, , , , , , ,

A biblical-based critique of modern use of gender neutrality in the Scriptures, including the push by some for removal of references to God as ‘Father’.

Reposted from Christianity Today with some caution, as I do not agree with all views expressed by the various writers in this magazine. However, this is a highly relevant article and it is worth taking the time to read it. The article goes across 4 pages, which you can access at the bottom of the website page.

Why We Call God ‘Father’

Christians have good reasons to resist gender-neutral alternatives.

For at least the past 40 years, traditional language for God has come under fire. While formal feminist theologians disagree about what language to use instead, they are unanimous that masculine words for God, especially Father, must be expunged from our theological vocabulary. For the church to be inclusive, they argue, it must replace man-centered language with language that accounts for both male and female. Furthermore, since our human words cannot adequately portray God’s fullness, no single characterization will suffice. God could be addressed as father and/or mother in order to bring out his multifaceted nature.

Underlying this view is a belief that terms like father and mother are mere human characterizations of God, shaped by specific cultural and backgrounds. The predominantly masculine images of God in the Bible reflect an ancient patriarchal society. As a consequence, critics say, biblical religion has absorbed patriarchal values, which in turn are used to justify beliefs and institutions that harm or subjugate women. Theology, therefore, must be reconstructed to yield a valid religion for women based on women’s experience.

The quest for gender-inclusive language has been a preoccupation of many mainline Protestants and liberal Catholics for decades. Some evangelicals also make compromises to accommodate these concerns. But before we jump onto the theological bandwagon, we need to reexamine the reasons for the use of masculine terms for God in Scripture and throughout the Christian tradition.

Read the rest of the article here.