Leave a 75th Birthday Greeting to Honor Dr. Michael Youssef for His Ministry Leading The Way!

Church of England to Explore the Use of Gender-Neutral Terms for God

Michael Foust | ChristianHeadlines.com Contributor | Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Church of England to Explore the Use of Gender-Neutral Terms for God

Church of England to Explore the Use of Gender-Neutral Terms for God

One of the world’s largest Christian bodies will study the use of gender-neutral terms to refer to God when a commission takes up the issue, according to a new report.

The Church of England, which is often called the Anglican Communion, will begin studying the matter this spring when a liturgical commission considers whether the church should abandon male-specific references to God.

Rt Rev Dr. Michael Ipgrave, Bishop of Lichfield and vice-chair of that liturgical commission, told The Guardian newspaper that the Church of England has been “exploring the use of gendered language in relation to God for several years.”

The full body would have to approve any recommendation before it goes into effect.

“After some dialogue between the two commissions in this area, a new joint project on gendered language will begin this spring,” Ipgrave said. “In common with other potential changes to authorized liturgical provision, changing the wording and number of authorized forms of absolution would require a full synodical process for approval.”

Ian Paul, associate minister at St Nic’s Church in Nottingham, criticized the use of gender-neutral terms. God is referred to as “He” in Scripture, Paul noted.

“The fact that God is called ‘Father’ can’t be substituted by ‘Mother’ without changing meaning, nor can it be gender-neutralized to ‘Parent’ without loss of meaning,” Paul told the newspaper. “Fathers and mothers are not interchangeable but relate to their offspring in different ways.”

A Church of England spokesperson played down the proposal, saying it’s “nothing new.”

“Christians have recognized 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 spokesperson told The Guardian. “There has been greater interest in exploring new language since the introduction of our current forms of service in contemporary language more than 20 years ago. There are absolutely no plans to abolish or substantially revise currently authorized liturgies, and no such changes could be made without extensive legislation.”

Photo courtesy: ©Sparrowstock

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

Church of England to Explore the Use of Gender-Neutral Terms for God