Inclusive Language and Speaking of God: It's Not "Anything Goes"

Lowell G. Almen

Article Type: Face to Face

Publication Date: 1/1/1991

Paired Article (Face to Face): Inclusive Language and Speaking of God: The Gospel at Stake

Issue: Death and Resurrection (Vol. 11, No 1, Winter, 1991)

How we address God and speak of God are crucial concerns. The way we handle these concerns discloses whether we are standing within the historic tradition of the church—the faith once delivered to the saints—or have embarked on a sidetrack of heresy. Just as the Christ of the gospel embraces all who hear, repent, and believe, so we should carefully attend to the words we speak and write so as to reflect the gospel’s address to all people. But this challenge should elicit from us wisdom, not foolish smashing of biblical and historical doctrinal affirmations and liturgical forms. Indeed, so-called inclusive language, poorly practiced, can become exclusive and offensive—an amateur effort counterproductive to the overall purpose of sensitive and responsible communication.

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