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Friday, June 5, 2015

Transgendered Gnosticism

Gnostics were a first-century cult that taught that matter didn’t matter. More precisely, they held that our physical bodies were vulgar and thus lacked value, while our inner spiritual state represented true reality. They taught that because Jesus was the perfect spiritual being, he wouldn’t have even had a physical body. If he would have walked on the beach, he wouldn’t have left foot-prints (which, if true, would radically change many Christian posters).
I think this was meant as a LGBT-rights poster, but it it can also be read as an argument against the T part of that acronym.
Gnostics are still around today, only the best place to find them is inside the transgender movement. The modern transgender movement seeks to differentiate between one’s biological sex and the concept of gender. Your sex is what you are born with, while gender is a social construct foisted upon you at birth by a society that (wrongly) assumes that your sex is related to your gender.  
This movement has as its goal the obliteration of that connection. Now let me be quick to say that the movement entirely lacks logic and any kind of propositional truth that is remotely plausible. Consider: in claiming that sex and gender are not connected, they also claim that some people can be born with the “wrong” sex (hence a sex-change operation). For example, they purport that a person can be born biologically male, but have an internal gender of female, and hence have the “wrong” body.
But if gender is not connected sex in the first place, then in what sense could someone be said to have the “wrong” body? If gender is all about social constructs, why change a person’s body to match one’s internal gender? It doesn’t make any logical sense. (Actually, let me rephrase that: it makes as much sense as saying gender doesn’t have anything to do with marriage.)
Last week I wrote about this issue being forced upon elementary school students in the Washington DC area, but be sure it will come to a school district near you. Short version: the Fairfax County School Board followed a Department of Education recommendation and passed a measure that would allow students to use the restroom of what ever gender they identify as, regardless of their biological sex. You maybe have heard about the gym where the male who self-identified as a woman was using the women’s locker room, or the college where the male student hung out nude in the women’s locker room. Fairfax County wants to bring that to the elementary school level.
How should we respond to this?
Understand the motivation is to rebel against God, and to force you to approve of their rebellion.
If a person is going to silence God, they have to sear their conscience, and sever any obvious ties they have to their creator. Because God is the one who designed the sexes (Matt 19:4Gen 1:27), a full-throated rebellion against God is going to have to contain a rejection of God’s design for sex. “Who exactly does God think he is, if he thinks he can tell me that I’m a male or a female!?”
But the person who mutilates their body to bring it into conformity with their internal gender-identity still has one major obstacle in their quest to silence God: you. They need those around them to accept them, approve of them, and simply not remind them that what they are doing is sin. In fact, they demand that you approve of it (Rom 1:32). To that end they “glory in their shame” (Phil 3:19), while “casting up their own shame like foam” (Jude 13).
As Christians, we must at the very least refrain from the approval the person so desperately wants. We must be the few voices left that say, “You may not have noticed this, but God really did make males and females” (Matt 19:4).
Understand the difference between sex and gender:
Here is how to tell the difference: people have sex, and nouns have gender. A taco is masculine, and a tostada is feminine, and this has nothing to do with what biological parts they have. This is admittedly an abstract concept in English, since ours tends to be a gender neutral language, but if you remember high school French or Spanish or Latin, you likely remember that gender is a concept that is grammatical, not biological.
Unlike gender, sex is biological. There are chromosomes involved, and physical parts that correspond. With apologies to the transgender Gnostics of our day, sex is not a social construct but a physical reality. While in some cases there are people born with a biological defect (where their sex organ does not match their biological sex), these exceedingly rare examples demonstrate that in a fallen world all of our physical capacities are subject to corruption. In other words, the existence of congenital blindness does not demonstrate that eyesight is a social construct.
Certainly there are some social gender constructs: boys play with guns, and girls with dolls. But a boy that plays with dolls does not mean that he has the wrong physical parts, and he certainly should not then use the bathroom with females. Bathrooms match sex, not your childhood toy preference.
Sex is binary (you either have a male chromosome, or you do not), and in as much as gender is connected to people, it is likewise connected to sex.
Be a voice of reason:
Christians need to be balanced and reasonable in conversations about these issues. Remember that we are dealing with seriously hurting people, many of whom are confident that the source of their internal pain is that their self-perceived gender does not match the sexual parts that God gave them.
Be able to explain how as sinners we are all fallen, and how as children of Adam we all have our true identify in the second Adam. Refuse to approve of evil (John 12:43), and be the one person who is willing to clearly identify what God says about the issue of sex. We must renounce things hidden because of shame (2 Cor 4:2), refusing to glorify the sexual evils of our culture (Eph 5:12).
While our culture rejects science by attempting to separate gender from sex, we should be able to explain how the truth of Scripture conforms to what we see in this world (Matt 19:4).  It doesn’t matter if we are on the winning or loosing side in the battle of public perception; all that matters is if we are on the right side of truth, seasoned with love.