Sexuality and Gender

Why Not Honor People’s Preferred Pronouns if We Honor God’s?

Author Alan Shlemon Published on 03/09/2022

Stating your preferred pronouns has become customary in some circles. Gender theorists even want to push the new gender ideology into theology. Some have recently suggested that God’s pronouns should be they/them, and I responded to such an argument in a recent article.

This raises a fair question, though. If we honor God’s pronouns revealed in Scripture, why aren’t we willing to honor people’s preferred pronouns? Isn’t it respectful to honor both?

The two situations are not parallel. God is a spiritual being who is neither male nor female, so it’s not immediately obvious what his pronouns should be. Instead of making up our own, it makes sense to see how he’s revealed himself in Scripture—through the very words he inspired the authors to write—to get clarity. Whatever his reasoning might be, he’s decided to refer to himself as he/him. Since he is God, we can be confident in his ability to make the perfect decision.

Human beings, however, are gendered/sexed beings. They are created by God as either male or female. To refer to a male as he/him or female as she/her is to honor the Creator who made them. In both cases, we honor God—by referring to him by the pronouns he revealed and by referring to his creatures by the way he made them.

Furthermore, referring to God as he/him because that’s how he’s revealed himself in Scripture is not the same as abiding by people’s preferred pronouns. God’s self-revelation in Scripture is millennia-old. Using pronouns that differ from one’s biology is an incredibly recent practice. Human history has spanned multiple thousands of years, and only within the last decade has a segment of culture demanded we adopt this practice.

There’s no comparing God’s self-revelation with preferred pronouns. These are different categories. The only relevant similarity is that in both cases—how we refer to God or how we refer to humans—we abide by an objective standard. For the former, the standard is God’s self-revelation, while the latter is God’s creation.