The Semi-Arianism of ESS Arguments


[Much of this post first appeared as answer #2 of “Answering Four Common Laymen Responses to the ESS/EFS/ERAS Debate” published on the invaluable blog, A Daughter of the Reformation. I have republished a portion here since I continue to hear the claim that ESS proponents reject the ontological subordination of the Son to the Father in eternity; a claim that, unfortunately, cannot be maintained.]

Proponents of the Eternal Subordination of the Son (ESS) are indeed aware of and openly opposed to the Semi-Arian teaching of an ontological subordination of the Son to the Father, that is, a subordination and hierarchy within the very nature, essence, or being of God; for such a position clearly contradicts the Nicene Creed, dividing the one Nature and Will of God, calling into question the co-equality of the Persons. Rather, they locate this subordination and hierarchy of authority within relations of function or role amongst the persons of the Godhead.  This, they claim, distinguishes their position from the Arian heresy and shields them from their critics.  As Bruce Ware puts it,

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