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On February 2nd, I reported on a resolution that was passed in the Washington D.C. diocese of the Episcopal Church (ECUSA). The resolution calls for all future updates to the Book of Common Prayer (the liturgies) “to avoid the use of gendered pronouns for God.”
The news of the passage of the resolution was widely received with dismay, and a plethora of criticisms toward ECUSA have followed.
Now, the Episcopal Church has responded via:
- the author of the resolution, who appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight to defend the resolution,
- and the Episcopal News Service (ECUSA’s official mouthpiece), which published a resolution-friendly article entitled, “Diocese’s call for ‘expansive language for God’ sparks debate on gender-neutral Episcopal liturgies.”
Following the widespread outrage which followed the adoption of the resolution, the church has pivoted its tactic of argumentation for its stance, toward a focus on the limits of language itself and the desire to expand the language used to describe God. This is evident in the responses from both the author of the resolution and from the Episcopal News Service (ENS).
The author’s response–
The Rev. Alex Dyer of St. Thomas’ Parish Episcopal Church in Washington D.C. authored the resolution, entitled “On the Gendered Language for God.” He said, “The resolution asks us to draw on multiple images of God… masculine, feminine and wide diversity.”
Rev. Dyer then noted the existence of two creation stories in Genesis; the first in Chapter 1 and the second in Chapter 2. However, regarding the second creation story (from Chapter 2), Dyer incorrectly stated:
“And I’m sure that you also know too that there is another Genesis story in Chapter 2, uh, where God creates Adam, uh, and then He creates a helper, and is uh, Eve isn’t identified [by] gender until actually Chapter 3.”
In response to Rev. Dyer’s erroneous claim (which I will briefly address below), Carlson asked the reverend if he thought that Eve might not have been a woman.
To this, Rev. Dyer responded, “Uh, well, you know, I wasn’t there.”
(I suppose any congregants watching the interview were expected to hold their nose and pretend that all is well, regardless of the reverend’s inability to utter a single declarative sentence regarding Eve’s womanhood in the face of the thousands of years of Scriptural assertion regarding the matter.)
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When asked by Carlson whether there was any evidence to suggest that Eve was not a woman, Dyer responded with obfuscation:
“Uh, I think that the important thing to gather away is that… the important thing is that God is beyond gender, and I think when we’re talking about God we are using language. And language limits us, right? And we are talking about something that is limitless – God – that we’re trying to get our heads around. Uh, but yet language is all we have in order to do that. So, in a sense, we insist on, want to limit the language that we use.”
Concerning Rev. Dyer’s claim regarding Chapter 2 of the Book of Genesis – that Eve’s gender is not identified until Chapter 3 – one need only to open their Bible to find the glaring error of the reverend’s words.
See Genesis Chapter 2, verses 22-24:
22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib[a] he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
23 The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”
24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Biblical translations correctly identifying Eve as “woman” in Chapter 2 of the Book of Genesis include, but are not limited to, the King James Bible, English Standard Version Bible, International Standard Version Bible, JPS Tanakh 1917, Webster’s Bible Translation, Young’s Literal Translation, and so on… (I have not come across a contradictory translation.)
Tucker Carlson, who (like myself) was baptized into and raised in the Episcopal Church, pressed Rev. Dyer about ECUSA’s embrace of “any fashionable, left-wing social cause,” and the dire hemorrhaging in the church’s membership numbers, positing, “I wonder if embracing fashionable left-wing politics has been bad for the church.”
To this, the Rev. Alex Dyer asserted that politics had nothing to do with the troubles of the Episcopal Church, nor his personal motivations for seeking to “avoid” Biblically-sourced gender designations for God.
According to numbers provided by the Episcopal Church, the membership numbers for Dyer’s own church, St. Thomas, have imploded, shrinking 50% in just the last 5 years.
St. Thomas describes itself as a “progressive” (socialist) church. Included on the church’s website is a link to an open public workshop, “Thirsting for Justice,” which features an image of clenched fists against a red background. Also linked on St. Thomas’s website is a portal where members of the public may purchase #faithpalm Jesus products. These products include mugs, t-shirts, banners and yard signs, etc., bearing slogans such as, “Yes, science is real” (whatever that means).
You can watch the entire Tucker Carlson interview of the Rev. Alex Dyer here.
The Episcopal News Service’s response –
Knowing well the Episcopal church’s (remaining) audience, the ENS article almost immediately informed its readers that “the call for more inclusive language in the prayer book… drew national attention, especially from conservative-leaning critics” (emphasis mine), listing Breitbart and The Blaze as examples.
Washington D.C. Bishop Mariann Budde described three critical emails she received, which she described as “vitriolic.” The emails purportedly described the D.C. diocese “as aligned with Satan and at war with God.”
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While neither Bishop Budde nor ENS offered any Scriptural rebuttals to the alleged claims found within the “three emails,” Bishop Budde insisted, “It’s clear they didn’t read the resolution.”
No recognition was provided for those of us who did read the resolution (which I also published in my February 2nd article, and to which I provided the direct link) and who found the resolution to be theologically amoral, abhorrent, and perilous.
Ignoring the text of the resolution, which calls for all revisions to the Book of Common Prayer “to avoid the use of gendered pronouns for God,” the resolution, insisted Budde, “doesn’t mandate the elimination of gender-specific references to God… despite what some reports suggest.”
In the D.C. diocese’s convention materials, a more radical version of the resolution was offered in amendment form. It reads:
“Resolved, the House of ____________ concurring, that the 79th General Convention direct the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, as it considers revision of the Book of Common Prayer, to eliminate, when possible, all gendered references to God and to replace them with gender-neutral language, and if necessary, to alternate gendered titles when referring to God.” (emphasis mine)
But pay no attention to the devil behind the curtain.
For decades, stripping the Word of its masculine references to God has been a concerted effort for a growing segment ECUSA, beginning with the 1973 publication of “Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women’s Liberation.”
In fact, in 1997, the Episcopal Church published a supplement to the Book of Common Prayer, entitled “Enriching Our Worship.” As explained by one Episcopal priest, Father Christopher Brown, “The new liturgies in this book represent a moderate but systematic effort to adjust the use of gender in liturgical language… The new liturgies assiduously avoid the masculine pronoun in referring to God.”
“Enriching Our Worship” provides us with a prudent reminder that the Book of Common Prayer (BOC) is not comprised of Church-created prayers alone. It also disproves Budde’s and Dyer’s insinuation that the focus of ECUSA’s language resolution is not about taking away from the Word of God, but about adding to it.
For example, contained in both the Book of Common Prayer and (in altered form) in “Enriching Our Worship” is a portion of Psalm 95 (verses 1-7).
In the Bible, Psalm 95:1-7 reads:
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
3 For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
6 Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
7 for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.
Yet, in “Enriching Our Worship” (pages 21-22) all gendered references to God have been removed from His Word as written in Psalm 95.
The defense of the church’s resolution then shifts to the subject semantics, to language itself, which followed the very same talking points espoused by the Rev. Dyer in his appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight.
The article also included a juvenile-like attempt at validation via the equally reprehensible actions of other churches.
But, but, but… The Swedish Church did it too…
(It is also worth noting that ENS grossly misrepresented the Catholic Catechism to support the pronoun-butchering of the Episcopal liturgies. The most successful deceivers employ half-truths.)
You can read the article here.
The Episcopal Church has doubled-down on blasphemy, employing ethically abhorrent PR tactics to distract from her flagrant, outward rape of God’s Word as He, Himself, gifted to us. The church has failed to perform her duties as a church, as the bride.
I implore every Christian – leaders, laity, etc. – to revisit the splendor of God’s choice to reveal himself, through His Word, as the Father.
If the church continues on her present path – through the wide gate (Matt. 7:13-14) – we can no longer be expected to call her a “church”; for, she will have chosen the designation of a pagan tax collector (Matt. 18:15-17).
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I will start out by admitting that I am an atheist. I have a friend who is an Episcopalian. She told me once that I should give the Episcopal Church a try. I reminded her of my lack of belief and she said that that is ok in the Episcopal Church. She said you can believe in anything and still be a good Episcopalian. She quoted Bishop Spong and said you do not even need to believe in God to be a good Episcopalian. I chuckled at that.