Episcopal diocese ends use of masculine pronouns for God

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Last week the Episcopal Church in the Washington D.C. diocese passed a resolution to eliminate “gendered language for God.” The use of masculine pronouns for God will not be used when the church’s Book of Common Prayer is revised.

One writer describes the decision as an example of the Episcopal Church’s “freefall to the theological left.” The resolution was submitted by five clerics, three of whom were women.

In the resolution the 79th General Convention directed “the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, if revision of the Book of Common Prayer is authorized, to utilize expansive language for God from the rich sources of feminine, masculine, and non-binary imagery for God found in Scripture and tradition and, when possible, to avoid the use of gendered pronouns for God.”

Eight years ago the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sweden instructed their clergy that they should start using gender-neutral language when referring to God. Masculine terms such as “He” and “Lord” were not to be used.

However, to my knowledge Sweden has never been known as a bastion of conservative theology. But for any Christian group in God-blessed America to become so reckless in their view of God is unthinkable.

The Bible uses many masculine titles for God. He is not simply the Ground of All Being, the Great Spirit, The Prime Mover, and the Ultimate Force. He is our Heavenly Father. When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He said, “Pray like this; Our Father, which art in heaven.”

Jesus said, “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30). In Luke 2:21 we read that Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day. That would certainly add authenticity to the truth that God’s gender is male.

Consider God’s Word in Galatians 4 and Romans 8: “But when the time had fully come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So through God you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son an heir.”

Jesus called God “Abba” (Father), not “Meter” (mother), and the Bible urges those who are believers to call Him “Abba” as well.

To deny God’s true gender is to violate and manipulate the Word of God; and the penalty for doing so is portentous and ominous.

There are numerous passages in the Bible that warn against adding, subtracting or altering the Word of God. God said, “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.”

In Revelations 22:18-19 God says, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city and from the things which are written in this book.”

The Episcopal leadership in the Washington diocese apparently believes that God is not immutable and that the Bible is not inerrant and must be redefined or altered in order to pacify the impulses of a society that is rushing headlong toward amorality.

The Episcopalian leadership in Washington, D.C. are beginning to sound like Hillary Clinton who spoke at the 2015 Women in the World Summit when she said “deep seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed” for the sake of giving women access to “reproductive health care and safe childbirth.”

Does God change His character, His values, or His Word to accommodate the whims of an antinomian society? Do we alter our religious beliefs in order to placate the demands of some segment of our culture?

No! God does not change! God’s authority does not change! God’s Word does not change! No matter how much culture changes, no matter how much styles and methods change, no matter how much people change, God is immutable. He does not change. We do not go to history or to the decisions of the Supreme Court, to some focus group or to popular opinion to find the basis for our morality. We go to the inspired Word of God.

Genesis 5:2 tells us that “God created them male and female.” I believe in God’s economy men and women are of equal worth. They have different functioning roles, but they have the same intrinsic value. While some males and females may have difficulty discerning their sexuality, God knows their gender and He is certainly not confused about His own masculinity.

Those who try to bring confusion about God’s gender would also likely have difficulty in delineating between up and down, hot and cold, good and bad, and sweet and sour. And when they go to lunch they probably go to Chick-fil-A and order hamburgers.

However, God loves them and so should we, but we must not tolerate heresy, especially when it pertains to altering the nature, attributes or character of God.

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