Category Archives: Gender

He Said, “Look Mommy — I’m Wearing A Dress!”

glory-cloudA few days ago, someone told  me that her three-year-old godson met his mother when she came to pick him up from preschool, greeting her with the words, “Look Mommy — I’m wearing a dress!” Horrified, his mother asked him why he was in a dress. He pointed to his teachers and claimed, “Them gave it to me!”

“Oh no,” the teachers argued, “we gave him a choice. We want our children to use costumes to express themselves.”

My friend said that her godson, if he’s not telling the truth about something, normally changes stories when he’s later asked again. But this time, he firmly stuck to his narrative that the teachers made him wear a dress. Therefore, his parents believe that the school pressured him into wearing the dress, perhaps letting him “choose” between two or three dresses.

It turns out, as I suspected it would, that this little boy attends a preschool that accepts state monies. I pretty much believe that the purpose of giving him a dress was to desensitize him, as well as the rest of the children, to transgender issues.

I do believe public schools have a mandate to normalize LBGTQ orientations. Since Obergefell legalized same sex marriage just over two years ago (it seems like it’s been so much longer!) and Bruce Jenner declared himself to be a woman named Caitlyn, I’ve noticed a greater push to force Americans to embrace these sexual deviations wholeheartedly. And the best way to reach this goal, obviously, is to indoctrinate young children.

And people wonder why I so strongly advocate homeschooling?

As troubling as the attack on Biblical views of gender and sexuality is, however, I have confidence that the Lord has complete control. While He hates the sin engulfing our world today (and please, I mean much more than simply sexual sin), He’s allowing a rise in lawlessness to demonstrate our need for Him.

Is His Second Corning imminent? I hope so. Actually, I really believe it’s probable. But I also believe I would be presumptuous to make a dogmatic prediction. I can, however, assert that the Lord is using our collective sin as a judgment on our culture. Please see Romans 1:18-32 as substantiation for my position.

Certainly I reject the idea of coercing a three-year-old to cross-dress. If I was his mommy, he’d never set foot in that school again! But as reprehensible as the school’s actions were, I don’t wring my hands in helpless dismay. The Lord, even though He hates such perversion, remains completely sovereign. In His perfect time, He will bring His righteousness to us so that all creation will bow before Him, confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord.

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It’s Not Easy Being Gay (Or Any Other Type Of Sinner)

Rainbow Bible02People trapped in the sin of homosexuality have a valid point when they accuse Bible-believing Christians of being unloving. All too frequently, we communicate the erroneous message that God has a particular disdain, not just for homosexual behavior, but for homosexuals themselves.

Don’t misunderstand me as softening my conviction that homosexuality is, indeed, sinful. Scripture uniformly condemns it as a violation of God’s intent for human sexuality to serve as a representation of Christ’s relationship with the Church  (Ephesians 5:25-33,  particularly verse 32). In my 33 years of studying what God’s Word says on this topic  (including reading pro-gay theologians like Troy Perry and Sylvia Pennington), I have never seen solid Scriptural evidence that God endorses any form of sexual expression outside of heterosexual marriage. Okay, I’m politically incorrect. But I believe I correctly understand the Bible’s teaching on this subject.

Yet Christians can maintain a Scriptural position on homosexuality without treating members of the LBGTQ community like moral lepers. In dealing with these friends, family members and coworkers, we have the same responsibility to treat them with respect that we have towards everyone else on the planet. Consequently, let’s remember a few simple principles.

First and foremost, we need to keep in mind our own sinfulness. Recently, the Lord used frustrating circumstances to confront me with sins in my life that should have been dealt with decades ago. As frustrated as I was with the outward circumstances, I was much more frustrated by my sinful response to  them. Although I’ve finally accepted the Lord’s forgiveness for falling  (yet again!) into my pre-Christian behavior patterns, the episode reminded me that I’m definitely not God’s little darling.

Galatians 6:1 directs Christians to correct sinful behavior in others with an attitude of humility, remembering how easily we fall  when we’re tempted. I may not be tempted towards lesbian behavior, but I’m tempted in other ways that grieve the Holy Spirit just as deeply. How dare I assume an attitude of moral superiority with people in the LBGTQ community when  I need God’s grace every bit as much as they do! The Bible leaves us no room for sanctimony.

We also need to understand that people who experience same sex attractions or feelings that they were born with the wrong gender assignment honestly can’t distinguish between their sin and the essence of who they are. When we say homosexuality is sinful, they believe we’re saying that God rejects them.

Truthfully, I still haven’t figured out how to help them understand the distinction between their personhood and their sin. I sometimes try to explain that I often feel as if anger is intrinsic to who I am, the Lord has convinced me through His Word that I must confess anger as a sin (the sin of murder, according to Matthew 5:21-22) and repent of it. That’s actually the proper explanation, but it’s extremely difficult for them to accept. I can only pray that the Holy Spirit will open their eyes.

Someone who used to be close to me gave up his battle against homosexuality several years ago. Since then, I’ve read his various writings, which have helped me understand his perspective. While I believe he is completely wrong in embracing homosexuality as his  identity, the Lord has used his writings to give me empathy for people who struggle in this way.

Empathy, of course, must never cause Christians to compromise God’s Word. On any sin, actually. We must proclaim the Gospel to everyone, assuring them that the blood of Christ cleanses all sinners, regardless of sexual expression.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. ~~1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (ESV)

 

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The Gender Card And The Revision Of Scripture

Woman Asking FramedAs I’ve studied arguments for both the ordination of woman and the evangelical acceptance of homosexual relationships (and I’ve studied both issues separately many times over), I’ve noticed that advocates of both practices use similar types of reasoning. First, they’ll claim that the passages that prohibit these practices reflect cultural biases, and therefore God didn’t really mean for them to dictate 21st Century behavior. Then they’ll twist Scripture by taking it out of context and/or reading things into it.

Currently, I want to limit my discussion to women in church leadership, though at a later date I anticipate addressing the typical relationship between the two issues. To open our discussion today, let me show you just a couple examples of how professing Christians try to explain away 2 Timothy 2:11-12.

11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. (ESV)

The website for Brethren In Christ Church (I find amusing irony in the sexist name of the denomination in light of their position on gender issues) offers this explanation:

Paul’s seemingly prohibitive statement about women in public ministry is likely a response or plan of action to deal with women who were new Christians, talented, and endowed with spiritual gifts of leadership, but not yet trained and seasoned for leadership in the congregation. These new Christian women likely were also mixing pagan practices and Christian doctrine. One must keep in mind that prior to this time, only the men had the privilege of learning through formal study. Paul’s assertion in verse 11 that “women should learn” was indeed a new day for the believing woman.
Responding to the women’s lack of training and maturity, Paul therefore declares, “I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man, she is to keep silent (2:12 NRSV). The literal translation from the Greek is, “I am not presently permitting a woman to teach or to have authority over men….” The verb used is present active indicative. It was never intended to be a prohibitive statement or a prescription for all times, places, and cultures. If it had been written for that purpose, there are Greek verbs and tenses which would have been used to clarify the intention. (Source)

The appeal to Greek verb tenses almost convinces me, except for the fact that the apostle Paul based his restriction, not on 1st Century custom, but on God’s original order of creation and Eve’s vulnerability to deception (for this, please see 1 Timothy 2:13-14). And as for  “mixing pagan practices with Christian doctrine,” might I suggest that “Christian” feminism pretty much does the same thing by adopting worldly standards?

A website called Circle Of Christian Women evaluates 1 Timothy 2 in the context of wives and husbands rather than women in general:

1 Timothy 2:12 is not a blanket rule for all women of all churches. If it were, then the women could not speak at all, for the same verse that tells them not to teach also tells them to be silent.

If all women had to keep silent in church, then that would be promoting disobedience to God, for they could not prophesy, pray, testify, sing, exhort, do personal work, or even get saved.

Whenever an interpretation to a verse contradicts the rest of the teaching of the Bible, we know this interpretation is incorrect, for the Holy Spirit will never contradict His own Word.

This is the chief verse that is used to oppose women preaching and yet it says nothing about preaching, nor does it say anything about a public worship or church service. But, on the contrary, this verse is giving instructions to wives as to how they were to conduct themselves in regard to their husband. Paul says in 1 Cor. 14:35, “And if they will LEARN anything, let them ask their husbands at home.” Now he states in 1 Tim. 2:12 that the woman should learn in silence, and should not usurp authority over the man. Paul is dealing with more of a home problem than a church problem.

This verse still applies to us today. It is wrong for a woman to usurp authority over her husband (in church, home, or any place else) as was the case in Paul’s day. She should not try to teach him or speak words that would cause discord and confusion, but should rather be silent and in subjection to her husband.

It is also to be understood that if anyone, whether man or woman, is usurping authority over the God-given leadership of the church, she or he is to be silent, and not to teach, or act in such a way that would create discord in the assembly.

Um, no. 1 Corinthians 14:33-35, if anything, places further restrictions on women in church, and certainly doesn’t soften the impact of 1 Timothy 2:12. This argument just makes no sense, and it completely ignores the context of the verse.Furthermore, their appeal to the “Holy Spirit” makes me suspect some sort of extrabiblical revelation as opposed to believing  that He speaks through Scripture rather than in addition to it.

1 Timothy 2:11-12 flies in the face of 21st Century views on gender roles, prompting professing Christians to find intricate ways of explaining that they don’t really mean what they say. Essentially these arguments, much like the arguments favoring homosexuality and same sex marriage that   currently circulate among evangelicals, reject the fundamental truth that the Bible is both inerrant and authoritative. Of course, they don’t want to openly admit their rejection of God’s Word, so they cleverly bend it to their agenda.

These are only two examples of how “Christians” manipulate God’s Word to justify the worldly practice of women in church leadership. Rather than remaining faithful to Scripture, they twist verses to fit the 21st Century attitude that we must avoid any type of gender distinction (thus tying in with the homosexual and trans gender agenda). And God created binary gender distinctives to reflect Christ’s relationship with His bride, the  Church.  For that reason, we must stand firmly against their human reasoning.

But even more importantly, my beloved sisters in Christ, we must stand for the authority of Scripture, especially when our culture assails it. In our Tuesday posts about the Reformation, we will look at how the Reformers stood for the restoration of God’s Word, even though the Roman Catholic Church preferred their traditions. Now we must stand against a compromised church that prefers politically correct attitudes on gender. We must imitate the Reformers’ faithfulness.

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Women: Distinctly Equal

“The Bible says it. I believe it. That  settles it.”

Many post-modern evangelicals dismiss that quote, as well as that line of reasoning, arguing that it equates to “checking one’s brain at the door.” (Do they realize that they’re equally trite?) When gender roles  come up, such people particularly assume that accepting the Bible’s declarations at face value demonstrates an unwillingness to reason things out.

Sometimes, certainly, we do need to study a verse in more detail, particular when it appears to contradict the general flow of Scripture (1 Timothy 2:15, for instance), but much of Scripture needn’t undergo massive torture simply because we don’t like it. And therefore, the passages that teach the distinct roles between men and women don’t require a vast amount of explanation. The Holy Spirit pretty much moved on the men who penned Scripture to write clearly.

Moses, for instance, described Eve’s creation by emphasizing that she came from Adam for the purpose of helping him.

18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
    because she was taken out of Man.” ~~Genesis 2:18-23 (ESV)

Clearly, the order of creation places Man in a leadership position. But note that Man’s position in no way suggests Woman’s inferiority or spiritual inequality. Her very purpose as Man’s helper, in fact, demonstrates that she brings something to the table that he couldn’t have brought without her.

In 1 Corinthians 11:3-12, the apostle Paul discusses this headship of Man and the simultaneous mutuality between Man and woman. Let me point out two sections of this passage that I believe refer back to Genesis 2:18-23. 

Firstly, Paul establishes male authority within marriage.

But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. ~~1 Corinthians 11:3 (ESV)

Husbands, although they are accountable to Christ, have the responsibility to exercise leadership in their households. Ephesians 5:22-24, Colossians 3:18 and 1 Peter 3:1-6 all enforce this marital structure by instructing wives to submit (always balancing this command by telling husbands to love their wives). The New Testament consistently promotes male leadership.

Secondly, Paul affirms that husbands and wives, while having leader/follower roles, are mutually dependent.

For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10 That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; 12 for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God. ~~1 Corinthians 11:7-12 (ESV)

As far as spiritual standing, the Lord makes no qualitative distinctions between men and women. I refer you to Galatians 3:28 (in proper context) and 1 Peter 3:7 as evidence that women share equally in the inheritance that Christ has for believers. The dignity of women that Genesis 2:18-23 implies, therefore, comfortably co-exists with gender specific roles in marriage.

The principle of male leadership doesn’t stop at marriage, however. Scripture also consistently upholds a model of male leadership in the structure of churches. 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:6-9 enumerate the qualities necessary in holding leadership positions, decidedly couching the instructions to assert that only men meet the criteria.

Liberal people typically argue that these passages reflect 1st Century values, and so do not apply to the present-day church. I would counter by pointing out that Paul directly appeals to Genesis when he told Timothy that women should not hold positions of authority or teaching over men.

11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. ~~1 Timothy 2:11-14 (ESV)

As I’ve studied these Scriptures over the past four decades (often looking for loopholes that might permit me to teach men), I’ve repeatedly concluded that churches, to be Biblical, require male leadership. Paul bases this requirement on both the order of creation and Eve’s rebellion against Adam’s leadership when she ate the forbidden fruit. Paul connects the restriction to the Genesis narrative in order to refute claims that he limited the scope of women’s ministry as a capitulation to 1 Century Ephesian culture.

Scripture definitely affirms spiritual equality between  men and women, but that equality doesn’t negate the Lord’s institution of gender roles. Post-modern society resists these roles, just as it tries to distort gender and sexuality as a whole, but Christians must accept the Bible’s teaching over culture’s demands. God created us male and female for His purposes, and we should celebrate our gender distinctions as a way to honor Him.

 

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Saturday Sampler: July 31–August 6

Vexel Rose Trio

Douglas Wilson runs Blog & Mablog, featuring essays that frequently fly well over my head.But I understand his pithy article Little Hellions, which points out the tyrannical nature of emotions. Not only do I understand it…I wholeheartedly agree with it! Postmodern evangelicals greatly need to consider Wilson’s perspective.

Of course I love Jane Austen! So when Tim Challies’ blog post, Jane Austen’s Prayer showed up in my email inbox, I got excited. This prayer definitely won’t disappoint you!

Clint Archer, in his weekly contribution to Cripplegate, gives his article a short and intriguing title. Deaconesses? Six reasons explores whether or not the position of deaconess has Biblical merit. Clint answers the various questions about deaconesses from the Word of God, giving much needed clarity on the matter.

If you’re in the mood for a good,Biblical challenge, The Gritty, Grace-Filled Virtue of Self-Control by Courtney McLean of Biblical Woman ought to fit the bill.Courtney looks at self-control as the key to walking in the Spirit.

What Exactly Are “Women’s Issues”? asks Erin Benziger of Do Not Be Surprised. She makes a strong and decidedly passionate case for women learning all of God’s Word…not just the passages on marriage and motherhood.

Back in 2013, the Lighthouse Trails Research blog published the full contents of Roger Oakland’s booklet, How To Know When The Emerging Church Shows Signs Of Emerging Into Your Church. I can’t wholly endorse Lighthouse Trails Research, but this particular article matches many other essays I’ve read as well as my own experience in my last church. And for that reason , I believe people need the information Oakland presents.

Another blog post from Cripplegate, this time written by Eric Davis, assists us in Responding to Miracle Claims based  on personal experience. I would add only that some alleged faith healers have people planted in their crusades who get out of their wheelchairs on cue to give an impression of credibility to the healers.

Leslie A. of Growing 4 Life lets us in on The Thing About Wolves by reminding us about Judas Iscariot. Her blog post also teaches us how to discern false teachers.

The problem with tolerating false teachers is… by Elizabeth  Prata of The End Time directs our attention to how our lack of discernment affects young adults in our churches. I’d never considered that aspect before, but it definitely makes a lot of sense!

Michelle Lesley speaks directly to pastors in Build the Wall and  Station the Guard: A Plea for Pastors to Protect 6 Areas of the Church Vulnerable to False Doctrine in her latest blog post. Not only do her points help pastors, but they remind the rest of us to avoid certain influences.

In his blog, Vassal of the King, Geoffrey Kirkland shows ways to Read the Bible as Your Spiritual Food. I like his emphasis on attitude rather than methodology.
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Saturday Sampler: July 3 Through July 9

Square Face LadiesI must heartily recommend that you go to The Watchman’s Bagpipes to read Glenn Chatfield’s assessment of Rachel Held Evans and Homosexuality. Whatever you think of his tone, please consider his actual points.  All in all, this article provides an excellent rebuttal to Evans’ emotional and unbiblical response to the shooting in Orlando.

Rachel, who blogs at danielthree18, gives an impassioned and well-reasoned account of her ministry in her piece, Why I Contend. Those of us who have lost friends because we dared to speak against the teachings of Beth Moore will find encouragement through Rachel’s words.

Writing for Ligonier, Albert Mohler discusses The Sexual Revolution and the Witness of the Church. Homosexuality may be nothing new, but the militancy of the LBGTQ community certainly is.

I just love A Beautiful Thing, the blog for women that Jessica Pickowicz started this past May! Please make time to read her post entitled Devotional Theology: God’s Authoritative Word. Her message can’t be emphasized enough!

In Assisted Suicide: A Quadriplegic’s Perspective, Joni Eareckson Tada reviews the new hit movie, Me Before You, for Revive Our Hearts’ True Woman blog. I’ll most likely pass on the movie myself, since John and I already demonstrate that disabled people can live joyful lives,  but I appreciate Joni for bringing it to my attention. (Note: I’m not endorsing Revive Our Hearts by linking to this particular article.)

Stand to Reason’s Tim Barnett tackles the worn out red herring,  Jesus Said You Shouldn’t Judge, that non-Christians love to throw at us. I appreciate his skill at turning that accusation around by demonstrating how they violate that very passage.

I could have easily written Why I Am Not Continualist, but Tim Challies writes it for me. He offers Biblical reasons for rejecting Charismatic theology, supplementing them with practical observations.  I wish more Continualists would consider his points and examine Scripture to see for themselves.

Carl Trueman, in his commentary, Trouble in Bakersfield for the magazine called First Things, tells about Reformed pastor Chad Vegas resigning from the local school board rather than support transgender bathroom policies.  I admire pastor Vegas for standing on Biblical convictions,  but I grieve at our nation’s growing intolerance of those convictions.

I close with this open letter that Pastor Don Green of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati,  OH posted on his Facebook page. His boldness to stand for Biblical values in a society that now openly rejects the Lord and His Word reminds me of my reasons for starting this blog almost a year ago.
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He’s Wrong–Pray For Him

Pray For AmericaYes, I’m horrified that President Obama has ordered public schools to make bathrooms available according to a child’s perceived identity rather than his or her biological identity.  Horrified, but not at all surprised. Maybe a little angry at his bullying approach to the matter, especially when I think back eight or nine years to my mom’s complaints that President Bush acted unilaterally in many of his decisions.

President Obama has not, in my opinion, been good for the country. I knew he was trouble when he first ran for president in 2008, and prayed furiously that he’d never see the inside of the Oval Office. Over the years I’ve watched him force various parts of his agenda on the American people, circumventing the Democratic process. In short, I’m not exactly this president’s biggest fan.

As a Christian, however, I refuse to rejoice in my president’s failings. I feel repulsed and infuriated that Donald Trump’s butler thought somebody should shoot Obama. Even though I strongly oppose both the president’s policies and his methods, I refuse to disrespect him. Rather, I choose to pray for him in obedience to Scripture.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. ~~1 Timothy 2:1-2 (ESV)


During the Bush administration, evangelicals quoted this passage with great enthusiasm, and found it easy to pray for a man who championed biblical values. But the apostle Paul wrote in a time  when Rome ruled the world, persecuting Christians for daring to proclaim that Jesus had greater authority than Caesar. Thus, praying for the welfare of those who persecuted and oppressed them probably didn’t come naturally. Their obedience to pray for their ruthless and heathen leaders must have demanded much more resolve than 21st Century American Christians need to summon in praying for Obama.

Sadly, American evangelicals often confuse politics with Christianity, as if voting Republican is an essential tenet of our faith. Certainly, the Word of God should inform a Christian’s political views. For instance, my belief that babies are fully human from the moment of conception makes it next to impossible for me to support a pro-abortion candidate. As I said yesterday, my performance in the voting booth must reflect, as best they can, Scriptural values and priorities.

But when evangelicals compromise Biblical standards for the sake of politics, they obviously turn politics into an idol. Refusal to pray for President Obama reveals their wicked rebellion against the Bible’s explicit command to honor our temporal leaders.

President Obama, despite his insistence that he’s a Christian, has demonstrated that he does not care about the Bible’s teachings–or at least that he will not let them rule his behavior. From that, I believe I can safely conclude that he isn’t genuinely saved. Therefore I believe I can rightly pray for his salvation. I can also pray that God will give him wisdom. And (because of people like Trump’s butler), I can pray for his protection.

Obama’s policies trouble me. Some of his actions horrify me, actually. But I pray that God will help him reverse his erroneous agenda, learn from his many mistakes and leave the White House in 2017 with a good legacy and a saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Though any downfall he might experience (especially as he enforces transgender bathroom policies in public schools) would benefit my political party, I don’t allow myself to take pleasure in his failures. Not when I can pray that God will bless him.

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