Church of Sweden to stop referring to God as ‘He’ or ‘Lord’

“God is not human…”

The Church of Sweden will stop referring to God as ‘He’ or ‘Lord’ arguing that ‘God’ is beyond human gender determination. This move was not well received and has faced criticism around the world.

According to the head of the largest Christian Church in Sweden, ‘God’ is beyond human gender determination. The measure is one of several taken by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in order to update a ‘31-year manual’.

It seems that the Church of Sweden is being launched into the future after the head of the largest Christian Church in Sweden b an to urge the clergy to use a neutral language as far as God is concerned and refrain from using terms like “Lord” and “He”.

Archbishop Antje Jackelén and the Church of Sweden say ‘God’ is beyond human gender determination. Image Credit: Christine Olsson / TT

The measure is one of several taken by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in order to update a manual developed 31 years ago, which establishes how services should be carried out, in terms of language, liturgy, hymns and other aspects.

The decision was recently approved at the end of an eight-day meeting of the decision-making body – which consists of 251 members – and will come into force on May 20, when the Christian celebration of Pentecost takes place.

The Swedish Lutheran Evangelical Church has 6.1 million baptized members and is headed by a woman, Archbishop Antje Jackelén.

Speaking to the Swedish news agency TT, Archbishop Jackelén said that during the conference of 1986 a more inclusive language had already been discussed, as far as the way of referring to the supreme entity.

“Theologically, for instance, we know that God is beyond our gender determinations, God is not human,” Jackelén said.

However, the change was not well received and has faced criticism.

Christer Pahlmblad, associate professor of theology at the Swedish University of Lund, told the newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad in Denmark that the measure 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.

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