Gender as a Spectrum
Paul TautgesPaul Tautges serves as senior pastor at Cornerstone Community Church in suburban Cleveland, Ohio, having previously pastored for 22 years in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Paul has authored eight books including Counseling One Another, Brass Heavens, and Comfort the Grieving, and contributed chapters to two volumes produced by the Biblical Counseling Coalition. He is also the consulting editor of the LifeLine Mini-Book series from Shepherd Press. Paul is a Fellow with ACBC (Association of Certified Biblical Counselors). He and his wife, Karen, are the parents of ten children (three married), and have two grandchildren. Paul enjoys writing as a means of cultivating discipleship among believers and, therefore, blogs regularly at Counseling One Another.
- 2017 Feb 03
[Today's guest post is written by Jay Younts, author of Everyday Talk about Sex and Marriage, and is re-posted here with permission.]
The January 2017 issue of National Geographic examines the issue of gender. The editor of the magazine believes gender is not an issue of male and female, but that gender is best understood as numerous points along a spectrum of possible identities. As this special magazine issue indicates, the idea of gender as a spectrum is a recent concept and rapidly changing the way culture and science view the sex of humans.
According to National Geographic, gender identity and sexual orientation are fixed realities that are determined by children as they grow. The idea that humans are created male and female by God has been been discarded. The notion that gender can be determined at birth is also dismissed. Note this quote from an article in this issue entitled Helping Families Talk About Gender:
“There is no way to predict how children will identify later in life. This uncertainty is one of the hardest things about parenting a gender nonconforming child. It is important for parents to make their home a place where their child feels safe, loved unconditionally, and accepted for who they are. Research suggests that gender is something that we are born with; It can’t be changed by any interventions.”
When God’s order and plan are rejected, uncertainty is the result. Taking the article and the theme of this issue at face value, the physical anatomy of children at birth is not a reliable indicator of the sexual gender and orientation of that baby. To be sensitive to what the child determines, parents must wait until the child declares for themselves what their gender is and then what sexual orientation they will pursue. The article continues:
“While gender identity typically becomes clear in early childhood, sexual orientation — which refers to the person one falls in love with or is attracted to — becomes evident later. Research suggests that like gender identity, sexual orientation cannot be changed.”
The social chaos that will result from this thinking is impossible to calculate. A baby who looks like a boy, may actually identify as a girl or a mix of girl and boy who may determine to engage in a range of sexual activities that is consistent with an emerging orientation that is yet unknown to that child. One final quote from the article:
“When your child discloses an identity to you, respond in an affirming, supportive way. Understand that gender identity and sexual orientation cannot be changed, but the way people identify their gender identity or sexual orientation may change over time as they discover more about themselves.”
It is up to the child to determine, to discover, what sexual gender he or she will be and the mix and gender of the sexual partners she or he will have in life. The choice is totally up to the child and how he or she identifies with who she or he thinks she is. Chaos awaits.
Humanity is perceived by this article to be an emerging evolutionary flow where each person is his own point of sexual self-reference. There is no proof given tor this assertion. Note the highlighted portions in the three quotes above. In the first two quotes we read that “research suggests” identity / orientation cannot be changed. But then just a couple of paragraphs later in this short article we read that we must “understand that gender Identity and sexual orientation cannot be changed.” No references are given for this research. No other sources are cited. The suggestions have become absolute. The term “research suggests” has replaced the purpose and plan of God in determining issues regarding human sexuality.
The truth of God has been exchanged for unfounded assertions. By disregarding the truth of God’s word, culture is plunging itself into a sea of uncertainty. Personal choice is everything. In this context there can be no sexual immorality except the immortality of denying personal choice in sexual behavior. Your two year old boy may decide to identify as a girl who desires both male and female sexual partners. And it is your job as a parent to show unconditional love, acceptance and affirmation of this self-determined gender and orientation.
Moral chaos will result. Indeed, if you examine the contents of this issue of National Geographic you will see that moral chaos has already arrived.
What is God’s answer to this chaos?
First, you must believe that gender is not a matter of human choice. 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.”
God did not create more or less than two genders of humans. As it was at the beginning, so it is now. Because of the impact of sin there are places where cultural traditions produce behaviors that accommodate a distorted view of human sexual practice. But these distortions do not change the reality that God created two genders. Also because of the impact of the fall of man, there are rare occurrences of children born with a combination of male and female physical characteristics. But, as with any number of other congenital conditions, these occurrences do not constitute a change in the created order.
With regard to sexual behavior, marriage remains the one social construct where God says that sexual activity is appropriate. The fact that people rebel against what God has commanded does not change what is honoring to God.
The teaching of the Bible is sufficient to address the radical assertions posed by National Geographic. But you must be aggressively faithful to God and his word if you want to lead your children to clarity of thought and purity of sexual practice. God, not a developing human child, is the one who determines gender and what is healthy sexual behavior. His word fully discloses all that you need to know. Don’t be taken captive by the impending moral chaos. I discuss these issues and more in my new book, Everyday Talk about Sex and Marriage: a biblical handbook for parents. It will be available from Shepherd Press in February.
There is much more that needs to be said. This is why I am grateful to Cornerstone Community Church for hosting a conference that brings the light of Scripture to these dark times. This February 17&18 are the dates for the conference. It is called Redeeming the Gift, God’s Design for Sexuality. I am honored to participate in this conference along with Tim Challies and Paul Tautges. Here is a link to information about this important response to the gender and sexual chaos of our culture.