MISUNDERSTANDING OR PROGRESSIVE REVELATION?

Those of you who have read my postings in the past know that at least one of my views regarding God is not shared among most traditional theologians.

Specifically, this area of disagreement touches on the nature of the Godhead, for which I claim that its Members are gender specific. In that context, I make the more detailed claim that the Holy Spirit is, at least in the functional sense, female. The Godhead itself, according to that view, represents the archtypical Family.

If you are among these readers, you also will know that for the most part I am a conservative Christian, holding the belief, among others, that all Scripture, having been inspired by the Holy Spirit, is inerrant and represents truth, not only in theological matters, but in its presentation of the Creation story.

Therefore, I base my claims relating to the gender of the Holy Spirit on Scripture itself. In my novel Buddy, I present a detailed list of Scripturally-based reasons for considering the Holy Spirit to be functionally female. In addition to that commentary, I also noted the serious problems associated with potential alternate views, such as gender-combinational or gender-neutral qualities. Also as I noted in Buddy, I invite rebuttal, but only that which is based on Scripture. Since that novel has been written I have come across further support for my understanding of the Holy Spirit. One such item will be presented in my next posting under the title Shekinah.

Am I being overly arrogant in this off-the-track belief, daring to question the hoary, time-honored tradition of the Church that presents the Holy Spirit in a different light?

I don’t think so, because that different light of tradition is rather murky, including as it does various views of the Holy Spirit as male, gender-combinational or gender-neutral. Traditional theologians who attempt to address the subject, when in an honest frame of mind, invariably express their frustration with their own views, admitting to a sense of confusion, which they pass off as their own limitations of understanding. It amazes me how they can be so unsure of their understanding while maintaining an anti-female position with such vehemence. In the end, they all invoke tradition for this stance.

Tradition is useful when treated with caution. It becomes a burden when it is employed in place of a careful reading of Scripture, particularly when God wishes to clarify something about His nature or reveal something that has been overlooked in the common understanding of Scripture. When Paul, in Ephesians 5, declared the mystery of the Church’s marriage to Jesus, it was necessary for him to spell it out to overcome the natural reluctance to make that association. Yet Scripture already had presented that view in Isaiah 54, and Jesus had put His miracle at the wedding ceremony at Cana (John 3) at the top of the list.

Tradition is not a good substitute for logic. Adherence to tradition is the very reason why the Jews failed to understand that Jesus was their long-awaited Messiah. Protestants shake verbal fists at Catholics for what they perceive as over-reliance on tradition. In the face of the Protestant reliance on tradition to maintain an estrogen-free Holy Spirit, or at least the spiritual equivalent of it, they seem to be comfortable indulging in gross hypocrisy.

Yet tradition is useful in helping to weed out heresies and false doctrine. A viewpoint that differs from tradition, like mine, should always be suspect and treated with caution until the receiver himself or herself is independently convinced of its truth through Scriptural research and prayer. The best thing that I can say in behalf of this view of the Holy Spirit, besides the logic, clarity and beauty of it, is that its deviation from standard doctrine is insufficient justification for cult behavior. To my thinking, one can accept it and remain firmly established in whatever flavor of Christianity one has always adhered to.

Progressive revelation, on the other hand, is still at work today and should be treated with the respect that it deserves. We can see this principle in action today as modern knowledge and events clarify our understanding of the Book of Revelation almost daily.

The next several postings will pursue in further detail the female nature of the Holy Spirit. Rebuttals are welcome, provided that they are based on Scripture. Those wishing to respond are invited to do so via email. Mine is perkinsart44@yahoo.com. I also will be supplying further information on this fascinating topic on my blog friendofthefamily.wordpress.com.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Interesting -I should have perhaps thought of gender as a subordanent catagorization to the Godhead, so that the neither Gender specific, Gender combinational nor Gender neutral quite fit the bill -perhaps Gender-inclusive, or perhaps Gender-trancendent is more to my point. (BTW, I scandalize my Bible study group by being quite enthusiastic about “The Shack,” in a minor way for exactly this reason.)

    I will be interested in hearing how you deal with gender in the Godhead in relation to the traditional formulae of God existing fully as the Son, fully as the Spirit and fully as the Father.

    For what its worth, I think I probably am in pretty complete agreement with you on the relation of the Trinity to marriage. Whatever gender assignments may or may not be suitable, in the Trinity, one of the things I see is that the core of all reality exists as a Plural-Unity. When I say I can’t understand this, God shows me marriage as a visual aid – how two can be one, with the object that the uniqueness of the persons is maintained, but in such a way that the unity of the whole is not violated. Most of the errors in marriage (and I have made many) are also trinitarian heresies. And most of the things the church has gotten wrong about the Trinity are also errors that occur in marriage.

    I have not yet looked enough to see well where you are going, but I do want to note our tendency to eschew the ditch on the right (in this case, Mysogany) by embracing a ditch on the left. There always is a matching error lurking their.

    -Blessings!

    Reply

    • I appreciate your comments, and particularly your ability to go beyond shallow. Sometimes we all get it wrong, yet I believe that God is happy with us just for thinking about Him. As for the ‘scandal’ thing with the Shack, I hear you! Been there and done that! I found an excellent commentary on the Shack in a book by Roger E. Olson titled ‘Finding God in the Shack’. I don’t always agree with Olson, but I liked the commentary as much as the book (‘Shack’) itself. I explain myself more fully in my own book ‘Buddy’, which is available through Signalman Publishing or, if you do a search both on title and author (‘Buddy’, Arthur Perkins) you should be able to find on Amazon. I also have another book, ‘Family of God’ that’s only available through me, which I’ll offer free, as long as I have copies, to any person who gives me an address where to send it. God Bless!

      Reply

  2. Well Sir,
    I must say that I have never thought of the Holy (Ghost) or Spirit to be ‘gender specific’.
    In my simplified way of teaching, I have always taught that God the Father thought up the things that needed to be done.
    He then told Jesus.
    Jesus then spoke the words to the Holy Spirit who actually performs the deeds.
    Holy Ghost as a feminine form? Totally new thought to me!
    I would like the scriptures that have convinced you of this in order to pursue it for myself.
    Your indulgence would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks for the new thoughts,
    Larry Camp
    PS: I tried ‘The Shack’ three times but could never get beyond the third chapter.

    Reply

    • Thank you for your interest. I will be adding future postings that will explain my position in more detail. In addition, I go into much detail to present the Scriptural basis for that viewpoint in my book “Buddy”, which is available either from Signalman Press or Amazon. It’s buried pretty deep at Amazon, so if you go there for it, you’ll have to search on both author (Arthur Perkins) and title (Buddy).

      Thanks, by the way, for adding the P.S. I find it interesting, perhaps even significant, that you experienced difficulty with “The Shack”. Generally, I have found a correlation there between interest and/or acceptance of one with the other. To each his own, I suppose. My interest in sharing my viewpoint with others is to share the happiness and love of God that I myself have experienced as this perception has developed in my heart. If a different view works better for you, you should stick with it.

      God Bless, Art Perkins

      Reply

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