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The Seduction of the Church

How the Concern to Create Gender-Neutral Language in Bible and Song Is Being Misused to Betray Members' Faith
  • By Malcolm C. Doubles
Synopsis: The importance of the use of gender-inclusive language in today's world is generally accepted, especially in the religious domain. In The Seduction of the Church, Doubles demonstrates, in a popular treatment free of technical jargon, how this important activity is being misused to redefine the Christian faith. He does this by an examination of several modern versions of the Bible, especially the New Revised Standard Version, as well as of some of the most popular hymns as they appear in the latest hymnals of the Baptist, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, and UCC churches. His argument is presented in thirteen chapters, five being devoted to the examination of gender-inclusive changes of so-called "patriarchal language" in scripture and six to these and other issues in some of the hymns.With a host of examples to illustrate his points, he argues that the legitimate concern about gender-inclusive language is being prostituted to: (1) remove personal terminology from theological discourse about the Divine, (2) eliminate the understanding of sin as a serious concern for contemporary humanity, (3) change the definition of the church from a body elected by God to a group who elect God as worthy of honor, and (4) alter the view of Jesus from Savior to great teacher, nothing more than the pre-eminent model of human behavior. Doubles declares these and other changes he discusses to be a betrayal of the faith of church members, to a great extent being perpetrated quite innocently by those in leadership positions with their careless use of gender-neutral language that is often naive, tortured, and artificial. He suggests that this may well be one of the important causes for the changing demographics of American society, as frustrated members feel forced to seek spiritual sustenance elsewhere than in their former churches. Endorsement: "Discussing some key theological concepts in the biblical narrative and in modern hymnody, Prof. Doubles points to the cumulative effect of changes in language on the expression and even content of the Christian faith. Well researched and convincingly presented, the author argues that discontinuity between the language of beliefs, and the language of Bible, hymns, and liturgies, invites feelings of discomfort and frustration among church members. It is a book to be read carefully and taken seriously."--Paul J. AchtemeierJackson Professor Emeritus of Biblical Interpretation, Union Theological Seminary, Virgina"We all know that contemporary culture has challenged the traditional wisdom of the church in many ways. It is important for us to assess, however, the question of what has been lost and what has been gained. While this is crucial it is not easy. Doubles skillfully picks his way through this minefield with many surprising results. The outcome is an easily read, straight forward assessment that may be at one time both the most hated and the most praised book of the year."--Richard A. RayChairman of the Board of Directors of the Presbyterian Heritage CenterAuthor Biography: Malcolm C. Doubles is Visiting Professor of Religious Studies at St. Andrews Presbyterian College, a position he assumed after thirty-three years at Coker College, twenty-one as Provost and Dean of Faculty. He was a member of the team that translated and revised the latest edition of Emil Schurer's Geschichte des Judischen Volkes im Zeitalter Jesu Christi (1973-1987), and is the author of The Sources of the Pentateuch Displayed (2000), A Century Plus: A History of Sonoco Products Company (2005), and In Quest of Excellence: A History of Coker College on its Centennial (2008).

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  • Additional Details
    • SKU: 9781608994625
    • Manufacturer: Wipf & Stock Publ
    • Language of Text: English
    • ISBN 13: 9781608994625
    • Publication Date: 09/01/2010
    • Format: Paperback
    • Author: Malcolm C. Doubles
    • Page Count: 176
    • Weight: 0.55 pounds
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