A recent article by Heatstreet magazine (find it here) reveals that, apparently, God is having an identity crisis. Did you know? I didn’t. At least, He is according to Vanderbilt and Duke University Seminaries. For Pete’s sake, I thought. For the love of God and everything that’s good and holy.
Before you read further—if your sensibilities are easily offended then just stop here. This article may not be for you (although you may need to hear it).
Now, I doubt either Vanderbilt or Duke interviewed the “Great I Am” as a basis for their new directives. Nor in truth, have I sat down with the Lord and interviewed him personally. However, I do not believe the underlying biblical Authority is having a crisis of identity. Yet, some in academia (and feasibly others elsewhere) reason to believe the Divine requisites a gender makeover, at least concerning the first-person pronoun of his name.
Should we be surprised at this latest notion? I was. Perhaps, that’s part of the problem.
For decades, our society has glorified the masculinization of women, effehminizing of boys, transgender norming, and so forth. Boys wanting to be girls. Girls wanting to be boys. Too much gender confusion. Goodness, it’s all too confusing.
Truthfully, I once thought what was being reported was merely trending in America’s coastal megacities. It’s not, though. It’s everywhere, including inland suburbia. America’s new paradigm arrived on the doorstep of my city long ago. Perhaps it arrived in yours as well.
Out of frustration, I’ve wanted to approach some of these and say, “Just stop it, already. The image of you is askew.” Yet, I haven’t. For the most part, my choosing to refrain stems from Jesus’ teaching.
Jesus said, “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged” (Mt 7:1–2, NLT). Jesus understood, more than all, that all people are created in God’s image (Gen 1:27). What’s more, if I do and say against Jesus’ teachings, wouldn’t it be because the God-created image within me is askew too?
What then? Something could and should be said. But how? Christians are called to demonstrate God’s love to the brokenhearted and confused, not criticize or condemn. Where does one draw the line between prophet and pastor?
Perhaps, the voice speaking into the wilderness needs to focus on what lies underneath—revealing each person’s God-given identity—not on what’s distorted. Perhaps some are not aware of how God sees them, and therefore their identities are askew. Consider this.
Fashion magazines like Covergirl—once channels for women to express their gender exceptionality—have embraced Mr. Glamoria as their newest ambassador. The new Covergirl is a coverboy. (See here). I suppose the trend was inevitable.
Two years ago, famed athlete Bruce Jenner transformed before the nation’s eyes. He became a she, at least outwardly. Bruce is now Caitlyn. The world, it seemed, embraced Br-ait as though she’d always been what physicians, pharmaceuticals, and Covergirl (for example) refashioned him to be.
My heart aches for Bruce Jenner. God fashioned him to be a spectacular Olympic decathlete who could’ve glorified the Lord on the world’s stage. Instead though, he’s glorified himself based on new societal norms, devaluing what the Lord created him to be. If only he knew his true value, worth and potential in Christ.
Underneath the facade, Caitlyn is Bruce. He will always be an XY, never an XX. His underlying DNA, and thus (now hidden) identity has been masked. While outwardly appearing as female, inwardly he is a male and in conflict with his true nature: one born to him by his parents, one created by the Lord. The same can be said for the church, but not God.
The Lord God is not suffering from an identity crisis, nor does his name requisite a gender makeover. He is God. He has always been and will always be, and he’s forever referred to himself as male. He chose to reveal himself in ways we could understand for good purpose. So…who are we to change how he has chosen to be identified? Just because the first-person masculine pronoun of his name is no longer in vogue, does not mean it is not so.
A quick digression. Is God Spirit? Yes, our course. Did Paul state that there is neither race, status or gender in Christ (Gal 3:28)? Certainly. However, the unity of the church does not equate to a gender neutering of God the Father. He is not a she, nor it, nor a… whatever you want him to be today or tomorrow. So why are some—like Vanderbilt and Duke—trying to Reframe God’s image? Perhaps because theirs are askew. They’ve lost sight of whose they are and what they’re called to be and do.
Here’s my take on all this. God doesn’t need a makeover. The church does. Speaking directly to her (yes men, I’m referring to the church in the feminine), she and her long-established institutions have lost its identity in Christ. Divine neutering is only a recent symptom of what’s been happening underneath and within. It’s time we Reframe our theology, mission, and overall identity on Jesus.
So, what’s next? Conceivably, more articles like this. Stay tuned.
For the time being, I want to propose we look inwardly. We’re losing sight of what Jesus called us to be and truly do. Isn’t it time we again see ourselves, others, and the world through God’s eyes, and carry His message only? I think so.
I want to wrap this up asking you to consider the words posted by an acquaintance (and seminary graduate) on social media. They serve as a barometer of the church’s failings. “This is old news. This issue was settled in the ’70’s. Whatever you call God, if there is one, does not make it so….”
Church in America—Just… stop it! It’s time you Reframe your identity again on Christ.