Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Drawing Lines in the Sand Regarding Trinity and Gender

I’ve received all kinds of email today from a variety of people alerting me to two Dallas newspapers that have written about my patriarchy workshop. I find it ironic because I solicited none of this attention. I’m not sure if this article appeared in print or not, but the Dallas Observer published a web article by Julie Lyons entitled Baptist Seminary President Says Women Shouldn’t Teach Men. (Please visit and note a clarification that I make in the comments section. I am attributed with stating that contraception is always prohibited, but I have only ever stated that it is the official and formal position of Vision Forum Ministries that birth control is “strongly discouraged.” Please refer to the video presentation for clarification as well.)

Just this morning, Jeffrey Weiss of The Dallas Morning News posted a religion blog article entitled Is Jesus subordinate to God and if so, how, and if so, does that mean that women are subordinate to men? Approximately thirty minutes later, Denny Burk of the CBMW posted this response:

I am the editor for the Journal of Biblical Manhood & Womanhood, so I follow these discussions pretty closely. The issue of women's roles is inextricably bound up with how we view the Trinity because the Apostle Paul likens male headship to God's headship over Christ (1 Corinthians 11:3). Thus when you read evangelical literature on the "women's issue," debates about the nature of the Trinity abound.
There are two views that prevail among evangelicals: Complementarianism and Egalitarianism. Both of these group believe in biblical inspiration (and in some cases inerrancy), but they differ dramatically over what the Bible teaches on this question.
For an overview of the two viewpoints, you can get oriented here:
Denny Burk

I wonder why Denny Burk didn’t mention the more specific points of his belief system in this comment? As was once available on the CBMW website, Denny Burk gave an address to the Evangelical Theological Society in 2003 where he argues that though found in the form of God, Jesus was not equal with God:

From Denny Burk’s address
to the Evangelical Theological Society, 2003:
Clip One
"I would like to propose an interpretation that allows for equality with God to be a reality that is distinct from the form of God. What I mean is that although Jesus existed in the form of God, He did not want to grasp after being equal with God.
That is, although He was in His essence, God, he did not want to become equal with God in every respect…"

Clip Two“The form of God is something that Jesus possesses by virtue of His deity while the equality with God is not.”
Clip Three
“In His pre-existent, Trinitarian fellowship with the Father, Jesus decided not to go after equality, but to go after incarnation.”

Denny Burk and other speakers and contributors to CBMW do not just maintain that gender roles are inextricably bound to the Trinity, but many of their contributors believe that Jesus is of lesser authority than the Father. Denny Burk takes this further actually state that Jesus is not equal to the Father, and that Jesus was essentially “growing” into His Deity through time. Equality with God and the incarnation are mutually exclusive attributes that required a permanent choice on the part of Jesus.

Thanks to Cheryl Schatz for providing these audio clips of the pertinent statements from an ETS lecture that CBMW removed from their downloadable resources.

Cheryl is currently producing a video highlighting these teachings regarding the Trinity, the gender debate, and this relatively new idea that a diminished Jesus in Trinity exemplifies a submission hierarchy role for women. MM Outreach, a ministry in Canada that started in the apologetics area by ministering the Truth of the Gospel to Jehovah's Witnesses recently lost its charitable status. Due to a stronger shift in the Canadian government to tighten down tax exemptions for religious charities, the activities of the counter-cult apologetics ministries of MacGreggor Ministries and JW Info Line (Cheryl's ministry partners) were deemed to be non-charitable earlier this year. Please pray for Cheryl, Lorri McGreggor and their families as they go through this difficult transition and consider supporting them financially if you are able.