Church Of Sweden Will Start Using Gender Neutral Pronouns When Talking About God

The Swedish have always seemed a little bit more progressive when it comes to, well, pretty much everything and now it seems the church over there is no exception.

For a start, the Church Of Sweden - which has 6.1 million members - is headed up by a woman. And now, it has decided to ban priests from calling God 'He' or 'The Lord', in an effort to become more gender neutral.

The order came after an eight day meeting in which more than 250 members of the Church of Sweden - which is a Evangelical Lutheran church - discussed ways of updating a 31-year-old handbook that sets out how services should be conducted.

Credit: BBC

Archbishop Antje Jackelen, the head of the Church Of Sweden, told the country's TT news agency the church had been discussing using more inclusive language since its 1986 conference.

In a statement, she said: "Theologically, for instance, we know that God is beyond our gender determinations, God is not human."

Which is a fair enough point if you think about it. But there are some people who aren't happy about it.

Associate theology professor at Sweden's Lund University, Christer Pahlmblad, told Danish newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad the move 'undermined the doctrine of the Trinity and the community with the other Christian churches'.

Credit: Pixabay

He added: "It really isn't smart if the Church of Sweden becomes known as a church that does not respect the common theology heritage."

The new rules will come into affect on 20 May next year, which is also the Christian holiday of Pentecost.

This decision, which was one of many made by the Church of Sweden's 251-member decision-making body, is another example of the Church's famously liberal outlook. For instance, Eva Brunne became the first openly lesbian bishop, when she was made Bishop of Stockholm in 2009.

For the meantime, over here, it seems the Church of England has no plans to follow suit and a spokesman told The Telegraph its clergy will continue to refer to God as male.

Credit: Pixabay

He 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."

However, the spokesman added that the church does use 'inclusive' language when referring to people. Earlier this month, it published new guidelines on helping children 'explore the possibilities of who they might be', including their gender identity.

Words: Mischa Pearlman

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

James Dawson

James Dawson is a Journalist at LADbible. He has contributed articles to LADbible’s ‘Knowing Me, Knowing EU’ series on the EU referendum, the 'Electoral Dysfunction' series on the 2017 general election, the ‘U OK M8?’ series tackling mental health amongst young men, and for its ‘Climate Change’ initiative in partnership with National Geographic.

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