Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Playing with the language of God. . .

For a while there was some craziness about the name of God.  It manifested itself in uncertainty of baptism when people were baptized not into the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit but into Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier or, worse, Faith, Hope, and Love.  There were all sorts of possibilities in between.  Now the push is on to institutionalize the craziness in the name of gender inclusivity.  Not only must we name correctly the genders (more are being invented each day) of the people but we must recast God into the gender confusion of our moment.  While the first was disorganized and a type of flower child approach to theology, this more serious movement is even more threatening because it has the stamp of officialdom on it.  In carrying the imprimatur of a church body and those exercising episcope, it effectively challenges the Trinitarian name of God the Church learned from Scripture, applied in creedal form, and has guarded as the most basic foundation of orthodoxy from the earliest of days.

An example of this lies in the implementing resolution for a new ELCA social statement on the very topic of faith, sexism, and justice.  While it does not remove the Trinitarian name of God, it requires that the Church develop gender inclusive and gender expansive language for God.  This is much more than simply be sensitive to how things sound but requires the ELCA to make the ordinary name of God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) merely one of many forms and names used by the church body to name God.  While some might suggest that this is not at all dangerous, it is will inevitably diminish the Biblical names of God and make orthodox trinitarianism optional.  And, as we all know, Neuhaus' law is well proven that where orthodoxy becomes optional, it will eventually be outlawed.

"To call upon the Conference of Bishops, synods, and the churchwide organization to use gender-inclusive and expansive language for God, and to direct the ELCA worship team a) to use such language whenever it commissions, curates, or develops new liturgical and related educational resources, and (b) to supplement existing resources toward that end."   Implementing resolution #9 for Proposed Social Statement “Faith, Sexism, and Justice: A Lutheran Call to Action (p 47).”

I am NOT singling out the ELCA for this; I only wish that it was alone among the offenders.  I know that orthodoxy is constantly under threat even from church bodies that think themselves conservative (like the LCMS to which I belong).  The danger is not to the ELCA but to our ears and minds.  After we begin hearing as customary other names for God, the Biblical name for God becomes at least exceptional and perhaps even strange to our ears.  A year or so ago I listened to the ELCA Presiding Bishop being interviewed on Issues, Etc., and found her constant use of God or Godself to avoid using Him or Himself jarring but it does not take long before that becomes normal and Him or Himself becomes the exception.  Again, the problem is not merely substituting other names for God from time to time but learning to depart from Scripture.  This is not about how God is described (by His works, for example, Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier) but about how God is named -- in prayer, worship, witness, catechesis, and confession.  It all begins, of course, with a departure from Scripture as both the source and norm of how we know and speak of God.  Where Scripture is but one of the norms that apply to the way we talk about God, it is no longer Scripture at all.

We cannot be casual about this.  This goes to the heart and core of our confidence in the words and actions of God.  When we tinker with God's name, is it still baptism?  When we tinker with the elements, is it still the Lord's Supper?  Who is to say?  And that is the point!  Who IS to say!  In other words, that about which we should be most confident is thrown into confusion and doubt.  This is what happens when orthodoxy becomes optional, when the Biblical name of God becomes one among many names, and when we apply to God and to Scripture the lens of the moment to define what we hear and how we repeat it back.  This is no longer about a few flower children trying to sow their 1960s oats but about churches, faith, and the people of God needlessly set adrift on a sea of doubt because we no longer hear the Word of God as unique or understand that Word to define our faith and our liturgical and confessional language about God.


Carl Vehse said...

It's not surprising that an apostate organization like the XXXA resorts to politico-religious correctness for terms describing its god/goddess in further separating their organization from Christianity and the Triune God.

Anonymous said...

What is the XXXA.....OOOOH, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.

Anonymous said...

Evangelical -no, but spreading lies about God (X)
Lutheran -have long departed from historical Lutheranism (X)
Church -have departed from the historical, apostolic Church (X)
America - they are here, but thankfully millions less now and less each day.

Anonymous said...

LCMS = Church of Christ--with an organ. :)

Anonymous said...

Anon 1046,
If you know what the LCMS teaches, its not close to the Church of Christ. Let's see...Baptism (huge), Lord's Supper (huge), Absolution spoken by a pastor, Original Sin, Justification, End times, Proper distinction of Law/Gospel, Creeds!, and on and on...

Carl Vehse said...

Further evidence of the XXXA's hull-crushing depths of demonic depravity:

"On a recent Sunday in April, Rev. Kit Robison delivered a sermon about the commandment to love God and your neighbor as yourself.

"At the end of the service, Robison called her wife, Christa, up to the pulpit. Then the pastor announced to the attendees of Grace Lutheran Church in Miami Springs that she is a transgender woman.

"For four years, Robison had been grappling with her identity and debating how – or whether – to share the news. Now that she’d told her wife and three daughters, it was time to inform the church.

"Robison is now Florida's first transgender Lutheran [sic] pastor, according to Pedro M. Suarez, head of the Florida district of Lutheran [sic] churches. Robison confided in Suarez last November when she finally decided she needed to fully transition.

"While some Christians believe being transgender goes against God’s word and biblical principles, Robison dismisses those notions and says her change is fully in accordance with God's will.

"'God does not make mistakes, and he didn't make a mistake with me. God made me a transgender woman,' she says."

Excerpted from a May 16, 2019, Miami New Times article, "Miami Springs Now Has Florida's First Transgender Lutheran [sic] Pastor."