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Church of England Claims Christian View of God as Male Is Problematic

The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, is facing criticism for suggesting that the word “Father” as used in Christian prayers may be “problematic” due to its patriarchal association.

“I know the word ‘father’ is problematic for those whose experience of earthly fathers has been destructive and abusive and for all of us who have labored rather too much from an oppressively patriarchal grip on life,” Archbishop Cottrell said during the opening address of a meeting of the General Synod on Friday. The General Synod is the ruling body of the Church of England.

Mr. Cottrell has previously taken stances on matters contradictory to conservative Christian viewpoints. In an interview with the BBC in January, he was asked whether gay sex was still seen as a sin in Church teaching.

The Archbishop refused to say whether gay sex is considered a sin. Instead, he supported gay marriages, saying, “Where we see a committed, stable, faithful relationship between two people of the same sex, we are now in a position where those people can be welcomed fully into the life of the Church, on their terms.”

Mr. Cottrell’s recent statement about God and patriarchy has attracted widespread condemnation online. “Now Archbishop of York @stephencottrellsays says saying ‘Our Father’ is problematic. And the @churchofengland wonders why attendance has slumped to record low levels?” Andrew Pierce, a news presenter at GB News, said in a July 8 post on Twitter.

“What absolute nonsense from the Archbishop of York. The Lord’s Prayer is ‘Our Father,’ not ‘Our Mother’ or ‘Our Non-binary 2 Spirit Unicorn,’” David Kurten, leader of the Heritage Party in the U.K., said in a July 8 post on Twitter.

“The Church of England is lost, but only because the people who are privileged to lead it are lost. The Church needs saving before the pews have even fewer people in them,” said Gary Sambrook, a member of parliament for Birmingham Northfield.

Toby Young, secretary of the Free Speech Union, asked, “Why is God the only one these days not allowed his preferred pronouns?”

Tim Scott, a board member for the nonprofit The Freedom Association, said the Archbishop of York is in the “wrong job” if he feels the Lord’s Prayer is problematic.

“Careful tho—previous C of E bishop called Christ’s resurrection a ‘conjuring trick.’ A few days later, his Cathedral was hit by lightning!” he said in a July 8 post on Twitter.

The Church of England has earlier triggered similar controversies due to pushing pro-feminist, pro-LGBT ideology within the churches.

Gender Ideology in the Church

In February, it was reported that the Church of England was considering scrapping the term “Our Father” in favor of either a female or gender-neutral alternative.

In a written question to the Church’s Liturgical Commission, Rev Joanna Stobart asked bishops to “provide more options for those who wish to use authorized liturgy and speak of God in a non-gendered way, particularly in authorized absolutions where many of the prayers offered for use refer to God using male pronouns,” according to a Feb. 7 report by The Telegraph.

The Bishop of Lichfield, the Rev Michael Ipgrave, replied that the Church of England has been “exploring the use of gendered language in relation to God for several years.” The Church was also said to launch a “new joint project on gendered language” in spring.

In February, the Church of England’s General Synod voted in favor of blessing same-sex marriages, a move that triggered an intense backlash from believers.

“The Church of England voted today to ‘bless same-sex marriage.’ They use 1 John 4:16 to defend this lawless decree: ‘God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.’ They are interpreting that love = sex and love gives a license to have sex with whomever they say they love. This is not what God teaches,” Rev. Franklin Graham said in a Feb. 9 post on Twitter.

“The Church of England is blessing sin. By doing this, they are attempting to nullify Christ’s atoning work on the Cross. Shame, shame, shame.”

In a recent interview with NTD, Rev. Daniel French, a co-host of the popular Irreverend podcast, said that mainstream Christian churches are failing to properly engage with people spiritually.

“Man has become a sort of psychological creature in the West. We live in this kind of Freudian pit of ‘It’s all about me,’ which I think must be really the subtitle for pretty much everything in the charts at the moment. And I think that’s a very hard place to be spiritual from.”

He stated that the clergy is not engaging in theological conversations with people. Instead, “We’re having theological conversations that are easy—we’re having debates about identity politics, climate change, whatever.”

“I think the danger is we’ve lost track of being doctors of the soul, just when society needs it most,” Rev. French added.

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