Neutering the Bible by the Late Walter Martin

thumbnailcaa7zz9y.jpgToday, the Christian church is in deep and growing apostasy. I am not an alarmist… …Just recently the National Council of Churches entered in to the castration business….They published 112 page (I’m quoting now), “Inclusive Language Lectionary”…isn’t that very scholarly? … “It is intended in the Episcopal, Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Roman Catholic Churches. It is a liturgical lesson for a particular day, and passages are drawn from the both the Old and New Testament.”

…Why become upset about something like that? Because it is nothing less than a desecration of the Bible. The purpose of the Council, they say, is to eliminate sexism from the Bible. Isn’t that interesting? Did you know that the Bible was sexist? They say it is, and they are going to eliminate sexism from the Bible. How do they do that? Well, by changing the text of the Scripture, so that the feminist movement is included everywhere to eliminate sexism!

…Some (of you) look very surprised. Don’t be, I have learned a long time ago never to be surprised at the National Council of Churches, because they can utter the most pompous tom-foolery in the name of God that has ever been the misfortune of the church to have to put up with, and this is a good illustration of it.

They are going to eliminate all references to gender…Thus, Jesus is no longer identified as the Son of God, but now He is the “child” of God.

…the only way you can deal with this is to bring it out in the open and let people see it for what it really is: It’s filth, because it is attacking at the very core the character and nature of holy Scripture, and making the Scripture say what the Scripture does not say…

…God is referred to as “Father/Mother”; the word “king” is replaced by the word “ruler”, because, you see, the word “king” eliminates “queen” and the word “father” eliminates “mother” so of course you don’t want to offend “Her” a bit more than you want to offend ‘Him’ so you combine both of them into a bastardization of the Biblical Concept of God…

The time has come to take off the velvet glove with these jokers, and tell people what they are really up to, and this is what they are up to: They are up to the perversion of the text of holy Scriptures. Even their own translation: The Revised Standard Version disagrees with them everywhere. Now, don’t tell me that the National Council has not been affected by the ERA; don’t tell me that they have not been affected by feminism, because it is clear they have even gone to the cults for their information. Long before this garbage was printed, Mary Baker Eddy in 1875, in the book, Science and Health with Key to the Scripture, in her glossary of terminology, identified God as “father-mother”. The National Council has at last has come full circle in its agreement with Christian Science, which is the diametric opposite of biblical theology. Now, it would be possible to go on discussing their re-writing of the text, but one thing is certain—in neutering the Bible they are performing the castration of biblical theology; they are doing away with the authority of the Word of God.

The National Council of Churches…speak in all the seminaries and all the colleges and the church conferences and denominations, and…they are influencing people, and if our voice is quiet they will think nobody disagrees, and they have won the day. Let us not give them that opportunity. Let us raise our voices and say, “No, no, no.”

I would like to know how it is possible to talk about “mankind” without including women. I would like to know how it is possible to be so naïve as to think that if you say “chairman” it couldn’t be a lady when your culture is obviously indicative of women occupying positions like this. If you want to say “chairperson” fine; if you want to say “people hours” great, if you want to call children “persons” instead of…”boys and girls,” wonderful! If that’s your bag, welcome to it! But keep your paws out of Scripture. That’s different. What you say in polite conversation…is not to be confused with the re-writing of the Word of God, because that is exactly what they are trying to do.

You see, God is not talked about in the masculine because of sex. God is talked of in the masculine, because that is the order of creation, and He identified Himself with man as the head of creation, nothing to do with sex, and the Scripture categorically states that women were created for man, not the reverse…The National Council is trying to force us into a mold of rebellion against the authority of the Word of God, and they are using sex as a blind for it.

Deut 4:2—God forbids you to change His Word.

Proverbs 30:6—Add not to His Words, lest He rebuke you and you be found out to be a liar.

The National Council is a liar.

People say, “Why must you be so blunt?” Well, in the name of God, somebody’s got to be blunt and tell the truth, because this garbage is passing for truth, and if we keep quiet in the midst of it, we are guilty! Therefore, let’s speak out. When you pray, pray this way: “Our Father which art in heaven.” When you talk about God, talk about Him in the way Jesus said to talk about Him: “Our Father.” When you want to talk about the biblical God, then talk about Him the way the biblical writers wrote it and not the way a Council of Churches, which has sold out to liberal theology and to feminism and to ERA, is trying to construe it. In short, let’s stay with the biblical concept of God who so loved the world He sent His only Son to be our Savior…Jesus Christ is Lord. He is the Son of God. He is the Savior, and He is not to be confused with the “chairperson” of the universe.
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49 Responses to “Neutering the Bible by the Late Walter Martin”
  1. Jazzy Cat says:

    Scribe,
    These people are post-modern liberals first. They make the Bible conform to their liberal world-view rather than making their world-view conform to the Bible.

    Once we understand this about liberals everything else falls into place. There is no real surprise here. They should be challenged and refuted at every opportunity.

  2. Speaking of “pompous tom-foolery”…I think it is funny how the writer attempts to correlate the inclusive-language movement with–Mary Baker Eddy? Please. As if no one ever thought of God as Father/Mother before her!

    He was making a marginally cogent argument until he went there. After that, it’s hard to take anything seriously.

  3. Mark Pierson says:

    Did somebody say blunt? Liberals will be the death of us all.

  4. Did somebody say blunt? Liberals will be the death of us all.

    Only if they beat the fundamentalists to it.

  5. Gayla says:

    Amen. Great piece, Scribey.

  6. Susan says:

    Oh, this is *so* timely – based on my previous comments with E-D- to your post about the so-called “joke.”

    I awakened this morning with a thought with respect to E-D’s following comment:

    E-D- wrote: “The English language is varied enough that one need not necessarily utilize gendered language whatsoever. While I do not have a particular problem with people assuming “generic” meanings for gendered pronouns (like “man”), I do also think that it creates unnecessary confusion when more descriptive and perspicuous words like “humankind” are suitable substitutes….My main issue is not with sexism, but with the limitations that imprecision in language creates, especially in regards to gendered language.”

    For some reason, I woke this morning with the thought – “but if it ain’t broke, why fix it?” In other words, using gendered language isn’t a bad thing at all. If mankind covers all ground sufficiently, what’s the problem? I see no problem, and therefore I have no problem with men covering both men and women, mankind covering all humans, etc. There is no confusion, as E-D- asserts there is, especially when surrounding words provide sufficient context, which they have done for ages – in many languages in addition to English.

    With respect to Scripture, it’s downright blasphemous to play with gender.

  7. Susan says:

    By the way, I think all this playing with the language to be politically correct and gender-neutral is really messing with women and roles today. It’s hard enough to be a submissive woman to a man at any time, but today’s culture only reinforces the idea that we shouldn’t be! God has so very graciously shown me what a blessing it is for me to submit to my husband and only by His grace have I come to realize it. It’s a privilege and a protection for me to be under his authority – ultimately under God’s.
    I can’t stand what our contemporary culture and liberals are doing to women – suggesting equality across the board. We are not equal unequivocally. Equal in value? Yes. Equal in authority? No.

  8. For some reason, I woke this morning with the thought – “but if it ain’t broke, why fix it?” In other words, using gendered language isn’t a bad thing at all.

    Who’s saying it isn’t broken? While I will allow for the measured legitimacy of people using gender-exclusive language, I would also hardly suggest that this is ideal.

    If mankind covers all ground sufficiently, what’s the problem? I see no problem, and therefore I have no problem with men covering both men and women, mankind covering all humans, etc. There is no confusion, as E-D- asserts there is, especially when surrounding words provide sufficient context, which they have done for ages – in many languages in addition to English.

    Actually, many languages have much more precise designations for masculine, feminine and neuter words and phrases than English does.

    But the issue that is at the heart of this is your obviousness concerning the nature and function of language. Can gender-exclusive words be pressed to universal meanings? Of course. The nature of language is such that words–lacking inherent meaning–can be plied to whatever meanings its utilizers which to communicate. However, this is precisely the “problem” which you do not wish to acknowledge. Because language is pliable, its linguistic vehicles [ie., words] can be put to a variety of uses, some benign and some wickedly malevolent. Language can used to methodologically extend hegemonies of power, more firmly entrenching those with over-power against those whom they oppress.

    Now certainly, this is not readily apparent, for most assume that words have fixed, inalterable meanings. However, the naivety concerning this fundamental misunderstanding is precisely why langauge can be such a successful weapon and such a wickedly-effecient instrument of oppression.

    With respect to Scripture, it’s downright blasphemous to play with gender.

    Why?

  9. Susan says:

    Who’s saying it isn’t broken?

    I am.

    Actually, many languages have much more precise designations for masculine, feminine and neuter words and phrases than English does.

    Yes, indeedy. They certainly do. However, many languages have the female gender covered by the male – and without issue. That was my point.

    Can gender-exclusive words be pressed to universal meanings? Of course. The nature of language is such that words–lacking inherent meaning–can be plied to whatever meanings its utilizers which to communicate. However, this is precisely the “problem” which you do not wish to acknowledge.

    I think you’re making more of this than the original argument. All I’m saying is the word “mankind” and its equivalents are sufficient and well understood to be inclusionary (not exclusionary) in context.

    Because language is pliable, its linguistic vehicles [ie., words] can be put to a variety of uses, some benign and some wickedly malevolent. Language can used to methodologically extend hegemonies of power, more firmly entrenching those with over-power against those whom they oppress.

    Nobody is oppressed by the use of the word “mankind.”

    the naivety concerning this fundamental misunderstanding is precisely why langauge can be such a successful weapon and such a wickedly-effecient instrument of oppression.

    Thanks. I needed a good laugh. I don’t disagree with you that the pen can be mightier than the sword, but not in the context of this discussion with respect to the word “mankind.”

    With respect to Scripture, it’s downright blasphemous to play with gender.

    Why?

    Because of the very reasons set forth in Scribe’s post. Father is masculine. Son is masculine. Holy Spirit is masculine. People start to blur those distinctions referring to God as mother or Mary as mother of many (not just Jesus and additional human offspring), and the lines quickly blur. That’s a most slippery slope leading to many other problems – not least of which confusion of our own roles and compromising Scripture as it was given and written.

  10. Yes, indeedy. They certainly do. However, many languages have the female gender covered by the male – and without issue. That was my point.

    Obviously some within the purview of the English language do not feel that this happens “without issue,” hence the move towards the utilization of more inclusive language. Just because you do not perceive oppressive forces to exist within this kind of nomenclature does not mean that it is not, in fact, there.

    I think you’re making more of this than the original argument. All I’m saying is the word “mankind” and its equivalents are sufficient and well understood to be inclusionary (not exclusionary) in context.

    If they are “sufficiient” and “well-understood,” how would one explain the serious movement within all levels of scholarship to move away from precisely this kind of language? Regardless of one’s opinions of the motives that may be behind this, it is undeniable that a significant segment of the linguistic community feels that this kind of language is not sufficient whatsoever, and moreover consider it to be in keeping with some of the dangers I outlined in my previous comment.

    Nobody is oppressed by the use of the word “mankind.”

    Perhaps, but could the same be said of all masculine-skewed language in gender? Is not the primacy of gendered language indicative of
    power relationships which exist between the sexes? Surely females did not pick out the masculine versions because they sound better…

    Thanks. I needed a good laugh. I don’t disagree with you that the pen can be mightier than the sword, but not in the context of this discussion with respect to the word “mankind.”

    My point is not that the pen is mightier than the sword, but more directly that the pen IS a sword and can be used in tandem with all of the other oppressive devices of human sinfulness that divide and subjugate. While the singular phenomenology of the word “mankind” may not encapsulate the full disparity between sexes on the basis of language, surely you can see that the significant masculine-prejudice in language does.

    Because of the very reasons set forth in Scribe’s post. Father is masculine. Son is masculine. Holy Spirit is masculine. People start to blur those distinctions referring to God as mother or Mary as mother of many (not just Jesus and additional human offspring), and the lines quickly blur. That’s a most slippery slope leading to many other problems – not least of which confusion of our own roles and compromising Scripture as it was given and written.

    Is God not Mother? Surely you are not suggesting that God is a male? While I do not necessarily have a problem with either way of speaking about God, I do think that the restriction of gender-attributions to the exclusivity of the other is not only a misunderstanding of the manner in which the Godhead transcends while yet encompassing human gender, but is moreover an outright denial of the imago dei, the duality of masculinity and femininity in which humans are created.

  11. Susan says:

    Obviously some within the purview of the English language do not feel that this happens “without issue,” hence the move towards the utilization of more inclusive language.

    And some don’t feel it happens with issue. Just because some “feel” that it happens with issue does not mean everyone else needs to bend to their sensitivities and be so politically correct as to not hurt anyone’s feelings. As I said earlier, the word “mankind” *is* inclusive.

    If they are “sufficiient” and “well-understood,” how would one explain the serious movement within all levels of scholarship to move away from precisely this kind of language?

    Liberalism. Just plain liberalism. Political correctness in the West today.

    it is undeniable that a significant segment of the linguistic community feels that this kind of language is not sufficient whatsoever,

    So? The linguistic community doesn’t drive all turns of language.

    Is not the primacy of gendered language indicative of power relationships which exist between the sexes?

    No.

    oppressive devices of human sinfulness that divide and subjugate.

    And I would assert that separating the language to such levels (mankind/humankind – men and women when just “men” is sufficient and inclusionary) is itself divisive.

    surely you can see that the significant masculine-prejudice in language does.

    No, I can’t. But I can see that continually trying to force an issue of women being so separate and distinct and different to the point of more and more and more “equality” only lends itself to women straying further and further from the Biblical model of their proper role.

    Is God not Mother? Surely you are not suggesting that God is a male?

    Jesus did not teach us to pray “Our Mother who art in heaven.” God is not Mother. God is Father. Father does not equal Mother. God is Father. Jesus is Son. Holy Spirit likewise is referred to as “he” in Scripture, I think. That is masculine. The Bible is not gender-neutral with respect to the Trinity.

    not only a misunderstanding of the manner in which the Godhead transcends while yet encompassing human gender,

    I have no misunderstanding about God as Father (not Mother). No misunderstanding about Scripture being clear in its use of masculine terms for Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

    outright denial of the imago dei, the duality of masculinity and femininity in which humans are created

    The Bible does not say “the duality of masculinity and femininity” in the creation account. Adam is created first and Eve as his helpmate.

    Genesis 1:27 – “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

    It does not read “in the image of God He created him and her”. In the image of God he created him. Period.

  12. And some don’t feel it happens with issue. Just because some “feel” that it happens with issue does not mean everyone else needs to bend to their sensitivities and be so politically correct as to not hurt anyone’s feelings. As I said earlier, the word “mankind” *is* inclusive.

    It is inclusive in your view; however, by its very linguistic structure, it is exclusive of the feminine. It is only through popularized usage in centuires past that it was made “inclusive.” As I mentioned before, given that words are without inherent meaning and entirely qualified by their indemic plasticity, I see no reason to preserve what has been historically inclusively-forced exclusive language when words with a more intrinsic inclusive structure are available.

    Liberalism. Just plain liberalism. Political correctness in the West today.

    So apparently liberalism is a bad thing? How objective of you!

    So? The linguistic community doesn’t drive all turns of language.

    I have not said that it does. However, its significant and assertive presence makes this more an issue than you seem to care to countenance.

    No.

    Please explain how the gender-directed nature of language is NOT indicative of power-relationships between the sexes. Explain how patriarchal and matriarchal cultures are invariably skewed towards their respective gender-power-structures in language.

    And I would assert that separating the language to such levels (mankind/humankind – men and women when just “men” is sufficient and inclusionary) is itself divisive.

    How is utilizing inclusive language in gender-netural discussions divisive?

    No, I can’t. But I can see that continually trying to force an issue of women being so separate and distinct and different to the point of more and more and more “equality” only lends itself to women straying further and further from the Biblical model of their proper role.

    A biblical model no doubt mediated in your understanding by the hegemonies of masculine-centric language which you seek to preserve…Ironic how that happens.

    Jesus did not teach us to pray “Our Mother who art in heaven.” God is not Mother. God is Father. Father does not equal Mother. God is Father. Jesus is Son. Holy Spirit likewise is referred to as “he” in Scripture, I think. That is masculine. The Bible is not gender-neutral with respect to the Trinity.

    You didn’t answer my question. Is God gendered? Is God a male?

    The Bible does not say “the duality of masculinity and femininity” in the creation account. Adam is created first and Eve as his helpmate.

    Genesis 1:27 – “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

    It does not read “in the image of God He created him and her”.

    Actually, it does in fact say that God created “man” (here “human persons”) in the image of God, “male and female he created [those created in the image of God]”. So there is a distinct duality in the image of God, not capable of being asserted as the exclusive property of either sex. In this way, without the other, either sex is incomplete in its imaging of God.

    In the image of God he created him. Period.

    So I ask you one more time: Is God a male?

  13. Susan says:

    however, by its very linguistic structure, it is exclusive of the feminine.

    That’s your opinion; not a fact. Historically it is inclusive. Depending on context, it includes females.

    So apparently liberalism is a bad thing? How objective of you!

    I never said wholly a bad thing, but I am a conservative and I think much of the worldview today is liberal. I never claimed to be wholly objective. I think each person is subjective in his (sigh – or her – how cumbersome) view. No one is totally objective.

    its significant and assertive presence makes this more an issue than you seem to care to countenance.

    I think I’m “countenancing” it plenty.

    Please explain how the gender-directed nature of language is NOT indicative of power-relationships between the sexes.

    You first. Please explain how it is.
    And do so in plain simple English please.

    How is utilizing inclusive language in gender-netural discussions divisive?

    It reminds me of all this supposed necessity of distinguishing between the races, between the sexes. Like the liberal folks continually pushing for equal rights for blacks to the point of reverse discrimination. Witness what’s going on in Jenna. Six black boys attack a white boy and all these black leaders come out to defend the ones who beat up the kid. Continually dividing the races. Continually dividing the sexes. Let’s not get into a discussion about Jenna though, okay? I’m just trying to illustrate that continually drawing these lines leads to greater division, not unity.

    A biblical model no doubt mediated in your understanding by the hegemonies of masculine-centric language which you seek to preserve…

    Is there an emoticon for crossed eyes? I have *no* idea what you just said.

    Is God gendered? Is God a male?

    God is our Father. God is He. God is referred to in Scripture as Him.

    Actually, it does in fact say that God created “man” (here “human persons”) in the image of God, “male and female he created [those created in the image of God]”.

    This is changing Scripture which says “God created man in HIS own image…” NOT “His and Her own image.” Then it says “In the image of God HE created him” (not him and her!). THEN it says separated by a semi-colon “male and female He created them.” You have twisted Scripture here to write “those created in the image of God” after the last part of the verse. THAT is the very real danger of changing Scripture to be “gender-neutral.”

  14. That’s your opinion; not a fact. Historically it is inclusive. Depending on context, it includes females.

    In my last comment, I was talking about the linguistic structure of this word–in light of the meanings often assigned to its constituent parts–being exclusive, not the classical usage of it. In contemporary usage, it is understood by nearly as primitively imprecise with a nascent exclusion of the feminine insofar as its gendered root [that is, “man”] is no longer considered properly inclusive of the feminine.

    So given that language has this inherent plasticity, I see no reason why the revision of English translations of the Scriptures in re: this specific example should be troublesome to you. After all, if “mankind” is truly inclusive of the female, then substituting it with the currently acceptable “humankind” should be a completely non-issue.

    I never said wholly a bad thing, but I am a conservative and I think much of the worldview today is liberal. I never claimed to be wholly objective. I think each person is subjective in his (sigh – or her – how cumbersome) view. No one is totally objective.

    You are correct that no one is objective, either totally or even in part. We are all caught up in our own particular subjectivities of knowing and being.

    You first. Please explain how it is.
    And do so in plain simple English please.

    Martin Heidegger, in his work “On the Way to Language,” makes the interesting and, I think, accurate observation about language that to “name” something is to bring it into existence. His meaning is not necessarily that the naming of a thing creates its ontology; rather, this act makes the undefined “thing” into a “some-thing”, creating presence and knowledge where none was.

    So when we utilize language, it is more than simply assigning meaning to linguistic symbols; rather, this imbuing of words with meaning is the creation of meaning, a reflection of how we organize and valuate reality. When language is skewed in its fundamental structure towards one gender, then, such is a reflection of the primal way in which the linguistic community adjudicates the value between male and female.

    Couple this with the inherent power of language to empower and subjugate which I outlined earlier, one is left with a clear description of how linguistic inequities image the same inequities which exist in power relationships between the sexes.

    Your turn.

    It reminds me of all this supposed necessity of distinguishing between the races, between the sexes. Like the liberal folks continually pushing for equal rights for blacks to the point of reverse discrimination. Witness what’s going on in Jenna. Six black boys attack a white boy and all these black leaders come out to defend the ones who beat up the kid. Continually dividing the races. Continually dividing the sexes. Let’s not get into a discussion about Jenna though, okay? I’m just trying to illustrate that continually drawing these lines leads to greater division, not unity.

    But the entire reason this push for equity is necessary is because the patterns of power-relationships which have historically existed between races, genders, etc. has created the need for the same.

    There are, no doubt, individuals and groups who wish to take advantage of the current sensitivity regarding past discrimination and seek to establish their own over-power. However, they only mirror the power-mongers and dividers who existed before them and who they now seek to replace.
    Is there an emoticon for crossed eyes? I have *no* idea what you just said.

    I’m saying it is ironic that your understanding of a “biblical model” of gender relationships is mediated precisely by the language which perpetuates these same gender relationships.

    God is our Father. God is He. God is referred to in Scripture as Him.

    You still have not answered the question. Is God male? Is there a correspondence of the “he-ness” of God to the human male in that it is intrinsically exclusive of the human female?

    This is changing Scripture which says “God created man in HIS own image…” NOT “His and Her own image.” Then it says “In the image of God HE created him” (not him and her!). THEN it says separated by a semi-colon “male and female He created them.” You have twisted Scripture here to write “those created in the image of God” after the last part of the verse. THAT is the very real danger of changing Scripture to be “gender-neutral.”

    You are the one, in fact, that is twisting the Scripture. The historical interpretation of this passage throughout all of Christian history has been that the image of God is intrinsic to the both the male and the female, not one in exclusion of the other.

    Moreover, you have failed to take into account the “them” of the final phrase. Who does the “them” refer to if not to a plural object previously modified? Yet before the “them,” the only possible referrant is the “man” of the previous phrase, here used in the inclusive sense of “humankind” and not in specificity as to the male. If “the male” is understood as the identity of the “man” created, then the concept of “them” is without meaning in the following phrase, for who or what is it to which “them” refers? Without understanding “them” as having a referent in the prior “humankind” of “man”, the “them” could be referring to anything at all.

    But what is most destructive about your unsustainable interpretation is that it entirely destroys the doctrine of the Incarnation, at least in its meaningfulness for the female. While Christ’s Incarnation and atonement is cosmic in scope and efficacy, it is also particularly unique in that it is those created in the image of God for whom Christ came. However, if females–according to your doctrine–do not have a share in the imago dei, then they also lack a share in Christ, for how can they be joined to that with which they share no image? Moreover, if Christ has come to restore the imago dei which has been tarnished and diminished by the power of human sinfulness, this recapitulation and restoration of the imago dei has no meaning for the female by virtue of their exclusion from the image which Christ came to restore.

    So then, if you wish to assert that females have no share in the imago dei, so be it. However, in doing so, you must concomitantly and necessarily assert that they–including yourself–have absolutely no share in the image of Christ as well. If you reject the latter, you must also reject the former, for the doctrine of the Incarnation and atonement intrinsically necessitate the location of the imago dei within those whom Christ came to redeem from the curse of sin.

  15. Scribe–

    I cannot possibly imagine that you agree with Susan on the issue of the masculine exclusivity of the imago dei.

    Your thoughts?

  16. Susan says:

    In contemporary usage…“man”… is no longer considered properly inclusive of the feminine.

    I see it frequently in print, on-line and hear it in the circles I travel as inclusive, so in contemporary usage, it is still inclusive.

    Martin Heidegger, in his work “On the Way to Language,” makes the interesting and, I think, accurate observation about language that to “name” something is to bring it into existence. His meaning is not necessarily that the naming of a thing creates its ontology; rather, this act makes the undefined “thing” into a “some-thing”, creating presence and knowledge where none was.

    I disagree. My calling an imaginary six-foot rabbit by the name of Harvey does not “create presence” where once was none – unless I’m Jimmy Stewart in a movie. Just deciding to “name” something does not in and of itself create something out of nothing – unless you’re God.

    such is a reflection of the primal way in which the linguistic community adjudicates the value between male and female.

    Not at all. Females are included in the word “mankind” and “man,” etc without denigration of value.

    I’m saying it is ironic that your understanding of a “biblical model” of gender relationships is mediated precisely by the language which perpetuates these same gender relationships.

    And I think this is where you misunderstand Scripture, which elevates the value of the female, providing for rights for her at a time when none were given in surrounding cultures, affording her a place as judge over a nation, giving over entire books (Ruth) to her story, Christ speaking with the woman at the well when that likewise might have been improper, Jesus not allowing the stoning of the woman caught in adultery, and more.

    You still have not answered the question. Is God male? Is there a correspondence of the “he-ness” of God to the human male in that it is intrinsically exclusive of the human female?

    I have answered the question, but not to your satisfaction, because you want to squeeze me into a little box to say the words you want me to say. I will not confine God where Scripture does not. But I will repeat Scripture where it is clear. God is He. God is Father. These are associated with the masculine, more authoritative role in our culture, society and the world. God is not human. But Jesus was at a time – and He was male. Jesus was neither female nor intersexed. He was male. I don’t know why you have a problem with God being He, Him, Father, etc. – all male terms.

    You are the one, in fact, that is twisting the Scripture. The historical interpretation of this passage throughout all of Christian history has been that the image of God is intrinsic to the both the male and the female, not one in exclusion of the other.

    Moreover, you have failed to take into account the “them” of the final phrase. Who does the “them” refer to if not to a plural object previously modified? Yet before the “them,” the only possible referrant is the “man” of the previous phrase, here used in the inclusive sense of “humankind” and not in specificity as to the male.

    I couldn’t disagree more. The sentence does not read “In the image of God, He created them.” It says “In the image of God, He created him.” In addition to which, you’re avoiding the obvious here: “She” didn’t create; “He” did. I agree that females are not outside of the image of God, but God is He. Him. Father.

    I think you’re misunderstanding what I’m saying. Certainly we are created in the “image” of God as His children, but in the same way that my daughter is created in the image of her father – she is not the same gender. She is separate, distinct, unique and has a gendered role. She is not like him as I am not like my heavenly Father (although there are many more ways than that which I am not like God).

    But what is most destructive about your unsustainable interpretation is that it entirely destroys the doctrine of the Incarnation, at least in its meaningfulness for the female.

    Oh please. It certainly does not.

    However, if females–according to your doctrine–do not have a share in the imago dei, then they also lack a share in Christ, for how can they be joined to that with which they share no image?

    I never said that females don’t share in being created in God’s image – just not in a gendered sense as you are trying to force here. We are joined spiritually, just as men are, to and in Christ. To do so does not require that Jesus has a “feminine side.”

    if Christ has come to restore the imago dei which has been tarnished and diminished by the power of human sinfulness, this recapitulation and restoration of the imago dei has no meaning for the female by virtue of their exclusion from the image which Christ came to restore.

    You’re reducing the word “image” here to “gender,” when I think it is so much more. I doubt anyone can fully understand or explain its entire meaning, but here’s a thought: In the Hebrew, the word for “image” in Genesis in this account is “tzelem,” which in contemporary Hebrew likewise means “image.” Reducing this word even further to simply “tzel”, we find the Hebrew word for “shadow.” One’s shadow is an image of one’s self, yet imprecise; perhaps one cannot even distinguish gender from one’s shadow. We certainly cannot know all until we reach the other side, but for now I am content that I am made in God’s image, but not by gender. It’s deeper and more spiritual than that, I think.

  17. cristinaannie says:

    Scribes,
    Thank you for being so blunt!

    Cristina

  18. Jazzy Cat says:

    Rev. 22:18-19 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, (19) and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

    Didn’t Jesus also say something about not one jot or tittle? Hmmmmmm, maybe we do not have the authority to change Scripture.

  19. Jazzy Cat says:

    And that includes liberals…………

  20. deviant monk says:

    Didn’t Jesus also say something about not one jot or tittle? Hmmmmmm, maybe we do not have the authority to change Scripture.

    And that includes liberals…………

    and Martin Luther.

  21. Didn’t Jesus also say something about not one jot or tittle? Hmmmmmm, maybe we do not have the authority to change Scripture.

    Possibly, but then Jesus wasn’t probably talking about the New Testament when he said that. So apparently we could conceivably change the NT but not the OT.

    And as to Rev., the author was obviously talking about the prophecy of Revelation itself, not the corpus of Scripture which Protestants affirm as authoritative.

    C’mon Jazzy!

  22. Jazzy Cat says:

    E/D
    That is true about only applying to Rev. However, I think that would be a strong indication that the principle would apply to all of Scripture.

  23. That is true about only applying to Rev. However, I think that would be a strong indication that the principle would apply to all of Scripture.

    Based on what? Did the author of Revelation understand his writing to be equivalent with Scripture?

  24. scribe7580 says:

    Exist,

    Are you positing that only the OT is inspired?

  25. deviant monk says:

    Didn’t Jesus also say something about not one jot or tittle? Hmmmmmm, maybe we do not have the authority to change Scripture.

    Interestingly enough, Jesus probably grew up reading the Septuagint, as probably did his audience, (certainly early Christianty and the very writings of the NT for that matter bears evidence of a strong reliance on it) so presumably Jesus was also referring to the deutero-canonical books, since they were included in the Septuagint. If Jesus was referring to the Scriptures as what was read in the synagogues, that is, the Septuagint, then it seems that protestants are horribly guilty of getting rid of a lot of scripture, or ‘changing’ it, if you will.

  26. Are you positing that only the OT is inspired?

    Not at all. I’m just questioning the logic of Jazzy’s reasoning.

  27. scribe7580 says:

    Either way, we do not reserve the right to change the scriptures in order to have them conform to our cultural idiosyncrasies( i.e. the utilization of gender inclusive terms to replace the masculine pronouns).

  28. Either way, we do not reserve the right to change the scriptures in order to have them conform to our cultural idiosyncrasies( i.e. the utilization of gender inclusive terms to replace the masculine pronouns).

    Yet we do exactly this same thing when translating ideas and concepts from the original languages into English. Would not this practice also constitute an “alteration” of the Scriptures to conform to “cultural idiosyncricies?”

    If you would deny that, then I see no prohibition on the translation of gendered pronouns into inclusive ones where the context allows. After all, gendered words function differently not only across cultures, but more importantly within languages. That is, just because a Greek word, for example, is masculine in structure does not necessarily mean that it is structured to evoke exclusively “masculine” concepts and ideas. It is just the structure of the language.

  29. Scribe says:

    Yet we do exactly this same thing when translating ideas and concepts from the original languages into English. Would not this practice also constitute an “alteration” of the Scriptures to conform to “cultural idiosyncricies?”

    Are we now to engage in delineations between literal and dynamic equivalence translations? I do not entirely disagree with you, but where you are ultimately taking your deductions to, I disagree with.

    Some of the points which you’ve made are valid in regards to cultural “biases” with translations, which is why I prefer the King James translation, the translators honestly displayed their insertions by way of italicized wording.

    Please submit to me why God the Father chose all men to represent Him…the overwhelming evidence speaks contrary to your egalitarian redactionary( and anachronistic) concepts which you presently employ.

    All of the patriarchs were obviously men, 12 male apostles, His Christ is a male, the 1st being created was male in nature…the burden of proof is on you present evidence to the contrary.

  30. Are we now to engage in delineations between literal and dynamic equivalence translations?

    HA! As if there is such a delineation possible. All translations are inescapably paraphrases of the originals, regardless of the assertions of interpreters to the contrary. There is no such thing as a “literal” translation, for such a qualification would require that 1.) a direct and incontrovertible correlation can be made between the objects of each language, 2.) that the objects of each language are objectively and exhaustively known and agreed upon to the point of absolutism by the holders of each set of linguistic objects, as well as by those who approach them from without and 3.) those who approach the interpretations that have been made are themselves infallible in regards to the two former premises.

    I do not entirely disagree with you, but where you are ultimately taking your deductions to, I disagree with.

    And where, exactly, am I taking them?

    Some [“all”, ahem 🙂 ] of the points which you’ve made are valid in regards to cultural “biases” with translations, which is why I prefer the King James translation, the translators honestly displayed their insertions by way of italicized wording.

    Yes, too bad they used what were–even in their own time–understood to be unreliable texts… How good is an honest interpretation of a faulty text?

    Please submit to me why God the Father chose all men to represent Him…the overwhelming evidence speaks contrary to your egalitarian redactionary( and anachronistic) concepts which you presently employ.

    All of the patriarchs were obviously men, 12 male apostles, His Christ is a male, the 1st being created was male in nature…the burden of proof is on you present evidence to the contrary.

    I would think that the cultural questions we have raised previously would make the answer self evident. The “patriarchs” are such because they are men of power in a patriarchal society. In such an environment, I do not suspect that many women would have had much luck claiming divine appointment in the face of the masculine-dominated power-structures. Therefore, obviously those in power are the ones who are able to sufficiently assert divine mandates. In the case of the people of Israel, this group was the males.

    As to Adam, again, think of who is writing the texts and keep in mind the social hierarchies of gender in which the texts are written. Would the writer deliberately insert material into the creation epic (used for religious and cultural formation) that would have directly undermined the very religious and social context he was attempting to buttress through the writing? I doubt it, and if he had, I seriously doubt the ability of the text to persist within the religious and social consciousness of a people who would reject it.

    (As an aside, I think it is an interesting point to explore that the primacy of Adam may have been a religious subversion of the greater Near-Eastern creation mythologies wherein the creative processes were by and large dominated by the feminine.)

    As to Jesus, the disciples and apostles, I think the cultural hegemonies of gender relationships I have spoke of sufficiently answers your question. Logistically, I simply do not see that a female Jesus, nor female disciples and apostles would have provided the Christian movement the impetus or sustainability that it needed in the face of the greater hostile religious environment to survive and thrive.

    So then, I do not see it as God “choosing” males, because they are males. Rather, I see that God’s spirit worked through the culturally entrenched mores concerning gender roles peculiar to the times in question to bring about God’s will in the history of human salvation.

    But if this, then, is affirmed, it must also be understood that God’s spirit continues the same work within the vastly different climes of gender structures which are endemic to the cultures and relationships in which we persist. To rabidly defend the cultural mores of the ancients as trans-historically absolute and imperatively applicable to the modern era is, IMO, not only naive concerning the nature of human sexuality and its shifting nature over the centuries of human evolution, but moreover is tantamount to a denial of the ability of God’s spirit to work within the circumstances and environments in which we currently exist.

  31. Susan says:

    In such an environment, I do not suspect that many women would have had much luck claiming divine appointment in the face of the masculine-dominated power-structures.

    Unless you consider Deborah the judge. Oh, and Ruth has her own book in the OT. Rahab (with her dubious profession) showed God-given wisdom in her time. Many females have extraordinary place in Scripture. In fact, women are portrayed in Scripture as both godly and ungodly creatures – not unlike the men in Scripture. Amazing considering your perception of Scriptural times as an environment of “masculine-dominated power-structures.” If that were truly the case, Deborah wouldn’t be mentioned, neither would Ruth nor Rabab, nor any other godly female in the Bible. There are the ungodly women in there as well, just as there are ungodly men. If it were only “masculine-dominated,” I doubt all the frailities, failures, and fiascos of the men would be mentioned at all.

  32. Unless you consider Deborah the judge. Oh, and Ruth has her own book in the OT. Rahab (with her dubious profession) showed God-given wisdom in her time. Many females have extraordinary place in Scripture. In fact, women are portrayed in Scripture as both godly and ungodly creatures – not unlike the men in Scripture. Amazing considering your perception of Scriptural times as an environment of “masculine-dominated power-structures.” If that were truly the case, Deborah wouldn’t be mentioned, neither would Ruth nor Rabab, nor any other godly female in the Bible. There are the ungodly women in there as well, just as there are ungodly men. If it were only “masculine-dominated,” I doubt all the frailities, failures, and fiascos of the men would be mentioned at all.

    Actually, their presence–and the circumstances in which they are mentioned–reinforces my point.

    Consider Deborah. Would a woman normally rise to power as a judge? No. But given the state of turmoil in which the Israelites were engulfed, she rose to power in the vaccum of any competent male leadership.

    How about Esther? Interestingly, very similar circumstances. The people of Israel are in exile, slaves in a land not their own at the mercy of pagan kings. In such a pathetic and weak state, it is the female who is shown to be the deliverer.

    What is the common thread here? Well, all of these examples are fundametally negative. With Deborah and Esther, their stories are an indictment on the depth of the sin of Israel such that it is women (!) who have to be raised up to rescue the people. To the males of the Ancient Near East, to be rescued by a female was humiliating, yet this reveals exactly how helpless and pathetic the nation had become in their rebellion against Yahweh, a theme not ignored by the prophetic writers.

    So you see, even the presence of female leadership, in the hands of masculine dominated power structures, can be used to further the hegemony of patriarchy.

  33. scribe7580 says:

    As to Jesus, the disciples and apostles, I think the cultural hegemonies of gender relationships I have spoke of sufficiently answers your question. Logistically, I simply do not see that a female Jesus, nor female disciples and apostles would have provided the Christian movement the impetus or sustainability that it needed in the face of the greater hostile religious environment to survive and thrive.

    So now God must conform to whatever hegemonic status existed in order to hatch out His redemptive plan…how ridiculous!

    The Lord had His Messiah hang a cursed cross despite the stigmatism attached to such criminal’s death, and yet in spite of that, was able to sovereignly execute His forordained plan. Sorry Joel…you answer here is pretty lackluster…man never trumps the Lord’s plans, inspite of the cultural climate.

    Yes, too bad they used what were–even in their own time–understood to be unreliable texts… How good is an honest interpretation of a faulty text?

    Just what I would expect from a person who holds a minimalist view of scripture…

    But if this, then, is affirmed, it must also be understood that God’s spirit continues the same work within the vastly different climes of gender structures which are endemic to the cultures and relationships in which we persist. To rabidly defend the cultural mores of the ancients as trans-historically absolute and imperatively applicable to the modern era is, IMO, not only naive concerning the nature of human sexuality and its shifting nature over the centuries of human evolution, but moreover is tantamount to a denial of the ability of God’s spirit to work within the circumstances and environments in which we currently exist.

    Which is what you have done re: your comment:So you see, even the presence of female leadership, in the hands of masculine dominated power structures, can be used to further the hegemony of patriarchy.

    Look Joel…we can argue this issue through thirty more comments, and you will have me not one iota toward your liberal view of God ordained male headship in His economy.

    I believe that (hypothetically speaking)if the apostles, Christ, prophets, Adam were all female, you would be arguing the same case against me…

  34. So now God must conform to whatever hegemonic status existed in order to hatch out His redemptive plan…how ridiculous!

    I never said that. What I have said is that God has worked through the cultural distinctives of humanity throughout history. In all times, and through all means, God is revealing the salvation proclaimed in the incarnation of very God in Christ.

    The Lord had His Messiah hang a cursed cross despite the stigmatism attached to such criminal’s death, and yet in spite of that, was able to sovereignly execute His forordained plan. Sorry Joel…you answer here is pretty lackluster…man never trumps the Lord’s plans, inspite of the cultural climate.

    Actually, the example you note would be precisely in keeping with my assertions…

    Just what I would expect from a person who holds a minimalist view of scripture…

    Minimalist? What does that mean? And who defines what “minimalism” is in regards to Scripture?

    Look Joel…we can argue this issue through thirty more comments, and you will have me not one iota toward your liberal view of God ordained male headship in His economy.

    I’m not sure that is really an answer to the points I raised…

    I believe that (hypothetically speaking)if the apostles, Christ, prophets, Adam were all female, you would be arguing the same case against me…

    No, because my argument has nothing to do with trying to advance feminism, or to undermine masculinity (well, except for the Reformed Mafia Chess Club version of it). All I am trying to do is to bring some sanity to the discussion of gender, God and human history, separating the cultural mores of the writers of Scripture from the fundamental nature of what God has created humanity to be–male AND female–in the image of God who is neither yet, in the infinity of the divine nature, nonetheless encapsulates both.

  35. Mark Pierson says:

    And when the Bible isn’t the final word, we have this…

  36. And when the Bible isn’t the final word, we have this…

    Whether or not the Scriptures are “the final word” is an irrelevant postulate, for it will ultimately come down to the necessity of interpretation, an act indelibly linked to the subjectivity of the interpreter.

  37. Scribe says:

    Whether or not the Scriptures are “the final word” is an irrelevant postulate, for it will ultimately come down to the necessity of interpretation, an act indelibly linked to the subjectivity of the interpreter.

    Ironically you would have us to accept your arbitrarily contrived interpretation…I was born at night not last night!

    Mark,

    I totally I agree with you…

  38. Susan says:

    With Deborah and Esther, their stories are an indictment on the depth of the sin of Israel such that it is women (!) who have to be raised up to rescue the people. To the males of the Ancient Near East, to be rescued by a female was humiliating,

    See, it is you who is reading this into the stories. I see nowhere in Scripture where it is written how humiliating it was for the nation to have these women where they were.

    Consider Deborah. Would a woman normally rise to power as a judge? No.

    And yet she did. And it’s a great testimony to God that she did. So you read into it all kinds of negatives. I don’t.

    It is liberals who continually divide the sexes and races, pointing out all their differences and strengthening division. Although liberals continually accuse conservatives as being the racist, sexist ones.

  39. See, it is you who is reading this into the stories. I see nowhere in Scripture where it is written how humiliating it was for the nation to have these women where they were.

    Why would one expect such a reference? If it was offensive to them (which it was), such a thing would not have to be articulated for those to whom the original documents were written. So to expect such an articulation of social mores is unrealistic from a literary standpoint.

    And yet she did. And it’s a great testimony to God that she did

    I don’t deny that it was a testimony to God. My point is that the very inclusion of the story was used, in the hands of the writers, as an indictment of the sin of Israel in that it was so bad that God chose to accomplish divine purposes through females, a scenario that would not normally be countenanced by the cultural mores of the time.

    So you read into it all kinds of negatives. I don’t.

    Perhaps, but if you are wrongly interpreting it, then it is you who are inappropriately imposing cultural stereotypes upon a cultural hegemony that would not have been compatible with said imposition.

    It is liberals who continually divide the sexes and races, pointing out all their differences and strengthening division. Although liberals continually accuse conservatives as being the racist, sexist ones.

    My interest in what has been said is not in political discussions, so you will have to take your prejudice for conservative categories to another conversation, for I am not attempting to buttress either politically liberal or conservative perspectives.

  40. Susan says:

    If it was offensive to them (which it was), such a thing would not have to be articulated for those to whom the original documents were written. So to expect such an articulation of social mores is unrealistic from a literary standpoint.

    I’d advise you to go back and read your Bible – start with Noah getting drunk and lying naked before his sons, maybe move on to David’s problems with his sons. There are plenty of big embarrassments for the people of Israel – individuals and collectively. And not just them, but all of us who see in them our own lack and sin. That’s one of the things that makes the Bible so credible, in fact, is the hanging out of the dirty laundry – so absent in other cultures – like Egyptian culture which all but erases their failure to keep the Jews as slaves.

  41. I’d advise you to go back and read your Bible – start with Noah getting drunk and lying naked before his sons, maybe move on to David’s problems with his sons. There are plenty of big embarrassments for the people of Israel – individuals and collectively. And not just them, but all of us who see in them our own lack and sin. That’s one of the things that makes the Bible so credible, in fact, is the hanging out of the dirty laundry – so absent in other cultures – like Egyptian culture which all but erases their failure to keep the Jews as slaves.

    What you have suggested above is exactly my point. I believe part of the reasons these “embarrassing” accounts of female leadership were included was to be an indictment of the people, to remind them of the consequences and shame of rebellion against God.

  42. Susan says:

    part of the reasons these “embarrassing” accounts of female leadership were included

    Except that they’re not included as embarrassments with respect to the female leadership. That’s your take on the matter – proving my point about liberal divisiveness.

    In fact, if you want another embarrassment in Scripture, look at the story of Judah and Tamar (Genesis 38). His is the exceeding guilt even through her deception, and he admits to it to his own shame. These accounts in Scripture do not whitewash shame, guilt and sin – for men or women.

  43. deviant monk says:

    Susan-

    Except that they’re not included as embarrassments with respect to the female leadership. That’s your take on the matter – proving my point about liberal divisiveness.

    In fact, if you want another embarrassment in Scripture, look at the story of Judah and Tamar (Genesis 38). His is the exceeding guilt even through her deception, and he admits to it to his own shame. These accounts in Scripture do not whitewash shame, guilt and sin – for men or women.

    I’m fairly certain Exist isn’t advocating that the accounts of female leadership are embarrassing in the sense that they make fun or show off the weaknesses or vices of the women in question, etc., but rather that the fact that the women had to step up into leadership roles showed that the men, who supposed themselves to be the natural leaders, had walked away from God’s purposes and showed themselves to be weaker than they supposed women to be.

    Thus, Exist’s point about the stories being embarrassing to a patriarchal culture is more about this than any degradation of women in the stories. His argument is that for the Scriptures to include these stories serve as much to illustrate shame and guilt and sin as the actual mentioning of shame and guilt and sin.

  44. Susan says:

    Deviant,

    I understood E-D’s point when he explained it the first time. However, I think he is reading into the Biblical account and adding in that it was embarrassing for the men to have a woman as judge.

    He suggests that:

    If it was offensive to them (which it was), such a thing would not have to be articulated for those to whom the original documents were written.

    and

    God chose to accomplish divine purposes through females, a scenario that would not normally be countenanced by the cultural mores of the time.

    But it was in fact countenanced at the time.

    Moreover, Ruth was given her own place in her own book. If females were thought so little of at the time, there would be no need to include her at all. Or Deborah’s account.

    My very point is that these accounts are not listed in Scripture just to point out the embarrassment to the men to have a female in those role. I wasn’t suggesting that the accounts make a mockery of the females, but that it’s merely documenting history and the accurate account of it. He’s adding the embarrassment factor into it.

  45. Mark Pierson says:

    When philosophy is your guiding light, and not the Bible, you are lost. DM, ED, it is time to repent. Your philosophy will take you to Hell. Listen to Scribe and Susan, repent from your philosophy, embrace the Bible. Therein is the truth about Christ, the Son of God. He alone provided the substitutionary sacrifice for sin. He took the Father’s full fury upon our sins.

  46. Listen to Scribe and Susan, repent from your philosophy, embrace the Bible.

    Is that your answer for everyone who disagrees with you?

  47. Mark Pierson says:

    It’s the only thing I say to those who need to hear it. Please repent. I don’t want to think of you as going off to a Christless eternity.

  48. It’s the only thing I say to those who need to hear it. Please repent. I don’t want to think of you as going off to a Christless eternity.

    Nor would I want the same for you, but I will not presume to know your eternal destiny based on philosophical differences, as you deem yourself appropriate to do with me.

  49. Angela says:

    Tag, You’re it! Cause you liked it sooooo much and I would like to know more about you and yours!

    Angela 😉

    http://toliveischrist.wordpress.com/2007/10/01/ive-finally-been-tagged/

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