manhood

Gender Identity Chaos and Authority

How in the world can people be confused about something as basic as human sexuality? But confused they are! There is a growing generation of people who think that gender identity is a choice. So what is going on?

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Here's a primer on what we are told we must think about these things. This is by no means comprehensive, but it will help you understand the debate as framed by transgender activists:

  • The word "sex" differs from "gender" in meaning.

  • "Sex" is said to refer to one's physical male-or-female characteristics. "Gender," on the other hand, describes the characteristics that a society or culture says is masculine or feminine.

  • Therefore, "gender role" refers to the social role that a male or female plays in society.

  • "Gender identity" is how one personally identifies with regard to gender. It is a result of self-awareness.

These terms and how they are used have become widespread in society. Just understanding these terms can give insight into the debate. You can see where transgender activists are coming from, and you can see where they're going.

In general, transgender activists not only affirm the decision of people who want to identify as a member of the opposite sex, but they encourage the practice. The executive branch of our government is pushing for health plans to cover sex-change operations. The Department of Education has issued "guidelines" requiring school districts that receive federal funds not only to provide restroom and locker room access for those students that identify as a gender opposite of their sex, but to teach this chaotic and perverted view of human sexuality to our children. (See David French's excellent article "President Obama's Transgender Proclamation Is Far Broader and More Dangerous than You Think.")

For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.
— Romans 1:25

At the root of the gender identity chaos is the authority of me. "I get to choose my sex. Who is society to tell me I'm a male or female? And who is God for making me this way?" It is common for a person in our society not only to push God and his decisions aside, but also to replace God with self. And that's one of the many problems with gender identity confusion: a refusal to acknowledge that there are some things you don't get to choose: your sex, your birthplace, your parents, your ethnicity, your name, and the list could go on. Sure, you might try to change some of these things, and you might even succeed. But is that best? Is it healthy? Is it right?

When a person wants to change a part of his identity that was given to him, he has to gain the approval of an outside authority. Changing one's name requires a court order. So does changing one's parents or birth certificate. Even changing one's sex requires a doctor.

What our society has forgotten is that being under someone else's authority is usually a good thing, not bad. When that someone else is God, submitting to his authority is always a good thing.Human sexuality is sacred. The particular sex that you have been given is a sacred gift. It is part of your uniqueness.

We need to remember that, like it or not, we are creatures. We have a Creator who is all-knowing and wants our best. The sex he has made you is not a mistake. Refusing to embrace it is.

Does Submission in Marriage Equate to Slavery?

One of the occasional criticisms of complementarians (those who believe that God created men to be the servant-leaders of their homes) is that it is akin to slavery.I think it's time to put this idea to the test.

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This is what the Encyclopedia Britannica says about slavery (numerical listing is mine):

...Most of the following characteristics should be present in order to term a person a slave. (1) The slave was a species of property; thus, he belonged to someone else. In some societies slaves were considered movable property, in others immovable property, like real estate. (2) They were objects of the law, not its subjects. Thus, like an ox or an ax, the slave was not ordinarily held responsible for what he did. He was not personally liable for torts or contracts. (3) The slave usually had few rights and always fewer than his owner, but there were not many societies in which he had absolutely none. As there are limits in most societies on the extent to which animals may be abused, so there were limits in most societies on how much a slave could be abused. (4) The slave was removed from lines of natal descent. Legally, and often socially, he had no kin. No relatives could stand up for his rights or get vengeance for him. (5) As an “outsider,” “marginal individual,” or “socially dead person” in the society where he was enslaved, his rights to participate in political decision making and other social activities were fewer than those enjoyed by his owner. (6) The product of a slave’s labour could be claimed by someone else, who also frequently had the right to control his physical reproduction.

Does a Wife's Submission to Her Husband Make Her a Slave?

Corresponding to the six points delineated above, let's test whether slavery is an honest and valid analogy/criticism for complementarian marriage:

  1. Complementarian husbands do not consider their wives to be property. They are equals, created in the image of God.

  2. As persons made in the image of God, complementarian wives are responsible for their actions.

  3. Complementarian wives have many rights, not few. No man should abuse his wife.

  4. Complementarian wives have kin. Their families of origin should be respected and honored.

  5. Complementarian wives are not "outsiders," "marginal," or "socially dead." They have the right to engage in political and social activities.

  6. Complementarian wives have control of the works of their hands (cf. Prov. 31:16). They have the right to reproduce physically.

I would add that slavery is usually involuntary. Submission in marriage is always voluntary because that is the nature of submission. There is no such thing as involuntary submission. Why? Because submission involves a willing attitude.

Submission is something that is hard to do. It becomes much easier, though, when the authority in our lives seeks our best and loves us.