The Battle to Make God Gender-Neutral
The Church of England is a shell of itself. England was once the most Christian nation on earth. Today 80% of the youth have no connection to any religion. Many churches that once were full of worshippers are now museums. The US is a few decades behind England, but we are rapidly catching up to the UK’s sad state.
For decades, the gender of God has prompted debate within the church, with many calling for male pronouns He and Him, as well as a reference to Our Father, to be scrapped in favor of either gender-neutral or female alternatives. If labeling God as a male is bad, it doesn’t make sense to give Him a female name.
Having no interest in preaching the message of salvation in Jesus Christ, the Church of England thinks some of its problems are the result of the Bible’s lack of inclusive language. It is absolutely absurd to say a God that refers to Himself as our Father and we are his children is lacking in inclusive language. It is clearly an attack on the male reference to our Creator by reducing Him to the “It God.”
The move has been criticized by conservatives, who have warned that “male and female imagery is not interchangeable. However, liberal Christians have welcomed it, claiming that “a theological misreading of God as exclusively male is a driver of much-continuing discrimination and sexism against women.
The Rev Joanna Stobart, from the Diocese of Bath and Wells, asked what steps were being taken to offer congregants alternatives to referring to God with male pronouns and if there was any update “to develop more inclusive language in our authorized liturgy.”
She also asked bishops “to provide more options for those who wish to use authorized liturgy and speak of God in a non-gendered way, particularly in authorized absolutions where many of the prayers offered for use refer to God using male pronouns.”
The Bible uses feminine imagery and metaphors of God but primarily identifies God using masculine pronouns, names, and imagery. Male and female imagery is not interchangeable.
The fact that God is called ‘Father’ can’t be substituted by ‘Mother’ without changing meaning, nor can it be gender-neutralized to ‘Parent’ without loss of meaning. Fathers and mothers are not interchangeable but relate to their offspring in different ways.
Show me a church that refers to God as a woman, and I’ll show you a church that is overrun with homosexuality, that sides with the left’s political agenda, and believes environmentalism is a way to achieve your eternal salvation. It also has no impact on the world around it. The church used to be a beacon of light to the lost. Now they just reflect the religious fads and trends of the day.
Changing the gender of God in the Bible is an admission that the Word of God is full of errors. Scripture contains approximately 170 references to God as the “Father.” By necessity, one cannot be a father unless one is male. The New Testament Epistles (from Acts to Revelation) also contain nearly 900 verses where the word theos—a masculine noun in the Greek—is used in direct reference to God.
It is blasphemy on the highest level for the Church of England’s General Synod and the Archbishops’ Council to think that they can simply vote to change the Holy word of God. The Bible itself warns that you can’t make edits to the word God. If you do, you’re on your way to hell (Rev 22:18-19).
I’m sure the writers of the four gospels and Paul the apostle would be very surprised to find that 2,000 years later, a church body decided that God’s gender was wrong all this time. With the church age rapidly coming to a close, the leaders of the Church of England will soon find themselves face to face with a Being that reflects his image as He originally intended.
Genesis 1:26-27 says, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
This Rapture Generation
My commentary title this week will likely be construed by some as audacious. “This Rapture Generation” implies that people of earth alive now are those who will, without doubt, be the generation of believers who go to Christ in the Rapture, doesn’t it?
Those who have named specific dates for that stupendous event have earned consternation down through the years, and deservedly so. Jesus Himself declared that no one but the Father knows the day or hour when it will occur. And certainly, to date, that truth has played out exactly as the Son of God—who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life—said.
Yet, at the same time, the Apostle Paul implied himself to be part of the generation that would be raptured:
“For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18).
Paul obviously expected to be part of those who would be living when Christ calls believers to Himself in the Rapture. The pronouns used are pretty clear, aren’t they? Yet Paul has been dead for 2,000 years or so, and the Rapture is still future, as we are all too aware.
So is God’s Word (the “Word” who, in fact, is the Lord Jesus Christ, according to John 1:1) less than truthful with us through the prophecy given Paul regarding the Rapture? We know the answer to that is a resounding “no.” God cannot lie; therefore, we are to think through Paul’s words with our born-again, Holy Spirit-influenced discernment to understand the apparently audacious statement. Paul’s declaration was as audacious as my title for this commentary, I think.
So, what is this seeming contradiction all about?
The answer, I believe, is found in another familiar statement by Paul, one we use frequently in studying the Rapture.
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).
I believe that wrapped up in this profound statement of faith is an instruction to all believers. During this Age of Grace (Church Age), we’re always to be earnestly expecting Jesus to snatch us from this fallen sphere at any moment. This instruction—this commandment—has been in effect since the Church was born (as presented in Acts chapter 2). Every believer since that time should treat the promise of the Rapture as if it absolutely will take place while we are still living on earth.
As a matter of fact, all who love the prospect of Christ’s appearing are promised a crown of righteousness.
With this in mind, the title, “This Rapture Generation,” is appropriate for those of us who are believers now. Jesus will come for us in the Rapture at any moment—perhaps today!
I hope to go much deeper in expressing this certainty. And we do go deeper with each and every article presented. At least, that is our aim.
The signals are brilliantly projected for those with discerning spirits to understand. Our Lord is unfolding prophetic signals of such unmistakable significance that we would have to look in another direction to miss just how near we are to the Tribulation. The Rapture is thus right at the exit door of human history for believers in Jesus Christ.
Sadly, most who should be helping God’s children focus on the lateness of the hour continue to feed only pabulum about how to grow into Christian adulthood.
Such spiritual food isn’t bad, of course. The Scripture is necessary to spiritual growth. But there comes the time that requires us to take a deep look into just how late the hour is on God’s prophetic timeline. We are now very near that instant of Rapture about which we’re forewarning.
This is almost certainly the Rapture generation, and I cannot feel sheepish in declaring it.
Tell everyone you know, using your own words, the soul-saving truth encompassed by Paul’s Holy Spirit-given formula for going in the Rapture when Christ calls:
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).