Wednesday, September 4, 2013

God the Mother?

In the past three weeks, two of my cell members have been approached by evangelists from the World Mission Society, a church originating from South Korea whose beliefs are a mix of unitarian modalism and bi-theism. I don’t mean to be confusing, but it’s true. They believe that God “manifests” Himself as the Father, Spirit and Son (I don’t know if they mean that God chooses to “switch faces” as Father at one moment, then the Son at the next, which is classical modalism, or that the Godhead is only one person presented as the Father, Spirit and Son, which would be a slight modification of classical unitarianism. Classical unitarians never acknowledge the divinity of Jesus Christ) and they believe in God the Mother.

That’s right. God the Mother.

I can almost hear you think, “But there are no verses that support God the Mother!”

At this opportunity, the WMS evangelist will dive straight into their prepared arguments. The points below may crop up in the course of your conversation with them.

Supporting Passage #1 – Genesis 1:26-27
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

Argument: Everything on earth is a pattern and a shadow of things in heaven. So, we know that when God is speaking He says “Let us make man in our image…” There is more than one person there. He is speaking to someone. God then created man in his own image; male and female He created them. Since everything on earth is a pattern and shadow of things in heaven and there are male and female created in the God’s image, we see that Father God and Mother God created man in their own image.

Defence: You and I would both agree that God is spirit. Throughout scripture, we see that God’s spirit is not confined by location, as would a physical body be, that God’s spirit is invisible and cannot be seen. God is clearly spirit, and we are clearly physical. Yet, you are ready to conclude that “image” means something that can only be tangibly and physically understood in terms of gender. You clearly don’t understand what it means to be made in the image of God.

Supporting Passage #2 – #Revelation 22:17
17 The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

Argument: There is explicit mention of God the Mother; she is the Bride. This Bride says, “Come”, therefore, she has the power to give the water of life. Only God has the power to give the water of life. Therefore, this Bride must also be God. She is God the Mother.

Defence: I agree that only God can give life, but the passage refers to something that is spoken, something that is offered, and while the Church itself cannot give life, the Church tells everyone to come to Christ in order to receive life. Notice that the text tells us, also, “let the one who hears say, ‘Come’”. This is not an indication that the one who hears can give life. He is simply offering it. The Spirit gives life, the Church proclaims the Gospel, which is the offer of life.

Supporting Passages #3 – Revelation 21:9-10 and Galatians 4:26
Rev 21
9 Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God,

Gal 4
26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.

Argument: Here we see the identity of the Bride. Now, this is obviously a symbolic passage because this is not a literal lamb. Obviously, a lamb cannot have a wife. The Lamb is Christ. A person. And notice also that Jerusalem is above and is said to be coming down out of heaven. Since the church is here on earth, the bride cannot be the church. So, to this point we have seen that the God has a Bride, the Spirit and the Bride offer life (only God can do this), this bride was in heaven and is said to come down out of heaven and this Jerusalem is our Mother.

Defence: You want me to take the word “Lamb” as non-literal and view this passage as symbolic and therefore the description of “Jerusalem” that follows in verses 11 and following as being non-literal. I think you have confused what it means for something to be a symbol and something to be a simple metaphor. You were able to tell me who the Lamb was easily because this is not symbolism that is intended to be cryptic. The Lamb is a metaphor for a person that is easily identifiable. Obviously, we know who the Lamb is referencing just in the book of Revelation as the Lamb who was slain before the foundation of the world – Jesus Christ. In the same way, the wife of the Lamb is explained. That is, the metaphor is clearly understood from within the very passage under discussion. There is no reason to go to an explanation that is several books away written entirely by a different author all together.

Jerusalem is described as a city. Notice the description that follows about the walls, the gates, the adornments, the jewels, the names of the apostles. If all of this explanation is intended to be an extended metaphor of “the wife of the Lamb” then what exactly does this description match? How is it symbolic of a person?

As for your assertion that “Jerusalem is above, and the church is below”, you are presuming that God’s Church is only here on earth. A Christian would declare that God’s Church is also here and in Heaven as well. Now, I don’t think you have established any good reason to conclude that Jerusalem in Revelation 21 is anything other than the New Jerusalem spoken of in verse 2. As for Galatians, you are missing the context entirely.

From the arguments above, it should be plain to see that the WMS evangelists subscribe to a theology that depends entirely upon verses that have nothing to do with one another and are removed far from their context. Furthermore, they do not let a more natural explanation tell they what the verse says, but force their view upon the passage. They are not expecting someone to be able to look at the text and explain to them the context and it completely throws their prepared argument off course when one does. But, while it may serve a purpose in getting their attention, the real obstacle is that they have a completely false Christ in mind. 

The goal of our evangelism to these folks is the same as our evangelism to all people: proclaim the true Christ of Scriptures and Him crucified. It is heart-breaking to see so many young people sincere in their conviction that they are doing "God's work" and so blatantly deceived. But, we must preach the Word faithfully and convincingly and trust the Holy Spirit to be the Great Evangelist.


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