Things like this grieve me in ways I can’t begin to voice.
But I’ll try.
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.” – Psalm 68:5 NIV
“Do not call anyone on earth [who guides you spiritually] your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.” – Matthew 23:9 AMP
“Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.” – John 14:10 NASB
I could go on and on with verses from the Holy text, which speak of the attributes of our loving Father God.
I am endlessly comforted by what each verse represents. Our God is the model for how earthly fathers should fashion their parenting.
He is loving, knowing every fault, but willing to forgive anything His wayward, unruly children fall into. It is unconditional love, unfathomable and overwhelming.
At the same time, He disciplines those He loves, because he knows that when they go astray, it could lead to their harm, and children will not learn if they aren’t taught what is good from what is bad or harmful.
He has provided every good thing for His children, and He is present, ready, and able to hear them when they cry out.
With that in mind, how petty is it that some schools of divinity have decided that a divinity curriculum that teaches about “God, our Father” is not inclusive?
Yes, the wave of anti-male hysteria is seeping into centers for Christian learning, to the point that referring to God with male pronouns is now discouraged.
Katherine Timpf, with National Review, discussed several divinity schools that are now dragging God into the arena of new age, liberal, male diminishment.
The schools Timpf pointed out are Vanderbilt University and Duke University.
For example: This year’s divinity course catalogue at Vanderbilt tells professors to give “consistent attention to the use of inclusive language, especially in relation to the Divine,” because the school “commits continuously and explicitly to include gender as an analyzed category and to mitigate sexism.”
This is astounding.
If these are legitimate divinity schools, and if inclusiveness is their goal, then shouldn’t they be teaching that a Father God loves all, and is there for all who turn to HIM?
I fail to see how referring to God in the same manner as He is repeatedly referred to in the Bible promotes sexism or should be threatening in any way.
Timpf goes on:
According to Heat Street, Duke’s particular divinity school is “geared toward people already working in the Methodist church, taking supplemental weekend or summer classes.” Yes, “Methodist,” as in the Christian religion that has already completely, officially, 100 percent decided that their God is a man. And yet, Duke’s guidelines suggest avoiding gender specific pronouns when discussing Him and suggest using “God” and “Godself” instead.
I looked at the guidelines from Duke for myself, and got this:
The exclusive use of either masculine or feminine pronouns for God should be avoided.
- Metaphors showing God’s personal relationship with humans should be used, but need not be gendered: o God is parent to us all
- God and Godself can be used as substitutes for he/she and him-/herself: o After God created the world, God rested o God knew Godself to be great
- A variety of gender-specific metaphors can be used: o God is the father who welcomes his son, but she is also the woman for search for the lost coin
Why is any of this necessary?
Divinity schools, if their goal is truly to teach the Bible should be more focused on remaining faithful to the source material, rather than inserting worldly twists.
The danger in this is that they’re raising up a generation of faith leaders who do not lead, but rather, conform to a world that has already rejected the Christian God. How then, can they lead anyone to redemption?
As Christians, while we are to respect authority, we do not take our marching orders from the world.
We also do not diminish the authority of God by “toning down” words that are frightening to liberals, such as “Father.”
Let the liberals work out their daddy issues in some other forum, but leave our faith and our Bible alone.
And if you’re a parent or a student looking for a good education in the field of divinity studies, I would take Vanderbilt and Duke off the list.