Book Reviews -- By: William David Spencer

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 26:4 (Autumn 2012)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: William David Spencer


Book Reviews

William David Spencer

William David Spencer edits Priscilla Papers, serves as Ranked Adjunct Full Professor of Theology and the Arts at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, pastors an urban church in Beverly, Massachusetts, and has authored and edited many books, including Marriage at the Crossroads (InterVarsity, 2009), with his wife Aida and Steve and Celestia Tracy of Mending the Soul Ministries.

The New Evangelical Subordinationism?: Perspectives on the Equality of God the Father and God the Son, Edited by Dennis W. Jowers and H. Wayne House (Wipf and Stock, 2012)

These two new books on the Trinity are not to be missed.

The first may well prove to be the definitive contemporary reader on the debate over whether the Trinity is stratified according to rank or not—God being equal in substance and equal in rank, authority, and glory or eternally differentiated in these aspects, a difference that may or may not reflect in human relations.

Editors Dennis Jowers and H. Wayne House have assembled an impressive list of scholars with egalitarian and hierarchical stances on the Trinity (which may not duplicate each one’s views of human gender relationships) and have worked tirelessly to ensure the accuracy of the words expressed, taking the authors through a number of careful revisions and constant checking and double-checking of sources, citations, and ideas. Difficult to express is the debt readers owe the editors for the painstaking efforts they expended to ensure the volume expressed exactly what each author intended to say.

The book opens with a valuable preface by the editors that outlines the heart of each chapter, creating a brief primer which is particularly helpful for new readers just entering the debate to grasp the key issues and understand the various viewpoints in contention before venturing into the position arguments proffered by a number of prominent figures.

Particularly of interest to CBE readers is Phillip Cary’s “The New Evangelical Subordinationism: Reading Inequality into the Trinity,” which first appeared in Priscilla Papers (vol. 20, no. 4 [Autumn 2006]) and won a 2006 Evangelical Press Association first-place award for excellence. Other chapters from an evangelical egalitarian perspective include Linda Belleville’s “’Son’ Christology in the New Testament,” Keith E. Johnson’s linking of St. Augustine’s defense of equality within the Trinity with his equal insistence on the eternal generation of the Son from the Father (please note the book review that follows this one), and the newest version of “An Evangelical Statement of the Trinity,” which was composed by the present writer in c...

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