Non-Binary God? The Church of England Considers Making Language in Scripture Gender-Neutral

Attributed to Giovanni Battista Cima da Conegliano, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

In the name of the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit…Amen; At least it is for now.

The Church of England is studying and deliberating on possibly changing the language of scripture to be gender-neutral.

After all, who are we to misgender God!? Oh, how crazy our world has become where we have to deliberate on the gender of God Almighty.

I didn’t grow up in a strict religious household. Still, I can tell you that over my lifetime and personal study of scripture, these ideologues have missed the point and perhaps could use a little more Sunday School and a little less faux outrage. So let’s dive into the arguments for adjusting the gendered language of the Bible.

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The Bible is Sexist

The argument that God shouldn’t be referred to in masculine terms is not new. One only has to remember the 1999 movie ‘Dogma’ starring Ben Affleck and Matt Damon as fallen angels that depicted God as a woman played by not-ironic at-all Alanis Morrissette. 

An argument by many on the left side of this argument claim that referring to God as exclusively male is what drives a lot of discrimination and sexism against women. Add to that the recent surge in gender ideology that you can identify as any number of over 50 genders; the scripture gets even more complicated for the left.

In response to this societal fad, Rev. Joanna Stobart from the Diocese of Bath and Wells has asked the Church of England to “develop more inclusive language in our authorized liturgy.”

The Reverend is asking the Church to “provide more options for those who wish to use authorized liturgy and speak of God in a non-gendered way, particularly, in authorized absolutions where many of the prayers offered for use refer to God using male pronouns.”

However, not everyone sees this issue the same way, thank God.

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More Than a Man

The concept of metaphors and symbolism is lost on the left. Member of the Archbishop’s Council of the Church of England Rev. Ian Paul presents a masterclass on what God is.

“The use of male pronouns for God should not be understood as implying that God is male,” Rev. Paul claims.

Indeed, even a proponent of gender-neutral language can agree that God is neither man nor woman. As Anglican priest Dr. Dorothy Lee explains “The Bible is quite clear…that both male and female are made in God’s image and that God transcends gender.”

So does that mean God is non-binary? No, because that’s a made-up construct based more on personality versus biology. 

But does this argument mean he shouldn’t be referred to as he or God Himself? Not according to Anglican Bishop Dr. Michael Stead.

“To use the current idiom,” Dr. Stead explains, “God has told us his preferred pronouns. He is father, so he and him are the appropriate pronouns, and that’s how we ought to relate to him.”

It seems fair; we should respect God’s preferred pronouns just as the left would demand we respect the made-up pronouns of the trans community.

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Hello Father? Hello Mother? 

To change the gendered language of the Bible would do more than change the ‘he’ and ‘him.’ It would also mean changing the numerous references to God as ‘Father.’ 

“The fact that God is called ‘Father’ can’t be substituted by ‘Mother’ without changing meaning nor can it be gender-neutralized to ‘Parent’ without loss of meaning,” said Reverend Paul. “Fathers and mothers are not interchangeable but relate to their offspring in different ways.”

As a parent, I can tell you that is true. How I engage with my children differs from how my husband engages, and how our children view us is also different.

That’s not to say we live in an antiquated ‘traditional’ family structure; quite the contrary. My husband is the primary caregiver of our children, and I am my family’s primary breadwinner.

What I provide my children as a mother is still vastly different than what my husband provides as a father. When we refer to God as ‘Father,’ it is in the context of God’s active interest in human affairs and development, similar to that of the way an Earthly father takes an interest in his children’s affairs and development.

The Bible is also riddled with nods to the great sacrifice mothers are demanded to make since the dawn of time.

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Moms Never Get Enough Credit

Dr. Lee, like many other liberal Christians, argues that referring to God as our ‘Father’ and ‘He/Him’ makes women “invisible,” and puts “women down and not take their humanity seriously.”

The gendered language in the Bible is not why women continue to deal with a male-dominated world that continues to put us down and relegate us to the sidelines. Trust me, I felt the brunt of sexism every day of the 20 years I served in the United States military — and almost more so once I became a senior leader.

This is because humans are fallible, just as the good Lord intended. Unfortunately, that includes women, who have often been our own worst enemies in the fight for equality.

I also think that this argument doesn’t give the women in the Bible enough credit. There are plenty of strong women and mothers who emulate resilience, leadership, and power.

Take Deborah, the female judge that through her leadership and clarity of thought, brought peace to Israel for 40 years. Or Esther, who saved the Jews from destruction, thus ensuring their survival. 

And we can’t forget all the mothers in the Bible who were instrumental in the story of Us:

  • Elizabeth, mother to John the Baptist
  • Hannah, mother to Samuel
  • Jochebed mother to Moses
  • Leah, mother to Judah
  • Rachel, mother to Joseph
  • Sarah, mother to Isaac

These women had to show compassion, trust, faith, sacrifice, dedication, and unwavering love. These are not traits that men can’t or don’t have – but they are inherent to motherhood, and we must not minimize them.

The Point

Besides the fact that focusing on the gender of God is an immense waste of theological study, trying to remove gendered language from God and the Bible, in general, is ill-advised.

Dr. Stead explains “The essence of what it is to be Christian is to have a personal relationship with God.”

If we removed gendered language from God, Dr. Stead argues that “God just ends up being a kind of cosmic plot-maker that built the universe and wound it up and let it run out – not the loving Heavenly Father that we come to in our time of need.”

But that is precisely the point. The left-wing ideologues would love to separate us from our connection to God.

To what end? I believe the idea is if you take away our faith in something larger than ourselves, whether it be God or our love of country and family, then all that’s left is to follow false idols like gender ideology, race ideology, and various other poisonous concepts.

Don’t fall for the distractions and train your mind to think more profoundly than just the baseline of the words in the Bible. Perhaps the most crucial figure in the Bible next to God himself is Eve.

Many focus on Eve’s disobedience and weakness when she takes a bite of the forbidden fruit, but there is more to this woman than just her poor taste in afternoon snacks.

Eve was made from the rib of Adam, not because she was less than Adam, but because she was equal to him and meant to stand by his side, not in his shadow. God may be our Father, but he revered the role of women and mothers, and we shouldn’t so easily forget it.

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USAF Retired, Bronze Star recipient, outspoken veteran advocate. Hot mess mom to two monsters and wife to equal parts... More about Kathleen J. Anderson

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