Inclusiveness :Thoughts about word definition changes and meaning shifts from Fr. Orthohippo

Inclusiveness : from Fr. Orthohippo



This word has undergone significant transformation in the last years of the 20th century and the first years of the 21st.

in·clu·sive  (ĭn-klo̅o̅′sĭv)


1. Taking a great deal or everything within its scope; comprehensive: an inclusive survey of world economic affairs.

2. Including the specified extremes or limits as well as the area between them: the numbers one to ten, inclusive.

3. Linguistics Of, relating to, or being a first person plural pronoun that includes the addressee, such as we in the sentence If you’re hungry, we could order some pizza.

Within the Christian world of most of the 20th century, believers generally agreed that to be inclusive was to include all persons as potential or practicing Christians. No one was to be excluded from a relationship with Jesus.

It was expected that, as all are sinners, each believer would persevere in diminishing and/or eliminating sinful practices and thoughts. The definition of what is sinful was commonly understood, with various minor variations, as to what Scripture taught.  “Go and sin no more” was an end goal/result for Christian living.

A significant challenge within Christianity occurs when a major societal change in definition of sin/sinful removes an action or relationship from what was the commonly accepted definition.  One example today is the word “inclusiveness”.

eden bouncerCurrently there is a major and now culturally accepted, population that deems Inclusiveness to mean acceptance of formerly accepted Biblical interpretations of actions as now out of date. In its place, this societal group now redefines what is acceptable to God, and a proper part of salvation faith.

One consequence of this is that there is now no necessity for one to change actions formerly defined as sinful behavior. That behavior is now deemed appropriate in the name of inclusiveness. This change is thought by conservative/traditional believers as actions which tolerates and elevates sinful practice.

For “traditional” believers, they still welcome all persons into the family of sinners who are able to actively strive to be free from their sinful desires and practices. Who are through Jesus now forgiven by God.

Yet the new inclusiveness includes those without the desire and action to be free from certain acts formerly deemed sinful. Those actions and acts are now by definition, proper and Godly.

Traditional views, of course, are taken by those no longer considering their actions sinful as rejection, discourtesy, or even hateful action.  These are new categories assigned those who do not accept the “new” redefinition. This tension is quite problematic within the Body of Christ. Neither group will accept the others Scriptural positions.  What is occurring within various national cultures is the demand that their “new” Biblical understanding is the only loving one, excluding the “traditional” Biblical understanding as unloving and not scriptural.

New laws are now promulgated in a number of Western countries which assign any negative statements about, for example, homosexuality or sexual orientation, as new criminal actions, such as “hate speak”.  This brings an interesting tension between civil governments and religious freedom where it exists. These tensions are only now being recognized as potential problems as examples of intolerance by either party.

About Fr. Orthohippo

The blog of a retired Anglican priest (MSJ), his musings, journey, humor, wonderment, and comments on today's scene.
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