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Rewriting the Book of Common Prayer ... Feminizing God the FATHER and Jesus the SON

Rewriting the Book of Common Prayer ... Feminizing God the FATHER and Jesus the SON
Diocese of Washington, DC proposes TEC make prayerbook changes

By Mary Ann Mueller
VOL Special Correspondent
www.virtueonline.org
February 9, 2018

Our FATHER, Who art in Heaven ... Thy KINGDOM come ... (The Lord's Prayer) Luke 11:2 & Book of Common Prayer

And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a SON, and you shall call HIS Name Jesus ... And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the Child to be born will be called holy, the SON of God. (The Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary) Luke 1:31 & 35 -- RSV

For unto us a child is born, unto us a SON is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and HIS Name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting FATHER, The PRINCE of Peace. (Jesus' Birth is foretold) Isaiah 9:6 -- KJV

And when eight days were accomplished for the CIRCUMCISING of the child, HIS Name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before HE was conceived in the womb. And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought HIM to Jerusalem, to present HIM to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every MALE that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord ... (Jesus' circumcision and Mary's churching of women) Luke 2: 21-23 -- KJV

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, "Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, 'If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean. And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.'" (God speaks to Moses about the following of Jewish rules and laws) Leviticus 12:1-3 -- KJV

And Jesus, when HE was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto HIM, and HE saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon HIM: And lo a Voice from heaven, saying, 'This is my beloved SON, in Whom I am well pleased.' (God speaks at Jesus baptism) Matt. 3:16-17 -- KJV

And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a Voice came out of the cloud, saying, 'This is my beloved SON: hear HIM.' (God speaks at the Transfiguration) Mark 9:7 -- KJV

And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified HIM, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, FATHER, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted HIS raiment, and cast lots. And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided HIM, saying, He saved others; let HIM save HIMSELF, if HE be Christ, the chosen of God. And the soldiers also mocked HIM, coming to HIM, and offering HIM vinegar, and saying, 'If thou be the KING of the Jews, save Thyself.' And a superscription also was written over HIM in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, 'This is the KING of the Jews.' (The Crucifixion of Jesus) Luke 23:33-38 -- KJV

And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, HE said, 'FATHER, into thy hands I commend my spirit:' and having said thus, HE gave up the ghost. Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, 'Certainly this was a righteous MAN.' And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned. And all HIS acquaintance, and the women that followed HIM from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things. (The Death of Jesus) Luke 23: 44-49 -- KJV

I charge you to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our LORD Jesus Christ; and this will be made manifest at the proper time by the blessed and only Sovereign, the KING of kings and LORD of lords, Who alone has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has ever seen or can see. To HIM be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. (Paul is encouraging Timothy to remain faithful) I Tim. 6: 14-16 -- RSV

These are of one mind and give over their power and authority to the beast; they will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for HE is LORD of lords and KING of kings, and those with HIM are called and chosen and faithful. (John the Divine writes about the end times) Rev. 17:13-14 -- RSV

In the Scriptures there is no ambiguity about God's gender or Jesus' sex -- They are male.

The early Church Fathers, too, were not confused.

I believe in God the FATHER Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:
And in Jesus Christ HIS only SON our LORD ... HE descended into hell; The third day HE rose again from the dead: HE ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of God the FATHER Almighty: From thence HE shall come to Judge the quick and the dead ... (The Apostle Creed) 1928 Book of Common Payer

We believe in one God, the FATHER, the Almighty ...
We believe in one LORD, Jesus Christ, the only SON of God, eternally begotten of the FATHER ... begotten, not made, of one Being with the FATHER. Through HIM all things were made ... For us and for our salvation HE came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit HE became Incarnate from the Virgin Mary, AND WAS MADE MAN ... For our sake HE was crucified ... HE suffered death and was buried. On the third day HE rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; HE ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the FATHER. HE will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and HIS kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the LORD, the giver of life, Who proceeds from the FATHER and the SON. With the FATHER and the SON HE is worshipped and glorified. HE has spoken through the Prophets ... (The Nicene Creed) 1979 Book of Common Payer -- Rite II

God the FATHER is not called "God the Mother." Jesus the SON of God is not referred to as being "God's Daughter." Jesus is the PRINCE of Peace not the "Princess of Peace." HE is also the LORD of Lords and the KING of Kings not the "QUEEN of queens" nor the "LADY of ladies."

In the Jewish tradition, it is baby boys who are circumcised when they are eight days old, as a matter of religious command from God, which is outlined in the book of Leviticus. Mary's Baby Boy was circumcised on the eighth day and named Jesus.

Not only are the first two persons of the Trinity being feminized, but the "progressive" Christians have totally redesigned the Trinity. Baptisms have been done in the name of "Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier" ... "Lover, Beloved, and Love" ... "Mother, Child, and Womb" ... "Source, Servant and Guide" ... "Creator, Liberator and Sustainer" ... "Creator, Christ and Spirit" ... "Rock, Redeemer and Friend" ...

The Church of Rome, at least, rejects baptisms in any other names and metaphors than "In the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

"Anyone baptized 'in the name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer, and of the Sanctifier' or 'in the name of the Creator, and of the Liberator, and of the Sustainer' were not legitimately baptized," explained Urbano Cardinal Navarrete Cortes in 2008 after the Vatican's released a statement noting that baptism in the name of "Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier" is an act somewhere between heresy and idolatry.

Cardinal Navarrete Cortes (1920-2010) was a Spanish Jesuit who was a professor of canon law and the rector of Pontifical Gregorian University, a Jesuit university in Rome, Italy.

"Avoidance of 'Father, Son, and Holy Spirit' is, unfortunately, common in some North American streams of Protestantism," Christianity Today reported. "Gender-neutral language for the Trinity is often an emblem of progressive churches that see liberation from patriarchy as a hallmark of the gospel."

Now comes the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, DC, which is determining in its
"wisdom" that God -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit -- should be neutered. The third person personal pronouns of HE (subject), HIM (object) and HIS (possessive) should be reduced to It, It, and Its. Many times the Holy Spirit has already been referred to as IT rather than acknowledge HIS masculine attributes and qualities through HIS procession from the FATHER and the SON. HE also overshadowed the Virgin Mary at the Incarnation and, as a result, Mary conceived Jesus.

"No language can adequately contain the complexity of the divine, and yet it is all we have to try to explain God. Over the centuries our language and our understanding of God has continued to change and adapt," the Diocese of Washington explains. "While other Christian denominations have embraced more comprehensive language for God, The Episcopal Church has chosen to use masculine pronouns when referring to the first and third person of the Trinity. This choice has had a profound impact on our understanding of God. Our current gender roles shape and limit our understanding of God."

"...The Episcopal Church has chosen to use masculine pronouns when referring to the first and third person of the Trinity." Apparently, former Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori did not know this when she was elected the XXVI Presiding Bishop. In her 2006 General Convention Closing Eucharist sermon specifically mentioning the second person of the Trinity.

"Our Mother Jesus gives birth to a new creation -- and you and I are His children," the newly-minted Presiding Bishop-elect preached.

"Jesus is not our Mother," Bishop William Wantland (IV Eau Claire) quickly retorted at the time, "He is our Brother!"

The Diocese of Washington goes on to explain the rationale behind its desire to change the language of the Book of Common Prayer: "By expanding our language for God, we will expand our image of God and the nature of God. Our new Book of Common Prayer needs to reflect the language of the people and our society. This resolution assumes that the authors of our new Book of Common Prayer will continue in the long tradition of beautiful poetic language. However, this beautiful language should not be limited by gendered pronouns when avoidable."

The Resolution that the Diocese of Washington hopes to present this summer at the 2018 General Convention in Austin, Texas reads: "Resolved, the House of ____________ concurring, that the 79th General Convention direct the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, as it considers revision of the Book of Common Prayer, 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."

So far, the Diocese of Washington's resolution has not been pre-filed with General Convention. Currently, there are 39 proposed resolutions listed, including from the dioceses of Maryland, the Navajoland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

There were four specific resolutions concerning the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer at the 2015 General Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah. Resolutions A067 (Revise Book of Common Prayer Liturgical Readings for the Revised Common Lectionary); A068 (Translate Portions of the Book of Common Prayer into French, Creole, and Spanish); A169 (Establish a Process for the Revision of the Book of Common Prayer 1979); and D050 (Authorizing "An Order for Celebrating the Holy Eucharist" as a Principal Service).

The Salt Lake General Convention proposed the revision of both the 1979 Book of Common Prayer and The 1982 Hymnal. Convention directed the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to prepare plans for each book's makeovers. Those suggestions are to be presented at the Austin convention in July.

It is upon the anticipated BCP revision that the Diocese of Washington is piggybacking its desire to see a change in how God is referenced.

The 2015 resolution outlined a need to "utilize the riches of our Church's liturgical, cultural, racial, generational, linguistic, gender and ethnic diversity in order to share common worship" and that the "plan for revision take into consideration the use of current technologies which provide access to a broad range of liturgical resources ..."

The Diocese of Washington zeroed in on "linguistic, gender and ethnic diversity" in penning its resolution.

"By expanding our language for God, we will expand our image of God and the nature of God," the resolution emphasizes. "Our new Book of Common Prayer needs to reflect the language of the people and our society."

The Washington diocese, lead by a woman, Bishop Marianne Budde (IX Washington), is not the only Anglican entity wanting to jettison traditional language or feminize God.

ENGLAND

Over in England, a feminist group called WATCH (Women And The Church) are pushing hard for the change of the "traditional patriarchal language of the Book of Common Prayer."

This is the same group which championed women bishops. The first CofE woman bishop consecrated was Suffragan Bishop Libby Lane (VIII Stockport) in 2015. Then, in three swift years, the number of women bishops in the Mother Church of Anglicanism has grown at break-neck speed to 11 including Sarah Mullally, who has been appointed the next Bishop of London, the CofE's third highest episcopal rank.

It took The Episcopal Church 14 years (1989-2003) to go from first female bishop Barbara Harris, who was bishop suffragan in Massachusetts, to 11 bishops. The eleventh TEC woman bishop was Barbara Harris' replacement -- Gayle Harris. There is no known family relationship between Bishops Barbara and Gayle Harris. To date, TEC has consecrated 26 women bishops: one has died (#2 Jane Dixon -- Washington suffragan); one has been deposed (#21 Heather Cook -- Maryland suffragan); one a partnered lesbian in Mary Glasspool consecrated in 2010 and one became the Presiding Bishop (#9 Katharine Jefferts Schori -- III Nevada). The other female bishops are either currently sitting bishops, in part time ministry or fully retired.

The push for genderless language is usually fueled by radical women feminists who are pushing for "equality" not only in the pulpit and behind the altar, but are also threatened by males and their natural masculinity, including God's.

In England, the women bishops have raised up and are calling for changes in the way that the Church of England refers to God.

"A group within the Church of England is calling for God to be referred to as female following the selection of the first female bishops," The Telegraph reports.
"The group (WATCH) wants the church to recognize the equal status of women by overhauling official liturgy, which is made up almost exclusively of male language and imagery to describe God."

WATCH chairwoman Hiliary Cotton told The Telegraph: "The reality is that in many churches up and down the country something more than the almost default male language about God is already being used. Quietly clergy are just talking about God as 'She' every now and then."

Ann Widdecombe takes issue with calling God "She."

"God clearly isn't a 'She' as a she can't be a father," Widdecombe told The Daily Mail. "This is plain silly, unbiblical and ridiculous. I think it's the work of a few lunatics."

Widdecombe was formerly a member of Parliament and left the Church of England for Roman Catholicism over the ordination of women to the priesthood.

Last week VirtueOnline (www.virtueonline.org) reported that Anglican Bishop Gavin Ashenden put his finger on the root of the rot. "But feminism doesn't like the Bible," the bishop wrote on his blog. "The Bishop of Gloucester, Rachel Treweek finds the fatherhood of God so offensive and personally difficult that she urges the Church to drop calling our Father 'father' and call Him 'it' instead.'"

Bishop Ashenden was formerly the CofE Chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II. However, he resigned his position over a reading of the Koran at St. Mary's Cathedral in Glasgow. He is now a missionary bishop in the Christian Episcopal Church.

The British bishop is alarmed over women in the bishopric.

"The consequences of having consecrated women in the episcopate have been to bring in a nuclear kind of feminism that is set to change the DNA of the Gospel and revealed theology," he recently told Anglican Unscripted.

"You cannot tell the Christian story without gender-specific language or if you do, you move to what the Washington, DC delegate was very keen to do which was to bring in the Inclusive Bible, and translate "El Shaddai" as the 'breasted-God,'" Bishop Ashenden explained. "I'm just quoting from the synod (diocesan convention)."

Bishop Ashenden was referencing the Rev. Linda Caukins, rector of St. Bartholomew Episcopal Church in Laytonsville, Maryland, who is urging The Episcopal Church to embrace the Inclusive Bible.

ROMAN CATHOLIC REPONSE

The Inclusive Bible: The First Egalitarian Translation is put out by an organization called Priests for Equality, a progressive Roman Catholic group which called out the Catholic Church to "act out the words of justice proclaimed by the Second Vatican Council." The Inclusive Bible is an attempt to remain "faithful to the original languages" and present "non-sexist ways to express the same ancient truths."

"The Inclusive Bible judiciously avoids divine masculine pronouns, usually by rendering the text in such a way as to make pronouns unnecessary," explained Mark M. Mattison at Christian Feminism Today gathering and who has developed a Divine Feminine Version of the New Testament.

In 2005, Richard Ostling with the Associated Press called the Inclusive Bible "awkward."

"Start with the Lord's Prayer -- er, make that the 'Teacher's' Prayer," Ostling wrote, "Since God can no longer be addressed as 'Father' and His -- er, make that God's -- 'kingdom' cannot come, we get: "Abba God in heaven, hallowed be your name! May your reign come ..."

The woman priest told the Washington diocesan convention: "... if we are going to be true to what El Shaddai means, it means 'God with breasts.'"

Traditionally God's calling Himself the El Shaddai in the Old Testament means God Almighty. El Shaddai (אֵל שַׁדַּי) is one of the many names of God. It appears at least seven times in the Old Testament meaning "the Almighty One," but other Biblical references of אֵל שַׁדַּי are translated differently to emphasize God's sustaining providence which Caukin interpreted to mean "the breasted-God."

There are now various versions of the Lord's Prayer in inclusive language.

The Anglicans in New Zealand pray:
"Eternal Spirit, Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,
Source of all that is and that shall be, Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven:
The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world!
Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom sustain our hope and come on earth.
With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us. From the grip of all that is evil, free us. For you reign in the glory of the power that is love, now and forever. Amen."

Then the Feminists' Lord's Prayer reads:
"Our Father, Mother, who are in the world and surpass the world,
Blessed be your presence,
in us, in animals and flowers, in still air and wind.
May justice and peace dwell among us, as you come to us.
Your will be our will;
You will that we be sisters and brothers, as bread is bread, water is itself,
For our hunger, for quenching of thirst. Forgive us.
We walk crookedly in the world,
are perverse, and fail of our promise. But we would be human,
if only you consent to stir up our hearts. Amen."

And Richard D. McCall, formerly an Associate Professor of Liturgy and Church Music, Episcopal Divinity School, renders the Lord's Prayer in this way:
"Blessed One, our Father and our Mother
Holy is your name.
May your love be enacted in the world.
May your will be done
On earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread
And forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us in the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
For all that we do in your love,
and all that your love brings to birth,
and the fullness of love that will be
are yours, now and forever. Amen."

The Episcopal Divinity School, an ultraliberal Episcopal seminary, has folded and joined forces with Union Theological Seminary, a liberal nondenominational school.

Mary Ann Mueller is a journalist living in Texas. She is a regular contributor to VirtueOnline

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