The third part of my series on the recent debates about the eternal subordination of the Son has just been published over on Reformation21.
‘Authority’, employed in such a context, is another term whose very definition seems to preclude Trinitarian equality for many minds. It is telling that, in contrast to others like Ware, ‘authority’ doesn’t really feature in Letham’s account of the eternal relation between the Father and Son. A free submission of the Son may be more congruent with a non-subordinationist account of the Triune relations than an authority-submission pairing, which seems to imply rank, although that suggestion may be firmly resisted. There are more benign definitions of ‘authority’ to be found, but within the subordinationist cast of most ESS positions, they don’t seem to invite themselves (by contrast, New Testament teaching concerning the ‘command’ of the Father in relation to the Son are often more suggestive of the Father giving his full authorization to the Son than merely of the Son being under the Father’s authority). At this point I will note in passing that biblical teaching about the relations between the sexes mentions the submission of the wife on several occasions, but lacks a strong corresponding emphasis upon the husband’s authority over her.
Read the whole thing here.