The ACFJ ministry is included in my testimony because it was instrumental in untwisting Scripture used to hold victims in bondage.

    I’ve become painfully aware that many ministries are so passionate about preaching particular ‘doctrines of the faith’ that they overlook the compassion of a very loving God.

  3. Avid Reader

    THANK YOU, BARBARA!!!!!

    So refreshing to finally hear someone with the courage to ask these questions!!

    Barbara you are right that Grudem teaches “eternal subordination of the Son” to promote patriarchy. In his book Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth, he has a whole section on this on pages 405-429:

    Gruden writes,

    Why is this so important?.…because if the Father and Son….then the husband and wife. (p. 411)

    The idea of authority and submission never began it existed forever in the very being of God. (p. 429)

    The idea of authority and submission has always existed in the eternal relationship between the Father and Son in the Trinity. And this means that the idea of authority and submission in interpersonal relationships never began—it has always existed in the eternal relationship between the Father and Son. (p. 429)

    Reading through hundreds of pages of Dr. Grudem’s books, the one thing I learned was that Grudem has a VERY condescending attitude towards women. It just drips right off the pages.

    For example, he writes on pages 84-99 that Scripture “restricts” the “public recognition or visibility” of women in church!

    Apparently he hasn’t read where Jesus commanded women to “let your light shine BEFORE MEN!” Why would Grudem tell women to hide their light under a bushel? (Matthew 5:15-16)

    So Grudem proceeds to write a list of areas of ministry in the church ranked from high to low according to “greater teaching responsibility.”

    That list makes it clear that Grudem believes teaching women is LESS IMPORTANT than teaching men. He literally ranks:

    “teaching a high school Sunday School class!”
    WAY ABOVE
    “teaching a college-age Sunday school class”
    which is way ABOVE
    “teaching a women’s Sunday school class”
    (page 88)

    Then he ranks:
    “counseling one man”
    as ABOVE
    “counseling a couple together”
    which is ABOVE “counseling one woman.”
    (page 89)

    Jesus said the words we speak come from our hearts — these words really do reveal the underlying motivations!

  4. Kyle

    Hi Barbara,

    Your article begins with several, “I believe statements.” Here are some:

    “I believe they would like to keep women and wives in the position of children. I believe they are intent on not respecting women as adults. I believe they want to de-voice women, to marginalise them and keep them out of the important conversations.”

    Can you please provide specific quotations from Bruce Ware and Wayne Grudem that would substantiate this claim? Have you read any articles, heard any sermons, etc. where they advanced an agenda of this kind?

    Thanks,
    Kyle

    • Kyle, in another post in this series I will be providing evidence.

  5. bluesinaminor

    From my limited experience of living with one abuser and watching him in many relationships other than our own, I have discovered that these guys are unable to even imagine a relationship of any kind that does not contain power. Their understanding is that if they are not in control then someone else is. Someone has to be in control. Has to hold the power. They are now projecting that back onto the Trinity. Because they cannot imagine it any other way. I’d add this doctrine to the red flag category. If your partner believes this then they will move towards abuse at some point because someone has to be in control. and it wont be allowed to be you.

    • Lea

      I have discovered that these guys are unable to even imagine a relationship of any kind that does not contain power

      This is something I have noticed from comments as well. People say things like ‘if someone is not in charge, how will decisions be made?’ like it is a rare thing for their to be a relationship where no one is in charge. Do these have no friends, only employees, bosses and sycophants? It is very confusing.

  6. I have just added an UPDATE in the body text of this post, and am adding it to the comments thread as well so it doesn’t get missed.

    The update comes after this paragraph of my post:

    The site where Trueman’s post are published, Alliancenet, has closed down comments on posts. I’m guessing that they closed comments because the commenters started talking about character and motivation. In particular, yours truly. Alliancenet published three of my comments at Dr. Liam Goligher Responds to Dr. Mike Ovey. But my next three comments there never saw the light of day. In those comments I had raised serious issues about the motivation of Grudem and Ware. Bam. Shut down. Pretty much straight after I’d submitted those three comments, Alliancenet seemed to have closed comments on all their posts to do with this debate.

    I misconstrued. My three comments that didn’t go live at that post were not published because they included one or more links. Thanks to Rachel Miller and Aimee Byrd for tipping me off the comments had not been closed. I misconstrued; I ought to have double checked. I really appreciate Aimee for allowing comments on her Mortification of Spin posts. I wish Carl Trueman and Todd Pruitt would follow suit with Aimee. I have now submitted a couple more comments at that post and they have gone live. Bless you, Aimee!

  7. Cassandra

    I have never quite figured out why comps make a big thing out of Jesus’ submission in salvation. I don’t see how God the Father planned this alone and then twisted God the Son’s arm to make Him comply. The persons of the Trinity were in agreement on the Plan of Salvation, and all worked together to bring it about. It was Jesus’ humanity that made Him wish He didn’t have to go thru it. I see the same cooperation in our marriage, where we agree to do something then do different parts in getting it done. When comps single out that idea as proof of submission in the Godhead, I really just want to laugh at them, except I can’t stand someone breaking up the unity in the Trinity to make a false doctrine.

  8. Lea

    I believe they are intent on not respecting women as adults.

    I saw a comment the other day somewhere where a man said something like ‘stop resenting the fact that god made you a woman and get with the biblical program’! I can’t take the advice of someone like that seriously.

  9. IMPORTANT — New post at Mortification of Spin/HousewifeTheologian
    Written by Dr Liam Goligher:
    A Letter to Professors Grudem and Ware

  10. //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

  11. https://cryingoutforjustice.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/the-standard-you-walk-past-is-the-standard-you-accept.jpg?w=600

  12. New post in this debate, by Ps Sam Powell:
    Unintended (?) Consequence

  13. Insightful post. In a similar vein, Robert Filmer in 1680 published his famous treatise “Patriarcha,” in which he basically pushed eternal submission of sons to fathers. His motivation was to promote the divine right of kings.

    • Hi Doug, have I seen you over at Rachel Miller’s blog Daughter of the Reformation?

      • Doug

        You did. That’s where I saw the link to your post.

      • Nice! 🙂 Welcome to the blog Doug!

  14. Perhaps the best bibliography on the Trinity Debate — which also includes articles on the recent ESV changes — is The 2016 Trinity Debate: A Bibliography Compiled by Jack Jeffery. It is regularly updated. This link is to the tenth edition.

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