Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Jehovah's Witness addresses gender, Christology

My good friend, Edgar Foster, who recently re-issued a volume entitled Christology and the Trinity: An Exploration, has recently been in correspondence with me on the issues of Christology and gender. The issue of Christology is an old standby with Jehovah's Witness organization, a religious sect founded by Charles Taze Russell (1852-1916) (pictured left), who followed the Arians of the 4th and 5th centuries in rejecting the divinity of Christ. I have begun responding to Foster's arguments -- as I have found the time to do so -- in several posts, including (but not limited to) the following:The last question, on the subject of gender language, would seem to have little to do with the convictions of a Jehovah's Witness, except for the fact that the issue surfaces in the context of a challenge against the doctrine of the Trinity alleging that the "subordinationism" implicit in it (subordination of the Son to the Father, etc.) is essentially linked to the subordination of wives to husbands and women to men in general, a claim I find utterly unacceptable, if this is taken to suggest that wives and women are understood to be in some way "inferior." (The "headship" issue-- described by St. Paul in terms of a husband being "head" of his wife as Christ is "head" of the Church, is a question for discussion elsewhere.) Further, attempts are also made to tie the "subordinationism" implicit in classic Trinitarian theology to a "pro-slavery tradition" of theology justifying slavery, a contention I also find a bit far fetched.

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