Theology Behind the Posters
Inclusive Language: We strive to create all of our resources here at Illustrated Ministry using inclusive language. We don't do this just to be politically correct, but because we believe it's important theologically not to continue to use only masculine and patriarchal language for a God who surpasses all of those categories.
Inclusive Language in Isaiah 9:6 specifically: We love Handel's Messiah and because many of us grew up listening to that, or because we heard the King James Version of the text growing up in churches, we might be more familiar (and maybe more comfortable) with using the names of Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. However, we wanted to find a different translation for those names because of our commitment to inclusive language, which we did in the Inclusive Hebrew Scriptures. The names we use in these posters are as follows: Wonderful Counselor, Strength of God, Eternal Protector, and Champion of Peace.
We think a brief theological note from biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann's book Names for the Messiah might be helpful:
"Christians have claimed from their beginnings that Jesus was the Messiah foretold in the Hebrew Scriptures...Jesus did not replace or deny the expectations of a messiah previously told. He fulfilled them...Isaiah 9:2-7 is a well-known oracle, a divine utterance...that uses four royal titles...As we ponder the use of those titles with reference to Christmas and the birth of Jesus, two things become clear. First, in the witness to Jesus by the early Christians in the New Testament, they relied heavily on Old Testament 'anticipations' of the coming Messiah. But second, Jesus did not fit those 'anticipations' very well, such that a good deal of interpretive imagination was required in order to negotiate the connection between the anticipation and the actual bodily, historical reality of Jesus.
"The oracle of Isaiah 9:2-7 is well known among us because of Handel's Messiah. The oracle did not anticipate or predict Jesus. There is no doubt that it pertained to the eighth century BCE, the time of Isaiah the prophet. While the oracle might have been utilized to announce and celebrate the birth of a new royal prince in Jerusalem, namely Hezekiah, it is more probable that it pertained to the coronation of the new king." (Brueggemann, Walter. Names for the Messiah: an Advent Study.)