Meredith Kline and Subscriptionism

Discussion in 'Church Order' started by CalvinandHodges, Jul 22, 2008.

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  1. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    It's quite possible that you're right. Research would have to be done on it to test it. On the other hand, it still does not seem to me that Kline's formulations contradict the confession on this point. It may or may not be speculative. But that's what a discussion should find out. Who knows but what there might be biblical evidence to support Kline's ideas. Kline, after all, was an expert on the Holy Spirit, having written a book on Him that greatly expanded my conceptions of the Holy Spirit.
  2. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    How would you reconcile that with the fact that it is the ad intra works which are opera divisa?
  3. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    In order to be a "spectator," one must observe an event in the process of being accomplished. But the generation is eternal, having no beginning or ending; so, by default, to utilise this "spectator" language is to temporalise the generation.

    As hinted, it seems to me that "generation" is not being used in its technical sense, as a "communication of essence."

    Scripture uses the word "Father," not "Parents." Scripture suffices to teach us what we need to learn about this relationship. As our knowledge is analogous to begin with, it is dangerous to speculate beyond what Scripture intends to teach.
  4. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    On the first point, one could just as well argue that for God the Father to be the actor in the begetting requires a temporalization. Since that does not follow, then neither does it follow with the language of "spectator." My actual argument, of course, is that the Holy Spirit is not a spectator, and is not passively sitting off the side, but is involved somehow. You have yet to answer this point.

    On the second point, I agree that it would not be proper to call the Holy Spirit "Father," unless one is calling God "Father" as the whole Trinity, and then it is not being used of the Holy Spirit by Himself anyway. But that is not the only possible way one could describe the Holy Spirit being involved. I am perfectly happy with simply saying that the Holy Spirit is involved, but not in the same way as the Father is involved, and not going any further than that. But would you really say that the Holy Spirit is simply left outside the Father-Son relationship?
  5. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Again, it becomes clear to me that the issue is more about mutual indwelling, and not the technical idea of generation per se. Let's ask the pertinent question, Does the Holy Spirit "create" (as an analogical term) the Father-Son relationship? Obviously not. Issue settled.
  6. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Can I get a commentary on this in relation to this topic.


    -----Added 1/16/2009 at 01:17:45 EST-----
    Dodd on the Apostles creed.

    Is this in relation to time and not in relation to eternal generation? Well of course it would be. But I think this would clear up some of the muddied waters. Or am I just niave?
  7. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    This question assumes, does it not, that "creating," (assuming analogical language) is the only possible way that the Holy Spirit could be involved? If there were other ways, then the objection falls to the ground. Again, the Holy Spirit is not uninvolved in the Father-Son relationship because of perichoresis. It is a mutual indwelling of the persons. I am not convinced, either, that perichoresis must be put off to the side when one is talking about any of the properties, even if a property properly belongs only to one of the persons (which I assert).

    -----Added 1/16/2009 at 06:34:54 EST-----

    Well, the whole question revolves around this point: do passages like these give us any indication of what happens in eternity? Or are they only concerned about Jesus' human nature? Christology certainly has to come into play here, in my opinion. I think where I would net out is that the Holy Spirit does have a role to play in the Father-Son relationship in eternity. I am not sure how anyone would describe it. And, furthermore, it would have to be distinguished (though not separated) from the Father's role in the Father-Son relationship in eternity. That's probably as far as we can go with that one.
  8. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    How does one assert that a property only belongs to one of the persons, that the distinctive property of "Father" can therefore only belong to one of the persons, but then maintain that there are two persons involved in the paternal property which exists in the Father-Son relationship?

    Mutual indwelling pertains to the indivisibility of the essence, whereas personal properties arise from the communication of essence which establishes unique relationship. Hence they are distinct. The "Word" would not be the Word if He were anything other than the intelligent self-expression of the Father as the fountain of Godhead. "Spirit," by definition, is a willing complacency in all-sufficient blessedness, and this depends on the self-understanding of the "Word."
  9. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    How much of this understanding was embodied either by direct statement or by implication in the Confession?
  10. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Chapter 2:3 provides clear teaching on the personal properties, in the very language of antiquity. As the Confession proceeds to speak of the ad extra works of the Trinity, it everywhere recognises the traditional order of the persons. Especially important is its Christological formulation, in which it echoes the language of Scripture, by saying that it pleased God to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, His only begotten Son, to be the Mediator between God and man (8:1), wherein the historic understanding of the Father's first place in the Godhead is clearly and undeniably expressed. Again, it is the Son of God, the second person in the Trinity, who took upon Him man's nature (8:2). In the chapter on justification we find the old view, that the Father is the representative of the Godhead, is brought to the fore, when Christ's obedience and death are said to make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to His Father's justice, and not merely to God's justice (11:3, see also 16:6). Adoption likewise brings out the representative character of the Father, when it is said to be conferred in and for His only Son Jesus Christ (12:1). Concerning the Holy Spirit, the chapters on effectual calling, sanctification, saving faith, good works, the law of God, the communion of saints, and the resurrection of the dead, make it evident that the work of the Spirit is always operative in the elect as the Spirit of Christ, either expressly using those words or adopting the possessive pronoun. Accepted recognition of the distinction and order of the Persons is further seen in the statements of the Confession on the perseverance of the saints (17:2) and prayer as an act of religious worship (21:3), where the traditional Trinitarian perspective of the Confession comes to bear in a practical manner on the Christian's daily walk.
  11. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    Very nice, thanks much.
  12. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Excellent observations, thank you. Given that thorough penetration of the traditional view into the Confession, it does seem that Professor Kline's speculations would not be confessionally acceptable.
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