God chose to describe Himself as ‘Father’ because it expresses the essence of who He is and how He relates to His people, and one does not fully comprehend the Gospel until she understands the fatherhood of God, argues author and speaker Mary Kassian.
God chose to describe Himself as ‘Father’ because it expresses the essence of who He is and how He relates to His people, and one does not fully comprehend the gospel until she understands the fatherhood of God, noted author and speaker Mary Kassian argues in a new book.
Within the pages of In My Father’s House: Finding Your Heart’s True Home, (Broadman & Holman, 2005), Kassian, who serves as a council member for The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW), asserts that attempts by contemporary feminism to blunt the masculine language of Scripture regarding God are destroying an aspect of His character that is central to a proper understanding of Christ and His atoning work.
‘If we do not know and relate to God as Father, then we do not really understand the Gospel,’ she writes.
‘Father is the Christian name for God. God is not merely like a father as he is like a rock, like a fortress, like a shepherd, or like a warrior. God is Father, and he alone defines what true fatherhood means. How tragic, foolish, and arrogant of us to shy away from this name because some human males are poor examples of fatherhood or because our culture regards a God named ‘Father’ as oppressive and patriarchal.’
The message of Christ appeals to a fundamental need of the human heart to be well-fathered, she writes. Christ’s ultimate mission and goal was to restore the relationship between sinful human and their Heavenly Father. In John 14:6, Jesus says He is the exclusive way to the Father, He is demonstrating the centrality of the Father-child relationship to the Gospel, Kassian says.
Kassian says the purpose of her work is to better acquaint Christians with God as their Father. The author points out that few in contemporary society appreciate the beauty and significance of gender imagery found in Scripture and, in fact, many resent it.
Some gender-neutral Bible translations seek to neuter references to God and in so doing destroy critical truths about how God relates to His Son, Christ, and to His created sons for whom Christ died, she said. When the Bible speaks of believers as ‘sons of God,’ it is typically referring to both men and women and does not need to be amended, she says.
‘God uses male pronouns not because he is male but because the symbolism most accurately represents his essence, who he is in relationship with the other members of the divine nature and who he is in relationship to humankind,’ Kassian writes.
‘God is Father. Jesus is Son. Father-Son is how the two relate. This imagery is extended to the Father’s relationship with us. Redeemed women, along with men, are figuratively ‘sons of God.’ We relate to the first person of the Trinity as a child relates to a father.
‘Using other gender imagery, the Bible teaches that redeemed men, together with women are the ‘bride of Christ.’ Christ has a husband-wife relationship with his church (see Eph. 5). Many find gender imagery discriminatory, and some translators have even begun to gloss it over or rewrite it out of the Bible. This trend is tragic. Not only do we insult God by changing his self-revealed designation, but we also lose sight of deep, profound, beautiful object lessons.’
Kassian expertly exposits the character and attributes of God from Scripture as it relates to his fatherhood, applying them to God’s relationship with humans through numerous anecdotes and illustrations. For example, in one chapter she discusses ‘Father God as Protective,’ she asserts that fathers are supposed to be protective of their families and not abusive. An abusive father is one who severely perverts an accurate picture of the character of God.
The book seeks to provide an accurate picture of a sovereign, loving, and good Father, as He reveals Himself in Scripture, for those who struggle with such a concept of God because they have grown up without loving relationships with their earthly fathers.
The book is available at in the CBMW webstore at https://www.cbmw.org/store/.
You, too, can help support the ministry of CBMW. We are a non-profit organization that is fully-funded by individual gifts and ministry partnerships. Your contribution will go directly toward the production of more gospel-centered, church-equipping resources.