I’ll be honest with you, I’m not too sure how to write this post, in one way it’s all a bit simple, on the other hand it contains whole layers of issues that need to be looked at. So for the sake of clarity and brevity (and, as you’ll see in a second, sanity) I’ll stick to the simple and concise option.
An article from The Guardian , written last week, explained the views of Bishop Rachel Treweek (who now sits in the House of Lords) on the use of male pronouns when discussing God:
“…Treweek said the Church of England should use both male and female pronouns when referring to God. She personally prefers to say neither “he” nor “she”, but “God”
This Bishop is not alone in her views, apparently there is a group within the Church of England that is pushing for God to be addressed as both “he” and “she”, as quoted by Rev Emma Percy, a member of “Women and the Church (Watch)”:
“Using both male and female language would get rid of ‘the notion that God is some kind of old man in the sky”
Bear with me, there’s more:
“Hilary Cotton, the chair of Watch … told the Telegraph. “Quietly clergy are just talking about God as ‘she’ every now and then.” ”
Okay let’s take a deep breath, no one with even a shred of biblical belief or knowledge would claim that God the Father has a body:
“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” – John 4:24
“Q4: What is God?
A4: God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.” – Westminster Shorter Catechism
If, as Rev Emma Percy states, the only way to change people’s minds that God the Father is not some “old man in the sky”, is to change the gender pronouns used to describe him. Then it is simple biblical knowledge and understanding that needs to be learnt and taught, not rewording God’s clear descriptions of himself.
The simple fact is that God the Father has chosen in his word to describe himself as just that, a father, a male. This is not a matter of how the bible has been translated, we see God being described as “Father” around 170 times (it can vary slightly depending on the translation). We find ourselves on dangerous ground if we start to argue against how God describes himself, his word is final, and does not bend to any of our trendy issues with specific gender pronouns.
That’s all I’m going to say about this, as with all things it’s best that we let God speak for himself on the matter:
“For you are our Father, though Abraham does not know us, and Israel does not acknowledge us; you, O Lord, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name.” – Isaiah 63: 16
“Do you thus repay the Lord, you foolish and senseless people? Is not he your father, who created you, who made you and established you?” – Deuteronomy 32:6
“All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” – Matthew 11:27
“Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.” – John 14: 9-11
Friday Life Issues Bible Biblical Bishop Rachel Treweek Christian Church of England clear gender God Guardian Hilary Cotton male pronoun Rachel Treweek Rev Emma Percy WATCH Women and the Church (Watch)