Brethren Under Fire

The Days of Avoiding Giving Offense Are Over

With only a few exceptions out of scores of appearances in the New Testament, the word "brothers" (adelphoi) refers to men and women collectively. And yet the common practice in the modern churches (I write this on a Sunday when I have had to hear an expansive bishop do it a half-dozen times), even those with orthodox pretensions, is to avoid this biblical use as an offense to women, as though identifying them as "brethren" were a transgression against their dignity and merit.

Surely there is no fault in referring to men and women severally on reasonable occasion.But . . .

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S. M. Hutchens is a senior editor.


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