The scholars said Christians disagree about God’s intention for gender relationships in the church and home, but the topic “should be included under the doctrine of humanity and not of the Trinity, since God is neither male nor female.”
A group of evangelical scholars has released a statement labeling an increasingly popular teaching about gender roles a revival of an ancient heresy concerning the nature of God.
Released Nov. 7, “An Evangelical Statement on the Trinity” says a generation of conservative Christian scholars is promoting “subordinationism,” the notion that God the Father is in charge of the Trinity, while Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit have subordinate roles.
Scholars at the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood often apply Christ’s “eternal submission” to family relationships. Just as the Son is coequal with yet subordinate to the Father, they say, woman is created equal to man but has a subordinate role in the home and church.
While that may not seem important to the average layperson, a collection of scholars on both sides of the gender debate deemed it important enough to issue a corrective.
“The doctrine of the Trinity is the foundational doctrine of the Christian faith,” Kevin Giles, author of Jesus and the Father: Modern Evangelicals Reinvent the Doctrine of the Trinity, said in a news release. “No other doctrine is more important. It is ‘our’ distinctive doctrine of God. If we get this doctrine wrong, we are bound to get other doctrines built on it wrong.”
Drafted by William David Spencer, an adjunct theology professor at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary with input from a team of experts, including one-time Baylor professor Millard Erickson and Mimi Haddad of Christians for Biblical Equality, the statement voiced concern “that an ancient mistake was creeping back into conservative Christianity.”
Noting the Bible describes Jesus as “begotten” of the Father, a 4th century cleric named Arius posited there must have been a time when the Son of God did not exist. Jesus, therefore, was not “one” with the Father, but rather subordinate and less than fully divine.