Tuesday, March 10, 2009

AGAINST SUBORDINATIONISM SECTION C: Bruce Ware's "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" Book

SECTION C: BRuce Ware’s

“Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Relationships, Roles and Relevance”

Please refer to the introduction section of the AGAINST SUBORDINATIONISM section which briefly explains the issues related to the Eternal Subordination of the Son as well as the ontological subordination of women.

In response to Bruce Ware’s advocacy of said teachings and in response to the controversy following my 2008 counter-cult apologetics organization workshop concerning patriarchy that draws upon these teachings, I have pulled out selected quotes of concern from Bruce Ware’s book on ESS and gender. I address my own concerns as noted, and I also pull information from noted authors who I believe also refute Dr. Wares teachings.


  • Statements made by Bruce Ware are noted in BLUE and are *INDENTED.
  • My personal comments are noted with BLOG HOST RESPONDS
  • Quotes pulled from various authors are noted in CAPS and are UNDERLINED
  • ~~End quotes are also noted
  • All emphasis in either italics or bold type is my own

  • Concerning quotations pulled from the work of Augustine: I don't expect that the patristic texts will prove or disprove Ware's thesis or my own, but I included these references to counter Dr. Ware's claim in multiple sources that Augustine shares his perspective which I deny. Augustine is an anti-social trinitarian and Ware is a social triniarian of the functional monotheisic subtype. I believe that his citations from Augustine neither prove nor deny his thesis.


CHAPTER 5: Beholding the Wonder of the Son

Ware, Pg 71

“We’ll see, in short, that the Son in fact is the eternal Son of the eternal Father, and hence, the Son stands in a relationship of eternal submission under the authority of His Father… We’ll see and marvel at the fact that while the Father and Son are in a relationship marked by eternal authority and submission, yet they exhibit unqualified love for one another.”

[This is a statement that presupposes eternal submission, as there is just as much evidence to support that the subordination of Christ was a function of the kenosis described in Philippians chapter 2 and was a function of the incarnation of Christ only. Bruce Ware extends this believe to maintain that the Father has "ultimate" or "supreme" eternal authority over the Son to the extent that Jesus had to get permission to create and that Jesus does not have the authority to answer prayer.

(Based on other writings and personal correspondence of clarification. Yet Ware denies that this view supports the concept that Jesus has lesser authority which seems to be a point of semantics. If Jesus doesn't not have authority to create or answer prayer, for reasonable people, this means that Jesus certainly has less authority than the Father and is thus not co-equal in authority.]


["In developing their doctrine of the Trinity to correspond to their case for the permanent subordination of women Knight and Grudem introduced a number of terms not found in the historic doctrinal tradition. For example, in speaking of what the divine persons do, the tradition speaks of the “works” or “operations” of Father, Son and Spirit. Evangelicals who follow Knight and Grudem on the other hand speak of the “functions” or “roles” of the divine persons. The terms “power” and authority” are another example. The doctrinal tradition predominantly uses the term “power” – God is omnipotent, all powerful. In contrast, the Knight and Grudem theological tradition speaks of the subordination of the Son in “authority.” Men have “authority” over the women set under them and the divine Father has “authority” over the Son.

The word “authority,” carefully defined implies that someone has the right to exercise leadership, whereas the word “power” implies the ability to assert leadership or achieve an end.

However, the words may be used synonymously and often are in everyday speech. This is the case in the Bible (e.g. Lk 4:36, 9:1). It also seems this is the case with those with whom I am debating. When they speak of the differing authority of the Father and the Son they seem to mean much the same as if they had spoken of the differing power of the Father and the Son. I cannot see how anyone could object to the equating of these two words in reference to God because if the divine three are equal in power then they must be equal in authority and vice versa.

Whether or not these two words can be distinguished when used of the triune God is in any case academic. The words “power” and “authority” in this discussion both designate divine attributes. Orthodoxy unanimously and unambiguously rejects distinguishing or dividing the 6 divine persons on the basis of differing attributes. The Christian God is one in being and attributes, three co-equal persons."]


Ware, Pg 74

First, the very same Jesus who claims implicitly to be God (John 8:23) then proceeds to describe himself as doing nothing by his own authority speaking only what the Father teaches him, and in doing only and always what pleases the Father (vv 28-29)… As eternally divine and not of this world, he is God the Son, but as under the authority of his Father, and as the eternal Son of the Father, he is God the Son…


[Again, this assumption is based on presupposition that Jesus' terminology related to an eternal concept that is beyond our human comprehension. This relationship and these dynamics could well be given to us an analogy and not confined to our limited, human understanding. Our examples in our human experience follow the created order, they do not dictate and define the characteristics of the creator Himself. We follow after a type and as created beings, we will, per the analogy of being, be lesser and not the same as or greater than the analogy. God is not bound within our human understanding.]

QUOTING James R White's
"The Forgotten Trinity," pp 25-26:
"We never escape this element of our language. When we encounter new thoughts, new ideas, it is natural for us to fit them into preexisting categories by comparing them with past experiences or facts. This process works just find for most things. But for unique things it doesn’t. If something is truly unique, it cannot be compared to anything else, at least not without introducing some element of error… The problem is, of course, God is completely unique… [T]o compare God to anything in the created order is, in the final analysis, to deny His uniqueness…

Words often carry with them “baggage” that has become attached to the meaning of a word. The way we use the word may cause us to conjure up particular mental images every time we hear it. The most glaring example of this is the word “person,” a word that is often used when discussing the Trinity. When we use the word “person,” we attach to it all sorts of “baggage” that come from our own personal experiences.

We think of a physical body, an individual, separate from everyone else. We think of a special location, physical attributes like height, weight, age – all things associates with our common use of the word “person.” When we use this word to describe a divine person (Father, Son, or Holy Spirit), we tend to drag along with it the “baggage” that comes from our common use of the term in everyday life. Many people, upon hearing the word “person” used of the Father, for example, conjure up an image of a kind old grandfatherly figure who is the “person” of the Father. He’s separate, different, limited – everything we think of when we think of the term “person.” It will be our task (and it is a difficult one!) to labor to separate such “baggage” from our thinking and use such terms in very specific, limited ways so as to avoid unneeded confusion." ]


Ware, Pg 76

There is an ordering in the Godhead, a “built-in” structure of authority and submission that marks a significant respect in which the Persons of the Godhead are distinguished from one another.

Surely, they are not distinct in essence, for each shares fully the identically same divine nature. Their distinction rather is constituted in part by taxis, -- the ordering of the Father, son and Holy Spirit within the Godhead… We should therefore look more closely at just how the Son submits to his Father, and from this we may comprehend better how human relationships may best be understood and lived.”


[This again demonstrates an assumption that is not made perfectly clear in the Word in such terms that apply beyond the incarnation. This is Ware's assumption and presupposition, not anything discerned through proper hermeneutic from Scripture.]

GILES CITATION, 2006 ETS Symposium:

[Giles offered serious challenges to subordinationists. He suggested that their view is inconsistent with the ETS doctrinal statement on the Trinity because “To argue that the Son is eternally subordinate in authority, set under the Father, denies both that he is one in power with the Father and the Spirit and by implication, that he is one in essence/being with the Father and the Spirit.”] ~~END GILES/ETS CITATION


[“But here is the crucial point: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not just three persons who decide to cooperate, like Peter, Paul, and Mary agreeing to do something together. Their agreement is essential and necessary, part of their very being, or else they would actually be three Gods just as Peter, Paul, and Mary are three hu­mans. Hence the difference in roles in the Trinity cannot mean anything like a relationship of command and obedience, where one person’s will is subjected to another’s. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are always necessarily of one will, because there is only one God and therefore only one divine will. And where there is but one will there cannot be the authority of command and obedience, for that requires one person’s will to be subordinate to a will other than his or her own.”]


Ware, Pgs 76-77

The Son’s submission to the Father in eternity past...

But because some find the very notion of authority and submission objectionable – at least objectionable in these two spheres of human relationships -- they clearly resist seeing this relational dynamic as true of the eternal relations within the Godhead.

{Footnote: Some egalitarians acknowledge the eternal inner-trinitarian Father-Son relation yet do not understand this as implying or entailing relations of authority or submission in the created order. See Craig keener, “Is Subordination Within the Trinity Really Heresy? A Study of John 5:18 in Context,” Trinity Journal 20 NS (1999): 39-51.}

…Let us consider some of the evidence for the Son’s submission to the Father in eternity past…

[I do not find Christ's submission objectionable and I do not find the Father's authority objectionable. I do not see submission and authority in terms of human relationships objectionable. What I do object to is the eisegesis of the concept of eternal relationships such as these within the Godhead for it strips Christ down to a lesser God that has no choice or option to be an automaton or a "special purpose God of lesser authority", whether the relationship between the Father and Son is characterized by love or not.]

Ware continued (pgs 76-77):

That God is the head of Christ is not presented here as an ad hoc relationship for Christ’s mission during the incarnation. It is rather stated as an absolute fact regarding this relationship… The taxis of God’s headship over his Son accounts for the presence of taxis in man’s relationship with Christ and the woman’s relationship with man…


[Then where are the Scriptures that state this directly or indirectly without inferring that meaning from presupposition? I maintain that the gender issues are a matter of intramural debate and are not wrapped around God's identity and this presupposed eternal role and relationship within the Trinity.]

Ware, Pg 79:

But when did the Father make this prior decision to choose his Son for this most favored of all callings? “Before the foundation of the world” is the answer given by Peter. This requires, then, an authority-submission relationship in eternity past, one in which the Father chooses and sends, and the Son submits and comes…

The submission of the Son in the incarnation is but a reflection of the external relationship that has always been true with his Father. The Son always seeks to do the will of the Father, and this is true eternally.


[This is not explicitly stated in Scripture. Because the Son delighted to do the will of the Father does not require or necessitate and need not support an authority-submission relationship in eternity past. Because the Father chooses and sends and the Son submits and comes does not mean that Christ has not choice in the matter or that there was a pre-existing relationship wherein Christ had to obey. Christ obeyed out of His great love for us just as much as the Father did send Him. Again, this is all a presupposition.]

Quoting Giles, pg 10:

[“He (Jesus) is the King’s anointed Son who rules in all majesty and authority. John Frame says that in the New Testament, “there is considerable overlapping between the concepts Lord and Son … both indicate Jesus' power and prerogatives as God.” “Lordship presupposes sonship, sonship implies lordship” (Frame in “The Doctrine of God, pg 661).

In this appeal to the ordinary, everyday meaning of the words “send”, “son” and “father” to prove that Jesus as the eternal Son of God is permanently subordinated to the Father, language used of God is understood literally, or to use the technical term, univocally. This is exactly how the fourth century Arians understood language about the Father and the Son. In reply to them Athanasius, the Cappadocian Fathers and Augustine argued this practice leads lead to idolatry – the depicting of God as a human being. On this basis theologians have generally agreed that all human language used of God should be understood analogically. Human words can convey trustworthy truth about God, but the content of the human words used of God is found not by appeal to human relationships and life but in revelation. It is from the Bible we learn what the titles “Son,” “Father,” and the word “sent” mean when used of the divine persons. To endorse that language used of God should be taken literally would demand that “Open Theism” be accepted, something my debating opponents do not want to do. Biblical comments on God “repenting” would need to be understood in human terms. Consistency is demanded on the issue of language used of God. We must agree on whether or not it is literal or analogical.”]


Ware, Pg 81

Second, notice that Augustine denies the egalitarian claim that all subordination of the Son to the Father rests fully in the Son’s incarnate state.

To the contrary, Augustine affirms that “the Son is not just said to have been sent because the Word became flesh, but that he was sent in order for the Word to become flesh." In other words, the sending of the Son occurred in eternity past in order that the eternal Word, sent from on high from the Father, might take on human flesh and then continue his role of carrying out the will of his Father.

CITING GILES in the 2006 ETS Symposium:

["Kevin Giles offered a primarily historical critique of the subordinationist view. Ware cited passages from Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Novatian, Hilary of Poitiers, and Augustine to support his claim that the early church affirmed “the priority of the Father over the Son and Spirit.” However, Giles argued that the subordinationist view was first articulated in 1977 by George Knight III in his influential book, New Testament Teaching on the Role Relationships of Men and Women. Giles contrasted recent subordinationist claims with the historic view of the Trinity as articulated by Athanasius, the Cappadocians, Augustine, and Calvin, as well as numerous creeds and confessions.

In his own paper, in the question and answer period after Kevin Giles’ paper, and in a press release after the conference, Ware challenged Giles for only including part of an Augustine quote that Ware felt supported the subordinationist view. In response, Giles stated, “The only reason I didn’t quote it was because I couldn’t quote the whole of Augustine….” which Giles feels clearly refutes subordinationism. He added, “I don’t want to be deceitful in any way. Anything in the historical tradition or the Bible I’m happy to discuss. I want it out there…” In his paper, Giles encouraged people to read Augustine’s refutation of the Arians (who denied that the Son was co-eternal with the Father) in the classic work On the Trinity for themselves."]


QUOTING AUGUSTINE: From Book VIII of De Trinitate

[Preface.— The Conclusion of What Has Been Said Above. The Rule to Be Observed in the More Difficult Questions of the Faith.

We have said elsewhere that those things are predicated specially in the Trinity as belonging severally to each person, which are predicated relatively the one to the other, as Father and Son, and the gift of both, the Holy Spirit for the Father is not the Trinity, nor the Son the Trinity, nor the gift the Trinity: but what whenever each is singly spoken of in respect to themselves, then they are not spoken of as three in the plural number, but one, the Trinity itself, as the Father God, the Son God, and the Holy Spirit God; the Father good, the Son good, and the Holy Spirit good; and the Father omnipotent, the Son omnipotent, and the Holy Spirit omnipotent: yet neither three Gods, nor three goods, nor three omnipotents, but one God, good, omnipotent, the Trinity itself; and whatsoever else is said of them not relatively in respect to each other, but individually in respect to themselves.]

Ware, Pg 82-83

Unless one is prepared to say that these names apply only to the incarnational relationship of the first and second Persons of the Trinity, in which case we simply don’t know who these first and second Persons are externally, we must admit that God’s self-revelation would indicate an identity of the Persons of Father and Son which also marks their respective roles.

Authority and submission, then, seem clearly to be built into the eternal relationship of the Father and Son, by virtue of their being who they eternally are: God the Father and God the Son.


[It seems to be clear to Ware but not based upon Scripture through clear, sound hermeneutic but through his presupposition.]

Quoting Giles, pg 9:

[“The evidence in support of this opinion is drawn mainly from human experience. Fallen human relationships are used to explain divine relationships. Following unwittingly exactly the argument of Arius once again, we are told that all human fathers have authority over their sons and this fact explains the divine Father-Son relationship.”]


QUOTING JOHN CALVIN , Institutes of the Christian Religion, I:XIII:21:
["And yet I will exert special effort to the end that they who lend ready and open ears to God’s Word may have a firm standing ground. Here, indeed, if anywhere in the secret mysteries of Scripture, we ought to play the philosopher soberly and with great caution that neither our thoughts nor our speech go beyond the limits to which the Word of God itself extends. For how can the human mind measure off the measureless essence of God according to its own little measure, a mind as yet unable to establish for certain the nature of the sun’s body, though men’s eyes daily gaze upon it? Indeed, how can the mind by its own leading come to search out God’s essence when it cannot even get to its own? Let us then willingly leave to God the knowledge of himself. For, as Hilary (of Poitiers) says, he is the one fit witness to himself, and is not known except through himself. But we shall be “leaving it to him” if we conceive him to be as he reveals himself to us, without inquiring about him elsewhere than from his Word." ]


Ware, Pg 83

The Son’s submission to the Father in eternity future.

“…When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.” (I Cor 15:28)

As we observed in the previous chapter, this passage indicates the preeminence of the Father even over the Son. The Son has his position over all creation, bring everything into subjection under his own feet, only because the Father has given all things to the Son. [O]nly because the Father has given him this highest of all callings and roles.

[What then is the explanation of Colossians Chapter
1: 17-19? "And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell." The kenosis and the incarnation when Christ's work was completed through His Death and Resurrection.]

Ware, Pg 84

There is no question that this passage indicates the eternal future subordination of the Son to the Father, in keeping with his submission to the Father both in the incarnation and in eternity past.

Ware, Pg 87

Any notion that true love between the Father and Son could be carried out only by “functional equals” is shown to be fully misguided by the testimony of Jesus himself. In fact, just the opposite is the case. The love relationship between the Father and Son is carried out within the structure of authority and submission, of command and obedience

But this love relationship is empty apart from the framework of the Father’s authority and the Son’s submission.


[I find this not only against the Spirit of the Word and the teachings found throughout the Epistles, but this is just terribly sad. I assume that the "functional equals applies to the husband and wife relationship to which Ware takes issue. What then is two becoming one flesh? Benjamin M Palmer describes marriage as a reabsorbing of man's lost rib wherein the woman has no separate personality apart from man. This is not supported in Scripture.

And a functional equal does not need rule out submission of a wife to a husband any more than the laying down of one's life need necessitate that that man's life is of less importance than the woman's life. Yet this is what a man is called upon to do for his wife after Christ's example. Does this mean that Christ's life is of less value than our own? God forbid! How can anyone find this love empty? It is not a relationship of submission but of loving sacrifice, of loving others to the point that sacrifice is a joy. Sacrificial love is empty apart from authority and submission??? If Christ is not the Father's functional equal, He is not very God of very God -- He is not co-equal. He cannot be.]

Ware, Pg 91

As a man, Jesus submitted fully to the Spirit, even though in terms of rank, within the Trinity, Jesus had authority over the Spirit. For the sake of his mission, he humbled himself. In taking on our human nature, he submitted to the very one over whom he has rightful authority.

[Eternal rank within the Trinity, apart from Christ's work on the earth? This is a presupposition.]

Ware, Pg 92

In accepting these human limitations, however, Jesus did not discard or give up any attributes of deity. To think so is to deny the full deity of Christ and to entertain a view judged by the church as a heresy.

Ware, Pg 95

[T]he Father has primacy in what is pictured here, for the Spirit is sent from the Father. But even though the Father sends the Spirit, the Spirit is sent not to teach or remind concerning the words of the Father, per se. Rather, the Father sends the Spirit in order for the Spirit to uphold the teaching of the Son.


[Colossians teaches that in all things that Christ has the preeminence, or the primacy, just as the Father does, just as the Spirit does. To state otherwise is a presumptive conjecture.]

Ware, Pg 97

The Father and Son are two-fold Senders of the Spirit. The Father is primary and ultimate in this sending, yet the Son is the immediate and proximate Sender of the Spirit. The Father is seen, then, as supreme in authority in sending the Spirit, yet the Son, while under the authority of the Father, is in a position of authority over the Spirit.

We have here, in this one historical incident, a beautiful picture of the eternal ordering within the very triune nature of God. The Father, as ultimate in authority over the Son and the Spirit, calls the Son forth from the grave and sets him at his own right hand. Then the Father, rather than giving the Spirit directly to the church, instead gives the gift of the Spirit to his Son so that the Son might have the honor and privilege to give the Spirit, from the Father, to those redeemed and called to new life through the work on their behalf. So the Son, having received this gift of the Spirit from the Father, then passes on this gift to the believers on the day of Pentecost.

[See notes under page 153 excerpt. This description, in terms of ETERNAL authority, defines subordinationism in terms of power and omnipotence. Christ's omnipotence in comparison to the Father's is less if the Father's is indeed more. This was eternal ordering for the purpose of the kenosis, not for all eternity based on any Scripture apart from the unfolding of redemption in the realm of time for our benefit and understanding. Further clarification in private correspondence with Dr. Ware confirms his belief that the Father has "supreme" authority and that the Son does not. This is not subordinationism by means of essence but it is in terms of power, omniscience and authority. Dr. Ware may deny this, but a subordinationism of power and authority is precisely what he describes for us here. Private correspondence confirms this, as does his conception that Jesus cannot answer prayer and cannot create without special permission from the Father.]

Ware, Page 9

By this, the Son is shown to be under the Father but over the Spirit. Although the Son is in submission to the Spirit in the incarnation, in his exaltation, the Son “returns” to his place under the Father yet over the Spirit.

QUOTING AUGUSTINE: From Book VIII in the De Trinitate

Chapter 1.— It is Shown by Reason that in God Three are Not Anything Greater Than One Person.

2. For we say that in this Trinity two or three persons are not anything greater than one of them; which carnal perception does not receive, for no other reason except because it perceives as it can the true things which are created, but cannot discern the truth itself by which they are created; for if it could, then the very corporeal light would in no way be more clear than this which we have said. For in respect to the substance of truth, since it alone truly is, nothing is greater, unless because it more truly is. But in respect to whatsoever is intelligible and unchangeable, no one thing is more truly than another, since all alike are unchangeably eternal; and that which therein is called great, is not great from any other source than from that by which it truly is.

Wherefore, where magnitude itself is truth, whatsoever has more of magnitude must needs have more of truth; whatsoever therefore has not more of truth, has not also more of magnitude. Further, whatsoever has more of truth is certainly more true, just as that is greater which has more of magnitude; therefore in respect to the substance of truth that is more great which is more true. But the Father and the Son together are not more truly than the Father singly, or the Son singly. Both together, therefore, are not anything greater than each of them singly. And since also the Holy Spirit equally is truly, the Father and Son together are not anything greater than He, since neither are they more truly. The Father also and the Holy Spirit together, since they do not surpass the Son in truth (for they are not more truth), do not surpass Him either in magnitude. And so the Son and the Holy Spirit together are just as great as the Father alone, since they are as truly. So also the Trinity itself is as great as each several person therein. For where truth itself is magnitude, that is not more great which is not more true: since in regard to the essence of truth, to be true is the same as to be, and to be is the same as to be great; therefore to be great is the same as to be true. And in regard to it, therefore, what is equally true must needs also be equally great.

From Augustine’s Book One of the De Trinitate
Chapter 8.— The Texts of Scripture Explained Respecting the Subjection of the Son to the Father, Which Have Been Misunderstood. Christ Will Not So Give Up the Kingdom to the Father, as to Take It Away from Himself. The Beholding Him is the Promised End of All Actions. The Holy Spirit is Sufficient to Our Blessedness Equally with the Father.

15. As for that which the apostle says, And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him: either the text has been so turned, lest any one should think that the fashion of Christ, which He took according to the human creature, was to be transformed hereafter into the Divinity, or (to express it more precisely) the Godhead itself, who is not a creature, but is the unity of the Trinity,— a nature incorporeal, and unchangeable, and consubstantial, and co-eternal with itself; or if any one contends, as some have thought, that the text, Then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, is so turned in order that one may believe that very subjection to be a change and conversion hereafter of the creature into the substance or essence itself of the Creator, that is, that that which had been the substance of a creature shall become the substance of the Creator;— such an one at any rate admits this, of which in truth there is no possible doubt, that this had not yet taken place, when the Lord said, My Father is greater than I. For He said this not only before He ascended into heaven, but also before He had suffered, and had risen from the dead. But they who think that the human nature in Him is to be changed and converted into the substance of the Godhead, and that it was so said, Then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him,— as if to say, Then also the Son of man Himself, and the human nature taken by the Word of God, shall be changed into the nature of Him who put all things under Him,— must also think that this will then take place, when, after the day of judgment, He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father.

And hence even still, according to this opinion, the Father is greater than that form of a servant which was taken of the Virgin. But if some affirm even further, that the man Christ Jesus has already been changed into the substance of God, at least they cannot deny that the human nature still remained, when He said before His passion, For my Father is greater than I; whence there is no question that it was said in this sense, that the Father is greater than the form of a servant, to whom in the form of God the Son is equal. Nor let any one, hearing what the apostle says, But when He says all things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted which did put all things under Him, think the words, that He has put all things under the Son, to be so understood of the Father, as that He should not think that the Son Himself put all things under Himself. For this the apostle plainly declares, when he says to the Philippians, For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself. For the working of the Father and of the Son is indivisible. Otherwise, neither has the Father Himself put all things under Himself, but the Son has put all things under Him, who delivers the kingdom to Him, and puts down all rule and all authority and power. For these words are spoken of the Son: When He shall have delivered up, says the apostle, the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule, and all authority, and all power. For the same that puts down, also makes subject.

16. Neither may we think that Christ shall so give up the kingdom to God, even the Father, as that He shall take it away from Himself. For some vain talkers have thought even this. For when it is said, He shall have delivered up the kingdom toGod, even the Father, He Himself is not excluded; because He is one God together with the Father. But that word until deceives those who are careless readers of the divine Scriptures, but eager for controversies. For the text continues, For He must reign, until He has put all enemies under His feet; as though, when He had so put them, He would no more reign. Neither do they perceive that this is said in the same way as that other text, His heart is established: He shall not be afraid, until He see His desire upon His enemies. For He will not then be afraid when He has seen it. What then means, When He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father, as though God and the Father has not the kingdom now? But because He is hereafter to bring all the just, over whom now, living by faith, the Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, reigns, to that sight which the same apostle calls face to face; therefore the words, When He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father, are as much as to say, When He shall have brought believers to the contemplation of God, even the Father. For He says, All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knows the Son, but the Father; neither knows any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.

The Father will then be revealed by the Son, when He shall have put down all rule, and all authority, and all power; that is, in such wise that there shall be no more need of any economy of similitudes, by means of angelic rulers, and authorities, and powers. Of whom that is not unfitly understood, which is said in the Song of Songs to the bride, We will make you borders of gold, with studs of silver, while the King sits at His table; that is, as long as Christ is in His secret place: since your life is hid with Christ in God; when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with Him in glory. Before which time, we see now through a glass, in an enigma, that is, in similitudes, but then face to face.


Chapter 6

Beholding the Wonder of the Triune Persons
in Relational Community

Ware, Pg 133

In short, we should look not only to the character of God and to the commands of God, but also to the triune roles and relationships among the Triune Persons of God to see what it means to live our lives as his images. We are created to reflect what God is like, and this includes a reflection of the personal relationships within the Trinity.

[Sound Hermeneutical Principle: We are to employ passages in Scripture that are more clear on a particular subject to interpret those that are less clear, never vice versa.]

QUOTING AUGUSTINE: Book One of the De Trinitate
[Chapter 1.— This Work is Written Against Those Who Sophistically Assail the Faith of the Trinity, Through Misuse of Reason. They Who Dispute Concerning God Err from a Threefold Cause. Holy Scripture, Removing What is False, Leads Us on by Degrees to Things Divine. What True Immortality is. We are Nourished by Faith, that We May Be Enabled to Apprehend Things Divine.

1. The following dissertation concerning the Trinity, as the reader ought to be informed, has been written in order to guard against the sophistries of those who disdain to begin with faith, and are deceived by a crude and perverse love of reason. Now one class of such men endeavor to transfer to things incorporeal and spiritual the ideas they have formed, whether through experience of the bodily senses, or by natural human wit and diligent quickness, or by the aid of art, from things corporeal; so as to seek to measure and conceive of the former by the latter. Others, again, frame whatever sentiments they may have concerning God according to the nature or affections of the human mind; and through this error they govern their discourse, in disputing concerning God, by distorted and fallacious rules. While yet a third class strive indeed to transcend the whole creation, which doubtless is changeable, in order to raise their thought to the unchangeable substance, which is God; but being weighed down by the burden of mortality, while they both would seem to know what they do not, and cannot know what they would, preclude themselves from entering the very path of understanding, by an over-bold affirmation of their own presumptuous judgments; choosing rather not to correct their own opinion when it is perverse, than to change that which they have once defended.

And, indeed, this is the common disease of all the three classes which I have mentioned,— viz., both of those who frame their thoughts of God according to things corporeal, and of those who do so according to the spiritual creature, such as is the soul; and of those who neither regard the body nor the spiritual creature, and yet think falsely about God; and are indeed so much the further from the truth, that nothing can be found answering to their conceptions, either in the body, or in the made or created spirit, or in the Creator Himself. For he who thinks, for instance, that God is white or red, is in error; and yet these things are found in the body. Again, he who thinks of God as now forgetting and now remembering, or anything of the same kind, is none the less in error; and yet these things are found in the mind. But he who thinks that God is of such power as to have generated Himself, is so much the more in error, because not only does God not so exist, but neither does the spiritual nor the bodily creature; for there is nothing whatever that generates its own existence. ]


Ware, Pg 135

So, look at the Trinity and think again about what it means to be human. Yes, the relationships in the Trinity call for and call forth a created community of persons. We need to think very hard about this in our churches… Let’s give thoughtful and prayerful attention to building Trinity-like communities of interdependence and interconnection with one another, working with each other, for each other, and in doing so with harmony and love for one another.


[Scripture reference please? We are to be one as the Father and Son are one, following from Christ's prayer in Gethsemane. But is this accomplished through an authority-submission hierarchy or through mutual submission to one another in love as is taught by Paul in the New Testament? We submit one to another and the Spirit works in us, bringing us into the unity of the faith. We are to demonstrate love to one another and serve one another. What specifics in the Trinity supersede the clear directives of conduct that are given to us in the New Testament that by looking at the Trinity more clearly governs and defines what this means. This presumes an poor hermeneutic where less clear Scriptures on a topic are used to interpret ones that are very clear and well-defined.]

Ware, Pg 137

The most marked characteristics of the Trinitarian relationships is the presence of an eternal and inherent expression of authority and submission.

And here, one of the lessons of the Trinity is that God loves what we despise; namely, God loves, exercises, and embraces rightful authority-submission relationships. God loves this authority-submission structure because God embodies this very structure in his Trinitarian relation of persons. If we have difficulty embracing authority and submission, we can be helped by two things: 1) recall that it is our own sinful urge for independence that leads us to despise authority and want our own way; and 2) reflect on the fact that in the very eternal relations that are true of the Persons of the Trinity, authority and submission are lived out with love and joy….


[I always believed that God wanted us to serve him out of love and not primarily out of the consequences of disobedience of an authority-submission structure. Does God not want us to serve him with all our hearts, minds and strength? Could we say that the listing of hearts, first and foremost, denotes that our primary reason for obedience comes through love and not out of fear of consequences, though certainly His holiness brings this to bear. For this reason we no longer resort to the sacrifice of animals but to that Blood shed once for all out of love. The law is then written on our hearts and in our spirits that we might serve our Lord not under the law of authority and submission but out of liberty in His love. I don't look to the Father and the Son in order to serve God but out of His great sacrificial love for me, paying the debt that I could never pay and from a desire to honor the holiness of His Shed Blood. I am helped by considering His holiness and His great love towards us who believe and because He willingly laid down His sinless life for mine. It is the contrition over my sins past and present that causes me to submit to Him, not the existence of the structure of a hierarchy within a Trinity that is beyond my human comprehension, still subject to this moral coil. What does this say of the author?]

Ware, Pg 138

The fact is, one of the most remarkable single feature in this relational community that we call the Trinity is this presence of authority and submission. So, if we are to model our lives after the nature of God, we must learn joyfully to embrace both rightful authority and rightful submission.


[If I were called upon to remark about the most remarkable, single feature in the Trinity, I would never have thought of the authority-submission structure. Love and sacrifice and the sacrifice of love in the fluid dance of unity would have to be my thought. God Himself provided the sacrifice to atone for my sin by offering Himself in my stead. God laid His own flesh down for me by offering Himself on the Cross in my stead. As much as I would lay down my life for those whom I love, God laid himself down in my place. The mystery of that great sacrifice of love of the giving of self would have to be my most remarkable observation. What does submission and authority have to do with that? God sent the Son, and the Son had to go because that was His role? I see the Son coming and the Son sent as the Son's very own act of life-giving love for me.]

QUOTING James R White in “The Forgotten Trinity," pgs 18-19:

["I have always been challenged by the example of Jonathan Edwards when it came to this matter of loving God as he has revealed himself rather than loving an image I have created of Him in my mind:

'…I had a view that for me was extraordinary, of the glory of the Son of God, as Mediator between God and man, and his wonderful, great, full, pure and sweet grace and love, and meek and gentle condescension. This grace that appeared so calm and sweet, appeared also great above the heavens. The person of Christ appeared ineffably excellent with an excellency great enough to swallow up all thought and conception – which continued, as near as I can judge, about an hour; which kept me the greater part of the time in a flood of tears and weeping aloud. I felt an ardency of soul to be, what I know not otherwise how to express, emptied and annihilated; to lie in the dust and to be full of Christ alone; to love Him with a holy and pure love; to trust in Him; to live upon Him; to serve and follow Him; and to be perfectly sanctified and made pure, with a divine and heavenly purity. I have, several other times, had views much of the same nature, and which have had the same effects.'

When people today talk about “spiritual experiences,” I am often force to reflect upon the fact that rarely are these experiences focused upon God, but rather upon what that person believes God has done for him or her, or what that person has accomplished “for God.” How much deeper, how much more meaningful. Is the experience of Edwards?"]


Ware, Pg 138

Advocates of the egalitarian view often argue that if you believe that God has designed in creational distinction in roles among his human creation, with male leadership in the home and the church, then you cannot avoid the conclusion that men are superior to women, and women are inferior to men.


[Ah, there's the rub. Is it the creator that begets this value of the creature or the creature that begets this characteristic of the creator? Voltaire supposedly said that "if God did not exist, it would be necessary for us to invent Him." I've also heard it said of Voltaire that "God invented man and we returned the favor." If one presumes that gender roles and all doctrine flows directly from God's identity, this is perhaps an easy assumption. But I believe, due to lack of clear, definitive Scripture on this subject that this is not the only conclusion available to the Christian who is committed to obedience to the Word of God. I can avoid the conclusion because Scripture does not delineate this clearly. It is a presupposition and an assumption only that is read into the meaning of particular Scriptures.]

QUOTING Cary, Pg 45

[“The new evangelical subordinationism, in other words, belongs to an overarching strategy to keep women subordinate to men who can no longer use the old weapons of thoughtless prejudice. After a frank admission that women and men are created equally in God’s image, what recourse is there for keeping women under men? The solution is: distinguish their roles, make women’s role subordinate to men’s, and make the subordination permanent. And then, for good measure, anchor this permanent subordination of women in an eternal subordination of roles within God himself.”]


Ware, Pg 139

Therefore, just as the role distinctions characterized by relationships of authority and submission do not compromise the complete equality of the triune Persons of the Godhead, so is this the case with us, who are made in God’s image.

Trinitarian roles and marriage: both equality of essence of male and female, and distinction of husband and wife roles, are designed by God and are reflective of the Trinity.

But it is also clear from Genesis 2 that in the very creation of the man and then the woman, God established the headship of the man over the woman. Some, of course, deny this…

Ware, Pg 140

In two passages, 1 Corinthians11:5-10 and 1Timothy 2:12-15, Paul makes the point that women should recognize male authority in certain settings because God’s very creation of the man and the woman indicates that male headship was part of God’s design in creation. For example, in both passages, Paul refers to the simple fact that it was Adam who was created first, not the woman (1 Cor 11:8; 1 Tim 2:13). So evidently it mattered that God created the man first and the woman second.

Evidently God’s point was not to only indicate that both are needed to fulfill what God intends for them, but also that in this relationship, the man has headship or authority, since the priority of the man over the woman is shown through his being created first.

[POST HOC ERGO PROPER HOC!!!! After this, therefore because of this. This is a logical fallacy of Non Causa Pro Causa. This is a reasoning to a causal conclusion based solely on the supposed cause preceding its effect. It is a necessary condition of causation that the cause precede the effect, but it is not a sufficient condition. The post hoc condition might suggest a causal relationship, but the original cause does not stand on its own based on clear, exegesis.]

Ware, Pg 141

The gravity of the husband’s responsibility toward his wife is perhaps best captured in Paul’s statement of the end goal of Christ’s love toward the church: “that she might be holy and without blemish” (v. 27). The husband, then, must take to heart his sober and joyous responsibility to long and work and love and pray for the continual spiritual growth of his wife. One of the greatest problems in our Christian culture today is that husbands are simply not encouraged to think this way…

Just as there is rightful authority and submission in the Trinity, husbands must accept and embrace this God-given mandate to undertake leadership in the spiritual growth of their wives.


[In patriocentric circles, the most widely held and common belief is that of husbands sanctifying their wives or in some way governing or participating in the sanctification of their wives. The first part of the statement indicates that this is a one-to-one relationship or parallel between the work of Christ and the work of husbands in the lives of their wives. The second half of the statement that the husbands should long and work and love and pray for his wife's spiritual growth, but this is entirely different from what is implied by equating the husband's role with working to somehow make his wife "holy and without blemish" as Christ does for the church. Bruce Ware does apply this as applicable not only to Christ's sanctifying of the church but also relates this as the serious responsibility of a husband towards his wife, does he not? Somehow it is the husband's duty to affect this for his own wife as if it is within man's capabilities to render his wife holy and without spot or blemish! How can a man render his wife holy when man himself lacks the ability to make even himself the least bit holy? Unless he denies that this is his meaning. What then is the meaning of the first part of that statement concerning Ephesians 5:27?

Certainly a man should long for his wife's spiritual growth, loving and praying for her, but how does another human being "work" towards this end, affecting something that only Christ can do? Only Christ can make us holy through His Blood and only He can cleanse us from our maculae and stains, presenting us holy and blameless before the Father. Man does not act as intercessor for his wife, and that is not what the Word teaches. But, as Bruce Ware states other places, if woman is the indirect image of God because Eve, the first woman, was taken from Adam's substance, and she is thus rendered as of a lesser essence either physically or metaphysically (ontologically), then it gives reason that a greater creature could render this care of making one holy. If woman realizes her being and calling only through man and her husband is her intercessor before Christ, than this idea that husband sanctifies his wife is reasonable.]

Ware, Pg 143

The well-being of those under our charge must occupy our thoughts of what it means to be granted this position of authority over them. Husbands and fathers, then, are given a stewardship and a responsibility that attaches to their positions as heads of their homes, and they must seek, by God’s grace and strength, to bring about spiritual growth and well-being for their wives and children. The relations of authority and submission in the Trinity call us to realize that God intends homes to reflect the reality that is true in the Godhead itself.

Ware, Pg 144

So, male headship in our homes is real and important. Husbands and fathers are to plan and work and pray that they may lead their wives and children into new vistas of spiritual understanding and growth. But they must also respect their wives as fully equal, with them, in all that they possess in Christ. Equality of essence and differentiation of role – these realities need to be lived out in our homes as they are eternally expressed in the Trinity.

QUOTING Giles, pg 8:

[“In 1Cor.11:3 Paul does not allude to a fourfold hierarchy, God-Christ-man-woman, but to three paired relationships in which in each case one party is the kephale of the other. They are not ordered hierarchically. Paul speaks first of Christ and man, then man and woman, and last of God and Christ. Rather than subordinating the persons in a descending “chain of command,”38 or “hierarchy of headship,”39 Paul is differentiating the persons paired to introduce the main point he wants to make in the whole passage, namely that what a man or woman has or has not on their “head” when they lead in church should reflect God-ordained sexual differentiation.

1Cor.11:3 is a difficult text to understand, but to interpret it to mean that the Father eternally has authority over the Son is unconvincing. Such an idea is nowhere else suggested by Paul and would contradict his teaching that Christ now reigns as Lord and as “head over all things” (Eph.1:22; Col.2:10). Here we need to remember, that evangelical theological exegesis can never allow an interpretation of one difficult-to-understand text that would suggest a contradiction within scripture. The rule is that difficult-to-understand texts must always be interpreted so that they harmonize with what is plain and primary in scripture. What is central to the New Testament is Christ’s unqualified lordship. It is in this light that that 1 Cor.11:3 must be understood.”]

Ware, Pg 145

Therefore, in obeying Scripture’s command that wives submit to their husbands, it is not enough before God simply to grit your teeth, buck up, and say, “Okay, if you insist, God, even though I don’t like it and I don’t want to do it, I’ll submit.”

Why is such begrudging submission insufficient? It is insufficient in part because it fails to understand the nature of submission as reflective of the Son’s submission to the Father, and the Spirit’s submission to the Father and the Son. In the Trinity, just as the Father takes his responsibility of authority seriously and exercises it with impeccable wisdom and goodness, so the Son and Spirit render joyous and glad-hearted submission, always longing to do just what is asked or commanded of them.

In addition, begrudging submission also fails because it does not express what a wife’s submission to her husband is meant to reflect, according to Paul in Ephesians 5… Just as God calls all of us to submit to authority with a whole heart and willing spirit, so this special calling and privilege is given to wives, to the honor of Christ and his church, and as a reflection of the triune relations within the Godhead.


[Quite often, though I desire to serve God with a pure heart and with all due joy, I submit myself to the law and follow God's law because it is good to do so. It is what is required of me as a good steward, and I believe that this is what it means to be obedient. Rather than tread on the Word of God and that which is right, I deny myself and take up my own Cross. (And I would be the world's greatest hypocrite if I said that this was always true of me, though this is my desire and I confess that this is my highest aspiration.) As God's ways and thoughts are higher than my own, quite often, I submit to what I believe is right out of respect for the Lord or out of respect for others, even though "my heart is not in it." But I look at this statement, and though the endpoint is joyful submission to God and to my husband, this is not always done with a joyous and glad-hearted spirit, but I do it out of love, out of duty and out of commitment. This is the first step towards God working this into my heart and my character.

I'm grieved by this comment, because it essentially says that my obedience out of commitment and vow and love, though it may not be my wholehearted desire is not good enough. Where is grace in this statement? Where is the loving understanding that Paul mentions in Romans? With my mind I serve the Law of God, but with my flesh the law of sin. Who shall deliver me from this body of death? If the passages about husbands sanctifying their wives are of any consequence, it must be my husband that delivers me from this body of death??? Where then are the admonishments for him in these passages? There are none but to rule over me. Where are the admonishments to work to birth this joyous and glad-hearted submission to him? The weight always falls to the woman in this hierarchy, but to who is the husband to submit? Where are those admonishments? It is all very confusing. Where are the husband's admonishments to submit himself soberly to Christ in a like spirit? And what are the consequences for non-compliance? Why are they not defined here?]

Ware, Pg 148

Roles relations between men and women, generally, and role relations in the church, particularly, are important according to Paul because they are meant to reflect the more ultimate realities of Christ’s headship over mankind, and the Father’s headship over Christ. Can we not see from this that the current despising of male authority in pastoral leadership positions in the church undercuts and undermines the very design God has intended for the church?


[Why is it presumed that I despise male headship when I lovingly submit to my husband, because I pledged to do so in accordance and obedience to the Word of God, out of my love for him and out of my love for Christ? Yet I likely fit the definition of the Bruce Ware definition for one of "those egalitarians" because, as his close colleagues and Dean have said, I merely give God lip service in regard to gender. Yet I delight to submit to any authority that it worthy and legitimate, particularly male authority. Yet I do resist any authority of any gender if they do not behave in a manner fitting of their authority. I hold to my profession not because it is my desire but because it is what is set forth for us in the Word of God and I am obedient to what is written.]

Ware, Pg 149

Since elders are responsible to “teach and exercise authority” in the church, Paul could easily have said that he did not permit a woman to be an elder. But he does not say easily have said that he did not permit a woman to be an elder. But he does not say exactly that. Instead, Paul focuses on the distinctive elder functions of teaching and exercising authority, not the office of elder, per se. This is instructive, it seems to me. Many of the questions that arise today, regarding whether it is appropriate for a woman to serve in some capacity or another can be helped if we see this.


[This seems instructive? A woman can certainly function in these roles and not be an elder and not challenge an elder, can she not? There are other interpretations of I Tim 2, wherein the verb tense indicates that the passage directs the meaning towards a particular woman who taught false doctrine. She was to learn in quiet subjection. And what of a woman who teaches with her husband present as an extension of his own authority? What if he has delegates these functions to her as his ambassador, lending his authority to his wife? Is this not instructive also? There are more than one interpretations of I Tim 2 that fall within the pale of orthodoxy.]

Ware, Pg 150

So, as with marriage, our roles in the church are meant to display both the equality of essence and the distinction of the roles present, eternally, in the Trinity. As the Son submits eternally to the Father, and as the Spirit submits to the Father and the Son, so we are to reflect this same reality in our marriage and our churches.

Ware, Pg 151

Trinitarian roles and prayer: the taxis eternally present in the Trinity, of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in this order, forms the framework for meaningful, biblical prayer.

Ware, Pg 152

The Father, then, as supreme authority over even his own Son and the Spirit, is the one to whom we gladly, but humbly, address our prayer.

Second, our prayers are to be extended to the Father “through” his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ… So we rightly pray to the Father but we come “in the name” of the Son, or by this very authority. We recognize that we are able to come into the presence of God only because we come in Christ’s authority, as those clothed in Him.


[From private correspondence concerning Bruce Ware's position on prayer from someone who corresponded directly with Bruce Ware in order to clarify his position: "There was a comment made that Bruce Ware does not teach that Jesus can be prayed to because he wants to stay away from modalism. I happen to know that this isn't the case. Bruce Ware told me through email conversations with him that we are not allowed to pray to Jesus because only the Father is Supreme in the Trinity and so only the Father has the authority of hearing and answering prayers. Apparently Jesus' position regarding prayer is that it is in his authority in which we come to the Father and the Son then is the one who delivers our prayers directly to the Father. Ware says that we are theologically in trouble when we teach or let our children pray to Jesus.

I presented strong scriptural to Ware concerning the equality of Jesus' authority to hear and answer our prayers and he responded with the admission that the verses I quoted did give his position some problems. As such, he continues to hold to the position that Jesus' authority is not Supreme authority as the Father's is, therefore Jesus does not have the authority that the Father alone possesses that allows the Father alone with the authority to answer our prayers. He did say that the early disciples apparently had a special relationship with Jesus that carried on after his death, but we are not given the privilege to have a direct communication with Jesus in prayer.]

Ware, Pg 153

Prayer, then, follows a paradigm that reflects the taxis of the Trinity. The Father has absolute and uncontested supremacy, including authority over the Son and the Spirit, so we pray to the Father… Christian prayer takes its lead from the doctrine of the Trinity, in recognition of the eternal taxis reflected in the Trinitarian relations among the Persons of the Godhead.

Trinitarian roles and worship: the taxis eternally present in the Trinity, of Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, in this order, forms the framework for meaningful, biblical worship.

QUOTING James R. White in “The Forgotten Trinity,” pgs 128 -129

[Concerning Philippians 2:9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,} Some point to verse 9 and say “See, God highly exalted Jesus, hence, Jesus can’t possibly be God.” Such a statement flows from a misunderstanding of the Trinity and the simple fact that normally Paul speaks of the Father simply as “God,” and the Son simply as “Lord.” Both are titles of deity, and since we are not in any way trying to confuse the Father and the Son, we can fully understand Paul’s language. It is the Father who exalted the Son, just as it was the Son, not the Father, who took on human flesh. But notice carefully what Paul does with his words. He quotes from an Old Testament passage, Isaiah 45:23, which reads,

“I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness and will not turn back, that to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance.”

In context, this passage is specifically about Yahweh, the God of Israel (see Isaiah 45:21). Yet Paul quotes from this passage and says that it is to Jesus that every knee shall bow (when in Isaiah it is to be Yahweh), to the Glory of God the Father! How can Paul say this? Does he believe in more than one God? Certainly not! But he realizes that both the Father and the Son are worthy of the name Yahweh! To bow the knee to the Son, Jesus, is to bow to Yahweh. To do so is in no way to slight the Father, who, like the Son, shares the one divine name, Yahweh. The glorification of the Son results in the glorification of the Father as well. Perfect balance, perfect consistency with the entirety of divine revelation.

And so we understand Paul’s exhortation to humility and take it to heart. As Christ laid aside His eternal privileges to serve His people, dying as the sacrifice for their sins, so we, too, are called to give ourselves in service to others. This is the primary meaning of the passage, but it comes to us only as we understand who Christ really was and is. The example only carries weight when we realize that the Lord Jesus eternally existed as the Father’s equal and laid aside His divine privileges out of love for us. A quasi divine Jesus, or a mighty creature, does not fit this passage but instead destroys the entire thrust. Rather, we rejoice in the truth that the Son, though eternally equal with the Father, made himself “nothing” so that we – those who name His name, love Him and obey Him – might have eternal life.]


Ware, Pg 154

In keeping with what we have seen earlier of the Spirit’s chief mandate and passion to bring glory to the Son (John 16:14), here we see that the Spirit is the one who inspires worship within us, but that just as surely, the worship he elicits is focused on the Son.

Ware, Pg 154-155

Recall that Paul spoke of this day, when Christ will stand before every creature in heaven and earth as the exalted Lord, and every knee will bow and every tongue will confess “that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:11). While the Spirit elicits worship of the Son – for all proclaim that “Jesus Christ is Lord” -- nonetheless, all worship of the Son, in and of itself, is penultimate.

[BLOG HOST NOTE: penultimate ~ “next to last”]**

That is, worship of the Son, while right and true and glorious, must also recognize the one whom the Son himself acknowledges as supreme over all, even over himself. The ultimate object of our honor, glory, praise, and worship is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who himself alone is over all. Just as the Son himself will one day “be subjected to him [the Father] who put all things in subjection under him, that God [the Father] may be all in all” (1 Cor 15:28), so we must recognize even now that all worship to the Son, while Spirit-inspired and Spirit-wrought, is always meant also to reverberate yet further to the glory and majesty of the Father.

Hence, Christian worship must be worship of the Son, by the power of the Spirit, to the ultimate glory of the Father. Worship is deeply satisfying and correctly expressed to the glory of this triune God only as it is exercised within this Trinitarian framework.


[See the above notation from James R. White in "The Forgotten Trinity."]

Ware, Pg 156 -157

Just as God is in himself three in person, so that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are each individual personal expressions of the one undivided divine essence, and each relates to the others according to an eternal taxis or order of authority and submission within the Godhead, so we cherish the reflection of this reality as God created authority-submission structures as his purposeful design for many kinds of human relationships…

[We can be confident that when we live out what God is like we will enter into the good that he has designed for us to know. To the glory of the triune God, may we learn to embrace the manifold ways that God has designed human life to reflect the wonder and glory of the God who is eternally one and three… We have not been reading our Bibles – particularly our New Testaments – sufficiently through “Trinitarian glasses,” and we have not devoted ourselves to the meditation and study required to understand better just what the revelation of God as Father, so and Holy Spirit means.

Whether submitting, serving, and obeying, or whether leading, sending, and commanding, each divine Person accepts his respective roles and responsibilities with complete and unabashed delight. The external authority and submission structure of the Trinity does not permit deviation, so that authority and submission are themselves eternal realities. While the Father embraces and revels in this position of being supreme in the Trinity, so too do the Son and Spirit embrace and revel in their positions as second and third, respectively.


[Again, this is a post hoc ergo propter hoc argument and logical fallacy. The "Trinitarian glasses" are the presupposition of this authority-submission structure that seems to be conveniently projected from gender relationships onto the Godhead, remaking God in man's image. They are external realities because they are declared by Dr. Ware to be so by ipsedixitism, not because Scripture declares so. The Father is as supreme in the Trinity as the Son is supreme, that in all things Christ might have the preeminence. If this were not so, why is this proclaimed so explicitly throughout Colossians and in Philippians?]


[“There is another route to subordinationism, however, which is more direct and philosophical. The people who were out-voted at Nicaea were subordinationists because they thought that Christ’s divine being was by its very nature an intermediary between God the Father and created beings like us. (By contrast, the Nicene tradition has always insisted with Scripture that “the one mediator between God and human beings” is “the human Jesus Christ” [1 Tim. 2:5]. Only in his humanity can he stand between God and humanity—not because he is a lesser divinity than the Father and therefore closer to us, but because he is both fully God and fully human.) By insisting that the Son is less than the Father, the subordinationists thought they could make him a kind of cosmic intermediary between the Creator and the creation—not as fully divine as the Father who created all things, but closer to us mere creatures because he too is a product of the Father. Arius took this kind of subordinationism a step further by frankly adding that the Son too, since he originated from the Father, must be regarded as a creation. Arius proposed that the Son was the highest and first being God made, which means that he does not really deserve exactly the same level of worship as God the Father.”]


Ware, Pg 158

To understand God as triune is also to see more clearly what creaturely life is meant to be. Our study of the Trinity opens a window to examine more carefully a part of the design for human relationships. For here we see that the divine unity and diversity, identity and distinction, melody and harmony, are meant by God to be reflected in finite through genuine expressions among us in human relationship.


[Again, here we see a lack of application of a sound hermeneutical principle. We are to employ passages in Scripture that are more clear on a particular subject to interpret those that are less clear, never vice versa.]

Some General Thoughts on the Footnote Section

Here is an arrogant statement from the footnotes that I cannot believe got by anyone because of the implications that this has concerning how people would interpret it. This suggests (as do other comments by Denny Burk, the editor of the Journal of CBMW) that Jesus has an origin in time and a type of what I keep calling “evolution” because of the lack of a better term.

As is the flavor with the Presbyterian/Reformed Federal Visionists do directly, I wonder if there is an Eastern Orthodox flavor to Ware’s writings, and I was even more impressed by this when
the gentleman on the video commented at the end of the lecture about the filioque, mentioning the Eastern Orthodox concepts, but this is not what Ware teaches specifically. Take note of this footnote from Pg 162. He supports the ETERNAL subordination of Christ. And I don’t know what special dispensation He operated under when on Earth as part and parcel of the kenosis which I would have thought would have left Jesus with ability because of the emptying, but never any less authority. The Word even states that Jesus had the ability to choose to not go through with the Atonement, but persevered because of His great love for us. (Glory and honor to Jesus for bearing our sins.) So, though I am no expert in this, there is a flavor for me that sounds Eastern Orthodox which might mean nothing?

Ware, Pg 162: Footnote section

“3. The Western church adapted the Nicene Creed to say, in its third article, that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father “and the son” (filioque) and not merely that he proceeds from the Father (alone). While I agree fully with this additional language, I believe that this biblical way of speaking, as found in John 15:26, (But when that Comforter shall come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth of the Father, he shall testify of me.), refers to the historical sending of the Spirit at Pentecost and does not refer to any supposed “eternal procession” of the Spirit from the Father and the Son. The conceptions of both the “eternal begetting of the Son” and “eternal procession of the Spirit” seem to me highly speculative and not grounded in biblical teaching. Both the Son as only-begotten and the Spirit as proceeding from the Father (and the Son) refer, in my judgment, to the historical realities of the incarnation and Pentecost respectfully.”

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