Anyway if we cut through the details the complementarian argument is basically women should be oppressed politically and especially in the church because the bible teaches that girls have cooties. So again cutting through the details Suzanne is is a top notch amateur linguist who spends a great deal of her time proving that the bible does not in fact teach that girls have cooties. Which is similiar to my defense series where I disproved the historical claim that the girls & cooties theology has been a constant through Christian history.
What was interesting about the thread was that Suzanne raised a point which shows a fairly clear cut heresy in complementarian writing, which means looking at the details. First, you may want to read the notion of the economic trinity, "ontological equality but economic subordination" directly from Grudem himself in his Systematic Theology (p251). Bruce Ware in his 2006, Equal in Essence, Distinct in Roles: Eternal Functional Authority and Submission Among the Essentially Equal Divine Persons of the Godhead argued:
The Father and Son are fully equal in their deity as each possesses the identically same divine nature, yet the eternal and inner-Trinitarian Father-Son relationship is marked, among other things by an authority and submission structure in which the Father is eternally in authority over the Son and the Son eternally in submission to the Father. There is, then, an eternal and immutable equality of essence between the Father and the Son, while there is also an eternal and immutable authority-submission structure that marks the relationship of the Father and the SonNormally trinity stuff bores me, but what is important here is to show that subordination does not imply inequality. Unlike the patriarchs the complementarians don't want to actually assert that women are less then men, just that they ontologically equal while being functionally subordinate. Scripture isn't clear on this at all with regard to men and women but they assert it is clear on this with regard to the Godhead. Further they argue that marriage is meant to teach us mystically about the nature of God's relationship. A perfect example of this argument is from the opening statement of my debate with Frank Turk of TeamPyro.
So to summarize so far what we have is a triad:
- The son is subordinate in authority to the father
- The church is likewise subordinate to Christ
- Wives are likewise subordinate to their husbands
So for example 1Cor 11:10:
ESV: That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.
Greek: διὰ τοῦτο ὀφείλει ἡ γυνὴ ἐξουσίαν ἔχειν ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς διὰ τοὺς ἀγγέλους
Vulgate: deo debet mulier potestatem habere supra caput propter angelos
The problem of course is that for 1700 years Christians have asserted the equality with respect to potestas. Now in the creeds potestas gets translated as power:
latin: In Deitatis unitate personæ tres sunt unius ejusdemque essentiæ, potential ac æternitatis; Deus Pater, Deus Filius, ac Deus Spiritus Sanctus.” (Westminster Confession Latin)
English: “In the unity of the Godhead head there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. (Westminster Confession English)
or to pick another example (again from Suzanne):
non secundum imparem potestatem uel substantiam uel aliquid quod in eo patri non sit aequale missus est, sed secundum id quod filius a patre est, non pater a filio
For he was not sent in virtue of some disparity of power or substance or anything in him that was not equal to the Father, but in virtue of the Son being from the Father, not the Father being from the Son.
- The creeds assert there is no difference in potestas between father and son
- If you believe the creeds are biblical then there is no difference in exousia between father and son
- Thus if you believe the creeds you must hold that the doctrine that the bible teaches that the son and father are equal only in dunamis but that the son is subordinate in exousia is false.
- Hence the argument the son is subordinate in authority (in English) is false.
- Hence the little triad arguing for the subordination of women is false.
- A sample document where Bruce Ware argues that it was impossible for God to have sent a female savior because of eternal submission (Could Our Savior Have Been a Woman? The Relevance of Jesus' Gender for His Incarnational Mission)
- The original article at Suzanne's site:
- Summary of the trinity debate part1, part2, part3.
- An amusing video on cooties.
- John Piper and Wayne Grudem directly address this point in Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood