Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the head of the worldwide Anglican community, has responded to pressure from liberals and feminists within the congregation and declared that God is “not male nor female” but is “gender neutral” after female bishops demanded the Church of England stop referring to God as male.
Welby, the most senior member of the Church of England except for the Queen, gave a lecture at St Martin-in-the-Fields in London and he proclaimed that “All human language about God is inadequate and to some degree metaphorical.
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“God is not a father in exactly the same way as a human being is a father. God is not male or female. God is not definable.”
“It is extraordinarily important as Christians that we remember that the definitive revelation of who God is was not in words, but in the word of God who we call Jesus Christ. We can’t pin God down.”
Professor of Christian history Diarmaid MacCulloch backed Archbishop Welby’s statement, telling The Times that the reason God has been perceived as male is due to “patriarchal assumptions” of early Christian societies of Greece and Rome.
“The world is now different,” Professor MacCulloch said, “and we have to show that our view of God is wider than that and not get stuck with archaic terms.”
Church leaders have also called for revisions to the Bible to “correct” the “overwhelming use of masculine language” which they believe to be a “barrier to evangelising young people,” according to Fox News.
The Archbishop’s claims regarding God fly in the face of traditional Christian teaching. The Bible always refers to God using male pronouns.
The phrase, “God created mankind in His image,” is generally accepted to mean that the characteristics that distinguish us from other animals are those that reflect the nature of God. If the Bible were referring to only physical characteristics when it states that man was created in the image of God, it would not say many of the things it does about His nature.
Anglicans loyal to Archbishop Welby may argue that everything in the Bible is metaphorical and open to interpretation. But this is a dangerous path to walk down.
Changing church doctrine on a whim to fit in with the fashion of the day (feminism, political correctness) is no way to lead a church.