Why Akathleptos?

Why Akathleptos? Because it means Uncontainable. God is infinite. Hence, the whole universe cannot contain Him. The term also refers to the incomprehensibility of God. No man can know everything about God. We can know Him personally but not exhaustively, not even in Heaven.

Why Patmos? Because the church is increasingly marginalized and exiled from the culture.

Why Pen-Names? So the focus is on the words and not who wrote them. We prefer to let what we say stand on its own merit. There is precedent in church history for this - i.e., the elusive identity of Ambrosiaster who wrote in the 4th century A.D.

“Truth is so obscured nowadays, and lies so well established, that unless we love the truth we shall never recognize it." Blaise Pascal

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Gender-Inclusive Controversy

The Atlantic published an article here entitled "Southern Baptists Embrace Gender-Inclusive Language in the Bible" about the recent gender-inclusive revision to the Holman Christian Standard Bible (CSB) that is published by that demonination. The article concludes,

If its leaders and members are tolerating a softer, more inclusive approach to gender, it might be a bellwether of things to come in the culture war over gender.

The other side of the coin is presented here in an article published in Christianity Today entitled "Gender Inclusivity Isn’t Liberal. It’s Biblical" which defends the revision to the CSB. See also here an interview with a defender of the new translation which asserts it is "gender accurate" as opposed to "gender inclusive."

ChristianAnswers.net wrestles with this thorny question here in an article entitled "Does the Bible really support gender-inclusive language?" The article asserts that the gender-neutral use of anthrpos does not necessarily support the demand for gender-inclusive language, and gets to the heart of the matter by asking what "gender inclusive" language is? Interestingly, the author who wrote in 2003 (when same-sex marriage was unthinkable in the U.S.) implies that same-sex marriage is the logical deduction of gender inclusiveness. He was prophetically correct.

I recommend reading all four links in entirety.

While the interview in ChristianityToday argues that the new translation is "gender accurate", not "gender inclusive", the defender is playing semantics. The last article addresses what I believe to be the key issue in this debate - Does equality in redemption imply equality in all things? Do male and female have different roles? Or can each equally fulfill all roles?

Functional subordination is the White Elephant in this room. Complementarianism is the view that males and females, while equal in value, complement each other in their respective and different roles and duties. The opposing view is Egalitarianism which is the view that male and female are interchangeable with respect to roles and duties. The Bible teaches that men and women are of equal worth, dignity, and responsibility before God (ontological equality). The Bible also teaches that men and women have different roles to play in society, the family, and the church. These roles do not compete but complement each other. Egalitarianism removes any distinction with respect to roles and duties. Earlier, I wrote here, here, and here on the consequences of embracing egalitarianism as a worldview.

Those that embrace an egalitarian understanding must explain the explicit teaching of Scripture that the Son, while equal to the Father, is functionally subordinate (in role) to the Father. After his resurrection, Jesus is given a seat that is subordinate to God. He is seated at the right had of the Majesty, the Power of God: Hebrews 1:3; 8:1; Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:62; Luke 22:69; Acts 5:31. The Father has bestowed the kingdom to the Son just as the Son will bestow the kingdom to his disciples (Luke 22:29). Matthew 20:20-23 (Mark 10:35-40) Jesus declares that Jesus cannot give specific positions in the coming heavenly kingdom but only the Father has that authority. In 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 - Jesus hands the kingdom to his Father and is eternally subjected to the Father. These texts show that even though the Son has all authority over others (Matthew 28:18) but not over his Father and Jesus ALWAYS receives the authority from his Father. He will give it back to his Father but he never bestows authority on his Father. Even though he has all authority over others, some authority will continue to be reserved for the Father alone, even in the Kingdom.

Jesus looks to the Father as his God (John 20:17; Ephesians 1:17;  Revelation 3:12; compare Micah 5:2-4) Other verse that teach functional subordination of the Son to the Father include John 5:19,22,27,30; John 8:28 (Jesus does nothing of his own initiative); John 8:29 (The Son always does the things that are pleasing to the Father.) How long is 'always'? This implies that his life of pleasing the Father extends to all eternity.

The article at ChristianAnswers.net wisely concludes,

..... there is something wrong with rejecting the Biblical teaching about the role differences of men and women, and to the extent that adopting gender-inclusive language implies approval of that rejection, it is imprudent to do so. Paul's becoming all things to all men did not, after all, entail his refusing to confront thievery merely because doing so might offend some thieves (Ephesians 4:28), let alone the whole catalogue of sins mentioned in Romans 1:26-32.

Those who insist on gender-inclusive language other than the historically gender-inclusive man and men and he, his, and him…
  • falsely consider the latter gender-discriminatory
  • insist on their version of gender-inclusive language to the possible detriment of an important Biblical truth
  • imply that the God-breathed Scriptures themselves are morally flawed to the extent that they fail to conform to this new moral standard
Those who oppose the requirement of this version of gender-inclusive language, in contrast…
  • rightly consider generic masculines gender inclusive, as demonstrated by millennia of usage in many languages and cultures
  • uphold an important Biblical truth about male and female roles
  • uphold Scripture as morally blameless not only in what it teaches but also in how it teaches it
Taken to an extreme, egalitarianism can be used to justify transgender ideology since male or female are viewed as equally fulfilling any role or duty. There is no functional difference between them. The use of the term "gender accurate" in lieu of "gender inclusive" plays semantics to avoid the real issue. I fear the movement to embrace gender-inclusive language in contemporary Bible translations fosters an Egalitarian understanding and is a crack-in-the-dam that unwittingly lends credence to the destructive transgender movement.

(An additional recommended reference is here by Vern Poythress and Wayne Grudem entitled "The Gender-Neutral Bible Controversy: Muting the Masculinity of God's Words".)

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