Saturday Sermon: Gender neutral religion
Some people today would like to make the Bible gender neutral. They would like to remove all the references to God as father. God, in their edited version, would become our divine parent instead of our heavenly father.
Do you think that it is an accident that God has been revealed to us as father in the Bible? Is it because of the patriarchal society that existed in the times in which the Bible was written that male imagery was used? Or could it be that God actually wants to be known as father?
There is no doubt in my mind that He does. To think that God would deny the truth of who He is to accommodate the thinking of a culture is to accuse God of duplicity. To assign the reason God is known as father to a mistaken assumption of the biblical writers is to deny the total inspiration of the Scriptures. No, God intentionally revealed Himself as father because He is father. Father reveals something of His nature and character, something He wants us to understand. Jesus taught us to pray saying, "Our Father." To look at Him any other way rejects His nature and role in our lives.
We live in an age where fatherhood has been depreciated. There is no doubt that the traditional understanding of the family is under constant attack. We live in a culture that wants us to embrace what they are unwittingly calling same-sex marriage (since the Bible and the history of men have had only one definition for marriage for millennia), to fathers having no rights to stop the abortion of their children to the widespread acceptance of unwed motherhood as normal, we have seen the traditional family take a severe and heavy shelling.
Many in our culture would have us believe that the real problem with society is men. To them, the idea of a traditional family headed by a father is a setback for women and for society.
Robert Griswold, associate professor of history and women's studies at the University of Oklahoma, says in his book "Fatherhood in America: A History," "There is a debate in society today over fathers' roles. Fatherhood has lost its cultural coherence. It's no longer clear what we want, what we expect from fathers."
Into this culture God as father still speaks. He declares the vital importance of being a father and honoring fatherhood.
Fatherhood is a unique calling that cannot be replaced in our culture. Let us never apologize for it. Let us never allow it to be scoffed at, made fun of, belittled or depreciated. May we reflect the eternal father's nature and pass that image on to those lives God has entrusted to our care.
Mike Singenstreu is the pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church, PCA which meets at 1929 Red River St. in the Crossroads Center. Visit cpcvictoria.com.