The Old Preacher

Viewing the World through God's Word

Category: Sex & Sexuality

Gender Revolution

For a long time I’ve wanted  to comment on “transgenderism”, but haven’t found the best way to do it.  Meanwhile, I came upon the blog below I thought you should read.

In it, Andrew T. Walker and Denny Burk respond to “Rethinking Gender”, an article by Robin Marantz Henig, who cites “evolving gender norms as a justification for the Gender Revolution.”

This is an example of “progressivism”.  Progressivism is “a philosophy based on the Idea of Progress, which asserts that advancements in science, technology, economic development, and social organization are vital to the improvement of the human condition” (Wikipedia).

Henig would have us believe that popular thinking about what is normal regarding gender justifies the “Gender Revolution”.  Thinking trumps biology.

The idea flies in the face of Genesis 1:27 . . .

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

There’s a “fixed-ness” to “male and female he created them”.  It’s as immutable as “God created man in his own image”.  Scripture allows no possibility that at some time a human will be born who is not in God’s own image, nor who is not either male or female by God’s creation.  (An argument from silence, I know; but the implication of Genesis 1:27 is the “male and female” are ongoing biological realities.)

Walker and Burk find Henig’s reasoning “unpersuasive”.  They state:  ” . . . no substantive argument for why one’s internal, self-perception of his or her ‘gender identity’ ought to determine one’s gender or have authority greater than one’s biological sex.”  In other words, biological sex has greater authority about a person’s gender than how he/she feels about him/herself.

The blog is heavy reading at points, but well worth plowing through.  Just double-click on the title. (Be sure to check out the “viral video” toward the end of the text!)  Because it’s so pervasive, I’m sure I’ll write more about “transgenderism”.  But this blog is an excellent start . . .

National Geographic’s “Gender Revolution”: Bad Argument and Biased Ideology

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“Whatever God you believe in, we all come from the same one.”

I happened upon that quote in The End of White Christian America (a fascinating and disturbing  book I’ll blog about soon).  The quote came from Queen Latifah (American rapper, songwriter, model), introducing Macklemore and Lewis at the 56th Grammy Awards, January 26, 2014.

“When we say music has the power to bring people together at the Grammys, we mean it . . . This song is a love song not just from some of us,” she explained, “but for all of us.  And tonight we celebrate the commitment to love by some very beautiful couples . . . with an uplifting song that says whatever God you believe in, we all come from the same one.  Strip away the fear, underneath it’s all the same love.”

“The Queen” is no theologian.  I  comment because she reflects (or helps further) a misinformed pop theology with her “whatever God” statement.  First, the setting for it  . . .

As Macklemore and Lewis performed, “lights rose on a swaying multicultural chorus dressed in the satiny black robes and white stoles of a gospel choir accompanied by a full band . . . At the top of the stage . . . Queen Latifah strode through a pair of tall double doors while thirty-three diverse couples—straight and gay, multiracial and interracial—filed into the theater’s aisles and faced each other.  Queen Latifah, who had earlier registered with the state of California as a wedding officiant, asked the couples to exchange rings . . . she pronounced them legally married . . .

“The performance ended on an emotional high note with a musical call and response.  The choir sang the opening words of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8  (“Love is patient, love is kind . . . “) . . . while Madonna and Lambert (?) echoed their own line, ‘I’m not crying on Sundays'” (The End of White Christian America).

The book’s author, Robert P. Jones, opines:  “The performance . . . was . . . a direct challenge to religious opposition to gay rights . . . not so much an antireligion invective as it was an indictment of religion using its own principles and symbols.”  Repeatedly it proclaimed, “God loves all his children” and declared that those who “preach hate . . .  cannot be holy or anointed, because they contradict the basic spirit of the gospel.”  This performance was broadcast by CBS in prime time across the country.

* * * * *

Admittedly, some anti-homosexual Christian rhetoric is vitriolic.  For that, we should ask forgiveness.  Paul admonishes us to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).  So, in love and humility we confess sin dominates us all.  For us to self -righteously condemn those who practice homosexuality does nothing to point sinners to the Savior.

However, it’s not hate speech to preach that God’s kingdom is closed to those engaged in homosexual acts (1 Corinthians 6:9).  It’s rather to speak God’s words.

At the same time, Queen Latifah can’t select Scriptures she favors (“God is love”) and ignore those she doesn’t (“those who practice homosexuality will not inherit God’s kingdom”).  Nor can we pick and choose.

This Grammy performance seems to have been an in-your-face attack.  Not the first time.  Performers  entertained the audience with an unintentional fulfillment of the apostle Paul’s words: “Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them” (Romans 1:32).  By the way, that’s in the same Bible as 1 Corinthians 13.

With that setting shown and my comments about it made, what about that quote?  “Whatever God you believe in, we all come from the same one.”   To be fair to “the Queen”, she’s not the only one spouting such “theology”.  It’s in the air!  Listen.  You’ll hear it.

Critiquing, start with what appears obvious:  her statement contradicts itself.  “Whatever God you believe in” implies as many varieties of God exist as Heinz has soups (57).  ” . . . we all come from the same one” implies there’s only one God.  Self-contradictory.

But, let’s not demand too much theology from Queen Latifah.  Maybe she means just that our “faith-language” differs.  Like, Muslims call the one God “Allah” while Christians call him “God” or “Father”.  But, read the Koran.  Allah who commands “death to the infidel” isn’t the God of Jesus.

I infer that at best “the Queen” proclaims one God, but our conception of him differs.  And that really doesn’t matter, because who knows what God is truly like, except that he is love and father of us all?  Does she (and those in her camp) see that she makes God, then, merely the product of our imagination?

Confession:  after 54 years of marriage, I still fantasize about my wife.  But she’s not the product of my imagination.  She exists apart from my imagination.  So does God.  We may imagine what he’s like.  We may identify him according to favorite Scriptures (“God is love”).  But he isn’t the product of our mental conception.  He exists in his own image outside our mind and apart from us.  Rather than seeking to know him as he is, we create him in our own image.

The biblical writer to the Hebrews says, ” . . . he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6, NKJV).  God “is” implies that he exists as a living being independent of us.  Nothing we do or think make him who or what he is.

Furthermore, instead of shaping God in our own image, we are to “diligently seek him” (keeping in mind that in Christ Jesus he came to seek us!).  We’re not to use our sin-darkened, culturally-conformed minds to imagine God; we’re to diligently seek to discover what he is really like as revealed in his Son and Word.  (It’s the most challenging, exhilarating study in the world!)

Education, I’ve read, was once a search for truth, for reality.  Sadly, our sinful society decided no overarching truth (reality) exists.  Thus even God (if he exists at all) is nothing more than what we believe him to be.  Thus humans in general don’t seek God, spurred on by a promised reward from him.  Instead, our reward is the satisfaction of our own corrupt lusts and maybe, in the process, a name for ourselves.

* * * * *

A prophecy:  increasingly the reasonableness of same-sex love and marriage, the emphasis of “God is love” to the exclusion of “God his holy”, and the reasonableness of “we’re all God’s children” will be hammered (or whispered or preached) at us.  More and more we will be marginalized and, in some cases castigated, for insisting marriage is for one man and one woman, for declaring God is holy as well as love, and for proclaiming that only those who come through faith in Jesus Christ are God’s children.  We will be mocked and marked as prejudiced because we believe God is not whatever anyone believes him to be.

A question:  will we remain faithful under such pressure and still love those who persecute us?

A final question . . .

losing the approval of the majority,
will we be satisfied with the reward God gives
to those who diligently seek him?

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Coming After Churches

It’s pretty clear:  in the Obama administration (and now the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination) “gender identity” trumps religious liberty.

Read this blog from Denny Burk (Professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College, the undergraduate school of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky) and see the writing on the wall. . .

They’ll never come after churches… until they do

Posted: 08 Sep 2016 08:49 PM PDT

The Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination issued a document last week titled “Gender Identity Guidance.” Among other things, it requires places of public accommodation to acknowledge and affirm transgender identities.

It is not difficult to see the religious liberty implications for such a policy. It means, for instance, that a Christian bookstore would have to make its sex-segregated bathrooms available to persons based on their gender identity not on their biological sex.

It also means that places of public accommodation must “Use names, pronouns, and gender-related terms appropriate to employee’s stated gender identity in communications with employee and with others.”

But here’s the kicker. The new policy even requires churches to acknowledge and affirm transgender identities in events that are open to the public. The guidelines say this:

“Even a church could be seen as a place of public accommodation if it holds a secular event, such as a spaghetti supper, that is open to the general public. All persons, regardless of gender identity, shall have the right to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of any place of public accommodation” (emphasis mine).

Over at The Washington Post, Eugene Volokh notes the conflict with religious liberty that this will eventually provoke:

Now, churches hold events “open to the general public” all the time — it’s often how they seek new converts. And even church “secular events,” which I take it means events that don’t involve overt worship, are generally viewed by the church as part of its ministry, and certainly as a means of the church modeling what it believes to be religiously sound behavior.

My guess is that most churches would not turn someone away from a generally open spaghetti supper… But some religious leaders, as well as the church employees and volunteers, may refuse to use pronouns that they believe are inconsistent with God’s plan as revealed by anatomy.

Volokh offers an extended quotation from a blog I wrote a while back about transgender naming. In it, I wrote this:

Truth-telling is always necessary for the Christian (Eph. 4:15). We are not allowed speak in ways that are fundamentally dishonest and that undermine the truth of God’s word about how he made us and the world. Transgender ideology is fundamentally a revolt against God’s truth. It encourages people–sometimes very disturbed and hurting people–to deny who God made them to be. It traps them in a way of thinking and living that is harmful to them and that alienates them from God’s truth. We do not serve them or love them well by speaking as if transgender fictions are true. …

The practical upshot of this principle means that I must never encourage or accomodate transgender fictions with my words. In fact, I have an obligation to expose them. For me, that means that I may never refer to a biological male with pronouns that encourage him to think of himself as a female. Likewise, I may never refer to a biological female with pronouns that encourage her to think of herself as a male. In other words, I have to speak truthfully. And that includes the choice of pronouns that I use.

I have no idea how many evangelicals would agree with the conclusions I reached about transgender naming. For all I know, it may not be very many at all. Nevertheless–whether many or few–Christians ought not be compelled to speak in ways that violate their conscience, but that is precisely what this new law in Massachusetts requires.

What does this mean? It means that the activists are not going to leave churches alone. They are coming for churches to make them conform or risk sanction by the state. It’s already happening in Massachusetts. I expect it to will spread to other states as well.

This is where we are. It looks like Rod Dreher’s “law of merited impossibility” is unfolding right before our very eyes. In this case, it goes like this: “Stop being a Chicken Little. The sexual revolutionaries will never come after the churches, but when they do churches will deserve it!”

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Piper On Transgenders

O PreacherI’ve heard and read a lot lately about transgender people.  The North Carolina law that people must use rest rooms according to their sex at birth.  President Obama’s “decree” that public schools, colleges, etc. must allow people who identify as men or women use rest rooms, locker rooms, sports teams according to their chosen identity (or lose federal funding).  And so on.

There’s much I’d like to say, and may at some point.  But I found this article by John Piper that provides solid biblical grounds for the entire issue.  I hope it helps us all better understand the current battle from the Scripture’s point of view . . .

 

“Genitalia Are Not Destiny” — But Are They Design?


“Genitalia Are Not Destiny” — But Are They Design?

Riding in the wake of the cultural speedboat of the destigmatization of same-sex intercourse is the mainstreaming of “gender non-conformists.” Witness the June 9 issue of Time. Laverne Cox, born a boy, is on the front page, in his chosen female identity.

Cox, the star of the Netflix drama Orange Is the New Black, gives a lengthy and illuminating online interview with Time reporter Katy Steinmetz. It is a sad story of a very painful childhood, an absent father, an emotionally disconnected mother, an attempted suicide, and a marginally significant church.

Up until the third grade, Cox says, “I just thought that I was a girl and that there was no difference between girls and boys. I think in my imagination I thought that I would hit puberty and I would start turning into a girl.” He had one twin brother. No sisters.

The supreme treasure Cox longed for was fame. “I wanted to be famous, I wanted to perform. Those things I really, really wanted more than anything else.”

“My mother just had an inability to fully emotionally connect. . . . I never knew my father. He was never married to my mother, he was never a part of my life.”

Today Cox is “touring the country giving a stump speech titled ‘Ain’t I a Woman?’ When Cox says it, that refrain is not a question.” Cox claims, “I’m happy that I am myself and I couldn’t imagine my life if I were still in denial or lying, pretending to be a boy. That seems ridiculous to me. That seems crazy at this point. . . . It’s nice to be done with transitioning.”

Are Genitalia Destiny?

The subtitle of the interview reads: “On politics, happiness, and why genitalia isn’t destiny.” That’s the question I want to deal with.

Is gender set by a preference of the individual, or a providence of God? Or to put it another way: Is my sex determined by my decision in my mind, or by God’s design in my nature?

To find God’s instruction about this, we turn to Romans 1:19–28.

In a stunning way, the apostle Paul draws a parallel between the way nature teaches about God and the way nature teaches about male and female sexuality. And the point is this: Nature is one of God’s methods of revealing what we should prefer, even if we don’t.

In other words, Paul shows that preference is to be guided by God’s design in nature. It’s not independent, as though you can simply choose your essence.

But Laverne Cox maintains the exact opposite:

Folks want to believe that genitals and biology are like destiny! All these designations are based on a penis, . . . and then a vagina. And that’s supposed to say all these different things about who people are. When you think about it, it’s kind of ridiculous. People need to be willing to let go of what they think they know about what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman. Because that doesn’t necessarily mean anything inherently.

Without God, this reasoning is compelling. If there is no God telling me what is wise and good, then my own preference will assume that role. It will seem “ridiculous” to say “biology is destiny.” The modern man thinks otherwise, as William Ernest Henley says, “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”

But in Paul’s mind, the issue is not what nature says “inherently,” but what it says as God’s revelation of his design for male and female. God, the wise, loving, purposeful creator and designer of human life is the one who connects biological nature and sexual identity.

Let’s watch him do it.

Nature Revealing the Will of God

Romans 1:19–20 says that “what can be known about God is plain, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, . . . in the things that have been made.”

In other words, God’s divine nature is revealed in the physical, material universe. So much so that verse 20 says, “So they are without excuse” when they “exchange the glory of God for the glory of the creature” (verse 23), or when they “exchange the truth about God for a lie and worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator” (verse 25).

Paul is saying that the material, physical universe reveals God’s true nature, and his design for humans to worship him.

Then Paul draws the parallel with human sexuality. Just as physical nature reveals the truth about God, so physical nature reveals truth about sexual identity. Whom we should worship is not left to our preferences, and who we are sexually is not left to our preferences. Both are dictated by God’s revelation in nature.

Thus in Romans 1:26–27 Paul says, “Their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men.”

The parallel Paul is making is this: On the one hand, cosmology is designed by God to reveal truth about God’s identity (as powerful and divine); on the other hand, biology (anatomy) is designed by God to reveal truth about our identity (as male and female). This truth is so plain, Paul says, that we are “without excuse” if we don’t see it and agree with it.

So if a human looks at the world and chooses to worship a creature rather than the Creator, he is without excuse. And if a man looks at his own body and chooses to play the part of a woman, or a woman looks at her own body and chooses to play the part of a man, they are without excuse.

Because in both cases (in divine worship and in human sexuality) God has given nature (cosmological and biological) as a revelation of his will: Humans should worship God, males should act like men, females should act like women.

God has not left us without guidance in these matters. His declaration in Romans 1 and his design in nature intersect to make clear: A biological male who gives himself over to his passion to act like a female is acting against God’s revealed will (Romans 1:27). The passion does not make it natural. The biology makes the passion unnatural.

God Knows Best

Now we can see why the subtitle of the Cox interview — “Genitalia isn’t destiny” — is misleading. That is true: Laverne Cox has created another destiny contrary to his genitalia. But it is not the whole truth. Here is a greater truth: “Genitalia is a revelation of God’s design.”

God knows what is best for humanity. He also knows the painful disordering of our sexual desires that came with the fall. We are all disordered in some measure in different ways. He promises to help us with our disordered loves so that we can enjoy measures of contentment in the midst of our necessary self-denial (for example, Hebrews 13:5–6).

He also sent his Son to die for our sins, so that, even if we have spent the last twenty years of our lives trying to be a man when God gave us the body of a woman, or trying to be a woman when God gave us the body of a man, God will forgive us if we turn to Christ for mercy and embrace him in repentance as our supreme treasure.

It will not be easy — certainly not for Laverne Cox — but it is possible. For all things are possible with God (Matthew 19:26).

Thumb author john piper John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including A Peculiar Glory.

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Gender Ideology Is Harmful

O PreacherPsychologists  and sociologists speak of “the gender assigned” at birth.  Gender assigned at birth.   According to Psychology Dictionary, “gender”refers to the classification of an infant at birth by parents, nurse or doctors as either male or female.  To be more accurate, I suggest the word recognized instead of assigned, since “assigned” can mean “chose”.

I also suggest sex would be more accurate than gender.  Why?  Because, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s second definition for gender is “the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex.”  At birth gender can’t be assigned or even recognized; gender is developed over time.

So why “gender assigned”.  I think it’s a great Republican conspiracy!  Not really.  I suspect that gender is used instead of sex to make gender reassignment or transgenderism appear natural or normal.  “Gender reassignment”—you’ve heard of that, right?  And of “transgender”?

Merriam-Webster defines “transgender” as “of, relating to, or being a person (as a transsexual or transvestite) who identifies with or expresses a gender identity that differs from the one which corresponds to the person’s sex at birth.”  Or we might say a transgender person is one born male, but at some point “identifies” with female.  Thus the person may dress female or even undergo what used to be called “a sex-change operation”, but is now euphemistically called “gender reassignment surgery.”

Bruce Jenner is a case in point.  He is now Caitlyn Jenner.  As far as I can discover, no surgery—just hormones and dresses and hair styles and make-up, along with cheers from the Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender, Queer (LBGTQ) community for his/her courage.

Because we’re hearing more about this, I thought we should consider what a biblical worldview would say about it.  The first two texts at least imply intentionality on God’s part.  That is, he intentionally created “man” male and female.

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them (Genesis 1:27).

He created them male and female and blessed them.
And when they were created,
he called them “man” (Genesis 5:2).

This third text, the wonderful poetic prayer of Psalm 139, virtually makes the implicit explicit . . .

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:13-16).

Certainly God’s “knitting me together” included my biological sex as well as the color of my eyes.  Therefore, logic demands that “gender reassignment surgery” (which is actually sex-change surgery, since surgery cannot change my “behavioral, cultural or psychological traits”) is contrary to God’s will. 

In view of the Scriptures above, encouraging either my taste for pornography or for female-ness is wrong.  I need God’s help to overcome what is contrary to the good he wants for me.  What follows is an important article from the American College of Pediatricians.

 American College of Pediatricians Say ‘Gender Ideology’ Is Child Abuse

03-20-2016

The American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) is urging educators and legislators to reject all policies that condition children to believe that identifying with a gender other than their biological one is beneficial.

Dr. Michelle A. Cretella, president of ACPeds, vice president Dr. Quentin Van Meter, and pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Paul McHigh write that adopting these policies is harmful to a child’s well-being and is child abuse.

The organizations of pediatricians and other healthcare professionals derail claims that a child can be born as the wrong gender by citing eight reasons why “gender ideology” instead of treatment is harmful.

“The norm for human design is to be conceived either male or female,” they state. “No one is born with a gender. Everyone is born with a biological sex.”

The group explains that no one is born aware of their gender. It is a sociological and psychological concept that develops over time but it does not negate your biological sex.

“People who identify as “feeling like the opposite sex” or “somewhere in between” do not comprise a third sex. They remain biological men or biological women.”

“A person’s belief that he or she is something they are not is, at best, a sign of confused thinking,” they added.

“When an otherwise healthy biological boy believes he is a girl, or an otherwise healthy biological girl believes she is a boy, an objective psychological problem exists that lies in the mind not the body, and it should be treated as such,” they explain.

The organization also states that prescribing chemical drugs and surgical procedures to stop the physical changes that happen during puberty can damage children.

“Children who use puberty blockers to impersonate the opposite sex will require cross-sex hormones in late adolescence. Cross-sex hormones are associated with dangerous health risks including but not limited to high blood pressure, blood clots, stroke and cancer.”

ACPeds says that suicide rates are 20 times higher for those who use cross-sex hormones and that 98 percent of boys and 88 percent of girls eventually accept the reality of who they were born to be.

“Conditioning children into believing a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse,” they said.

* * *

In a world awash in “sex” of all sorts, I hope this sharpens our biblical worldview.
so we can see this societal development through God’s eyes,
and respond to it God’s way.

(You may also wish to read these “N.Y. Times” columnists—http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/05/opinion/sunday/frank-bruni-same-sex-sinners.html & http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/03/opinion/sunday/the-republicans-gay-freakout.html?rref=collection%2Fcolumn%2Ffrank-bruni&action=click&contentCollection=opinion&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=collection.  (They’re not friendly!)

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