B.B. Warfield on begottenness and subordination in the Trinity

Given recent discussions regarding the relationship between the Father and the Son in the Trinity and whether this relationship should be understood as one of “eternal functional subordination,” this quote from B. B. Warfield seemed appropriate. In this section, Warfield is arguing that sonship is about likeness rather than subordination.

‘To be the Son of God is any sense was to be like God in that sense; to be God’s own Son was to be exactly like God’, and ‘Here [I Cor. II. 10-11] the Spirit appears as the substrate of Divine self-consciousness, the principle of God’s knowledge of Himself: He is, in a word, just God Himself in the innermost essence of his being….How can He be supposed then, to be subordinate to God, or to derive His Being from God? If however, the subordination of the Son and Spirit to the Father in modes of subsistence and their derivation from the Father are not implicates of their designation as Son and Spirit, it will be hard to find in the New Testament compelling evidence of their subordination and derivation.

“The Biblical Doctrine of the Trinity” in Biblical Doctrines (New York: Oxford University Press, 1929), 164-5.



About Marc Cortez

Theology Prof and Dean at Western Seminary, husband, father, & blogger, who loves theology, church history, ministry, pop culture, books, and life in general.

Posted on August 15, 2010, in Christology, The Modern Church, Theology Proper and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. O by the way in my seminary days (72-76) I came across the fact that Emil Brunner quoted B.B. Warfield out of context on the issue of inspiration, laying the blame game of mechanical dictation on Warfield. In a paper on Billy Graham’s Lausanne Covenant on the article on Scripture in Missions and Theology, I pointed this out, and the professor lost his cool. Coleman’s book, Issues of Theological Warfare: Liberal vs Conservative had it right: Conservatives were tired of pointing out that they did not believe in mechanical dictation. Even John R. Rice got the folks at Bob Jones aroused by asserting that the Book wa dictated. Gaussen’s use of the term is ameliorated by the fact that he has sections on the authors like matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. He did not start mechanical dictation either. Of all of the some 50-80 volumes of books on verbal inspiration that I have examined, none of the Bibe believing verbal inspirations advocated mechanical dictation. Brother Warfield’s theological writings are worth consideration by all who care about such things. I say that as a Baptist who is happy to commend a pedobaptist brother who has done exceeding well.

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