The Joint Faculty of Fuller Theological Seminary has adopted the following statement recommending the use of nondiscriminatory language by all members of the seminary community. Fuller has adopted the statement to be consistent with the seminary's clear commitment to the full equality of women and men and to the training of women as equal partners with men for all areas of Christian ministry.
"As members of the Joint Faculty of Fuller Theological Seminary, we are committed to the use of nondiscriminatory language in all areas of the community's life. We recognize that many women and men no longer find "man," "men," and "mankind" acceptable as generic terms. We understand that such exclusive language, though once normative in our speaking and writing, now tends increasingly to alienate a substantial group of people. We wish to challenge patterns of language that may be doing harm even when harm is inflicted unconsciously and without intention. As Christians desiring to support human equality, we intend to avoid exclusive language which might express or encourage discrimination within the Church or society. We pledge ourselves as faculty and encourage students, staff members, and administrators/managers to use language which includes women and men in all our teaching, writing, witness, and worship."
Policies Governing Classroom Procedures
We expect students to use horizontally nondiscriminatory language in all of their work, both in oral presentations and written assignments.
As the faculty of an interdenominational institution, we recognize the fact that various communities differ in their views on the matter of language used in reference to God. We affirm the use of the classical Trinitarian formula and biblically faithful language for God. We encourage students to reflect in their writing the full breadth of the Bible's masculine and feminine imagery for God. We also encourage students to demonstrate sensitivity concerning the constellation of issues related to gender-specific language for God.
We leave to the discretion of the individual faculty member the formulation and implementation of specific requirements governing the use of nondiscriminatory language in the classroom. It is imperative that these specific expectations with respect to language be spelled out in the syllabus for the course.
Policies with respect to language, and especially language for God, should manifest pedagogical sensitivity so that openness and not hostility is fostered in our students. Course requirements should prepare students to minister in a variety of cultural contexts and teach them to articulate and to deal pastorally and theologically with issues raised by questions of nondiscriminatory language.
Additional Policies Governing Theses, Dissertations, and DMin Projects
Students writing theses or dissertations need to take into consideration the guidelines on nondiscriminatory language as formulated by their appropriate professional societies (e.g. APA, AAR, etc.).
For reasons of audience and cultural context, a faculty person who is mentoring a doctoral student may request that a particular doctoral dissertation be exempted from some aspects of the above policy, with a disclaimer inserted at the beginning of the work.
However, the burden of proof for such an exemption rests on the student, subject to approval by the mentor and the appropriate committee of the appropriate school.
Policies Governing Faculty Speaking and Writing
We pledge ourselves to model our commitment to the partnership of women and men in the Church and society by the language we use in speaking of and to other human beings. We will endeavor to be consistent and creative in using nondiscriminatory language in all our writing, public speaking, preaching and teaching.
We will also strive to enrich our ways of thinking and speaking about God as we explore the variety and fullness of biblical imagery, including both masculine and feminine metaphors for God. In our affirmation of Trinitarian orthodoxy, we intend to challenge those assumptions which diminish God's authority and majesty, and to show how the Bible's use of masculine imagery for God is not meant to reinforce patterns of thought and practice which deny women their rightful place in the Body of Jesus Christ.
Policies Governing Language In Worship
Worship leaders are urged to demonstrate sensitivity in the language of worship in the following areas: (a) using nondiscriminatory language (people, humankind versus man, men, mankind), (b) using examples and references that encompass women as well as men, and (c) using a rich variety of biblical imagery for God in order to expand our concept of God beyond exclusive masculine terms. The selection and use of hymns, scripture readings, prayers and liturgies in our public worship should reflect wherever possible this basic concern for inclusivity.