God is Our Father – Not Our Trans-Parent

If it is now acceptable for people to decide what gender they are, then why don’t we allow God that same freedom?

Greetings, loved ones, welcome to this week’s quiz (don’t worry, there’s only one question and it’s multiple choice ):

Gender-neutral language about God is:

  1. An evil scheme from hell
  2. Essential practice if the church is to draw new followers in modern times OR
  3. A modern concept with good intentions but potentially disastrous results

There is only one answer.

Neutralizing the gender language of the Bible, hymns, and praise songs has become a popular practice instituted with the loving intention of making sure that women feel included. For the sake of simplicity, writers generally choose one pronoun when writing to large groups and, in the past, they’ve chosen the masculine. Women hearing or reading this material had to translate into the feminine to feel included.

Not a particularly challenging process since women’s brains are adept at multitasking, but still, some have felt it a barrier and so they’ve set out to remove it. The solution for them has been gender-neutralizing.

One sticky problem that arises when doing this is what to do with the pronouns related to God. God is a spirit. We agree on this. We were created in God’s image – male and female, we were created. There is an aspect of my gender that reflects God. There is also expression, in Scriptural word pictures, of God’s maternal facets such as in Luke 13:34 or Psalm 91:4a.

So, why can’t we gender-neutralize God?

We could, if He was a God of our own invention. If humans want to design the God they think they need and make her look warm like Maya Angelou, sound witty like Shirley Maclaine, and act generously like Oprah Winfrey, we’re free to do that. An imaginary god can be therapeutic, healing, and even uniting but at the end of the day, an imaginary god needs us to prop her up so we can lean on her.

The true God revealed Himself using masculine language. He knew what He was doing. He invented language – all of them. When He visited us in human form, He chose for Jesus to be born a boy – through a woman, yes – but wholly male. The word-pictures of scripture are rife with male/female imagery regarding God and Israel, Christ and the church. God divorced Israel for her adulteries. Jesus waits to claim His bride, the church.

God introduced Himself as our Father.

Why would He do that knowing how damaged all our fathers would be? Didn’t He know what a barrier it would create, knowing our fallen fathers, to relate to Him as Father God? And, why would He care if we make Him gender-neutral or refer to Him as Mother as long as we come to Him?

It matters because He wants us to worship in spirit and in truth. The truth He’s revealed is that He is our Father. Honestly, the corruption of our earthly fathers testifies to the importance of that truth!

The evil one works overtime to twist our understanding of fatherhood precisely because it’s such a vital truth about God.

He targets priests and clergy for spectacular temptation and perversions. He destroys homes and tries to convince us that fathers aren’t essential to raising healthy children. He even goes after our fictional fathers! Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable is possibly a serial rapist, Rev. Eric Camden has confessed to pedophilia, Mike Brady preferred men to Mrs. Brady.

We feel so hopeless about finding fathers who rise to our ideal; we’ve started creating fictional fathers that are monsters, like Rowan Pope on Scandal, in an effort to make peace with fathers who exemplify evil. Watch Olivia Pope as she tries to resolve herself to loving a Father who epitomizes everything she hates. Satan wants us to believe this is our only choice.

Slowly, but most assuredly, the evil one is destroying our idea of fathers with the sole intention of keeping us from our Heavenly Father.

We must fight back.

Don’t let the evil one rob us of what we need. Don’t fall prey to his scheme. Hold on to the essential truth that we were created to need a loving, just father and we have One.

Rather than cooperate with the enemy by agreeing that fathers aren’t necessary or that they’re so likely to be evil that we will emasculate our Lord to make Him approachable, we need to look to God to understand what His nature reveals about fatherhood.

Men, were you raised or abandoned by a fallen man or destroyed by a father figure? Don’t let the evil one use that to also keep you from the strength and redemption available in God the Father.

Women, were you abused or shattered by your broken father or a man in power over you? Don’t allow Satan to forge that abuse into a cage that keeps you from the arms of the perfect, gentle Father who wants to hold and heal you from your pain.

Freedom isn’t found by emasculating our concept of God. Since Satan is working overtime to destroy the idea of fatherhood, the church needs to rise to restore and proclaim it. Creative Christians everywhere should be using their gifts to communicate the truth of fatherhood as revealed in God’s nature.

We are going to fall – that’s the truth. No one is righteous – not one. Earthly fathers will continue to disappoint and devastate us until Christ returns to take us home.

But when we fall, let it be on the narrow road that leads to the great heart of our one true Father, God. So that when we stumble at last across the finish line, it is into the loving arms of our Father who has longed to gather us to Him and welcome us home.

Putting God in a dress isn’t progressive or empowering, it’s a lie. Let us always and only worship in spirit and in truth. His truth.


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    The Conversation

  1. Carla says:

    Amen, Lori. My Heavenly Father gave me a wonderful earthly father. He was FAR from perfect, but there wasn’t a SINGLE day that we didn’t know he loved us kids. There were so many things he could have done to shield us from the Wrath of Mother, but he loved her with everything he had. When he spanked us, he would sit with us after and talk, and when he said ‘That hurt me more than it did you’, we knew he meant it. I am grateful to Abba for giving us such an example of love–his love is what 3 out of 5 of his children took to heart and live it out still. God bless, hon

  2. Carol Weeks says:

    As a woman, I have never felt left out when reading Scripture. This whole man/woman, he/she thing is just another way to shift our focus from Christ and his message.

  3. Maxine D says:

    My physical father was imperfect in many areas, but my Heavenly Father has granted me great healing – and thankfully has broken the spiritual bonds that affected both my husband and myself. Subsequently we are seeing our (adult) children and grandchildren revelling and growing in His love.