Upholding Clarity in an Age of Confusion: The Nashville Statement, Part 7

Male and Female Differences Are Blessings from God

Why didn’t God make us all a combination of male and female, so we wouldn’t be so dependent on one another? Why not make us each complete in ourselves? For one thing, we wouldn’t have been as happy if we were complete in ourselves. God made us so that we would have a need for him, and this need would impel us to grow to be like him. He also made us so that we would need one another, and thus would grow together toward unity. By design, all of God’s creation is constructed to avoid self-sufficiency. Everything about our earth and its inhabitants is designed to promote harmony, interdependence, and unselfishness.
—W. Peter Blitchington1

 

You can view summaries of all the articles in this series here.

Key point: Not only Article 4 of the Nashville Statement affirm the truth of Scripture; human experience does as well.

 

For the past several weeks, we have been considering various articles of the Nashville Statement on Biblical Sexuality. This week we will briefly consider Article 4, which states,

WE AFFIRM that divinely ordained differences between male and female reflect God’s original creation design and are meant for human good and human flourishing.

WE DENY that such differences are a result of the Fall or are a tragedy to be overcome.

Thomas Cole, Expulsion from the Garden of Eden

How do we know these things? Let’s consider the affirmation portion first.

First, we know that male-female differences have existed as long as there has been at least one man and one woman on earth, because God created the first man and the first woman with complementary traits, qualities that differed in order to make them an effective team (see Gen. 2:18,21-24). The differences remain in men and women today, and so does the complementarity. This doesn’t mean that any man and any woman are compatible in the sense we would consider an individual couple’s compatibility. It means that generally speaking, when a man and a woman come together in marriage, before anything else is taken into account, innate male-female differences set the stage for the two of them to fit together, work together, and “do life” together effectively. Out of their diversity, a oneness, a unity, arises—if the husband and wife accept and cooperate with the differences between them.

Second, after numerous creative actions on God’s part, God saw the things He had made, and they were good, but He went on to declare it was “not good” for man to be alone. Then, significantly,  after creating both the man and the woman—and everything else—God saw everything He had made and proclaimed it to be “very good.” This included His design of the man and the woman as different in complementary ways.

Third, we know that male-female differences “are meant for human good and human flourishing” because right after creating the man and the woman, God gave them special instructions. Genesis 1:27-28 reports,

27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

While a variety of factors are involved in the situation described in verse 28, the differences between the man and the woman are an inseparable part of this mix.

Now let’s consider the denial portion. How do we know that male and female differences did not result from the Fall and are not a tragedy to be overcome?

In this, our fourth point, let’s reiterate our first: Male-female differences were a part of God’s original design.

Fifth, God created men and women alike in that both are human, yet different from each other in both obvious and subtle ways. At the same time, He also made both men and women in His image. A man reflects God’s image in ways that a woman cannot, and a woman reflects it in ways a man cannot. All of this was and is God’s original design. While the Fall of humanity into sin marred God’s image in both men and women, it did not eliminate it. We see evidence of this in Scripture following the Flood.


Sin distorted but did not eliminate God’s image in members of the human race.


Daniel Maclise, Noah’s Sacrifice

In Genesis 9:6-7, God declared to Noah,

6  “Whoever sheds man’s blood,
By man his blood shall be shed;
For in the image of God
He made man.
And as for you, be fruitful and multiply;
Bring forth abundantly in the earth
And multiply in it.”

Had the Fall obliterated God’s image from people, killing someone wouldn’t matter. But it does matter! Moreover, it is male-female differences that make it possible for humanity to “be fruitful and multiply.”

Sixth, even though the consequences of the Fall for men and women were gender-specific, they weren’t the source of male and female differences. No longer would the marriage relationship, childbearing, or work be free of frustration. Rather, they would at times produce tension and strife. Figuratively speaking, sin threw obstacles onto the path of the marriage relationship!

Ironically—and this is our seventh point—we see evidence that God’s image has been marred and distorted by sin, not in the innate differences between men and women, but in the efforts of some to treat men and women as identical. This is what is creating confusion, difficulty, tragedy, and all sorts of problems (also go here).

By contrast, consider the words of Peter Biltchington at the top of this post. When a husband and wife understand that each one needs the other, each is poised not only to receive encouragement and help from his or her spouse, but also to offer these. We grow when we give of ourselves, and many people benefit, not just us! As Dr. Blitchington affirms, God’s design discourages an unhealthy independence, and it promotes, in his words, “harmony, interdependence, and unselfishness.”2 If we are honest, we are compelled to admit that our observations and experiences validate this truth. God’s design is very good, just as Scripture affirms.

The effect of sin still is evident, but so is the image of God in people everywhere—an image that includes male and female differences.

Next week, we will take a break from our series on the Nashville Statement and recognize the 500th birthday of the Protestant Reformation. On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Church in Wittenberg, Germany. This document challenged the corruption of the church and urged reform and renewal. Thankfully, Luther’s action set the stage for many of the reforms Luther sought. We are beneficiaries of it even today.

 

Copyright © 2017 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture has been taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

1,2W. Peter Blitchington, Sex Roles and the Christian Family, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1981), 51.

A Formula for Social Chaos: Torching the Natural Barriers Between the Sexes

A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman’s birthday but never remembers her age.
Robert Frost

I would rather trust a woman’s instinct than a man’s reason.
Stanley Baldwin

Women were created from the rib of man to be beside him, not from his head to top him, nor from his feet to be trampled by him, but from under his arm to be protected by him, near to his heart to be loved by him.
Matthew Henry, An Exposition of the Old and New Testament—

I love the book of Proverbs. The second to last chapter—the 30th—showcases the wisdom of Agur. This is a powerful and insightful series of sayings. Tucked away in this set of 33 verses is this gem, a prayer that makes a great deal of sense. Obviously it was prayed by a man who wanted to honor God more than he wanted to acquire wealth.

7 Two things I ask of you, Lord;
do not refuse me before I die:
8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God (Prov. 30:7-9).

Echoing Solomon’s earlier warnings to his son about the woman who would entice him sexually (see chapter 5; 6:20-35; chapter 7), 30:20 cautions,

This is the way of an adulterous woman:
She eats and wipes her mouth
and says, ‘I’ve done nothing wrong.’

The concluding verses of Proverbs 30 (vv. 32-33) present a much needed warning against pride.

32 If you play the fool and exalt yourself,
or if you plan evil,
clap your hand over your mouth!
33 For as churning cream produces butter,
and as twisting the nose produces blood,
so stirring up anger produces strife.

My favorite saying in the chapter, though, comes from verses 18-19:

18 There are three things that are too amazing for me,
four that I do not understand:
19 the way of an eagle in the sky,
the way of a snake on a rock,
the way of a ship on the high seas,
and the way of a man with a young woman.”

Obviously no one can trace the path of an eagle through the air, the way a snake has moved across rock, or the specific route a ship has traveled on an ocean. The sky, rock, and sea do not offer evidence of these journeys. Similarly, “the way of a man with a young woman” is mysterious and special. Inherent in these verses is a treasure trove of implied truths about men, women, and relationships between a man and a woman. Here are a few of these truths.

  1. God created both men and women in His image, as free moral agents.
  2. Each person is a unique individual.
  3. Especially in male-female relationships, every person should be treated with dignity and respect. No one should be violated.
  4. Men and women are equal in value.
  5. Men and women are different.
  6. Men and women complement each other.
  7. Men and women are mysteries to each other. Just when one thinks he or she has figured the other out, that person learns such is not the case. Here might be a good place to briefly describe how this natural curiosity might bypass a boy and set the stage for same-sex attraction. Go here for a very brief summary.
  8. In the natural order of a male-female relationship, generally speaking, the man initiates and the woman responds. This does not mean that a woman never initiates or that a man never responds, but we’re speaking here in general terms.
  9. The reality reflected in item 8 notwithstanding, the way of a man with a young woman isn’t the only mystery; the way of a woman with a man is a mystery as well. This is especially true of the way of a wife with her husband!
  10. A man and a woman were meant to be together, and marriage—the lifelong commitment between him and her—is the proper context for them to experience the greatest degree of satisfaction and fulfillment in their relationship.
  11. Marriage as an institution uniting one man and one woman for life should be honored by all.

These last two points are not meant to disparage single adults or imply that they are less than persons within themselves. Even so, it was on the cusp of the first wedding that God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Gen. 2:18).  Probably to make Adam aware that no creature God already had made was suitable for him, the Lord let Adam examine and name each one. The first man found no living being that could complement him and help him adequately. Therefore, God caused him to sleep deeply, and while he was sleeping, formed a woman from one of Adam’s ribs. Adam was pleased and said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man” (Gen. 2:23). Then Scripture says, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame” (Gen. 2:24-25).

For centuries, stable societies have honored these and other qualities evident in men and women, and they’ve respected these and other inherent dynamics in male-female relationships. Marriage was affirmed and families were supported in local communities and in nations. Children were seen as assets and avenues for making the world better and the future brighter, so sacrifice for them and investment in them was an expected part of family life. Not all was perfect, but at least government was not trying overtly to thwart what was clearly evident in nature itself.

This is no longer the case in America. It is clear that the Obama administration is wielding its authority to run roughshod over the realities of the sexes, realities that, as we have said, were for many years widely accepted and respected in this country. Unless these efforts are thwarted, the damage will be akin to the destructive power of a wildfire.

In his July newsletter to Family Talk supporters, Dr. James Dobson addresses one aspect of the Obama administration’s assault on sexual normalcy—the push for bathroom policies that open the doors of restrooms both sexes. We’ve addressed this issue in numerous earlier posts, but here I want to zero in on the apparent end game of this effort. Dr. Dobson writes,

dr.-james-dobson

Obama, acting like a king, is wielding dictatorial powers never envisioned in the law. He is determined to change the way males and females relate to one another, and worse, how children perceive themselves.…

Barack Obama…is a tyrant in many ways. How dare he assault centuries of modesty and moral beliefs! By what authority does he tell parents and school officials what to teach children under their care? Christian parents, does this outrageous order violate something deep within your sense of propriety? The President has already maneuvered the courts to undermine a 5,000-year-old definition of marriage, after experiencing his infamous epiphany. Now he is determined to change Western civilization forever. He becomes more reckless and defiant as his second term comes to an end. Never has an American president been so absorbed with the use and abuse of power, and unfortunately, he still has seven months to go. What’s next?

I grew up respecting the authority and dignity of the nation’s presidents. Each of them was tasked to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and to protect our rights as citizens. That is what I was taught. My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Harris, described for us the three branches of government, and how each division has the authority to restrain the other two according to a principle known as “checks and balances.” It made America unique among nations. But, with the complete refusal of the U.S. Congress to restrain the presidency or to curtail a runaway judiciary that is itself drunk with power, “we the people” are victimized by those who steal our freedom. Our Founding Fathers would be shocked to learn how the safeguards on our freedom have been abandoned.

BY03H27_NORMAL

My friend, Tony Perkins, of the Family Research Council recently said he often is asked, “Why is the Obama administration trying to mainstream ‘transgenderism’ and force schools to accommodate students who want to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of the opposite sex?” Tony’s answer gets to the heart of the motive: “It’s all part of a radical movement trying to destroy the fact that God created man and woman—and somehow people can choose what gender they want to be. The ultimate goal is to break down all sexual inhibition and morality—a goal that would result in social chaos.”

The effort to mainstream “transgenderism” is part of a radical movement trying to destroy the fact that God created man and woman—and somehow people can choose what gender they want to be. The ultimate goal is to break down all sexual inhibition and morality—a goal that would result in social chaos.
—Tony Perkins—

We must not miss the weight of Tony Perkins’s insight. While some might be tempted to disbelieve the Obama administration really is working toward this goal, it is difficult to conclude otherwise, given its actions in recent months.

The administration’s efforts to tear down the barriers between the sexes reached a fever pitch with the Pentagon’s announcement on June 30 that transgenders now will be allowed to serve openly in the military. We cannot dismiss the near certainty that now that the ban is lifted, the US military will fund sex change therapy and even surgery for people with gender dysphoria. This will be the case despite evidence that such surgery is counterproductive and even harmful to the individual involved. In the military, of course, many others will be affected as well, and we see no evidence that their viewpoints will be respected. An official has acknowledged that since some military personnel will be experiencing this kind of transition, bathrooms, showers, barracks, and locker rooms will be places where “mixed genitalia” are present.

Thus, not only does this policy use the military as a vehicle to accomplish agendas it never was intended to take on, it also works to destroy the core purpose of the military itself. Defense expert Elaine Donneley said,

ElaineDonnelly061509

For the Department of Defense to focus on a tiny, tiny, minority and disregard the concerns of the majority of people in the armed forces is more than irresponsible. The secretary of defense is instituting a policy that will encourage indiscipline and sexual tension and a range of problems that have nothing to do with strengthening the Armed Forces. There’s no excuse for it.

Here’s how former Lt. General Jerry Boykin begins the article in which he responds to the policy.

BY12G01_NORMAL

The announcement by Defense Secretary Ash Carter that the ban on transgenders in the military has been lifted is simply one of the greatest examples of how there is no focus on military readiness in this administration.

The US military has been at war for fifteen years and has experienced fatigue and frustration due in part to a lack of attention to their needs by the Congress as well as the Commander-in-Chief. Operating with no clear strategy to win, our military is beginning to question why they are even fighting. At a time when leaders in Congress and the White House should be moving heaven and earth to enhance readiness and providing a strategic plan for success on the battle field, the focus has shifted to social experiments with the concomitant training and education that accompanies these new programs.

Secretary Carter made no coherent case for how this will enhance the readiness of our armed forces to perform their single mission: to fight and win the nation’s wars. This will result in a distraction for commanders at all levels as they spend precious time implementing this policy.

I encourage you to read General Boykin’s entire article here. As bad as all this is, there’s even more. The new policy is poised obliterate religious liberty in the armed services. Suppose a doctor or nurse working for the military has religious objections to participating in sex change therapy or surgeries. A Pentagon official was asked about this and “replied that it’s the responsibility of [a] medical professional to serve military persons.”

Ron Crews, who is the executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, responded, “It’s an understatement to say that this raises serious religious liberty concerns. The Department of Defense must ensure a service member is not forced to violate his or her conscience and that doctors and nurses who hold to a biblical view of human sexuality can serve in today’s military.” Crews also said, “Americans need to know the extreme implications of this policy. Do we want our sons and daughters to be forced to share showers and sleeping spaces in a ‘mixed genitalia’ environment with no recourse for objections of conscience?”

Tony Perkins’s observation about the administration’s push for transgender bathroom policies comes readily to mind. What could be a more effective formula for social chaos than this campaign for gender confusion in the armed forces? The military, after all, is a place where a soldier doesn’t have any say at all. He has to follow orders. She has to do her duty. Even with guidelines to preserve order, these policies will do their destructive work in breaking down the effectiveness of our national defense. Moreover, typically, social policy in the military eventually becomes public policy throughout the country.

We need to understand that Barak Obama, and Hillary Clinton as well, are both disciples of activist Saul Alinsky.

Saul_Alinsky

 

President Barack Obama is photographed during a presidential portrait sitting for an official photo in the Oval Office, Dec. 6, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

Hillary_Clinton_Testimony_to_House_Select_Committee_on_Benghazi

Alinsky said, “The organizer dedicated to changing the life of a particular community must first rub raw the resentments of the people of the community.” He also said, “Radicals must be resilient, adaptable to shifting political circumstances, and sensitive enough to the process of action and reaction to avoid being trapped by their own tactics and forced to travel a road not of their choosing. In short, radicals must have a degree of control over the flow of events.” We see these elements in the Obama administration’s disruption and manipulation of laws and customs that have, for over two centuries, fostered stability in America. It is noteworthy that Alinsky dedicated his signature work, Rules for Radicals, to Satan himself.

Rules_for_Radicals

Writing at Red State, Donald Ayotte reviewed Rules for Radicals. He warns “every conservative or constitution minded person” to become familiar with the tactics and strategies of Alinsky’s followers. “Buy and read this book. Your adversaries have memorized it and are using the principles within tis covers to destroy our great republic. Make no mistake, the Progressive Liberals or Radicals’ goal is to tear down the republic and shred the Constitution. The problem is, they have nothing to replace it with; they are only bent on destruction.”

How, then, should we respond to the challenges we currently are facing? I believe that Dr. Dobson’s letter offers keen insight along these lines. Regarding the push to enshrine into public policy the “right” of biological men to enter women’s restrooms, Dr. Dobson writes this.

If you are a married man with any gumption, surely you will defend your wife’s privacy and security in restroom facilities. Would you remain passive after knowing that a strange-looking man, dressed like a woman, has been peering over toilet cubicles to watch your wife in a private moment? What should be done to the pervert who was using mirrors to watch women and girls in their stalls? If you are a dad, I pray you will protect your little girls from men who walk in unannounced, unzip their pants and urinate in front of them. Where is today’s manhood? God help us!…

What is the solution to deliberate attempts to foster gender confusion and to destroy distinctions between the sexes? Not coincidentally, it largely will involve the constructive assertion of true male leadership. If the country can see this, then it will be given a golden opportunity and incentive to reject gender confusion and to affirm sex roles that align with authentic masculinity and genuine femininity. That will be liberating, indeed! Of course, women as well as men must be involved in this effort, but men, especially husbands and fathers, must step up to the plate to protect women and children—their wives, their sons, and their daughters—from the devastation that sexual anarchy surely will bring.

What is the solution to deliberate attempts to foster gender confusion and to destroy distinctions between the sexes? Not coincidentally, it largely will involve the constructive assertion of true male leadership.

Dobson continues (hyperlink has been added for clarity),

Clearly, there are serious implications here for mothers and fathers [as well]. I urge you to protect your boys and girls from those who are espousing these views. Shield them from gender feminism and from those who would confuse their sexuality. They will be under increasing political pressure in years to come.

It is also important for us as adults to understand our own sexual identities. If we don’t know who we are, our kids will be doubly confused about who they are. Any uncertainty, any ambiguity in that assignment must be seen as damaging not only to our sons and daughters but also to the long-term stability of society itself.

Finally, I urge you to base your teachings about sexuality on the Scriptures, which tell us, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27). Jesus, who was the first Jewish leader to give dignity and status to women, said, “Haven’t you read…that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’” and, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh” (Matthew 19:4-5). That is the divine plan. It leaves no doubt that the Creator made not one sex but two, each beautifully crafted to “fit with” and meet the needs of the other. Any effort to teach children differently is certain to produce turmoil in the soul of a child.

We must fight to protect our homes and families from politically correct politicians who would create new entitlements that take away our liberties. There is no time to lose. Our children hang in the balance.

As I wrote in Word Foundations two weeks ago, I “believe there needs to be a massive movement of the people to return our republic to its founding principles…much like we saw in the Civil Rights movement.” Please read this post if you haven’t already, and review again if you have.

There needs to be a massive movement of the people to return our republic to its founding principles…much like we saw in the Civil Rights movement.

Only as we speak out and stand unyieldingly for the principles upon which this country was founded will we return as a nation to embrace those principles once again. While the road before us will be difficult and while the task before us may seem impossible, our God specializes in genuine miracles. With God, all things are possible—even bringing a nation back to a posture of respect for the natural mystery of “the way of a man with a young woman” (Prov. 30:18-19).

May God honor us by using us to make this miracle happen, and may we honor Him by dedicating ourselves and our resources to this noble cause. The future of our country is at stake.

 

Copyright © 2016 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.

Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations in this article are from the New International Version. THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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