Anglican bishops considering gender-neutral language for God

gender-neutral God

The Bishops of the Church of England are launching a new project to explore the use of gender-neutral language for God in church services.

A written question posed to the Liturgical Commission, which prepares and promotes forms of service and religious worship in the Church, prompted the news. The project is expected to begin later this year. However, the exact details of the project remain unknown.

The Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Rev Michael Ipgrave, stated “We have been exploring the use of gendered language in relation to God for several years.”. This has been in collaboration with the Faith and Order Commission.

The move has been criticised by some conservatives who have warned that “male and female imagery is not interchangeable”.

Meanwhile, liberal Christians have welcomed the project, saying “a theological misreading of God as exclusively male is a driver of much continuing discrimination and sexism against women”.

The use of male pronouns for God is a long-standing tradition in the Church and any permanent changes to the language would have to be agreed by the General Synod.

No plans to revise current liturgies

However, the Church of England stated that there were no plans to abolish current services and that “there are absolutely no plans to abolish or substantially revise currently authorised liturgies, and no such changes could be made without extensive legislation”.

The move towards a more inclusive language reflects a growing global awareness about the assumed usage of pronouns and their impact on those who do not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth.

A spokesperson for the Church of England said, “Christians have recognised since ancient times that God is neither male nor female, yet the variety of ways of addressing and describing God found in scripture has not always been reflected in our worship”.

The issue of a gender-neutral God is one of several topics causing tension within the Church as the General Synod prepares for a historic vote on blessings for same-sex couples.



The Telegraph


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