Friday, September 4, 2015

Tim Keller, Sex, and Eternal Submission Doctrine: Summing up the Sexualization of the Trinity with Shirley Taylor
This series of posts started with a simple reference to my great disappointment in the statements that Tim Keller has made concerning the Trinity.  Someone at Spiritual Sounding Board asked for more information regarding the specifics of what Keller teaches, not realizing how significant I found this question.  I couldn't just quote him without demonstrating that his peers also taught and said the same kinds of things, and I wanted an opportunity to refute them.  As this meme demonstrates, Keller is not some odd example who made a few poorly communicated statements.

These doctrines argue that husbands rule and reign over their wives because, as the teaching asserts, Christ is subordinate to God the Father who rules and reigns over His Son.  The Father is the exemplar for men and the Son is the exemplar for women within this paradigm.

Why it's problematic

If someone's belief enhances their ability to love God and love others as they love themselves, making them good neighbors and with whom most can all live peaceably, it wouldn't matter.  But I believe strongly that the belief system that Keller and his colleagues share deters both the understanding and love of God for the Christian and results in many varieties of harm to all people, especially to women.  The teachings also foster a cruel, gnostic elitism that I've called "survival of the spiritually fittest."  Though we Christians are called to be known by our love for one another, I am still often left speechless at the high degree of cruelty that the gender debate still fosters.

Ideas have consequences, and I find two most troubling consequences that result from these teachings claiming that marital sex concerns and mirrors the life of the Three Divine Persons in the Trinity.  Some engage in this debate because these ideas hinder women from participating in ministry which is troubling enough, but these same ideas are used to dehumanize women which can also result in abuse.  In terms of theology, I'm deeply disturbed by the theological implications.  In effect, they result in a sub-Christian understanding of God's identity which robs Christ of His full deity

An Index to Posts on the Sex and Trinity Connection

The posts that address these issues concerning sex and the way that the developed are explored in the following posts in Five Parts.  They center around Tim Keller's statements, and most include commentary from Shirley Taylor — both from her books and from some of our private exchanges:

I:  Tim Keller on the Meaning of the Sex Act in Marriage

II:  Sex, Tim Keller, and the Replacement of Salvation by Faith

III:  The Genesis of Eternal Subordinationism

IV:  Is the Trinity a Sex Orgy?

V:  The Connection between Marriage and Holiness  (The meaning of Ephesians 5:22-29)

A Quickhand Chart

Here's a chart of the development of these doctrines which are further explored in the posts in this series.  They are critical to understanding the doctrines and the motives of those who teach them.