A Review and an Evaluation of Diverse Christological Opinions among American Evangelicals: Part 2: The Eternal Role Subordination of the Son -- By: Bill Grover

Journal: Conspectus
Volume: CONSPECTUS 06:1 (Sep 2008)
Article: A Review and an Evaluation of Diverse Christological Opinions among American Evangelicals: Part 2: The Eternal Role Subordination of the Son
Author: Bill Grover


A Review and an Evaluation of Diverse Christological Opinions among American Evangelicals:
Part 2: The Eternal Role Subordination of the Son1

Bill Grover2

Abstract

The writer, himself an American Evangelical, intends to discuss, in three articles, areas in which American Evangelicals disagree about how God the Son relates to God the Father and the meaning and effects of the true humanity and the true deity in Christ. Each position will be defined and exemplified. The rationale offered by proponents of each major position is provided. Evaluations are made. The first article focused primarily on the ancient doctrine of the eternal generation of the Son as held by some American Evangelicals but denied by others. This second article will be used to discuss the issue, within the perimeters of evangelicalism in America, of whether the Son is eternally or temporally only relationally subordinate to God the Father. The final article will be used to address several different understandings within American Evangelicalism regarding incarnational Christology. That article will include meanings given the Kenosis, views about what it means to say that Christ is true Man and true God, and how the two natures in the one Person of Christ relate to each other. Therefore, while this series is certainly connected to more general Trinitarian thought, the articles will be written especially to focus on Christ. Aside from just exposing, perhaps for the first time to some readers, a number of the considerable differences among Trinitarians regarding the doctrines of God and Christ, it is hoped by the writer that these articles might also provide material useful

to some to better understand the blessed Person of Jesus Christ our God, our Lord, and our Savior. To Him be glory forever.

1. Introduction

1.1. Word-Man Christology

Although, as later hopefully will be convincingly shown, eternal relational subordination may not be so easily separable from essential subordination, the issue is said by proponents of the former to be whether the Son as God is eternally and ontologically relationally, but not essentially, subordinate to God the Father or whether the Son only is temporally and economically role subordinate. The important related issue is whether the earthly submission of Christ occurs in Christ’s humanity only or occurs in Christ’s divine nature as well. While the integrity, completeness, and distinctiveness of Christ’s Manhood, and how that relates to Christ’s Godhead, will be discussed more fully in the last article of this series, for now...

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