Last week, the Washington D.C. diocese of the Episcopal Church (ECUSA) adopted a resolution that seeks to permanently alter the language found within all future updates of the Book of Common Prayer to reflect the diocese’s newly adopted non-gendered version of God.
This resolution will be presented for adoption nationally later this year.
The key passage of the resolution reads:
Resolved, the House of ____________ concurring, that the 79th General Convention direct the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, if revision of the Book of Common Prayer is authorized, to utilize expansive language for God from the rich sources of feminine, masculine, and non-binary imagery for God found in Scripture and tradition and, when possible, to avoid the use of gendered pronouns for God.
Clergy delegate The Rev. Linda R. Calkins from St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Laytonsville, Maryland, however, expressed her displeasure at the resolution’s limited scope. As reported by Life Site News:
“And I am still waiting for the Episcopal Church to come to the place where all people feel that they can speak God’s name. Many, many women that I have spoken with over my past almost 20 years in ordained ministry have felt that they could not be a part of any church because of the male image of God that is systemic and that is sustained throughout our liturgies. Many of us are waiting and need to hear God in our language, in our words and in our pronouns,” she added.
Calkins has been an outspoken “pusher” in the Episcopal Church for the adoption of a 2004 Bible translation called The Inclusive Bible: The First Egalitarian Translation.
Using this “Inclusive Bible” as her “source” (and I say that loosely), Calkins read from Genesis, Chapter 17, Verse 1. As detailed by Jeffery Walton:
God tells Abraham “I am El Shaddai,” Calkins asserted “if we are going to be true to what El Shaddai means, it means God with breasts.”
El Shaddai is traditionally translated to mean “God Almighty,” but The Inclusive Bible reads “..and God said, I am the breasted one.”
Calkins also touted her credentials; having studied feminist theology in the course of her master’s degree.
As a bonafide (now former) Episcopalian, I have one reaction to this alarming and nauseating news: Every single person who voted “yes” should be immediately fired.
RIGHT. THIS. INSTANT.
Christianity is predicated on the divinity of Jesus Christ, and on his oneness with God the Father. Christ repeatedly reinforced God’s maleness as Our Father, such as in instructing us how to pray in Matthew 6:5-13:
5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
To claim God is not masculine is to claim he is not The Father, and it is to claim Christ a liar.
We have a name for that.
It is called blasphemy, sacrilege, heresy, apostasy, irreverence, desecration, impiety, profanation, imbecility, deception, evil, false teaching, vituperation.
To let this blasphemy stand unaddressed, unrebuked like so many other heretic controversies before, inevitably signals the future acceptance and inclusion of this sacrilege into Episcopal “doctrine.”
And this is precisely why good people – like myself – are fleeing the Episcopalian “church.”