Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tenet 1 God and gender

Tenet 1. God reveals Himself as masculine, not feminine. God is the eternal Father and the eternal Son, the Holy Spirit is also addressed as “He,” and Jesus Christ is a male. (Matt. 1:25; 28:19; Jn. 5:19; 16:13)

Matt. 1:25 – and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.
Matt. 28:19 – Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
John 5:19 – Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.
John 16:13 – However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

1a) “God reveals Himself as masculine

God reveals himself in masculine terms like Father, Son, and king and warrior. Masculine images for God are used in scriptures. So far, so good.

b) “God does not reveal himself as feminine.”

God refers to carrying Israel in God’s womb and giving birth to Israel. (Deut. 32:18: You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you, and you forgot the God who gave you birth. Also Isaiah 46:3-4) God reveals himself as a midwife – always a female task in that culture – in Ps. 22:9a and 71:6. God reveals himself as a woman looking for coins in Luke 15, a housewife baking in Luke 13:20-21, and as a mother eagle in Deut. 32:11. Deut. 32:11 doesn’t contain the word mother, but it describes a mother eagle. For more female images, click here. There are certainly female images for God in scripture. God reveals himself both as father and mother in Isa. 45:10.

c) “God is the eternal Father and the eternal Son,”

By the way this is worded, are they denying that the spirit is God? Most people would say God is Father, Son and Spirit. This is a bad word choice.

TBP (short for Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy) don’t use any verses to back up that God is eternal, so they have not proven it as Biblical. That can be easily rectified - it is Biblical and just need a scripture reference.

d) “the Holy Spirit is also addressed as “He,” “

This is true in the English, but the book of John was written in Greek, not English. Greek has gender-neutral pronouns, and John used gender neutral Greek words in this verse. English has only he, she and it, so translators had to choose one of the three.
KJV-only-readers believe that the English carry as much authority as the original, so to them this text will prove the Spirit is called “He.” Because I am not disproving the KJV only view in here, I’ll mark this with “it can be Biblically defended (from the KJV, not Greek), but so can another view.”

e) “and Jesus Christ is a male.”

Yes. But since Christ came to earth to be the servant of us all, since coming to earth meant emptying Himself of heavenly status, this is an argument against male-on-top hierarchy.

Other ways Christians understand this:

Some Christians believe that because the Bible writers say God is not a man, and because God (except Jesus on earth) has no physical body that can be male; God is neuter. The scriptures they use for God not being a man is this: Num. 23:19 and 1Sa. 15:29
Others remind us of the feminine and masculine images for God, that God reveals himself both as male and as female. 

Summing it up

How reliable is this tenet? I will use a color code:

      The color code:
      This is adequately Biblically defended
      This is defended biblically, but another view could also be defended biblically
      This is a partial truth. (The other part of the truth, that together make it Biblical, will be added in brackets.)
      Scripture say the opposite
      This can be defended Biblically, but TBP don't give such a verse.

1. God reveals Himself as masculine (and as feminine), not feminine. God is the eternal Father and the eternal Son, the Holy Spirit is also addressed as “He,” and Jesus Christ is a male.

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