Mainline Protestant denominations are engaging in a publishing frenzy to see who can produce the most politically correct hymnal for today’s church-goer. The traditional language of worship is being revised in order to be more gender-neutral, and to avoid the possibility of minorities and people with disabilities being offended by what has been deemed “antiquated” language. For example:
= The phrase “right hand of God” has been changed to “mighty” or “strong” hand of God, so that no left-handed people won’t feel insulted.
= The words “darkness” or “blind” can no longer be used to symbolize spiritual ignorance.
= No longer appropriate are such terms as “Lord;” “Ruler,” “King,” and “Master,” when referring to the Almighty. A truly democratic God is now addressed as the “All-inclusive One,” “Great Spirit,” “Architect Divine,” or “Source of Being.” On a more personal level, God is ferquently referred to as “Mother” and “Partner.”
= Rarely are personal pronouns applied to Christ, and hymns such as “Crown Him With Many Crowns” now appears as “Crown With Your Richest Crowns.”
= Jesus is referred to as “God’s only Child” rather than “God’s Only Son.”
< Other changes made to old favorites include “Faith of Our Fathers,” which is now “Faith of the Martyrs.” “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind,” now appears as “Dear God, embrace Humankind.”
< In Isaac Watts’ beautiful hymn “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” the phrase “On which the Prince of glory died” has been replaced by “On which the Christ of glory died.”
< And in “Just As I Am,” all reference to being “poor, wretched, and blind” has been eliminated.
The fastest-selling of these new hymnals is The New Century Hymnal, published by the United Church of Christ. The use of the hymnal is not mandatory among the 6,200 congregation of the UCC, but already more than 250,000 of this edition have been sold, some to other denominations. This hymnal is praised because it “balances the masculine and feminine images of God, and sometimes refers to God as “Her.”
Thomas Smith, executive director of the Fort Worth, Texas-based Hymn Society of the United States and Canada (http://www.thehymnsociety.org/), has estimated that 90 percent of denominations have already adopted a new hymnal, or are now preparing one.
Of course, not all new hymnals will embrace such a dramatic shift in biblical theology. But the fact that such lunacy is considered acceptable by a significant number of Protestant congregations signifies just how far denominations have turned from the Word of God.
–Editors note: This article was taken from the August 1996 edition of Believers News – A publication of Believers International – obviously from a few years back, but definitely food for thought. Pass it on by clicking the envelope below.