Response To Michael Bird And Robert Shillaker: The Son Is Not Eternally Subordinated In Authority To The Father -- By: Kevin Giles

Journal: Trinity Journal
Volume: TRINJ 30:2 (Fall 2009)
Article: Response To Michael Bird And Robert Shillaker: The Son Is Not Eternally Subordinated In Authority To The Father
Author: Kevin Giles


Response To Michael Bird And Robert Shillaker: The Son Is Not Eternally Subordinated In Authority To The Father

Kevin Giles

Kevin Giles, an Australian, is an ordained Anglican minister who was in full-time parish ministry for forty years and now works part time in a parish, writes, and lectures.

I was pleased to open the 2008 fall edition of Trinity Journal and find an extended discussion on the controversial issue of the eternal subordination of the Son in authority by Michael F. Bird and Robert Shillaker, mainly critically assessing my writings on the Trinity.1 What I have wanted to do most of all in my publications in recent years is to engage evangelicals in reflection on the doctrine of the Trinity and on thinking about the relation of the Bible to the creeds and confessions. In seeking to discover and clarify what exactly the Bible and the confessional standards teach on the Trinity, nothing compares with open and honest debate. I was particularly pleased on reading this essay to note its gracious and reasoned tone and in particular that my critics exonerated me rightly from the charge of modalism. I was also pleased to note that they agree with me in arguing that the Trinity should not be used to justify and ground any view of the man-woman relationship. What did not please me was in seeking to refute my case that historic orthodoxy rejects with one voice the eternal subordination in authority of the Son, they either get what I say wrong, distort what I say, do not note that I address the questions they put to me, or fail to make clear that several important points they make are ones that reflect almost word for word my conclusions.2

With them I completely agree on the gravity of the issue before us evangelicals. The doctrine of the Trinity is nothing less than the distinctive Christian doctrine of God. Thus the Trinity is the foundational doctrine of the faith. Evangelicals would not want to find that some of their best known leaders were in error on this of all

doctrines. In my book Jesus and the Father3 I plead with my fellow evangelicals to work out first of all, completely independently of any concerns about the relationship of the sexes, what exactly is the orthodox Christian doctrine of God.4 I give the warning that commitment to women’s subordination or social equality can be so powerful that it can blind the committed from honestly and dispassionately considering the evidence. I plead again for this approach, o...

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