‘Mother’ Who Art in Heaven?

Lutheran Archbishop Antje Jackelen
MAX ROSSI/AFP/Getty Images

‘Mother’ Who Art in Heaven?

Church—the latest place for gender-neutral language

The Church of Sweden is pushing for its clergy to use gender-neutral language when referring to God. Masculine terms such as “He” or “Lord” can be replaced with more “inclusive” words, even female terms.

The decision will see the Church Handbook updated. This handbook, which was last revised in 1986, details how services, funerals, baptisms and weddings are conducted, so it is vital for church activities.

This decision, which will take effect on May 20, comes shortly after the Church of England issued advice on handling gender fluidity with children, claiming that “children should be at liberty to explore the possibilities of who they might be without judgment or derision.”

Some have an issue with this relaxation of terms, because it does away with the traditional Christian view of the trinity: “Father, Son and the Holy Ghost.” According to the main instigator for this policy change, Archbishop Antje Jackelen, “Theologically, for instance, we know that God is beyond our gender determinations; God is not human.”

This move is not just a way to “include” more people in church, it is an attack against God the Father.

The Church of Sweden as well as the Church of England are choosing to sideline the Father in order to gain favor with the masses. The Bible instructs Christians to do the opposite: “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you” (2 Corinthians 6:17).

The Bible refers to God as a “Father” more than 250 times. It refers to Him as a “mother” … zero times. According to the May-June 1970 Tomorrow’s World:

God Almighty reveals Himself as a Father, even in the writings of the Old Testament. Read Psalm 89:26, Isaiah 63:16, 64:8 and Hosea 1:10. These are a few of the scriptures revealing God’s fatherhood.

When Jesus came to the Earth He plainly revealed the fatherhood of God. Those who heard Him speak should have received His message with joy and understanding, since they had been prepared by the writings of the Old Testament. However, they refused to believe Jesus’s words and accused Him of blasphemy.

It was at the feast of dedication in Jerusalem one winter when Jesus told the Jews, “My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one” (John 10:29-30).

God’s role as Father had everything to do with Jesus Christ’s mission on Earth. This message about God the Father eventually got Christ killed. Today, the idea of God as a Father continues to come under attack.

God calls Himself a Father for a very good reason. He rules a family and He is bringing children into His Family. As Joel Hilliker wrote in his free booklet Redefining Family, “God says we can actually be born into His Family as a baby is born into a physical family (e.g. 1 John 3:1-2). It’s not just a metaphor!”

Stephen Flurry discussed this topic on a recent Trumpet Daily Radio Show: “By ignoring God the Father’s role, traditional Christianity makes the life, gospel, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ utterly meaningless.”

God created physical fathers to be a type of His role and office. Referring to God as a “mother” strikes at the heart of the gospel.

Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry said in a January 2011 Key of David program, “God is a Family, and the Father is the Head of that Family! That’s what we need to learn, and that’s the most important message that you should and ever could learn from your Bible.”

Fatherhood is so central to the gospel, we have a booklet on the way fathers are attacked in our society: It’s called Conspiracy Against Fatherhood. Request your free copy.