However, Peter, in a comment on Doug’s post, brought up the same problem that I have. How can Denny Burk retain the original doctrinal statement in the new, when he is quoted elsewhere as teaching something which could be construed as meaning* the exact opposite. Here is the ETS statement,
- “The Bible alone, and the Bible in its entirety, is the Word of God written and is therefore inerrant in the autographs. God is a Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each an uncreated person, one in essence, equal in power and glory.”
Here is Jim Hamilton’s assessment of Denny Burk’s recent book on articular infinitives,
- Burk thus renders the sense of the verse as, “Although Jesus existed in the form of God, he did not consider equality with God as something he should go after also” (139). The payoff, then, of Burk’s careful grammatical investigation is that Philippians 2:6 affirms the ontological equality of Father and Son while maintaining the functional subordination of the Son, even in his pre-existent state (cf. 139–40 n. 46).
Members of the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood might also have difficulty with the ETS statement. This is a description of the role of the Son in relation to God, the Father, in an article by Bruce Ware. It is endorsed by the Executive director of CBMW.
- The Father possesses the place of supreme authority, and the Son is the eternal Son of the eternal Father. As such, the Son submits to the Father just as the Father, as eternal Father of the eternal Son, exercises authority over the Son. And the Spirit submits to both the Father and the Son. This hierarchical structure of authority exists in the eternal Godhead even though it is also eternally true that each Person is fully equal to each other in their commonly possessed essence. Father, Son and Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles and Relevance by Bruce Ware. page 12.
While I am unsure of what Denny Burk’s doctrinal beliefs actually are, the beliefs presented in Ware’s document is eminently clear. Christ is not equal in authority to God.
For those who teach, on the one hand, that Christ is not equal to God in authority, but believe, on the other hand, that Christ is equal to God in power and glory, there is only one solution. “Power” and “authority” must be two distinct attributes. Christ is equal in power to God, and unequal in authority to God.
At this point someone would have to rewrite every lexicon in English and Greek that I am familiar with, as well as place several Bible translations off limits. The King James version, already does not meet the CBMW standards. This is one more major case against it.
In the KJV, εξουσια, the word which is normally translated as “authority” in modern translations, was translated as “power” 67 out of the 101 times that it appeared in the Christian scriptures. “Power” appears in the King James version as a synonym of “authority”.
In the LSJ and BDAG lexicons “power” is a definition of εξουσια. Luther translated εξουσια as Macht, “might” also meaning “power”. In the Concise Oxford English Dictionary “power” is the first meaning of “authority”.
How is one supposed to reconcile “equal in power” and “unequal in authority”, and still remain within the broader teaching of the Christian tradition? Or is this kind of difficulty one of illiteracy rather than apostacy?
If the CBMW is going to continue to exert influence over people’s opinions on what Bibles are acceptable, then the King James version will eventually be placed off limits as distorting God’s word. This kind of censorship would not be a good thing for those who wish to publish better Bibles.
* Edited for greater clarity. I have not been able to discern exactly what Burk is trying to prove about Christ’s equality or inequality to God.