"Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls." (Jeremiah 6:16)

Christians Must Remove Gender Neutrality from Their Speech

by Stuart DiNenno

I believe that Christians must make a conscious effort to remove gender neutrality from their words, whether spoken or written, and return to using male nouns and pronouns as was done in the past.

If you read the old theological writings, you will find that the authors often use the words “man,” “men,” “he,” and “him” when referring to Christians in general or speaking of unspecified individuals, where even today’s supposedly conservative Christian writers will use gender neutral terms.

For example, a Christian writer from the 17th century might say “MEN often deceive themselves into believing…” whereas a modern author will say “PEOPLE often deceive themselves into believing…” or the theologians of the past might say “A MAN ought to introspectively examine HIMSELF to determine if HE IS truly walking in the faith…” whereas a 21st century writer or speaker will use a plural, gender neutral version such as “PEOPLE ought to introspectively examine THEMSELVES to determine if THEY ARE truly walking in the faith” or “WE ought to introspectively examine OURSELVES to determine if WE ARE truly walking in the faith.”

Not that the old writers did not sometimes refer to Christians in terms that were not gender specific, but the difference is that modern writers almost never do anything other than use gender non-specific terms. This is not in accordance with the Bible which very often (but not always) uses “men” and “man” when referring to mankind in general (not humanity or humankind) or to a plurality of persons, or when it is speaking of an unspecified person in the singular in order to teach a principle to all Christians.

It might seem like an inconsequential point at first glance but men form their thoughts in words, and if they are constantly expressing gender neutrality in their speaking and writing, then, I believe, this cannot help but to influence their own thinking and the thinking of others toward an egalitarian worldview.

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