Saturday, June 18, 2016

A SIDEBAR ON THE TRINITY SUBORDINATION DEBATE: HOW DOES GOD THE FATHER GIVE JESUS A NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES IF HE IS ALREADY GOD?

As of late, there has been some dialog and debate regarding the subordination of the Trinitarian persons of the one God. Is the subordination eternal, was it limited to earth, did Christ have two wills and does he even now possess this in light of his continued prayers for us to God the Father in Heaven?

To be honest, many of us are guilty of over-generalizing our ideas about God and his Trinitarian expression. And while I might wish to write on the subject, I believe there are far superior works being offered than I could muster which comprehensively cover the nuances of the doctrines.

Don't be anxious to take a position, by the way. There are people with agendas who have a fixed position with short-sighted and poor theological arguments for support. Don't do that. Take your time, a lifetime if needed, to come to a conclusion. Yes, cut out the clear error but concede where the details require delicate and magnified examination. Do your homework, do not avoid due diligence on the matter which brings me to my blog post.

Question

Paul writes about our Lord, Jesus the Christ, when he was resurrected and entered into heaven with the Father (Philippians 2:9):

9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Which clearly begs the question, If Jesus is already God and equal with God the Father, how can anything be added to his person and be given a name above all names, doesn't he already possess this?

Answer

The most immediate answer comes from the soulishly staggering fact that when Christ returned, he did not return in the manner in which he left, before his incarnation. Our Lord returned as both God and man, eternal in being.

The second person of the Trinity, God the Son, was not only God in returning but also man, eternally. He took within his person a human nature.

Thus, after his advent on earth and upon his return, where he completed the mission of salvation for man and defeat of Satan, via the plan of co-council of the Godhead, in obedience to God the Father, having humbled, obeyed and suffered, even unto the death of the cross, he did not return just as God but the God-man which required the adjudication and inauguration of his God-man person, as God.

So when we think of Christ as God, understand, he really is one of us. He is human, while God, both eternal. And he pleads for us to God the Father and Paul writes in Romans 8:34:
who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
Final Thoughts

My goal, here, was not an attempt to tackle the issue of Trinitarian subordination rather, it was to stop at this single sidebar and demonstrate that this lone point, itself, in light of the entire matter could take a year or two of a person's life to fully grasp in a theologically consanguineous manner.

So when you imagine you have a fixed position on this issue, stop for a bit. Understand that there are theological subtitles and complexities which simply may not be by-passed and unfortunately are, by some.

It does not mean one cannot come to firm ends on the controversy and teach with confidence, a certain position. But what it should reveal is that as a sophisticated doctrine, you need time and a humbled ego in your spirit-filled pursuit along with an appreciation for the work of others.

If you believe you know the correct position without a careful and prolonged study, you're wrong. You might think you know or you might have been given, by the work of another, what you believe is as good as it gets but if you haven't taken the time to think, study, think some more, identify weaknesses in your views and so forth, you don't know.

As far as its relevance to marriage, it does exist as an example of personal egalitarianism while functioning in an administratively subordinate role, even if it is limited to earth. 

But removing it as an example, the Bible is quite clear that in marriage there are two officers, the husband and the wife, male and female, in that order. One is the Commanding Officer, the other, respectively, the Executive Officer.  The problem is not the administrative design, it is with the thinking and behaving of its occupants.

*The picture is of a book by the late R.B. Thieme Jr. who is a greatly respected but much maligned, by a vocal minority,  Bible teacher and Pastor of 50 years whose work many men use but not enough give him credit for his tremendous contribution to modern dispensational theology.

Friday, June 10, 2016

THE PERPETUAL VICTIM NARRATIVE INDUSTRY VS. THIS AIR FORCE ACADEMY GRADUATE

The Christian Science Monitor (source of picture above) recently published a rather remarkable story about recent U.S. Air Force Academy graduate, Joshua Waugh, and the lifetime of neglect/abuse he faced before entering the AFA. When I read the account of Waugh's biography I was slugged in the chest, for starters, regarding his response to the irresponsibility and exploitation of and by his guardians as he grew up. Here is just one quote from the article which you should read, After a lifetime of neglect, Air Force Academy graduate finds his wings:
Born to two “very drug-addicted parents,” he says, w​hen he was in elementary school he and his diapered baby brother were locked outside in the snow by foster parents who decided they didn’t want the boys anymore. In his pre-teen years, he learned to live on the Ramen noodles and potatoes he bought working construction sites for a few bucks a day. He quietly survived sexual assault at the hands of another foster family member.
Of course, what struck me further and more relevant to the kinds of things I combat at this blog was the contrast of Waugh's narrative to the proposition of perpetual victim status/identity which I have observed being fostered at blogs such as The Wartburg Watch and Spiritual Sounding Board in the Evangelical community (as well as the same perpetual victim status/identity doctrine employed outside of Christianity with your typical therapy-inductive resources). You may disagree with my personal assessment but before you register a protest I suggest you read, extensively, how the comments section of these blogs are permitted to flow.

As I have observed, both categories or groups (those in and outside of the church) have as the most substantial part of their victim doctrine, the creed of perpetual or life-long emotional/psychological disability being a matter of default certainty for any and all who encounter any similar kind of abuse in life, especially in childhood.

Now let me be clear, abuse does result in suffering and injury but that suffering and injury cannot have and should never have a presumed default status. What these groups do, in my opinion, are dramatically juxtaposed to what AFA graduate, Joshua Waugh did and is now doing. As I see it, the former offer eternal lament, suffering, complaint, bitterness and the absence of conclusive recovery while the latter, Waugh, offers a model with regard to how one overcomes abuse and injury. 

What Joshua Waugh says, as the article relates, is simple but enlightening with respect to how he views life: 
Waugh says his philosophy is simple. “Don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t good enough to do something,” he says. “Just do it. Put in the work. If you want something bad enough, that work is just a bridge – and you can cross it.”
What I believe (and this may not be the meal you're interested in eating at the moment but I decline to feed you poison) is that many people refuse to respond to abuse and injury in such a manner as Waugh because suffering and victimization can also become a weapon of blame and finger pointing which is often, very often these days, used to point a finger at someone else in an exaggerated attempt to relieve ourselves of personal responsibility for the rest of our lives. One's failures in life can conveniently be chalked up to his or her past and of course, with a chorus of perpetual victimization supporters who form its industry, who needs to think otherwise?

By all accounts, Waugh should have ended up mentally and emotionally too scarred and incapacitated thus, unable, to achieve in life in any significant way let alone, experience genuine happiness and satisfaction. Yet, here he is, doing both and more!

My guess is he realized, at some point, that he is not responsible nor defined by the actions of others against him. He was not going to remain in their power once released. Whatever his instincts, they were right. 

I will admit that this is a thing which takes some measure of effort because it requires personal responsibility for your life beyond a normative experience. In a society where we are taught to blame our problems on others, Waugh is an example for how we should respond to neglect and abuse. Learn and move forward and build bridges to tomorrow.