Does the Trinity Prove Anything about Gender? Not Much

Amid all the arguments among Christians regarding the roles of men and women in home, church, and society, one of the most prominent nowadays is the argument from the Trinity, namely, that the way the persons of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) relate and are related to each other tells us something important about how men and women are related and ought to relate to each other.

And no wonder some argue this way. What a trump card! “Our view of gender is rooted in the very nature of God!”

The first troubling thing to notice here, however, is that this argument is deployed by both complementarians/patriarchalists and egalitarians/feminists.

Complementarians argue that the members of the Trinity are indeed co-equal, as the Nicene Creed makes clear, but also that the Son and Spirit willingly submit to the Father, and the Spirit humbly bears witness, not to himself, but to the Son. Thus, the argument continues, women can submit to men, as they ought to do (which is a point argued on other grounds) without feeling automatically devalued.

Egalitarians argue from the co-equality of members of the Trinity to the opposite conclusion. They say that the members of the Trinity do play different roles, but none of them dominates the others. Indeed, they are all involved in all aspects of divine work, from creation through redemption to consummation, in an interplay of mutual joy and cooperation.

For my part, feminist/egalitarian that I am, I think the complementarians get the better of this sort of argument. The Father is always pictured in the Bible in the supreme position and never “rotates off” that position for another member of the Trinity. The Son always is pictured as deferring to the Father, and the Spirit is sent by the Father in the name of the Son, and delights in drawing attention to the Son, not to himself

But my complementarian friends are getting the better of what is, in fact, a pretty useless argument.

The problem I have with the complementarian reference to the Trinity is that it is a bad theological move to attempt—by anyone, on any side of this issue.

For one thing, the Trinity is/are three and when it comes to gender we are instead talking about two. So the parallel is not neat, which may suggest that it’s not a parallel at all.

For another thing, the divine Father and Son are depicted as, yes, two males, and even the Biblical pronouns for the Spirit are masculine—even though our theology reminds us that God is not actually male. So there is no connection between hierarchy and gender in the Trinity, no female/feminine person submitting to a male/masculine person. Again, the parallel is not at all exact, which may suggest that it’s not a parallel at all.

Finally, it is Genesis 1 that introduces human beings—male and female—as created in the image of God. And in this passage there is no reference to the Trinity as implying anything about gender—nor does any other Bible passage so argue.

(The one text that comes to mind—although it doesn’t mention the Trinity or the Holy Spirit either—is I Corinthians 11. But this is a notoriously obscure passage, what with head coverings, angels, and other complications of what might seem initially to be a nice, clear hierarchy. Just what Paul is arguing and just what he is trying to get the Corinthians to do as a result has occupied commentators for two thousand years. Maybe the complementarians are right about this one, but it’s not exactly a transparent case.)

So all that the complementarians are incontrovertibly left with is a Trinity that “proves” that hierarchy sometimes can be a good thing and can be present among equals. And we all already knew that.

You don’t need to probe the mysteries of the Godhead to show what any sports team, or large business, or military unit already shows you: some groups do better when they are arranged hierarchically even among members of equal dignity. And some don’t. The End.

Many theologians (I among them) strongly endorse circumspection when it comes to the attempt to use one of the great mysteries of the faith—the internal life of God in the Trinity—to shed light on some other doctrine. Some doctrines do require deployment of the doctrine of the Trinity to understand them properly—most notably Christology, soteriology, and pneumatology. But the question of gender seems to be one of those theological subjects not much improved by reference to the Trinity—as is evidenced by the fact that everyone seems to be able to selectively access this doctrine in the interest of contradictory understandings of gender.

In short, I find this whole line of theological reasoning unhelpful to an investigation of gender. There are lots of good arguments to consider on both sides. But this isn’t one of them.

*****************

(I offer my own set of arguments in Finally Feminist: A Pragmatic Christian Understanding of Gender, from which this post is revised.)

0 Responses to “Does the Trinity Prove Anything about Gender? Not Much”

  1. Matt Walsh

    Prof. Stackhouse:

    Just curious as to what you mean by “even the Biblical pronouns for the Spirit are masculine”?

  2. Matt Walsh

    My question above is a prime of example of what happens when you read and interact with anything when tired: in my sleepy fog I read “words” instead what is written (“pronouns”), which was making me scratch my head because pneuma = neuter; ekeinos = masculine. I realized my mistake almost immediately after I submitted the comment. I’m impressed at your speedy reply!!

    Thanks for the blog. I was a student at Acadia Div College when you delivered the Hayward lectures in ’04. Finally Feminist has been a breath of fresh air to many (especially those of us who grew up in PB assemblies.)

  3. John Stackhouse

    Thanks, Brother Matt. I did wonder why you were asking, and now all is clear.

    (Oh, wouldn’t it be great if that were true: “ALL is clear”!)

  4. Phil Gons

    Matt and John,

    I had the same question regarding John’s statement “even the Biblical pronouns for the Spirit are masculine.”

    This is not the case, unless you’re referring to modern English translations. The Greek text always uses neuter pronouns when the antecedent is the neuter Greek word πνεῦμα. The times a masculine pronoun is used (e.g., ἐκεῖνος in John 14, 15, 16), the antecedent is not the neuter πνεῦμα but the masculine παράκλητος.

  5. Matt Walsh

    As Phil points out,”all is not clear.” (e.g., the neuter pronoun auto is used to refer to the spirit), However, even in the John spirit passages there seems to be some use (e.g., 16:13) of ekeinos where “spirit of truth” and not paraklhtos is the closer antecedent (?) What do you think?

  6. dan

    Dr. Stackhouse,

    While I agree that the doctrine of the Trinity is rather useless when it comes to discussions of gender, I wonder if you would argue that we should employ the same circumspection when engaging social issues more broadly. For example, while I would reject the application of a trinitarian model to issues of gender, I would accept the application of a (certain) trinitarian model to social relations more broadly (as an aside, it is interesting to note that Boersma does precisely the opposite of this — he rejects social trinitarianism while accepting the model of the ‘eternal subordination of the Son’ as a model for the subordination of women to men; truly an odd position, IMO!).

    Grace and peace.

  7. John Stackhouse

    Thanks to Brothers Phil and Matt for sharpening up my reference to pronouns in the Greek. I should have made the point they are making: neuter or masculine, depending on the situation. English-language translators opt for masculine pronouns even when the antecedent is a neuter noun, I believe, out of concern to maintain the idea that the Holy Spirit is personal, and we don’t have a personal neuter pronoun in English. But I’m not sure I’d want to defend that practice indefinitely, especially if we can become open to a personal “it,” which might be a better way to refer to the Holy Spirit. Anyhow, thanks for making the point clear, guys.

    Brother Dan, I need more help from you regarding social Trinity and social relations before I can respond. What specifically do you have in mind?

    And thanks for your encouragement, Brother Roger! (That’s a lovely avatar of you, by the way.)

  8. dan

    Dr. Stackhouse,

    Stated in an overly simplistic manner, I find the social trinitarianism expressed by people like Moltmann to be rather convincing (there are, of course, some necessary provisoes, but I’m being overly simplistic!). Basically, I think that the notion of a perichoretic relationality of mutual giving and receiving, wherein the other becomes the extension of my own liberty (and not the limit thereof) is a trinitarian model that also applies to social relations between people. What say you?

  9. Matt Walsh

    Prof. Stackhouse,

    As trinitarians I think the idea of a “personal it” is a good one – but the Spirit is already neglected and so impersonal in a lot of evangelical circles that it might be a dangerous idea, too.

  10. John Stackhouse

    Brother Dan, I’m still not clear what particular point you want to make. If, perhaps, you’re saying that the members of the Trinity have a relationship of mutuality of interest and activity, or perhaps instead you’re saying that their identity is mutually constituted in relationship, then, sure, that relates to us.

    But it’s not obvious, to me, at least, how it relates to us. For God is three-in-one, and we’re a bunch of “ones” who then relate to other “ones.”

    Furthermore, and in the spirit of the original post, we shouldn’t have to invoke the internal relations of the Trinity to make the rather basic points about mutuality of interest and identity or of our partial social constitution, should we?

    I think the Bible gives us lots to go on about how we should relate to each other without having to tie it somehow to the internal life of God. The Trinity is, after all, the very definition of a mysterious location in which to root ideas we can root more clearly and straightforwardly in Biblical anthropology.

    I confess I have never understood the contemporary trend/fad of accessing the Trinity to make points that can be much less speculatively made on other grounds…

  11. dan

    Dr. Stackhouse,

    My apologies for being unclear. I wasn’t intending to make a point; I was intending to ask a question. In particular, I wondered if you thought that your remarks about applying the doctrine of the Trinity to gender issues, applied, mutatis mutandis, to other social applications of this doctrine.

    However, seeing as you have now answered this question (by suggesting that, although it is not the most obvious, or the most desired, doctrine to which we could turn, the Trinity does provide us with some rather basic and general social guidelines), I would like to press on and try to actually make a point [cue drum roll]!

    In particular, I would like to suggest that a biblical anthropology is one that understands individual humans as beings-in-communion. Biblically, we do not exist as individual units (“ones”), for there is no such thing as a one-without-the-other. Thus, when exploring identity issues, it seems to me that a biblical anthropology places the emphasis upon the corporate nature of our identity. We are always one-with-the-other, or, more accurately, one-as-a-part-of-the-other. This is not to suggest that the one and the other are the same, but it places the emphasis upon the connection, not the separation, between the two (thus, you and I are not the same person, but we both began “in Adam”, and we both now exist “in Christ” and as members of the one body of Christ).

    Therefore, given our being-in-communion, it seems to me that the doctrine of the Trinity, and the Christian understanding of God as “three-in-one”, does become a natural, and desireable, place to look, in order to understand how we are to relate to the other-who-is-a-part-of-me.

    Granted, the Trinity is faddish these days, and a lot of rather pointless speculation is being thrown around, but I think that the basic point of social trinitarians (like Moltmann) is quite appropriate and useful.

    There. Hopefully my point is now clear. Grace and peace.

  12. Mike Bird

    Jack,
    Myself and my colleague Robert Shillaker have an article coming out in TrinJ that critiques Kevin Giles’ use of the Trinity for egalitarianism, but it finishes up with a critique of using the Trinity in favour of gender hierarchy too. Yes, the Trinity shows that you can have ontological equality with subordination in rank, but there is nothing that necessitates that rank is determined by gender. To be honest, I don’t trust any theologian who is highly immersed in the gender debate (K. Giles or B. Ware) and proceeds to write a book on the Trinity proving their point. As a Neutestamentler there are days when I think that certain theologians should be slapped in the face with a soggy fish!

  13. John Stackhouse

    Brother Dan, I’m afraid I’m a bit suspicious of what you’re writing precisely in the spirit of the main post. Yes, we human beings are created interdependent on other human beings and, for that matter, on our planet and on God. We thus lack aseity and we are mutually constituted to some extent. Fine.

    But the ways in which we are interdependent with others is not metaphysical the way the members of the Trinity are “of one substance” and “yet one God.” We aren’t even symbiotic, let alone “consubstantial.” And I’m afraid that among some theologians, at least, the concern to relate the Trinity to human interrelationship leads to a tritheism instead of a Trinity, such that the anthropological in fact alters the theological.

    So I don’t think it’s helpful to invoke the Trinity when we’re discussing just how we human individuals are related to other beings. We don’t need the Trinity to say that each of us is not an (ontic) island (we have John Donne for that, among others!) and we can’t look to the Trinity to help explain just how we are not islands. So let’s leave the Trinity out of it and concentrate on what we do know of the nature of human life.

    One last point. I think it’s crucial to attend to the Bible’s balancing of individuality and sociality. Against modern culture’s individualism, yes, we need to emphasize community, interrelationship, etc. But against some other cultures’ submergence of the one amidst the many, we must champion individual dignity, individual rights, individual responsibility, and individual freedom (Ezekiel 18 comes to mind). Each of us stands or falls before our own Master, the Apostle reminds us.

    –As you know, Dan, I make this point in my new book. I’m disappointed that it hasn’t yet converted you! ; )

  14. John Stackhouse

    Brother Mark–er, I mean, Mike (!),

    I trust your forthcoming article will do some good among its intended audience.

    And even though I myself do not often Neutestamentle, I, too, have wanted to fish-slap (that’s the proper verb form, isn’t it?) a few theologians–perhaps including some on your own hit list.

    Yours,

    Jack–er, John

    ; )

  15. dan

    Dr. Stackhouse,

    For the most part, I think that I agree with you when you suggest that we should not invoke the Trinity when we try to understand “how we human individuals are related to other beings”. However, I tend to affirm this sort of thinking because I am not convinced that ontological questions are much explored within Scripture (Scripture, I think, favours the eschatological over the ontological… and I think that we should too!).

    That we individuals are (intimately) related to one another is clear, but how we individuals are related to one another is much less clear. In fact, I suspect that the interrelatedness of one person to another is as much of a mystery as the interrelatedness that exists between the members of the Trinity!

    However, I am not invoking the Trinity in order to understand how we are ontologically related to one another; I am invoking the Trinity in my efforts to understand how we are to actively relate to one another. Does this ease your suspicion? (I suspect that it doesn’t!).

    Finally, I agree with you that recent responses to modernity’s rugged individualism have often drifted too far in the opposite direction (indeed, one of the signposts of “postmodernity” is the so-called “death of the subject”), and, although I do get nervous when people speak positively of individuals qua individuals, I think that the relevant passages in Making the Best of It maintain an appropriate emphasis upon the interconnection of the individual and the community. For the the most part, I think that our disagreement in this regard is primarily related to where we place the emphases and, consequently, how we understand the context of the people with whom we are speaking.

  16. David Steinhart

    The first time I heard the Trinity referred to regarding gender issues was at a CBE conference when Dr. Bilezikian referred to the idea that since the Son had finished his work of redemption, he was no longer subordinate to the Father. This was a bit difficult for me to swallow.

    The only value I see in using an argument from the Trinity is to establish the idea that one can have equality and order/submission without diminishing personal value.

  17. John Stackhouse

    Thanks, Brother Dan, for this exchange. We’ll have to continue it in person sometime!

    And I sympathize with your gag reflex, Brother David. I have no idea why Dr. Bilezikian would say that unless he was trying awfully hard to do away with subordination/submission–and why bother doing that? Again, just because the Son is always “son” to the Father’s “father,” that says precisely nothing about whether women are to be eternally subject to their husbands. Yikes.

  18. Michael Kruse

    I’ve reading up the gender stuff for years. I not sure I’ve heard egalitarians making the case for their position from the nature of the Trinity. Rather the concern is that complimentarians are injecting subordinationism into the doctrine of the Trinity. That is my concern. I agree with you that the Trinity is not relevant to the gender question but I was surprised at your acceptance of eternal subordination. It is not logically possible to eternally equal being and eternally subordinate. Christ was subordinate for his salvific work but at the end all things that subordination ends and returns to his eternal normative status. I’ll be sure to hunt down Michael Bird’s article but I wonder what you make of statements like these from the Second Helvetic Confession?

    “We also condemn all heresies and heretics who teach that the Son and Holy Spirit are God in name only, and also that there is something created and subservient, or subordinate to another in the Trinity, and that their is something unequal in it, a greater or a less, something corporeal or corporeally conceived, something different with respect to character or will, something mixed or solitary, as if the Son and Holy Spirit were the affections and properties of one God the Father, as the Monarchians, Novatians, Praxeas, Patripassians, Sabellius, Paul of Samosata, Aetius, Macedonius, Anthropomorphites, Arius, and such like, have thought.” (Second Helvetic Confession, Chapter 2, Heresies.)

  19. sean

    It seems that the relation of gender and trinity is deep in the tradition, not least in Augustine’s major but neglected work De Trinitate. Augustine establishes rules in the first several books that enable him to insist on the absolute equality of the trinitarian persons (unlike the eastern proto-social trinitarians that hold to the monarchy of the Father). Any “subordination” falls strictly in the category of passages referring to the economy only. Later he discusses the creation narratives alongside 1 Cor 11 and allegorizes 1 Cor so that “male” and “female” couldn’t possibly apply to real people — the male is the mens (the participation of the body in meaning) and the female is the anima (the way the meaningful body participates in worldly affairs). If he were to apply it to concrete people in contradiction to what he says about both men and women having both minds and souls, it would lead to interesting arguments about gender: men should be contemplatives or professors and women should be bishops and presidents! The motivation for this allegorization, it seems to me, is the parallel hierarchy of Father and Son that leads him to reject that there can be hierarchy and equality simultaneously — either in God or in people. I have been taught from the best of social trinitarian thought (I worked closely with Miroslav Volf for my MDiv), and I think that social trinitarians who want the trinity to be a social program would be better served by Augustine than the Cappadocians. Also, it looks like Augustine provides a way that the trinity can lead into a Christian reflection on the nature of equality and hierarchy that would apply then to gender issues. Obviously, there are problems in the way that Augustine applied this. But, good Augustinians know that we are opaque to ourselves and often apply ideas inconsistently.

    I’m assuming that you have already read and considered Augustine on this issue. Besides the obvious point about the way that Augustine problematically applied his ideas on this, what are your thoughts about Augustine’s move?

  20. John Stackhouse

    Brother Michael, I don’t think I run afoul of the Heidelberger on this one since its concern is any teaching that renders one member of the Trinity somehow less “divine” than others. But if we do believe that certain hierarchies of function (e.g., quarterback and halfback, dean and professor) do not imply that individuals are unequal in dignity and worth, then I don’t see that the Son always deferring to the Father renders him unequal to the Father.

    Brother Sean asks me about Augustine’s trinitarianism. I confess that I’ve never found him all that helpful on the subject, and sometimes misleading–whether in “On the Trinity” or elsewhere. He’s a good example, in fact, of how speculation or exposition of the Trinity really doesn’t tell us anything about gender relations that we don’t already know on other, clearer, and more relevant grounds.

  21. Michael Kruse

    Thanks Dr. Stackhouse. I wrote a post many months ago On being “Equal in Being, Unequal in Role” that explains why I don’t think the analogy of QB to HB and such apply.

    Is it possible for one of two equal beings to be subordinate in function to the other? Yes, as long as that subordination is limited in scope and duration. HB may be subordinate to a QB in the context of a football game and only while they are both members of the same team. Professors may subordinate to deans but only in their capacity as professors and for the length of time they remain in employment at the instituion. With Jesus we are talking about subordinate in all things at all times. If one being is eternally and in all ways suborndinate to the another then I do not see how they can considered equal in dignity, worth, or other ways. That is my concern.

    (BTW, just got “Making the Best of It.” Looking forward to it.)

  22. John Stackhouse

    Well, Brother Michael, you don’t see it, and I think I do! I see no problem with the members of Trinity happily enjoying eternal relationships in which one submits to the other as Son to Father. Maybe the Son is quite happy in that role, since that’s who he is. The same with the Holy Spirit. And with all that mutual love, why do each of the members have to perform the same functions in order to be equal? I don’t think they do.

    If two beings are playing an eternal football game, so to speak, and one of them is simply more suited to quarterbacking and the other to running the ball, then why wouldn’t they stay perpetually in those roles, rejoicing in each other’s gifts and in their own particular talents? I don’t see the problem here.

    But I also don’t care. That is, if I’m wrong about what I’ve been saying, and the members of the Trinity instead have been performing these various hierarchical roles only to accomplish certain tasks (such as the economy of salvation) and then someday will revert back to a strict identity of function, well, fine by me. I honestly don’t see the cash value of insisting on one view or the other.

  23. Michael Kruse

    I think it is important from the standpoint of how we understand the Trinity. I realize all human analogies to describe the Trinity are perilous. We must hold the tension between “being the three” and “being one.” (And frankly, it makes my brain hurt.) If one is truly lesser in some subordinate way than the others, then they are not of the same substance and the “being one” is fractured. I think “equal in being, unequal in role” moves toward tritheism.

    I think part of what I’m reacting to in your post is that it seems to me that you are suggesting that someone who has firm convictions against hierarchalism within the Trinity, and has an egalitarian in understanding of gender, comes to their strong convictions about non-hierarchicalism in the Trinity because of what they think about gender. Otherwise they wouldn’t make such an issue of it. I think that is unfair. The witness of the church throughout the centuries when it was distinctly hierarchal in human affairs, rejected hierarchalism within the Trinity.

    Anyway, thanks for the dialog and peace to you.

  24. John Stackhouse

    Brother Michael, let me try once more to say that I agree with you that “if one is truly lesser in some subordinate way than the others, then they are not of the same substance.” You’re saying, of course, that “if one is truly lesser…then they are not [equal],” and there’s no denying that!

    What I’m denying, then, is that perpetual subordination is a mark of inequality. Let me pick two different examples, since you remain unmoved by my football one!

    I am a professor and I really like being one. Because I am no longer young and because good academic administrators are hard to find, I have been asked from time to time to become a dean or a president. I have always said no. Why? Wouldn’t this be a promotion? Wouldn’t I be moving “up”?

    Yes and no. As dean, I would have authority over professors. (Not much, in many cases, and too much, in others, but I speak in the simple terms of the ideal situation!) I would have the last word, for example, on which professors teach which courses, since I’m in charge of the academic program.

    Now, wouldn’t I want to have that power? No, I wouldn’t, because most deans get to decide those things but don’t get to do what I much prefer: to actually do the teaching, as well as to conduct research.

    So his job is at once “higher” and “lower” than mine. And I feel neither inferior to the dean nor superior to him: He’s doing a quite different job that entails him making some decisions that affect me and thus we have an asymmetrical relationship when it comes to authority. But I’m fine with that, because I have a different job that I prefer, and I don’t think it is an inferior job qualitatively to his (that is, in terms of its intrinsic importance) but is instead simply lower down on the hierarchy of academic governance.

    Suppose God said, “I want you to be a professor forever. And I will put over you the world’s best dean.”

    “Fine by me,” I’d say, because I don’t want to be a dean, I want to be a professor. Those are different jobs, and one does occupy a higher position of authority–but is it intrinsically better, more excellent somehow? I don’t think so.

    One more example, closer to the point. My father died a couple of years ago and I miss him a lot. I look forward to being with him eternally in the age to come. And part of what I will enjoy in that reunited existence is deferring to him as my dad, and also enjoying his loving care for me as his son. Do I feel unequal to my dad in this relationship? Not at all. We’re both grown men. I actually LIKE the idea of treating him that way and having him treat me that way. Wouldn’t you?

    As for your latter paragraph, let me set your mind at ease. I do not think that the one agenda necessarily drives the other–that is, that gender concerns necessarily drive Trinitarian speculation. I don’t think that about all egalitarians, nor do I think that about all complementarians. I’m pretty suspicious that SOME on each side are doing that! But I see no reason to believe that all are doing that, nor that there is any intrinsic linkage of that sort.

    I certainly don’t know you well enough to even guess about that in your case, and I have been glad to engage you simply on the issues you have raised. We all do well, of course, to ask the Spirit to search our hearts for motives that may drive what we like to think are our disinterested intellectual investigations! But, as I say, I certainly don’t see that as an issue between you and me.

    What I don’t care about, then, is the project of trying to infer gender questions from what we suppose is the nature of the Trinity. Those strike me as almost entirely separate questions that are best investigated separately.

    Thanks again for this interesting conversation.

  25. Michael Kruse

    Sorry I’ve been so slow with a comment (I’m out of town in lengthy meetings.)

    I’d still maintain that dean/professor and father/(adult) son are about authority that is limited in scope. The dean does not have authority to enter into your family life and dictate what you and you wife shall do. Gen 2:24 “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.” Upon marriage and adulthood there clearly is some sense in which we become more autonomous from our father.

    The idea being taught is that Jesus is in complete submission in all ways and at all times to the Father. That strikes me as subordination in a sense that these more limited human relationships are not. The only examples I can think of that approximate what is being said about Jesus is master to slave, parent to small child (and that is limited to childhood), and possibly of healthy adult to incapacitated adult.

    You wrote:

    “What I don’t care about, then, is the project of trying to infer gender questions from what we suppose is the nature of the Trinity. Those strike me as almost entirely separate questions that are best investigated separately.”

    Amen!

  26. Nate

    I simply want to say, Prof. Stackhouse, that I appreciate the integrity with which you conduct all of your arguments.

    I was first introduced to you during your series of lectures on (sort of) this topic at Taylor University. In fact, I was one of the students who enjoyed a lunch with you one of those days.
    Since then, I’ve read your book on feminism, and while I’m still trying to figure out where exactly I stand and why, I appreciate your thorough approach.

    Too many people arguing for a belief would rush to use any extra argument they could get their hands on in order to gain a few points for their team. You are quick to point out that some of those don’t work, and you aren’t interested in using them.

    All this to say, I like that.

  27. John Stackhouse

    Thanks, Brother Nate, for these kind words. As my friends and family will attest, I don’t always meet the high standards by which you commend me, but let’s all strive to meet them!

  28. sally

    I suspect that at times we are guilty of trying to turn the Trinity into a nice Western nuclear family- kind of defeats the point really! Good post

  29. marion (U.K.)

    thank you Dan and Michael for your posts, which made points that I would have struggled to articulate.

    Interesting discussion all.

    I would just add, one can ‘perform’ different ‘roles’ at different times, from ‘voluntary’ mutual submission [from choice, from love] without being subordinate.

    that is how I view the function of the Trinity and also my own marriage, as my husband does also.

  30. Sarah Wolfe

    Hi Dr. Stackhouse! Greetings from Nashville! I’m waiting in great anticipation for your book which I ordered today. We’ve been tossing around the topic of women in ministry and touched a bit on gender roles in general on a blog a friend of mine has, http://www.phoenixpreacher.com I’ve listened to a couple of lectures RegentAudio has from you on the topic, and it’s helped. Still trying to sort this all out in my feeble brain.

    Hope all is well in Vancouver!

  31. PetraVsWorld

    Hmmmm, I still think that what we’re dealing with (androcentrism aside) is our struggle to image God (and our absolutist Christian ownership of this little thing called Revelation) who can not be imaged..I may be an absolute heretic but the Trinity is only one expression of a God with multiple and infinite expressions that ‘surpasses all understanding’…I say metaphor and myth and much less semantics!!!

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