Resource page: Identity and sexuality
We live in an identity-obsessed world. Behind the obsession with being known by our sexual proclivity, our gender, our race or some other distinctive we perceive as paramount, lies a lie. The lie is this: the self is the exalted one to whom everyone must bow. That lie could not be more diametrically opposed to the Christian worldview.
God’s good design
The Bible tells us in Genesis 2 that when God made human beings in His image, He made them male and female. Their gender aligned in a complementarian way with their sexual orientation, and in turn with their heterosexual attraction, expression, and procreation. Those who today condemn this as a binary way of thinking must do so by arguing that things are better now than when God ordered the creation.
If God cannot be trusted to tell the truth about His own creation, why should we trust God to know and communicate the truth about anything else?
>Owen Strachan, Director of the Center for Theological and Cultural Engagement at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, helped us understand these issues in our interview with him.
“God made mankind male and female for His glory. These are major issues for us doctrinally… God is not a gendered being and God is certainly not a transgendered being. We are not in a position to make God in our image.”
> What is the difference between sex and gender? And why does it matter? Author Ashley McGuire, helps us understand why “sex” is a protected category and potential issues if we continue down the road to abolish “male” and “female.”
Identity and Idolatry
In this identity-obsessed world, we are acknowledging publicly that we are making gods of ourselves. This is about as contrary to Scripture as anything we could possibly say. God is eternal, we are temporal. God is infinite, we are finite. God is Creator, we are creatures. God is immutable, we are pliable, conforming to His will. But we are saying, I am going to manipulate my hormones, my culture, my school, my government to accommodate my idolatry of self.
>Blog post: Identity in a selfie culture
Identity, sexuality and the Christian
For the Christian, identity begins and ends not with the self but with another. In Christ there is a new creation, everything old has passed away; see everything has become new. Everything. That’s comprehensive. The Christian bears not the old self but the very identity of Christ into the world.
The transformation needed is the one by which a sinner’s life is transformed moment by moment, from one degree of glory to another, not into a different gender, but into the image of Christ.What God offers in all sufficient measure to those whose souls are sick, minds confused and lives wracked by sin is redemption. A whole new life – lived in Christ Jesus who died to set us free from the bondage of sin and death.
>Christopher Yuan shared his amazing story with us out of drugs and prison, idolizing himself and living as a gay man to new life in Jesus. Dr. Yuan moved from equating his sexuality with his identity to who he is, created in the image of God.
>Bethany Jenkins is the Director of the Gospel Coalition’s Every Square Inch. As a single, 40-year-old woman, she is living out the counter-cultural sexual ethic of a Christian submitted to Christ.
Engaging the culture on this topic
A recent TIME essay, titled “My brother’s pregnancy,” epitomized the brokenness and confusion in our culture on gender dysphoria.
>We look at the rampant sexual confusion and brokenness in our culture from several angles in one show. First, Rod Dreher of the American Conservative joins us in the first half. Then, Andrew T Walker of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission gets practical on how Christians can address the cultural gender confusion with both grace and truth.
When it comes to this topic, our kids are entering a very different world than we did. And they are encountering questions about sexuality at a much earlier age.
>Denny Burk, Professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College, shared how we can speak the truth into our children’s live of how God made us, male and female as His image bearers.
>Jim Denison, founder of the Denison Forum, reminded us, “This isn’t just about taking a stand in the culture, but inviting people out of the confusion in which they are currently living to actually engage truth about themselves.”
So, what would Jesus do? He didn’t freak out over much. He would have seen sinners for whom He died, image-bearers for whose redemption He was raised; He would have lamented the confusion about sex and identity and marriage in our culture, even as He would have seen the opportunity for His Bride, the Church, to bear witness to the fullness of the beauty and truth of the Gospel.
Dean Inserra, founding and lead pastor of City Church in Tallahassee, Florida, provides insight for equipping not only our children, but ourselves on holding a high view of marriage and women while letting our demeanor be ruled by love instead fear.
Get the conversation going. Some question starters on engaging on this topic:
- Where do you think our identity comes from?
- Why is identity an important concept for us?
- How does our identity affect how we live our lives?
- Can identity change, and if so, what would cause it to change?
- What forces cause us to want to change or be different in any area of life?
- Can we be assured that any change we make will bring us lasting happiness and peace?