Saturday, December 29, 2012

Jesus Was A Male

Fr. Dale Matson

And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, how is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? (Luke 2: 48-40)

Much is rightfully said about the divinity of Jesus and also the humanity of Jesus but it is also important to see Jesus as a man. He is both Son of man and only begotten Son of God. A son is male.

Feminists, especially liberationist feminists find the patriarchal focus of Scripture to be misogynist. They have introduced gender neutral terms in reference to God (the Father) and even (God) the Son. Now they are calling for feminine terms for the Three Persons of the Trinity.  In fact many Christian feminists including individuals who would refer to themselves as transgendered Christians see Jesus as androgynous. The problem with a Jesus that is not male is that it is an attack on an orthodox Christology of the one holy catholic and apostolic church. It is also a denial of the statements in the Council of Chalcedon (451) accepted by the Roman, Orthodox and Anglican churches.

The problem with an orthodox Christology of Jesus, who is male, for feminists, is that He can’t save women. As feminists see it, it is also a Christology that has been used by the patriarchal church to diminish women and keep them in subjugation. “Jesus, who was indisputably a male human being, is interpreted as the incarnation of the Logos, an ontological symbol connected with rationality and thus, according to Greek philosophy, with maleness. The Word made flesh is then related to human beings defined according to an androcentric anthropology that sees men as normative and women as derivative. (Elizabeth A. Johnson, “Redeeming the Name of Christ,” in Freeing Theology (ed. Catherine Mowry LaCugna; San Francisco: Harper-San Francisco, 1993), p.118)

Professor Johnson has stated the truth in her complaint. “…men as normative and women as derivative.” That is what the creation account tells us to be the case. Additionally, the redemption of humans was a logical reflection of the order of creation of humans. There is an excellent piece on this by Father Dale Brown.

The feminist concerns about salvation by a male are misandry at best and agnostic revisionism at worst. Are they saying His work was not finished unless they can make Him into someone who better reflects both genders? What about ethnicity too? In attempting to make Christ less male, they have made Him less human also. Isn’t it really the symbolism that matters to the feminists?

This is not even the end point in feminist theology. Others like Rita Nakashima Brock state, “The feminist Christian commitment is not to a savior who redeems us by bringing God to us. Our commitment is to love ourselves and others into wholeness. Our commitment is to a divine presence with us here and now, a presence that works through the mystery of our deepest selves and our relationships, constantly healing us and nudging us toward a wholeness of existence we only fitfully know. That healed wholeness is not Christ; it is ourselves.” [my bolding]  Rita Nakashima Brock, “The Feminist Redemption of Christ,” in Christian Feminism: Visions of a New Humanity (ed. Judith Weidman; New York: Harper & Row, 1984), 69.

And so we come full circle. Feminists have determined that Jesus cannot save them so they have to save Him. The attempt to make Jesus a symbol or a metaphor detracts from His humanity. In detracting from His humanity they are also diminishing our humanity; male and female. The feminist spirit is not new. It began with Eve doubting what God had instructed and trying to become more than she was created to be; wanting to be equal to God. There is an element of symbolism here. Feminism is giving birth to a new Christ and with this new Christ, a new gospel is needed also. In order to make their new narrative work, they must change the Christology of the church. This is the spirit of this age and it has infected the true church however, Jesus has not changed. “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

“Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9)  Jesus came to reveal the Father. It is a major work of the church to reveal the Son. To obfuscate the person and work of Jesus Christ is to confuse His revelation of the Father, confound soteriology and grieve the Holy Spirit.  

Note: There is a more extensive treatment of this topic by Micah Daniel Carter “Reconsidering The Maleness Of Jesus” available here: . 
There is also an excellent book on “Feminism In Christianity” by Deborah Malacky Belonick. (1983)  

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