24.10.08

I've just been wondering what it was I committed myself to on my Wedding day in the year 2000. This was before I'd even really considered the Christian gender wrangles and my brain was uncomplicated by these things (blissful ignorance, ah!). Anyway, I recovered my memory of the service performed on that beautiful sunny day St John's, Hagley Hall, Hagley to discover what this Mrs N had agreed to with her Mr N and it was the following:

N, will you take N to be your wife?
Will you love her, comfort her, honour and protect her, and, forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?

I will.

N, will you take N to be your husband? Will you love him, comfort him, honour and protect him, and, forsaking all others, be faithful to him as long as you both shall live?


I will.

So, we both committed to the same things - so I did know what I was doing back then
despite brain being less complicated and so very in love it might have agreed to anything...

Phew! I didn't say obey. If I had have done - it would have been a good excuse to
have our marriage blessed again with the words:Will you love him, comfort him,
honour and mutually submit to him, and, forsaking all others, be faithful to him
as long as you both shall live? (bit of a mouth-full isn't it?)

So that saves us some money!

The reason I thought about this is because I am starting to realise how, on the
surface of things, I would tick a lot of the boxes on any Grudemesque/Piperish
complementarian check-list: Did I even say obey, I was thinking, and so I had to look it up.

John Richardson responded to my post about complementarians and the curse, and
how we weed our gardens and have our pain relief during child-birth but are expected
to just live under male headship and not seek to improve our lot. John informed me
how in the early days of the discovery of anathaesia they had denied it to some
women on Christian grounds. Amazing!

Anyway - outwardly seemingly obedient to complementarian stereo-type (inwardly
very much an egalitarian). How?

Keep house: tick
Cook: tick
Voluntary ministry with children: tick
Full time mum when I had preschool children: tick
(Bakes cakes) (tick) (!) (Joke)
Training to be a vicar - deh, deh deh!!! No - (not yet - !) Independent student -
paying my way through theological college. So not in a 'leadership' position: tick

As you know, Bilezikian (Beyond Sex Roles: What the Bible has to say about a
Woman's place in Church and Family) is one of my recommended reads. I daren't
leave it out on the coffee table just in case the cleaner thinks I'm into something
kinky! (Woops - got a cleaner: check-list: big cross.)

I've just bought 'Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood ( AHHH! Fetch me
some aspirin!) Grudem is having an argument with Bilezikian in the back (one-sided
of course) and Grudem states that Authority and submission are divine concepts and
goes on to explain what he means, saying these concepts are 'rooted in the eternal
submission of the Son to the Father and of the Holy Spirit to the Father and the
Son.'
(p.463) What?! Yep, it's there - look it up! So this is ESS.

'Under much grace' writes about ESS, explaining it in the following way:
Rather than attributing Christ’s emptying of every aspect of His fully realized deity
as a function of the kenosis described in Philippians chapter 2, this theory maintains
that Christ never fully realized the authority of God the Father. Jesus becomes
something of a “special purpose God” who ranks in hierarchy between His
superior Father and above the Holy Spirit. Though all the Divine Persons
possess the same nature and attributes, they do not share equal attributes in terms
of authority of which role seems to play out as a function of that authority.

...ESS's presuppositions regarding the nature of God overrides understanding of
aspects of both Greek rhetoric and references to concepts well understood in Judaism...

George Knight III, in his highly influential book “New Testament Teaching on
the Role Relationship of Men and Women,” published in 1977, formulated an entirely
new set of theological arguments in support of the permanent subordination of
women... In developing his novel case, Knight also argued that this God-given
permanent subordination of women in role and authority in the church and home was
supported and illustrated by the Trinity. For him, the Son is eternally subordinated in
role and authority to the Father, despite the fact that the Father and Son are fully divine.
He thus speaks of a “chain of subordination” and of an eternal subordination of the Son
that has “certain ontological aspects.” This new teaching on the Trinity came to full
fruition in 1994 with the publication of Wayne Grudem’s "Systematic Theology: An
Introduction to Biblical Doctrine.”...

For Grudem, the Son’s role subordination, like that of women, is not a matter of who
does certain things, as we might expect on seeing the word role, but rather the
matter of who commands and who obeys...

... Bruce Ware (an American theologian) ...claims that historic orthodoxy teaches that
Son of God is “equal in being, eternally subordinate in role.” The Trinity is a
“functional hierarchy.” There is an “eternal relationship of authority and obedience
grounded in the eternal immanent inter-Trinitarian relationships of Father,
Son and Holy Spirit.”
If God is rightly called “Father,” then Ware holds the divine
Father must be set over the divine Son, for human fathers always have authority
over their sons. It is contemporary theologians, he argues, who speak of a coequal
Trinity who have broken with historic orthodoxy!

I find it all fascinating.
I feel very uncomfortable about ESS.
What is your concept of the trinity?
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A little background reading on the two theological integrities in the Church of England regarding women in ministry.