Tag Archives | Kevin Giles

I’m Out to Lunch

Someone from Elgin, Illinois (which I figured out by looking up his IP address) just tried to leave this encouraging comment on my contact page:

I just saw your post about Gilbert Bilezikian may I say that you my friend are out to lunch and need to read you bible more careful and instead of speaking out against this wonderful man why not engage him in a  public debate you may learn something from him.

Here’s a corrected edition for easier reading:

I just saw your post about Gilbert Bilezikian. May I say that you, my friend, are out to lunch and need to read your Bible more carefully. Instead of speaking out against this wonderful man, why don’t you engage him in a public debate? You may learn something from him.

I’ve received a couple of comments like this recently, so I thought I’d share some thoughts and give some suggestions for commenting on my blog.

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Does Eternal Subordination Entail a Denial of Homoousion?

Shield of the TrinityIn tonight’s debate, McCall and Yandell tried to make the case that the eternal subordination of the Son to the Father entails a denial of homoousion.

The Argument

Here’s their argument:

  1. If the Son is eternally subordinate to the Father in all possible worlds, then the Son is necessarily subordinate to the Father.
  2. If the Son is necessarily subordinate to the Father, then the Son is essentially subordinate to the Father.
  3. Thus, the Son, as essentially subordinate to the Father, is of a different essence or nature than the Father, which entails a denial of homoousion.

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Ware–Grudem vs. McCall–Yandell on the Trinity

Bruce Ware, Wayne Grudem, Thomas McCall, and Keith YandellA few weeks ago, a friend informed me of this upcoming debate between Bruce Ware & Wayne Grudem and Tom McCall & Keith Yandell. It’s very relevant to my dissertation topic, so I’m looking forward to hearing the results. Hopefully audio and transcripts will be made available.

I read a paper from Tom McCall several months ago on this subject and was not very satisfied with his approach. I think he oversimplifies matters and confuses categories (especially regarding the notion of essence—much like Kevin Giles does). I have had the privilege recently of interacting with Bruce Ware a little on these matters. While I don’t necessarily agree with everything as he states it and am still in the process of working through some of these issues, I’m far more comfortable with Ware’s approach.

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Barth on the Son’s Subordination to the Father

In Barth’s section on “God the Father” in volume one of his Church Dogmatics, he makes some interesting statements about the relationship between the Father and the Son.

He opens his discussion with this affirmation of the deity of the Son:

Who is the Lord and therefore the God to whom the Bible is referring? As we have seen already, it is typical of the Bible in both the Old Testament and the New that its answer to this question does not point us primarily to a sphere beyond human history but rather to the very centre of this history.

The answer is that at the climax of the biblical witness Jesus of Nazareth is the Kyrios. He is the One who approaches man in absolute superiority. He is the self-revealing God. (I, 1, 384)

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Hierarchy Does Not Necessitate Opposition

I’m baffled when I read egalitarians who think that functional hierarchy presupposes disunity or the prospect of it.

Take, for example, this statement by Gilbert Bilezikian:

One of the weirdest heresies that has been generated in the last century pertains to the postulation of a hierarchical order within the members of the Trinity—as if there ever could exist a threat of discord or of misconduct that would require the exercise of authority within the oneness of the Godhead.1

Kevin Giles is guilty of this fallacious reasoning as well:

What seems to have happened is that contemporary conservative evangelicals who are opposed to women’s liberation in the church and the home have read back into the Trinity their understanding of the subordination of women: God the Father has become the eternal “head” of Christ, and the differences among the divine persons have been redefined in terms of differing roles or functions. Rather than working as one, the divine persons have been set in opposition—with the Father commanding and the Son obeying.2

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Footnotes

  1. Kevin Giles, Jesus and the Father (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006), 1, emphasis mine.
  2. The Trinity and Subordinationism (Downers Grove: IVP, 2002), 16, emphasis mine.
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Books for Christmas

I put a few books on my Christmas list this year, and my parents and brother graciously purchased some of them for me. I’m enjoying digging into them a little already. Here’s what I got:

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The Failed Strategy of “Trinity & Subordinationism”

trinity-and-subordinationism.jpgKevin Giles’s The Trinity & Subordinationism is easily one of the worst books I have ever read.1 I say that not because I disagree with the position he defends (i.e., the Son is not in any sense eternally subordinate to the Father); I’m still in the process of evaluating the evidence. Rather, I make that statement based primarily2 on what the book itself sets out to do.

Giles’s goal in T&S is to move beyond the exegetical impasse regarding eternal subordination in the Trinity by appealing to tradition.

Quoting biblical texts and giving one’s interpretation of them cannot resolve complex theological disputes. . . . I believe this approach [to "doing theology"] should . . . be abandoned today because it always leads to a “text-jam.” . . . What we have today is a bitter stalemate (3).

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Footnotes

  1. I should clarify that I have read and am referring to only his section on the Trinity, which is its own distinct unit.
  2. I’ll probably follow up this post with the book’s other problems, such as (1) misunderstanding and misrepresenting complementarians, (2) selective reading of history, (3) eisegesis of historical texts, (4) category confusion, etc., etc. Here’s one example of misrepresentation to give you an idea of the way Giles interacts with complemenatarian Trinitarianism throughout the book: “Rather than working as one, the divine persons have been set in opposition—with the Father commanding and the Son obeying.” I wrote this in the margin, “Opposition?!!! What a massive misrepresentation!” I challenge Giles to show one complementarian who considers the Father and the Son to be in a relationship of opposition!
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The Father = The Trinity

trinity-and-subordinationism.jpgThis is the assertion of Kevin Giles in The Trinity and Subordinationism (IVP, 2002):

Here it is to be recalled that in the Bible and in the early church, the title “Father” is used in two cognate ways: in reference to the Godhead and to the person of the Father. Torrance argues that the Cappadocians’ error was to completely conflate these two meanings of the title “Father.” In the former sense, the Father (i.e., the Godhead) may be thought of as the source or font of all being. In the second sense, the Father (i.e., the Father of the Son) is he who is coequal and coeternal with the person of the Son and the person of the Holy Spirit (43).

In support for his claim that the Bible and the early church use Father to refer to the entire Trinity, he points to Torrance, The Christian Doctrine of God, 137, 181; Trinitarian Faith, 241; and LaCugna, God for Us, 71.

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