Since “he” and “him” are considered potentially offensive and thus non PC it is not uncommon in neo-Protestant circles for preachers to persistently avoid all personal pronouns for the deity. Ardent progressives will even go so far as to eschew traditional Trinitarian language altogether, substituting “Creator-Redeemer-Sustainer” for “Father-Son-Holy Spirit.”
There are evangelicals who appear eager to repeat some of the same follies which have reduced mainline Protestantism to the sidelines of society, and of Christianity. It is no surprise to find a commentary in yesterday’s Sojourners from Theresa Cho a PCUSA minister.
In her struggle to overcome her theologically conservative background she approvingly recalls attending a feminist theological conference where, unwilling to use the terms God or Goddess, the compromise “Godde” was adopted. Currently based at a “diverse” San Francisco church, Ms Cho now feels a “connection with God as Mother, Bosom, and Nurturer.” She explains that “Using inclusive language makes room for the diversity of God’s people to feel equally valued, included, acknowledged, and invited to participate in God’s community.”
Like most neo-Protestant’s Ms Cho seems to believe that God, rather than being One who self-discloses His reality in Scripture, is instead a product of our own imaginations, cultural preferences and wishful thinking. Such a “God” has the advantage of being able to be adapted at will to suit the prevailing cultural fashion. Unfortunately it has the disadvantage, like all idols, of not having enough grace to save a mouse.
A gender fluid deity is not the personal God of Scripture, rather it is little more than a depersonalised power being constantly made and remade in the eye of the beholder.
The message of Christianity is that God Himself became a human and died and rose again so that we may return to the Father. It is a simple message, but profound.
Christians believe that when God became incarnate it was as a man in Jesus Christ. However we know that we worship, in the words of the Shorter Catechism “A spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.”
Although occasionally using feminine metaphor to describe God’s actions, Scripture always refers to God in masculine terms. No-one outside the beginners class in Sunday School and tenured feminist theologians actually believes that this language indicates God is meant to be understood as a man.
It is no surprise that the gender neutral interpretations of God asserted by the feminists and other advocates of neo-Protestantism have little impact on the Church or the world. Perhaps amongst progressive, white, middle and upper class females interested in ‘spirituality’ who are part of disappearing mainline denominations, but nowhere else. Such a “God” may have a limited appeal amongst the terminally trendy, it just doesn’t cut it in the real world.
Christians worship a deity who reveals His own identity, not one who is randomly invented and reinvented by His adherents. The deity who reveals Himself in Scripture seems to inspire more widespread and lasting devotion than His “inclusive” alternatives.
One of the great truths of the Bible is that God remakes us in His own image, we do not remake God in ours.