Home > 1 Corinthians, Bible Study, church life, John, S. Lewis Johnson > Equality AND Submission: S. Lewis Johnson on Feminism and the Trinity

Equality AND Submission: S. Lewis Johnson on Feminism and the Trinity


From my recent studies with S. Lewis Johnson through the Gospel of John, and now 1 Corinthians 7, a good point often made by SLJ:  equality and submission co-exist within the same relationship.

1 Corinthians 7:1-7 tells us that equality exists between men and women in the marriage bed.  We find a parallel of both equality and submission within the Godhead: the Father and Son are equal, of one substance, both fully God – and yet at the same time the Bible also tells us that the Son is submissive to the Father.

S. Lewis Johnson’s observations here concerning feminism, submission and equality:

Now, we’ve had a lot of talk in our day about feminism, and it’s still going on and it has been introduced into evangelicalism.  And so today we have evangelicals who — or we have individuals who claim to be evangelicals — and I’m not denying that some of them are; maybe many of them are — who insist that what we think of as the biblical teaching of the relationship between man and wife has been patriarchal and contrary both to the Bible and to what it ought to be in society.  They have insisted that when we say that a woman is to be submissive to her husband and the husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church, we forget that, let’s just talk about the submission.  When it says that the woman is to be in submission to her husband; that’s contrary to equality.  In other words, you cannot have equality if you have submission.

Now, other evangelicals who are not feminist evangelicals have tried to point out that in the Bible there is a recognition of equality and submission as being in harmony.  For example, they’ve often pointed to 1 Corinthians chapter 11 where the apostle says:  “Now I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ and the head of the woman is the man and the head of Christ is God.”

Well, now we know that our Lord and the Father are equal.  And yet there is a submission of the Son to the Father.  We do not have any problem with that because if we felt that the Son was not equal to the Father in his being, then we wouldn’t have a divine Trinity; we wouldn’t have Christianity because Christianity must have the doctrine of the Trinity or else there’s no Christianity.   That’s why it’s always a test of faith to ask if an individual receives the Orthodox teaching concerning the Trinity, because only then do you have Christianity.  Those who suggest they are three people in the Godhead but they are not equal in power and authority and so forth are not Trinitarians.  But Christian theology is built around the Trinity.  But in the Trinity, in the time of our Lord’s mediation specifically, there is submission on the part of the Son of God but there is equality all the time.

So it’s not true to say that equality and submission cannot go together.

Advertisements
  1. Truth2Freedom
    May 4, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Reblogged this on Truth2Freedom's Blog.

  2. May 7, 2013 at 3:58 am

    Wow it’s great to see that SLJ has drawn out the implication of the Trinity to the current debate about feminism and the Trinity. I wished I had known about this earlier. I’ve written on this subject earlier in our blog here: http://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/2010/02/01/the-son%E2%80%99s-economic-subordination-to-the-father-and-it%E2%80%99s-practical-implication-in-the-gender-role-debate/

    • May 7, 2013 at 8:08 am

      Thanks, and that’s a good article looking at the subject in more detail: the practical implications of the Trinity. Yes, SLJ brought this out in study of 1 Corinthians 7, almost twenty years ago. He may have mentioned it other times as well, and he also taught specific messages about the modern-day feminist movement.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: