Friday, August 19, 2011

Ware on the Trinity & Relationships

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles, and RelevanceOne of my favorite books on the Trinity is Dr. Bruce Ware's wonderful book Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles, and Relevance.  One of the emphasis of the book regards how each member of the Trinity submits to the other.  In particularly, the Father exercises headship over the Son and Spirit and thus the Son obeys the Father in complete and full obedience.

One can probably see why this would be controversial.  Do you see the implications?  If there is a distinction of roles yet equality in essence even within the Trinity, then why not among humans?  As in marriage and gender roles.  If it is biblical and correct to say that God is the head of Christ (though same in essence, both fully, completely, and distinctively God and at the same time one) then why is it wrong to say that the man is the head of the household?  Hence the controversy and the resistance.

But I consider this to be an important point about the Trinity.  Christ is complete, satisfied, and glorified in His role as the Son without the need to be the Father or the Spirit.  In other words, Christ never rebels against the Father and is at the same time exalted.  That is to say, there is God-glorying joy to excel in the office and role given to us.  Whether we be male or female, black or white, politician or voter, employer or employee, singer or songwriter, front stage or back stage, married or single, student or teacher, etc.  God wants us to be satisfied and content with where He has us and how He has made us.

Thus in application to gender roles, let us glorify God in the roles He has given us.  Being male isn't better than being female.  God is glorified in both.  Let us then not engage in the wars of the sexes, but maximize our masculinity and femininity to God's glory.  Celebrate the diversity and pursue unity.

This also applies to the church as we will discuss Sunday morning.

Here is what Dr. Ware has to say on the subject;

3.  The relationships in the trinity exhibit so beautifully a unity that is not redundancy, and a diversity that is not discord.

Consider again the difference between unison and harmony in music.  Unison achieves a kind of unity, but w/o texture and with built-in redundancy.  With unison, you have several voices singing the same melody.  And while unison has its own beauty, there is in harmony a kind of glorious unity with texture and complexity that is simply lacking with unison.  The unity achieved through harmony avoids redundancy, for every voice matters ,and every part contributes its unique sound.  The beauty of harmony is a beauty of diversity w/o discord, of distinctiveness w/o disarray, of complexity w/o cacophony.

While only an analogy, the contrast between unison and harmony helps reflect something true of the Trinity.  Here, we have a three-part harmony n which each “Voice” sings the same song, following the same composition and reading off the same page, yet each Voice joyfully sings a difference part, and the three together contribute a richness and texture that no one voice alone could accomplish.

In our own relationships in the home and in ministry, we should endeavor, by God’s grace, to model our work and worship in ways that reflect the Trinitarian unity expressed through harmony.  This will mean, on the one hand, that we celebrate rather than begrudge many of the differences among us.  When we insist that everyone be just like ‘me,’ we have settled for the unity of unison and we have lost the vision of harmony. Rather than bemoan the fact that God gives various gifts in the body of Christ, and rather than look down on others whose interests in ministry and service vary from our own, e can see these as the harmonious display of various ‘voices’ which, if they sing correctly, can create a beautiful common song.  Our differences, so long as they are within the boundaries of the moral character of God and express the gifting of the Spirit, need to be embraced and employed in Christian service, both in the home and in the church.

On the other hand, work and worship that reflect the Trinitarian unity expressed through harmony will also seek to follow one conductor and to sing or play off the same score of music.  When the differences among us result in each person doing what is right in his or her own eyes, we have moved from harmony into the pain and hurt of anarchy.  Harmony works only with differences that are fettered by common cause.  Our various parts must be played or sung according to what the common music o the whole choice or orchestra calls for.  We must all be seeking to follow the same leader and make our contributions in ways that assist the whole.  In the Trinity, the various parts played by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit lead to the beauty and unity of harmony, and this is the model we should emulate in our relationships.  -Bruce Ware, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles, and Relevance, 135-36

For more:
GBC - Unified Diversity - The Church & Flyleaf's Beautiful Bride
GBC - Driscoll on Trinitarian Heresies and Living the Trinitarian Life   

GBC - DeYoung on the Trinity  
GBC - MacArthur on the Comfort of the Spirit 
GBC - The Nicene Creed 
GBC - November 20, 2010 - God is Triune:  God the Father
GBC - November 28, 2010 - God is Triune:  God the Spirit
GBC - This is Who We Are  What a Baptist Is and Believes - God the Father
GBC - This is Who We Are:  What a Baptist Is and Believes - God the Son  
GBC - This is Who We Are:  What a Baptist Is and Believes - God the Spirit 
GBC - Shai Linne:  Triune Praise 

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