One of the central questions and also one of the fundamental issues of our day all center on one significant question, “Is the Bible’s teaching on gender roles, and sexuality in particular, true?” And if it’s true (and I believe it is), we need to ask the question, “Does that mean that homosexuality, transgenderism, pornography, masturbation, and/or sex outside of marriage is wrong?” The answers to those questions are yes. Biblical sexuality and biblical gender roles begin in the heartbeat of a Creator God. First, He took them from the dust and breathed life into them. Then He saw that it was not good for man to be alone and He took a rib from Adam and made Eve. He made man first and then He made Eve to be a helpmate.
Now that at first may not seem controversial at all; after all, I merely summarized the first two chapters of Genesis 1-2. And yet, there are few things more controversial than the above paragraph in our culture. In fact, Tim Challies said that one of the most significant issues in 2018 was complementarian theology[i], the idea that men and women are equal in dignity, value, and worth, but distinct in function and role.
The question we must ask is this: “Does the authority of Scripture matter on issues related to biblical sexuality and biblical gender roles?” You are going to get a dozen different answers to that question in various areas of contemporary evangelicalism. And to be honest, what it boils down to is this: what we believe about the authority of the Bible matters. Either the Bible’s teaching is clear—for example in Genesis 1-2, Ephesians 5, and other references about the place of a man in the home and the role of a wife in the home—or it’s not. And if it’s not, then we have a significant problem—that the culture is right. And yet, to the degree the church stands on the Word, it will continue proclaiming the biblical truth about morality, gender roles, and sexuality—all from the Word of God.
I frame this issue this manner—as one of authority—precisely because people chafe at the idea of God having authority over their pants and their particular sexual organs. They want a “god” who will come only so near and then stop, but the God of the Bible is no such god. The God of the Bible not only says He will come near, He knows the thoughts and intentions of our hearts, along with the very hairs on our heads.
We have all sorts of people saying that biblical gender roles are obsolete, that the distinction between men and women is antiquated and we, as Christians, should stop talking about it if we want to stay relevant. To remain relevant, we don’t need to retreat. We also do not need to abandon ship and toss out the baby with the bath water. No, men and women of God, we must stand. We must proclaim the whole counsel of God. We are, after all, soldiers; and as soldiers, we stand at the ready with the sword of the Word of God, unsheathed to declare (in love) the glory of the One who made all people and who alone, through Christ, can save all people.
Sometimes what people hear when Bible-believing Christians talk about biblical gender roles and biblical sexuality is that we are against them. Specifically, the LGBTQ community hears that you are for a man being a man and a woman being a woman in marriage. And that’s true, but we as Christians are not against people; for people are made in the image and likeness of God. And it’s not we who are against people’s viewpoints, which makes it personal and this isn’t personal. This is a matter of the authority of God’s Word. God declares that He created one man to be with one woman—not a man with a man, or a woman with a woman, or a man changing his gender so that now he’s a woman (and vice versa) because he (or she) doesn’t feel like being that gender anymore. God says in His Word that He created men and women for a specific purpose, and gave them a specifically assigned gender to function and live according to His sovereign design.
In this issue of Theology for Life Magazine, we are saying this: God created men to be men, and women to be women. We are also saying that marriage is between one man and one woman, that we are against abuse of any kind and shape. Additionally, we are teaching that the Church should stand fast for the authority of the Word of God—both implicitly and explicitly—and declare to a watching world the whole truth of Scripture (including that men and women are equal in dignity, value, and worth, but distinct in function, and role).
The best apologetic is not only sound biblical doctrine, which is essential, but also right practice. A watching culture sees our marriages, between one man and one woman. It also studies how we are fighting against pornography, how we are ministering to the sexually broken, and more with the gospel that we say is the power of God unto the salvation of men.
Wherever you are at on the issues related to morality, sexuality, and gender roles, my prayer is that you will be helped by the solid biblical teaching of each article, book review, and interview in this issue, which are aimed at assisting in developing biblical thinking, so you will learn to love the God of the Bible.
In Christ Alone,
Executive Editor, Theology for Life Magazine
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