The Trend Toward Gender Inclusive Language and Its Effect on Word Choices in Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal
Language is never static, but it is constantly changing. Phrases that had one meaning in a previous generation can mean something completely different in the next. “Man” used to be a word that could be understood in a broad sense meaning “human being.” As the English language changed, that broad use slowly became phased out of common usage. In modern English, “man” simply means “male”. It does not refer to females. It is this change in the English language that the members of the Joint Hymnal Committee had to consider as they updated the language of the liturgy and hymnody for Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal. The purpose of this thesis is to demonstrate the need for using gender-inclusive language in Christian Worship, to list concerns about using gender-inclusive language, and then to show examples of how the Joint Hymnal Committee used gender-inclusive language to ensure that God’s Word be proclaimed as clearly as possible for the next generation that would be making use of the hymnal.