Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Ugh. I Have Scarcely Any Words.

Why is it that I have to come across this so soon after Trinity Sunday?

The Bible several times says that Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father, but He's at the right hand. He sits with Him on His throne. He has equal glory and equal honor but not equal authority. The Father and Son are equal in all their attributes, and the Holy Spirit is too. But among those persons of the Trinity, though they are equal in all their attributes: infinitely wise, infinitely powerful, infinitely loving, just and merciful, omnipresent and omniscient; they share all attributes, but there is a difference in the way they relate. The Father has an authority that the Son does not have.

Ugh! Putting aside the fact that Christians have always taught Scripture in such a way that the Father has nothing the Son does not except the very fact of being the Father, and putting aside that it is incoherent to say that the Persons are equal in all their attributes but that they do not have equal authority since authority is an attribute, the whole strategy in the interview at the above link is just horrid. The 'arguments' prove nothing except that the Word as Incarnate is submissive to the Father (this is true even of Ephesians 1:4, which is just the predestination of Christ), and there is (at the most optimistic assessment) something creepy about the attempt to reformulate the doctrine of the Trinity in an effort to make a particular conception of marriage feasible. I have come across these people before, these "functional subordinationists," who are multiplying like a plague, and in coming face-to-face with this doctrine I have come to understand as I never did before just how important the Trinitarian controversies were, and just how thankful we should be to people like Athanasius and Cyril. I do not know the hearts of some of these functional subordinationists; many, no doubt, are simply dupes, or confused (they have a tendency to confuse the relations of origin like Fatherhood with subordination relations - the former merely introduce an ordination, i.e., ordering, which is different from a sub-ordination, i.e., an ordering of one under the other; and a tendency to confuse the kenosis, in the Pauline sense, of Christ with an eternal subordination - there is Biblical basis for the former, but not at all for the latter, which they hold based entirely on a set of free-wheeling analogies). It is very sad to find people saying, "Authority and submission is the fundamental difference between the persons of the Trinity," merely to jury-rig our notions of marriage. But I fear that there are people putting forward this doctrine who are fundamentally evil. I don't say that often. But this nonsense surpasses all patience. Some of those who go along with it have, no doubt, merely failed to think through what they are claiming. And I can sympathize to a considerable extent with those who are trying to conserve (what they see as) traditional marriage; I think it misses the fact that the letter to the Ephesians, at least, is very clear that in Christian marriage husband and wife are both supposed to be subject to each other out of reverence for Christ, but I would have a warm and sympathetic heart if they were merely putting forward a doctrine of marriage. But those who have thought the matter through are arbitrarily trying to redefine the principles of the faith for their own convenience. How can that not be evil?

Horrible! Horrible! Horrible! What else is there to say?

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