‘Use gender-neutral language to refer to God’, says Church of Sweden

The use of ‘gender-neutral’ language to refer to God is being encouraged by the Church of Sweden, after a change in policy.

Clergy are urged to use the term “God” during church services instead of “He” or “the Lord”.

The church’s decision has been condemned as a ‘flagrant deviation’ from Trinitarian doctrine.


A Church of Sweden spokesperson told The Telegraph that some prayers will also become “more gender-neutral”.

Instead of referring to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, clergy will be encouraged to say “in the name of God and the Holy Trinity”.

The language is part of a wider ‘update’ of the Church of Sweden’s book of worship for priests.

The Church of Sweden is the country’s national church and has over six million baptised members.

Flagrant deviation

Christer Pahlmblad, a theology professor at Lund University, said the move undermines the doctrine of the Trinity and community with 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.”

Church minister Mikael Löwegren also objected, telling a daily Swedish newspaper that the changes “flagrantly deviate” from the great church tradition that exists between all major churches.

The Bible

Ciarán Kelly, Deputy Director for Staff and Communications at The Christian Institute, said: “The Bible is crystal clear. God is our Father. Jesus Christ is his Son.

“God is likened to a bear with her cubs (Hos 13:8) and a woman in labour because in some respects he is like a mother, but he remains our eternal Father and as Jesus teaches us himself, should be addressed as such.

“Jesus declares the world cannot accept the Holy Spirit because it ‘neither sees him nor knows him’ (John 14:17).”

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