Church of Sweden imposes gender neutral titles for God on congregants

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Haeralis

Puritan Board Freshman
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/201...p-clergy-calling-god-lord-bid-crack-gendered/

The Church of Sweden is encouraging its clergy to use the gender-neutral term "God" instead of referring to the deity as "he" or "the Lord".

The decision was made on Thursday, wrapping up an eight-day meeting of the church's 251-member decision-making body. The decision will take effect on May 20 during Pentecost.

It is the latest move by the national Evangelical Lutheran church to modernise its 31-year-old handbook setting out how services should be conducted.

The decision to update the book of worship gives priests new options on how to refer to God during their services.

Priests can now open their services by referring to the traditional "Father, son and Holy Ghost" or the gender-neutral phrase "in the name of God and the Holy Trinity". Other gender-neutral options are available for other parts of the Church of Sweden liturgy.

"We talk about Jesus Christ, but in a few places we have changed it to say 'God' instead of 'he'," Church of Sweden spokesperson Sofija Pedersen Videke told The Telegraph. "We have some prayer options that are more gender-neutral than others."

"A wide majority of people decided on the book," she said, adding that she had heard of no priests who objected to the new linguistic framework.

The Church of Sweden is headed by Archbishop Antje Jackelen, who was elected Sweden's first female archbishop in 2013.

Archbishop Jackelen defended the decision, telling Sweden's TT news agency: "Theologically, for instance, we know that God is beyond our gender determinations, God is not human."

The decision was met with some criticism. Christer Pahlmblad, an associate theology professor at Lund University in Sweden, told Danish newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad that the decision was "undermining the doctrine of the Trinity and the community with the other Christian churches."

"It really isn't smart if the Church of Sweden becomes known as a church that does not respect the common theology heritage," he said. The Church of Sweden has 6.1 million baptised members in a country with a population of 10 million.

The Church of England told The Telegraph that it also chooses to avoid divisive language in its services, but not with regards to God. “When liturgy is revised we also seek to use inclusive language where appropriate when referring to people,” a spokesperson said.

“The Church of England has always used masculine language when speaking about God, for example in the words of the Lord’s Prayer – ‘our Father, who art in Heaven’ – and in referring to God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and continues to do so."

The decision by the Church of Sweden mirrors an international trend for inclusivity in major churches. Earlier this month, the Church of England published guidelines for helping children “explore the possibilities of who they might be", including their gender identity.

What a gross affront to our Lord and Savior.

As formerly Protestant churches throughout Europe degrade into apostasy, we must always be on the move to preserve the good workings of the Holy Spirit in our churches.
 
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Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
The lesbian 'bishop' wants to remove all crosses and Christian symbols so as 'not to offend'.

Well, let's be honest now. The only right and regulated Christian symbols are the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's supper. But I do grieve over the desire to rid the church of Christianity.
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
It has ceased to be Christian let alone a church. It is heartbreaking to see that this is an assembly of people to whom Jesus Christ will say, "I never knew you."
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Graduate
Yawn. I heard they had gone way beyond that. I don't think any of the European state churches have been worth a doctrinal poop for over a hundred years.
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
"Archbishop Jackelen defended the decision, telling Sweden's TT news agency: "Theologically, for instance, we know that God is beyond our gender determinations, God is not human."

I guess they forgot that Jesus is the God-Man. Just another reason to keep women from having authority. Nothing good ever comes from it. That's not to say some men don't the same things, but having women in authority will always bring disaster.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
Does this church still preach the gospel?

Sadly, I suspect the gospel is rarely found there, if affirmed at all. In that case, frankly, I think it's good that they give up biblical language. It helps true churches stand out as different and faithful to Scripture.

We can only hope they soon find a reason to give up talking about God at all.
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
They are rejecting God's preferred pronouns. Refusing to use someone's preferred pronouns is illegal in some places now -- I guess it's fine in Sweden.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Graduate
Gospel churches are rare in that overwhelmingly secular country. However, the testimonies of the various Swedes that find their way to this board serve to remind us that God is taking care of his people.
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
I heard a Lutheran pastor recently who never referred to God as "He." I spoke with my wife afterwards and said "I bet there is a movement to make God gender-neutral." This confirms that one... Masculine pronouns were used in reference to Christ.

On a related note, the idea of gender-neutral language-- even in our translations (ESV) when referring to humanity (e.g. "people" instead of "man")-- bothers me. The farther we get away from representative terminology, the more difficult it will be to understand vicarious atonement and original sin (Rom. 5).
 

BG

Puritan Board Junior
Our churches here in America are just as bad just not as far along yet, give it time we will do the same thing.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
I heard a Lutheran pastor recently who never referred to God as "He." I spoke with my wife afterwards and said "I bet there is a movement to make God gender-neutral." This confirms that one... Masculine pronouns were used in reference to Christ.

On a related note, the idea of gender-neutral language-- even in our translations (ESV) when referring to humanity (e.g. "people" instead of "man")-- bothers me. The farther we get away from representative terminology, the more difficult it will be to understand vicarious atonement and original sin (Rom. 5).

I believe that the ESV only uses the word "people" when the Hebrew or Greek pronoun includes both sexes or when the context shows that both sexes are meant. This is legitimate.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Graduate
Our churches here in America are just as bad just not as far along yet, give it time we will do the same thing.

Are they not already? That's why this "decision" of the Church of Sweden didn't catch me off guard. Haven't mainliners been doing this for over a generation?
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
I believe that the ESV only uses the word "people" when the Hebrew or Greek pronoun includes both sexes or when the context shows that both sexes are meant. This is legitimate.

Sure, I understand. I don't want to make a bigger deal of it than it's worth. "Man" often means mankind. I explain this often when reading scripture with my daughters. But I prefer when the original language uses "man" representatively that we translate the word that represents the race rather than substitute with a word that is all-inclusive.

Western culture has become obsessed with the individual and the very idea of federal headship is becoming obscure.

That's my only point. I don't want to derail the thread. Feel free to PM me if you wish. :)
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
But I prefer when the original language uses "man" representatively that we translate the word that represents the race rather than substitute with a word that is all-inclusive.

But the Greek word is all-inclusive. That's why it's translated "people."
 
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