Our Mother Who Art in Heaven: A Brief Overview and Critique of Evangelical Feminists and the Use of Feminine God-Language -- By: Randy L. Stinson

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 08:2 (Fall 2003)
Article: Our Mother Who Art in Heaven: A Brief Overview and Critique of Evangelical Feminists and the Use of Feminine God-Language
Author: Randy L. Stinson


Our Mother Who Art in Heaven:
A Brief Overview and Critique of Evangelical Feminists and the Use of Feminine God-Language

Randy L. Stinson

Executive Director,
The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Louisville, Kentucky

For several decades, the feminist movement has had a clear impact on the church. Most mainline denominations have eschewed biblical authority and fidelity in favor of cultural accommodation, as they now are not only ordaining women to the ministry and embracing them as pastors of their churches, but they also are debating the legitimacy of homosexual ordination and even homosexual marital union.1 Even among evangelicals the issue of the roles between men and women in the home and the church are hotly contested. But as some have been saying for years, the debates over the roles of men and women have never been solely about who is authorized to preach on Sunday morning. The debate has extended into areas such as the relationship between the members of the Godhead and the use of that relationship as a paradigm for how men and women might relate to one another. The discussion has extended into philosophies of Bible translation and how one might render the gender-related texts of the Bible in the “language of the people” without compromising the meaning of the original text. There is also debate regarding the language one should use when addressing God and whether or not God can be referred to as “mother.” It is no surprise, then, to find that the use of feminine God-language has become popular in various circles.

Liberal/Moderate Southern Baptists

At a 2001 meeting/worship service of the Baptist Women in Ministry organization (an auxiliary group associated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship2 ), participants were encouraged to sing hymns and songs to mother God. Not only this, but at the end of the service, worshippers were asked to participate in a responsive reading that expressed the inability to refer to God as father:

To you who laid the foundations of the earth, I dare to speak.

We have called you by many names,
in many languages,
through many centuries.

Living in this transition time,
none of those names seems sufficient,
expressive, easy to speak
when I try to bring myself before you.

“Jesus,” I can say, yes, and “Jesus Christ” —
Son of the Most High, Redeemer of the world,
incarnation of the divine in human form —
crucified and risen to show us the way home.

“Holy Spirit,” I can say, no problem —
wind and fi...

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