By Lewis Willis
Did you hear about the new way we are now to speak of certain things? For instance, the new way to refer to a “doorman,” is to call him “an access controller.” Because a cow does not “give” milk it is taken from her a “milkman” is “a stolen, non-human product distributor.” A man is no longer “bald.” He is now “hair disadvantaged.” Stop telling people they are “old.” They are now referred to as “chronologically gifted.”
I suspect, like me, you think the above to be a bit funny. However, when people start fooling around with religion, in the same way that they have done with these words, the humor quickly abandons the effort.
Sometime ago, the Akron Beacon Journal (5-14-92), carried a front-page article announcing that the United Methodist Church “has a new Book of Worship, with new ways of referring to God.” The new book was approved by an overwhelming majority of the delegates to the denomination’s General Conference. It contains prayers for all kinds of things which confront people today: adoption, homecoming, various holidays, engagement, getting a new job, unemployment, a new home, or divorce. I wonder if they have a special prayer for abortion? If we are to believe the press, most religious organizations condone the practice.
“Many optional prayers offer fresh, novel names” in the new Worship Book. The names for “God” are especially interesting. They will now offer prayers to “God, our Father and Mother.” Or, they might say “our Parent .. . both Father and Mother.” One prayer says God is “like a Baker woman” who brings “the leaven that causes our hopes to rise.” God is also called, “Grandfather, Great Spirit.” Is this not wonderful? These smart folks have really helped us learn to address God, haven’t they?
Would you be interested in knowing how Jesus referred to God? He told his disciples to pray, “Our Father which art in heaven” (Matt. 6:9; Lk. 11:2). Note Luke 10:21: “In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, 0 Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.” When he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, he said, ” Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” From the Cross, at the time of his death, Luke records: “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.” Matthew states that he said, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46)
You know, I did not notice a single time when the Savior referred to God in feminine terms. Nothing he said suggests that he perceived God to be his Mother! According to the Scriptures, He did not even think that God was anything like a “Baker woman” or a “Grandfather.” As a matter of fact, there is not a single reference to God in all of the Scriptures that refer to him as a woman! Now, with some people, that means absolutely nothing. They could care less what the Scriptures say. But, since we “speak where the Bible speaks, and are silent where it is silent,” we do not go beyond what it says and devise for ourselves such books of Worship that speak of God unscripturally (1 Pet. 4:11; Matt. 15:9; 2 Jn. 9; Rev. 22:18-19).
When Paul spoke of the sins of the Gentiles, among other things, he said that they “changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man” (Rom. 1:23). Moses had warned Israel not to corrupt themselves “and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female” (Deut. 4:16). That which is precisely forbidden by the Scriptures has been practiced by the United Methodists! They are not content with the way God presents himself, so they re-make him in their own image. The Feminists among them definitely insist that some references be made to him as “a woman.” There is an obvious lack of courage and conviction in the leadership of this 9-million member denomination because they simply “caved in” to this Feminist demand. Are these leaders serving God, or the Feminist Movement? Paul said, “If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Gal. 1:10). The evidence is in and the United Methodists are pleasing the women instead of Christ.
Not only is there evidence of Feminism in this new Book of Worship, there is also a strong pagan influence. In the days when the Scriptures were being written, the Greeks had given to the world a plurality of “gods” to worship. Many of them were female gods. At Ephesus there was a temple to the goddess Diana (Acts 19). Ashtoreth was a Canaanite goddess with a temple at Sidon (1 Kgs. 11:5). At Corinth there was a Shrine to Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. These were all false “deities” which were fashioned according to the imaginations of men. The “god” which the United Methodists have invented is no different than these pagan gods.
One thing which has been overlooked is that “God is a Spirit” (Jn. 4:24). Jesus said, “A spirit hath not flesh and bones” (Lk. 24:39). To attempt to envision God as we would a man or woman will cause us totally to lose sight of the magnificence of his being. Let us never do or say anything which would turn God into that which is common. c.
Guardian of Truth XXXVIII: 14, p. 13
July 21, 1994