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women-149577_640The moral revolution the western world is experiencing attacks against truths woven into the fabric of life. Rejecting truth as instituted by God in His created order comes with serious baggage.

Case in point is an article that recently appeared at the New York Times called “How Changeable is Gender?” In this article, Richard Friedman, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, exposes a flaw in one of the most perpetuated narratives in the transgender movement that he supports: that gender only has meaning because society gives it meaning. He writes:

But if gender were nothing more than a social convention, why was it necessary for Caitlyn Jenner to undergo facial surgeries, take hormones and remove her body hair? The fact that some transgender individuals use hormone treatment and surgery to switch gender speaks to the inescapable biology at the heart of gender identity.

Or said another way: if gender is only a social construct, then why do so many seek (and encourage) a biological change?

The fact is, the social construct argument can’t stand up to it’s own logic. Denying reality, especially God’s good reality imposed at creation, has to reject logic at some point.

Some have compared much of what is happening in the transgender revolution to Hans Christian Andersen’s story The Emperor’s New Clothes, where people tell each other all is well just like people told the naked emperor his “clothing” looked great—but deep down they can’t deny the truths woven deep into the fabric of life (Romans 1:20).

Friedman’s article continues and shares a few findings unpopular among those who wave the transgender flag:

  • One study of Swedish transsexuals reported a 19x greater suicide rate after sex reassignment surgery
  • 41 percent of transgender and gender nonconforming individuals attempt suicide at some point in their lifetime compared with 4.6 percent of the general public
  • Studies also show that when children have gender dysphoria, a good percentage grow out of it. Friedman says, “gender dysphoria in young children is highly unstable and likely to change.” Many today are quick to encourage sex-reassignment surgery (even some among youth) and should take these study results to heart.

Seeing statistics like that and hearing stories about people not comfortable in their gender is heart-breaking. They are even more heart-breaking when you look at it from a spiritual perspective.

Romans 1 shows this is the evidence of rejecting God and His Word. Rejecting God leads to men becoming wise in their own eyes, leading to them becoming fools with futile thinking (Romans 1:21-22).

How is a Christian to think of the transgender revolution? Or love their transgender neighbor?

No different than the way we think about anything else or love anyone else.

Every human being is made in God’s image and has tremendous worth in His sight (Genesis 1:26-27). Every human is also made in the image of Adam (Genesis 5:3) and are by nature sinners who reject God. We live in what one pastor calls “The Enigma of a Double Image”—both made in the image of God and the image of sinful man.

We need to respond in compassion, because living in the effects of a fallen world is tragic and should cause us to mourn. We should respond by speaking the truth in love when opportunities present themselves.

The good news is that Romans doesn’t end after chapter one. There is hope for those who trust in Christ and are cleansed by His blood.

Let us be people of prayer who keep these truths in mind when we see a new story or deal with gender-related issues closer to home.

“God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

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Hey friends,

You may have noticed I posted some wedding bloopers on the blog earlier this week. I realized with the help of a reader (and my conscience) that they weren’t the most tasteful (laughing at people’s pain), so I pulled the post down. Thank you Samuel for letting me know! My goal was to share something humorous, and I forgot how the videos dealt with real people! Please accept my sincerest apology.

Now, onto the links!


Some ebook goodness:

  1. $1.99 for one of the best books I’ve ever read: Unbroken Laura Hillenbrand’s biography of Louis Zamperini
  2. Also, Cross-Points eBooks has three free Kindle books today you might want to check out.

Why Go to Church? by Josh Moody

10 Predictions about the Future Church and Shifting Attendance Patterns by Carey Nieuwhof

Should We Watch Murders on Social Media by Russell Moore

15 Ways to Fight Lust with the Sword of the Spirit by Kevin DeYoung

15 Practical Tips for Leading a Small Group Toward Gospel Growth gleanings of mine from the book Growth Groups shared at Leadership Resources’ blog.

Fasting for Beginners by David Mathis

The Most Important Question about Abortion

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“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

That’s how Charles Dickens’ classic novel A Tale of Two Cities opens. That sentence seems to describe our world today pretty well.

We live in unprecedented times for the worldwide church. People in the global south and previously difficult countries like China are coming to Christ quicker than we can report. We have the Bible in more languages today than ever before. Technology makes the spread of Bibles and Christian literature easier and more cost effective than ever. Christ is completing His promise to build His church and is using hoards of workers, resources, and training programs to make it happen. Reaching every people group on nation with the gospel seems closely in reach.

On the flip side, the secularization of western civilization is accelerating rapidly with growing persecution likely just around the corner. Europe, the birthplace of the Reformation and locus of Christendom for so many centuries, has all but totally rejected their Christian heritage. Terror groups like ISIS and Boko Haram move like juggernauts in the Middle East and spread their evil ideologies like gangrene to the rest of the world through social media—maybe even to your own neighborhood. At times, the church doesn’t seem to be doing a whole lot better with abuses of power, wars over worship styles, or pastors falling into sin.

Is our world getting better or worse?

Continue reading my new article at BloggingTheologically.com to find the answer.

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Western Churches and the Wrong Side of History by Eric Metaxas (listen above)

Andy Naselli shares a helpful post sharing details of the New NIV Zondervan Study Bible available here.

Matt Perman on Being Gospel-Centered at Work

Digging through J. Warner Wallace’s archives: Some Important Questions for the Jehovah’s Witness Worldview

My Ten-ish Commandments of Facebook Engagement on Hot Topics by Sam Choi

Four Prerequisites for Success in Seminary by Jesse Johnson

How to Respond to Low CQ, Racist Comments, and Facebook Rants by David Livermore

A roundup of great articles and resources on Faith and Work from Bill Pence

Free Christian Indie Music Compilation from JesusFreakHideout

Here are some of my favorite tweets from the week:

 

John Stackhouse, Professor at Crandall University in Moncton, New Brunswick, shares an articulate answer to a questioner who wonders if Christians will throw out all of the Bible because some parts are “absurd” (or, more accurately, misunderstood).

His words are important for us today as our culture increasingly rejects the Bible and believes false arguments due to misunderstanding Scripture (like when the questioner says the New Testament promotes slavery).

(HT David Murray)

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We are studying through Mark in our small group at church. For the past several months, I have constantly been amazed at how Jesus displays His divine authority over everything; including demons, sickness, nature, and religion. Most recently in Mark 12, we’ve seen the Pharisees, Sadducees, and scribes try to trap Jesus with the “gotcha!” type questions that fill the political discourse on cable news channels.

Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 

The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these. —Mark 12:29-31

When a scribe curiously asks Jesus what the greatest commandment is (presumably looking for reasons to arrest Jesus), Jesus points back to two Old Testament commands that frame the whole of Jewish (and Christian) life: the command to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself (coming from Deuteronomy 6:4 and Leviticus 19:18 respectively).

Gauging your obedience to these two commands often feels like gauging your prayer life: however you have grown, you always have more room to grow.

I’ve found the following questions helpful in both convicting me and pushing me to love my God more:1

  1. Is the Lord the all-consuming passion of my life?
  2. Do I have a deep, intense, and abiding affection for my Lord?
  3. Am I loyal to my God with an exclusive love?
  4. Do I resist and even oppose anything or anyone that seeks to do my Lord harm?
  5. Am I zealous to defend, with grace, my Lord’s name and honor?
  6. Do I enjoy spending time with my Lord?
  7. Do I do things that please my Lord and increase His joy?
  8. Do I brag on my Lord to others?
  9. Do I tell my Lord that I love Him?
  10. Do I talk with my Lord as much as I can?

As helpful as these questions are in self-examination and moving our hearts to love God, we will never keep the first and great commandment like we should. R.C. Sproul helped me see the gravity of this:

If I were to ask you, “What is the most serious sin of all?” what would you say? Murder? Adultery? Idolatry? Unbelief? It seems to me that if the Great Commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, the great transgression is the failure to keep this commandment.

That scares me, because I have not kept the Great Commandment for five minutes in my life. I have never loved God with my whole heart. My soul has never overflowed with affection for God. My mind has been lazy with respect to understanding God’s Word, and I am often more interested in learning the things of this world. Finally, I have only used a portion of my strength in my affection for God. Were it not for Jesus, I would perish because of this sin, and rightly so.2

And thank God the Father for Jesus. Not only is He the One who gives a bunch of serious sinners hope, but He also provides us the perfect example of loving God and others:

  • “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
  • “And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:2
  • “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…” Ephesians 5:25
  • “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Romans 12:1
  • “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9
  • “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.”” Romans 15:1-3
  • “Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” Romans 15:7
  • “As the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Colossians 3:13

We have our work cut out for us, but with Christ’s example and the Spirit’s power, we can pursue the most excellent way: the way of love.


1 Source

2 R.C. Sproul in his commentary on Mark.

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