Neo-orthodox?

The nature of the trinity is at the center of the debate and discussion of a couple of topics of interest to me. It is an area of disagreement between egalitarians and complementarians. It is also the source of the controversy and claims of heresy surrounding the book, The Shack.

Admittedly I stand on the side of an egalitarian relationship among the trinity. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are our example of unity in relationships. They model perfect mutual submission and deference to one another.

As Papa said in The Shack, “Hierarchy would make no sense among us.”

In regard to the portrayal of the trinity in the book, Wayne Jacobsen said this:

One of the concerns expressed about The Shack is that it presents the Trinity outside of a hierarchy. To look at the Trinity as a relationship without the need for command and control is one of the intriguing parts of this story. If they walk in complete unity, why would a hierarchy be needed? While in the flesh Jesus did walk in obedience to the Father as our example, elsewhere Scripture speaks of their complete unity, love and glory in relating to each other.

So many of the accusations of heresy that are thrown around – scary sounding words like modalism, arianism, monarchianism, and tritheism – are all rooted in misunderstanding and differences of opinion about the trinity.

The orthodox idea of the Trinity, as established in the early councils and creeds during the fourth century, is that God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit are simultaneously three distinct beings, and all the same being, none subserviant to another, all three with complete equality and a single will.

Until recently subordinationism was also considered a heresy of the trinity. It is only within the last few decades that the idea of hierarchy within the trinity has been promoted by complementarians within evangelical circles. Their teaching “equal in being, unequal in role” states that the Son is eternally subordinate to the Father.

I attempted to explain my theology of the trinity on the earlier post about Driscoll’s Doctrine Versus The Shack:

Most of my understanding of the trinity is from John 14-17. The 3 are too distinct to not be acknowledged in being, yet too interrelated and united to be completely dissected.

The Spirit is both the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ. Jesus is the Son, yet He is the being of God in flesh. God is the Father, yet he chooses to reveal Himself in Flesh and in Spirit. It is all beyond my understanding, yet a real part of fully knowing God through my relationship with Him.

I am united with the Father and Jesus through the Spirit living in me, revealing to me the Father’s love and His will. By the Spirit, I am in Christ and He is in me, and usually, I don’t try to separate it all out.

It doesn’t seem too far off from the position of Athanasius. Maybe I’m not a heretic.

Athanasius declared that it was acceptable to refer to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost as “one substance” as long as this was not understood to mean an obliteration of distinction between the three persons, and it was acceptable to speak of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost as “three substances” as long as this was not understood to separate the three as three individual gods.

It is really interesting to me that conservative christians have taken the more unorthodox position on this particular issue.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

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34 thoughts on “Neo-orthodox?

  1. Excellent choice of pictures — very subtle play on words there. Love it!

    It seems to me that “conservative Christianity”, whatever that actually is, seems to be hellbent (no pun intended) on finding ways to divide and separate.

    Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength? Not good enough. You have to make sure you articulate exactly who God is (i.e., the Trinity) for it to count.

    Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ? Not good enough. You have to make sure you are clear on who Jesus is in relationship to the Father and the Spirit. And make sure you are careful to articulate two natures — fully God, fully man. Don’t get that mixed up, or “it’s a different Jesus”.

    Be filled with the Spirit? Not good enough. You have to make sure that you are clear on the fact that the Spirit is not the Son, nor the Father.

    WHATEVER! I told you in response to your comment on the Driscoll post that I applaud your statements and stand with you. Your perspective illustrates the simplicity of the same kind of faith that was taught in the New Testament, and everything else is ivory tower debate stuff.

    Somehow, in “conservative Christianity”, the answer to the question, “What must I do to be saved” has gotten totally rewritten to be “Believe in the Trinity, exactly as formulated by men of dubious motives several hundred years after the New Testament was written, and you will be saved — unless we figure out some other area in which you probably have it wrong, like penal substitution.”

    Sigh.

  2. When we recognize that we are made in God’s image, then how we understand that image, especially in respect to the nature of the Trinity, it is little surprise that the different stances are defended so fiercely. The implication on our whole way of lives as Christians, in large part, are born out the conception of the Trinity that we hold.

    For those who hold so dearly to a hierarchical expression of the Trinity, the implications of it being otherwise are particularly demanding, thus the energy put into defending it.

    My Orthodox friend would thank Roman Catholicism for introducing the concept, thus giving it something of a historicity that lends itself to credibility. Therefore, it does not seem so “unorthodox” to believe.

    Should they be right, the implications for my own faith and worldview would be devastatingly changed. So while I am convinced of my position based on study, prayer and relationship, I also recognize that there is a great deal at stake, making this issue as much pastoral as it is theological.

    Great post, Grace!

    Peace,
    Jamie

  3. Steve,
    It is interesting to me that the “camp” that would speak so loudly about certainty in doctrinal issues would assume this position that actually stands in opposition to traditional creeds and confessions.

    jamie,
    I am not familiar with the roman catholic position on this issue. It was my assumption that they also followed the doctrine established by Athanasius which did not state hierarchy within the trinity.

    This doctrine, adopted at the Council of Constantinople, made co-equality of the trinity the orthodox position of the church for many years. Because it was before the protestant reformation, I would have thought that this meant the catholic church.

    While the creeds and confessions have established an orthodox position, like many things this is an area where neither side can declare absolute certainty. It does seem disingenuous for the conservative camp to go so far as to call co-equality of the trinity heretical.

  4. A mystery is something that is not fully understood nor can be fully explained. Although many have tried to fully understand and explain the triune Godhead, none have fully succeeded. It still remains a mystery. I think it’s remarkable that Jesus never tried to explain, defend or develop apologetics regarding the mysteries of the faith. He always started from a position that assumed the historical authenticity of scripture and all that is contained in them. The New Testament writers also started from this assumption. The closest they may have come to what we might call apologetics is to use scriptures as evidence for fulfilled prophesy, but they never attempted to defend the validity of the scriptures.

    God revealed the reality of the Trinity at Jesus’ baptism. Jesus assumed and validated the reality of the Trinity when He gave the great commission. He never tried to explain it – He knew that any who believed the good news of the Kingdom would come to understand it in a deeper dimension than that of human reason. “… But God has revealed it to us by His Spirit … not in words taught by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.” (1 Cor. 2:10, 13).

    I believe your stated assessment of the doctrine of the Trinity is very satisfactory and about as close as any will get to defining it. As I read Jesus’ teachings, and the teachings of the writers of the epistles, our focus is to be on the clearest expression of the Godhead – the Lord Jesus Christ. He is God’s ‘final word’ to humanity in this age. (Hebrew 1:1-3)

  5. i can’t speak in theological terms, but it confuses me that this is such a hot button topic. maybe it is because i don’t have a deep theology background that i don’t understand…

    as jamie said, we’re made in god’s image. we (at least most of us) are aware that there are different aspects to ourselves that can be defined, but couldn’t stand alone.

    (i tried to write a good personal example here, but it just came out sounding trite.) the point is that we don’t attempt to separate our distinct parts- body mind soul spirit etc…, yet we have arguments about how to divided and assign dominance to God’s parts- who is far above our understanding? that is an argument i simply won’t have.

  6. ken,
    Good point. The Bible is completely silent on spelling out this mystery, yet it is interwoven throughout scripture.

    cindy,
    The reason it is such a hot button topic boils down to the issue of hierarchy. A view of hierarchy within the trinity creates a platform for doctrines of hierarchy and authority within relationships.

    A view of co-equality within the trinity creates a platform for mutuality within relationships which is the basis of theologies of liberation and social equality.

    In my most biased opinion, those who want to assign dominance to God’s parts also want to assign dominance to other relationships.

    As for the theological stuff, I’ve only studied it enough to determine that
    I am not a heretic.:)

  7. O come on, Grace. Now I have to redraw my orthodoxy chart with you inside the red line instead of outside. You cause us chart drawers no end of grief! You owe me a new pen.

  8. Since the concept and “definition” of the trinity came about at councils well before the schism of Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches and thus very well before the Protestant reformation, I thought pretty much all Christians followed the same “formula” but apparently I thought wrong.
    I guess it’s like Satan’s recycling of the same lies dressed up in different language, “heresy” gets dressed up in the same way and recycled every so many years. Kinda like when Bell-bottoms came back into fashion.

  9. Grace,
    I have a friend who has named (rightly so in my opinion) many of the issues you bring up here “beliefism” which is the worship of right beliefs. I believe it’s called idolatry…

  10. Great point Steve. I am dealing with this issue right now because someone in my church had “ratted me out” for not having a solid trinitarian stance. Because of it, I should not be in any kind of teaching position. It seems faith in Christ alone is not sufficient. :)

    I do tend to see a hierarchy. Paul sets it up fairly regularly. In Corinthians he is rather blunt:

    “Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.”

    It is scriptures like this that make me wonder where Christ does fall in all of this. To me, scripture seems to peg him as more than man but less than God.

    The “mystery” explanation does not hold for me. If it is a “mystery” then it cannot be defined, and therefore we are all out of place if we condemn someone else for seeing the “mystery” differently.

    I am presently comfortable mimicking Peter “He is the Christ, the son of the living God” and leave it at that.

  11. Grace, from my conservative upbringing, I think I can speak correctly in saying that it’s worse than you think. The conservative position actually attempts to have it both ways! The Trinity has a hierarchy within it (i.e., the Son does what the Father commands, and the Spirit proceeds from the Father at the request of the Son, etc.), but they are (a la the so-called Athanasius Creed) “co-equal”.

    Go figure.

  12. Andrew,

    I don’t often get into the minutia of theological structure (it sounds too acedemic), but I would like to address your thought that Jesus seems to be “less than God”. My understanding is that we cannot ‘earn’ restoration to the Kingdom of God (a.k.a. salvation), rather, we inherit it. Without quoting numerous scriptures that refer to this gift as an inheritance, I would rather focus on the method by which we inherited. The book of Hebrews was written specifically to Messianic Jews (if you will) of the first century. They understood the idea of inheritance through covenant much better than most Western Christians of today. In Hebrews 9, the author specifically spells out the process of the inheritance (v.15). Inheritances haven’t changed much even to modern America: The will instructs who (beneficiary) will inherit the estate of the benefactor. The benefactor of the will must be authenticated as the author, and the inheritance is not released until the death of the benefactor is proven (vs. 16, 17). In the case of the Gospel, the inheritance is the Kingdom of God – thus it belongs to God. The will (the scriptures) had to be authenticated as written by the Benefactor, who in this case was God the Holy Spirit speaking through the prophets who penned the will (2 Peter 1:20, 21). Finally, the Benefactor had to die before the inheritance could be distributed. If Jesus is not God the Son (as opposed to the Son of God only), then God did not die, and none can inherit His Kingdom. If this is true, then we are all fools for following such a hollow religion.

    I am curious; If you indeed are stating that you doubt Jesus’ divinity (a fully-God member of the Godhead), then where do you draw your assurance of restoration from?

  13. Ken, I know you were addressing Andrew, but if you don’t mind, I’d like to share a thought with you. My sentiments are rather close to Andrew’s, as expressed here.

    My assurance comes from the fact that God chose Jesus as the anointed one. The statement that I derive this from is in Acts 17 when Paul is proclaiming the truth about the God that was being worshiped as “unknown” in Athens.

    Paul says that reconciliation to God is through “the man whom God chose” and says that God authenticated his choice by raising Jesus from the dead. (Note that Paul doesn’t say anything about Jesus’ divinity in that proclamation. He refers to him as “the man whom God chose”, placing the importance on the Father who is doing the reconciling.)

    What this tells me is that it is the fact that God chose Jesus as the means to reconciliation that is the foundational point of importance. It is not necessarily that Jesus is God that brings us assurance. It is that our Father chose to reconcile the whole world to himself through Jesus (2 Corinthians 5, I believe) — THAT is the good news of the kingdom, and THAT is where my assurance comes from. And that is why I think that debates over the Trinity are rather a moot point.

    Did we need reconciled to the Father? Yes. Did the Father offer a means of reconciliation? Yes. What was that means? Jesus. No man comes to the Father except through Jesus. By placing my faith in Jesus as the means the Father chose for reconciliation, I can be (and am) reconciled to the Father.

    When God made a covenant with Abraham and used an animal as the sacrifice for that covenant ceremony, was the animal God? I think not. Therefore, for a covenant to be made, it is not necessary that God die, as you have said.

    Furthermore, when the prodigal son received his inheritance, the father did not have to die to give that son his inheritance. It would appear from a logical standpoint that death of a benefactor is one possible means of inheritance. However, it is not the only possible means. The benefactor can choose to bestow that inheritance on one, if he so chooses.

    Andrew’s answer may differ, but I wanted to share my thoughts on that.

  14. Steve,

    Well, since you were addressing Ken, who was addressing Andrew … I thought I’d jump in here with a possible clarification or two.

    Comparing the covenant with Abraham with the new covenant in Jesus as you have done here misses some of the flow — a bit of apples and oranges, as it were. Let’s see if I can help any:

    Binding covenants were usually “blood covenants” — with a sacrificial animal’s blood touched by each of the parties to signify “may it be to me as this animal if I prove unfaithful”. God’s presence “passing between the pieces” was God “touching” the blood. (Abraham got enough of the blood on him during the preparation! Although there are those who say that only God bound himself in this covenant. Not going to go there tonight…. )

    The Mosaic covenant is the foreshadow of the New Covenant — with the Passover lamb’s blood on the door posts saving the first born from the Angel of Death in Egypt. And then the whole sacrificial system established as a way to show the cost of atonement for covenant breaking.

    In the New Covenant, the perfect Lamb of God becomes the final sacrifice because God took on human form in Jesus, who became our representative in the covenant — and then became both the covenant-making sacrifice as well as the covenant-breaking sacrifice. All debt, past and future, was pain in full on the cross.

    This is how God, in Jesus, did in fact die on the cross — but, being God, Jesus was resurrected because the grave could not hold him. And that is why the grave will not hold us, either. [Small aside: this is why it didn’t surprise me when Young has Papa sporting nail scars in “The Shack.”]

    As to the prodigal … a father, while still alive, can choose to give the son a sum that would be equivalent to his inheritance (which wouldn’t be all that significant, since he was the younger son) … but that would not represent the distribution of the estate because the terms of the will do not become effective until the death of the benefactor.

    That being said, the book of Hebrews is a very deep study and I have not done it justice. ;)

    …just for what it’s worth!

    Blessings.

  15. grace,

    first of all, i thought the excerpt from your post on the trinity was lovely.

    secondly, that the Father, Spirit & Son are “equal in being, unequal in role” reeks to me of those who say “we are all equal (but i’m just a wee bit more equal than you).” which leads into my comment on the first part of your repsponse to cindy:

    “The reason it is such a hot button topic boils down to the issue of hierarchy. A view of hierarchy within the trinity creates a platform for doctrines of hierarchy and authority within relationships.”

    *Ding, ding, ding!!!* Someone gets a scooby snack! methinks you hit the nail on the head and to show my nerdiness, i will quote Galadriel in LOTR (the fellowship of the ring): “And nine, nine rings were gifted to the race of Men, who above all else desire power.” we desire power…we want to lord it over people (which is something Jesus told us not to do). i’m sure this is a very simplistic view, but i think there is some validity to it. part of the reasoning behind a hierarchical view of the trinity is that we want justification for bossing people around. hey…if there is an authority structure in the trinity and Jesus has to submit God the Father, then surely we can derive a doctorine that calls for (blind) submission to church leadership without question (questioning would be seen as rebellion and we won’t stand for that.)

    anyway…my 2 cents…

  16. Alright this is an interesting topic and I have thought about it quite a bit.

    I believe that the trinity is (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) three different persons in one and are equal. I believe that the trinity is more like three equal individuals sitting at a round table undistinguished of “rank” or hierarchy. They have a relationship that shows no favoritism, and they can’t help but talk about each other. The Father couldn’t help but talk about Jesus, ie. “This is my beloved Son in whom I’m well pleased.” and other examples. When Jesus came all he wanted to do was talk about the Father. And then he couldn’t stop talking about the Spirit. THEN when the spirit came all he ever wanted to do is talk about Jesus. They displayed no form of hierarchy, but rather that they were all equal with different purposes for man kind.

    Put me into egalitarian or whatever I fall into, but I think the danger is putting something we can’t truly understand, God, into a system that we can grasp and understand. I think that it takes away part of God’s character when we try to put Him in a box so we can “figure” him out.

    I mean no disrespect to anyone, but I do think that the bible is clear that God is a trinity, but still mysterious enough to accept it on faith. Remember that we need faith to believe in God because we can’t logically figure everything out.

    A God that is small enough to fit inside our minds is not large enough to fill our needs. – Chuck Missler

  17. Peggy, thanks for your input.

    Maybe I missed part of Ken’s point, but the reason I mentioned the covenant with Abraham was because Ken stated, “They understood the idea of inheritance through covenant…”

    However, I may have missed the point.

    Having said that, I’m still not sure I understand the progression in your point in this paragraph:

    In the New Covenant, the perfect Lamb of God becomes the final sacrifice because God took on human form in Jesus, who became our representative in the covenant — and then became both the covenant-making sacrifice as well as the covenant-breaking sacrifice.

    Can you shed some light on your understanding of Paul’s choice of words in Acts 17 that I mentioned in my previous comment?

    In other words, if God chooses the means toward reconciliation, why must that automatically mean that Jesus is God? And if it means that, why did Paul not deem that important information? He didn’t even refer to Jesus as “God’s Son” most of the time. It was “God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ” in a lot of his references.

    (It’s also significant, I think, to note that with one exception, Paul regularly talks about “God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ” without also mentioning the Spirit in that formulation.)

    Which is why I continue to wonder why the doctrine of the Trinity is sooooooo important for people to debate and hold each other to.

  18. Steve, ya took the words right outta my mouth. Well said! I think we have been so indoctrinated with trinitarian theology that we have a hard time picturing a faith without it. We are taught to believe waayyy before we even begin to understand what is being said.

    I think if I had never heard a trinitarian teaching, I would be hard pressed to come up with that notion through a scripture reading.

    Your point about God selecting someone is reiterated in 1 Cor 15 when Paul said “For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.”

    Paul was ESTABLISHING churches. They were complete newbies. He was setting the foundations of their theology. IF trinitarian acceptance is the pivotal point we are told it is, then Paul left a major gaping hole in his letters.

  19. Steve,

    First of all, I would like to comment on the tenor of those who contribute here at Grace’s blog. Even though there may be disagreement, there always seems to be a respectful attitude. I guess that may be due in a large part to the character of the host …

    Then, I would like to say that I think the topic here isn’t so much about the belief in the Trinity (that is definitely contained in the historical orthodoxy of the church), rather the issue is a hierarchy within the persons of the Trinity. Secondly, the reference you made to Paul’s speech in Acts 17 – I believe he was addressing a group who had absolutely no context for Paul to address Jesus as God the Son. His purpose here was to engage the Athenians in such a manner so as to get them to think about God in a new paradigm. Even so, if you will note in verse 24, Paul says; “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth.” If we allow scripture to interpret itself (and also allow Paul to give further context from a letter to a church who had much more revelation than did the Athenians), we read in Colossians 1:16; “For by Him (Jesus) all things were created: things in heaven and on earth … all things were created by Him and for Him.” If Jesus were but a created man, how could He possibly be the Creator?

    Is the doctrine of the Trinity important? In the context of the Divine Narrative of the scriptures, it is of extreme importance. Jesus is the preeminent and eternal King. He is the express image of the Father (“Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” –John 14:9), He is the great I AM (“Before Abraham was born, I AM!” – John 8:58). He came from eternity, emptied Himself of His privilege of deity, and took the nature of a servant, being made in human likeness (Philippians 2:6-8). There is much more evidence in the scriptures of his deity – these are but a few.

    As to there being a hierarchy in the persons of the Trinity: I wouldn’t rule out the possibility. But, if there is an argument being made for that hierarchy for the purpose of establishing control issues in His church, I would quote Jesus from Matthew 20:25-28; “You know that the ruler of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high official lord it over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

  20. David,
    I’m crushed! You had me outside the line?;)

    inheritor,
    Either position pushed to the extreme would be heresy. The tendency is to assume the other guy is at the extreme end of his position and we are not. And I wonder why we don’t still call them bell-bottoms?

    Rose and Sarah,
    I hear you. However, I believe that the issue of hierarchy within the trinity is a doctrine that will be at the core of future “conservative” and “liberal” doctrinal disagreements.

    Steve,
    The verbal gymnastics around the term equal are interesting.

    davida,
    Exactly! The reason it is an important issue to me is because it is ultimately the core of relationships, whether they are relationships of power or mutuality.

    dustin,
    I liked your circular description of the trinity. That is really the main difference in the two views, whether the relationship is circular of linear.

    steve, ken, andrew, and peggy,
    Trinity is not a biblical term. It is a doctrine that was developed over time. Likewise, our personal theologies develop as we grow in our understanding of God and Scripture. I have no doubt that each of you are sincere in your faith and relationship with Christ.

    You’ve pointed out that there are still variations in trinitarian doctrine among believers, and as many of you have said, it is a mystery that we cannot fully comprehend. It was interesting for me to see the different views.

    For the sake of this discussion, let’s assume the creedal position of the trinity.

    I would like to redirect the comments toward the issue of hierarchy in the trinity and how that relates to the gender issue and the portrayal of the trinity in The Shack.

    Carry on! :)

  21. Sorry to get off-track, Grace :) I guess the point that I was thinking was that because of the issues with the doctrine itself, it amazes me that the doctrine of the trinity is used in any way in discussions about our relationships to each other.

    The relationship of Jesus to the Father (only doing the will of the Father, etc.) seems to me to be a model for our relationship to God, not believer-to-believer.

    But again, I’m sorry for the unintentional sidetrack. :)

  22. Steve,
    No problem. If our understanding is that of a circle of relationships, then with Jesus as our model, we become a part of the circle as co-heirs and sons. Likewise we live to do the will of the Father.

    There is incredible mystery in the fact that the most holy God of the universe, whom we serve as Lord and King, also invites us into this intimate, familial relationship.

  23. Grace,

    “There is incredible mystery in the fact that the most holy God of the universe, whom we serve as Lord and King, also invites us into this intimate, familial relationship.”

    What a great statement. I think this came into such clear focus for me while reading Joseph Myers’ book ‘Organic Comminty’. Joseph presents the Kingdom of God as a great organic emerging community as opposed to a master-planned outcome community. In the chapter on coordination he contrasts the ‘cooperation with the Master-planner’ paradigm with the ‘collaboration with the Creator of organic order’ paradigm. Before reading this chapter, I never deeply considered the fact that God didn’t have a ‘paint-by-number master plan’ for my life, and then it was to be my life-long quest to try to determine what that plan was and then cooperate by placing the proper colors within the proper lines. Rather, He has given me a ‘clean canvass’ of life through Christ, and He invites me to collaborate with Him as to what life-picture will emerge on that canvass. The even more incredible thing is that He invites us to do this as a community. Indeed, it gets messy at times, but it is so much more challenging and fulfilling to be involved in the emerging process of organic order through collaboration than it is to be a pseudo-artist trying to cooperate by filling in the lines that the ‘professional master-planners’ are continually drawing out for us.

    God didn’t create robots, He created people.

  24. Trinity is a term that does not appear in the New Testament – why would we use it?
    PS: I like your understanding of the realationships – by using the term trinity, we come at it with our own faith lens and in trying to give the mystery meaning, I think we in a sense devalue it? – I’m not sure, I will dwell, GREAT POST!!!GREAT COMMENTS!!!

  25. Do you have these conversations IRL Grace? The ONLY place I see this kind of thing is online (or in other reading).

    Very intriguing, both your post and the comment thread. I really don’t have anything other to add other than a “thank you” for helping me think through these thoughts.

  26. Robin,
    We discussed The Shack at book club a couple of months ago and Divine Nobodies last month. Those were interesting conversations.

    Last week, the issue of homosexuals in the church came up in three different, unrelated conversations that I was involved in. The fact that it kept coming up was interesting.

    However, the only place I encounter the complementarian issue is online.

    I have friends at various stages of detox and so I do get to have some of these kind of conversations in real life. Of course the depth of conversation varies depending on who I am with.

    I think my online conversations color some of my real life conversations. I also think that real-life conversations bring balance to some of the ideas that I engage with online.

    I think blogs tend to congregate the kind of people who like to process ideas in writing.

  27. I stumbled upon this by playing the click this link game, and thought I’d add my two cents.

    Of course, then there’s the view that the Trinity, which is a *doctrine* that Church has created, is better understood as merely a symbol by which finite humans can attempt to understand the Infinite.

    That and the Nicene Creed, from which many views of the Trinity have their base, was basically a power grab by the early Church done at the behest of Constantine to snuff out the unorthodox heretics so he could have a unified church and religious legitimizer.

    Certainly, there is great power in the relational view of the Trinity and it shines a great deal of light on how we are to interact with each other. But that power can be corrupted, in tragic irony, to break apart relationships and people, to draw a line between who’s in and who’s out.

  28. Hi unorthodoxology. Power and exclusion do corrupt the ideal of mutual submission and deference modeled by the relationships within the trinity.

  29. This is a great post. I know that the hierarchy view of the Trinity has caused me some hesitation as I moved from a complementarian view to an egalitarian view. So I relate to this personally.

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