We believe that our 12 year old boy is really a girl. We have decided to allow him to “transition”…
…announced the man and his wife who pastored a church.
This disclosure impacted me. Crestfallen, dispirited – what can I say? My heart sank, not just for this particular family (whom I love) but for the many Christians who are celebrating these kinds of announcements. Often people who do not rejoice along with these events are branded as “haters”. But I am not a hater. I am just someone who believes that some things are sacred.
Some Things Are Sacred
Certain things are to be hallowed, intelligently designed in order to reveal something of God. I believe that gender and sexuality are sacred. They are features of human nature that God has fashioned skillfully and forcefully.
So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them, male and female He created them. …The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man. ”That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. (Genesis 1:27; 2:23-25)
These expressions of human nature are vivid, emotive and spiritual. They embody all the delicacy and balance of God’s image, dissected in order that we might see the fullness. The tender nurture and the bristly strength of God portrayed as unified in creation. These traits of gender and sexuality are venerable and constant.
Mercy and Truth
I have a great deal of compassion for those who feel detached and confused about their gender or their sexulaity. I am sympathetic towards those who are faced with parenting their children through these kinds of issues. I have close friends who have grappled with these issues and found peace. I confess that within myself, there is a struggle between mercy and truth. Like antagonistic muscles, these tensions move me to a decision.
As a follower of Jesus Christ, how far can I extend myself in my expression of support regarding a person’s migration away from that which is sacred and true? How far can this go?
Boy Transitions from Human Race to Become Zebra
To offer an extreme and farfetched parody: What would I say to a 12 year old boy who felt he was in fact a zebra? After meeting with many counselors, psychiatrists and therapists, it was soberly assessed by all that this boy was actually a zebra. Born with the outward form of a human, this boy was psychologically and emotionally a zebra. His parents had to admit that the child had gravitated towards wearing striped attire since he was an infant. He was always a self-elected herbivore. Considering the intense emotional distress and profound struggle the boy has had to endure as a human, practical and surgical steps are quickly being taken to transition the boy into his life as a zebra. The family are asking for only expressions of support at this time.
Cling to What Is Good
The Apostle Paul exhorted the church to “cling to what is good”. Am I a hater because I genuinely believe that innate gender is binding and good? Or because I defend God’s original design for human sexuality (a man and a woman exclusively in sexual union) as immovable? Or is it good to celebrate when a human being rejects the beauty of their God given design?
The Problem with Tolerance
I believe in the separation of church and state. I believe in freedom of speech and accordingly, I will have the opportunity to “tolerate” the presence of ideas I do not agree with. I believe that individuals should be free to espouse whatever ideology they wish as long as it is not harmful to others. That said, I am at the same time wary about the growing pressure in these days to be tolerant. I think of the insights of John Wesley who once said, “What one generation tolerates, the next generation will embrace.”
However, I am not a politician; I am a pastor. As a pastor my concern is shepherding the church. Jesus described Himself as the Way, the Truth and the Life. As a leader concerned with guiding people along the path of truth, I will not be tolerant in the church of ideas that undermine the fundamental ideology of a Judeo-Christian worldview. At the end of the day I answer to God and God alone.
There are those whom I respect that have said, “Well, Jesus was so accepting of people. To be loving is to accept. To be loving is to celebrate when people are finding happiness.” Whilst this all sounds merciful and kind, it is not logical. If I believe the latter, I misunderstand the nature of love. For as Paul teaches us:
Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. (I Corinthians 13:6)
Let me be clear. Love will always embrace an individual. At our church I can affirm that “everyone is welcome”. However, love does not rejoice over wrong choices. Accordingly I do not believe the church at large should celebrate when an individual chooses a path that digresses from scriptural mandates.
Jesus Strongly Opposed Tolerance
Jesus said; “Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality.” (Revelation 2:20)
While it is not clear what the practical circumstances were in the church at Thyatira, the application is clear. We should be cognizant of the fact that there are powers that stir up false teaching and lead people into wrong choices. In every generation there are ideologies that erupt in the church that lead people astray. As you read on in this passage above, the consequences for “tolerance” within the church are thoroughly sobering.
Apparently the ever-accepting Jesus had a brawny reaction to something!
Tidal Waves of Change
In a technologically advancing world change is constant but time pulses by hour by hour all the same. The sun and the moon are perpetual and the constellations remain, piercing through the night sky. As I see those in the Christian Community departing from holding to those things which are sacred, I imagine the stars becoming unhinged from their place.
And like stars falling from the sky into the sea, the loss of sacred ideals will inevitably create tidal waves of destruction within our communities. I believe that as Christians we need to be kind, loving and supportive to every individual. However, we need not be tolerant of theories or teachings that fail to uphold what is sacred and true.
Let Us Welcome Everyone Into Our Churches
Gender and sexuality are sacred. In an age of diversity we should never expand from the central reality that men and women are ingeniously and deliberately designed to reflect their holy Creator.
Let us cling to what is good. Let us be compassionate and ask God for wisdom to guide those who struggle. Let us seek an increase in power to impart freedom and an overflow of love to heal those who struggle. Let us welcome everyone into our churches and treat them with honor and mercy.
But for Christ’s sake, let us uphold what is sacred!