You Connect the Dots

This is what Albert Mohler says:

Clearly, there can be no eternal subordination in terms of being. That would deny what the Nicene Creed affirms and affirm what it denies. But describing the social dimensions of the Trinity is far more difficult. I decline to speculate where I am not authorized by Scripture to go, but there is something important to the fact that the Father is eternally the Father and the Son is eternally the Son. Affirming separate wills within the Trinity would be heresy, but we lack adequate human categories for understanding how exactly to define these doctrines comprehensively. God has not revealed some answers to us, and our finite minds cannot fully comprehend the infinite divine reality.

This is what is said of Ware and Grudem by Kyle Claunch:

“One often overlooked feature of such a proposal [on eternal submission of Son to Father as articulated by Grudem and Ware] is that this understanding of the eternal relationship between Father and Son seems to entail a commitment to three distinct wills in the immanent Trinity.  In order for the Son to submit willingly to the will of the Father, the two must possess distinct wills.  This way of understanding the immanent Trinity does run counter to the pro-Nicene tradition, as well as the medieval, Reformation, and post-Reformation Reformed traditions that grew from it.  According to traditional Trinitarian theology, the will is predicated of the one undivided essence so that there is only one divine will in the immanent Trinity.

“By arguing for eternal authority and submission in the Godhead, Ware, Grudem, and others are not abandoning all traditional Trinitarian categories.  Rather, drawing on the distinction between the one divine essence and the three divine persons (a distinction that is basic to Trinitarian orthodoxy from its earliest mature expressions), they are making a conscious and informed choice to conceive of will as a property of person rather than essence.  The model of a three-willed Trinity then provides the basis for the conviction that structures of authority and submission actually serve as one of the means of differentiating the divine persons.”

How else to read it? Has not Mohler said three wills is heresy? If so, is he saying this of Ware and Grudem?

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.