35. See, for example, Richard and Catherine Kroeger, in the article "Subordinationism" in EDT: They define subordinationism as "a doctrine which assigns an inferiority of being, status, or role to the Son or the Holy Spirit within the Trinity. Condemned by numerous church councils, this doctrine has continued in one form or another throughout the history of the church" (p. 1058, emphasis mine). When the Kroegers speak of "inferiority of...role" they apparently mean to say that any affirmation of eternal subordination in role belongs to the heresy of subordinationism. But if this is what they are saying, then they are condemning all orthodox Christology from the Nicene Creed onward and thereby condemning a teaching that Charles Hodge says has been a teaching of "the Church universal."
Similarly, Millard Erickson, in his Christian Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1983-85), pp. 338 and 698, is willing only to affirm that Christ had a temporary subordination in function for the period of ministry on earth, but nowhere affirms an eternal subordination in role of the Son to the Father or the Holy Spirit to the Father and the Son. (Similarly, his Concise Dictionary of Christian Theology p. 161.)
Robert Letham, in "The Man-Woman Debate: Theological Comment," WTJ 52:1 (Spring 1990), pp. 65-78, sees this tendency in recent evangelical writings as the outworking of an evangelical feminist claim that a subordinate role necessarily implies lesser importance or lesser personhood. Of course, if this is not true among members of the Trinity, then it is not necessarily true between husband and wife either.
36 36. Systematic Theology (3 vols.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970 [reprint; first published 1871-73]), 1:460-62 (italics mine).
37 3 7. Systematic Theology (Valley Forge, Pa.: Judson, 1907), p. 342 (third italics mine).
difference between "person" and "being" in this discussion? How can we say that God is one undivided being, yet that in this one being there are three persons?
First, it is important to affirm that each person is completely and fully God; that is, that each person has the whole fullness of God's being in himself. The Son is not partly God or just one-third of God, but the Son is wholly and fully God, and so is the Father and the Holy Spirit. Thus, it would not be right to think of the Trinity according to figure 14.1, with each person representing only one-third of God's being.
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