Church of England Mulling Over Whether to Set God Straight on His ‘Gender’
God has a problem.
He thinks He’s male. Or maybe “It” knows — knows that it’s non-binary, that is — but was never candid enough to tell us. The best it could do was, “Hey, folks, I’m a white cis male with a beard.”
All that’s changing now, thanks be to … to … to … Well, anyway, this god is getting a helpful schooling from some leaders in the Church of England, who are proposing a switch to gender-neutral terms for God.
Just the News has a report on it, apparently borrowed from behind a Times paywall. It’s quite a revelation, to hear how The Rev. Chantal Noppen put it:
“God is not male. Certainly not the white cis male with a beard, sitting on a cloud we seem to reduce and limit God to so often. God is far bigger than a binary sense of gender allows.” (I’ll bet you thought I made up “white cis male with a beard” on my own, didn’t you?)
Smarter Than Their God
We’ve grown past that now, thanks be to god. [The small g is intentional. We’re talking about someone’s mixed-up idea of god, not the real God.] Or maybe it’s no thanks to god at all, considering it’s the thing to blame for wrapping us up in confusion all these centuries. This god has suddenly found itself slapping itself on its non-binary forehead, asking itself, “What took me so long? How could I not have known?”
So forget “Thanks be to god.” It’s “thanks be to the liberals” instead. Everyone knows they’re so much smarter than conservatives. Now we know they’re smarter than god, too!
Please Support The Stream: Equipping Christians to Think Clearly About the Political, Economic, and Moral Issues of Our Day.
This gender-neutered “god” isn’t Church of England policy yet, and leaders assure us that it won’t be without “extensive legislation.” Why not, though, considering how much smarter than god these liberals are. They’re lot smarter (just ask them!) than their conservative opponents who think God sits on a throne on a cloud with angels peeling grapes for Him to eat.
I hope the Church ends up being actually smarter than that. To accept this proposal would be to flip the world upside-down. I expect the Church’s functionaries would still say we should worship this god, but if they’re that much smarter than it is, why isn’t it worshiping them instead? Why settle for calling themselves merely a church, now that they’re smarter than god itself?
More Foolish Than You Think
Conservatives in the Church of England are resisting the change, pointing to the biblical sources, the effect on meaning, and the Church’s move toward wokeness. I say, more power to them. They’re exactly on track. Except they’re not using all the fuel at their disposal. As much as they or I think liberals should recognize the genuine truth and authority of God’s word, the fact is, for liberals it’s nothing but window-dressing, a prop to help them sell their own invented world of “justice.”
Or as Reuters put it, “The issue reflects growing global awareness about the assumed usage of pronouns causing offence or upset to those who do not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth.” Because god didn’t make them the sex they are. Nor did god even invent male or female, at least among humans. That’s just for plants and animals.
Ignorant parents and priests, midwives and doctors have a nasty habit of assigning children their gender, but the liberal answer is smarter than god’s, just as kids’ answer is smarter than parents’. No one knows these things more than those whose position and station and life guarantees they should know less.
Laughably, Weepably, Obviously Screwed Up
This gender-neutered god proposal is not just unbiblical, though that is bad enough. The very thought of it stands on an assumption so obviously false it’s laughable, yet so destructive it’s only worth weeping over. That assumption is that if the Bible or Christian tradition has anything whatsoever to do with some sort of god, this god got it all wrong. It was dishonest, lying to us from the start, or else it didn’t know even know what it was.
They can’t soften that with condescending words like, “God had to speak in ancient ways with ancient people, but we’re beyond that now.” You can’t pin divine dumbness on human failings. If god had to say things wrong, there’s no explanation for that except it wasn’t quite god enough to figure out how to say it right. A god that doesn’t know how to speak its mind with its own creation is a poor incompetent excuse for a god.
We Are Who Am
But it isn’t God who has the problem. It’s the liberal Church leaders who want to rewrite Him to fit their agenda. In fact the real problem with liberal Christianity is that it still spells “God” with a capital G. It still pretends to honor and worship God, but it’s a lie. Their worldview has no place for a real God, Creator and Sovereign of the Universe.
The only gods they’ll allow are those they’ve designed for themselves. To create a god is to declare oneself a higher god. Nothing could be more foolish. Nothing could be more dangerous.
Tom Gilson (@TomGilsonAuthor) is a senior editor with The Stream and the author or editor of six books, including the recently released Too Good To Be False: How Jesus’ Incomparable Character Reveals His Reality.