Someone recently asked for a summed up, quick description of the Eternal Subordination of the Son (ESS/ERAS) Trinity controversy going on in the evangelical world. This was my best shot. Unfortunately there’s so much more to it that it’s hard to condense, but this is what I threw out there, complete with my own bias in disagreement with Grudem 😉 All of this is my own understanding and not necessarily reflective of all that could or should be said. And as usual, if in anything I err, please feel free to correct, constructively.
ESS/ERAS is an attempt to bolster the case for complementarianism (complementary roles in the creation design for men and women) by rooting the creational analogy of the relation of men to women, in terms of their roles, in an inferred eternal subordination (or submission) of the Son to the Father (in their being or essence, i.e. ontology). In my opinion, this goes against the main statements in ancient ecumenical creeds concerning the equality of substance, essence and being of the Godhead. In doing so, Grudem et al., seem to have departed on this aspect from Nicene Trinitarianism (although now there’s an ensuing debate about that very point and a number of other things surrounding it). It’s been a long time coming apparently (starting back years ago, such as within Grudem’s systematic, something I wouldn’t have caught) and really started busting open back in 2015.
The various positions could be described like this: some theologians agree with Grudem et al. (namely, CBMW-ites); some don’t agree with him (and the others) but also don’t think they’re departing from Nicene Trinitarianism (e.g., Mohler, I believe); and then some think they are departing and believe they’re on a heterodoxical, if not heretical, path which there in turn may push others toward outright heresy as well.
This past spring and summer (2016) it all hit a crescendo and the polemics got really bad in it all. Lots of accusations flew and it could have gone a lot smoother.
To see and read more, go here: http://reformedforum.org/eternal-relations-trinity-brief-summary-current-controversy/