I was invited recently to a high school here in Ohio with the assignment of speaking to three classes of juniors and seniors regarding the issue of gender, specifically the issue of gender fluidity. My assignment was to present a biblical perspective in this current cultural issue. It occurred to me that interestingly enough, the first thing ever said about you had to do with this topic. It wasn’t this way when I was born but today your parents looked at a sonogram and said either… It’s a Boy OR It’s a Girl! That’s because there’s only two choices! You are born either male or female, that’s the way the scripture, lays it out in Genesis as to how God made us… “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” It’s truly interesting that the progression that follows after creation is, marriage followed then by child bearing. Creation leads to marriage, which leads to pro-creation. I have noticed that the attack strategy in our culture as it has worked backward first attacking life… abortion. Then the attack on God’s design for marriage and now we find ourselves immersed in a discussion over who we are, male or female? The attack on gender specificity where some say there are many options… almost 70 to choose from on Facebook! The answer is NO… just two! Some say we are gender fluid… again NO, there are only two options.
A biblical posture in this issue is not at all popular in fact it is deemed by many to be quite offensive and dangerous as discussed in the recent U.S. Civil Rights Commission report that implies religious believers’ support of religious liberty is often motivated more by hate than by adherence to God’s revelation. The commission’s latest briefing report is titled “Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties” and is intended to examine “the balance struck by federal courts, foremost among them the U.S. Supreme Court, in adjudicating claims for religious exemptions from otherwise applicable nondiscrimination law.” The basic conclusion of the 306-page report is, “Religious exemptions to the protections of civil rights based upon classifications such as race, color, national origin, sex, disability status, sexual orientation, and gender identity, when they are permissible, significantly infringe upon these civil rights.” The tenor of the report is an overall disdain for actions motivated by religion. But the best example of the attitude in the document toward religious liberty is found in the statement of the commission’s chairman, Martin R. Castro, which is worth quoting in full: “The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” John Adams (a quote from the treaty of Tripoli article 11 where Adam’s clearly distinguishes Christianity in the United States from European Christianity. Article XI simply distinguished America from those historical strains of European Christianity which held an inherent hatred of Muslims; it simply assured the Muslims that the United States was not a Christian nation like those of previous centuries with whose practices the Muslims were very familiar and thus would not undertake a religious holy war against them.)
Now back to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission report… it continues, “The phrases “religious liberty” and “religious freedom” will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islam phobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance.” What is quickly advancing through our culture today are SOGI ordinances, or sexual orientation gender identity laws that threaten to force schools, businesses and perhaps someday even churches with pure motives top be
forced to go against their religious beliefs face fines or even arrest for the stand they take for biblical truth.
So please hear my heart in regard to these issues. The church, loving followers of Jesus care deeply about each and every life. We pour our hearts and lives into ministering to those who are hurting, addicted and abused. We are committed to sharing the word of God for we believe that it is true and inspired by God of the universe who is our creator. Because we love God, and Love mankind we are passionate about sharing truth in love. This is speaking truth to every sin, not just homosexuality. So I have two choices as a pastor: To choose temporary popularity with the world-system while we capitulate to destructive behavior and lifestyle choices, and violate God’s Word as it was affirmed by theologians for the last 2,000 years… fearing to say anything because I am afraid of offending anyone or being labeled something I am not. Or choose to love people so much that I articulate God’s truth on even these controversial matters and share in a tender and respectful way that releases the Holy Spirit’s power to help people have victory over wrong behavior or decisions that could cause irreparable harm to a person’s eternal soul. So how do we respond? Like Jesus did… with grace and truth! Showing God’s grace and sharing God’s truth… BOTH! All the while remembering that the goal is always redemption! You want me to talk about what? Why yes, and I believe that Jesus
Tim Throckmorton is the former Executive Pastor of the Plymouth Heights Church of the Nazarene in Franklin Furnace Ohio and the Portsmouth First Church of the Nazarene in Franklin Furnace, Ohio. He is currently the Senior Pastor at Crossroads Church in Circleville, Ohio.