Friday, February 24, 2006

Theologian in Training

I had been thinking for a while that I should explain what I meant by Theologian in Training. I've called myself a theologian in jest, never in seriousness -- my husband and I would joke about it or I would say to my kids, "One day, when I'm a world famous theologian ..." They began to think that meant Brittany Spears famous and I had to explain to them that Billy Graham was the only Christian who could come close to Brittany Spears famous (R. C. Sproul didn't even make the cut).

But that changed when I read this and I'm enough of a brat that I've been calling myself a Theologian in Training ever since. (So, you think you can tell me I can't read the Bible in its original language or be a theologian I'm going to do it anyway nya, nya, nya or in the more mature words of Martin Luther, another world famous theologian, "Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason... my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. ")

Why a Theologian in Training and not just a theologian? The reason I use this title is because I believe that we are all Theologians in Training. In training because we never quite get there in knowledge and a theologian because we are all theologians, women and men both. We usually pick up the theology of whatever pastor or Bible teacher we are listening to and then when we sit down to study the Bible, we bring them all with us in our interpretation of the Bible. And our theology is not consistent or even logically coherent and is often contradictory. Studying theology helps us to systematize our theology.

My manifesto is written as a reminder to us all that as we share what we have learned in the word with others, we should do so with love, care and compassion. Over the next couple months I will be adding to my manifesto, I've been thinking about a couple more tenets that I'll add over the next couple weeks.

20 Comments:

  1. Laura T said...
    Michele,

    Has anyone tried posting a comment to Philuptheblog? I don't see anywhere to do this. I cannot believe the PCA is allowing this type of talk from a pastor. CRPC is so encouraging to women. They have so many opportunities for women to grow in the word as well as attending Seminary.

    Women serve on staff at the church as well as serve in higher levels at the Seminary. A wonderful woman was just made Director of Development at Knox this year.

    I just can't see the PCA supporting this type of interpretation that 'Phil' and the "Bayly Brothers' are sprewing.
    michele said...
    Heresy is probably the only thing that would get you in trouble with the PCA General Assembly.
    Laura T said...
    But, if their blogs are brought to the attention of the General Assemby, they would not be held accountable for their interpretation or their lack of support for most PCA congregations that support women theologians?
    michele said...
    That position is debated and open to interpretation. Do you know that there are congregations in the PCA where only the elders (both teaching and ruling) are the only ones who teach (that includes Sunday school and the women's Bible study)?
    Light said...
    The Bayly brothers are a piece of work. A friend of mine in the PCA had a scholarly article published in a theological journal taking the egalitarian position. The Baylys sent her a harrassing email, demanding to know who her pastor was. Apparently they wanted to report her misbehavior. They see themselves as the cops of the PCA, protecting its doctrinal purity, when really they're just a couple of petty tyrants with a bit of a power complex.
    michele said...
    Light, what did you say that got you kicked off the comment section of their blog?
    Light said...
    All I said was that there was another point of view, cited some scripture to support my point, and put a link in to CBE (Christians for Biblical Equality). They accused me of using a false email address (which was untrue), said I was promoting false doctrine and opposing God, and then said something about praying that God will silence me.

    Real charmers, eh?
    michele said...
    It appears that this is really a "hot button" issue for him. I think that it is probably indicative of fighting against feminism for so long -- may be he has lost his perspective. When you fight against something it becomes the only issue that you see and other things can slip under the radar.

    Since when is the role of women in the church an issue of heresy? You're not denying the deity of Christ! Though I have been reading something about the feminist view of the Trinity, were you advocating that?
    Light said...
    I've never even heard of the feminist view of the Trinity. What is that?
    michele said...
    Oh no! I was hoping you would know. Now I have to get into another discussion on the Trinity :-). This is actually related to the question Teresa asked me in another thread about the subordination of the Son to the Father. The feminists say that the Triune God is co-equal and so there can be no appeals to the Trinity when arguing for the subordination of women. I’m still working on the orthodox position, this is what I have so far: economy reflects ontology so what each member of the Godhead is in function He being. In function there is submission so somehow there has to be some type of ontological submission that does not take away from Jesus’ deity (that He is somehow less God than the Father).

    I will be looking at this a little more after I finish my digest. Robert Letham wrote an article about this subject and if you are interested I can get the title of the article and of the publication the next time I go to the seminary.
    Moonshadow said...
    I agree that economy reflects ontology but, then, you say this:

    In function there is submission so somehow there has to be some type of ontological submission

    No, I don't agree.

    And, I'm leary of any hint of modalism.

    What's so wrong with the wikipedia article on trinity? It seems really good to me.

    And I think you and I will have (economic) differences on this doctrine but nothing to get upset over.
    michele said...
    As I've said before I'm still working this out and I'm just telling you what I read and what has been said to me.
    michele said...
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
    Light said...
    What you're talking about is not, as far as I know, the "feminist" view of the Trinity. Christ was subordinate to the Father while clothed in human flesh, but He is not eternally subordinate. It's my understanding, however, that female subordinationists are now trotting out this old argument (which was supposedly settled centuries ago and codified in the creeds) by saying that the Son is, in fact, eternally subordinate to the Father. They are using this argument in support of female subordination, but this has not been orthodox theology. Kevil Giles has an excellent book, The Trinity and Subordinationism, that addresses this. There's also a shorter article about it here:
    http://www.cbeinternational.org/new/free_articles/trinity.shtml
    michele said...
    It is from a review of Giles book by Robert Lathem in the Westminster Theological Journal that I'm quoting.

    BTW, I removed my quote because I am not comfortable debating about this now.

    And BTW again, Letham does agree that "eternal subordination of the Son is outside the boundaries of the tradtion."
    michele said...
    I meant comment and not quote.
    Laura T said...
    It's funny, but someone at our New Member's Dinner asked Dr. Kennedy about the verse in John were it speaks about Jesus being 'subordinate to the father'. The explanation that Dr. Kennedy gave was extremely helpful:

    He gave the analogy of two very good friends. They were equal. However, when they were called into the WAR, the one friend was a Sergent,while the other was a private. When they were friends 'outside' of this situation, they would refer to each other by their given first name. However, while they were in the WAR, the private needed to address his friend with the authority that was given to him. The Sergent was his Superior. When they left the War, they were then considered equals.

    Jesus and the Father and the Holy Spirit co-exist as equals. However, when Jesus was in his role on earth, he played a submissive part and looked to the Father as his Superior.
    Light said...
    Good analogy, laura t.

    The Trinity is such a mind-bending concept, I'm afraid to think about it too long. My head might explode. :)
    michele said...
    In other words he sees submission as functional and not ontological :-).
    michele said...
    OK, I talked to my Doctrine of Salvation II professor and he stated unequivocally that the Son is not eternally subordinate ontologically. The Son is subordinate functionally but not ontologically (the members of the God-head are coequal).

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