By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
January 10, 2024
The word “husband” appears in 104 verses in the Bible, showing up in 29 books; the word “wife,” a whopping 360 verses in 38 books. But don’t tell leaders of the Methodist Church in the United Kingdom. They may get offended.
The denomination that just over two years ago began embracing same-sex unions and recognizing cohabitating couples has announced that words like “husband” and “wife” are not to be used in the church because they express what is “not the reality for many people.”
And did we say “embracing?” Oops, that’s a bad word too, according to the group’s new “Inclusive Language Guide.” It says the term “embrace” could trigger people who have experienced intimate abuse. Instead, it suggests using “surrounded by.”
“Were this kind of bizarre rule-making in the name of inclusivity not so harmful, it would truly be funny,” says the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “But words do matter, and words like husband and wife refer to one gender or the other because, like it or not, God made two genders.”
He referenced Genesis 2:24, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh,” as the first of more than 400 verses that include one of the two words. Not to mention the very specific roles of husbands and wives laid out by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians.
Nonetheless, the 11-page Methodist guide, released last month, urges the church to ditch “husband” and “wife” and instead call people “partners.” It also recommends “parent” and “child,” since, we’re guessing, it goes without saying that no one should be referred to as “mother” or “father.” Another Methodist-approved word: “carer” to describe a primary care-giver of a child.
The guide, which points users to LGBT organizations among other groups, for more direction, asserts that “Good, open, encouraging conversations, based on careful listening, are central to all positive relationships.”
“Interesting how the emphasis is all about relationships, but no one is supposed to use words that describe how anyone is related,” Creech says. “What’s next? The church shouldn’t present the gospel? Of course, the gospel offends those who don’t have a relationship with Christ. Unless we become aware that we are separated from God, we won’t see a need to seek reconciliation through a savior.”
A representative for the Methodist denomination told The Christian Post that it is possible for couples getting married in the church to have gendered language used in their marriage ceremonies. They can discuss the matter of how they wish to be referred to with their minister, the spokesperson said.
Father Calvin Robinson, known for his stand against progressivism in the Church of England, did not mince words in his response to the Methodist language guide.
“This is not Christianity,” Robinson wrote on social media. “It is Critical Theories: ‘smash heteronormativity.’ It is no longer enough to acknowledge disordered lifestyles. Everything normative and ordered must be demolished for fear of causing offense.”
“Critical Theories is neo-Marxism. It is a communist ideology, antithetical to the Christian faith. It is not possible to be a communist *and* a Christian. One must make a choice. Embrace the ways of this trendy yet toxic ideology, or embrace God’s order,” he wrote, urging the Methodist Church to choose one or the other.