So Nimm Denn Meine Hande...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Some thoughts for on Subordinationism (and marriage)...

Hmmm. I've had some questions come up regarding subordinationism and Jehovah's Witnesses, and instead of giving this response in a comment, I figured it would be a good post for the day (as I'm studying and too busy to write another post) Apparently some JW's comment that Jesus said that God the Father was greater than him, and understand that to be some sort of ontological statement of superiority (i.e. God the Father has 20% more divinity in his being than Christ did...though JW's don't really ascribe real deity to Christ in the first place.). Here's a look at the specific texts in question (structured for some of my favorite B-Bap ladies who seem to love bullet points! Good theology and serving the ladies! Two birds with one stone! YES!):

John 10:29 and John 14:28. First up is John 10:29:

- John 10:29 doesn't say "greater than I", but instead says "greater than all". I'm guessing some would say that "all" includes "Jesus".

- The thrust of 10:22-30 is the unbelief of the Pharisees regarding Christ's claims to deity. They ask the question in 10:24.

- Jesus says that he HAS told them that he is God, but they refused to pay heed because they "weren't his sheep".

- Then in 10:28 and 29 he gives a little paradoxical set of statements...

- Jesus said that he gives his sheep life and nobody can snatch them from his hand (28)

- Jesus then said that the Father has given them to him and nobody can snatch them out of the FATHER's hand.

- So the Pharisees would be thinking "which is it Jesus? Are they in YOUR hand or GOD the FATHER's hand?"

- And Jesus answers them in John 10:30 - "I and the Father are one."

- Their response in 10:31-33 shows that the Pharisees knew EXACTLY what he was getting at. They understood it, even if the JW's and others dont.

NOW, for John 14:28 -

- In John 14-17, Jesus is preparing for his coming suffering on the cross and giving some important revelation to his disciples.

- In John 14:1-4, Jesus says that he's going to the Father to prepare a place for the disciples.

- In John 14:5-14, Thomas and Philip misunderstand what Jesus said in 14:1-4 and ask him questions about how he's going to go to the Father.

- In John 14:15-31 Jesus gives some answers to their questions, though not as straightforward as they'd have liked.

- So, 14:28 seems pretty straightfoward. Jesus is telling the disciples to be glad that he's going to the Father, "for the Father is greater than I" (14:28). In the context of the passage, it would be a complete lateral shift for Christ to toss in an ontological peculiarity here. That would be like having a sentence in the middle of this post that said "Snakes don't have arms, that's why they don't wear vests". Totally out of place. What seems to make much more sense in the context is that Jesus is saying "don't be sad that I'm going to the Father; be happy! It's better for me to go to the Father than to stay here!"

- And as for 14:31, that verse doesn't insinuate subordination when it says "I do exactly what my Father has commanded me". It would if the first half of the verse were left off, but when you include the whole verse, it makes fine sense:

"...but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me." (14:31)

Jesus didn't do what the Father commanded because he had to due to the fact that the Father would always win in an arm wrestle. Jesus did what the Father commanded because he loved him and therefore couldn't not do what the Father commanded. Jesus desired to please the Father because he loved him. No inferiority in love, and I'd illustrate that with God's favorite illustration of that: marriage.

Within real Christian marriages, there is an equality of essence while yet there still is a submission based on love, exactly as was shown in the relationship between God the Father and God the Son. The husband and the wife are equally saved by grace, and both positionally righteous before the Lord. BUT, there isn't some sort of spiritual androgeny. Just like the Son was God and still had submitted to his Father out of love, so wives are still believers and submit to their husbands out of love.

AND, just as the Father loved for the Son and lifted the Son up to be glorified in the highest place, so husbands after the Father's heart should lift up their wives in love and glorify them (not in the "worship" sense, but in the "extolling and edifying" sense). I'm sure that everyone is familiar with the Ephesians 5 commands for husbands and wives, as well as their relationship to Christ and the Church, (not to mention 1 Corinthians 11:3-16) but maybe some didn't see the connection between that and John 10:29 & 14:28.

Maybe some will now! If you're a married man, you're supposed to love the CRAP out of your wife...I'm guessing that would make her call to submission a tad easier!

I don't have a wife though, so I've got two MORE steps before that:

1. Find a Godly woman and date the CRAP out of her! (working on it!)

2. Take that Godly woman and marry the CRAP out of her! (I've always wanted to say to someone, "I'm fully gonna marry the CRAP out of you!" and see what they say. One day maybe?!)

3. Then, when she's my wife finally, I have to love the CRAP out of her (though that starts in stage 1).

(I guess I should apologize to anyone from the US who shows up here and is offended by my use of "crap". Apparently that's "foul language" in some parts of the US. That's not "foul language" where I come from...)

Until Next Time,

The Armchair Theologian


Blogger Jen2 said...

Hrrrumph !

haha....well, I can say that I've been rebuked for using the word crap before many-o-times.
But honestly.....I have to say that using that word instead of the word the world uses, catches their attention (and makes em laugh usually - opens a door of comfort leading right into the gospel.)

So, I watch that word around the pious peeps and use it to the glory of God around unbelievers.
It is clean, but to some, it may bother their conscience. All about loving others for Jesus' Names sake.

Great post too brethren ! Ever since the sex and supremecy of Christ conference, I think about the marriage relationship in light of the trinity too. It's a blessing to see. Also, I think much about how I'm a sheep and my husband will be a shepherd, subject to the Head Shepherd of course....but I love being a sheep!! I get tended to and cared for and washed to be white as snow with the word of God. - Man it's good to be a girl!!!
And knowing the Head Shepherd to whom my husband will look for guidance in His sheep tending (myself and any children we may be blessed with one day)'s a joy to be led!!!

Umm...okay- a bit more than 2 cents....more like a dollar...but hey......I'm wordy.

All i got,

4:34 PM

Blogger The Armchair Theologian said...

And I fully appreciate it! I case you've not noticed, I tend to be a wordy little salamander too.



You B-Bap girls are so hilariously strange...

Good theology and a sense of humor, and it's taking a little getting used to, to be honest!

I don't really have to argue with you sheilas much, if at all...a simple "Hrrrumph!" will do fine! It's encouraging to know that there are still some ladies out there who love the Lord and the word and want more of Christ, in the sense of actually knowing "facts that lead to fruit" (i.e. talking theology in order to grow in knowledge leading to uprightness and worship) as opposed to "electroencephalographically empty experiences that lead to elevated emotions" (just riding the "Jesus is my boyfriend" tram to the top of the mountain of religious experience and having a spiritual seiszure...)

And it IS awesome to be a girl, or so a friend of mine recently told me! Wo0t!

Bring your 2 cents, or 2 bucks, by here anytime!

p.s. - electroencephalographically (that's my dollar word for the day! Word power!)

5:36 PM

Blogger Mike said...

Booyah! (from where I come from "booyah!" is the proper substitute for "Hrrumph!")

Good post and I must admit that I had to go check out what Wikipedia said about "crap" after reading it.

And may you find a classy, godly young lady that responds well to your saying that you want to marry the crap out of her! =)

8:32 PM

Blogger Curtis said...

Once again, great thoughts, ideas and principles presented at the "Reflections from a Rogue Brain" farm (...except the repeated use of the word 'crap'. What do feces have to do with the Armchair and his women?!)

On to a more pleasant subject. Jen2, I appreciate the exuberance and passion you have for Jesus. It is good to know that there are a few women like you out there (somewhere). But I am curious. Have you ever spent any time with a flock of sheep? Or observing sheep? Do you know what kind of temperament sheep have? Your comments were intriguing.

9:14 PM

Anonymous Micah said...

Of course, I assume that you've heard of the famous plumber, Thomas Crapper.

7:55 AM

Blogger Jen2 said...

Hey Curtis and friends ~

Well, unfortunately, my quality time with sheep has been limited. I would LOVE to know more about sheep though - come to think of it would help me get a deeper understanding of how Jesus relates to us. (one of the ways anyway: we're His brothers and sisters, His bride, His body, His church, His friends, His disciples, and His sheepies!)

Some thoughts I have are that sheep are stupid and run away a lot. And in a sermon I heard when I first got saved, the pastor said that if a sheep kept running away from the shepherd, the shepherd would break one of it's legs so that it can't run away anymore. (the shepherd would cause pain in it's life in order to keep it near to him)

And the picture I get when Jesus told the parable of the good shepherd makes me cry. (like I'm about to now) Jesus said that the good shepherd looks for his lost sheep UNTIL HE FINDS in, He loves that sheep. And when he finds him, he picks him up on his shoulders and carries him I don't picture some fluffy happy white sheep....this sheep has sheep poo and mud all over him, he's made a mess of himself, not to mention, he might be a biter sheep. But the good shepherd loves him anyway, and carries him home - and says to his friends "rejoice with me, I have found my sheep that was lost!"

There is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 that never needed repentance.

Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.

Man, it hurts sometimes to know that I am a stupid sheep....but Glory be to the Great Shepherd, the overseer of my soul - who will NOT let me run away from Him.


Any thoughts on sheep from anyone would be a blessing to my soul.

I got a bunch o'thoughts about how the husband/wife work a bit like Jesus and the Holy Spirit.....there is sooo much there. The trinity is probably my favorite thing to ponder.

sorry so long.

With all my might,
Sheep # 2,324,585,942,091

7:57 AM

Blogger Craver VII said...

Sheep # 2,324,585,942,091, you are an encouragement. I read your stuff and thought...not baaaaad. :-)

Armchair, thanks for sharing! Last night, my JW buddy didn't talk about the trinity, but maybe next time, if I see him again. He said he's been reassigned to another congregation because someone decided to re-draw the district lines. Hopefully, this means he and I can now do a one-on-one at McDonalds or something.

Electroencephalographically?! Man, if I had a nickel for every time I used that word in everyday conversation!!

1:29 PM

Blogger Dusto said...

I love Godly Babes!

8:35 PM

Blogger Curtis said...

Jen, Dusto says it best.

I wish that I could tell you more about sheep. But alas, you have already told me as much as I already know. They aren't the brightest animals out there. So when you mentioned that you wished you were a sheep, I thought that you were either one amazing woman ...or just plain ignorant.

You have my respect.

10:07 AM


Post a Comment

<< Home