C.S. Lewis wrote this several decades ago about the proposed updating of the language of the Anglican liturgy. Perhaps you will find interesting parallels to contemporary discussions. –Ed.
If you have a vernacular liturgy you must have a changing liturgy: otherwise it will finally be vernacular only in name. The ideal of “timeless English” is sheer nonsense. No living language can be timeless. You might as well ask for a motionless river.
I think it would have been best, if it were possible, that necessary change should have occurred gradually and (to most people) imperceptibly; here a little and there a little; one obsolete word replaced in a century—like the gradual change of spelling in successive editions of Shakespeare.
If we were—I thank my stars I’m not—in a position to give [the Prayer book] authors advice, would you have any advice to give them? Mine could hardly go beyond unhelpful cautions: “Take care. It is so easy to break eggs without making omelettes.”
Already our liturgy is one of the very few remaining elements of unity in our hideously divided Church. The good to be done by revision needs to be very great and very certain before we throw that away. Can you imagine any new Book which will not be a source of new schism? …
I find that people re-act to archaism most diversely. It antagonizes some; makes what is said unreal. To others, not necessarily more learned, it is highly numinous and a real aid to devotion. We can’t please both.
I know there must be change. But is this the right moment? Two signs of the right moment occur to me. One would be a unity among us all which enabled the Church—not some momentarily triumphant party—to speak through the new work with a united voice. The other would be the manifest presence, somewhere in the Church, of the specifically literary talent needed for composing a good prayer. Prose needs to be not only very good but very good in a very special way, if it is to stand up to reiterated reading aloud. Cranmer may have his defects as a theologian; as a style, he can play all the moderns, and many of his predecessors, off the field. I don’t see either sign at the moment.
–Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, 1963.