At the Church of England’s General Synod, one representative asked a question so simple a child could have asked it … but the Church was unable to give an answer.
While Matt Walsh made the ‘what is a woman’ question to gender activists famous, it’s been in circulation for a while now. A prominent Liberal Democrat was asked the question on a political radio show in the summer of 2020 and gave this word salad answer:
There was a pause, before an answer that probably wasn’t as direct as Robinson had hoped. “Well,” said Moran, “a woman is a gender, it is a way to self-identify and there are lots of genders. There is male and that is biological. There is female, which is also biological. A woman is a gender identity which is more akin to being a man. Those are the opposites and then there is also non-binary, which is people who don’t identify with either.” — Guardian
So the question has been in the UK’s political bloodstream, so to speak, for long enough for prominent leaders to give it some consideration. Seeing how large this question looms over those bedrock chapters in the book of Genesis describing creation, temptation, and the fall of man into sin, you would think church leaders would have come up with a ready answer when it came their turn to be asked.
And they were asked precisely that question in the Annual General Synod, which brings in leaders and lay members from around the world, not just from lib-left influenced regions like North America or Europe, but many traditional congregations with a more historical high view of Biblical authority like Africa and Asia as well.
The church was put on the spot in one of almost 200 questions submitted to its ‘parliament’, the General Synod, in York this weekend.
Adam Kendry, a lay member from the Armed Forces, asked simply: ‘What is the Church of England’s definition of a woman?’
Rt Rev Robert Innes, the Bishop in Europe, replied: ‘There is no official definition, which reflects the fact that until fairly recently definitions of this kind were thought to be self-evident, as reflected in the marriage liturgy.’
He added that the church ‘has begun to explore the complexities associated with gender identity’. —DailyMail
Has begun to explore? What does that mean, exactly? Are they putting together some sort of a blue-ribbon panel to figure out what their official position is?
In that case, they will need to make some addendums to their Biblical commentary texts, including these two passages in particular:
Genesis 2:23 And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”
Matt 19, where Jesus answered the Pharisees’s trick question about divorce by going to that same foundational text and building from it:
3 The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?”
4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
The obvious reply to anyone not caught up in the intersectional politics shoehorning of all aspects of life to fit them into a fledgling political ideology came from one Maya Forstater.
Campaigner Maya Forstater said: ‘When the Government redefined women through the Gender Recognition Act, the Church of England could have stuck with its long-established understanding, which makes sense whether your starting point is biology or the Bible.
‘It is shocking that they so readily gave up the definition of man or woman for the state to amend, as if this fundamental truth did not matter.’–DailyMail
This activist gender movement may be a new political movement, but it’s a new expression of an old philosophical idea: Gnosticism.
Q: How did the early church engage with 1st Century gnostics?
A: By opposing their ideas as heretical and engaging with them directly… not by yielding ground to cultural and political pressure.
(Gnostic beliefs summarized here.)
If that is how the first-century church responded to this point of contention, what makes our generation so different?
Maybe the 21st Century church has got so much more to lose (position, power, comfort, livelihood, imprisonment, etc) that we have, in the words of Christ’s rebuke to the Church of Ephesus, ‘forgotten [our] first love’.
Let’s all remember who the REAL Head of the Church is, shall we? The One who bled and died for it, and rose again to redeem it.
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