Subordinationism

by Matt Slick

Subordinationism is a heresy concerning the Trinity. Subordinationism (Jesus is different in nature than the Father) should not be confused with subordination (the Son submitting to the Father). Subordinationism is a heresy concerning the Father and Son though sometimes the Holy Spirit is included. The error has different forms; but it is primarily the teaching that the Son is not eternal and divine (Arian Subordinationism) and is, therefore, not equal to the Father in being and attributes. This is, of course, wrong; and it is in contrast to the biblical doctrine of the Economic Trinity (relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) which does not deny their equality of nature and attributes. Another form of Subordinationism states that though the Son is divine, he is not equal to the Father in being, attributes, and rank. This error was rejected at the Council of Nicea. Essentially subordinationism states that the Son is inferior to the Father.

Subordinationism is not the same as Christ's subordination to the Father (1 Cor. 15:28) which concerns Jesus' continued state of being a man (1 Tim. 2:5) by which he lives forever to intercede for us as a high priest (Heb. 6:20; 7:25).

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