The Church of England is considering scrapping centuries of religious teaching to give God gender-neutral pronouns.
The church, which is headed by King Charles III, confirmed that its Liturgical Commission has launched a special project to examine updating future teachings.
The potential shift away from referring to God as “Him” and “Our Father” — as used at the start of the Lord’s Prayer — was welcomed by woke worshippers, The Telegraph said.
An unidentified liberal Christian told the UK paper that “a theological misreading of God as exclusively male is a driver of much-continuing discrimination and sexism against women.”
However, the Rev Ian Paul, a member of the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England, was among those decrying it as a step too far.
“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,” he told the outlet.
He stressed that “male and female imagery is not interchangeable,” while also claiming that critics were misreading the teachings.
“The use of male pronouns for God should not be understood as implying that God is male – which is a heresy. God is not sexed, unlike humanity,” he stressed.
“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. Fathers and mothers are not interchangeable but relate to their offspring in different ways,” he stressed.
Prof. Helen King, the vice-chairman of the Synod’s gender and sexuality group, acknowledged that such “questions around gendered language and God have been around for decades, if not centuries.”
Even so, they “still have the power to bring out strong reactions,” she said.
“Clearly God is not gendered, so why do we restrict our language for God in gendered ways?” she asked.
The plan first emerged after a female reverend asked the commission if there was an update “to develop more inclusive language” given that “many of the prayers offered for use refer to God using male pronouns.”
The commission’s vice-chair, the Bishop of Lichfield Michael Ipgrave, replied that it had “been exploring the use of gendered language in relation to God for several years.”
“After some dialogue … a new joint project on gendered language will begin this spring,” Ipgrave wrote in a formal reply.
The bishop did not respond to Ther Telegraph’s request for more info on the project.
A spokesman for the Church of England stressed that the debate “is 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 church rep said.
Still, the rep insisted that any changes would only apply to future teachings.
“There are absolutely no plans to abolish or substantially revise currently authorized liturgies, and no such changes could be made without extensive legislation,” the spokesperson said.
With Post wires
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