Sunday, May 24, 2020

Trump: Religious services are essential

US President Donald Trump is not a very righteous man. However, in this COVID-19 crisis, he has done a great thing in one of his most recent speeches, where he declared churches essential:

Churches are essential because God is essential. It is way past time for the secularist totalitarians to stop imposing their irreligion upon the rest of us who disagree with their privitization of religion. And shame on those so-called evangelicals who have no issue with and are happy to tolerate the secular privitization of religion.

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

CBMW book review: Aimee Byrd's "Recovering from Biblical Manhood and Womanhood"

Over at the CBMW (Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) website, Andrew David Naselli has written a review of Aimee Byrd's new book Recovering from Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. An excerpt:

John Piper and Wayne Grudem edited Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood in 1991, and now Aimee Byrd has written Recovering from Biblical Manhood and Womanhood some thirty years later. Byrd, an influential author, speaker, blogger, and podcaster, claims to be recovering from so-called “biblical manhood and womanhood.” For the past several years on her podcast and blog, Byrd has been criticizing the version of complementarianism that leaders such as John Piper teach. (The term complementarianism summarizes the theological view of the Danvers Statement and conveys that men and women are both equal in value and dignity and beneficially different.) Byrd has developed and expanded those critiques in her latest book.

[more ...]

Whatever one thinks of the topic of complementarianism, the main thing to take note is that one should properly represent one's opponent(s). And that is one virtue of which Byrd shows a shocking lack. From the review, it seems that Byrd misrepresents her opponents regularly, which is not surprising seeing how impervious to correction she is online. Misrepresentation, especially willful misrepresentation, is a violation of God's law, specifically the ninth commandment.

As it pertains to the ESS controversy of 2016, this is what Naselli wrote, after saying that he disagrees with ESS:

1. Byrd misrepresents the eternal relations of authority and submission view when she writes, “This doctrine teaches that the Son, the second person of the Trinity, is subordinate to the Father, not only in the economy of salvation but in his essence” (101). Grudem and Ware and others who hold to eternal relations of authority and submission would not affirm that statement; they would explicitly reject it.

2. Byrd misrepresents the motives of those who teach this view when she asserts that they employ “an unorthodox teaching of the Trinity, the eternal subordination of the Son (ESS), in order to promote subordination of women to men” (100). But the motive for such a teaching is to elevate women and dignify the submission that God calls them to. The motive for such a teaching is to attempt to explain and apply passages about authority and submission such as 1 Corinthians 11:3: “I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.”

3. Byrd implies that theologians such as Grudem and Ware are heretics and thus not genuine Christians. She argues that such theologians hold unorthodox teachings “on a first-order doctrine,” (121) and that they are “unorthodox teachers that are not in line with Nicene Trinitarian doctrine” (173). But the eternal relations of authority and submission position that Grudem and Ware defend is not heresy.

4. Byrd repeatedly writes (especially in ch. 4—pp. 99–132) as if the eternal relations of authority and submission position that Grudem and Ware defend is essential to complementarianism. I understand why some might assume it is essential since Grudem is a leading proponent of complementarianism. But some complementarians intensely criticized Grudem and Ware on this matter, and most complementarians realize that Grudem and Ware made some theological missteps—even Grudem and Ware acknowledge that! More importantly, complementarianism does not stand or fall regarding whether the eternal relations of authority and submission view is true. That view is not part of the Danvers Statement, which states what all complementarians affirm. Complementarianism is not intrinsically tied to that particular view of the Trinity.

While I myself do not agree with Grudem and Ware's formulation of ESS, it is truly astonishing to see all the misrepresentation on this issue. The fact is this: ESS (of any form) does not postulate submission or subordination of any person of the Godhead in the essence of the Godhead. Whoever says otherwise is lying and has to repent.

Now that Byrd's views are stated in black and white, there is a public record of what she has to say about the issue, and anyone is free to read it and see whether she has truly proven her case. For those on her side however, it is unlikely that they will actually interact with Naselli's review in a fair manner. After all, if they have continually misrepresented ESS for years, why would they suddenly swallow their egos and confess their sin and error in this matter?