Trueman: What Is The Status Of Nicene Orthodoxy In Modern Calvinistic Evangelicalism?

…The point at issue is that of the nature of the relations. In his writings, Professor Ware explicitly rejects the Nicene notion of eternal generation while asserting that of eternal functional submission. That is in fact a very radical move to make, though not uncommon today. Yet its popularity does not make it consistent with a Nicene position. In fact, rejection of eternal generation puts you definitively outside of Nicene Trinitarianism. And that is what I was arguing. And I cannot see how claiming the homoousion while altering your understanding of the relations does not leave your position vulnerable in the long term to one of the many problems which were debated and rejected between 325 and 381.

Carl Trueman [emphasis and link added].

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  1. Wayne Grudem has written a post quoting eminent Reformed theologians as supporting his position. Would you be able to respond to that and explain how what they say is different from what Grudem says, as I’m sure it is.

  2. How did this suddenly become an issue? Haven’t Grudem et al. been teaching this for years?

      • Dr Linblad says: “For various reasons, a number ofcontemporary evangelical theologians have rejected the doctrine of the eternal generation of the Son.8 Not unrelated, having inherited (perhaps unwittingly) from modern theology the questionable assumption that the doctrine of the Trinity is capable of generating other theological or socio-political agendas9…”.

        8. See, e.g., Millard Erickson, God in Three Persons: A Contemporary Interpretation of the Trinity (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1995), pp. 305-06, 309-10; Erickson, Who’s Tampering with the Trinity? An Assessment of the Subordination Debate(Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2009), pp. 179-84; Robert Reymond, A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith (New York: Nelson, 1998), pp. 326-27; Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, rev. ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000), pp. 1233-34; Bruce Ware, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Wheaton: Crossway, 2000), p. 162, n. 3; John S. Feinberg, No One Like Him: The Doctrine of God (Wheaton: Crossway, 2001), pp. 488-92; J. P. Moreland and William Lane Craig, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2003), p. 594; and Mark Driscoll and Gary Breshears, Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe (Wheaton: Crossway, 2010), pp. 27-28.

        9. For analysis and critique of this trend, see Thomas H. McCall, Which Trinity? Whose Monotheism? Philosophical
        and Systematic Theologians on the Metaphysics of Trinitarian Doctrine (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010), pp. 224-27; and Stephen Holmes, The Quest for the Trinity: The Doctrine of God in Scripture, History, and Modernity (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2011), pp. 1-32.

        He lists more literature in footnotes 10 and 11.

  3. Hopefully, Dr. Lindblad will have a piece published this fall interacting with new book on Trinity, ed. Ware.

    Dr. James Dolezal lectures on contemporary theology proper issues in this lecture: “Theistic Personalism and the Erosion of Classical Christian Theism”

    He interacts with Ware at minute 40.

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