Inclusive Language Policy

Wherever possible, the publications on this site use inclusive or gender-neutral language in regards to human beings. It is usually clear in the original languages and in the context of the various biblical texts when the intent is to include both men and women, and I have attempted to convey that intent whenever applicable.

The publications on this site, however, do not attempt to use inclusive or gender-neutral language in regards to God. God is neither male nor female, but the English language does not transcend gender as easily as God does. I recognize that the current trend is to avoid using gender-specific pronouns for God, but in order to do that one must resort to frequent use of passive language, repeated use of the proper name in lieu of pronouns, or creating new, God-specific words (such as Godself). I find all of these alternatives to be more problematic than the use of male pronouns in reference to God for the following reasons:

  • God is very active in our lives, and using passive language understates that activity and removes God from the work he does.
  • Reusing the proper noun ‘God’ rather than employing pronouns often becomes cumbersome and distracting.
  • Jesus is God incarnate, God made flesh, born into the world for the purpose of bridging the distance between humanity and divinity, and giving us a way to relate to God personally. God is supposed to stand in solidarity with humanity, but how can we stand in solidarity with an entity that we can’t even share a pronoun with?
  • Finally, we understand that any noun, adjective, or verb we use to describe God is inadequate to the task and provides a limited, incomplete, and even misleading picture of who God is. I don’t see the logic in expecting more of our pronouns than we do any other words.

So please understand that the use of male pronouns in relation to God is not a statement about the maleness of God, but rather an acknowledgement of the limits of the English language.