Greeting in Jesus Christ!
I’m writing in response to your expression, “Father God gave His Son to us,” in “Saved to serve: The Christian’s reasonable service” (SB, June 2019, p. 391). Would that be Father God gave Son God, and is that correct?
I’ve been in Federal Custody nearly 25 years and have always been suspicious…of the different strains of religion I’ve encountered in these places, all under a “Christian” umbrella. Some use that “Father God” in their prayers almost like a mantra, repeating over and over, speaking faster and faster, punctuating every few words of prayer with a “Father God.” Again, I’ve always been suspicious of this.
So I ask you, as I see you have used this, which I’ve not found in any other PRCA writings I’ve encountered before. Is it correct to say “Father God”? Would it not carry through to “Son God” and “Spirit God,” or am I completely wrong?
Dear Mr. Beydler,
Thank you for your question.
To be sure, the term “Father God” as used in the meditation is in reference to the triune God, who is also the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore, through and for the sake of Jesus, not only our
God, but also our Father. In short, the triune God is our Father for Christ’s sake.
That idea is both biblical and confessionally Reformed. It is biblical, for in several places in identifying believers as the “sons of God” Scripture also in one breath explicitly says that these sons of God, call the triune God “Father,” that is, their Father (cf. Rom. 8:15-16; Gal. 4:5-6).
And because it is biblical, it is also confessional among Reformed believers. The Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 9 and Q&A 26 reads as follows:
Q. What believest thou when thou sayest, “I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth”?
A. That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…is for the sake of Christ His Son, my God and my Father….
Here, the Catechism, based on Scripture, identifies the triune God as “the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” and also “my God and my Father.”
Accordingly, the term “Father God” has come to be used in confessionally Reformed circles to refer to the triune God as both the believer’s God and Father. It is a beautiful, concise term of endearment and reverence for our triune God. Not surprisingly then, I am not the first person to use it in Protestant Reformed literature, and in particular, the Standard Bearer. The late Rev. H. Hoeksema used that term with exactly that meaning, in two places in his exposition of the Heidelberg Catechism: The Triple Knowledge (vol. 2, pp. 122, 128), which was originally published on the Standard Bearer (vol. 19, pp. 480, 502). It has subsequently been used in Protestant Reformed writings with that meaning and has also been used that way in the Standard Bearer by various writers. Without being exhaustive, here are a list of references: vol. 37, p. 245; vol. 52, p.965; vol. 74, p. 433; vol. 78, p. 63; vol. 79, p.170.
I am not familiar with the term being used as you have related in your experience, and I do not believe that the proper use of the term “Father God” permits us to be flippant with our references to the Son of God and the Spirit of God.
Cordially in Christ,
Rev. Dennis Lee