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Updates on the Trinity and Complementarian Theology

Kevin Giles has been writing for the past 20 years about how some Complementarians have been rewriting the doctrine of the Trinity.

It seems finally the gravity of this problem is sinking in.

Scot McKnight has discussed Kevin's latest book here.

An excerpt for your interest:

"Kevin Giles, who all along has been calling out Grudem and Ware and others, both was the first to call them out and now has written a small engaging account called The Rise and Fall of the Complementarian Doctrineof the Trinity. He has issued statement after statement but the authorities in the complementarian movement denounced him, ignored him, and therefore silenced him. But when the Reformed lights... came to his side, defended him, and denounced the inadequate and wrong-headedness of Grudem and Ware, the jig was up and suddenly Giles was no longer the bad guy. They will still largely ignore him, but the truth is out."
Last year Christianity Today did a fairly cutting expose of the motivations an…

Trinitarian Love

Some scientifically-minded atheists believe matter and energy just happened, that forming complex molecules just happened, and that these molecules just happened to form human life eventually. We are nothing but matter and energy and accident.

Some Deists believe that there was a Mind behind the universe. That there was some kind of Intelligence behind the physical constants that make matter possible, and the properties of atoms that make life possible. They believe that Something kick-started the universe.

Christians believe the ultimate reality is not only powerful but personal.

John once wrote the startling words:

"God is love".*

Not just that God is loving. Not just that God feels love.

But that God's very nature is love.

As early Christian theologians pondered Jesus' command to baptise in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, they developed a startling idea... that God is three persons living in an eternal relationship of love.

Human beings - those…

Ambiguous Words

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Margaret Mowczko has written an excellent article on the possible range of meanings of "authentein" in I Timothy 2:12. Indeed, there are multiple reasons why this is a complex and ambiguous passage.

Likewise kephale (or head) has a range of possible meanings.

A helpful principle in interpreting the bible is to avoid creating some kind of law out of ambiguous words (or metaphors, idioms, etc.)

There are some things in the bible about which we can be quite clear.

The idea of "male headship" is not one of those things.

The idea that women cannot teach men is not one of those things.

Are my thoughts unambiguous enough?







Precedent to Precept

Biblical hermeneutics (for those who like throwing big words into conversations) is the art and discipline of interpreting scripture.

The bible is a complex book, having been written over many centuries, in different cultures, in different places, and in different languages. Scholars study other texts written in similar places and times to get clues as to what certain words might mean. They investigate cultural practices, and styles of literature / oral traditions operating when the bible was written, to help us understand what the original authors might have intended to convey.

We need to approach interpreting the biblical texts with a degree of humility. We also need to note that the scriptures are not “flat”’ some texts carry more weight than others. Jesus noted:

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should…

Some Thoughts to An Angry Agnostic

Have you ever encountered a hostile online (or real-life) atheist/agnostic who heaps rage and scorn upon religious people?

I have met such people. I once foolishly pointed out on an atheist blog that the post contained factual errors. I was promptly described as a #%*&ing moron. Charming.

Whenever dealing with any angry person, it’s wise to ask whether there is a story behind the anger. To ask whether something bad happened to them, or to someone they care about. Many people do have a painful experience they are more than willing to share, and do appreciate being heard.

However, some hostile people relish debate as a point-scoring exercise, seemingly to elevate their own sense of self-importance. It feels to me like stereotypical male undergraduate behaviour*… though some people in their 70’s have maintained this level of psycho-spiritual development. Others are more like emotional two-year-olds. (But I digress).

Some hostile people are just bullies; they relish the opportunity to…

Eternal Subordination?

Dear Complementarian Friend,

In my last post, I wrote from the perspective of a minister and church leader, concerned about the impact on the church of proclaiming certain views about women.

For this one, I’d like to put on my theological hat.

The whole term "Complementarian" has been around for 30 years, as a reaction to some evangelicals promoting equality for women in marriage and in the church. The counter-arguments (and the torrents of books and articles) began in earnest.

It seems to me these Complementarian arguments are on a sliding scale of merit.

Some appeal to biology (“men and women are biologically different, and reflect different roles... that doesn’t make them unequal”). Some appeal to proof texts (“wives, submit to your husbands”). Some appeal to biblical precedent (“the twelve apostles were all men”) (1) Some appeal to church tradition… and a mixture of all of this and more. I can discuss such things civilly, I hope. (2)

But there is a Complementarian argu…