The Church of England has reinstated the word “sin” into baptism services after a backlash from parishes who complained a new wording was “bland”, “dumbed down” and "nothing short of dire".
Plans to introduce an alternative order of service using more “accessible” language, have had to be redrawn after members swamped Lambeth Palace with letters complaining the move went too far.
Phrases abandoned in the experimental christening rite were those referring to "the deceit and corruption of evil", "the sins that separate us from God and neighbour", and a promise to "fight valiantly as a disciple of Christ against sin, the world and the devil."
A note issued by the church’s Liturgical Commission, a panel of bishops and clergy, said that while many welcomed the new wording, others complained of “watering down of the language” in an attempt to be “user friendly”.
"A larger number felt that the language was too bland or dumbed down and several felt there were too many questions,” it said.
“Many called for a return to the use of the language of ‘sin’.”
“Overall [it] invited strong but contradictory reactions, some passionately in favour, one saying ‘it is nothing short of dire!’.”
But the church is to press ahead with plans to banish references to “the Devil” from the new format.
An official explanation sent out to members of the Church’s General Synod, following a trial of the proposed wording, said most clergy had found it “much easier” to ask parents and godparents to make vows which do not mention Satan.
But it also noted that “several” of those consulted “regretted the loss of the Devil”.