An Extended Review Of “One God In Three Persons: Unity Of Essence, Distinction Of Persons, Implications For Life” Edited by Bruce Ware and John Starke (Crossway, 2015) -- By: Kevin Giles

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 30:1 (Winter 2016)
Article: An Extended Review Of “One God In Three Persons: Unity Of Essence, Distinction Of Persons, Implications For Life” Edited by Bruce Ware and John Starke (Crossway, 2015)
Author: Kevin Giles


An Extended Review Of “One God In Three Persons: Unity Of Essence, Distinction Of Persons, Implications For Life”
Edited by Bruce Ware and John Starke (Crossway, 2015)

Kevin Giles

Wayne Grudem says that for twenty-five years he has believed that how the Trinity is understood “may well turn out to be the most decisive factor in finally deciding” the bitter debate between evangelicals about the status and ministry of women.1 This is encouraging to hear, because Grudem and many of his fellow complementarians have got the doctrine of the Trinity completely wrong. On the status and ministry of women they can quote verses in support of their position, and egalitarians can quote verses in support of their position, and so we end up in a text jam without an external adjudicator to say who is right or wrong. But with the Trinity it is different. The doctrine of the Trinity is exactly and unambiguously defined by the ecumenical creeds and the Reformation and post-Reformation confessions, enunciated in detail by the great Trinitarian theologians of the past such as Athanasius, the Cappadocian fathers, Augustine, Aquinas, and Calvin, and spelled out carefully today in the numerous scholarly books on the history of the development of the doctrine of the Trinity.2 Thus what each side is claiming to be the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity can be evaluated against evidence; the facts of the matter can be checked. Both sides cannot be right. After debating with my complementarian friends on the Trinity for more than fifteen years in numerous publications, I am more than ever convinced that the complementarians are the ones who have it wrong—dead wrong. The creeds, the confessions, and virtually all the great theologians of the past and present reject completely any hierarchical ordering in divine life.

Before turning to the essays in the book One God in Three Persons, I want to say that the reason given by the editors for publishing the book is fallacious. It is written, we are told, to challenge those who “view the Trinity as a model for evangelical egalitarianism.”3 The fact is, however, appeal to the Trinity by evangelical egalitarianism is rare.4 Virtually every evangelical egalitarian book on the status and ministry of women primarily appeals to scripture, saying nothing at all about the Trinity. In the definitive summary of the evangelical egalitarian position given by Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE) the Trinity is not mentioned.5 Similarly the definitive book of essays outlining the evangelical egalitarian case, <...

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