Last Saturday I posted some thoughts about the first part of Ben Witherington’s review of Frank Viola’s book Reimagining Church. Since then he has posted parts two, three and four, all long and making a total review of 26,000 words! He has graciously allowed Frank Viola to respond, this time in two parts, another 15,000 words. And he promises one more post from himself and a final word from Viola. I would have liked to comment further on this debate, but in a busy week it has been as much as I can manage to read it all.
I do intend to write more about this in due course, but my life is getting busier at the moment so I can’t promise anything soon.
To keep you all going, an extract from part two of Frank’s response to Ben:
Subordination is mutual in the Godhead. The Father totally gives Himself in His fullness to the Son. That’s why the Son is the Logos, because He contains the Father in His fullness. The Son’s very essence is that of a gift from the Father. How, then, can that not imply some moment of mutual subordination in the Trinitarian dance of love? The Father isn’t saying to the Son, “Hey, I’m here to run your life.” That’s not the giving of a gift. The Father’s relationship to the Son is an act of love, and act of self-giving, of dispossessing Himself for the sake of the Son, who in turn, dispossesses Himself back toward the Father and surrenders Himself to the same Father who in effect surrendered Himself to Him. So there’s a mutual surrender involved. Ben’s rejection of this is at the heart of his view of the Trinity. Functional subordination, then, occurs among all the members of the Trinity, not just of the Son to the Father. It happens in a distinctive way in each case, nonetheless it really happens. The Spirit also subordinates Himself in that He comes to glorify Christ.