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Today (November 21st 2018) The Times newspaper carried an article which dealt with the subject of the gender of God.  The Archbishop of Canterbury, quite rightly, affirmed that God is neither male nor female. Human beings are either male or female but God, as far as his essence goes, is not human and cannot be said to be either male or female. God does not have gender as we understand gender.  The article arises from the gender equality mindset which is being pushed by certain feminist groups.  The mindset seems to be that women could better identify with and more easily relate to a female deity than one who is male.

The Bible teaches that men and women are completely equal as to their value, worth and standing before God. Equality of person however does not equate to equality of role.  As far as role is concerned the Bible clearly teaches that male and female have different roles and responsibilities in different spheres in life.

Whilst God is neither male nor female it is clear that in the Bible God has chosen to reveal himself primarily in male terms. For example only male pronouns are attributed to God.  In his relationship to Christians he describes himself as a father far more often than he does as a mother. It is true that God does occasionally use motherly language and terms to describe his relationship to his redeemed people but that does not imply that God is female any more than Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 2v7 implies that Paul had Gender dysphoria!

When the second person of the Godhead decided to take human form he did so as a male in the person of Jesus.  Jesus (God in human form) told us to call God “Father” and spoke of God using male pronouns.  There are other very important redemptive reasons as to why God chose to reveal himself in male terms, reasons that are intrinsically associated with the Covenant of grace itself. These reasons are outside the remit of this initial blog and will no doubt appear in later posts.

Ultimately how we would prefer to think of God is not really the question and indeed is of little of any importance. What is important is for us to humbly accept, give thanks for and embrace the revelation that God has given to us concerning himself  in whatever terms he has chosen to use. One is reminded of the Apostle Paul’s words in Romans 9v20 “Who are you , O man, to answer back to God?”

 

The Importance of Evening Worship

The following is taken from a larger article on TGC website.

Here are a few reasons why I’m thankful for the evening service and why I hope you’ll consider keeping yours, going to yours, finding a neighboring church that has one, or even starting one at your church.

1. Starting and ending the Lord’s Day with corporate worship fits the pattern of morning and evening sacrifices. I don’t think this is a slam-dunk argument for evening worship, but it corresponds to a good pattern that the day would begin and end with worship.

2. If the sermon and the sacraments are truly means of grace, let’s give people the opportunity to experience this grace and take advantage of the opportunities on the day set aside for worship. Martyn Lloyd-Jones supported the practice of evening worship because he believed there should be a hunger for the preaching of the Word–a hunger that desires a second time to feast on the Bible.

3. Having an evening service keeps the Lord’s Day the Lord’s Day. Without the evening service I find it too easy to treat Sunday worship like an hour to get done at the beginning of the day. With evening worship, Sunday feels like a day set apart. Without it, Sunday morning worship feels like one thing to do in the midst of a busy weekend. The temptation to squeeze worship into the margins of life is even more pronounced when we can finish our worship “requirement” by 8 p.m. on Saturday evening.

4. The evening service is a lot of work, but it is good work. It can allow more teaching opportunities for others in the church. In most churches, there will be men, other than the senior pastor, gifted to teach and preach. Having an evening service gives those men, and those in ministerial training, more opportunities to exercise and hone their gifts.

5. Most pastors are busy (even crazy busy!). We aren’t usually looking for one more thing to do. But of all the things we could do, spending more time in the Word is one of the best. A second service forces the pastor to spend more time in the Bible, which is a good thing too.

6. The evening service is a great time for extra fellowship and extra prayer. We can do certain things with meals, small group prayer, and lingering conversations that are more difficult on a cramped Sunday morning. Sunday evening provides opportunities for testimonies, for prayer requests, for organized prayer for missionaries or unreached people groups.

7. I’ve found the evening service to be a great training ground and proving ground for future officers and leaders in the church. As a pastor, I take note of who is committed to morning and evening worship and who seems to be growing in hunger for the Word of God.

Just to reiterate: I don’t think we can mandate the evening service as an explicit command of Scripture. That doesn’t mean, however, that the evening service should be a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. The tradition of the church should not be quickly overturned, especially by those who want to lay claim to the Reformed-Puritan mantle. There may be good reasons not to attend your evening service or not to have one, but these should be considered prayerfully, not as an easy concession to lifestyle habits and cultural pressure. Why not give the evening service a try for three months and see if your walk with the Lord is better or worse because of it.