two or three . net: A Tale of Two Churches

Aaron at one two three . net has posted some thoughts on actions by two different Christian denominations, Presbyterian and Baptist, in A Tale of Two Churches

I can't speak much to the Baptist issue about abstaining from all alcohol, given that it's not a part of my tradition, though I do tend to agree with his comments. I do, however, take exception with his critique of the PCUSA decision to allow for the possibility of referring to the trinity using other than the traditional "Father, Son, Holy Spirit" terminology. (It was actually "Holy Ghost" when I was growing up Methodist, but we won't get into that).

From Aaron's post:

However, in attempting to correct one problem they created a much more serious one. Their solution is much like reverse discrimination. How is calling God "Father" a problem, but calling God "Mother" is okay. If the male terminology established God as a male, which I would argue it does not, then all the female terminology would do is establish God as a female. 500 years from now the PCUSA will be meeting to allow the usage of "Father, Son, Holy Spirit" because women are viewed as superior to men because of "Mother God."

This seems to me to be a specious argument. While I haven't read the report yet, I am quite certain that it doesn't make any recommendation to replace the male-oriented language with female-oriented. Rather, it allows for the possibility of both. Aaron argues that, since male-oriented language has traditionally been understood to include men and women, that the change is wrong-headed, because it tries to classify God as female, when God is neither.

The term "Father" when applied to God is not speaking of God's gender (nonexistent), but rather our way of relating to Him.

I agree that "Father" is an excellent metaphor for understanding our relationship with God. Just as "Mother" is an equally excellent metaphor. Both serve to describe our relationship to God. Neither is a description of God.

Oh, and one minor point on his "reverse discrimination" comparison: when any system gets out of balance, whether it be an engine, a society, or a religion, it generally cannot be corrected by eliminating the item which forced it out of balance. A period of counter force is required to move the system back into balance, at which point the counter force can be removed. If your car is going the wrong way because somebody is pulling the steering wheel to the right, you don't fix it by removing the pull. You pull to the left until you're back "on course."




Dwayne ... you're right. The GA was clear about the use of the variety of names for the persons of the Trinity. The report is merely allowing for a variety of metaphors and names for God ... all taken from scripture ... some masculine and some feminine. In fact, the report and the discussion on the floor was adament that we keep the traditional Trinitarian words, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in the baptismal formula.

Thanks for the link and the disagreement. ;)

My main issue is that Jesus taught us to pray to our "Heavenly Father." Now I wouldn't be dogmatic and say that we must use those exact words, but Jesus related to God in terms of Father. Nowhere in Scripture do you find God referenced as a Mother, etc.

I do agree that there is a danger of making God a male, but the answer is to clear up the problem by correct teaching - not making it cloudier by adding another gender specific word to God.

Or to your example, you simply pull the car to the right side of the road, you don't swerve into the other lane - presenting yourself with a whole other challenge and issue.

But again thanks for reading and linking to it.