Posts Tagged ‘Trinity’

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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Although the evidence from the New Testament for the deity of Christ is abundant, many people wonder why Jesus didn’t come out and say explicitly, “I am God.” Opponents of the doctrine of the Trinity often claim that Jesus’ failure to make such an explicit statement is proof that the Trinity is false. Some go further, insisting that the only statement that would satisfy them is if Jesus had said, “I am Almighty God, God the Son, second person of the Trinity.” Of course, since everyone knows there is no such statement by Jesus in the Bible, this objection is a simple way of dismissing the case for the Trinity.

There are several important responses we can make to this objection. Read the rest of this entry »

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This is the first post in an occasional series that will appear on this blog, dealing with frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the doctrine of the Trinity. This series will not be providing an overview of the biblical teaching concerning the Trinity. For such an overview, please see my outline study on the Trinity, which cites about a thousand pertinent biblical references. If you have a question on the Trinity not addressed in that outline study and that you would like to see answered here, please email us with your question, and we will consider it for inclusion here. You can find our email address by visiting our ministry’s home page and clicking on “Email” in the upper right corner.

The first question I will address is perhaps one of the most popular objections to the doctrine, even though it does not address the positive evidence for the Trinity in Scripture. Here it is: If belief in the Trinity is essential for salvation, why is the doctrine not clearly or plainly set out, in so many words, in the Bible? Why does the Bible never say “God is a Trinity” or “There are three persons in the one God,” or something equally explicit as an affirmation of the doctrine? And if no such statement is there in the Bible, how can belief in the doctrine be essential for salvation? Read the rest of this entry »

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