Posted on Monday, December 12, 2016 by Todd Pruitt on 1517

The following is a guest post from Dr. Mark Jones concerning John 6:38 and those who use it to advance the notion of eternal relations of submission and authority within the Godhead.

 

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but to do the will of Him who sent Me.” – John 6:38
 

Those holding to the eternal submission (or subordination or ERAS) of the Son reason that a verse like John 6:38 is more consistent with their view.
 

I think ESS undermines the classical view of God’s will as identical with his essence. God’s will is one, indivisible act. Because God is simple and his will is identical with his essence, there cannot be different acts of willing in God. There can be no such thing as eternal submission in God when his will is understood as one, indivisible act. It makes as much sense to say the attributes of power or authority submit as it does that a will can submit among the three persons. There is no difference between God’s will and his knowledge, power, authority, etc. (Hence Grudem has to question whether “authority” is a divine attribute proper to all three persons – an incredible move).
 

Now, how do we understand the language of John 6:38 in an orthodox way that shows you don’t have to go in the direction of Wayne Grudem, Bruce Ware, et al who think the plain reading of this text (and others like it) is consistent with or proves the eternal submission of the Son?
 

Since God has one will, but God is three persons, we hold that the external works of the Trinity are undivided: opera Trinitatis ad extra sunt indivisa. However, because they have several subsistences (modus subsistendi), each person may perform different works, though we should note all three persons concur in every work. Thus, the Father raised Christ (Rom. 4:24; Col. 2:12-13); Christ raised himself (John 2:19; 10:17-18); and the Spirit raised Christ (Rom. 8:11).
 

Yet, the Son, not the Father, comes down from heaven (Jn. 6:38).
 

In the incarnation, for example, the act is willed by the three persons, but the act terminates upon the Son. Reformed theologians have claimed that the undivided works ad extra often manifest on one of the persons as their terminus operationis.
 

ESS proponents have trouble understanding how the Son can do the will of the Father apart from their own construction of eternal subordination.
 

Grudem, Ware, et al are not just speaking of some ad extra reality whereby the God-man submits to the Father. They are looking at that reality and deducing (“theologizing”) that there is an eternal ad intra submission of the Son to the Father (and run into the obvious problems of Rahner’s rule, among other things). We are not told how this can “work,” however. In fact, no one to my knowledge has answered this question of how in eternal relations, between three persons, who share the same essence (and thus share the same will) there can be “submission.” Many have asserted such a construction, but they have not developed the position or explained how it can work. I have even asked this question of Fred Sanders, but I open it up to anyone who has an answer.
(https://calvinistinternational.com/2016/06/15/propositions-questions-fre...)
 

“Not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me”
 

This is where classic Christology comes into the picture. Here, a plain reading of the text suggests multiple wills. Christ distinguishes his will from the will of the Father. If you go with Grudem, Ware et al then you can affirm eternal subordination but you have to give up the doctrine of God (one will) and orthodox Christology (two wills in Christ). Ware holds (against orthodoxy) that volition is a property of person, not nature.
 

In my view, it is far more preferable to argue that Christ (single subject) is speaking here of his human will submitting to the will of the Father. This is hugely important for our doctrine of justification by faith. The obedience of Christ must be true human obedience. His human will must undergo the tests and trials of the Second Adam and he must show himself to be faithful. If Christ has one will – as some have argued or implied – then he has a divine will only. This jeopardizes our soteriology because when he is choosing to obey he is not really faced with difficult choices since his will is divine. And since the divine will is coextensive with all of God’s attributes, his obedience was a mere phantom. You end up with a sort of Docetic Christology and, I’m afraid, even more heresy.
 

But if you argue, as the orthodox do, that Christ here is speaking of his human will, how can we bridge his language of “coming down from heaven” with his language of “not doing my own will but the will of him who sent me”?
 

In other words, the “sending language” is the crux of the matter. How and why is the Son “sent”? Because of the principle of subordination in the Trinity? There is a better option.
 

Christ is one person with two natures. As such, each nature possesses its own will. The Son comes down from Heaven. But now that he is speaking in the flesh (as God-man), the person is speaking according to the human nature (“my will” = human will). The nature is not speaking, but the person speaks according to the human nature.
 

As orthodox Christology goes: Christ has two wills, not one. (Brothers) we are not monothelites. The sending of the Son is by the Father, but since the Son and the Father share the same divine will, the act of sending is willed equally by the three persons. However, as noted above, in light of the fact that God’s works are undivided, this ad extra work of sending manifests one of the persons (i.e., the Father in this case) as the terminus operationis. The undivided works of the Trinity are in jeopardy according to the position of Grudem, Ware et al.
 

Now why the Son is sent and not the Father or the Spirit is quite obvious, which goes back to Aquinas but is followed by the Reformed. The idiōmata (proper qualities) and titles by which the persons in the Trinity are distinguished should be kept and preserved distinct. The Son of God is more appropriately the Son of Man and the Son of a woman. It would not be “fitting” if there were two persons in the Trinity who both bear the title of “Son,” which would have been the case if the Father or Spirit had become incarnate. If the Holy Spirit had become incarnate, there would be two sons: the second person by eternal generation and the third person by an incarnation in time. This is not “fitting.”
 

The Son is “sent” (as an act of God’s will) in order to preserve the order of subsistence among the three persons. The Son becomes incarnate since the Son is “from” the Father in his manner of subsistence (hence: eternal generation). The order of subsistence reflects the order of their work and their works (missions) reflect the order of subsistence.
 

There are other reasons why Christian theologians over the ages have argued for why the Son became Mediator, but none of these theologians have spoken of an eternal submission. “Fittingness” not “submission” has been the usual reason and to me offers the best explanation since it allows us to keep an orthodox view of God and the Trinity.
 

Returning, then, to the text: “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but to do the will of Him who sent Me.”
 

Based upon my construction above, we can maintain the two wills in the God-man, and thus remain orthodox. We can also maintain that since he had two wills, the will spoken of here is his human will, which means his obedience was truly human and thus vicarious for our salvation. Christology and Soteriology are both protected. But, more than that, we can see how the one will of God functions in light of three persons and their order of subsistence. The Trinity and our doctrine of God is also protected. Once you go down Grudem’s path, the price to pay is very severe indeed. All of the loci mentioned above need to be re-worked. They can argue as loudly as they want that they affirm one will in God, but their theology undermines that affirmation in several key ways.
 

At the end of the day, Grudem, Ware and I have to do some theologizing when it comes to John 6:38 and other texts. They still “theologize” in their Biblicism. No text is so obvious that we can simply give up our classical understanding of the Trinity, God, Christ, etc., in favor of the “obvious” or “clear” meaning of the text. If your theology of “perspicuity” leads you to compromise classical orthodoxy in several key areas of theology, perhaps it is time to call your “perspicuity” by another word: heresy! And when theologians become stubbornly incorrigible in the face of countless critiques of their unorthodox views, then raising the possibility that heresy is being spread is not inappropriate in my mind.
 

Posted on Monday, December 05, 2016 by Todd Pruitt on 1517

 

One of the unfortunate features of the current Trinity debate is the moaning over “tone.” Such a complaint fails in at least two ways. First it fails in not affording proper weight to the content of the debate. In generations past men were willing to be exiled and physically mangled for defending Trinitarian orthodoxy. Second the complaint fails by way of chronological arrogance. What I mean is that the history of the church owes much to those who regarded vital theological debates as matters worth fighting for. Martin Luther would be thoroughly excoriated by today’s tone police as would Calvin and Athanasius before them. And Machen? Well, he would have been shamed out of all influence in the church.
 

In the last few days the reformed(ish) and coalition(ish) blogosphere has been all a flutter with praise for Fred Sanders' excellent and devastating review of the latest balderdash from Richard Rohr. If you have not read Dr. Sanders' review you really ought to, especially if you are one of those progressive PCA folks who like quoting Rohr.
 

What is curious about the praise pilling up for Sanders’ review is that much of it comes from folks who succumbed to a serious case of the vapors over the tone of this summer’s debate. It's very curious. Both Sanders’ review and the recent debate concern the doctrine of the Trinity. Both are responses to men who affirm the Trinity but whose formulation of such departs from biblical orthodoxy. But, as it turns out, one of the offenders (Rohr) happens to be outside the protected circle of precious coalitions and councils making his doctrine safe for strong condemnation and mockery.
 

It leads me to believe that perhaps a bit of inconsistency is at work.
 

The author of a recently discovered blog which has given me no small amount of joy writes about this very thing:

We are so flaccid in our day that much of what passes for Christianity is vulnerable to the teaching Sanders so easily dismisses. I say that in connection to the debate on the Trinity because we all know a review like Sanders’ could not be made of someone securely lodged within the Gospel Coalition, and the very suggestion would be outrageous. That is still a strength: is anybody of the TGC tribe going to decry Fred Sanders for his tone and the fact that he did not publish his review in an academic journal? I actually think his tone is exactly right, and I also think his tone is probably what saved his review from being doomed to obscurity in a theological journal. Congratulations to him and to them.

What else, however, is the attitude toward doctrinal formulation that Ware and Grudem exhibit, and what shall we say of their enablers? Is the difference more than a difference of degree? Distractions and prevarications to gloss over the chaos of private interpretation and maladaptive, innovative appropriations of Christian teaching strike me as the wrong approach and of the same substance as what Sanders exposes.
 

Posted on Thursday, December 01, 2016 by Todd Pruitt on 1517

 

The annual Southern California Reformed Baptist Pastor's Conference was recently held in La Mirada, CA. Stefan Lindblad was the keynote speaker. You can listen to all the sessions HERE.

 

I want to especially highlight sessions 3 and 7.

 

Session 3: “The Knowledge and Will of God: One or Three?”

 

Session 7: “An Evaluation of One God in Three Persons ed. by Bruce Ware and John Starke."

 

Posted on Thursday, November 17, 2016 by Todd Pruitt on 1517

 

Recently the Reformed Theological Seminary hosted a conference in Houston, TX on the doctrine of the Trinity. Rachel Miller, who attended, has written two quite helpful summaries. The FIRST is a summary of the content of the sessions. The SECOND is a deeper analysis of the content. They are well worth reading.

 

Posted on Monday, November 14, 2016 by Todd Pruitt on 1517

We continue to hear that the most notable feature of the Trinity debate which touched off this summer is the "unfortunate tone" of the meanies here at MOS. As we have noted repeatedly on this site the real "tone" problem exists on the side of those who have actually accused those who deny ESS of being heretics and "threatening the Bible and the Trinity." I suppose having certain well-placed friends insulates you from actually being held accountable for your words.

    

 

Posted on Monday, October 17, 2016 by Todd Pruitt on 1517

 

The kind folks at Hendrickson Publishing sent each of us a copy of their handsome facsimile of the Biblia Germanica (the Luther Bible). It is a wonderful work especially given the coming recognition of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation next year. 

  

  

Posted on Wednesday, October 12, 2016 by Todd Pruitt on 1517
 
Over the weekend the world was given the distasteful surprise of the now infamous recording of Presidential nominee Donald Trump bragging in the crudest terms about his adulterous sexual conquests. He even bragged about his success in groping women. Later he explained it away as nothing more than “locker room talk.” By now we have come to expect this sort of disgraceful behavior from Mr. Trump. 
 
However, what is even more disconcerting than Mr. Trump’s fond reminiscences of his lecherous behavior are the vigorous apologetics offered up by his “evangelical” supporters. They have explained away his words by appealing to the fact that the NBC recording was 11 years old (Trump was a carefree youth of 60 years at the time). They have even echoed Trump’s “locker room talk” explanation.
 
I have lived for almost 50 years and have never had a man brag to me about his adultery (Confess? Yes. Brag? No.) Certainly I have heard plenty of profanity and even some tales of sexual potency in and out of locker rooms. But I have never heard a man brag about groping a woman or describe anything that could be remotely understood as sexual assault.
 
What I want you, my sisters in Christ to know, is that there are many of us who find Trump’s words and behavior disgusting. Contrary to Ben Carson’s explanation this sort of talk is not how most men talk about women in their absence. We do not believe that the number of a man’s sexual conquests or his willingness to force himself upon a woman is the measure of manhood. Quite the opposite. For many of us the arrogant swagger and adulterous boastings of Trump are the negation of genuine manhood. He is a petulant child grasping for validation by bragging about his sexual prowess to strangers on a bus. 
 
I understand why many are reluctantly choosing to vote for Mr. Trump. Given the horrific prospects of a Hillary Clinton presidency I am even sympathetic with that choice. But the enthusiastic rallying around the man from some rather prominent members of the “religious right” is unconscionable. Indeed, the continued endorsements of Trump from men like Jerry Falwell Jr, Mike Huckabee, and Robert Jeffress have proved that the religious right are the new moral relativists. 
 
So vote for Trump if you believe you must but do not deceive yourself by believing that he is something that he is not. He is not a Republican. He is not conservative. He is a life-long “strongly pro-choice” liberal. He is not a friend of smaller government or lower taxes for the middle class. He is a crony capitalist who has benefited from cozy relationships with politicians of various stripes. He is an unprincipled pragmatist whose great ambition over the years seems to be nothing nobler than emblazoning his name upon as many products as possible.
 
* I hope no one will understand this post as an endorsement of Hillary Clinton. I believe she would be an utter disaster as President. She is manifestly corrupt and probably deserves to be indicted. Considering Bill Clinton’s history with women, the credible accusations against him of sexual assault, and Mrs. Clinton’s treatment of his victims, she has no claim of moral superiority over Donald Trump. Her position on abortion alone should disqualify her in the minds of Christians. 
 
Posted on Friday, October 07, 2016 by Todd Pruitt on 1517
 
I was interested to read a recent article by Dr. Jason Duesing of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City (my alma mater). The title of the post is “Where are the Gentleman Theologians?” The post is helpful and appropriately challenging in many ways. I appreciate his call for theologians and pastors to treat one another with charity in our disagreements. Who among us does not need to be reminded of that from time-to-time? He refers appropriately to the late Roger Nicole who was well known for his irenic spirit. I hope that we will be careful to know the difference between those issues upon which we may agree to disagree and those issues which ought to rise to the level of public opposition. 
 
Of keen interest to me is that Dr. Duesing draws a direct line between the call to be gentlemen theologians and the current controversy over the doctrine of the Trinity (If you need to, you can catch up HERE). 
Certainly there has been substantive discussion over vital issues of non-negotiable importance. Yet, there has also been a great deal of unhelpful polemics as we have seen a blurring of the distinction between healthy intra-evangelical debate and the attribution of heterodoxy. As I’ve watched and read, I have been hoping for more Gentlemen Theologians to help us know how to proceed. For one can contend in public as a gentleman without having also to condemn...
Personally, I agree with Albert Mohler that much of the citations against Wayne Grudem, Bruce Ware, and also Denny Burk and Owen Strachan are nonsense, not just for what those concerned claim, but especially for how they claim it. I can’t help but wonder that if those convinced of their brother’s heterodoxy were slow to speak and sought to earn the right to criticize in private, much of the negative impact of this debate could have been avoided.
As I mentioned, I am not implying that essence of these discussions are not extremely important or not worth addressing at length. Yet, I am questioning some of the chosen polemical paths with regard to how one brother attributes heresy to another.
This is where I believe Duesing begins to err. At no point does he identify the “vital issues of non-negotiable importance.” Neither does he name any person or cite an article as evidence of his claim of “unhelpful polemics.” This is most unhelpful for it greatly limits any sort of engagement. But I am still going to try because most people will understandably assume that he is referring primarily to articles which ran on MOS. Since he provides not a single example of his claim I have to proceed upon assumption. 
 
What is clear however is that Dr. Duesing identifies the opponents of ESS as the offenders in this debate. That is most unfortunate. I assume that he is not aware, for instance, of the mean-spirited accusations leveled against us on social media from some of the men he names in his defense. We were accused of being closet feminists pushing our agenda and even compared to satan. Certainly Duesing would not have intentionally overlooked those ungentlemanly actions. 
 
Dr. Duesing finds us ungentlemanly who have publically critiqued the theology of ESS as espoused for years by Wayne Grudem and Bruce Ware. Of course it begs the question of just what exactly is the gentlemanly response to public theological error. What ought a gentleman to do when he finds error being propagated within the church? Given that error attacks the peace and purity of the church I have typically supposed that a rather vigorous and public response is appropriate. Is that not what our Lord and his apostles modeled? 
 
One of the weaknesses of Duesing’s critique is that he seems to assume that these issues can and should be worked out entirely in the context of personal conversations among scholars in fraternal gatherings. He does not seem to understand the history or circumstances of the current debate. The debate over the theology of Drs. Grudem and Ware has been going on for about 20 years. Addresses have been delivered at such gatherings as ETS. Entire books have been written challenging their articulation of ESS. And, yes, there have been personal conversations and correspondence on this doctrinal controversy. 
 
If you believe that ESS is sound Christian doctrine then you will likely wonder why anyone would be so rude as to publically rebuke it. But this is not simply a matter of theological esoterica to be discussed over eggs benedict at a scholar’s conference. And the proponents of ESS have not left the doctrine in some rarely visited corner of polite academic discussion. Books and curricula advancing ESS continue to be written for laypersons. Crossway even published a children’s book by Dr. Ware promoting ESS. CBMW has been active in promoting ESS to churches for years.  
 
So the time for pleasant breakfast conversations has been over for a long time. This is not a debate about the mode of baptism after all. It is not a debate over amillennialism versus historic pre-millennialism. This is a debate about the nature of the Godhead and the status of the Son and Spirit within the Trinity. Sadly there are many within the big tent of evangelicalism who do not seem to understand that these are vitally important matters. Or it may be that the bonds of old friendships and various alliances are so powerful that overlooking serious error is considered gentlemanly. 
 
I still remember a wonderful address some years ago by Al Mohler on the courage of Athanasius who was “willing to go to war over a dipthong.” That is a quote worth remembering. Not very gentlemanly behavior from Athanasius, however, who once declared that if the whole world opposed him then he would oppose the world. Martin Luther was likened to a wild boar in the Lord’s vineyard. Johnathan Edwards was fired in part for not being nice enough. Charles Spurgeon was publically censured by the Baptist Union for making a nuisance of himself with his insistence on sound doctrine. Machen was defrocked and held up for public ridicule. The examples abound of men who were condemned or ignored for not striking the proper, dare I say, gentlemanly tone. 
 
I am sure Dr. Duesing would agree that Paul was justified in inviting the Judaizers in Galatia to emasculate themselves for tinkering with the gospel. But of course we all know that such jagged polemicizing would be shunned in this era of evangelical niceness (There is no evidence that Paul took the Judaizers out for a cup of coffee prior to his cringe-worthy recommendation). 
 
I can imagine an objection being raised at this point: “But we’re not talking about the gospel here!” And it is true. The gospel is much easier to understand than the more metaphysical issues related to ESS. Al Mohler has stated that although he denies ESS (I wonder why?), Drs. Ware and Grudem are nevertheless fully orthodox and any contrary suggestion is “ridiculous.” Duesing agrees with Mohler on that point. So, in both men’s minds the doctrine of ESS is fully within the bounds of historic Christian orthodoxy. I suppose then that a true gentleman who does not personally hold to ESS would simply say to the proponent, “I beg to differ my friend. However, our disagreement over ESS is nothing more than a minor quibble over matters that have no bearing upon orthodoxy. Please pass the scones.” 
 
The irony in all of this of course is that Wayne Grudem does not agree with Mohler or Duesing on this. He does not agree that the doctrine of ESS is a comparatively small in-house debate between equally orthodox brothers. Dr. Grudem sees ESS as a necessary feature of historic biblical orthodoxy. Without ESS, says Grudem, there can be no Trinity (Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth, 251, 433). It’s a bold position to state that denying the eternal subordination of the Son “would destroy the Trinity” (Ibid, 433). What is a gentleman theologian to do when that opinion is put in print and delivered to laypersons?  
 
Is Dr. Duesing aware of the title of Dr. Grudem’s address at the upcoming ETS meeting? It is quite provocative: “Why a Denial of the Son’s Eternal Subordination Threatens Both the Trinity and the Bible” (source). I cannot help but wonder what Al Mohler thinks about that thesis. After calling “ridiculous” any suggestion that the views of Drs. Ware and Grudem are outside orthodoxy, the later goes and says Mohler’s denial of ESS “threatens both the Trinity and the Bible.” While I am apparently no expert on these matters, that does not seem to fit the requirements of gentlemanly behavior. 
 
Is Dr. Duesing aware of the debate held at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School on October 9, 2008? The question under debate was “Do relations of authority and submission exist eternally among the Persons of the Godhead?” Four scholars were involved. Wayne Grudem and Bruce Ware debated in the affirmative against Drs. Keith Yandell and Tom McCall. In a display of rather sharp polemic Dr. Grudem called the view of Drs. Yandell and McCall “modalism” a bona fide heresy. Do not skip over this point. The historic Nicene viewpoint represented in the debate was dismissed as a heresy by Wayne Grudem. Is this then an intramural debate among equally orthodox brothers or a battle against heresy? Dr. Grudem in contrast to Mohler and Duesing seems to view it as the later. Incidentally, at no point did Drs. Yandell and McCall accuse Ware and Grudem of heresy. 
 
I wonder if Dr. Duesing will now write an article lamenting the lack of gentlemanly behavior which has issued forth from the proponents of ESS? 
 
What then is the gentlemanly response to Dr. Ware’s assertion that the Son receives less glory in the Godhead than does the Father? How ought the gentleman pastor respond to his claim that it is inappropriate to pray to the Son since He possesses a lesser supremacy in the Godhead than does the Father? How should the gentleman theologian respond to Dr. Grudem’s contention that the Trinity is analogous to a married couple with a child? 
 
Perhaps it is the policy in some Southern Baptist seminaries to promote ESS. That is their business. But I think it would be rather ungentlemanly of reformed and Presbyterian pastors to merely tut-tut politely while consequential errors regarding the Trinity are finding their way into the pews of the churches they serve. I thank God that a discerning committee of laypersons within a rather large denomination, having followed this debate since it began in June, expunged all vestiges of ESS from their women’s ministry curriculum. That would not have happened as a result of hushed conversations over breakfast. 
 
So I agree with Wayne Grudem. Someone is indeed threatening the Bible and the Trinity. And it is a good thing that there are men who are willing to enter the fray allowing others go about more gentlemanly duties. 
 
Posted on Wednesday, September 21, 2016 by Todd Pruitt on 1517

 

Over at Ref21 Rick Phillips posted a vigorous defense of complementarianism. I agree with much of his defense. What was particularly encouraging for me however was his clear statement regarding ESS. 

Recent months have seen considerable controversy among conservative Christians around the topic of complementarianism, arising mainly from a false analogy between the subordination of wives to husbands and that of God the Son to God the Father. Depending on your perspective, the complementarian view has been either maligned, discredited, or reformed. My hope is that events will prove that the latter has taken place. I am in complete solidarity with those who reject the eternal subordination of the Son in any form, since no amount of nuance or affirmation of Christ's deity can preserve it from functionally reproducing the Arian position. There are no ends for which a degrading of the Trinity is an excusable means. I am therefore grateful for the way this controversy, though regrettably contentious, has highlighted massively important issues of theology that tend to receive little attention. At the same time, my hope is that this attempt to reform the complementarian position will not truly damage the important stand it takes.  (emphasis mine)

I appreciate Rev. Phillips' clarity on this point. Here at MOS we have expressed deep concern over the fact that CBMW has anchored the Bible's teaching on the roles of men and women in the church and family to ESS. I continue to hope that CBMW will once and for all refute ESS. Tethering the Bible's teachings on the relationships within the church and family to error about the Trinity is proving to be disastrous. We must never seek to advance truth through means of error. 

 

Posted on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 by Todd Pruitt on 1517

 

No, we are not ready to move away from the Trinity controversy yet. The ones who are guilty of propating the error of ESS/EFS have not yet publically repented. That, by the way, is what is required when one spreads doctrinal error.

 

There are already attempts going on to rewrite history ("Our organization never promoted ESS!"). Those who came out swinging when MOS first began posting challenges to ESS, having noticed the clear consensus of scholars, are remaining largely silent on the issue of late.* That is wise. It's never a good idea to continue to press for something which has proven to be inconsistent with Scripture. The problem is that while seminaries quietly try to get some of their professors up to speed on Christian orthodoxy and publishers revise books on the downlow the errors continue to fester in the soil of many churches and parachurch ministries. 

 

To advance doctrinal error is sin. It matters not if the guilty party did not know he was teaching error. To do so out of malice or ignorance is sin. It is impious, for instance, to foist common analogies upon the majestic and mysterious Godhead. It is true that, being in the image of God, we are like him in some ways. Nevertheless God is not like us. And the Trinity is most certainly not like a human family with the Father as husband, the Son as wife, and the Spirit as child. 

 

An official from a rather large denomination and a fine brother recently reached out to me to confirm that this controversy prompted his committee to begin scrubbing all of the ESS and references to the men who have promoted it from their curriculum and recommended resources. That was good news indeed. But what of the many churches, denominations, and ministries which do not have men as discerning as the brother to which I spoke? This is why repentance and refutation are so important. The men and ministries and seminaries which have either actively or passively promoted ESS need to say what all Christians must say throughout their lives: "I'm sorry. I was wrong." 

 

Until that happens I do not see how this controversy can come to an end. God's glory and the peace and purity of the church are too precious to turn a blind eye to error which strikes at the heart of the nature of God. 

 

* I did notice that Wayne Grudem will be presenting a paper at the 2016 meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society which is entitled "Why A Denial of the Son's Eternal Submission Threatens Both the Trinity and the Bible" (p. 51). That is a bold statement. Given the recent controversy I suspect there will be a capacity crowd.