Episcopal Gender

Episcopal Gender-Neutral Resolution Gains National Attention

on February 9, 2018

An Episcopal Church resolution calling upon the denomination’s General Convention to “avoid the use of gendered pronouns for God” is gaining increased attention and prompting some church officials to defend the move.

First covered on this blog January 29, the resolution was adopted by the Episcopal Diocese of Washington’s annual convention on January 27. Episcopalians are expected to begin revisions to the Book of Common Prayer at the denomination’s triennial General Convention this July in Austin, Texas. The resolution is directed at the national church’s governing body should such a process begin.

The resolution, titled “On the Gendered Language for God” has since garnered critical coverage in several conservative or Christian outlets including The Daily Caller, The Blaze, Breitbart, Christian Post, Life Site, Washington Times, American Family Radio and at least 15 other publications.

Tucker Carlson Tonight on the Fox News Channel featured an interview with Fr. Alex Dyer, a sponsor of the resolution, on the February 5 broadcast. Even the Christian satirical news site The Babylon Bee chimed in with the headline “37 Episcopalians Remaining On Planet Vote To Stop Using Male Pronouns For God”.

Liberal blog Episcopal Café made note of the resolution on February 2 as a push for “wider inclusion”. The denomination’s official mouthpiece, Episcopal News Service, eventually acknowledged the story February 7 with a positive spin of its own, portraying the legislative effort as expansive rather than reductive.

Reports from some publications confused proposed text for the resolution with an amended version passed by the diocesan convention. The original proposed resolution directed General Convention “to eliminate, when possible, all gendered references to God and to replace them with gender neutral language, and if necessary, to alternate gendered titles when referring to God.” The amended resolution softened the directions, “to utilize expansive language for God from the rich sources of feminine, masculine, and non-binary imagery for God found in Scripture and tradition and, when possible, to avoid the use of gendered pronouns for God.”

The decision to change from “eliminate” to “avoid” gendered pronouns/references for God may be a subtlety lost on some readers, however.

Episcopal Bishop of Washington Mariann Budde was quoted by ENS noting “vitriolic” reaction in a handful of e-mail reactions received.

“It’s clear they didn’t read the resolution,” Budde told ENS.

Part of the push back may be in the context of debate about gender and language in the current national political conversation. Following passage of the diocesan resolution, both Dyer and Budde have pivoted towards characterizing it as merely an expansion of the church’s liturgies, rather than address avoidance of God’s preferred pronouns and titles when speaking of himself in scripture.

Budde told ENS that she sees the resolution’s push for “gender-inclusive” language as a spiritual matter, not a cultural or political issue.

Carlson is a lifelong Episcopalian who has written before about his participation at a church in the Diocese of Washington. The full Fox News segment can be viewed here:

  1. Comment by Scott on February 9, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    What ever happened to the GC resolutions that the AC’s voted on last June. I haven’t heard a word.

  2. Comment by Douglas Daze on February 9, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    IT is displeased with this decision.

  3. Comment by Douglas Daze on February 9, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    But why do I care anymore? We left the episcopal cult years ago and now have a thriving Anglican church and community. From Rwanda to Jacksonville. It’s fine for us but we must pray for them.

  4. Comment by Sherry G Dyer on February 9, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    My father was a landscaper for large and small projects. He taught me a valuable lesson about life through his knowledge about plants and trees. When plants and trees begin the normal death process, they first show signs of increasing life such as pushing out more leaves and buds. They “fool us” wover production of what is in their nature. Seems like this is happening in the Episcopal church as they drum the Word of God out of their existence.

  5. Comment by Robert Munday on February 9, 2018 at 9:10 pm

    The issues at stake here are best summed up in two of the late Francis Schaeffer’s books: “The God Who Is There,” and “He is There and He Is Not Silent.” God is not a human construct or a projection of our needs. He has an objective identity and exists eternally as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Eternal Son became incarnate in the man Jesus of Nazareth and by his atoning death and resurrection accomplished our redemption.

    The God who is there objectively has revealed himself in the Person of Jesus Christ and the words of the Old and New Testaments. Jesus called God “Father” because God is his Father; and the precious truth of the Gospel is that, when we are in Christ, his Father becomes our Father through adoption. Jesus couldn’t call God “Mother” because he had a mother and she wasn’t God.

    The Scriptures use masculine language for God, not because they were written by men or in societies that were more patriarchal, but because they reflect the way God has revealed himself.

    And yet these two principles: (1) that God is not a human construct but has an objective existence and identity, and (2) that the Bible is not merely a record of human experiences of God, but God’s self-revelation through divine inspiration, so that Christianity may be said to be a “revealed religion” have been under attack in academic theology for well over a century. This accounts for how so many of the old-line denominations have ended up where they are and why a diocese such as Washington, D.C. can so enthusiastically and overwhelmingly pass this resolution on gendered language for God.

  6. Comment by Judy on February 10, 2018 at 9:30 am

    If you are looking for the traditional Episcopal beliefs as they used to be, just look at the Anglican church! Same beliefs before the Episcopal church began to rewrite Christianity. So, who moved? Today the Anglicans are being persecuted by the Episcopal church and they are trying (and succeeding in many cases) to confiscate all the Anglican church properties and assets. Now, how Christian is that? But the diocese of South Carolina (now Anglican) left the National Episcopal Church to continue worshipping in biblical authority and they are standing firm even though they are being challenged in court.

  7. Comment by senecagriggs on February 10, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    It appears the majority of the people in that picture are female.
    [ For whatever it’s worth. ]

  8. Comment by Gregg on February 12, 2018 at 8:06 am

    Your observation is astute. It says plenty.
    ECUSA has become shrinking bunker for flat-earth, no-growth, eco-feminist Marxists. Your average male, clergy or layman, would feel uncomfortable in that church – at least in that hierarchy

  9. Comment by H Maginity on July 23, 2018 at 12:18 am

    They took our buildings–but we left with Holy (un-revised) Scripture and abiding faith in Father, Son & Holy Ghost (there is none other).

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