When potty training children, one of the early lessons concerning the toilet seat is when to leave it up and when to put it down. This is pretty basic stuff. In fact, it is so basic that little explanation is necessary. Unless, of course, you are in the Obama Administration. It seems that many who have reached the upper echelons of the US government, even Harvard graduates, just can’t seem to figure this out. And so, since they are confused, they have decided to confuse those who participate in their monolithic public school system.
Last week, the US federal government mandated that, in public schools—in fact, any school that receives federal funding—a person can use the bathroom, locker room and dressing room of their preferred choice. Feel like a female today? Then feel free to shower with the girls. Feeling a bit masculine? Then use the boys’ bathroom. Is this silly? Is this sick? Absolutely. But, of course, fundamentally it is a sin issue.
I was happy to read that some government officials are taking a stand against this politically correct overreach. For example, the governor of Texas responded with the retort, “We will not do it; you can keep your thirty pieces of silver.” Amen. But for the most part it seems that America has lost its mind. Being born in the USA just got a lot more complicated. And for some, confusing.
I remember when Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” broke on the scene. At least in America, it became an overnight classic. I was disappointed, but not surprised, to recently read that Springsteen is now boycotting those places in the USA that refuse to bow to Obama’s attempt to re-write God’s creation order. Perhaps the Boss should rename his classic hit “Confused in the USA.”
There was a time in America when the designations “boy” and “girl” were based on obvious anatomy. A person’s physiological (biological) plumbing determined whether the clothes were pink or blue. Apparently, now one must wait until they go to school to decide their gender. I guess that, for some parents in the USA, potty training just got a lot more complicated, because its society has become confused about something so basic as gender identity. Small surprise when a culture turns away from God and His Word. It ends up losing its mind—evidenced in that it can no longer even make up its mind.
What is “born” in the USA usually does not remain there. (This is literally true of me!) That can be a good thing if we are talking about Snickers candy bars and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. But it is an entirely different matter when it comes to social revolutions. And make no mistake, the gender confusion born in the USA will eventually have a significant influence here in South Africa. Christians need to think biblically carefully, clearly and confidently.
It is clear that, when God created this world and formed human beings, He ordained only two genders. Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Several thousand years later, our Lord and Saviour affirmed this in such places as Matthew 19:4 where He said, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning, ‘made them male and female?’” Apparently, many in our day have not read that. The passage of time did not an additional gender make! There is no third, or fourth, or nth category. Human beings come in two models—male and female—regardless of the era in history. The signage on bathrooms should remain simple—and with no confusion.
I am aware of rare cases where there are significant hormonal and even physiological anomalies (hermaphroditism). In such cases, parents—and communities—must be sensitive and wise. Nevertheless, the transgender revolution that is taking certain parts of the world by storm are in a totally different category. When Bruce Jenner changes into Caitlyn, and when carte blanche is given to someone to decide which locker room they “feel” like showering in, we have crossed the line from rare cases of gender confusion into the realm of the absurd—the God-defying absurd.
The LGBT movement is fundamentally an attempt to deny the rule of our sovereign Lord who alone has the right to make the rules. The claim by government officials is that these “bathroom laws” (I can hardly believe I typed that!) are because of concerns for sensitivity to those who are marginalised and discriminated against. I don’t doubt that “sensitivity” is a concern. But the bigger issue is that of forcing down the societal throat a deviant life choice. Yet underlying this is something far more grave: It is evidence of the wrath of God.
In Romans 1 we are told that one demonstration of the wrath of God upon a culture is that He turns them over to a “debased” (or “reprobate,” KJV) mind (see Romans 1:18–32). This is a culturally collective mind that is unable to make right judgements. It is the collective inability to think straight; it is the cultural mindset that is so confused morally that it calls evil good while calling good evil. It is societal insanity. That is bad news. But it is not the only news.
Romans 1 is not only about the reprobation of a people, it is also about the regeneration of a people. Before Paul speaks of the sinful downgrade of a people, he glories in the power of the gospel (1:16–17). It is precisely because of the wrath of God that the gospel is good news. This is the good news of what God has done through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for those sinners who will repent and believe on Him. Those who do will be saved from His wrath. And they will also be saved from a whole lot of needless confusion.
I have heard people say that Romans 1 teaches the impossibility of those guilty of a deviant sexual lifestyle to ever be saved. I don’t believe that Paul is teaching this. Not at all. Rather, it is highlighting that the light of the gospel shines brightest when the background of sin is the darkest. Where sin abounds, grace so much more abounds (Romans 5:20)! The gospel is able to do for the confused mind what Jesus did for a self-destructive man: to put them in their “right mind” (Mark 5:15). Paul puts this clearly when, after mentioning the lifestyles of those who pervert God’s sexual order, he writes these glorious words: “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9–11).
Though the transgender agenda (along with the entire LGBT agenda) is disturbing, we must not lose sight of the fundamental issue: Those who reject their God-given gender have a God problem. They are not properly related to Him. And this is where Christians must show the greatest sensitivity—not by being politically correct and furthering the psychological confusion (for example, by offering bathrooms of one’s preference). Rather, we must be sensitive to their greatest need: forgiveness of sin and deliverance from God’s wrath. We should pity those who are gender confused and we should look for ways to share the gospel with them. Though this increasingly in-your-face gender confusion no doubt reveals a large societal rebellion against God, we should not lose hope. It may get worse over time. But the gospel will prevail. When society hits rock bottom, the church with the life transforming-gospel will be there to pick up the pieces and to restore order. When it does, then perhaps the hit song will no longer be “Born in the USA” but rather “Born Again in the USA.” Now that will be worth exporting.