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Blogstorms, digital teacups: New Calvinists and Nicene Trinitarianism

(nota bene: I was updating this post about daily with any new contributions I came across. I am no longer doing so, as the debate has largely moved on. [It’s certainly not over, people are indeed still writing and blogging about it. I would say the initial storm of discussion has subsided though, and I am no longer actively monitoring it]

The posts below are in roughly chronological order. New additions welcome!)


Blog posts galore have flown back and forth this week over whether certain persons in contemporary reformed Calvinist circles are pushing their Trinitarian barrels in a non-orthodox direction because of gender debates between Complementarian and Egalitarian positions. Here’s a collation of posts so far:

Liam Goligher kicked things off with two fiery posts:

1. Is it okay to teach a Complementarianism based on Eternal Subordination?

2. Reinventing God

They were particularly fiery posts in that they didn’t stop short of saying that using Eternal Subordination to prop up complementarianism was a departure from Nicene Trinitarian theology and thus tantamount to a heretical view of the Trinity.

Carl Trueman then followed up from Goligher’s post:

3. Fahrenheit 381

Michael Bird weighed in:

4. The Coming War: Nicene Complementarians vs Homoian Complementarians

Mark Thompson gives us:

5. ERS: Is there order in the Trinity?

and promises a second post.

Michael Bird gives a second post outlining some of his own thoughts on the issue:

6. More on the Calvinist Complementarian Divide on the Trinity

Wayne Grudem gives a defence of his position:

7. Whose Position on the Trinity is really new?

As does Bruce Ware:

8. God the Son–at once eternally God with His Father, and eternally Son of the Father

Denny Burk gives a few follow-up comments to Ware and Grudem:

9. A brief response to Trueman and Goligher

And Trueman offers some brief rejoinders to Ware and Grudem:

10. A rejoinder to Wayne Grudem

11. A surrejoinder to Bruce Ware

Mike Ovey’s comments in support of Eternal Subordination:

12. Should I resign? On the eternal subordination of the Son (original post here, reblogged at Credo)

See also posts by

13. Scot McKnight: Is it New? Yes. It is Orthodox? No.

14. Darren Sumner: Some Observations on the Eternal Functional Subordination Debate

15. Mark Jones: God’s Will and Eternal Submission


Michel Barnes, a renowned Patristics scholar, added some comments apparently on facebook, reproduced by Michael Bird (with permission):

16. Comments from Michel R. Barnes.

There is also a bit of a response from Patristics scholar Lewis Ayres, on the same facebook post. Here’s the repost on Bird’s blog:

17. Lewis Ayres’ comment. (Original facebook comments from Barnes and Ayres)

There’s also a summary post by Andrew Wilson

18. Submission in the Trinity: A quick guide to the debate

My friend Ryan Clevenger has a great post on Gregory Nazianzen’s view of the subject:

19. Gregory of Nazianzus on the Submission of the Son.

Luke Stamps has a tidy contribution that brings in Calvin and Gregory of Nazianzus together:

20. The Trinity debate and the history of interpretation

Fred Sanders offers his own related contribution here:

21. 18 Theses on the Father and the Son

Mike Ovey responds with quite a bit of sass to Michael Bird’s take on his position:

22. Can Michael Bird read my mind? Alas it seems not.

Owen Stracham, a self described advocate of “Eternal Relations and Authority Submission” defends his position here:

23. The Glorious Godhead and Oroto-Arian Bulls

A second post from Mark Jones:

24. Eternal Subordination of Wills? Nein! Part Two


A third post from Mark Jones, really getting stuck into Strachan:

25. Biblicism, Socinianism, and “Arid” Scholarhip

TGC Australia have decided to write a whole series addressing it, by Andrew Moody and Mark Baddeley

26. The Ordered Godhead: (1) Commending Nicaea – Moody.

Luke Stamps also shares some thoughts on the divine will:

27. Further reflections on the unity of the divine will.

There’s a post from Derek Rishmawy,

28. On Trinitarian controversy: why it’s not always terrible and how to go about it.

Andrew Perriman:

29. The subordination of the Son, and why it has nothing to do with gender. (and a whole bunch of related posts there)

D. Glenn Butner, Jr.:

30. Eternal Submission and the Story of the Seven Ecumenical Councils.

And a recent round-up post by Alastair Roberts:

31. The Eternal Subordination of the Son Controversy: The Debate so Far.

Darren Sumner again, with:

32. What is the Immanent Trinity? A Clarification for the Eternal Subordination Debate

Matt Emerson, with:

33. What makes a Doctrine “Biblical”? On method.

Matthew Barrent, with:

34. Better late than never: The Covenant of Redemption and the Trinity Debates.

Michael Bird points out the line-up for a section at ETS this year:

35. The 2016 Evangelicals and Gender Study group session on the Trinity.

And lately the ‘civil war’ has even made it to Christianity Today: Caleb Lindgren writes

36. Gender and the Trinity: From Proxy War to Civil War

A guest post by Scott Harrower on Michael Bird’s Blog:

37. Why Trinitarian Debates Really Do Matter!

Another good descriptive post, by Mike Riccardi:

38. Making sense of the Trinity (EFS) debate.

Andrew Moody’s second post over at TGC Australia:

39. The Ordered Godhead: (2) The Beauty of Ordered Willing

And finally a response from Goligher to Ovey:

40. Dr. Liam Goligher responds to Dr. Mike Ovey

Grudem combed through some evangelical scholars to prove the lineage of his view:

41. Another Thirteen Evangelical Theologians Who Affirm the Eternal Submission of the Son to the Father

Then Owen Strachan wrote what I would call a snarky “see told you we were right” post following on:

42. Wayne Grudem Critiques Liam Goligher’s Historical Theology

There’s also a helpful post here from Alistair Roberts giving some reading for those playing at home:

43. The Eternal Subordination of the Son Controversy: Survey of Some Relevant Material

Goligher also as a response to Ware and Grudem, here:

44. A Letter to Professors Ware and Grudem

Keith Johnson has a post over at TGC:

45. Is the Eternal Generation of the Son a Biblical Idea:

Mark Jones offers a response to Wayne Grudem’s list of evangelicals in support of his position:

46. Wayne Grudem’s Historical Theology Analzyed

Carl Trueman gives what he promises to be his last response to Grudem (for now?):

47. Once more unto the breach…and then no more: A final reply to Dr. Grudem

Over at Cripplegate, there’s a whole bunch of useful posts. This most recent one is quite helpful and promising:

48. The Complementarian Trinity Debate: A summary of its beginnings, by Wyatt Graham.

Wyatt Graham continues with

49.  The Complementarian Trinity Debate: A chronological Summar Part II.

Christopher Cleveland has an interesting post, outlining a case for a long-term background in evangelical scholarship, here:

50. Why the Trinitiarian Controversy was Inevitable

Scot McKnight hosts a post from Jamin Hübner at CBE, with plenty of ‘quotation marks’ to undermine Complementarianism and EFS:

51. Subordinationism: Some Major Questions/

Carl Trueman continues, tangentially:

52. The Ecumenical Consequences of the Peace

Malcolm and Karen Yarnell start in with a baptist perspective:

53. Trinity and authority, part 1 of 5.

A mini-essay from Matthew Crawford:

54. Clarifying Nicene Trinitarianism with Cyril of Alexandria

Carrying on from Andrew Moody, Mark Baddeley at TGC Australia writes:

55. The Ordered Godhead: (3) Speaking of God…

Luke Stamps tries to take stock of things:

56. The Trinity Debate: Where do we stand?

Wend Alsup (and Hannah Handerson) at theologyforwomen.org write:

57. The Eternal Subordination of the Son (and Women)

While Coutney Reissig at Christianity Today writes:

58. Why Complementarian men need Complementarian women

Al Mohler offers his thoughts with:

59. Heresy and Humility – Lessons from a Current Controversy

To which Carl Trueman offers his response here:

60. A Reply to Dr. Mohler on Nicene Trinitarianism

Mark Woods gives a piece for Christianity Today:

61. Complementarianism and the Trinity: Is Wayne Grudem a dangerous heretic?

Matt Emerson gives us two fine pieces:

62. A Summarized Biblical Case for Eternal Generation

63. An Attempt to Arbitrate the Trinity Debate

Lewis Ayres contributes another guest post on Mike Bird’s blog:

64. On the meaning of Nicene Orthodoxy

Kyle Claunch, doctoral candidate under Bruce Ware, responds to use of their work in critiquing ERAS, with:

65. Some Clarifications from @kdclaunch on Bruce Ware and the Trinity Debate


Some new contributions…

Mark Baddeley continues at TGC Australia:

66. The Ordered Godhead: (4) Athanasius and Nicea

Meanwwhile Mark Jones offers up a reading list!

67. A (Somewhat Annotated) Bibliography on the Trinity.

Clarification from Bruce Ware over his views:

68. Knowing the Self-Revealed God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

Here’s Nick Norelli offering us:

69. Some Scattered Thoughts on the EFS/ERAS Debate

Mike Bird has three questions in response to Bruce Ware’s post (68):

70. Bruce Ware’s Clarification on EFS/ERAS and Nicene Orthodoxy

Mark Jones, after some heated twitteractions, responds with an article engaging Ware’s latest post:

71. Guest Post from Mark Jones (includes some free commentary on ‘tone’ and ‘fallout’ by Trueman.

Mark Baddeley wraps up the series at TGC Australia

72. The Ordered Godhead: (5) Final Reflections


Todd Pruit just fired a salvo, with a post quoting extensively from Ware and showing some real problems in his book ‘Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles, and Relevance’:

73. Let’s all be Nicene

Bruce Ware gives another guest post defending his position and trying to contextualise statements in the aforementioned book:

74. An Open Letter to Liam Goligher, Carl Trueman, and Todd Pruitt, on Trinitarian Equality and Distinctions

Matt Emerson and Luke Stamps offer a nuanced response to Ware’s latest two posts:

75. Responding to Bruce Ware with Charitable Criticism

A response letter from Goligher, Trueman, and Pruitt

76. The Looking Glass War: Responding to Bruce Ware

An engagement with Ware’s recent post from Geoff Holsclaw:

77. Holsclaw responds to Ware (a little cluttered since it quotes Ware’s post in full and responds point by point.)

A response from Steven Wedgeworth offers a critique of Ware’s position:

78. Bruce Ware’s “Essential Properties of Personhood”: Social Trinitarianism and Pro-Nicene Logic


  1. […] my spiel. And a huge thanks to Seumas Macdonald for his roundup of posts on the recent discussion. It saved me a lot of time and […]


  2. […] in all that has been said on the subject in recent weeks (those interested will do well to consult Seumas Macdonald’s collation of posts on the subject). I miss the days of working from home and being able to engage in fruitful […]


  3. […] Patrologist’s Blogstorms, digital teacups: New Calvinists and Nicene Trinitarianism also has a list of posts on the debate. […]


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