The Trinity and the women's issue

The Trinity and the women's issue

Just a quick update to let you all know that our ministry is working on a DVD project on the Trinity.  While it isn’t directly on the women’s issue, it will deal directly with the complementarian view of the Trinity and a biblical refutation of that view.

Until the DVD is done, I will be blogging less regularly so that I can keep my nose to the grindstone on this very important project.  I do hope to get my next post up regarding the issue of marriage next week, God willing.

Any thoughts about the Trinity and complementarianism?

68 thoughts on “The Trinity and the women's issue

  1. As you know, the complementarian view requires an eternally subordinated Son. So from the start they are out to prove a prior assertion, instead of putting what scripture actually says first. If the Son is not eternally subordinated then they can’t claim that two beings can be equal while one of them is eternally in a lesser position. In other words, they must separate eternal subordination (“role”) from equality of being (“essence”) in order to say that women’s inferior “role” is not in violation of their being equal in “essence”.

    This is essentially Rebecca Groothuis’ argument, that there cannot be equality of being with inequality of function unless the subordination is both temporary and voluntary. So the complementarian agenda is to make this logical fallacy into a scriptural teaching, or their whole platform collapses.

  2. In my research on this subject I am reading Bruce Ware’s book Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I have also written Dr. Ware asking him some questions on his material and he is corresponding with me. The implications of his view are quite amazing and it appears that the questions that I am asking him are ones that he may not have reasoned through yet. I have a bunch more questions for him that I am going to be very interested in hearing his clarification of. Fascinating!

  3. Eternal subordination of the Son, also opens up not just lifelong subordination of women to men, but subordination in eternity. This reasoning BTW is already found with the Mormons who contend that men are in authority over women throughout eternity.

  4. Eternal subordination certainly does have its roots in the cults. The question is why. Some may say because it is the truth and these groups found the truth in this area. However this should be a disconcerting thought to those who value truth.

  5. Yes, I think it does have it’s roots in cults. Have you read Giles books: The Trinity and Subordinationism, and Jesus and The Father? Excellent works on this subject.

  6. Hey Everybody, I just read a critique of Kevin Giles’ book over at CBMW and they claim up and down that eternal subordination is what the church fathers taught and the church universal has believed all along until we radical egalitarian feminists came on the scene. Hmmmmmm…. funny, but when I read the Athanasian Creed in my old Lutheran hymnal (Concordia 1941) it says no such thing. Regardless of what some guys in the early centuries of the church said or didn’t say, what does the Bible say or not say on the subject?

  7. Yeah, funny how they appeal to “the way things have always been” when they know the Bible doesn’t back them up. I happened to blog along those lines today (Here).

    If the apostles were battling heresy in the first century and predicted the rise of false teachers after their departure, why would anyone think an appeal to “church fathers” guarantees orthodoxy?

  8. Here is a Biblical refutation of eternal subordination of the Son using types.

    Almost everyone knows Joseph is a type of Jesus, the Son, but this also means Jacob in that timeframe is acting as a type of God, the Father. Joseph’s 2nd dream was that his 11 bro’s, mother and father would bow down to him, this indicates submission. This all happens in Genesis, but for some reason is not discussed in commentaries much that I have read. In fact, a BIG deal is made of missing one bro in Gen, so that the 11th bro needs to be there to bow down. But the mother and father bowning down is not even mentioned much. But you can see the 2nd dream is not fulfilled until these happen.

  9. My one question is this: If the opposing side is saying Jesus is eternal subordinated. And ALL other doctrine is based on the Trinity including Salvation…Do they have Another Jesus? I mean how many things do you have to get wrong about someone before you step in an say “Hey, that isn’t that person, who are you talking about?”

    I type the above in Great Love but it’s an honest Question,right.

    Have you read Giles books: “The Trinity and Subordinationism”, and “Jesus and The Father?” Excellent works on this subject

    Yes I have both books and they are Great. Cheryl you need to read and look both these books over!

    Also I reckament Having KEVIN GILES AND GILBERT BILEZIKIAN speak on the Trinity for the DVD. I live in Chicago and Gilbert I think is in ILL. he goes to williow creek church. He wrote many books one is “Beyond Sex Roles” and he teaches Great on the Trinity. Maybe you can use their voice clips/cliping of there teaching on the Trinity for the DVD, just get in contact with them, I’m sure they be happy to help. Use Everything we have and lets get this matter Right!

    Rachel my (Best Friend)sister in Christ and I Saw Kevin Giles speak on the Trinity when he was here in IL.! It was Great

  10. I have read both of Gile’s books. I agree with Gile’s but his points come down to interpretations of what the ECF and church councils meant, which means just more disagreements, as the comps see things thru their worldview on what they meant. Giles also says that the Bible can be used to support either position, but I do not agree with that when the whole Bible is considered.

  11. I don’t have the book Jesus and the Father but I understand that it is pretty much the same material as what is in the Trinity and Subordinationism which I do have.

    From what I have read and have been told by complementarians is that egalitarians tend to appeal to church councils instead of the bible to prove their point. While I do agree that what church councils set up as the orthodox view of the Trinity, I also believe that one must vigorously defend the Trinity primarily through the scriptures thus that will be the focus of our DVD. This DVD will be deal with scriptures that others have ignored and it will also deal with the “troublesome” scriptures that seem to imply some type of subordination within the Trinity. We believe that our work will be unique in that it will hit the problem head on instead of bypass the scriptures in favor of man’s word. Even with that, we will have a section on the creeds and the church fathers because this will be used as a second and third witness, although not the primary witness to the Trinity.

    Michael, I appreciate all of your thoughts here on this blog. I haven’t had time to answer everything that you have posted and so any questions that I have missed may have to be posed again at another time. I apologize for my lack of answering in a timely fashion. I have personally been overwhelmed with the struggles that our ministry has been facing from the government and the persecution that has followed who are intent on shutting up our witness of the gospel to the cults. Between that and my normal ministry work and the work on the Trinity DVD, I have been quite distracted although my heart is very, very passionate on the women’s issue just as yours is too. One person cannot do it all, but together we can all pull our resources and our talents and our God-given gifts together to make a difference.

  12. One thing that I have noticed from the writing of one of the proponents of the eternal submission of the Son is that the Son is being downgraded to the point that it is taught that only the Father can be prayed to. This is Bruce Ware’s point of view. I am very blessed to be able to dialog with him about this and in my next email to him I would sure like to find out how he has a relationship with Jesus if he never talks to him and he advocates that others not talk to him either. These are the kinds of things that we need to lay to rest in our DVD because they are the “fruit” of the teaching of the eternal submission of the Son.

  13. That is interesting what Bruce Ware is advocating. Certainly if one believes that God the Father tells the Son what to do (hierarchy) then the direct route would be to pray to the Father only. Why bother with the Son or the Holy Spirit. What they don’t seem to “get” is that they just brought inequality into the Trinity.

  14. Justa Berean,

    This seems to be the mindset of those who say that the Father has authority over the Son. In a hierarchy you appeal to the highest authority and for them this is not Jesus. Yet Paul did not see Jesus as a lesser authority who shouldn’t be prayed to. His letter of 1 Corinthians says this:

    1 Corinthians 1:2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours

    So the saints are those who call on the name of Jesus. Stephen was one of these saints who called on the name of the Lord Jesus.

    Acts 7:59 They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!”

    Jesus himself berated the Pharisees who would not come to him to receive eternal life.

    John 5:39 “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me;
    John 5:40 and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.

    We need to come directly to Jesus to have eternal life and those who teach that we cannot come to Jesus are not being faithful to the scripture in this matter. I believe the reason they are not following scripture is not because it isn’t clear, but because they want to have a higher authority to appeal to to prove that men alone have authority in the church. The problem with this is that they want to prove that women are to be subordinated to men because Jesus was subordinated to the Father. And they want to prove that Jesus was subordinated to the Father by citing that women too are like Jesus in that they are subordinated to men. All this is, is circular reasoning. I told Bruce Ware that whether women are subordinated to men or not has nothing to do with the Trinity. In the Trinity there can be complete equality and in humanity there still could be a subordination of women. The two are not connected in any way. He needs to defend his point of view from scripture alone and not be arguing in circles. The scriptures that he uses to support an eternal subordination of Jesus will be dealt with in a very strong way in our DVD as we cannot dance around the scriptures by ignoring what doesn’t seem to fit the teaching of complete equality in the Trinity. We must see what the difficult verses mean in context in order that the scriptures not contradict themselves. We believe this new teaching DVD will be a very important work in the debate on the Trinity and the subordination of women.

  15. This is (in it’s own, unamusing way) somewhat amusing. I grew up in the Pentecostal church, and we used to laugh about the “Jesus Only” United Pentecostals. They were very focused on piety and outward standards along with only referring to God as Jesus, and they would present their apologetic for their view. In comparison to the subordination issue, it seems so ironic that in comarison, they are so much less cultic than the Bruce Ware/Federal Vision crowd! I never had a “Jesus Only” friend go on and on like these subordinationist complementarians do! It strikes me as so ironc that I actually prefer United Pentecostals over these others as they do not challenge the Diety of Christ by comparison.

  16. Hi Under Much Grace,
    To be fair, Bruce Ware would say that he does believe very strongly in the Deity of Jesus. However his belief in essence works itself out in action as a limited celebration of honor so that the Deity of Jesus is celebrated less than that of the Father. What this means is that Jesus cannot be worshiped through the act of prayer because this part of worship is an honor given uniquely to the Father. The Father must be honored as the greatest in the Trinity and the worship of prayer must be given only to the greatest which is the Father. In essence Jesus is given limited worship and the Father given unlimited worship because of their levels of authority. Ware concludes that the Father must be given the highest honor and the greatest praise and that Jesus and the Holy Spirit have submitted themselves to a lesser place of honor because they both are under the authority of the Father and work only at his command. For some reason he does not see how this devalues the Son and the Holy Spirit. He believes that every relationship must have a “boss” and someone who submits to the “boss” and that this is a permanent fixture of both human relationships and the relationship of the Trinity. However this is a human way of doing business in a corporation and the Trinity is not a corporation but a full unity of three equals in one essence as God. If we define the Trinity as one “boss” having ultimate authority over the others, then we have degraded the Trinity into a big God and two little gods.

  17. You make a good point there, UMG. (well, at least it’s not OMG!)

    Strictly speaking, when the saving gospel is spelled out, it’s “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” or “Confess the Lord Jesus and believe God raised him from the dead”. The “Jesus Only” people at least meet these simple criteria (assuming they take “God raised him from the dead” as true since Jesus is God; Jesus also said he would raise himself in John 2:19). It’s all about Jesus, who is fully God and fully Man, and it’s these comps who can’t grasp his dual nature and wind up demoting him to a lesser deity. But of course they think they can have their “deity and subordination too”, just as they claim “equality of being with inequality of function”.

    If anyone’s interested, there’s a short thread about the Trinity Here.

  18. The problem of “equality of being with equality of function” is that the inequality of the function necessitates an inequality of being. For example if Jesus is not allowed to be worshiped by our prayers to him, then how is it that he is equal in his Deity? The essence of God is that he is worthy of being worshiped. When we are told that one of the three is not to be prayed to then his essence as God is called into question. You can’t say that he is God but you can’t worship him. Now Bruce Ware does say that Jesus is to be worshiped as God, just that you can’t worship him as God in prayer. But I say that if you limit the worship given to Jesus in any way then Jesus cannot be God in the same way that the Father is God. Withholding any type of worship given to Jesus is illogical and unscriptural.

  19. Thanks to all of you for your valuable insights. i dont comment much on this site but read ALL the entries and learn a lot!

    it seems to me in my humble opinion that any of us who try and ‘box’ God into some neat little easily explainable package (be it called ‘Trinity’ or whatever) are on dangerous idolatrous ground. He is so awesome and so far ‘beyond’ what human words can do we are always going to ‘fall short’ trying to describe the INdescribable! Yet we are called to seek him and know him – so we must ‘try’ to do so!

    as we dialogue about our God i pray that we are amazed and enthralled by this “Triune Being” – not desperate to box him into several neat little packages that our little minds can claim to contain him… may the “Trinity” ignite us with wonder – not frustrate us with our human limitations. what a task – to know the One who is so amazingly majestic, we can never ‘fully’ know him as he is “ultimately unknowable”! surely we can only know him as he has chosen in his great grace to reveal himself to us:- “Know this…the LORD YOUR GOD IS ONE” (deut 6:4). as we seek to better understand the “Trinity”, i believe that our concepts must not ever under cut the perfect unity, equality and “one-ness” of our amazing God. I am yet to read an ‘eternal subordinalist’ argument that does not at some point undermine the perfect unity and equality of Jesus and Father and Spirit.

    I am personally particularly interested in exploring what the scriptures have to say about the way the “incarnate, human” Jesus relates with Father in ‘contrast’ (not sure that’s the right word?) to how the “eternal pre-existent divine Son” relates to Father. (The mystery of Jesus being fully human and and fully God at once is as amazing as the concept of the Trinity… so forgive me if i haven’t expressed my statement well. I do believe that Jesus was fully human AND fully divine!)



  20. Ah yes, the ‘hypostatic union‘.

    People get so torqued about precisely defining the undefinable, yet refuse to precisely declare the undeniable. They obfuscate the simple gospel, straining out a gnat only to swallow a camel.

    Which, being interpreted means, they make mountains out of molehills, and vice versa.



    Thanks for your follow-up email. I must say, it’s a better attempt than your previous “that’s how cults interpret 1 Corinthians 15:28.” But I’m still not convinced. Here are a couple of thoughts:

    First, your interpretation of 1 Cor. 15:28 below results in a faulty division of the personhood of Christ. I find it very difficult to imagine how you can speak of the “third person of the Trinity” as somehow different than the “glorified Jesus who is the human son.” Jesus is not two separate persons—one human and one divine. The ancient Christian dogmas regarding Christology insist that Christ is one person, existing in two natures. It seems to me that you are confusing Christ’s singular personhood with his dual natures. Also, this verse isn’t about “the incarnate human son who for a time subjected himself.” Clearly 1 Cor. 15:28 speaks of Jesus, the glorified divine/human person—who, upon entering the eternal age—permanently subjects himself (his entire person, not just his human nature) to God the Father. The idea that Christ is merely subjecting his human nature to God is redundant in that Christ’s humanity has always been subject and inferior to the divine nature (even his own). This passage makes sense only when we read it in light of Christ’s personhood—of which he only has one, not about his dual natures. I welcome your thoughts on this.

    Second, as I’m sure you’re aware, the egalitarian/complementarian debate involves more than the Trinity issue. How do you understand the New Testament teaching regarding the parallel relationship between Christ and the Church, and the Husband and the Wife (Ephesians 5:21-32)? Do you deny that there is hierarchy in respect to the Church’s relationship with Christ? What does it mean to you that Christ is the head of the Church (Ephesians 5:23)? Does this mean the same thing when the NT speaks of the husband as the head of the wife (1 Corinthians 11:3)?

    Respond as you have time, and if you desire.

    Many blessings, my brother,



    Hello Gerald

    First we see God the Father give everything to the Son…He puts everything under his feet. Then the Son Gives it all back to the Father. The is showing Mutual Dependence (Unity). They Glorify one another. There are 3 distinct persons (Father Son Holy Spirit) yet they all have one will they all work in Harmony with one another. You don’t see that. Pray for wisdom and understanding dude!

    Do you deny that there is hierarchy in respect to the Church’s relationship with Christ? What does it mean to you that Christ is the head of the Church (Ephesians 5:23)? Does this mean the same thing when the NT speaks of the husband as the head of the wife (1 Corinthians 11:3)?

    You think head means to rule over and that is not the context.It means Source.
    Christ is the Source (Head) of the Church just as the man was the Source (Head) of the woman. Even though there was no death in the beginning Adam went into a death like state (deep sleep) so to speak. Woman is made and she dies to herself an sticks to her husband. Just as Christ died to give us life we die to ourselves and stick to Christ! No Hierarchy

    Plus Christ is in a class all by himself because He is God and we are creation.

    God The Father is a Father yet he has no Father or a wife yet he has a Son.God the Son is a Son yet he has no beginning because he always was (John 1:1). So my point is Human Language can only go so far in explaining God because are Language is Limited!

    The relationship between God the Father an God the Son
    Is Different From relationship between how a Husband an Wife relate to one another! You see what I mean.

    Jesus emptied Himself only for alittle while. After he rose the statement is Jesus Is Lord!.

    You say your Church believes in the Nicene Creed yet you all believe in the very things that they Rebuked. Jesus is not Eternal Subordinate in Function or order/authority to the Father. That idea was Also rebuked by the Nicene Creed & Athanasius Creed, you need to check that out, I did. The early church Never believed in a Eternal Subordinate Son Never. As goofy as the Catholic Church is they don’t even believe that! That was rebuked!

    You want to keep women subordinate to men and when the order of creation idea failed now your messing with the Trinity! Reading false preceived ideas into scripture, you can make the bible say anything you want it to say but it’s not in it’s context and if something is out of context it’s an error. Scripture will not go against or contradict other scriptures.The Bible teaches Equality between Male & Female Black & White etc. These people who are trying to mess with the Trinity are full of Pride and they are afraid to lose power or authority. Those men and women who are re-packaging this form of arian Hersey will answer greatly to God! My Jesus has Full Authority…Jesus Is Lord…..How about You?

    Michael Terran

  23. Also my understand in scripture where it saids “The Head of Christ is God… etc etc.”
    It’s doesn’t mean rule over NOOO. The Source (Head) of the “incarnation” of Christ is God because Jesus is God! An the incarnation does have a starting point in time. Jesus emptied himself only for alittle while “Temporal” Not eternally! After he rose the statment is Jesus Is Lord!

    Jesus has no beginning or end because he is God, He alway was an is.

    That’s my understanding of that verse while taking the whole scope of scripture into context. Because scripture will not go against other scripture!

  24. Cheryl,

    You should get the book The Father and The Son because that book deals more on the relationship of the Father and Son within scripture not just on the Creeds. If I had to give one of those books to a person with the opposing view I would give them that book first “The Father and The Son”. I have both books and the Father Son is more of a clear read and deep yet focses more on scripture then uses the creeds as a backup.

  25. Thanks Michael, I ordered the book.

    You did a good job on your email. The fact is that the Father gives the gloried human Son all the authority and Jesus reigns for 1,000 years and then he turns over all the spoils back to the Father. The reason? So that God will be all in all. All together and with no further separation of the human Son and God himself. How will that all look? I have no idea but we do know that God will appear completely united as one. In the end there is no longer any need for the submission of the human Son since God will be all in all.

  26. Cheryl,

    Thanks for the reply. Yeah in the book “Father Son” Chapter 5 is a eye opener! I try to read books cover to cover, but then I stop and just flip around a bit. But once I was reading chapter 5 I couldn’t put it down, I was like no way they really think that etc etc.

    The other book that you and I have is a good book. It goes very deep into the creeds and the people who wrote them and scripture which is find. That book shows more of what the creeds were rebuking and has scripture as backup. But the book “Father Son” uses more scripture and what scripture rebukes first then uses the creeds as a backup. So both books do go together very well. When you get your book and compare the two , no matter how you flip it so to speak the teaching is complete as far as what we know about the Trinity.

  27. Cheryl,

    I was just reading the book “The Father and The Son” pages 98-103 is a great teaching understanding on Phili. 2:5-11 !!! This is a key strong point for your Trinity DVD. The book breaks it all down to three stages going verse by vesre! Just letting you know.

  28. Michael,
    From your email, I see you to be arguing the following:
    1) Bruce Ware concludes we shouldn’t pray to Jesus.

    2) Bruce Ware believes the Father is worthy of greater honor than the Son or the Spirit.
    If this summary is accurate, I would like to see documentation of such.

    The above e-mail was send to me. Cheryl do you have a documentation stating this (e-mail,letter etc) or did Bruce ware speak this to you? The Guy from Harest Church (which is like a mega Church) now wants info. I think this church would change if I can send this important info to him. Or should I just tell him to contact Bruce ware Himself?


    Hello Gerald, NOV 17,2007

    My friend has been dialoging with Bruce ware in e-mail. I will get a copy of his e-mail replys to you etc. Also why not contact Mr. Ware yourself in the meantime through e-mail and ask him. Then get back to me, ok, bye.

  30. Who is the author and what is the full title of what you refer to as “The Father and The Son”? I cannot seem to find such a book name on Amazon that deals with this subject.

  31. I have read both of Giles books on the subjects, I am wondering what Michael Terran is specifically referring to when he uses the title ‘The Father and the Son” as I cannot find a book with that title at Amazon with the subject being Theology.

  32. Hi Michael,

    I am still in dialog with Bruce right now. I will be summarizing his viewpoint and then getting his approval to my summary. I will be able to share that with you. Right now it is still in the private stage between the two of us so I need to go to the next stage before I share it with the world. His view that Jesus should not be prayed to is one of the most troubling conclusions that he comes to in his complementarian view of the Trinity. I will email you privately.

  33. Cheryl, I would like to hear about how that is going also. You may use either of my email addy’s.

    Hope your family is having a wonderful day of Thanksgiving.

  34. My final e-mail to Gerald. I have be in dialog with him on this issue but it came to the point where I have to kick the dust of so to speak. I want to show the Love of Christ but there has to be a time when the Holy Spirit must take over an convict the person because we can talk till were blue in the face. Cheryl is doing a great job with the Trinity DVD, presenting our views and the otherside views on one DVD to show the different on what the Bible is really teaching. Once the DVD is out, the issue will be much easyer to talk about because all the Info/Creeds (History)/Scripture/Views/Quote will all be in one DVD! So I can just buy an hand out DVDs who want to know about this issue! Anyway my final e-mail to Greald is below:

    Hello Gerald,

    Nothing you have written has adequately addressed this passage. END QUOTE;

    God may be all in all.” Jesus is God and can function no less in the Eternal age! Your trying to read the incarnation what God in the Flesh did in human form (Only empty himself for aliitle while) into the Eternal Trinity. Maybe you should read John 1:1, Jesus before the incarnation he was not flesh or in Human form.

    It does not merely relate to Jesus time of earthly incarnation (incidentally, his incarnation is eternal—he never ceases to be human). END QUOTE;

    Like I said before I don’t think scripture tell us that Jesus stops being human, but it appears that God will appear in his unity so that God will be all and in all.

    In scripture there is a duel (Double) account of Christ! You believe that the incarnation tells use Everything about the Triune Eternal God. The icarnation only shows what God is willing to do to save his wayward Children, stooping down to our level to do it. You lose that Co-Equality of the GodHead when you do that to Jesus saying he is under the Father Eternally. To apply something that Jesus is lesser in Function etc to the Father. The problem of “equality of being with equality of function” is that the inequality of the function necessitates an inequality of being. That’s what your saying! You can’t do that.In the end there is no longer any need for the submission of the human Son since God will be all in all.

    The ancient Nicene theologians argued that everything the Trinity does is done by Father, Son, and Spirit working together with one will. The three persons of the Trinity always work inseparable, for their work is always the work of the one god. Because of this unity of will, the Trinity cannot involve the eternal subordination of the Son to the Father.

    Eternal subordination can only exist if the Son’s will is at least conceivably different from the Father’s. But Nicene orthodoxy says it is not. The Son’s will cannot be different from the Father’s because it is the Father’s. They have but one will as they have but one being. Otherwise they would not be one God. If there were relations of command and obedience between the Father and the Son, there would be no Trinity at all but rather three Gods.[43]

    In explaining why the Bible speaks of the Son as being subordinate to the Father, the great theologian Athanasius argued that Scripture gives a “double account” of the son of God – one of his temporal and voluntary subordination in the incarnation, and the other of his eternal divine status.[44] For Athanasius, the Son is eternally one in being with the Father, temporally and voluntarily subordinate in his incarnate ministry. Such human traits, he argued, were not to be read back into the eternal Trinity.

    Like Athanasius, the Cappadocian Fathers also insisted there was no economic inequality present within the Trinity. As Basil wrote: “We perceive the operation of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to be one and the same, in no respect showing differences or variation; from this identity of operation we necessarily infer the unity of nature.”[45]

    Augustine also rejected the idea of an economic hierarchy within the Trinity. He claimed that the three persons of the Trinity “share the inseparable equality one substance present in divine unity.”[46] Because the three persons are one in their inner life, this means that for Augustine their works in the world are one. For this reason, it is an impossibility for Augustine to speak of the Father commanding and the Son obeying as if there could be a conflict of wills within the eternal Trinity.

    John Calvin also spoke at length about the doctrine of the Trinity. Like Athanasius and Augustine before him, he concluded that Philippians 2:4-11 prescribed how scripture was to be read correctly. For him the Son’s obedience is limited to the incarnation. It is indicative of his true humanity assumed for our salvation.[47]

    Much of this work is summed up in the Athanasian Creed. This creed stresses the unity of the Trinity and the equality of the persons. It ascribes equal divinity, majesty, and authority to all three persons. All three are said to be “almighty” and “Lord” (no subordination in authority; “none is before or after another” (no hierarchical ordering); and “none is greater, or less than another” (no subordination in being or nature). Thus, since the divine persons of the Trinity act with one will, there is no possibility of hierarchy-inequality in the Trinity.

    Since the 1980’s, some evangelical theologians have come to the conclusion that the members of the Trinity may be economically unequal while remaining ontologically equal. This theory was put forward by George W. Knight III in his 1977 book The New Testament Teaching on the Role Relationship of Men and Women, states that the Son of God is eternally subordinated in authority to God the Father.[48]

    This conclusion was used as a means of supporting the main thesis of his book: that women are permanently subordinated in authority to their husbands in the home and to male leaders in the church, despite being ontologically equal. Subscribers to this theory insist that the Father has the role of giving commands and the Son has the role of obeying them.

    Your Church and You are trying to teach that the Son of God is eternally subordinated in authority to God the Father. That’s False the early Christians never believed that. I believe you are inbracing a doctrine of Demons.


    I pray your hearts will melt for Truth, Michael

  35. Michael, Good post brother. Here’s the thing in a nutshell. Complementarians now know that unless they can tie Paul’s supposed prohibitions against all women teaching and holding positions of leadership in the churches to a linear hierarchy established at creation and one present in the Trinity, their whole thesis of non-negotiable gender-roles will fail just as any other non-essential belief system in the church universal. If they can tie the universal subordination of women to what they see as a linear hierarchy in the Trinity, they will have assigned an implied creedal weight to it and made it an essential doctrine. Anybody who doesn’t buy into it or who dissents from it in speech or in print will be considered non-Christian, infidel, heretic and unsaved.

  36. Good thoughts, Michael and Greg,

    After having finished reading The Father Son and Holy Spirit, by Bruce Ware, I am very concerned about this subordination teaching in the Trinity that has crept into the church. The teaching in essence is that only the Father’s will is done. In my discussion with Bruce Ware, he has agreed to this point and we are still in dialog on some of his wording regarding the Supremacy of the Father. The problem is that if only the Father’s will is done from eternity past to eternity future, then the Son’s will in essence doesn’t exist. In what way can the Son’s will be considered a will if it is never used and never expressed? The teaching is that the Son has subordinated his will in every instance to his Father’s will. All this does is create a will of one person that is elevated and the will of another person that is subjected so that it is never expressed, yet scripture shows that in the Trinity the three have a united will. Only if the Son’s will is identical with the Father’s will can the Trinity have a true equality of essence because their united will is part of the essence of God. Anything less then Jesus having his own will which is also in complete unity with the Father’s will, would end up downgrading Jesus to be rather like a Stepford wife who has no mind of her own because she is just a mindless walking zombie.

    It should also be noted that with several of the prominent complementarians, in their testimonies about their marriage, they have admitted that their wives were taken over by their actions as authoritative husbands and the wives felt like they didn’t really exist. Is this now how we are going to picture Jesus as one who has been “taken over” by the Father and one who never uses his own will in his place as God in the Trinity?

    The interesting thing is that as I read scripture, I come away with hearing about our wonderful Savior and it is all about Jesus. Yet with Bruce Ware’s book the entire emphasis is on the Father who has the preeminence.

  37. “…yet scripture shows that in the Trinity the three have a united will. Only if the Son’s will is identical with the Father’s will can the Trinity have a true equality of essence because their united will is part of the essence of God.”

    Just in reading Isaiah the other night…I noticed that God said, “who will go for US”. Not Me but US. I had not noticed that before.

    I am starting to be very concerned about the trend to speak of God more than Jesus. I am seeing this just about everywhere. The Name of Jesus must be magnified!

  38. Revelation 3:20
    20lo, I have stood at the door, and I knock; if any one may hear my voice, and may open the door, I will come in unto him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

    Revelation 3:21
    21He who is overcoming — I will give to him to sit with me in my throne, as I also did overcome and did sit down with my Father in His throne.

    Just these two scriptures right here show Jesus using his own will and Him sitting on the Fathers Throne! Jesus is not only at the right hand!

    Also in sunday school today we had a great study in James Cha. 5 and we focus on verse 12. The teacher who’s name is Walt went into the culture which is very important. The Jewish leaders had two kinds of Oaths one they can keep (swearing by Heavenly things) the other they could break (swearing by earthly things) if they wanted to! So James Corrects this error. But we need more scriptures, so Walt showed us many passages where God made Oaths and Abraham made Oaths etc! So what does this all mean: Can we or can we not make oaths, marriage vows are a type of oath!

    Simply…Yes we can make oaths but you MUST follow through with it even if it may cost you, If you let your Yes mean Yes and your No,No. Then you don’t need all these oaths for this an that but you MUST follow through (Mean What You Say and Do It). However we are all sinful and because of that we do have certian oaths that are good, like (Marriage Vows) (Testimony In Court/Swearing to tell the Truth!). It’s a binding agreement that keeps us sinful people in check to stay on the right course so to speak. But if you tried to build a whole doctrine on this one scripture alone you would make the bible say something it doesn’t (You can NEVER take an oath)! This relates about this topic on the Trinity, the opposing side uses one scripture like 1cor 15:28 and build this whole teaching about Christ yet forgetting to look at the Whole Scope of Scripture/Other Passages.

    Why would God tell us to “Test Everything,Hold Fast To The Good” “Contend For The Faith”etc Because God knows His Word can an would be abused/misunderstood in the endtimes by people who should know better!

    James 5 (Young’s Literal Translation)
    12And before all things, my brethren, do not swear, neither by the heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath, and let your Yes be Yes, and the No, No; that under judgment ye may not fall.

    1 Corinthians 15:28 (Young’s Literal Translation)
    28and when the all things may be subjected to him, then the Son also himself shall be subject to Him, who did subject to him the all things, that God may be the all in all.

  39. At my Church this was the first day I was back on a Sunday? The Pastor was speaking on Acts Cha. 8 and on The Holy Spirit etc. He said Holy Spirit 3rd person of the Trinty Is Co-Equal Co-Eternal etc. But then he said He (The Spirit) has a different role! Now the Teaching wasn’t on the Trinity and he didn’t go into anymore details, I was like, ok I’m not going to split hairs now because he didn’t have time to explain his statement further. It is truth they do different things BUT the other two are right there also working (One In Will). I just wish the Pastor would have said something more on the line like this:

    The Holy Spirit is doing the role of working in believes hearts/The Church and covicting people of sin etc. An the Father and Son are doing there parts too with The Spirit.The 3 Persons/Beings Working as ONE.
    Like I said when ever the 3 Persons of the Godhead do something by themselfs we find the other two right there working. Like Creation..The Father Spoke It, Jesus Is The Word, The Spirit was over the waters etc. Each one is doing something different but there all working as ONE…Creating! Creation would have never been made if there was a conflick of wills! They Work Together as a Team! You Can’t have One with out the Other Two.

  40. Hi Michael,

    You are right in the actions of God, all three are working together. Look in John 14 where Jesus promised to come to his disciples.

    John 14:18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

    Yet a few verses later it is both the Father and the Son coming to make their home with all those who love Jesus.

    John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.

    The fact is that they work together in unity. The Holy Spirit is sent to us from Jesus from the Father and Jesus comes to us and the Father comes to us. It isn’t just one. It is all three.

  41. The fact is that they work together in unity. The Holy Spirit is sent to us from Jesus from the Father and Jesus comes to us and the Father comes to us. It isn’t just one. It is all three.

    Your so right, put that in the Trinity DVD with the scriptures in John!

  42. This was a final e-mail I send to Gerald, just one more final plee so to speak. Two feet, Two Feet to kick dust off…..Two final e-mails this being the second and final! Pray He sees the Error of his ways about Jesus!

    To Gerald,

    Hello Gerald,

    Thought you should Professor Wayne Grudem in his Systematic Theology says, ” The Father and the son relate to one another as a father and a son relate to one another in a human family:the Father directs and has authority over the Son and the Son obeys.” 28 Later he makes exactly the same point and adds,”The Father has greater authority. He has a leadership role among all the members of the Trinity.” 29

    28 Grudem, Systematic Theology, page 249.
    29 Ibid., page 459.

    Check this out, look and find out what Wayne Grudem said about Jesus in his book Systematic Theology . More words or less that Jesus is not a leader or the Holy spirit, then he is saying more or less there not fully equal, you then have One big God and Two little ones so much for the Trinity (Tri-Unity)! This is plain Heresy at the Highess and if you can swallow that your pretty far gone in my book! You Unintentionally have embraced fundamental aspects of the Arian heresy in its varied forms, producing a strange amalgam of truth and error! You need to correct your Error!

    All the fourth-century Arians focused on what was revealed in the economy of salvation,arguing that the subordination of the Son seen in the incarnation was to be read back into the eternal Godhead, or as we would say today,the immanent Trinity.From the time of Athanasius onward, those who opposed thinking of the Son as eternally subordinated argued that while the Son does reveal the Father, he does not reveal the Father or himself exactly as they exist in communion with the Spirit in eternity.There is correspondence but not identity between the economic and immanent Trinity.

    Evangelicals who argue for the eternal subordination of Son today follow the Arian trajectory. They argue that if Jesus was subordinated in the incarnation, he must be subordinated in eternity.The economic Trinity is to be equated with the immanent Trinity.I argue that Scripture makes the triune God as he is in eternity primary and foundational,seeing the revelation of the Father,Son, and Spirit in history and Scripture as accurately conveying truth about God but not comprehensively or exhaustively.

    What if someone wanted to read Creation back into the Eternal Trinity! Did God create himself! You see the Error of doing that, reading the (Works of God) things back into the Eternal Trinity! We know God has No beginning or end etc!
    But can you now see the Error your doing Gerald!

    You see Gerald, God is greater than what he has revealed to frail human minds and what the human mind can comprehend.God the Son in the incarnation did take the form of a servant for our salvation, but Scripture also teaches that he is coequal God,the Lord.The incarnation is only one scene in God’s unfolding revelation of himself in the Son.The scriptures also reaveal the Son as the cocreator and after the resurrection as the ruler of the universe.So I hold that what is known of the immanent Trinity is given in revelation, but the econmy of salvation is not the totality of the revelation given by God of himself in scripture,and the revelation given does not exhaust who and what God is.

    You also need to test yourself to see if your are in The Faith 2Cor.13:5!

    2 Corinthians 13:5 (Amplified Bible)
    5Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it. Test and prove yourselves [[a]not Christ]. Do you not yourselves realize and know [thoroughly by an ever-increasing experience] that Jesus Christ is in you–unless you are [counterfeits] disapproved on trial and rejected?

    2 Corinthians 13:5 (New American Standard Bible)
    5(A)Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; (B)examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you (C)fail the test?

    Now all the dust is kicked off, This is all done in Love, bye

    Michael Terran

  43. Speaking of united will. Has anyone read Rev 1 lately? Who is speaking to John and described as the Alpha and Omega? My take is it is Jesus Christ because of verse 18.

    Any thoughts?

  44. Actually, the first Alpha and Omega reference in chapter one is to “the Lord God”, but the last one in chap. 22 is to Jesus.

    And then there’s the prophecy in Isaiah about the Son who is also “the mighty God, the everlasting Father”.

    And that Mary would be “overshadowed” by the Holy Spirit as well as “the power of the Most High”, meaning both the Father and the Spirit were involved in the incarnation of the Son.

  45. I thought it was over but evil never dies fast enough anyway this guy Gerald e-mails me against after I kicked the dust off! This is what he send me.


    Your zeal is to be commended, but your lack of information on this issue is troubling, as well as the way in which you call into question the salvation of those who don’t agree with your particular brand of trinitarianism.

    You quote Grudem as if his argument is self-evidently wrong. You then draw non sequitur conclusions from his statements that he himself would never draw. Not particularly convincing. Your failure to see a distinction between economy and ontology is your primary problem.

    The other place where you need more work is in your understanding of the Christological/Trinitarian controversies of the early church. The Arian controversy was about ontological inequality/equality—was the Son con-substantial with the father? Was he homoousios (same substance) with the Father, or was he a created being and thus only homoiousios (similar substance) with the Father? The Nicene Creed was a rejection of ontological inequality between Father and Son. It was not a rejection of economic diversity within the Godhead. In fact, both the Western and Eastern sides of the Church affirmed the eternal generation of both the Son and the Spirit from the Father and referred to the Father as the “font” or “source” of divinity (Augustine, the Cappodocians, Athanasius, Origen, Tertullian, et al.). This demonstrates they viewed the Son and the Spirit as occupying some form of a subordinate position in relation to the Father. Yet they did not then draw the illogical conclusion (as do you) that therefore the Son and the Spirit must no longer be con-substantial with the Father.

    And now I too would probably do best to keep my feet clean.



  46. My reply to Gerald his quotes are in ()

    To Gerald,

    There is no lack of info your just blinded to the facts

    (you call into question the salvation of those who don’t agree with your particular brand of trinitarianism. )

    Yeah, I am calling your salvation into question because your doctrine of God/Trinity is wrong, Your views are anti-biblical. It’s another Jesus, the ones the apostles have not preached! Your Jesus is Eternally (Under The Father) Lesser somehow in Function/Power, The Jesus Of the Bible the one I believe in is not eternally lesser because he is Eternally God with FULL POWER!

    (You quote Grudem as if his argument is self-evidently wrong)

    By his own words he is tried! You can’t say there co-equal in Being then on the other hand say there not co-equal in authority. You can’t have it both ways, if Jesus is lesser Eternally in authority, that would also apply to his being because he is some how lesser to the Father in someway Eternally. Your avoiding my question your not answering it, so you go and get the book and look up what I typed in my last e-mail and then come to the table with some meat.

    (It was not a rejection of economic diversity within the Godhead )

    Your wrong, the arians were trying to read back the incarnation into the Eternal Trinity not just attacking his being but his workings.

    Also in “relation” we have The Father,The Son, The Holy Spirit it’s Dispositional not a sub-ordering. We must remember Neither one is before or after the other.

    (Your failure to see a distinction between economy and ontology is your primary problem. )

    I have not failure and that’s not my problem but yours! You can’t apply something Eternally to Christ economy and say it doesn’t make him lesser somehow Ontology! The minute you do something like that you indirectly mess with his being!

    Read this part in the Athanisian Creed

    Thus there is one Father, not three fathers; one Son, not three sons; one Holy Spirit, not three spirits.

    And in this Trinity, no one is before or after, greater or less than the other;

    but all three persons are in themselves, coeternal and coequal; and so we must worship the Trinity in unity and the one God in three persons.

    Augustine, the Cappodocians, Athanasius, Origen, Tertullian, NEVER put Jesus ‘Eternally” Under The Father or implyed that.NEVER, they never divided the workings of The 3 Divine Persons only distinguished them because they work with one will never divided. When one does something the other 2 are there working as well!

    I think I need to deal with someone from you Church is higher up who knows more about the Trinity/Church History then you do.Someone who has studied deeply and did there homework.

    You never answered my questions. You want to read the incarnation back into the Eternal Trinity, then what if we use your same understanding/teaching and read Creation back into the Eternal Trinity? Your understanding/teaching is very flawed, it leads to many errors. There is a way that seems right to a man but in the end leads to death!

    Bye, Michael

  47. Actually, the first Alpha and Omega reference in chapter one is to “the Lord God”, but the last one in chap. 22 is to Jesus.

    Yes, But lets look more closely shall we…..

    In REVE. Cha. 1 The Almighty is Jesus…who’s coming or is to come? Jesus!

    Reve 1:8
    8″I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

    Reve 22:12,13,16
    12″Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. 13I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

    16″I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you[a] this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”

    verse 16 tells us who is speaking and who is calling himself the Alpha/Omega First/Last Beginning/End and The One Who Is Coming! If we keep the context of the book of Revelation The Alpha/Omega is Jesus cha. 22 tells us and uses the same words in Cha 1 of Reve..

    The “FIRST” cha (1) is speaking of Jesus and The “LAST” cha (22) Jesus is speaking, Yes he truely is the First and the Last!

    once again who is coming…Jesus The Almighty!

  48. I’m all for equality in the Trinity, but I’m also against calling a person’s salvation into question over it. Jesus saves, not neat and tidy doctrinal views.


  49. While I consider the issue of the Trinity and the subordination of the Son (as to the role of the Son) to be a serious issue and one that we need to address, I also would have a very difficult time saying that a person who believes this is not saved. Such a person believes in the Deity of Jesus, the Resurrection and Salvation by faith alone through Jesus alone. I know that many of these types are calling into question our salvation because we do not believe in the permanent subordination of the Son. They are wrong in calling into question our salvation. Should we turn the tables and call into question their salvation? Some may say yes, but I could not go that far. I do agree that it is a serious issue but one that we should work hard to defend and provide a solid apologetic defense while still keeping the communication lines open for our brothers in Christ. Right now I am back in communication with Bruce Ware even though he has wanted to stop communication with me. I have made it clear to him that I believe him to be a brother in Christ although I believe that he is very wrong in his view of Christ. These are issues to fight for in a strong way without me calling his salvation into question. In the same way, I appeal to our brothers and sisters in Christ who believe in the permanent subordination of Christ (regarding the “role” of the Son) not to call our salvation into question even though we do not agree on this issue. I consider this a matter of respect and choose to fight this battle with that kind of respect.

  50. I ran across this in Philippians…

    5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
    6Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
    7but made himself nothing,
    taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
    8And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    and became obedient to death—
    even death on a cross!
    9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
    10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
    11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

    I would be very interested to understand what is meant by giving Jesus the name that is above every name. By this passage, I became convicted even more that God is Glorified when the Name of Jesus is exalted.

    “God exalted Him to the highest place”

  51. Lin,

    The name Jesus means YHWH is salvation. This name was given as an inheritance to Jesus:

    Heb 1:3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
    Heb 1:4 having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.

    As the Word of God, Jesus was always God but in Philippians we find him humbling himself to also become man.

    Philippians 2:11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    When we call on the name of Jesus we are calling upon the name of Almighty God YHWH because Jesus as the son of Man has inherited God’s name. When we call upon Jesus as Lord we are admitting that Jesus is the supreme Lord and Sovereign of the universe and this action brings great glory to the Father.

  52. As far as I can tell, shaking the dust off your feet was done when non-believers rejected the gospel. We need to be careful to use that terminology in the Biblical context.

    I agree it can “feel soooooo good” to blast away at some theological “opponent” (I know from personal experience) but Jesus died for him also. The goal is always redemption, not winning the argument. (I am also talking to myself.)

  53. To: Don Johnson, Molly,Cheryl,Lin etc

    You guys are so right. I know I can come on strong but must do all things in Love. What I don’t want to do is make someone think they have The Jesus of Scripture when in fact they have another Jesus the one the apostles have not preached.

    The opposing side are saying Jesus is Eternally Lesser to the Father in Function etc. Would believing in that mean they have another Jesus? How many things can you get wrong about someone before you step in an say “that’s not Jesus of The Bible”! I’m just putting the question out there folks, that’s all.

    This is a BIG Error in the Church because this is indirectly attacking his being by attcking his function eternally! With this issue at hand is there going to be another pullout like in Luthers day!Reformers pulled out of Rome for Truth and now Reformers pullout from Reformers to uphold Truth once again! History repeats itself.

    Just a thought folks

    Blessings to all!

  54. After reading all your replys I put all your Godly wisdom into action and e-mailed Gerald one last final time!

    To Gerald,

    QUOTE:(as well as the way in which you call into question the salvation of those who don’t agree with your particular brand of trinitarianism.) END QUOTE;

    Maybe I come on strong I admit that, but I don’t want Jesus to say to you Gerald “I never knew you”. This is a Big issue because it has to do with the Doctrine of God/Jesus. Who do you say Jesus is? I didn’t mean to question your salvation but please understand the issue at hand is BIG.

    How many things can you get wrong about someone before you step in and say you have a diiferent person…another Jesus,The one the apostles have not preached! That’s all I’m saying, I say this in Love…Great Love, please understand.

    When I stand before The Lord someday as we all will, I don’t want to have any bloodguilt on my hands like Jude & Paul said, Contending for The Faith etc etc.

    Acts 20:25-31
    25″Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. 26Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. 28Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.[a] Be shepherds of the church of God,[b] which he bought with his own blood. 29I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.

    When the Trinity DVD comes out (In production) I will send your Church a copy,ok. I really have a heart for Truth and My prayer for you and your Church that you Let God’s Word do the teaching and not what man said it thinks it’s saying or trying to make it say, for that matter! In the meantime thank you for all your replys (Even though I disagree with you) and dialogging, ok.

    Blessings, Michael Terran

  55. Good going Michael! We do want to tell the truth in a spirit of love and I think you are learning lots here. I am working through a new blog article in my head regarding this issue and your words have prompted me that this is the time for me to emphasize a few things. God bless!

  56. Hello all, thanks for your kind words and yes I am learning how to do things in Love, God Bless This Site! Gerald e-mailed me back and this is the good fruit of Love when it is ripe and done God’s Way! When done in Love this is the ideal reply one should get! I hope that after reading all my e-mails to Gerald folks that yes we must done it in Love and pick our words carefully.

    I thank God for Cheryl ,Molly and Don and others for helping me do this in Love and The Holy Spirit hellped me to put this in action! God is good and after all the long e-mails back an forth I couldn’t ask for a better reply, just read and you be the judge.

    The door is still open and I can’t wait to send Gerald a copy of the Trinity DVD, since “Harvest Church” is his home church and if the DVD through the Spirit convicks him that Church might change. I’m just the messager……messager of Truth In Love thanks guys!

    The e-mail is below:


    Thanks for your kind email. I sense your genuine heart of concern in it, and I appreciate that. May God lead us both into the fullness of truth in this matter.

    And yes, please do send the DVD. I would be interested in viewing it.
    Many blessings,

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