The So-called “Sexual Revolution”: Part I
Calling Good Bad and Bad Good
This series: Culture Wars and the “Sexual Revolution” addresses the effects one of the Fall: doubting, distorting, and denying God’s truth. Isaiah (his name means The Lord saves) is often considered to be the greatest of the writing prophets. Isaiah wrote during the turbulent times (740-681 B.C.) and warned Judah that her unfaithfulness would bring God’s judgment and the Babylonian exile. He also prophesied good news: Yahweh would restore Judah because of His faithfulness. This restoration would be a new exodus which pointed to the true new exodus, Christ’s resurrection (Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11; 43:2, 16-19; 52:10-12; Luke 9:51). Such it is with the so-called culture wars and the sexual revolution. The culture calls God that which God has decarded sinful.
Before the good news of restoration and the new exodus, Isaiah laid out the bad news. Yahweh, the Holy and Righteous One of Israel, must punish His rebellious people. Israel was devoid of any allegiance to Yahweh. They were deaf and blind (6:9-10; 42:7) with no sense of justice and righteousness (5:7; 10:1-2). One characteristic of Israel’s apostasy was calling good bad and bad good. Isaiah spells this out in 5:20: Woe to those who call evil good and good evil; who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
Isaiah, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, penned these words as he pinpointed the heart of the problem which was the hard heart of the people (Proverbs 4:23). Israel as a nation had jettisoned any semblance of moral distinctions. It was as if everyone did right in his own eyes based on what one could get for self (Judges 17:6; 25:21). Attempting to remove God-given moral distinctions is a result of and results in me-first and a now philosophy of life. Self takes center stage. There is a twisting of Romans 11:36 (For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen). Israel’s mantra was for me, by me and to me. Such is the ignorance and arrogance of a people who were the children of God (Exodus 4:22-24).
Such it is today, not simply in the culture but also in the Church. Nowhere is this most painfully obvious as in the area of so-called sexuality. The United States’ downhill course picked up tempo with the passage and acceptance of Roe vs. Wade, “masculine-ized” clothing worn by women, and various attempts to emasculate the Bible. More recently there has been the Obergefell vs. Hodge decision that declared the fundamental right to marry was guaranteed to same-sex couples. Continuing this stream of calling right wrong and wrong right, some have coined the phrase “transgenderized Christianity” under the guise of Gender Dysphoria. Martin Luther warned the Church that she must guard against using the Bible as a wax nose molding it to fit man’s sinful thinking and wanting thereby calling wrong into right and vice versa. Culture Wars and the “Sexual Revolution” describes mankind’s raised fist at God daring Him to “man-up.”
A quick look at the label Gender Dysphoria tells it all. Labels do matter! In an article entitled, “When You Don’t Feel at Home in Your Body” the author(s) emphasized feeling over fact, subjectivity over objectivity, self-interest over the Word and Mind of God, self-interest over the interests of others, and the absence of any reference to God. Another author wrote that gender identity dysphoria exists when a “person suffers discontent due to gender identity, causing them emotional distress.” Key words are self, feel, and discontent. As a whole these people so labeled are given the green light to grumble and complain about God to the world claiming that God made a mistake giving them the body that they have. They are totally dissatisfied with God. Moreover, the country as a whole has joined this attack on God and His truth. Laws are being passed in an effort to facilitate physical changes to accommodate the person’s complaint and demand to correct God’s mistake. What ignorance and arrogance! Parents who oppose this government-sanctioned attack on God are told they have no business trying to parent their child.
Certain segments of society and so-called science advocates, even demand, that all of us, including the government and church, support the individual’s “preferred gender” through hormone therapy, gender expression and role, and or surgery. The key motivational factors are personal preference and feelings. Functionally, the mantra becomes “if I don’t get what I want, and even deserve, I will be miserable. Society and medicine owe me.” Pundits of this approach are pushing to make it illegal to bring about change through counseling – Biblical or otherwise. Paul warned the church in Acts 20 that wolves in sheep clothing would spring up within as well as without the church. Are we ready? Are you ready to properly engage those proponents of Culture Wars and the “Sexual Revolution?”
1. What is your view of the Bible and why?
2. Read Genesis 1:31, 2:8-9, 15, 20-22: what do you learn?
3. Read Genesis 1:26-27: what does it mean to be the image of God?
4. What does Philippians 2:14-17 teach re: God the Creator and man the creature?
Culture Wars and the Sexual Revolution: Part II
Terms, Labels, and Words Matter
This series: Culture Wars and the “Sexual Revolution” emphasize the fact that words, terms, and labels have meaning. They carry baggage. Such it is today with such terms as gender and sex. In times past, both terms were virtual synonyms. Both indicated that a man was a man and a woman was a woman biologically, genetically, and functionally. Most everyone was quite satisfied. This precedent followed biblical guidelines even for those who were not professing Christians. The simple yet profound fact that God created the heavens and the earth and mankind, male and female, as His image governed the American family, the Church, and for the most part the culture (Genesis 1:1-2, 26-27; 2:7).
Mankind was not satisfied and hasn’t been since the fall. Due to the fall and God’s judgment (Adam’s sin of covenantal unfaithfulness as manifested by eating the prohibited fruit) every person became a member of Satan’s family and kingdom. The results were profound and universal. Mankind changed from the inside out. His heart was darkened and self took center stage. Light, truth, and life were exchanged by darkness, falsehood, and death to the things of God but alive to the things of self.
At the heart of the Culture wars and the sexual revolution is autonomous driven by a perversion of the pleasurer principle. When self is at the center, there is competition with God. As a result there is enmity, hostility, darkness, ignorance, and arrogance. Now, especially in those segments of the culture that wish to eliminate the Creator and His design for mankind, sex and gender have been “redefined.” The term sex is now reserved for biology and the term gender is said to refer to preference. What God separated mankind is tempting to bring together. It is a repeat of ignorance and arrogance that led to the attempt to build the tower of Babel (Genesis 10-11).
The claim is this: the term, sex, is concrete and objective. “You were born that way.” It is interesting that even enemies of God acknowledge and recognize the God-given design for His world: male and female He created them (Genesis 1:26-27; 2:24-25). By it Adam and Eve as a one-flesh union were to gladly and joyfully march to God’s command and exhortation: be fruitful, multiply, and have dominion – subdue the earth. That was to be done and only could be done as male and female via a Creator-designed, baby-producing heterosexual marriage.
The term, gender, is now fluid. Choice is a key and is left open to personal subjectivity. People, especially young people, are given the “freedom” – actually license – to “define” themselves and deny the Creator! Because of the curse of sin, every person will define themselves according to their own wisdom and wants with the goal of a feel-good happiness. They become their own authority, their own god (Romans 1:18-23). The will begin to function as truth-exchangers and idolaters. The “un-wisdom” of the culture is promoting the mantra that what you think you are or want to be is equated with what you feel. And feelings trump God’s wisdom. Subjectivity rules: if it feels bad jettison it and if it feels get more of it.
However, there are several problems one of which is practical. If one cannot define their gender (sexuality) in any objective way, how will they define a “rewarding life” or happiness? If self is at the helm and driving all of life, when will self be satisfied? If everyone is their own king, what happens to others? Others and institutions are used to get for self. The cycle is endless and never satisfying. Such it is when one competes with God – he loses because God will not bless His competitors (Isaiah 42:8; 48:9-11)
Moreover, God is a jealous God. Not only does He not bless competitors, He will not share His glory with anyone. The consequences of the exchange of the truth of God for a lie are devastating (Romans 1:18-23). Just ask the people in Genesis 10-11 as they built the tower in a prideful, futile effort to reach God. Ask the Israelites who were condemned for covenantal unfaithfulness – living by their own ways, thoughts, and desires – for their own glory and satisfaction.
Non-negotiable truths do exist and include the results of God’s creative activity and His Lordship over His creation and His creatures. Man was created a rational, moral, and religious being initially designed to love, respect, worship, and glorify the Creator. After the fall, mankind made the great exchange. Still the worshipper, man worshipped the created thing. He set himself up as god – the final authority on what is right and wrong. Such was the atmosphere facing the early church and Church throughout ages. Such is atmosphere today. As the chaos grows, so, too, do evangelistic and apologetic opportunities. Are you ready? What will it take for you, Christian, to be ready? As a starter pleaser read Acts 17.
1. What is the background of Acts 17?
2. What did Paul encounter?
3. What was Paul’s approach?
4. How can we apply the lessons of Acts 17 today especially in this area of sexuality?
The “Sexual Revolution:” Identity Matters: Part III
This series: Culture Wars and the “Sexual Revolution” highlights the question of identity. Who are you? Have you assessed who you are out lately? How would you go about determining who you are? Philosophy has always sought answers for man is: his origin, his identity, his purpose, and his destiny. These are questions throughout the ages including our present culture. The questions are ever-present and beg for an answer. The questions and answers fit into one of the mantras of the book of Ecclesiastes: there is nothing new under the sun (1:2, 9). Too often, man, singularly and corporately, and the church answers the questions apart from biblical truth. This, too, is meaningless and fits into the category of nothing new under the sun. The term meaningless occurs some 35 times throughout the book of Ecclesiastes while only once elsewhere (Job27:12). Originally, the term meant useless, futile, hollow, and vain. Such is life when mankind, including the Church, attempts to redefine that which God has clearly established.
In the area of Culture wars and the “sexual revolution” which is a euphemism describing rebellion against God, what is it that God has established? God created man – male and female and husband and wife – as His image (Gen. 1:26-27; 2:24). In eternity past, God determined male and female and marriage between one man and one woman. From the beginning, God gave man an identity and a phenotype (at the very least genitalia) and a genotype (usually an XY and XX pair of sex chromosomes). God put them in the Garden to care of it and enjoy it for God’s honor and glory and the benefit of man (Genesis 1:26, 28; 2:8, 15, 19). This activity was an expression and to be an expression of the reality and joy of a personal relationship with God and each other unmarred by sin. Work was work but there was no toil. The Church has protected God’s truth and proclaimed these basic truths over the centuries.
The so-called Culture wars and the “sexual revolution” is actually arrogant and ignorant rebellion against God which is not new. Mankind has rejected his God-given identity and seeks his own way for his own glory. This pursuit has many facets and labels such as fornication, adultery, pornography, masturbation, and gender (or sex) change. These behaviors all arise from the mindset that more for me is best, or at least better. Sadly, it many churches and people who called themselves Christians are trying to baptize this new mindset and rebellion (which is really old!) with such terms as transgenderized Christianity and celibate gay Christianity. The medical profession has stepped in and has supplied labels such as gender identity dysphoria. Sadly some physicians are using their God-given surgical skills to transform the physical/phenotype of an individual.
Everyone has and lives out of an identity and label. Labels are a two-edged sword. They may convey knowledge with the hope of victory or they may manifest a misinformed, even anti-God, bias. The label and identity focuses on feelings, wants, and feeling-directed behavior. The label gives the person an identity that he accepts as defining him or her. When the label and identity are not God-defined and biblically-directed, they are self-focused, “client-focused,” and they foster victim-hood. Subjectivity rules in this environment and actually grows as the standard for thoughts, desires, and actions. The person’s (and those engaged in “meeting” his or her so-called “needs”) vertical reference is sinful and it is not addressed with biblical truth lovingly applied. As a result, the “me-first” approach for the person persists and picks up momentum. The dependency upon and the use of this mindset by the person becomes the norm when he interacts with others and circumstances.
Every person is motivated to live out of an identity and label toward a goal and an agenda to accomplish that goal. When a person dislikes the person God has made him, he or she seeks to redefine self. His problem is with the God of the universe! As fat as the person is concerned, he is convinced that God made a mistake. God’s label of male or female is just not acceptable to them. The person may try to “leave God out” of the problem but that is impossible. He is the Creator and Controller of His universe and His creatures. They may say that this is none of God’s business or that He has nothing to do with it. Therefore they think they have the right to attempt to “undo” what God has ordained since eternity past and has brought to fruition in time and space.
Identity is more than male or female. God placed the two “sexes” in the Garden for a reason. As male and female they, and all mankind after them, were to honor God living and loving by being correctly oriented to God and to people. Relationships mattered and they still do. Self was to take backseat. Love of God and love of neighbor was the rule (Matthew 22:37-40).
After sin and God’s judgment, man lost his desire and ability to please God (Romans1:18-23; 8:5-8). Mankind and every person relabeled himself and functional reversed Romans 11:36. Rather than for God, to God, and by God, man was now a self-pleaser and getter: for me, to me, and by me. Yet God did not leave mankind alone. He displays common kindness even to His enemies (Matthew 5:48; Acts 14:17). He saves some. Salvation came by way the God-man Jesus who lived a perfect life, died a perfect death, rose from the dead, and reigns and intercedes for His people as Priest and King. The Holy Spirit indwells the Church and the individual believer thus enabling both to mature into Christlikeness (Ephesians 4:11-14). Christ will return but and judge because He is Lord of lords and King of kings (1 Timothy 6:16-17).
What is the Church and individual believers to do now with the Culture Wars and the sexual revolution? Each must know who they are – their God-given label and identity. The Church is the bride of Christ. He bled and died for her (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 5:25-27; 1 Peter 1:18-19). Peter gave the New Testament Church a new label: living stones, a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation belonging to God (1 Peter 2:4-10). Peter reminded the congregation of this identity because much work was to be done for the cause of Christ. It is time for the Church and individual believers to rethink what God would have them think, desire, and do in all areas of life and get busy doing it.
1. How does 1Timothy 4:1-5 and 2 Timothy 3:1-9 help you evaluate our times?
2. How do you identify and label yourself? What is the result?
3. How would you apply 1 Peter 2:11-12 to yourself in these times? How would they look or be demonstrated in terms of your thoughts, desires, and actions? What are the results?