Eternal Relations in the Trinity: A Brief Summary of the Current Controversy

The evangelical Internet is abuzz with discussion about ad intra relations within the Trinity. Bruce Ware and Wayne Grudem have been recognized as presenting forms of Eternal Functional Subordination (EFS) of the Son to the Father in their respective books, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles, and Relevance (Crossway) and Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Zondervan). Owen Strachan and his co-author Gavin Peacock hold to what they term Eternal Relations of Authority and Submission (ERAS) in their book, The Grand Design (Crossway).

This current discussion is bound up with complementarianism, an articulation of God’s design for the relationship between men and woman. Eternal subordination or submission is appealing to many, because it seems to bolster the case for complementarianism by rooting it in divine ontology, or at least the divine economy. It raises the issue above any conjecture of being arbitrary.

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