Why should Christians take a position on the gender identity issue?
In our time today, Christians are continually faced with the question of how to think about the cultural issues that are going on? Do we take position or if we have a position, how active should we be in either supporting or opposing what's going on? One of the main cultural conversations that's happening right now is that of gender identity and transgenderism. The question becomes why should Christians care about this? Why should we have a position? Is there a Christian position? That's what we're going to talk about today.
I think there are three reasons, at least, that Christians should care about this conversation and care about taking a very specific stance on this position.
A denial of creation purpose
The first point is, it's a denial of creation and perhaps more importantly creation purpose. If we say that however I feel is how I should act, that means we weren't created with the express purpose of functioning as either a male or a female. This trend towards you deciding your gender, it not being rooted in reality or in your biology or anything like that, is actually fundamentally a denial of the fact that we were created and that we were created by God. We weren't just made as androgynous person one and androgynous person two as though we don't have a defined sex, that's kind of what androgynous means. God made us male, distinctly male. That is a type of human and he made another type of human called female. He made these two things for a very specific purpose, because they are to come together and unite, one man, one woman, for one lifetime to create the next generation and provide for it's flourishing.
That's God's design there, but that's not all actually. Because the new Testament in multiple places, picks up this man-woman marriage picture and uses it to help us understand Christ and his love and sacrifice for the church. It totally blows-up the Christ-church analogy and parallel if we say that the bride can choose to be a groom, and that those roles don't really work and they're not meaningful. The new Testament has no concept of that in part, because it would just really distort that Christ-church picture but more than that, because at the heart of saying I can choose my gender is the denial of the fact that God had a purpose in making distinctly male humans and a purpose in making distinctly female humans.
When we say gender is up for grabs, we are denying that there's actually a purpose to how we were made. Take out the fact that we're made in the image of God, which is really important, and we've talked about that a lot. If we say gender isn't a defined thing, then we're saying there's not really a purpose to why we are the way we are. This shouldn't surprise us for a culture that believes evolution explains the arrival and flourishing of life, well of course they don't believe in a creator but that doesn't mean we should encourage people in that.
That's our first point: the reason we should take a position where gender is actually rooted in reality, rooted in biology, rooted in how God made us, is because the opposite of that is denying the fact that God, this God we know and worship, actually created people male and female for a reason.
Loving our neighbor
The second reason we should take a position on this, is actually out of loving our neighbor. The first is a very God centered approach. We don't want to profane what God has created and called good, by the way. The second is out of loving our neighbor. I think most Christians would say that God's way is best. God sets up this pattern in the bible where men leave their parents, women leave their parents and one of each come together and are married. We just talked about that pattern. When that happens that way and they stay together and they're faithful to each other, which is all very Godly and biblical morality, it works out best. It works out best for them, it works out best for their kids.
What's interesting is you don't have to be a Christian, believe in God, or believe that the institution of marriage is a God ordained institution to benefit from it. One of the best ways to get out of poverty is to get married and stay married and stay faithful to your spouse. The best thing you can do for your children, is to stay married to your spouse or actually start out being and then stay married to your spouse. What we see is marriage and it's benefits flow to everyone who participates in it regardless of if people think God actually ordained it or exists at all. We should support what God has instituted because it's actually best for people. Why do we tell society that premarital sex is bad? Why do we say that marriage is one man and one woman? Why do we say you shouldn't steal or murder or slander? Because that's what God has said. Because that's actually best for everyone. It's best when people live and accord themselves with how God says we should live and accord ourselves.
This shouldn't surprise us and really we see the manifestation and the damage of choosing your gender. The surgeon who first pioneered gender reassignment surgery, (not that that's actually a thing, you can't actually change your gender. Every cell in your body knows what it is) was at John's Hopkins and they actually stopped doing those surgeries. The reason was that they didn't actually help the people that were having the surgery done to them. They didn't increase their quality of life. They didn't increase their confidence. It didn't lower their depression or any of those things. The surgery didn't help. In some ways it actually made it worse.
We should not encourage people in things they want if those things are bad for them. It's not loving to encourage someone to do something that one, is against God's will, and two is going to hurt them. It doesn't matter if they want it or not. The mark of love is not how it's received but what the action is along with it's intent and if our intent is to glorify God and love our neighbor, well then we can rest in that even if it's not received well.
We should take a position on this because God has created us male and female for a purpose with a reason, and part of that reflects his relationship and love to his church, but more than that, it's not loving to our neighbor to encourage them in something that's contrary to God's plan and his design.
More difficult evangelism
This brings us to our third point that really the position we take on this and the position culture takes says something about our belief about reality. We don't often sit and talk about reality. That's kind of relegated to the philosophers but reality is a really important thing to think about and talk about for the Christian. Bear with me here. Let me show you what I mean.
If someone believes that they are what they believe themselves to be, what potential problems could that cause for the gospel? Well, let's consider. If I am what I think myself to be, then what if I don't think myself to be a sinner? Does that mean I'm not a sinner? If you are what you think yourself to be, then yeah that means you're not a sinner. What if you think yourself to be a good person, regardless of the fact that you break every law. Regardless of the fact that there's no moral code outside of yourself that says you're a good person. If you think you're a good person and you define reality, well then you're a good person. What if you think you define reality in terms of what exists and what doesn't? You could just say God doesn't exist for me, and yeah that sounds a little out there, but doesn't it sound a little out there also to say that you can have certain genitals and not be a male, or certain genitals and not be a female?
There have been multiple videos, filmed on college campuses recently where college students won't say that a white 6 foot man, is not a 6 foot 5 Chinese woman. They don't think it's their place to say what someone else is or not. If he feels like, well if she feels like she's a 6 foot 5 Chinese woman, well than that's what she is. This is dangerous, because the further society gets away from a belief in objective truth, where there's actually a right and wrong answer that's grounded in the way the world really is and not just how we think about it, the farther we get away from that, the harder it is to convince someone of the objective truthfulness of their sin, of the objective existence of God, and of the objective truth that Christ is the only way to restore that relationship that we need with God to forgive our objective sins and be reconciled to the God.
That's a big reason why we should care about this. Perhaps the biggest reason. The farther culture gets away from a biblical worldview, the harder it will be to evangelize that culture. The more people buy into the empty and deceitful philosophy of the day, the harder it will be to convince people of the correct philosophy which is a biblical philosophy where there is objective truth, where there is real right and wrong and it's not dependent on how we think about it.
People do need a real savior not just to save them from their negative thinking but to save them from the objective fact that they have sinned against a holy and righteous God. The further culture gets away from a biblical worldview, the harder it is to actually preach the gospel and have people understand and respond to it and even think it's the type of thing that they should consider, that could be right or wrong.
Philosophy is really important. I remember growing up, I thought it was weird and dumb and didn't understand it at all. I see how foolish that was, because everyone has a philosophy. Everyone has a worldview. Depending on a person's worldview, it can be easier or harder for us to tear down the obstacles that's raised up against the knowledge and truthfulness of the gospel.
Why should Christians take a position and care about gender identity and transgenderism? Because saying that gender is something you just choose and you can act that way, denies the fact that God created us for a purpose and intentionally male and female. It also is not loving to our neighbor to encourage them in something that's fundamentally not rooted in reality, that can very well be harmful to them. More than that, the farther culture gets away from the belief in objective reality, where for instance our gender is not rooted in how we feel but what our anatomy and biology says, the farther we get away from that the harder it will be to evangelize such a culture.
I look forward to talking with you next week on Unapologetic.