By Tyson Thorne

November 15, 2018

NoG ElGibbor Large

The Church of England recently decided to stop using masculine names and pronouns to refer to God, feeling that it alienates women worshipers. Never mind that God always refers to himself as a he, as father, and as son. God never refers to himself as she, mother or daughter. He does liken his protective nature to a hen with her chicks or a mother bear over her cubs, but this is not the same as declaring himself as a female. I suppose what is next is removal of the military names of God, like the one we examine today, El Gibbor.

The name El, of course, is the Near Eastern word for God and gibbor is the Hebrew word for mighty; together they mean "Mighty God". "Gibbor" is used of powerful men like Nimrod — a "mighty warrior" and a "mighty hunter before the Lord." It is used of David's "mighty men" and in Isaiah 45, when talking about the then future Messiah, we see this:

For a child has been born to us, a son has been given to us.
He shoulders responsibility and is called:

Amazing Adviser,
El Gibbor,
Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.

What does this mean? It means El Gibbor is a name for Jesus. The world likes to think of Jesus as Isaiah's suffering servant, the one who came to teach us to love our neighbor as ourselves and to pray for our enemies. It's not their fault, this is the only Jesus they ever knew. But for the Jesus-follower, we know just how mighty Jesus is. What is more, we know how Jesus will return. He will come as mighty warrior, "with justice he judges and makes war" (Revelation 19.11b).

To purposefully hide part of who God is, who God has revealed himself to be, is a great evil. The Church of England should be ashamed itself for taking part in the plot to redefine God for the modern age. God will not be changed, he is the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, never changing in righteousness, holiness and might. The lesson of Biblical history is clear, God does not change for us, we change for him. For those who love God, he helps us to make and complete that change so that we might be like him.


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