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Church of England’s first female diocesan bishop, Rtd. Reverend Rachel Treweek, has told Christians to stop using male language in reference to God in order to attract non-Christians. The statement was made to establish a better communication of the Bible to younger generations.

The Telegraph newspaper reports that the Gloucester bishop said, “I don’t want young girls or young boys to hear us constantly refer to God as he”

“For me particularly in a bigger context, in all things, whether it’s that you go to a website and you see pictures of all white people, or whether you go to a website and see the use of ‘he’ when we could use ‘God,’ all of those things are giving subconscious messages to people, so I am very hot about saying can we always look at what we are communicating,” Treweek said.

Bishop of Dorking, Rtd. Revd Dr. Jo Bailey Wells, also said she is not a fan of using the male language in reference to God.

“When I lead prayers or preach, I try to get around the problem by using both male and female imagery, and also by avoiding the need to say ‘his’ or ‘him’ too often,” she said.

According to statistics published by a UK-based research group known as YouGov, 41 percent believes God does not have a gender, 36 percent said God is male while 19 percent didn’t know.

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Meanwhile, the argument over God’s identity is not new. In 2004, when the issue was impacting Bible translations, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association posted a question and answer about the issue on its website.

“The answer to the question about why God is referred to in masculine terms in the Bible really has only one answer: This is the way God has chosen to reveal Himself to us,” the answer said.

“God is never described with sexual characteristics in the Scriptures, but He does consistently describe Himself in the masculine gender.

“While God contains all the qualities of both male and female genders, He has chosen to present Himself with an emphasis on masculine qualities of fatherhood, protection, direction, strength, etc. Metaphors used to describe Him in the Bible include: King, Father, Judge, Husband, Master, and the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

“It is very dangerous to tamper with the way God has chosen to reveal Himself. He most certainly does not intend to minimize women, since men and women are revealed as being made in His image and are of equal value to Him. But it remains that He is Father, not Mother, and even in the Incarnation chose to come to us as a man, Jesus Christ.”  The association concluded.

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By: Seyi Jeje

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