With all of the craziness in the news and crawling across social media, it is tough to keep steady and steadfast without getting completely frustrated. Maranatha! Today, we will be addressing a relatively new cultural phenomenon and how Christian parents need to respond to the culture in a way that we haven’t had to in a long time. We need to teach our children, in plain language, Biblical gender roles and Biblical sexual identity. God created us male and female. The gender binary is Biblical, it is God’s design, and man cannot change it.
Let us begin by looking at Proverbs 22.
Proverbs 22 (ESV)
22 A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
and favor is better than silver or gold.
2 The rich and the poor meet together;
the Lord is the maker of them all.
3 The prudent sees danger and hides himself,
but the simple go on and suffer for it.
4 The reward for humility and fear of the Lord
is riches and honor and life.
5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the crooked;
whoever guards his soul will keep far from them.
6 Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.
7 The rich rules over the poor,
and the borrower is the slave of the lender.
8 Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity,
and the rod of his fury will fail.
9 Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed,
for he shares his bread with the poor.
10 Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out,
and quarreling and abuse will cease.
11 He who loves purity of heart,
and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.
12 The eyes of the Lord keep watch over knowledge,
but he overthrows the words of the traitor.
13 The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside!
I shall be killed in the streets!”
14 The mouth of forbidden women is a deep pit;
he with whom the Lord is angry will fall into it.
15 Folly is bound up in the heart of a child,
but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.
16 Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth,
or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.
Words of the Wise
17 Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise,
and apply your heart to my knowledge,
18 for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you,
if all of them are ready on your lips.
19 That your trust may be in the Lord,
I have made them known to you today, even to you.
20 Have I not written for you thirty sayings
of counsel and knowledge,
21 to make you know what is right and true,
that you may give a true answer to those who sent you?
22 Do not rob the poor, because he is poor,
or crush the afflicted at the gate,
23 for the Lord will plead their cause
and rob of life those who rob them.
24 Make no friendship with a man given to anger,
nor go with a wrathful man,
25 lest you learn his ways
and entangle yourself in a snare.
26 Be not one of those who give pledges,
who put up security for debts.
27 If you have nothing with which to pay,
why should your bed be taken from under you?
28 Do not move the ancient landmark
that your fathers have set.
29 Do you see a man skillful in his work?
He will stand before kings;
he will not stand before obscure men.
Society Used to Promote Gender Roles
American Society used to promote gender roles as healthy and desirable qualities in men and women. Though the picture of a “man’s man” or a “fine lady” have gone through trends and fads, they were always there. Since WWII, however, things started changing on that front, and several progressives have pushed throughout the past 3 decades an agenda of dissolving gender roles, to the point where society is even unwilling to accept biological limitations on gender. The goal is (and always has been) to dissolve the family unit, so that there is only the State and a collective of individuals who obey it. The currency for this obedience from the individual is “empowerment” to do “what feels right for the individual”. Scholarly dissertations could be written mapping out the progressive movement’s assault on the family throughout the 20th century, but for our purposes we need only acknowledge society’s current state.
When I was growing up, my parents didn’t have to go out of their way to teach gender roles. Society accepted (at least in general) the fundamental differences between men and women. Our clothing was distinct (except for women’s jackets getting shoulder pads in the 80s… that, was odd) and for the most part men were expected to be a certain way and women another, and it was what we looked for in the opposite sex. Now, that is not to say that the gender roles within the family were right… culturally we had abandoned the notion of a single-income family, and latch-key kids were being raised by the public school system and television. The visible church was in the televangelist boom with Oral Roberts and the like promoting egalitarian views to keep in step with the feminist movement, and it was during this time also that Rick Warren and Bill Hybels were starting their movements. The family was on shifting sands at this point, but the fruit of such compromise wouldn’t manifest until the mid 90s. One such bad fruit would become apparent in the Columbine massacre. Society had abandoned teaching its kids right from wrong, had put down the rod of discipline in favor of more self-esteem psycho-babble, and we left our children to be brought up by the world. Fast forward a couple of decades and we have large swaths of evangelicalism abandoning the inerrancy of Scripture, the Biblically prescribed gender roles within the church, and even on the applicability of sexual immorality as sin. We are left with full-on rebellion against God’s design in cases like Bruce Jenner and Stephonknee Walschtt (Warning: both links are NSFL or Not Safe For Lunch) being tolerated and even celebrated.
Romans 1:22-32 (ESV)
22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
Christian Parents Now Must Teach Gender Roles Properly
I can remember a time while growing up when the cool fads in accessories for men were considered feminine in nature, such as bracelets and earrings. My parents didn’t need to point to any scripture to enforce the gender distinction, they simply had to hold the line at “those are for women, not men”. Whenever we bought a button-down shirt, we needed to know which side the buttons were on so that we wouldn’t be wearing a “woman’s shirt”. My point being that my parents’ role regarding training us up in gender roles was one of discipline and reinforcement of societal norms. Was this right? No, because we ended up allowing the world to push us into an egalitarian mindset, but it was the norm, and that’s what is new for our day as parents… it is no longer the norm. Insanity is the norm. Full-on post-modern, post-christian, delusion is now the norm. We now have to teach explicitly what most of us never thought would ever have been questioned. We have to teach our kids that their gender is bound to their biology and that it was all carefully and wonderfully made by God before they were even born. Sin has corrupted our flesh, and allowed death to enter into the Earth, but God’s design for sex, procreation, gender roles, sexual purity, and marriage remain. We now have to teach these things to our children plainly and without relying on society to enforce it. In fact, we must accept the truth that the world seeks to destroy our children’s minds and teach them to hate God’s plan for the family and even hate their own bodies that were given to them by God.
Ephesians 6:1-4 (ESV) | Children and Parents
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Matthew 19:3-6 (ESV)
And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said,‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Genesis 5:1-2 (ESV) | Adam’s Descendants to Noah
This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created.
I decided to walk this progression backwards, from Paul’s writing, to a quote of Jesus’ response to the Pharisees all the way back to Genesis. God created man, and He did so with a binary gender, not a fluid one. Our gender is bound to our bodies, and designed to become one flesh in marriage. That is by design, and man cannot simply annul a marriage covenant much less is he qualified to redefine gender or sexuality. Teach your kids to love their gender, their God-appointed gender, a gender that is bound to their biology and cannot be changed by man. Remember what we saw in Proverbs 22:15 Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him. Children must be taught in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Titus 2 (ESV)
Teach Sound Doctrine
2 But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. 2 Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. 3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.6 Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. 7 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, 8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. 9 Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
My children are still very young… and we already have to teach God’s plan for men and women. We’ve taken the homeschooling route, and I’ve been working through Luther’s small catechism with them. We’ve not yet explained procreation, but we’ve already had to address cross-dressers, and the fact that my son will always be a boy and my daughter will always be a girl and that their differences will always be there, and that those differences are a good thing even if they don’t see it yet. We have to teach what is appropriate conduct for boys and girls, and my wife and I weep when we think of how much malice the world harbors for our children and their innocence. While in our flesh we are troubled, and we worry, and we so desperately want to protect them from the hate of the world, we are comforted knowing that we serve a Living God who is not unfamiliar with our struggles. We find rest in Him, and we pray the same for you.
Hebrews 13:20-21 (ESV)
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus,the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
In Christ Jesus,