The Eternal Subordination of the Son Controversy: 7. Reconciling Scripture and Dogma

1. The Debate So Far
2. Survey of Some Relevant Material
3. Subordination
4. The Need for Trinitarian Clarity (Part 1)
5. The Need for Trinitarian Clarity (Part 2)
6. The Tension Between Bible and Doctrine

The seventh part of my treatment of the eternal subordination of the Son debate has just been published over on Reformation21. In the post I discuss ways in which the often strained relationship between biblical scholarship and systematic theology could be improved.

What is required is, I believe, a marked shift of posture from many dogmaticians in their relation to Scripture, and most particularly in relation to the doctrine of the Trinity. The relationship that dogmaticians have all too often maintained between Scripture and the doctrine of the Trinity has been one overly mediated by the ‘proof-text’. The purpose of the ‘proof-text’ is primarily and narrowly the justification of Trinitarian doctrine itself. The concept and the practical functioning of proof-texts can encourage a perception of Trinitarian doctrine as akin to a large balloon tethered to the earth by slender cords, each of which must be guarded at all costs.

Such an approach focuses our attention upon isolated texts and concentrates our efforts upon the task of finding the doctrine in the Scriptures, conceived of as a collection of individual texts. However, this is, I believe, the wrong place and manner to look. As I mentioned in a previous article in this series, the doctrine of the Trinity isn’t primarily seen at odd points in the text, but through the text in its entirety. It is not so much about particular pieces in the jigsaw puzzle, as it is about the picture on the front of the box. Although reflection upon individual texts is a necessary part of this recognition process, they are, as it were, only footholds on a climb to a commanding vantage point from which the whole terrain of biblical revelation unfolds as a vast and glorious vista beneath us.

Read the whole thing here.

About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
This entry was posted in Bible, Controversies, Guest Post, Hermeneutics, NT, NT Theology, OT, OT Theology, Scripture, Theological. Bookmark the permalink.

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