On the Church and Her Priorities

On the Church and Her Priorities“If I profess with loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except that little point which the world and the Devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”

The above quote, attributed often to Martin Luther though his authorship is questionable, is nevertheless an important one for the church in our day. If we fight yesterday’s battles, we will lose today’s.

Consider what we’ve seen in just the last few months:

And this is not an atypical few months with regard to gender and sexuality in our culture or in the church.

Over the same past few months I’ve also noticed:

  • Zero mainstream publications trying to convert teens to white supremacy.
  • Zero high profile Christians publicly waffling on whether racism is a sin.
  • Zero professing Christians aiding the implementation of government imposed segregation policies.
  • Zero churches taking action to be deliberately more inclusive of those who identify as white supremacists.
  • Zero taxpayer money allocated by Republicans or anyone else, to re-segregate the military.

So, in which of these areas does it appear the “battle rages?” On which of these topics should the church be speaking the loudest and the most often? In which area should we be concentrating the limited time and treasure the Lord has given us? On which topic should there be conferences and denominational resolutions (provided those actually accomplish something other than virtue signaling)? Which one should be called “Satanic” openly and often?

I get it, there are people who are appalled at how the church conducted herself on the issue of race in the mid-twentieth century and before; I’m one of them. Some people, I believe, like to think if they’d only been there, things would have been different they wouldn’t have refused to stand up. Now, in positions of power and influence they’re determined to make that clear. Trouble is,  it’s not Selma, 1965; it’s Sodom & Gomorrah, 2017.

If you want to prove you would have stood firm where the church faltered in the past then stand firm where she’s faltering today. Fight today’s battles, not yesterday’s. Battle reenactment is for hobbyists. Does racism still exist, yes, even when properly defined. But, to say it’s the or even an overarching problem for the church and must be given the same level of attention as the sexual revolution or something like abortion is simply not true. Confront it if you see it in a fellow believer but don’t pretend it’s larger than it is. To do so may win you attaboys from the culture but it won’t take the fight to the battle at hand.

Photo credit: Andrew Campbell Photography via Visual hunt / CC BY

Transgenderism, Mental Illness, and the Church

I recently read a post on the issue of transgenderism that made this statement:

No objective tests can prove that the transgender condition exists. No physical examination, blood test, bone marrow test, chromosome test, or brain test will show that a person has gender dysphoria. It is a condition revealed solely by the patient’s feelings.

I agree with that wholeheartedly.

But here’s the thing – that can be said about a plethora of conditions we collectively term “mental illness.” Things like ADHD, depression, anxiety, and even things like schizophrenia are also symptom diagnosed (as opposed to diagnosed via objective medical tests). You tell the doctor or therapist what’s going on with you, they ask additional questions  or observe your behavior over time and they give you a diagnosis. There are no blood tests or other objective medical tests involved. Sometimes there are medical exams to rule out other causes, such as substance abuse, but that’s different from a positive diagnosis via medical exam.

Unfortunately, the same church who wants to refute psychology on transgenderism, has largely bought into the psychological model for many other conditions equally unprovable.

For example, why do we accept this:

“I know what the Bible says about anxiety but I have a special situation.  The doctor says my brain doesn’t function the way others’ do in this regard. This is something I can’t help, something that must be treated medically.”

But not this:

“I know what the Bible says about gender but I have a special situation. The doctor says my brain doesn’t work the way others’ do in this regard. This is something I can’t help, something that must be treated medically.”

The Bible always treats destructive behaviors and inappropriate thoughts as sin, never as diseases. For example, it talks about the sin of drunkenness, not the disease of alcoholism. Yet the disease model of sin is widely accepted in many churches today, even many conservative ones, and I believe those chickens will come home to roost with the issues gender and sexuality.

For years the church has deferred to the discipline of psychology as an alternative authority or at least a coequal authority with scripture with regard to behavior and thinking. Rather than treating problems of thinking as opportunities to point people to scripture and encourage them to renew their minds, we’ve deferred to psychologists and psychiatrists. But now, when faced with transgenderism, we want to jump off that train and say (rightly) there’s no objective evidence that something in the brain determines  gender independent of  anatomy.

If you have male anatomy and think you are a woman, you don’t have a problem with your brain, you have a problem with your thinking. You are engaging in sinful and warped thinking that needs to be brought in line with the teaching of the word of God. But because we don’t make that declaration in so many other areas, we may have our work cut out for us doing so in this one.

Retailer Announces New Policy

6737321913_282a13db70_zMajor retailer Bull’s-Eye: BULL (NYSE) announced Thursday that it was updating the access policy in all its stores. “Bull’s-Eye is an inclusive company and we want to be sure no one who walks in our stores feels excluded in any way,” said Eileen Wayleft, head of customer relations. “As a result, all those offensive ‘Employees Only’ signs will be taken down. From now on, every person who walks in our store will have access to every area. No one should be told they can’t walk through a door simply because they don’t happen to work for Bull’s-Eye.”

The retail giant also announced an end to parking places exclusively for the handicapped and expectant mothers. Wayleft said, “Any distinction made among people for any reason is discrimination, something that is against our values here at Bull’s-Eye.”

When asked if they would be moving the cigarettes from behind the Plexiglas at register seven so smokers can buy a pack of Camels without feeling like second-class shoppers, Wayleft replied, “Are you crazy! Smokers should have their houses and children taken away from them and be exiled to…um, I mean no comment.”

Photo credit: ClaraDon via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Condemned by The Writing on the Door

Condemned by the Writing on the DoorI find it fascinating that one of the signs that Western Culture is circling the bowl is the current obsession with said bowl and who can use it under what circumstances. Why is the latest front in the culture war sex-segregated facilities, whether they be locker rooms or public restrooms?

Believe it or not, the Bible gives us some insight:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature,have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. – Romans 1:18-20, emphasis  mine

Paul tells us the law of God, in other words the truth, is written on the hearts of men – all men, even unbelievers. Deep down every human being knows he or she is in rebellion against God and, apart from a work of the Holy Spirit, they do all they can to suppress that truth. When that rebellion is not just against God’s standards as revealed in His Word, but against the created order as well, suppression becomes more difficult. It’s one thing to suppress the truth regarding behavior that is not in line with God’s Word, I can, after all, choose to never crack open a Bible or expose myself to Christian teaching and thus avoid being reminded of my sin. It’s quite another to suppress the truth regarding the reality of who I am. If I’m a man trying to convince myself that I’m a woman, yet every time I strip down in front of the bathroom mirror my lie is exposed (no pun intended), I have to up my suppression game. It’s not enough to tell myself the lie, I must enlist others to lie to and for me as well.

That’s where bathrooms and locker rooms come in.

Bathrooms are everywhere – in the shopping mall, at the doctor’s office, in the grocery store, at Target. Everywhere we go we’re confronted with two doors, one for women and one for men. Bathrooms are also one of the last places in our culture where the sexes can legitimately be segregated. If I’m a man pretending to be a woman, I’m reminded of my lie every time I see these two doors and realize I cannot push the one marked “Women” and walk inside. So, in order to suppress the truth welling up within me, I must demand access through that door because that tells me other people also believe my lie and allows me to further suppress the truth.

Bottom line, this is not a quest for equal rights; it’s a quest to avoid reality and silence guilty consciences. But it won’t work. In the end, no matter how many states pass laws allowing men into women’s bathrooms or how many aging celebrities cancel concerts, men will still be men, women will still be women, and God will still be God and He will not be mocked.

Photo credit: Ric e Ette via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

A Few Questions for the Gender Warriors

A Few Questions for the Gender WarriorsIt’s hard to keep up with the gender and sexuality culture. Just when you think you have all the permutations and combinations memorized, another letter is added to the sexuality alphabet.

You may have seen a recent story about a 52-year-old man who identifies as not only a woman but a six-year-old girl as well – who goes by the name of “Stefonknee.” I wrote about it here. He has been “adopted” by a couple with (real) children who role-play as his “mummy and daddy.” Continue reading “A Few Questions for the Gender Warriors”