NEWS FROM THE CENTER FRIDAY DIGEST - July 29, 2022 - God Declares His Pronouns He/Him
The confession that God is Father and has eternally begotten His only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, has been criticized by feminist theologians as patriarchal and oppressive toward women because it uses masculine pronouns. Those who criticize the use of masculine pronouns for God or object to the Bible’s own “gendered” language referring to God (Father, Son, Lord, King) suggest that these titles or names are merely the products of a patriarchal society. If one were charitably to grant such theologians that God, insofar as He is above creation, is neither male nor female, these theologians would nevertheless still deny God’s own self-revelation in Holy Scripture as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They claim that traditional Christianity, influenced and shaped by patriarchal societies, is fundamentally flawed because it favors maleness and perpetuates sexism and the oppression of women.
To cite a couple of examples, the recently deceased feminist theologian, Rosemary Radford Ruether, believed that God has been misrepresented by traditional Christianity in being portrayed strictly as male. She taught that feminist theology must recover God from this patriarchal tradition. Another feminist theologian, Jana M. Bennett, thinks masculine pronouns for God lead to idolatry: “A god who is too much identified as one of us is a god in danger of being made an idol. This has been precisely the move — overidentification with a male god — that has disturbed previous generations of feminist theologians.” Bennett also observes that “many feminist theologians have suggested that to call God ‘He’ is to perpetuate idolatrous language and assumptions.”
How might Christians today respond to the charge that referring to God with masculine pronouns is sexist or even idolatrous? Click here to read more.
The Rev. Dr. Jason D. Lane serves as associate professor of theology at Concordia University Wisconsin. This article was originally published at and is republished here by permission of The Lutheran Witness.
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