I think we can all agree that issues related to gender and sexuality can be sensitive to talk about. Few issues in our time are as polarizing as these. Unfortunately, a lot of the conversations on the topic end up leading to divisiveness and anger. I’m convinced that there is a better way to handle this.
I recently shared a messages at Kingsland on what the Bible says about gender identity, and the implications of this confusion in our society. As I was preparing it, I was reminded over and over of how many ways I fall short of God’s design in my own life. Sharing on this topic – and any topic – always brings me to a place of humility, as I recognize that all of us are desperate for the grace of God. So let’s make a deal: let’s agree to look honestly at the truths of the Bible as well as the scientific and sociological evidence rather than whatever social pressures we are feeling from any outside voices. Let’s agree that the very best place for anyone to find themselves is living in the center of God’s will for their lives – and that means living in obedience to His Word. Let’s agree that we all have issues to deal with, and let’s be willing to allow God to show us a better way related to those issues as opposed to just pointing out the issues of others.
We’re called by God to live in unity with other Christians:
“Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, that there be no divisions among you, and that you be united with the same understanding and the same conviction.” (1 Corinthians 1:10, CSB)
We’re also called by God to demonstrate Christ’s love to those around us:
“Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive. 14 Above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” (Colossians 3:12–14, CSB)
A part of demonstrating true love is seeking – and telling – the truth, even when it’s uncomfortable:
“Brothers and sisters, if someone is overtaken in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual, restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so that you also won’t be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1, CSB)
We’re called to love people, but love them by sharing the truth in love. To rob them of the truth is the opposite of love:
As I shared recently, Kingsland is famous for going to the “hard places” geographically – we travel to some of the hardest to reach locations in the world to share the Gospel. Let’s be willing to go to the “hard places” philosophically as well.
The following is a list of useful resources from which you can draw insights into some of the most complex questions related to the topic today. I pray that they are a help to you as you gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of this topic. I refuse to accept that we must choose between the pursuit of truth and the freedom to love one another. Jesus chose both. We can too.
For Grace and Truth,
Pastor Ryan Rush (Kingsland Baptist Church)
Resources to Help
- Rethinking Sexuality: God’s Design and Why it Matters by Dr. Juli Slattery
- Talking With Teens About Sexuality by Beth Robinson, EdD and Latayne C. Scott, PhD
- Engendered: What was God Thinking? By Patsy Cameneti
- Understanding Sexual Identity: A Resource for Youth Ministry by Mark Yarhouse
- Secure Daughters, Confident Sons by Glenn T. Stanton
- Pursing Sexual Wholeness by Andrew Comiskey
- Engaging Your Teens World: Understanding What Today’s Youth are Thinking, Doing, and Watching by David Eaton & Jeremiah Calliham
- Emerging Gender Ideas: Understanding Diverse Experiences of Today’s Youth by Mark Yarhouse & Julia Sadusky
- God and the Transgender Debate: What Does the Bible Actually Say about Gender Identity? By Andrew T. Walker, PhD
- To Be A Woman by Katie J. McCoy, PhD
- Love Thy Body by Nancy R. Pearcey
- Gay Girl, Good God: The Story of Who I Was, and Who God Has Always Been by Jackie Hill Perry
- Rethinking Sexuality: God’s Design and Why it Matters Small Group Curriculum by Dr. Juli Slattery
- Alive: Gospel Sexuality for Students by Cooper Pinson (Minister-Led)
- Neil T Anderson Prayer from his book The Bondage Breaker
- Transgender ideology and what it means to be a woman: A Conversation with Dr. Katie McCoy – The Denison Forum Podcast
- Pop-culture training for parents: David Eaton on Upstream with Shane Morris
- Engendered: What was God Thinking: A Conversation with Patsy Cameneti
- Talking to Kids About Gender Identity with Andrew Walker – The Family Life Podcast