Trinity made in the USA

Jesus and the FatherJesus and the Father: Modern Evangelicals Reinvent the Doctrine of the Trinity by Kevin N. Giles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Many conservative evangelicals have been teaching that Christ was always submissive to the Father from eternity past, before the creation of the world. As Giles points out, their rejecting aspects of Arianism does not absolve them of the subordinationist error inherent in that teaching. He cites the Athanasian Creed as a clear witness to Scripture’s condemnation of all forms of subordinating the Son to the Father apart from the Son’s human nature:

“Accordingly there is one Father and not three Fathers, one Son and not three Sons, one Holy Spirit and not three Holy Spirits. And among these three persons none is before or after another, none is greater or less than another…”

According to Giles, those evangelicals interpret 1 Corinthians 11:3 to teach the subordination of the Son to his Father, even before becoming a man, in order to support the submission of wives to their husbands. Ironically, Giles’s opposition to that subordinationist error may have led him to a different Trinitarian error. Perhaps in unguarded statements, he seems to teach that the now-exalted Christ, in his human nature, is no longer subordinate to the Father. That is also clearly condemned by the Creed:

“…our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is at once God and man … equal to the Father with respect to his Godhead and inferior to the Father with respect to his manhood.”

Giles, at least in this book, failed to affirm the inferiority of Christ with respect to his human nature. By making such an affirmation, he could have more consistently followed his wise advice to echo Scripture’s clear teaching on the Trinity without being clouded by social agendas.

[Quotations of the Creed are from Tappert, T. G. (2000, c1959). The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (The Three Universal or Ecumenical Creeds: III, 1-40). Philadelphia: Fortress Press.]

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