For full reports and exact statements of the denomination's position on a particular issue, the reader should look to the references provided.
The endorsement or use of contemporary inclusive language for God (both gender-egalitarian and gender-neutral) is unacceptable to the CRC. Its guidelines for the use of gendered language for God are based on the norm of Scripture and on the principle that Christians ought to speak of God in the way that Scripture speaks of God. According to the guidelines, the standard biblical names, titles, and designations for God should be used. Since there are no feminine names or pronouns applied to God in Scripture, they should not be used in this way today. Secondary language for God, such as figures of speech, may use feminine images of God but must retain the biblical meaning of such language.
This issue was first raised in the CRC in 1991 by the publishing agency of the church, which formulated a policy for use of language about God in its publications. When informed of this policy, synod asked CRC Publications to clarify and amplify its guidelines. The following year the guidelines were rewritten and adopted by synod, but in subsequent years synod was overtured to strengthen the guidelines and declare naming God with feminine nouns and pronouns to be contrary to Scripture. At first synod responded by reinforcing the 1992 editorial guidelines, but it eventually found them inadequate in the face of the larger issue of feminine language for God and therefore appointed a study committee in 1994. In spite of overtures asking for further study of the issue, Synod 1997 adopted the recommendations of the study committee, which articulate the current stand on the issue. At Synod 2011 the matter of language for God came up for discussion regarding a proposal to adopt a joint translation of the Reformed confessions for use in both the CRC and the Reformed Church in America. Finding no disagreement with the principles endorsed in 1997, however, synod approved the 2011 joint translation of the three Reformed standards.
References to Agendas and Acts of Synod
Acts of Synod 1991, pp. 579-82, 785-87
Agenda for Synod 1992, pp. 48-50, 485
Acts of Synod 1992, pp. 615-16
Agenda for Synod 1993, pp. 319-20
Acts of Synod 1993, p. 601
Agenda for Synod 1994, pp. 254-67
Acts of Synod 1994, pp. 496-97, 504-5
Agenda for Synod 1995, pp. 411-12
Acts of Synod 1995, pp. 690-91
Agenda for Synod 1997, pp. 265-372, 439-42, 496
Acts of Synod 1997, pp. 552-53, 559, 687-94
Acts of Synod 2011, pp. 851-54