Monday, November 9, 2009

Father Alone?

“Ware makes much of the differing roles of the three persons. With respect to creation, for example, he says of the Father, ‘He is the Grand Architect and Wise Designer of everything in the created order. More generally, ‘From initial creation through ultimate consummation and everything that happens in between, it is God the Father who is the Architect, the Designer, the one who stands behind all that occurs as the one who plans and implements what he has chosen to do. Thus, the Father is PREEMINENT in foreordination, creation, providence, and many associated doctrines. He is also the giver of every gift. Yet, ‘though the Father is supreme, he often provides and works through his Son and Spirit to accomplish his work and fulfill his will” (Millard Erickson quoting Bruce Ware, in “Who’s Tampering With the Trinity? An Assessment of the Subordination Debate.” Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2009, pages 37-38).

In Bruce Ware’s book, called “Father, Son, & Holy Spirit: Relationship, Roles, and Relevance,” Ware goes to great lengths to show why the Father is superior to both Jesus and the Spirit in the Trinitarian relationship. In the quote above, he states, “He [Father] is the Grand Architect and Wise Designer of everything in the created order.”

However, Scripture tells us that without Jesus, the world would not have been created: “All things were made through Him, and WITHOUT HIM NOTHING WAS MADE THAT WAS MADE” (John 1:3, NKJV). Christ was just as essential to the creation of the world as God the Father was.

Next, Ware states, “Thus, the Father is preeminent in foreordination, creation, providence, and many associated doctrines.”

But Ware’s comment here is a problem as well. Notice what the Scriptures say about Jesus:

“And He [the Son, Col. 1:13] is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, THAT IN ALL THINGS HE MAY HAVE THE PREEMINENCE” (Colossians 1:18, NKJV).

It seems then that the Son was to have “preeminence” along with the Father. After all, this is the same Jesus who prayed to the Father,

“And now, O Father, GLORIFY ME TOGETHER WITH YOURSELF, with the glory WHICH I HAD WITH YOU BEFORE THE WORLD WAS” (John 17:5; 1:1, 14, 18; Phil. 2:6).

Since in his eyes the Father is the “head” of the Trinity, the Son and the Spirit are “sent” by the Father:

Yet, ‘though the Father is supreme, he often provides and works through his Son and Spirit to accomplish his work and fulfill his will.”

However, what are we to do with the Spirit’s “willing”?

“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit...but one and the same Spirit WORKSS IN ALL THESE THINGS, distributing to each one individually AS HE WILLS” (1 Corinthians 12:4, 11).

But if 1 Corinthians 12 is correct, then Bruce Ware can’t be—for here, the Spirit Himself is “willing” who will receive certain gifts from Himself. If Bruce Ware is correct, then the Father “wills” for the Spirit to give gifts, but now, the Spirit is “willing” gifts to whomever He pleases! If we listen to Bruce Ware, the Father and the Spirit are IN OPEN CONFLICT RIGHT HERE IN SCRIPTURE!!

You see the problems with the idea of a “Trinitarian conflict” or “Trinitarian disagreement,” right? I do. How then, can we reconcile the “willing” of the Father and the “willing” of the Spirit? We can reconcile this by remembering that, since all three members of the Trinity are God, they do not will apart from one another; rather, they all have ONE WILL and do things IN ONE ACCORD! Scripture tells us this also:

“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts know what the mind of the Spirit is, because He [Spirit] makes intercession for the saints ACCORDING TO THE WILL OF GOD” (Romans 8:26-27, NKJV).

The Spirit intercedes according to God’s will, which means that the Spirit does the uniform will of the Trinity. The Trinity has one will, not three (which would argue that each member of the Trinity has a SEPARATE will).

Jesus Himself spoke of the agreement of the Trinity:

“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you” (John 16:13-15, NKJV).

When Jesus said that “all things that the Father has are Mine.” The Father gave all things to Jesus. Jesus then, gave “all things” to the Spirit.
Notice then, that what the Father has He “shares” with the Son; and the Son shares with Spirit.

Clearly then, there is an intimate bond between the Father, Son, and Spirit. There is no one member of the Trinity “yielding power or authority” over the other members.
Is the Father “alone” in His work? No, He isn’t. The problem is even worse for Bruce Ware when you consider that the Trinity was in UNANIMOUS AGREEMENT among the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit when God created man (Genesis 1:26-28)...

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