The Gender-Neutral Trend

History records for us the good and evil of past societies. When looking at this, I find our society no worse, and in many cases, not even close to than the ancient societies. However, I also notice something else that perhaps should be of great concern to us. Each of these societies has been brought low by the God of Heaven for their evil.

Some time ago, a movement started that had the aim of producing a gender-neutral society. Accordingly, many institutions have been put into existence that are designed to accomplish this end. One such is the neutralization of public restrooms.

I cannot say exactly when this started, but in 2015 it was reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, that the boys’ bathrooms and girls’ bathrooms were to become just bathrooms at the Miraloma Elementary School in San Francisco, California as they go gender-neutral. This decision follows a trend that is accelerating in our nation. There are many other reports I could site, but one is enough for us to think about the implications of such a move.

God on Gender

1) Male and Female. Considering this ridiculousness, a good question is, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE?” (Matt. 19:4-5). The origination book affirms, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Gen. 1:27). Again, it is recorded, “He created them male and female…” (Gen. 5:2). If you’re not sure which you are, you might check your birth certificate.

2) Mankind and Womankind. Leviticus 18:22 teaches, “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.” Today we are told that if you are mankind you can change to womankind, and if you are womankind you can identify as mankind. Craziness, isn’t it?

Men and women

3) Man and Woman. The creation account reveals, “The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man and brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man” (Gen. 2:22-23). Paul wrote the Corinthians, “it is good for a man not to touch a woman. But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband” (1 Cor. 7:1-2).

4) Husbands and Wives. The Ephesian letter instructs, “Ephesians 5:22-33 NAS95 22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife…But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands…Husbands, love your wives…and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband” (Eph. 5:22-33).

5) Father and Mother. Did you know that the terms “dad” and “mom” or “father” and “mother” are now considered offensive to some in our society? The Book of God says, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). Paul wrote the Ephesians, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER…” (Eph. 6:1-2).

Boys and girls

6) Sons and Daughters. The generations of Adam find “sons and daughters” being born (Gen. 5:4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, 22, 26, 30). When you were born, were you a son or a daughter?

7) Boys and Girls. Zechariah 8:5 says, “And the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls playing in its streets.” When a child is born, the first words are often: “It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl!” Right? Some school systems no longer refer to students as “boys” and “girls”. Teachers are told, “Don’t use phrases such as ‘boys and girls,’ ‘you guys,’ ‘ladies and gentlemen,’ and similarly gendered expressions to get kids’ attention.” Instead of “boys” and “girls”, call them purple penguins! Divide them by whether they prefer skateboards or bikes, or whether they like milk or juice. So, are we going to have the milk room and the juice room, instead of the boys’ room and the girls’ room?

He and she

8) He and She. ‘He” and “she” occurs in 160 Bible verses. Here’s a sampling: “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate” (Gen. 3:6). You ought to be able to tell a she from a he and a he from a she! The law commanded, “A woman shall not wear man’s clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman’s clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God” (Deut. 22:5). The Corinthians were asked, “Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her…” (1 Cor. 11:14-15). Speaking of nature-teaching, did you observe what Noah took with him into the ark? “…two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female” (Gen. 6:19). Ever see a trans dog or cat?

Conclusion

Friend, we might ask, “What’s next?” It is time to recognize the sovereignty of God and accept what is obvious to all. There is a difference between male and female. So, let us accept God’s design and forget about bringing “strange fire” before Him (Lev 10:1; Num 26:61). The results of this “strange fire” are disastrous.

Simplicity In Christ

Paul, in 2 Corinthians 11:3, states, “I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” God, in revealing His plan and purpose for man’s life, was not trying to confuse man. He wanted (and still wants today) man to hear, understand and obey. Therefore, the gospel was couched in terms that were simple and clear. Satan will always try to confuse us, so in various ways he tries to complicate the massage. That is why Paul wrote, “that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes” but “whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor 2:11; 4:4). Where God wants us to hear and learn, and come to Him (Jn. 6:45), Satan tries to confuse and bewilder all those who would listen to God.

Free from sin

God has clearly revealed how men are to be made free from sin. To this end, God gave His only begotten Son and approved Him with these words; “…This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him” (Matt. 17:5)! God spoke under the Old Covenant through the prophets, but now speaks His will for our lives through His Son, Jesus Christ (Heb. 1:1-2). Surely no one would contend that He is unable to speak clearly what He wants us to understand, or that Christ is unable to convey the Father’s message. God made man (Gen. 1:26-27), surely, He knows our intelligence and ability to comprehend. Why, then, are there those who affirm that we cannot be sure we know the will of God?

Instructions to disciples

Before Jesus left this earth, He gave instructed His disciples to evangelize the world. At the same time, He gave the means by which men would be saved from sin, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned” (Mk. 16:15-16). That bit of information is so simple and plain that a person must have a lot of help to misunderstand it. If this passage is not clear to you, ask a ten-year-old school child to explain what it means. Jesus was not trying to confuse the apostles, nor you and me. He gave simple terms for salvation which they understood and preached, and which we can understand and obey.

When the apostles went forth in compliance with the instructions of Jesus, they preached the gospel in simple words. The people who heard them had no difficulty in understanding what to believe and what to do. Many found it hard to accept, but none found it hard to understand. When Peter preached the first gospel sermon (Acts 2:14-36), people believed and asked, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” The Lord’s reply, through Peter, was simple, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins…” (Acts 2:38). There was no question about their ability to understand because, “those who had received his word were baptized; and that day…” (Acts 2:41). They understood what to do and did it – 3000 of them. What could be simpler or plainer?

Why were 3000 baptized that day? The Bible says, they “received his word.” The converse could be stated, as those who did not receive his word were not baptized. That is still true today. Those who gladly receive the word of the Lord will do what the word says3/4 no excuses, no arguments.

Responsibilities

In Jn. 8:24, Jesus said, “you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” The reason for His many miracles is clearly revealed: “Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:30-31). Later, Paul would write of the gospel, “it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16). He further explained in Rom. 5:1, “having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Without faith we cannot be pleasing to God (Heb. 11:6), but it must be a “faith working through love” (Gal. 5:6). Faith without works is no faith at all (Jas. 2:20).

Faith must lead us to turn from our former way of living. Jesus said, “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Lk. 13:3). Jesus did not come to earth and die on the cross that we might continue to live according to our own will. 2 Cor 5:15 states it this way, “He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” Jesus came to save people from their sins, not to save people in their sins. If we would be saved, we must be willing to turn from our sins to live as He directs us. If we are determined to live for ourselves, to live in sin, we cannot be saved. The requirement is simple: we must repent

Many heard and believed

On the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem, 3000 people believed (v. 37), repented (v. 38) and were baptized (v. 41). A pattern of conversion was set that was repeated over and over. Philip went to the city of Samaria and “preached Christ to them” (Acts 8:5). “But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike” (Acts 8:12).

Notice, when they believed, they were baptized. Just like the people on Pentecost. Just as Jesus had said in Mark 16. Philip was directed by an angel of the Lord to go to the road that led to Gaza where he met an Ethiopian and “preached Jesus to him” (Acts 8:26-35). “As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, ‘Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized’” (v. 36)? Told he must believe, he stated, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God,” (v. 37), and “they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him” (v. 38). Wasn’t that simple? Why complicate it? Just do what Jesus said. That is what the Samaritans did, that is what the eunuch did. Why confuse the matter?

When the gospel began to be preached to the Gentile world, we see the exact same pattern emerge. The apostle Paul preached in Philippi, was arrested and thrown into prison. As he and Silas sang praises to God, an earthquake freed all the prisoners. The jailer brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). He was told, “’Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.’ And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house. And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household” (Acts 16:31-33).

Just as with the other examples, this man trusted Jesus, repented of his sins, and was immediately baptized. When Paul preached in Corinth, “…many of the Corinthians when they heard were believing and being baptized” (Acts 18:8). God’s message was simple enough that people who heard it for the first time could respond to it. That means, they understood it. However, they might not have known what was expected of them after that. However, they knew what God said for them to do. Why shouldn’t it be that simple today?

Watchdogs or Hushpuppies

by David Baker

watchdog

Often those who find themselves in indefensible positions resort to “invective” for justification. One of the more popular invectives is for those who speak out against error and criticize false teaching is “watchdog.”

Now, it is funny that the usual criticism of “watchdogs” is that they are not kind in the way they deal with problems. It is resented that they should be critical or that they should communicate their concerns to others. It rarely matters whether the language used is kind or unkind, or what kind of spirit is manifest when a “watchdog” does his thing. The fact is that they have done it, and they have actually used such terms as “false teacher” with reference to those who teach that which is false.

The funny part is that “false teacher,” while it may not be pleasing to hear it used about oneself, is an entirely useful term. It describes one in terms of what he does, and it rarely is applied unless one persists in his teaching of error. That is fair. But “watchdog” is intended as invective, not a kind or descriptive way of putting things at all. Those who use it must make an effort not to sound bitter or superior. And it wreaks positively of what it is intended to criticize.

God’s answer to “watchdogs”

What does God say? “Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thy hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul” (Ezekiel 3:17-19). God commends the function that some have decried as being “watchdogs,” but uses a more functional and less abusive term – “watchman.”

Those who take it upon themselves to speak for God are privileged to do so. With the privilege comes grave responsibility. “Be not many of you teachers, my brethren, knowing that we shall receive heavier judgment” (James 3:1). As servants of God we are entrusted with the spiritual welfare of the world, the souls of men. As each must answer to God, we must answer for how we have effected their answer. We have a responsibility to teach and to warn of those who teach error. If we cannot do that, then we dare not claim the privilege.

Paul reiterates God’s thoughts

Paul said, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them” (Ephesians 5:11). Was Paul being a “watchdog” when he told the brethren to reprove those who work darkness? By the way, “reprove” makes an interesting word study. “But when Cephas came to Antioch, I resisted him to the face, because he stood condemned. For before that certain came from James, he ate with the Gentiles; but when they came, he drew back and separated himself, fearing them that were of the circumcision.

And the rest of the Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that even Barnabas was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Cephas before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest as do the Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, how compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?” (Galatians 2:11-14). When error is publicly proclaimed or endorsed, it needs to be publicly exposed. That is Paul’s teaching and his example. To do less is to neglect God’s will in the matter.

Watchdog’s must be heard

The best watchdogs are the ones who make the most noise. I had a friend once who had a vicious Doberman. He bragged that no one would dare rob his house because of the fear that dog would provoke. He came home one day to find his house empty and the dog chewing on a strange “soup-bone” while his mind was apparently “lost in space.” What good was that mutt? The dog the thief fears the most is the poodle or Chihuahua. Have you ever seen one of those that didn’t bark his head off.

The noise of exposure and contradiction the false teacher cannot abide. He must do his work unopposed by the light of truth. He searches out the dark corners of vulnerable ears to plant his seed. Those who would warn are called “watch-dogs” as though that classifies them as vile. But it is the dog that doesn’t bark – the “hush-puppy” – that is condemned in Scripture. “His watchmen are blind, they are all without knowledge; they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; dreaming, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, the dogs are greedy, they can never have enough; and these are shepherds that cannot understand: they have all turned to their own way, each one to his gain, from every quarter” (Isaiah 56:10-11). Faithful servants are watchful. The best watchdogs are the ones who make the most noise.

Don’t Accept Generic Brands

Companies spend thousands of dollars advertising their brand. It seems to have become a necessity although most of the “brand names” are easily recognizable. But with the introduction of “generic” brands the manufactures want to be sure people are aware of “the real thing.” These generic brands are like their name brand counterparts, but you don’t generally see or hear the generics advertised. The greatest appeal of generic brands is that they do not cost as much. While the generics may be like the name brand, they are not identical, and the careful consumer can distinguish easily between “the real thing” and the imitations.

If we take the principle, the same could be said in the religious world. There is the “real thing” and the “generic.” While on the surface they look the same, a close examination shows the differences.

The Real Thing

After being arrested for healing a lame man and preaching the gospel, Peter and John were asked on trial before the Jewish council, “…By what power, or in what name, have you done this?” (Acts 4:7). Peter had already answered this question at least twice before they were arrested. To the lame man at the gate of the temple he had said, “In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene–walk!” (Acts 3:6). Later, when they were preaching on Solomon’s porch, Peter had proclaimed, “And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know” (Acts 3:16). So, when the Sanhedrin asked, “By what name,” the answer had already been given, but Peter was not ashamed to announce it again—“let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead–by this name this man stands here before you in good health.” (Acts 4:10). Notice that Peter did not offer some generic response of a power or name that was like “the real thing.” He didn’t point to some imitation that was close.

Conclusion

Then, Peter concluded his remarks with this definitive statement, “For there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). In that one affirmation of divine truth, the Scripture condemns all religious groups, “churches” and doctrines that do not conform to the name, authority and pattern of Christ.

Would you trust your soul’s salvation to some imitation or generic brand? Or is Christ your only authority?