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Church Of England Considers Finding Gender-Neutral Terms For God, Says ‘God Is Neither Male Nor Female’

February 9, 2023

The news is said to have sparked blind outrage in the British tabloids but the idea of a gender-neutral God is nothing new.

The Church of England is weighing up whether the Christian God should no longer be referred to as “he” after priests asked about using gender-neutral terms instead.


The news is said to have sparked blind outrage in the British tabloids but the idea of a gender-neutral God is nothing new.


The church said it would launch a commission in a few months that will investigate the idea of using gender-neutral terms to refer to God, Press Association (PA) reports.


The announcement made front page news in the UK, with right-wing newspaper The Daily Mail running with the enraged headline: "NOW EVEN GOD COULD BE GOING GENDER NEUTRAL.”


Conservative priests also hit out at the news, fretting that any change in pronouns could drastically change the meaning behind some of the stories. Inevitably, some commentators have weaponised the story as an example of “woke madness” to serve in the never-ending culture war around gender identity, discrimination, and tolerance.


Any suggested changes will have to be approved by the synod, the Church’s decision-making council.


If given the green light the Church of England would join Sweden by using gender-neutral terms.


Bishop of Lichfield, Reverend Dr Michael Ipgrave, said the Church had been ‘exploring the use of gendered language in relation to God for several years’.


It is unclear what would replace the term Our Father in the Lord’s Prayer, the prayer which Jesus Christ is said to have instructed his followers to say.


But the potential of God becoming a gender-neutral entity has received some criticism from some traditional voices.


One of these is Reverend Dr Ian Paul, who believes this would mean the Church abandoning its own doctrine.


He said: ‘The fact that God is called “Father” can’t be substituted by “Mother” without changing meaning, nor can it be gender-neutralised to “Parent” without loss of meaning.


‘Fathers and mothers are not interchangeable but relate to their offspring in different ways.


‘If the liturgical commission seeks to change this, then in an important way they will be moving the doctrine of the Church away from being grounded in the scriptures.’


A spokesperson for the Church of England said: ‘This is nothing new. 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.


‘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.


‘As part of its regular programme of work for the next five years, the Liturgical Commission has asked the Faith and Order Commission to work with it on looking at these questions.


‘There are absolutely no plans to abolish or substantially revise currently authorised liturgies, and no such changes could be made without extensive legislation.’