Eternal Subordination of the Son

At last the video streaming of a debate on ESS is available. At some point, I will look into all this again, now that it has been brought up again by David, one of my blogging friends.

With little time at present to dedicate to this, although I hope to pick it up in my studies at some point or perhaps explore it as part of a Masters dissertation (sorely tempted to write some practical theology too though), I leave you with a number of links about The Eternal Subordination of the Son position, which is quite a huge area for investigation for complementarian and egalitarian Christians. This idea (ESS) became something hotter on the agenda since the tying of this status of Jesus to gender subordination without ontological inferiority became a way of justifying women's submission to their husbands in the home and the church. Some read this as concurring with scripture, others with culture.

David Ould, my friend in Sydney references the debate again and his exploration of a proof-text which he supposes might support ESS. As with proof-texting, which is not a fail-safe way, by any means, of determining the mind of God (difficult to discern in this world without human error), there are as many texts that can be raised to support ESS as to deny it.

You might want to read these resources, if this kind of stuff matters to you. Essentially we are looking at the minutiae here, doctrine and the ways it can be interpreted. I became interested in this doctrine because of its use by CBMW etc and some of the ways it was being used to justify all sorts of behaviour suffered by women in patriarchal expressions of Christianity, particularly in the US.

However, here we are.

David Ould can be accessed here.

Trinity Journal 30 NS 2 (2009) includes:
Kevin Giles
"Michael Bird and Robert Shillaker: The Son is Not Eternally Subordinated in Authority to the Father"


Michael Bird and Robert Shillaker
"The Son Really, Really is the Son: A Response to Kevin Giles"

I have a copy of this but encourage you to get in touch with Michael Bird for a copy.

Paula Fether is good for introductory reading

This makes for essential reading

There was a debate at TEDS on the very issue, which Christianity Today introduces here
It comprised of the following

Defending the non-subordination view: Tom McCall, Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology at TEDS. Keith Yandel, Professor of Philosophy University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Representing the Complementarian position which affirms that a structure of authority and submission will exist for eternity in the Godhead. Wayne Grudem and Bruce Ware. These two are well-known across the evangelical world on the gender issue.

The live video streaming for this is my first link at the top.

Here is a very scholarly interpretation of the debate, followed up again here and here

You can see I have been trying to get my head around this one for a while


David Ould said...

thanks Rachel, not only for the link but the fantastic list of resources.

I am, of course, interested in your specific thoughts on the exegesis that I present.

and, of course, your readers will be aware that the vast majority of complementarians are equally outraged by the abuse of their position and its use to abuse women.

Rev R Marszalek said...

Thanks David, yes there is a lot to follow through on here. And indeed women suffering abusive forms of Christianity is lamented the world over. As regards your exegesis - it's on my to-do list ;-)

Michael F. Bird said...

Rachel, there is also a good talk by Graham Cole on "Trinity without Tiers". http://euangelizomai.blogspot.com/2010/06/trinity-without-tiers-graham-cole.html.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so very much for these resources. Indeed this is THE (supposed) theological grounding for the complementarian position here in the US. If this leg of the stool is removed (or seriously weakened), then....

Rev R Marszalek said...

Thank you Paul. I have read some of your blog. It is beautiful, especially this:

As she pleaded with Jesus to be her Savior, I knelt at her side and re-dedicated my life to Jesus as Lord.
We married two months later and have steadily been growing closer to one another and to Jesus for almost 30 years. Since that day in July we have remained committed, however imperfect, to God’s kingdom purposes on earth as they are in heaven. Our marriage is based upon mutual submission to one another under the Lordship of Christ. When either of us fail in our responsibilities to one another (and we do), the other graciously seeks to restore the relationship under the influence of God’s Spirit and with the guidance of God’s Word. Gradually but certainly God is finishing the work he began in our lives through the glorious Gospel of Christ. To this end we are called and to this end we shall, by His grace, continue.


Bless you

Rev R Marszalek said...

Thanks Michael, I'll have a read.

Osse said...

very nice .. yesterday i was looking for the same topic but i didn't find any thing .. but after reading this i am very happy because finally i got it :) and thanks for the links i would like to bookmark your site can I ?
masters dissertations-dissertation proposal

Phil Almond said...

May I please just say again (contra some well-known theologians)that the 'complementarian' case on husband-wife relations in marriage and the man-woman relationship in the church (1 Timothy 2 etc)does not depend on the eternal subordination of the Son to the Father. It depends on the right view of the church being subject to Christ and what that should mean for the right understanding of Ephesians 5, 1 Corinthians 11, Genesis 2 and 1 Timothy 2-3. The Father-Son relationship is an important issue but it should not be linked with the gender disagreement.
Phil Almond


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A little background reading so we might mutually flourish when there are different opinions