Monday, August 24, 2015

Who put Jesus in a dress? The Insane Theology of the Eternal Subordination of the Son Doctrine
Shirley Taylor is revising her first book, but I wanted to revisit it in the event that this portion changes. 

I still can hardly believe that anyone takes this Subordination doctrine seriously at all, especially the alleged ramifications that it holds for gender relationships.  I wandered into a seminary a number of years ago and challenged doctrines that I could barely believe that anyone took seriously and found out in a most unpleasant way that it was one of the hottest topics within the Southern Baptist Convention.

I've heard rumors that many who claim to embrace gender roles and female subordination actually reject the idea that these roles and relationships find their origins in the Trinity -- a mystery of religion in and of itself.  But who knows.  Follow the money, I say.  When it completely stops bringing in the bucks, they'll abandon the concept and come up with some new kind of spin to make their concept try to work.   I'm still in awe that seminaries full of Christians can sit and listen to this, saying nothing.

This excerpt was taken from Taylor's 2013 book, "Dethroning Male Headship."  It's located in the Kindle Version at Locations 1630 through 1651:

Kevin Giles, renowned Anglican priest, theologian, and author of The Trinity and Subordination, counters complementarian teaching with this statement, “To bolster support for this “great cause” (the permanent subordination of women), the doctrine of the Trinity has been redefined and reworded to give evangelical who has written in support of the eternal subordination of the Son is committed to the permanent subordination of women in the church and the home. This agenda is what drives them to advocate the eternal subordination of the Son.” 1

Cindy Kunsman wrote, “It’s not enough to just slam women but complementarians are so motivated by the woman problem, they will put Jesus in a dress and make Him out to be the eternal slave— a special purpose God. The one Divine Person who actually had a physical body that was male is given the “role” that is synonymous with women. In that sense, they put him in a dress. Even on that level, what sense does this teaching make? The one man who was a man is likened by analogy to a woman. The one who is given the pre-eminence in all things is secondary in power. Why?” 2

She was referring to Bruce Ware and his teaching that Jesus is in eternal submission to the Father. This theology is used to explain why women must submit to their husbands. It is the theology that is being taught to young future preachers at Southern Baptist seminaries.

Ware explains a portion of the Eternal Son Subordination theory in The Father the Son and the Holy Spirit the Trinity as theological foundation for family ministry, “In addition, just as the husband’s thoughtful and loving headship should reflect Christ’s relationship to the church (Eph 5: 25– 27, 31– 32), so the wife’s glad-hearted and consistent submission should reflect the church’s privilege of absolute submission before the lordship of the Messiah (Eph 5: 24, 31– 32).

Therefore, the type of submission a wife is called to render to her husband is joyful and glad-hearted.” He goes on to say, “Just as God calls all of us to submit to authority with whole heart and willing spirit, so this special calling and privilege is given to wives as a reflection of the triune relations within the Godhead.”  3

Ware’s explanation reduces our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to that of a slave to the Father (absolute submission), and demotes Christ. Complementarians who teach this theology keep getting confused about the wife’s role. In this particular comment by Ware, the husband represents both Jesus and God, while the wife represents the church. Again, it is a mystery where the Holy Spirit fits into this triune relationship.


1 Giles, Kevin. The Trinity and Subordinationism: The Doctrine of God and the Contemporary Gender Debate (InterVarsity, 2002) and Jesus and the Father: Modern Evangelicals Reinvent the Doctrine of the Trinity (Zondervan, 2006)

2  Kunsman, Cynthia, (private communication)

3  Ware, Bruce. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit: The Trinity as Theological Foundation for Family Ministry. Implications for Husbands and Fathers. http:// family/ blog/ the-father-the-son-and-the-holy-spirit-the-trinity-as-theological-foundation-for-family-ministry/