LGBTQI, part one

If you haven't read the prequel to this post, let me invite you to take a few minutes to read You Be The Judge.  I think that will help you understand my heart toward complex issues such as sexual and gender identity as they relate to Scripture.

Let's begin by defining that acronym.  My understanding of that acronym comes from many sources, including trusted friends and lots of reading.  One article as of recent was by Steven Petrow who writes for The Washington Post who explains the addition of "Q" and also "I."  As a disclaimer, there is always a risk to classifying people, it can be terribly insensitive.  It is however a necessary evil at times to avoid misunderstandings while communicating about complex issues.  My use of these terms is for the purpose of clarification.  I'm confident that my explanation of the acronym will meet with little if any resistance.  However, I understand that the definitions I suggest for each word may not be your definitions.  But for the sake of these articles, I want people to be clear about my definition when I use one these words.

Lesbian - a woman who was born with a typical female body, typical female genetics, and is romantically attracted to other women and not men.

Gay - a man who was born with a typical male body, typical male genetics, and is romantically attracted to other men and not women.

Bisexual - each of the above but are romantically attracted to both men and women.

Transgender - a woman or man who is born with a typical body corresponding to the gender they were assigned at birth and have typical genetics corresponding to the gender they were assigned at birth but they identify with the opposite gender.

Questions or Queer - depending on who you ask...this can mean a person who is questioning their gender identity and/or their romantic attraction.  There is also a growing number of people in the LGBT community who are reclaiming the term "queer" as a catchall term for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender.

Intersex - is a person whose physical body and genetic makeup are at odds with each other.  I will be defining some of these conditions in a later article.  But as an example, according to the National Library of Medicine and the National Institute of Health, the Klinefelter Syndrome affects about 1 in 1,000 births.  It is a chromosome condition.  Males will have an extra X chromosome.  So instead of being XY they are XXY.  This can result in undersized testes which in turn results in low levels of testosterone.  During puberty, males may develop breasts, the process of puberty may be incomplete, and other similar complications.  When a person's physical body and genetic makeup are in conflict, some very serious and complex issues arise.

I do not yet know how many articles will be in this series.  But I believe people of faith who are devoted followers of Jesus who trust in the authority of Scripture need to engage this dialogue that is happening in our society.  I want to do my part, as a personal conviction, as a father of three precious children, and also as a spiritual leader for our church, The City Life Church.

Genesis matters.  This is the beginning of humanity.  This is also the beginning of what I believe to be the cornerstone of all things Christian, the sovereignty of God.  Everything I believe about life and eternity comes from the Scriptures that a sovereign God has given to humanity to govern us.  Genesis is the story of God's creation of mankind and demonstrates His right to rule over us.  In Greg Gilbert's book What Is The Gospel, he tells us that sin is ultimately one simple thing, denying God's right to rule our lives.  What you believe about the authority of Scripture and the sovereignty of God matters, especially in this conversation about gender identity and romantic attraction.  If my view of this life is purely from a human point of view, then I am free to seek whatever course of living that brings fulfillment to me as long as that journey does not harm others.  But the moment I submit to the authority of Scripture and acknowledge the sovereignty of God, I am now compelled to understand what God expects of me, regardless of my current condition and the changes that may demand.

I read an article today in Bedlam Magazine (if you aren't reading and listening to other sources that you know disagree with you, you aren't understanding the greater world in which you live) that contained the following quote, "One theological tenet guides every suggestion we’ve made: all people are created in the image of God and have a fundamental dignity as children of God. What are you willing to give to proclaim that LGBT people have dignity? How bold are you willing to be?"  There is a problem with that statement.  They use the words "theological tenet" and then say all people are God's children.  This is fundamentally wrong.  Do I believe all people are entitled to dignity?  Yes!  They are entitled to dignity because they are part of humanity.  No person however becomes a child of God until they are born into God's family through a vow of devotion to Jesus.  This is plainly laid out for us in John chapter one and John chapter three.  I believe every person is part of God's creation but not His family.

I share that distinction because when a person makes a vow of devotion to Jesus, that vow must include embracing the authority of Scripture and the sovereignty of God.  I do not expect people who have not made a vow of devotion to Jesus to live according to Scripture or under the conviction of God's right to govern their lives.  But if you have made a vow of devotion to Jesus, Scripture is your authority and God is your sovereign...Genesis matters.

Genesis also matters because God creates gender in the garden.  Humanity is defined as male and female.  God assigned gender.  This is part of His sovereign right.  Not only did He assign gender in the creation of humanity but He gave man and woman the ability to procreate in a way that continues the assignment of gender throughout all of history.  Birth gender is a continuation of His sovereignty. We will take up later in this series the question of birth deformities and chromosomal syndromes.  But those are the exception.  The vast majority of births produce a child with a typical male or female body and a typical male or female genetic make up.  When as a Christian I am able to see my gender as an extension of the sovereignty of God, stemming from His very first creation of Adam and Eve, I should feel bound to carry forward God's expectations of me as a man or woman.  Those expectations are found in the Book He gave His children to understand His intentions about gender roles and romantic attraction, Scripture.

As Andrew Comiskey points out in his book Strength In Weakness, sex was given to humanity first and foremost to consummate a lifelong marriage covenant between a man and a woman.  The pleasure of sex and the usefulness of sex for procreation have always been secondary.  God created sex.  He has the right to tell His children how sex is to be enjoyed.  I am concerned about the emphasis that is being given to celibacy in regards LGBTQI issues.  As Christians, celibacy is a clear expectation in Scripture until a Christian is ready to enter into a Scriptural basis for marriage, one man and one woman for a lifetime.  To say that there is nothing wrong with same sex attraction as long as one does not act on that attraction through a sex act and respects the boundary of celibacy disregards all of what Scripture has to say about gender.  Gender is important because Genesis matters!  Same sex attraction for a Christian is a sin because it violates God's plan for the genders He created.

I will never support the legalization of marriage between same gendered people because I believe this violates one of the most sacred Biblical traditions that exists in the world today.  I am for limited government.  I'm not naive.  I understand that the freedoms others have to pursue a life I believe is contrary to Scripture matters to me.  Those freedoms are a basis of liberty that protects my right to live a life in pursuit of Scripture.  But when those laws begin to encroach on sacred religious foundations, Christians should and must raise their voice in objection.  I do not believe that anything regarding LGBTQI that is between consenting adults and does not harm people should be illegal.  But when those in the LGBTQI community want to redefine sacred religious traditions like marriage that have long since been protected by law, I am going to protest.  I want people in the LGBTQI community to feel safe.  I want them to be respected.  I want them to have the same sense of dignity that all people should have.  And I want them to expect fervent, respectful resistance when they organize in any effort to take terms like marriage and redefine them outside the boundaries of Scripture.  And any person claiming to be a Christian should expect fair, honest, respectful challenges about their lifestyle choices when a fellow Christian believes those lifestyles to be in conflict with Scripture.

Genesis matters...

Pastor Fred