Let's Trust God to Describe Himself

Let's Trust God to Describe Himself - If He Calls Himself "Father" so should we
Feminist theologians insist God should be described in feminine as well as masculine terms. 

They point out these three truths:
1. God is not human so neither gender perfectly describes Him.
2. Some Scriptures describe God with feminine characteristics (e.g. Matthew 23:37).(1) 
3. Both male and female were created in God’s image.

But any examination of this issue must begin and end with this:
God chose to identify Himself in masculine terms – Father, Son, He, His, Him. He never identifies Himself in feminine terms – mother, daughter, she, hers, her. Never.

The Greek for the Spirit (pneuma) is neither masculine nor feminine, but the Spirit is also referred to as "He" in Scripture. Always.

If we believe Scripture is God's Word, we must believe God used the most accurate and understandable names and gender to describe Himself (Psalm 18:30; Proverbs 30:5; 2 Timothy 3:16).

If we choose to present God as a woman or call Him Mother God, we're doubting God's wisdom and the Bible's revelation.

Let's let God be God.

(1) This passage says Jesus longed to gather Jerusalem's children as a hen gathers her chicks. This is a simile, a figure of speech that uses a comparison. Paul treated the Thessalonians "like a mother" according to 1 Thessalonians 2:7, but no one doubts that Paul was male. 
To study this in more depth: God's Gender

3 comments:

  1. This may be a little off topic,but regarding women, I have a question. Is it scriptural for women to be pastors? I know this is a very controversial issue and I am looking for the truth in Scripture.

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    Replies
    1. I must post this in two parts due to the size of my answer:

      You ask a good question, but one that is highly controversial. Genuine Christians come to different conclusions.

      These are the basic differences:

      1. Women can hold any role in the church.

      Women are free to hold any role in the church today because all New Testament passages limiting women were written to address church problems or written for specific cultures and times in history.

      2. women are limited to children’s and women’s ministry.

      Women are not able to hold any teaching or leadership roles in the church. In fact, they are not even able to teach male children over the age of 12. They can’t give testimony and pray in front of the church and cannot teach a man in any capacity.

      3. Women can hold a wide varity of teaching and leadership roles within the church, but certain leadership roles are reserved for men.

      Women are able to hold positions that do not involve mentoring roles with men (teaching and directing a man’s spiritual growth as an authority over him.)

      1. My problem with view 1:

      I believe this conclusion is the least Biblical and often leads people to hold a low view of Scripture.

      Some passages limiting women could be specific in nature, addressing specific problems in a specific church (e.g. 1 Corinthians 14:34-35), but some passages like 1 Timothy 2:11-15 state principles with their origin in the fall of man and clearly applied to the New Testament Church.

      2. My problem with view 2:

      I believe this is an extreme view that goes far beyond the Scriptural limitations of women.

      Since male children do not assume adult responsibilities until much later in life than 12, I think prohibiting women from teaching older children takes this passage too far. And I think it goes to far in other areas as well.

      3. My acceptance of this view:

      This is my view, which I have based on extensive study of Scripture, including the original Greek, as well as studying the arguments of both views above.

      The 1 Timothy 2:11-15 passage says, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man.” The Greek word for teaching includes admonishing and directing a person. This would seem to denote discipleship (akin to modern day mentoring) more than simply teaching a group that included men.

      In addition, although the passage says a woman should not teach “or” have authority over a man, Scripture often uses this wording to repeat or expand a concept. I believe this to be true – women are prohibited from a type of teaching that goes beyond simply instructing to exercising authority over a man (i.e. mentoring).

      I would humbly suggest (knowing that Scripture does not clearly explain how these passages should be applied), that Scripture does not prohibit a woman from teaching men in all circumstances. I believe she can teach men if she is under the authority of a male leader, given permission to teach by that male leader, and teaching in such a way that she is not exercising authority over men. However, if the majority of teachers in a church are female, I believe this poses a problem.

      Even the most conservative view (view 2) allows men to read spiritual materials written by women. This means a women author can teach a male reader because she does not have authority over him. If this is the case with written materials, I believe it can be the case with classroom teaching.

      We know that Priscilla shared in spiritual discussions with Apollos and worked alongside her husband and Paul sharing the Gospel (Acts 18; 1 Corinthians 16:19). We know that women prophesied and this is mentioned in a positive light (Acts 21:9).

      continued in next comment....

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    2. part 2 of comment:

      I prefer women not be given the title of pastor because I feel it can be confusing, but the name doesn’t necessarily denote a role that puts her in authority over men. The term is used rather loosely by most churches.

      My husband was an administrator in a church for several years and they called him the Administrative Pastor, but he was not a pastor in the Biblical sense.

      In my humble opinion, women are free to share the Gospel, share testimonies, pray, and sing to groups that include men. I also think they can teach men under certain circumstances. However, certain roles that involve teaching and having authority over men do not seem appropriate, in my opinion.

      These limitations are not based on a woman’s abilities, but on God’s order for mankind that began in the Garden, is found in marriage, and is applied to certain circumstances within the church.

      I would add that a woman is not in submission to all men.

      As you can see, this is a complex issue and God did not give us a step-by-step plan for application. We must be led by the Spirit, and Christians apply these principles in different ways. We must pray through them and find a church that applies them in ways we feel comfortable (Romans 14).

      I think we should avoid being overly legalistic in an area that is not clearly outlined in Scripture, and we should avoid being overly permissible. Believing that women have no limitations requires a low view of Scripture because there are multiple passages that say otherwise. The principle is clear. The application is not as clear.

      And I think it’s important to note that men also have role limitations within the church. Older women, not men, are called to mentor younger women (Titus 2:3-5). Jesus made it clear that women are men’s equals (Galatians 3:28), but our roles in the home, society, and church are different.

      I hope my thoughts are helpful and I pray that God has given me His wisdom in answer this difficult question. I know that many will not agree with me, but these are my prayerful conclusions.

      God bless you!


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