"Bring me a worm that can comprehend a man, and then I will show you a man that can comprehend the Triune God."- John Wesley link
I had a really interesting post planned for today. It involved John Piper's views on parenting. However, try as I might, I cannot get my mind off of a funeral that I attended a few hours ago. It involved the tragic and senseless death of a deeply committed Christian, beautiful, young woman. As the pastor said, so eloquently, "We should not be here." This horrific tragedy is now being discussed by all of the major national news outlets which makes it even more difficult for the family to grieve in private.
TWW is not linking to the story and would ask that if you figure it out, that you refrain from discussing it in the comment section at this time. The reason that we had to bring this up at all is that we have received several emails calling our attention to the story. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us by email.
After an appropriate amount of time has passed, we will discuss the story. Since the actions of Mr Nobody, as well as Lise's story, TWW has become a bit more high profile in the Raleigh/Triangle area. Neither of us wish to bring any further pain to a grieving family.
In the meantime, please pray for the peace that passes all understanding for the wonderful family of this stellar young woman.
Since I cannot think straight at the moment (I have had tears in my eyes all day), I thought we could continue the discussion on problems with the Eternal Subordination of the Son (ESS). Tim Challies made a cryptic comment regarding Lutherans on one of his posts sometime in the last 6 months. He wondered why he never saw conservative Lutherans participating in the typical Neo-Calvinist groups. I guess that would include The Gospel Coalition, the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, etc.
With that question in mind, I asked a conservative Lutheran theologian what he thought about the conservative Lutheran view of ESS. He said that they would view it as problematic. In other words, it would not be taught as Lutheran theology. He pointed me to the Athanasius Creed as proof of the problem with ESS.
The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod gives an overview of The Athanasius Creed which stresses that its purpose was to marvel at the Trinity.
The Athanasian Creed
The Church’s Confession of the Holy Trinity
Early in the fourth century, a new teaching appeared which claimed that Jesus was not true God. Arius, the north African priest who first proposed this theory, was extremely persuasive, and soon the controversy was so widespread that a church coun- cil was called to settle the matter. Out of that meeting in A.D. 325 came the Nicene Creed, which clearly confesses Jesus to be true God. That creed, which was expanded in A.D. 381 in order to defend the divinity of the Holy Spirit, is still widely used today as a confession of the triune faith.
Despite the clarity of the Nicene Creed, the controversy continued for some time. Toward the end of the fifth century, another creed was written that marveled at the mystery of the Trinity in a way that no creed had ever done. Though attributed to Athanasius, a fourth-century opponent of Arius, this anonymous creed clearly came at a later stage in the debate.
The Athanasian Creed proclaims that its teachings concerning the Holy Trinity and our Lord’s incarnation are the catholic faith. In other words, this is what the true church of all times and all places has confessed. More than 15 centuries later, the church continues to confess this truth, confident that the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, has given himself for our salvation.
Here is The Athanasius Creed as found in the Book of Concord. In order to make the careful reading of this Creed easier online, I have created some spaces within the paragraphs.
The Athanasian Creed
Written against the Arians.
Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.
And the catholic faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is all one: the glory equal, the majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost.
The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Ghost uncreated. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet they are not three Eternals, but one Eternal.
As there are not three Uncreated nor three Incomprehensibles, but one Uncreated and one Incomprehensible. So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Ghost almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties, but one Almighty. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.
So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not three Lords, but one Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by Himself to be God and Lord, So are we forbidden by the catholic religion to say, There be three Gods, or three Lords.
The Father is made of none: neither created nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son: neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is before or after other; none is greater or less than another; But the whole three Persons are coeternal together, and coequal: so that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshiped. He, therefore, that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.
Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe faithfully the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right faith is, that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man; God of the Substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man of the substance of His mother, born in the world; Perfect God and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.
Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood; Who, although He be God and Man, yet He is not two, but one Christ: One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking the manhood into God; One altogether; not by confusion of Substance, but by unity of Person.
For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and Man is one Christ; Who suffered for our salvation; descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead; He ascended into heaven; He sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty; from whence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give an account of their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire.
This is the catholic faith; which except a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved.
I look forward to your insights into this Creed and how it might cause thoughtful Christians to question those who have pushed the doctrine of Eternal Subordination of the Son.