Western culture has experienced a moral and cultural revolution of astounding proportions in the past few years and has led many to ask questions that we never thought we’d have to ask: “Can two people of the same gender marry?” “Is gender merely a biological construct?” “What pronoun should we use to call a transgendered person who is biologically a male but whose gender identity is female?”
We live in troubling times, and it can be hard to approach the above questions and related issues as thinking and faithful Christians—especially when a number of “Christians” have abandoned orthodoxy in favor of culture. In the midst of all of this, truth doesn’t change and neither does our calling as Christians.
First, the intellectual and moral heritage of the Christian tradition provides a wealth of theological reflection on the issues of gender and sexuality. We must resist facile and shallow responses to the challenges of our day by reminding ourselves of the enormous theological tradition we gladly inherit from our past.
Second, we must always remember that the Scriptures are sufficient to engage these challenges…. Christians need to remember that the sufficiency of Scripture gives us a comprehensive worldview that equips us to wrestle with even the most challenging ethical dilemmas of our time.
Finally…the gospel provides the only true remedy for sexual brokenness. The theological and pastoral challenges we face in the transgender revolution are indeed enormous, but they are not beyond the sufficiency of Christ’s cross and resurrection.
Our culture leaves me feeling a handful of emotions.
I feel sad for the future confusion faced by today’s six-year-olds who are told gender is their choice. I feel sad for today’s teens and folly they are currently experiencing. I feel sad for school administrators being coerced by the government to let adolescent boys have free reign of the girls’ locker rooms. I feel fearful for the many who claim to follow Christ who have forsaken the Christ of Scripture. But I also feel hopeful. We do have a glorious gospel that can transform any life.
A few years ago, John MacArthur shared the following story of how God used his church’s Scripture reading of Psalm 107 in a powerful way:
Some years ago I was standing here at the beginning of the service, and I got up to read the Scripture, and this is what I read, starting at verse 4,
“They wandered in the wilderness in a desert region; they didn’t find a way to an inhabited city. They were hungry and thirsty; their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble; He delivered them out of their distresses. He led them also by a straight way, to …an inhabited city.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for His loving-kindness, and for His wonders to the sons of men! For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, and the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.
There were those who dwelt in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in misery and chains, because they had rebelled against the words of God and spurned the counsel of the Most High. Therefore He humbled their heart with labor; they stumbled there was none to help.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble; He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death…broke their bands apart.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for His loving-kindness, and for His wonders to the sons of men! For He has shattered gates of bronze and cut bars of iron asunder.”
After the service, a handsome, tall man, 6’ 3” or so, walked up to me… His name was Robert Logerstrum. He was one of the directors of the gay pride parade in Los Angeles, lived completely consumed in a world of homosexuals, and was dying of AIDS.
He said, “I have to talk to you; I have to talk to you.” I said, “Absolutely.” So we sat and talked and he said, “I just have to tell you, you preach a long time.” I said, “Well, why are you saying that?” He said, “Because when you read that Scripture, I knew I was in the right place, and I just wanted to get wherever I needed to get, to whoever I needed to talk to, to tell how the Lord could break the bands of iron and bondage that holds me. And then you kept talking, and talking, and talking, and talking.” Later when I talked to him on a couple occasions, he couldn’t remember the sermon. All he remembered was the Scripture.
But, he gave his life to Christ. He was dying of AIDS, and he went to some of his friends and he said, “I don’t want to die. I’m terrified to die. Where can I get help?” And the homosexual friends that he had said go to Grace Community Church. They sent him here. These are unconverted people who know the reputation of the church.
He came that one Sunday. He came, gave his life to Christ. I baptized him right here a few weeks later. He was totally transformed. He went back and the gay pride parade, went down Hollywood Boulevard, right by his apartment, and all his friends came by to see him in his dying days, and he gave the gospel to all of them. And he went to glory. And his baptism testimony was recorded and played at his funeral to the whole homosexual community.
That’s not politics. That’s the gospel at work and if you don’t have the right view of sin then you’re going to get caught up in aiding and abetting people’s destruction.
Now with that in mind, listen to the words of that psalm: “They wandered in the wilderness in a desert region; they didn’t find a way to an inhabited city. They were hungry and thirsty; their soul fainted within them. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble; He delivered them out of their distresses.”
This story beautifully illustrates the sufficiency of the Scriptures and the power of the gospel. No matter our background or the sins we have committed, we can cry out to the Lord in our trouble and be saved from all of our distresses.
As the headlines continue to disappoint, may our convictions and Christ-like compassion grow stronger as we trust in God, share the truth in love, and minister the gospel to broken people left in sin’s treacherous wake.