Christians should hold to the whole of the Bible instead of picking and choosing parts they like, TV presenter Richard Madeley says.
He was writing in response to debates on how to refer to God, with one Bishop keen to emphasise feminine qualities.
But Madeley said if the Bible was wrong to refer, in the main, to God as “He”, then “what else might it be wrong about”? “You either believe in something or you don’t”, he said.
Madeley explained that he does not believe in God or key elements of the Christian faith – such as Jesus being the Son of God.
“But if I was a Christian surely I’d have to? Isn’t that the deal? Otherwise… well, what’s the point?”, he wrote in his column for the Daily Express.
“When it comes to faith, you can’t pick and choose, buffeted and blown by the winds of ceaselessly-changing social convention and emerging science.”
You either believe in something or you don’t.
Madeley said that in previous years he might have felt connected to the Church of England, but in the last 15 years he has changed his mind.
He suggested this was partly because the C of E had been watering down essential truths – “obsessively gnawing away at its own entrails since the 1960s”.
He said the latest example was the Bishop of Gloucester, Rachel Treweek, saying: “I don’t want young girls or young boys to hear us constantly refer to God as ‘he’”.
Madelely however pointed out: “The Bible refers to God as “He” throughout both the Old and New Testaments.
“Jesus Himself referred to ‘my father’, and on the eve of his death taught his disciples the Lord’s Prayer which begins with the words: ‘Our Father, who art in Heaven…’”, he added.
“So Jesus was wrong about God’s gender. So are the scriptures.
“But if the Bible is wrong about that, what else might it be wrong about? The virgin birth? The miracles? Christ’s resurrection? Everything? You either believe in something or you don’t.”
God is Spirit
The Bible makes clear that God is Spirit – John 4:24. Throughout, the Bible refers to God as “He” and “Father”.
In Isaiah 66:13 it likens God to ‘a mother comforting her child’ because of the way He comforts his people.