I am aware that in the Talmud somewhere (but not where), there is a discussion of saying a blessing with the words changed. The conclusion is that as long as the "core" of the blessing or the central meaning is unchanged, the person praying still gets at least partial credit for having said the blessing.
My chabrusa and I disagreed on the precise meaning and implications of this. I said that this provided for groups such as the reform and reconstructionist movement to change the words of blessings without losing all credit for doing so. He argued that the rabbis' statement only accounts for unintentional word changes, such as if you say the wrong word by accident.
As an example, let us consider the gevurah prayer of the Shemoneh Esrei, where it is typical in the reform movement to replace המתים (the dead) with הכול (all). I would say that it is preferable to say המתים, but saying הכול still gets you "partial credit", as it were, because the core of the blessing, of Hashem being our support and rock who refreshes us and the world, remains. My chabrusa, on the other hand, would say that since they changed the word on purpose and it wasn't misremembering or misreading the blessing, no credit is given to someone saying the gevurah prayer with this change. [Note: Just before I submitted I realized that this may not be a good example, because someone could say "the core of the prayer is the resurrection of the dead, which is not intact with this word change, so even if the rabbis did refer to intentional changes, this particular change wouldn't be accepted. I don't have any other examples off the top of my head, though, so please answer with the assumption that any word change under discussion preserves the central meaning of the blessing in question.]
Which of us is correct?