Gender

Make Disciples Who Make Disciples

We affirm the Bible’s teaching that God has created all people biologically either male or female (Matthew 19:4, Genesis 1:27), being equally made in His image (Genesis 1:27-29; 1 Peter 3:7), but having different, complementary roles to live out in our relationships with one another (1 Corinthians 11:2-3; Ephesians 5:22-33; 1 Timothy 2:8-15). Those who are tempted to deny this reality must instead trust God’s Word and obey His commands to be and affirm who God created them to be (Isaiah 56:4-5; Matthew 19:12).

Male and Female as Distinct Creations

The Bible Church of Little Rock is complementarian, which means we believe that in Genesis 1-2, when God created mankind, He made them distinctively male and female. The New Testament also affirms this. When Jesus was asked about the issue of divorce, he referred back to the creation account stating, “Haven’t you read that He who created them in the beginning made them male and female” (Matthew 19:4). Paul, similarly, in dealing with the issue of men and women in the leadership of the church grounds his reasoning in Genesis 1-3 saying, “For Adam was created first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and transgressed” (1 Timothy 2:13–14).

Genesis reveals God created the world in 6 days and explains His intention to “make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). Then, verse 27 states, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27). No other creature is given this unique status of being God’s image bearer; the man and woman are said to equally be God’s image, and verse 28 gives them equally the responsibility to “be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it.” The New Testament repeats this as husbands are told that their wives are equal heirs of the grace of life (1 Peter 3:7). Jesus had women who learned from Him like the men (Luke 10:39), and this in regards to salvation, there is no distinction between male and female (Galatians 3:28).

This equality in worth does not negate the fact that God has also designed men and women for differing roles that complement one another. We can see this from the beginning as God sets Adam up as the leader by creating him first (1 Timothy 2:13), then allowing Adam to name the woman (Genesis 2:23), a symbol of leadership in the biblical world. He calls woman a suitable helper to come alongside the man (Genesis 2:18-20). In the home God calls women to submit to their husbands as the church submits to its leader, Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:22-24), while husbands are called to emulate Christ’s self-sacrificial love toward His bride, the church (Ephesians 5:25). Men get to be like Jesus in their godly leadership over their wives, and women get to be like Jesus in their godly submission as the Son submits to the Father (1 Corinthians 11:3). Men and women are given different roles by the Creator. “There is an organic connection between biological sex and gender roles. And one’s biological sex determines what one’s gender role should be.”

The Issue of Intersex or Transgender

We view any attack on not just gender roles, but on the definition of gender and sex itself, to stand in violation of our understanding and belief in God’s Word and design for us. This is seen in the transgender movement when, for example, a biological male states he believes he is female and should be treated as such, often undergoing treatments and/or surgery to make himself appear as a female. The idea that determining one’s gender is the choice of the individual rather than the prerogative of the Creator is rebellion against the authority of the Creator over His creation. This is an example of the depravity that is characteristic of all mankind as a result of the Fall. In the vast majority of cases, “gender confusion” is a sinful rejection of God and His sovereign design. However, Denny Burk explains an issue that is sometimes used in defense of these changing standards:

A young girl in his group had recently decided that she wanted to become a boy… But there was more to this young girl’s story than a spontaneous desire to change genders… This particular girl had been born with a rare biological condition that made it difficult at birth to determine whether she was a girl or a boy. The condition is known as intersex, and intersexed persons are born with reproductive anatomy that does not seem to fit the typical pattern for female or male.

Burk goes on to say that some studies indicate that 1 in about 1,000 babies born have some sort of intersex condition, also known as “hermaphroditism,” due to errors in sexual differentiation, an enzyme deficiency, or some anatomic problem. Some claim this gives scientific reason that the genders are not rigid, but lie along a spectrum. However, the Bible does not present such a spectrum, but instead teaches that those born with an “intersex” deformity are suffering the effects of a fallen Creation (Romans 8:19-23).

Jesus spoke of those who are broken because of sin in the world. In Matthew 19:11-12 he referred to eunuchs who, similar to the “intersex” of today, were not able to procreate. While, Deuteronomy 23:1 denies them an entrance into the assembly of the Lord, and though they were often the pariahs of society due to their inability to continue the family lineage through descendants, our Savior says these people can be eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven, calling them to holiness in their physically-broken state until God’s great promise of restoring them takes place in the resurrection (Matt. 19:11-12). Thus, those who suffer from the intersex condition have the same call to live holy as a male or female depending on their overall biological sex (determined by genetics and physiology), not their deformity.

But to those who are simply tempted to switch their gender, Christians must speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) and let them know that their hearts are deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9). Though they may feel like they don’t fit or identify with their biological sex, they must not believe this lie, and instead embrace and affirm the biological sex God designated for them at birth. Just as there is no true intersex gender, there is no changing one’s gender or sex, for God is the one who created and chose our gender and sex. God has specific responsibilities and ways of living for men and women, and God has a promise for those who follow Him: “For thus says the LORD: ‘To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off'” (Isaiah 56:4–5).

Conclusion

While it may be the case that western culture pushes for a minimizing of the differences between the biological male and female sexes and a maximizing of individual sovereignty in their own lives, it would be unloving for Christians to concur. God has created us either male or female with differing yet complimentary roles and responsibilities. Therefore, living the way our Creator designed us is the only way to live as we are designed to live and fulfill our life’s purpose.

There may be some who struggle in the brokenness of this world that sin has brought, which should lead us all to proclaim the gospel of Jesus’ perfect life being able to forgive our failures and give us the power to live holy lives. We long for the day when He will remove sin and make every physical problem right as we see in part now (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). In a time of gender confusion, only God’s Word offers true certainty and the hope everyone needs.

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