19
Oct

Trinity Debate at Trinity

   Posted by: Rob Bowman   in Christology, Trinity

On October 9, four evangelical scholars met at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School to debate a question pertaining to the doctrine of the Trinity that has become a focal point of some contention within evangelicalism. The question was posed as follows: “Do relations of authority and submission exist eternally among the persons of the Godhead?” Wayne Grudem and Bruce Ware argued for the affirmative, while Tom McCall and Keith Yandell argued for a negative answer. A video of the debate is supposed to become available soon here, but has not yet appeared. In the meantime, you can read a live blog of the debate, a summary in Christianity Today, and advance excerpts from the speakers’ opening statements. The blogosphere has already seen some follow-up debates on the subject. Phil Gons has written in support of Grudem and Ware’s position, while James Gordon and Tim Baylor have sided with McCall and Yandell. Frankly, the issue is complicated by the fact that the Bible tells us very little about the inner-Trinitarian relations of the divine persons prior to the Incarnation, which is really where the issue would have to be decided. The issue is further complicated, and heated, by the correlation that many (not all) of the disputants draw between their views on this subject and the questions pertaining to the subordination or submission of women to men. All of the scholars involved in this controversy about the Trinity, on both sides, draw inferences from a small number of texts that may bear indirectly on the question as well as theological deductions from the core essential elements of the doctrine of the Trinity that all of these scholars affirm. I am not saying the question is unanswerable, but that we ought to be cautious about treating alternative answers as even implicitly heretical.

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