For decades, theologians have debated Trinitarian doctrine: whether the Trinity exists in scripture; what the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are; whether the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are separate personas, etc. These debates and disagreements are still present in current doctrine, and provide some of the basis for denominational separation today. However, they actually date all the way back to the third and fourth centuries, when dozens of scholars sought to define and explain the foundation for the Trinity laid out by the apostles in scripture. Their endeavors at explaining scripture has served as the groundwork that has shaped Christian knowledge, and discussion, of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, it has even shaped the use of Trinitarian terms. This paper will focus on a specific area in Trinitarian debate called subordinationism, an extreme form of subordinationism known as Arianism, and contemporary conservative evangelical use of subordination. This paper will look at how subordinationism was defined in the early church in the third and fourth centuries, it will look at how Arianism radically reformed and developed its own subordinationism, and it will look at how contemporary evangelicals have manipulated subordinationism to support their doctrine about gender inequality. Through this historical account, this paper will argue that Trinitarian doctrines that do not have a balance between both the unity of the Godhead and individuality of the persons cause a heretical view of God, and lead to beliefs and behaviors that contradict His basic attributes, principles, and commandments for His people. Furthermore, this unity and individuality evidenced in the relational dynamics of the Trinity is the best example God could give His children for human beings striving to regain likeness with Him: it shows us how to successfully relate to one another in equality of nature, but difference in function.
I was born and raised in the city of New Orleans and grew up around a diverse culture of people. At the age of fourteen my father who was a single parent decided that it would be best to move our family to Slidell, LA so that we could receive an enhanced education. The summer before starting high school as a freshman I met a sweet little old lady named Allison who lived across the street from our new home. She welcomed us as neighbors and invited us to church. I took her up on her offer and went to church with her the following Sunday. As a new visitor I couldn’t help but notice that the females had very long hair and wore long dresses and skirts. As a fourteen year old this was strange to me, but I didn’t mind being there because the people were very nice and welcoming. Surprisingly, I enjoyed the melody of the old country style gospel music and the concoction of tambourines, guitars, and drums. People were clapping, dancing, and singing songs about Jesus. The songs about Jesus were thought-provoking and I wanted to know more about him. As the pastor began his sermon I learned that God sent his one and only son to die on the cross for our sins. This saddened me, but I was gratified that a God would do such a loving act for me. At the end of the service I accepted Jesus into my heart as my personal Lord and Savior. From that moment my life changed and has never been the same. I received a peace and comfort in my heart that still remains true today.