Archive | Theology/Bible

Ware, Grudem, Sanders, Erickson, Giles to come together to talk about the Trinity

A draft of the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society has been released. As many of you know, the theme of this year’s conference is “The Trinity,” which is such a smiling providence given the heat of current controversy. I won’t summarize the whole program here, but I will say that it looks really good. Among the highlights, there will be a parallel session featuring Bruce Ware, Wayne Grudem, Millard Erickson, and Kevin Giles:

  • Millard J. Erickson, “Language, Logic, and Trinity: An Analysis of Recent Subordination Arguments”
  • Bruce A Ware, “The Nature of the Priority of the Father within the Trinity: Biblical Basis and Importance”
  • Wayne Grudem, “Why a Denial of the Son’s Eternal Submission Threatens both the Trinity and the Bible”
  • Kevin Giles, “The Book, One God in Three Persons, a Critical Review”

The Plenary addresses will feature:

  • Fred Sanders, “Evangelical Trinitarianism and the Unity of the Theological Disciplines”
  • Gerald R. McDermott, “How the Trinity Should Govern Our Approach to World Religions”
  • Scott R. Swain, “The Bible and the Trinity in Recent Thought: Review, Analysis, and Constructive Proposal”

There will also be presentations on the Trinity by Kevin Vanhoozer, Richard Lints, Stephen Dempster among others. As I said, this is apparently a draft of the program, and it is not yet final. But it looks to be a pretty interesting meeting in San Antonio this November.

The Golden Rule of Theological Polemics

The video below is not new, but it is relevant. Among the profitable things in it, these men remind us how the ninth commandment must inform theological polemics. “You shall not bear false witness” means that you must represent your opponent’s view accurately. It also means that you must not confuse your opponent’s view with an alleged entailment of his view. You can warn about a potential entailment of his view, but you cannot legitimately accuse your opponent of holding the alleged entailment if he explicitly rejects it. Continue Reading →

Fred Sanders on the obedience of the Son

Russell Moore recently said that Fred Sanders is a gift to the church. I couldn’t agree more. Sanders wrote a review last year of a collection of essays on the Trinity edited by Bruce Ware and John Starke. He closes his review with a brilliant summary of the obedience of the eternal Son. He writes:

What’s eternal, and essential to the divine being, is Sonship, which means eternal generation and the filial generatedness that it entails. Is the obedience of the Son’s will to the Father’s commanding authority also eternal? That seems to me to be a fairly small question, and also one that needs an answer so nuanced it’s practically a change of subject.

There is, in the relations of origin of the triune God, an irreversible taxis to which the obedience of the incarnate Christ corresponds in human form. It’s an eternal procession that reaches its strangely logical final conclusion in the sending of the Son. As for his submission to the Father, I don’t know what they call it in the happy land of the Trinity, but when it lives among us it is rightly named obedience.

This is another way of saying (I think) what Swain and Allen said in the article I wrote about yesterday. It also happens to be the perspective reflected in some of the essays in the book. I think there is much more common ground here than some of the recent controversy would indicate. I hope parties to this debate will see that (Psalm 133:1).

I mentioned this yesterday, but I think it worth saying again that Sanders has an important volume forthcoming from Zondervan on the Trinity: The Triune God. The release date is December 6, but it is available for pre-order now.

The Obedience of the Eternal Son

Over the weekend, a friend sent me a copy of the 2013 article “The Obedience of the Eternal Son” by Scott Swain and Michael Allen. I want to commend this essay to anyone who has been following the recent debate about intratrinitarian relations. I also want to warn you that this is not light reading, and I may lose all but the specialists in what follows. Having said that, this article is worth your time to ponder and understand for the current discussion.

I’m not going to summarize the whole article, but I will give you its thesis and highlight a handful of other passages. Here’s the thesis: Continue Reading →

A brief response to Trueman and Goligher

Recently, Carl Trueman and Liam Goligher have published a series of very serious accusations against those who affirm an eternal relation of authority and submission among the Trinitarian persons. Goligher in particular says that the view is heresy and idolatry. He identifies Wayne Grudem by name as guilty of this supposed error, but of course the accusation implicates Bruce Ware and a host of others who hold to this view as well (including yours truly).

Today, both Wayne Grudem and Bruce Ware have issued very helpful responses to these “false” and “intemperate accusations” of heterodoxy. I recommend that you read both of them. They prove that the accusations leveled by Trueman and Goligher are unwarranted and misleading. They also show that Trueman and Goligher have misrepresented the view held by Grudem and Ware.

I have very little to add to what Grudem and Ware have written. Their essays are very well done. Nevertheless, I thought a handful of additional remarks might be in order: Continue Reading →

Do not destroy… Let them fall into the pit that they dug for me

At my church this morning, Pastor Jim Hamilton preached an excellent message from Psalms 56-57. If you have a chance to listen, I commend it to you. You can download it here or listen below.

I also recommend a version of Psalm 57 that a band called The Critics put to music. I actually love this song. It’s called “Do Not Destroy,” which is a line from the superscription of the Psalm: “To the choirmaster: according to Do Not Destroy. A Miktam of David, when he fled from Saul, in the cave.”

You can listen to the song above or download it here.

God loves you. We love you. Tell us what it’s like to be you.

Andrew Wilson recently preached a message at King’s Church Eastbourne on “Transgender and Intersex.” His text is Matthew 19:1-12, and he does a faithful job with it. He is a really fantastic communicator, and he clearly sets forth the teaching of scripture and how it applies to our thinking about transgender and intersex.

This message is not mainly polemical but pastoral. I like his line about how we ought to communicate with those wrestling with gender identity issues: “God loves you. We love you. Tell us what it’s like to be you.” Of course there’s more to say than that, but we certainly shouldn’t be saying less than that, right?

On a related note, Andrew also participated in a podcast discussion with Megan Defranza about her book on intersex. You can listen below.

At one point during the discussion, Andrew asks Defranza a pointed question. He presses her to explain how her views on intersex challenge a more conservative reading of scripture. I’m not sure that she ever answers his question directly. If I were to characterize the challenge her book brings, I would do it this way.

Conservative evangelicals have argued that the “givenness” of the male/female binary is the basis for the givenness of the gender role distinctions. Defranza believes that intersex persons prove that the male/female binary is not a “given.” In other words, the male/female binary of Genesis 1 and Matthew 19 is no norm at all. One implication of this view is that evangelical Christians can and should embrace transgender identities as normal and good.

As I have said before, the revision that she proposes is a theological earthquake and completely at odds with what the Bible teaches.

I am grateful for Andrew’s willingness to address these issues with clarity and pastoral concern. More pastors need to be doing the same.

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