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  • The Scriptorium

    8/20/2005

    ELCA Works on Gender-Neutral Hymnal

    Filed under: — Ben Rast @ 1:55 pm

    Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
    Praise It, all creatures here below;
    Praise It above, ye heavenly host.
    Praise Holy Eternal Majesty, Holy Incarnate Word and Holy Ghost.

    Sound a little different to you? Yes, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is pushing for a new gender-neutral hymnal, so the doxology may be undergoing some changes soon.

    The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has approved development of a new, more gender-neutral hymnal. At its 2005 national convention, the denomination gave the nod to the plan, already under way, for an update of the 1978 Lutheran Book of Worship, which will eliminate the “Father” terminology and male pronouns used in reference to God. The hymnal overhaul will include other gender-neutralizing and diversity-affirming changes to traditional Lutheran worship lyrics and liturgies as well.

    The new hymnal’s intentional use of gender-neutral language will encompass not only the lyrics of many songs, but also the proposed liturgical texts, in which there are options for prayers that refer to God and Jesus as “holy eternal majesty” and “holy incarnate word” instead of “father” and “son.” Also, while some traditional songs have been left alone, others have undergone minor changes, such as exchanging male terms for humanity with terms that include both men and women. In some cases, both a traditional version and an alternate, gender-neutral version of certain songs have been included.

    The ELCA has already departed from other Lutheran synods in compromising biblical doctrine for a socially progressive acceptance of homosexuality. For example, some openly gay people may be ordained as ministers in the ELCA provided they commit to a long term relationship with their “partner” and meet other requirements. This move is opposed by a minority of the ELCA that has the audacity to believe that the Word of God should not be compromised. Now the ELCA’s socially “progressive” feelings toward diversity and inclusiveness will affect many of the hymns heard in church.

    While I believe that God transcends human concepts of gender, HIS Word refers to Him using masculine pronouns. To water this down for the sake of social inclusiveness is to place modern social thinking above eternal truth and orthodox doctrine. When Jesus taught us how to pray, He did not lead off with, “Our Divine Paternal Figure who art in heaven…” The ELCA’s slippery slope apprently does not feel slick enough, so they obviously feel the need to add some apostasy lubricant to the surface.

    Agape Press Article

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