Grace to you! The beloved Volunteer University recently recommended faculty and students to ask other students what pronoun they would like used to identify themselves. In normal language when speaking we say ‘he, she, him, or her’ to reference someone in relation to their gender. However, UT now desires to help some students shed societal expectancy of having to be either a ‘he or she’. Students can indentify as gender neutral. UT provided a list of words such as ‘ze, zir, they, them, etc’ to be used of individuals who do not identify as either a ‘he or she’. Biblically speaking, what are we to think of this? Other than feeling the oddity of how it goes against our societal custom, is there any biblical reflection we need to take into account regarding gender neutral pronouns? As always, scripture gives a worldview to evaluate such proposals.
To get a grasp of what’s happening, we need to go back to the beginning. Gender and sexuality are never neutral. They are innate to our image bearing of God. “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27) God created a gender fixed humanity; not a plastic one for people to define as they wish. The rejection of gender is further denunciation of the Divine Sovereign and His plans for humanity. People now seek to be the Sovereign in place of God: creating and naming new aspects of humanity that have not existed before. Individuals become the new creators!
Romans 1:18-32 talks about how man rejects the Creator but still loves the benefits of God’s creation. This is called idolatry. Here’s how the new gender neutral language that exhibits this idolatry. Those who identify as gender neutral want new pronouns used about them to express their humanity and personhood. They desire to be seen as valid ‘people’ among the mass we call humanity. In other words, they do not wish to be valued and seen as less than human. For all the political pressure to get new gender neutral terms introduced, it’s interesting that our language already has a gender neutral term: the word ‘it’. However, none of the gender neutral proponents are arguing for the use of the word ‘it’ to refer to themselves. Why not use ‘it’? It is genderless. It is neutral. But this is how sinful repression of truth works. People want God’s benefits, in this case to be seen as a human and not an impersonal ‘it’, but not acknowledge the God who gave His good gifts. People, if they could, would murder God so He couldn’t tell them how to use His gifts.
The gender neutral crowd wants God’s value of humanity for their lives, but they also want to throw off God’s sovereignty for their new gender neutral defining sovereignty. How should a Christian respond to someone who asks to be called a gender neutral pronoun? For Christians to use gender neutral language is to also engage in and support the suppression of truth (Romans 1:18). Christians are obligated by Scripture to use ‘he’ or ‘she’ because gender based pronouns truly honor the person as an image bearer of God and not treat them as an ‘it’. The cure for this ill, as for others in society, is not to argue only over the fruit, in this case gender neutral language. The solution is to get to the heart of the problem which is the problem of the heart. Without a return to understanding God as our Sovereign Creator, we will never see the need to have the same God, the Lord Jesus, as our Savior. For those identifying as gender neutral, we need to help them see that to reject the personal God will ultimately mean they will lose their personhood. As much as they want to avoid using ‘it’ to identify themselves, without God not only they but all of us will become ‘its’ and lose what it means to be human and distinct in God’s creation. The loss of gender specific pronouns is not just about what words to use, but about society losing its human soul.
Grace to you! Modern thinking and living boils down to only two options: Oneism or Twoism. People either believe that all of reality is ultimately the same thing or they believe that there is a Creator-creature distinction. What does this have to do with our lives and society we live in?
Oneism is the belief that all of reality consists of only one thing. Evolutionist thinking would see all of reality as made of only matter. The spiritualist would see all of reality as being spiritual. For them, the matter we do see is merely a projection of the ultimate reality of spirit. Regardless whether one believes all reality is matter or spirit, both deny the Creator-creature distinction. Reality for them is absolute Oneness.
The biblical worldview stands in stark contrast. This is made resolutely clear by Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” There was a time when there was no-thing except God alone. God is not dependent on creation nor is He a part of creation. He stands apart from creation as its Maker. There was a time when creation was not, but God is the eternal existing “I am.” (Exodus 3:14) This results in a Twoism worldview. There is God and then there is creation.
The height of sinful rebellion is to trade our devotion to the Creator for His creation. (Romans 1:25) Modern man has done this by claiming absolute oneness in and on everything. Hear some common ways people’s belief in Oneism comes out in today’s culture. “There is no difference between men and women.” “Gay marriage is equal to heterosexual marriage.” “All religions worship the same God.” “We are one with planet Earth.” “You are intolerant for not accepting all ways of living, beliefs, etc.” What are the ramifications of adopting such a mindset?
With a Oneist mindset, we see people lose the ability to make valid distinctions in life. They no longer can tell right from wrong, understand the difference between righteous judgment and judgmentalism, or that men and women are different in good ways! They become intolerant of any perceived intolerance of others! Why? Everything must be absolutely the same (they often use the word ‘equal’) no matter how many distinctions have to blurred, denied, or destroyed. This creates confusion in a society due to the loss of ability to see distinctions.
But the Oneist mindset also denies the worship which the One True God alone deserves. The Lord tells us, “You shall have no other gods before Me” and, “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth” (Exodus 20:3,4). These two verses warn against the modern mindset.
People by believing in absolute Oneness will commit their lives, hearts, love, etc to loving something in creation rather than the Creator. This is the heart of idolatry. And the fruits of idolatry are seen all in modern’s man way of living and speaking as per above. The options are clear. Either we worship the One true God Jesus Christ (John 1:3) Who is separate from His creation or we wind up deifying something God has made and commit the folly of idolatry.
Grace to you! As of the writing of this article, five videos have been released showing Planned Parenthood knowing they have illegally harvested and sold ‘fetal organs’ on the open market. A major outcry has risen from many people asking for Congress to defund the over $500 million dollars a year that Planned Parenthood receives in tax payer money. Biblically speaking, is this enough?
Before we proceed, we need some background. The taking of the lives of the children in the womb is no different than Nazi Germany’s death camps. Just as the Jews walked in and never walked out of a Nazi death camp, once a mom walks into a Planned Parenthood her child will never come out alive. The Nazis burned, gassed, shot, tortured, and then collected whatever goods and materials from the dead Holocaust victims they could to enrich themselves. They collected their money, gold in their teeth, their skin to make lamp shades, etc. Planned Parenthood has not only murdered the children in the womb through barbaric techniques, but now, like the Nazis, found a way to make a profit off of their victims by selling their mangled bodies.
How does PP harvest the organs? The videos show that once they have an order for certain body parts from their ‘customer’, they then talk with the staff how to ‘harvest’ the baby so they can preserve certain organs intact. (If they don’t sell they baby parts, they literally rip the live baby apart with forceps limb from limb in the mother’s womb.) PP even uses an ultrasound to guide their abortion procedure so they can be careful not to damage any potential ‘goods’ they can sell.
Biblically, how are we to evaluate this? What should be done? Is defunding PP the answer? The answer is multifaceted. Defunding PP is an absolute minimalist approach. In others, it’s a no brainer that a murderous organization should not receive tax payer money. Congress and the President stalling on defunding PP is a reflection of their moral ineptitude and compliance to continue the modern Nazi death camps of our unborn children.
Congress and the President should not only defund PP, but launch a full scale investigation, audit, and eventual trial of the evidence gathered against PP not only for selling body parts but for murder. The videos show PP knows beyond a doubt they are harvesting a human being. One in the video even proclaims as she dissects the little body, “It’s a boy!” and laughs. Such evil is callous beyond human decency. Scripture and all nations have laws against people who do such murderous activity: the death penalty (Genesis 9:6). Those who have ‘harvested’ babies via abortions should like any murderer have evidence collected against them, given a fair trial, and then if found guilty sentenced to death for the barbaric murder of innocent children.
The Nuremburg trials of the Nazis showed the world the atrocious activities that happened in the death camps. The world stood shocked at what they saw and heard. We have new death camps in America. The public would be no less shocked to hear in a new Nuremburg trial of PP practitioners of how they butcher babies alive in the womb for their personal financial gain. For a honest but often hard to see reality check on what abortion is see www.abort73.com Viewer discretion is advised.
Grace to you! Last week we saw that our modern society’s failure to hold to absolute truth leaves us unable to discern between good and evil. We also understood what Jesus meant to ‘not judge wrongly but righteously.” (John 7:24) Christians are called to make judgment calls about right and wrong and contrary to popular opinion that is not being judgmental. Again, those who harass others about judging are doing the very thing at that moment they are supposedly condemning others for doing: being judgmental. In short, how do you know I’m judging unless you are judging my actions?! Apparently with secularist’s thinking, it’s only their ‘judging’ that isn’t judgmental!
But we need further biblical reflection on the Chattanooga shootings. Jesus calls us to, “love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.” (Matthew 5:44) Let’s talk about what this does and does not mean! First, what does this mean? It means that we should be for the shooter’s family in a certain, defined way. It means we should desire for his family, friends, associates, and others like him to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Jim Elliot was a Christian missionary that was murdered by tribesmen he was seeking to reach. His wife Elisabeth Elliot stayed to continue the work with the natives and prayed for them to come to know Christ. Later, many of the tribe’s people including Jim’s murderers came to savingly know Jesus Christ and their lives were radically changed! Their story can be found in the book “Through The Gates of Splendor.”
We should pray for and minister to all those who seek to promote evil. As a citizen of the kingdom of heaven, I shouldn’t mind losing my life for the sake of the gospel in sharing it with others. However, this is not the whole story. Wise ‘judgment’ has us to think of the other side of the coin. God has also made me a citizen of the kingdom of this world. It’s here where we find out what Jesus did not mean when He told us to ‘love our enemies.’
Christ’s radical call to love our enemies does not rule out what should be done to protect innocent lives in society nor the punishment of the wicked for their evil deeds. Assuming the shooter had survived, Christians should have prayed for him, ministered to him, sought to lead him to Christ, and called for the death penalty all at the same time. This is contrary to the world’s mindset who says give only mercy and therefore don’t take his life for his crime. Or others want to focus only on justice and therefore desire to see him ‘pay with his life’ for his crimes. But biblically, we should seek for justice and mercy. Just like at the cross. What happened there? Was it justice or mercy? It was both. The justice due our sin was poured out on Christ. Why? Because in mercy He decided to take our place for us. Why again? So God’s justice would be satisfied and I could be accepted by God in His mercy.
Grace to you! Wednesday, July 15, 2015 will be remembered a long time by Chattanooga area residents. A Muslim shot and killed 5 men in a vicious and unprovoked attack. Many are angry, worried about the potential of more attacks, and confused about how something like this could even take place. To understand some, though not all, of the context of the shooting, we have to dig behind the ideas that drive modern America.
John 3:16 used to be the most widely known verse. However, society today loves Matthew 7:1 more, “Judge not, that you not be judged.” This verse (wrongly) is used to banish any thought of judgment, discernment, or ‘discrimination’ of any sort in the public arena. Society insists that all things are to be accepted under the guise of ‘tolerance.’ The word ‘tolerance’ is the buzzword in our nation to silence any dissenting opinions about any issue. The public goes silent for fear of being labeled by others as ‘intolerant, racist, homophobic, mysoginist, etc.’ It’s the grown up version of what children do: name calling. The fallout effect is that no is publicly allowed to ‘judge’ any issue of any kind. However, to judge something means you must be able to discern that nature of a thing, whether it is good or bad. Ironically, society berates anyone who shows any discernment regarding morals, trends in society, or certain proclivities in people as being ‘judgmental’. Yet they are being discerning or judgmental in declaring others as being judgmental! In short, society proclaims, “You can’t judge others because I’ll judge you as being a bad person for doing so!”
To judge something or someone is not a bad thing. It actually means to have discernment. It means that some things are good and bad. Not all things are equal. Rape, murder, stealing, etc are bad and I have the right to judge you as a rapist, murderer, thief, etc if you do these things. That’s not being judgmental, that’s called having discernment. Only the naive looks at someone with bad character traits and buries his head in the sand in the name of tolerance. One who allows such people around their family is not being tolerant, they’re being foolish!
So what does Jesus mean by ‘not judging’? First, don’t look at other people’s faults without looking at yours first. Read Matthew 7:2-5. Second, verse 6 says we have to be discerning about the type of people we deal with so He’s not ruling out all judgment (discernment) of people. And third, He’s warning about placing unrighteous standards on people rather than God’s standard. “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” (John 7:24) Jesus desires us to have righteous discernment and judgment based on His word in relation to a person’s character, rather than merely judging outward appearances.
America has lost all discernment and therefore will power to do anything about rising evil because of its naïve acceptance of the ‘tolerance’ mantra. Rather than make a good and righteous judgment about what needs to be done about evil, we make a foolish judgment and stick our heads in the sand in the name of ‘acceptance of all things’. Then we wonder why evil overtakes us. Love will move us to judge between what is righteous and what is evil.
Grace to you! Last week we saw that Romans 1:24-32 teaches that we have progressively fallen more under God’s wrath. The culmination of God’s wrath, after a people gives in to homosexuality, is that they should expect to see evil unleashed in all facets of society in greater degree. This certainly is not the positive message we would like to hear, but realistically it’s the biblical truth. Is there hope when a nation is steeped in a moral and spiritual quagmire? Thankfully, there is always hope with the biblical God.
First, no matter how great our sin the Lord is willing to extend forgiveness. “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18) Israel had fell into deep idolatry, gross sexual sin, and even sacrificed (aborted?!) their children to the various pagan gods for a better life, freedom, crops, etc. Yet in the midst of all this godlessness, the Lord was willing to forgive and restore the people if they would forsake their sin turning back to the Lord Himself and His laws. Israel faced a momentous decision: either they would repent of their evil and turn to the Lord or God would use the more wicked nations to destroy them and their land.
America faces a similar decision. So far God has gradually been allowing more and more evil to take place. He’s done this for two reasons. One is for judgment by giving us the very evil things we want. Second, to show us that evil does not pay through the consequences we reap from it. The bitter results of sin are a merciful reminder from God that we should forsake evil and turn to Him and His righteousness. (See Matthew 6:33) The consequences of our evil also remind us as bad as they are the coming judgment in the future is going to be worse. Therefore, current fallout effects from our sin are both grace and judgment reminders. Grace to show us that sin brings bad things to incite us to move away from them. Judgment because they are a mere foreshadow of greater judgment coming if we don’t repent. But what if we do know Christ? What if it’s the others who won’t relent of their evil? Is there any hope for Christians? Yes, there is!
Second, even if the nation does not repent Christians still have the Lord. Habbakuk the prophet was told about the coming destruction of his country and wept over it. But he rested in this final hope: Though everything falls apart, “yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. (Hab. 3:17-18) Jesus never promised the gates of hell would not succeed against America, but He did promise the gates of hell would not conquer the church. (Matthew 16:18) America may die, but the church of the risen Lord Jesus will abide forever! To God be the glory!
Grace to you! Is America under God’s judgment? Sadly, yes it is. There is a biblical diagnosis and way to measure the current state of our nation.
Romans 1:18 says, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” We know the bible talks about a future coming judgment but here scripture says God has wrath RIGHT NOW and we can see evidence of His current wrath through three social movements in culture.
Sinful man as he begins to reject the knowledge of God begins to move from worshipping the Creator to worshipping something in creation, even if it’s himself or the planet. (Romans 1:25) This leads to the first stage where “God gives them over” to more sin. In the first stage we see God’s active judgment in giving a people over to sexual immorality. (See Romans 1:24) Have we had our society indulge in sexual immorality? The sexual revolution of the 60’s and continuing immorality of today are evidence of God’s judgment on us as a nation. TV is replete with sexually immoral relationships. People don’t even blush about sexual immorality these days as being wrong in God’s eyes.
If people don’t repent at this first level of judgment, God “gives them over” again to the next level of moral degradation for further judgment. God allows sinful men and women to pursue perverted passions into homosexuality. Romans 1:26,27 talks about men and women leaving natural uses of the opposite sex for degrading passions and burning in their lusts towards those of the same sex. They receive in their “own persons the due penalty of their error.” (Romans 1:27) Sexual disease is rampant but even more so in the homosexual community. Suicide rates are higher in the homosexual community. The sin of homosexuality, as with the other sins listed in Romans 1, are their own judgment. Have we seen a pro-homosexual movement in our country? Indeed we have. We have already crossed phase 2 of God’s judgment on a nation.
And yet if people will not wake up and repent, God has more judgment for them in the third phase of “giving them over” to their sinful desires. Romans 1:28 speaks of all kinds of lawlessness, evil behavior, and unrighteousness people willfully go into in their rejection of God. It’s evident we are now fully sliding into this third and final phase of God’s judgment.
Scripture gives a three-fold phase to know if we are currently under God’s wrath. In recent history, we have fulfilled all three phases. The choice is clear for our nation: either we repent of our rejection of Christ and His gospel which is manifested in these various forms of sin or we prepare ourselves for greater wrath at the coming of the Lord Jesus. “From Jesus’ mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.” (Revelation 19:15-16)