Answers To The 3 Most Common Objections To A Christian View Of Gender And Identity

 
Hunter Leavine | September 25th 2018

Our culture is filled with confusing messages about gender and identity. As you strive to teach and apply a biblical framework of gender you will encounter objections. We have included responses to some of the objections below. While this is far from an exhaustive list, hopefully the way in which each objection is handled will serve as a model for responding to other potential objections. These objections may be repeated to you by a child who is a professing Christian and has struggled to answer a question posed to them by a friend at school or college. You can help nurture their faith and equip them to answer others and so fulfill the command:

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect..." 1 Peter 3 v 15 (NIV)

Gender

Gender

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Articulating the Bible's view on gender to children as they grow up

Objection: “God wants me to be happy”

It’s common to hear people say that God just wants them to be happy. Sadly, this message has seeped into the preaching and teaching of some churches too. The trouble is that the word “happy” is usually not defined. It’s left up to each of us to define what happiness means for us. For one person “happy” might be having a big house and fancy car, and for someone else it might be a home full of family gathered around the dinner table. So, does God want us to be happy? To answer that, we must first answer two more general questions: does God want certain things for us, and how can we know if he does?

In order for us to know what God wants, he would have to reveal his desires to us. Thankfully, there is one such place where God has personally communicated about himself to us: the Bible.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3 v 16-17

In other words, Scripture gives us everything we need for doing good and being righteous. Yet, when we consult Scripture, we will never find God saying he wants us to be happy or even that one’s personal happiness is the greatest good.

In Scripture, Jesus tells those who want to seek righteousness to deny themselves, pick up their cross, and follow him. Scripture also states that we were created to “image” (reflect) God’s glory, and that our desires are often sinful—sin makes us happy. While we could certainly continue this list of Scriptural truths, one thing is clear: we were created to live for the glory of God, not for our own happiness. We are to be holy as he is holy.

When we die to ourselves daily and pursue godliness, we will actually find lasting, true joy. This is much more in line with what God has revealed in Scripture, since Jesus came so that we may have life, and have it abundantly. God created us to worship him, and he created us such that it is only when we glorify him that our souls are deeply satisfied. If we seek happiness, it will be fleeting, but if we seek holiness, we will find lasting joy.

Perhaps the easiest way to deal with this objection is to ask the objector: “How did you come to the conclusion that God just wants you to be happy?” Make them provide you with the reasons why you (and they) should hold that view. Most likely, they will say something about God being love, and that love means making someone happy. You can provide counter examples from scripture and daily life showing that love sometimes requires unpleasant actions, that are nonetheless loving.

If we seek happiness, it will be fleeting, but if we seek holiness, we will find lasting joy.

Objection: “God made me this way”

While not always the case, often times the person who claims that their behavior is fine because “God made them that way” doesn’t actually believe God created life; they believe in evolution. This is a major inconsistency: you can’t claim God made you the way you are and deny his creative work in making you.

But even if that isn’t the case, this claim proves too much. If God’s creation of a person means that their desires and actions are acceptable, then how can we condemn murder, adultery, and rape? People who commit those actions have natural desires leading them to those actions. People who lie and gossip were made by God too, but this doesn’t mean those actions are acceptable. You can never determine if something should be the case just by noticing that it is the case. Just because people lie, that doesn’t mean lying is okay. And just because people have gender dysphoria, that doesn’t mean changing one’s gender is good either.

This and all claims should be subjected to the revealing light of Scripture. When God said he made humans “male and female” he was speaking, at the least, about their physical biology. There was no social construct of what boys or girls were supposed to be like at that point. What God said was male, was male because of biology. Nothing in Scripture ever points to this changing.

However, shortly after we see God create man and woman, they fall into sin and break the world. Their sin broke their relationship with God, their relationship with each other, and their own self-image. Everyone’s nature is corrupted by sin, not just the trans person. We all have desires that are contrary to God’s good design. So, yes, God made everything, and it was good. But that good creation (mankind) disobeyed God, and now everything in creation is spoiled or broken; things are not as they should be. And this is why we can’t point to something in the world and say, “It should be this way because it is this way.”

Objection: “Christians are closed-minded and/or bigoted”

When someone calls you closed- or narrow-minded, before you start to defend yourself or disagree, ask them what they mean by “closed-minded.” More than likely, they’ll say something such as “You think you’re right and everyone else is wrong.” You could ask a second question then: “Do you think that you’re right and I’m wrong?” since they clearly think you’re wrong. Based on their definition, they’re closed-minded too.

You could also ask why being closed-minded is wrong. If there are right and wrong answers to important questions, shouldn’t we be very cautious in what views we adopt? The nature of truth is that it is narrow and exclusive. For so many questions in life, there is only one right answer, and there are a multitude of wrong answers. Should I take insulin or ice cream for my diabetes? Is the White House in Washington or Salt Lake City? Did Jesus rise from the dead or not? Did God create men and women distinctly different, yet complementary? There must be right and wrong answers to these questions. When people disagree on the answers, they are being equally narrow in their views.

Christians should not have closed minds on many issues, though. That is, we should evaluate the evidence and come to the best conclusions that we can. On every matter it speaks to, the Bible is the best evidence. As God’s revelation to us, it is the highest authority. So, our views will necessarily be narrow. We should not have closed minds, but minds open to being filled with the word of God.

This is an extract from Gender: a conversation guide for parents and pastors, a book that seeks to help families teach the Bible’s view clearly and consistently throughout a child’s life. Available to buy now

Hunter Leavine

Hunter Leavine is the College Director at City Church Tallahassee, Florida. He is married to Hannah, loves fishing and all things southern, and could not enjoy leading college students more.

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