One of the most fundamental jobs of manhood is to protect children. In our culture, that does not mean standing at the door to stop marauding bandits from kidnapping our kids to sell them into slavery. The protection our kids need today is much tougher to achieve. It is protecting them from marauding ideologies that capture their hearts and minds, enslaving them and dragging them down a path to destruction.
In the last ten years there has been an explosion of confusion among adolescent children about their gender. Girls doubting their femininity are suffering. Boys uncertain about masculinity are unsure of themselves. Alarming statistics reveal that the more confused children are about their gender, the greater is their risk of suicide. Allegations of biblical patriarchy are causing the rising generation to forsake God’s design of male and female opening the door to the unhappiness and turmoil in their marriages that accompany the rejection of God’s creation design.
This crisis is not imaginary; statistics bear it out. In the generation born between 1965 and 1980 (Gen X) one in twenty identifies as LGBTQ+. In the next generation, born from 1981 to 1996 (Millennials), one in ten identifies as LGBTQ+. In the current generation of teens and twenty-somethings born between 1997 and 2013), one in five identifies as LGBTQ+. In addition, forty percent of millennials and Gen Z identify as religious; so, this explosion is not limited to just secular kids. These numbers constitute an unprecedented transformation of teen culture in the last fifteen years. The question is, “What are we, the men of the church, going to do about it?” As I have mulled this over, I think God gives us an answer to how we should protect our children from this enslaving ideology in his words to the men of the church at Corinth. Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong (1 Cor 16:13). This episode seeks to apply these four imperatives to the battle that the men of this cultural moment MUST fight for their children.
This is the fifth and final episode in our series, The Battles Men Fight. It is no accident that you and I are called to a battle to protect our children from an ideology that is enslaving millions. You and I were perfectly designed for this cultural moment, and it is for us to apply Paul’s universal admonitions to men in 1 Corinthians 16:13. So, let’s dig into this study.
The Greek word, GREGOREO means to watch, to keep awake. It means to be vigilant, to be looking for, to be alert, to have your eyes open, to take notice of, to not miss. It is the opposite of unaware, uninformed, asleep, blind to, ignorant of, naïve about, being AWOL (absent without official leave). This term was used by Jesus to rebuke his closest disciples when they were both physically and spiritually asleep to the spiritual battle going on in front of them. We read, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, So could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation (Mt 26:40-41). This command to watch for spiritual danger is much more significant than we often realize. For example, Scripture says:
- BE WATCHFUL in contrast to the lost: So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us KEEP AWAKE (GREGOREO) and be sober (1 Th 5:6).
- BE WATCHFUL as a regular part of prayer: Continue steadfastly in prayer, being WATCHFUL in it with thanksgiving (Col 4:2).
- BE WATCHFUL as one of the responsibilities of leadership: I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore, be WATCHFUL (Acts 20:29-31).
- BE WATHFUL as a part of godly masculinity. Be WATCHFUL, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong (Cor 16:13).
- BE WATCHFUL as a believer who is not naïve: Be sober-minded; be WATCHFUL. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Pet 3:8).
Notice that Jesus has told us that in all three roles we fill—as leaders, as men, and as everyday Christians we MUST BE WATCHFUL. We cannot allow ourselves, to be unaware of, naïve about, uniformed about, blind to radical gender ideology, which is destroying the lives of millions in the rising generation today. We must become informed about it so we can recognize it, see its tentacles creeping into the thinking of our loved ones, winsomely counter its lies, and then remain vigilant. This is a worldview battle that is not going away any time soon. I urge every one of those reading this blog to become informed about this crisis taking place in the lives of our children and grandchildren. Here are some resources:
- Our ministry has uploaded to YouTube 4 FREE video lectures: Understanding Gender Theory and its Origin, Understanding Today’s Transgender Craze, Countering Radical Gender Theory, and for teens to listen to with their youth group leaders or parents, Biblical Worldview of Sexuality.
- Gospel Coalition article, “Transformation of a Transgender Teen” July 6, 2022, written by Sarah Zylstra. This article tells the true story of a Christian girl who came out as trans at age twelve but came back to embrace her womanhood through what her parents did to win her back.
- Our Daughters and the Transgender Craze: Responding with Grace and Truth. This 48-page booklet helps parents know how to respond to the current explosion of teen girls coming out as trans.
Here is a sampling of what less than 1% of Christians know about gender theory.
- Gender theory is being promoted through a graphic designed, by Trans Student Education Resources, to capture the hearts of children—the Gender Unicorn. Its fractured view of sexual personhood splits a human being into five separate parts, which every individual has the right to determine for himself or herself—their gender identity, gender expression (gender role), sex assigned at birth (biological sex), physically attracted to (sexual orientation), romantically attracted to. This diagram is being used for sex education of first graders in some states and has been translated into over 10 languages for promotion overseas.
- Magnus Hirschfeld, the grandfather of gender theory, was a homosexual activist, who founded the World League for Sexual Reform. The league’s purpose was “liberation of the marital relationship from church domination,” and to free sex from being “complicated by any sense of guilt.”
- The father of gender theory, John Money, was not a scientist but a psychologist who coined the phrase gender identity as distinct from one’s biological identity. His unscientific theory was that gender identity is 100% caused by NURTURE and 0% caused by NATURE. The myth that he labored all his life to promote was that gender identity had nothing to do with one’s physical body, paving the way for the fantasy that gender is a social construct.
- John Money’s theories were formulated over fifty years ago and the sciences of embryology, biochemistry, endocrinology, and genetics have since proven his theories completely wrong.
Once again, PLEASE GET INFORMED through one of the resources listed above or others you know about. We simply CANNOT BE WATCHFUL IF WE DON’T KNOW WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR.
STAND FIRM IN THE FAITH
This often-repeated NT admonition is the opposite of giving ground, backing down, being intimidated, staying seated, being AWOL, being run over by the enemy. We need to stand firm in this battle three ways:
- Stand firm by stepping into the gap where the battle rages. Our Christian worldview recognizes that we have been chosen for impact at this cultural moment. It recognizes further that marriage between one man and one woman is intended by God to be the foundational institution for every culture. It recognizes that God has chosen his design of male and female differently to complete one another in marriage as they way the triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit image themselves and that Satan wants to mar and destroy this image in every way he can.
- Stand firm by accepting our responsibility in the faith for leading our homes. Here is God’s statement about Abraham, the father of the Christian faith.Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him. For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him (Gen 18:18-19). Christian fathers are assigned the responsibility by God of leading our households to “keep the way of the Lord.” Paul’s language was, “Fathers, bring your children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph 6:4). It is our job to fight spiritually for them.
- Stand firm for God’s creation design. It is our responsibility to guide our households into a celebration of God’s design of gender and sexuality and into grief at the way the Gender Unicorn fractured view of sexual personhood is inwardly destroying millions. Here are five myths that our children are hearing, which are promoted by many in social media.
- Myth #1: The Bible’s creation account demeans women by telling wives they were created to be their husband’s helper.
- Myth #2: The Bible is the origin of oppressive patriarchy.
- Myth #3: The Bible is sexist, promoting the archaic, oppressive idea that a wife should submit to her husband, which demeans women.
- Myth #4: The Bible oppresses women by teaching traditional family roles—that dad goes off to an exciting career while mom is stuck caring for the kids.
- Myth #5: The Bible oppresses women by teaching traditional family roles—that a woman’s place is in the home while her husband pursues a career outside the home.
The inability of those in the rising generation to receive adequate answers to these questions has caused more than one young adult raised in the church to be captured by radical gender ideology and caused many others to join the heretical Progressive Christianity movement or abandon the faith altogether. If you don’t feel equipped to give good answers to these questions, check out the resource Our Daughters and the Transgender Craze.
ACT LIKE MEN
The ESV text notes explain the background behind this command, ANDRIZOMAI. “Act like men was a frequent command in the Greek translation of the OT and is used in contexts encouraging people, (especially soldiers), to act with courage and strength in obedience to the Lord and with confidence in his power.” In that culture it was understood that being manly was to be strong and act with courage. We can go a little beyond this understanding by realizing that the biblical worldview of masculinity is given in Genesis 2:15. The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden to work it (AVAD) and keep it (SHAMAR).
A. AVAD. At the core of godly manhood is a commitment to cause the garden (where we live out our vocation) and those in it who are under our care to flourish. In a world in which the rising generation is being taught to doubt the goodness of God’s creation of male and female with different roles in the home and church, WE KNOW BETTER.
When it comes to understanding gender, Christians have something far, far better to offer our children and culture than the Gender Unicorn. It is not human disintegration—the splitting apart of one’s biological sex from one’s sexual identity and sexual role, or the separation of gender from emotional attraction. It is an integrated view of body and soul that sees God’s design of male and female to be glorious.
We need to repeat often that the biblical view of gender affirms every woman as fully equal in worth, dignity, and importance to any man. Male and female share equally the role of God’s image bearers and the call to exercise dominion over the earth. But each gender was created with deficiencies—we need the other to be complete. Genesis 1 teaches the equality of men and women but male and female are NOT interchangeable. Genesis 2 teaches the differences. We need to understand that God calls men to 1) sacrifice themselves to cause those under their care to thrive (Gen 2:15a), 2) devote themselves to protecting those under their care (Gen 15b), 3) take the initiative to pursue a woman to whom he devotes himself as her lover and leader of her home (Gen 2:24-25) and 4) devote themselves to strength (see the verse we’re studying). We need to identify and praise these qualities in our boys from an early age. Such affirmation of God’s gender design in them is increasingly vital in a gender confused world.
Similarly, fathers need to know what the call to biblical womanhood looks like. God has 1) uniquely gifted women with the ability to partner with another, specifically a wife to partner with her husband as a God-like ally. That is what the word helper (EZER) in Genesis 2:18 actually means. 2) God has created woman to be a nurturer—a giver of life (Gen 3:20). 3) Though God created Eve to share in Adam’s exercise of dominion over all the earth God has exceptionally gifted Eve's daughters to exercise dominion over their homes as the Proverbs 31 portrait of the virtuous woman conveys. 4) Finally, as men are called to strength with the emphasis on spiritual strength, women are called to beauty with the emphasis on inner beauty (I Pet 3:3-4). As with our sons, men who want to see their daughters reach their full potential must reinforce their growth into creational, godly womanhood. Social media (at least as it currently exists) is NOT going to do that!
B. SHAMAR (PROTECT). Here is a reason that our current teens, known as Gen Z, are in special need of our protection. Dr. Allison McFarland of Bethel College is a specialist in studying the characteristics of Generation Z. She has found that the highest value of this age group is authenticity. Let’s consider the characteristics of the largely pubescent girls who come out as trans. They don’t fit their own or their parents’ stereotype of femininity; they are not girly girls. They don’t fit in with the cheerleaders and homecoming princesses. They don’t like their developing curves, feeling extremely uncomfortable with their body’s transition to womanhood. So, the most authentic thing they can do, in their minds, is to admit all of this and join other girls who feel the same way by coming out as trans.
McFarland points out that the second highest value of Gen Z is finding a place where everyone is welcome. Think about the appeal of the LGBTQ+ community to a group of teens for whom acceptance is the highest value. In the LGBTQ+ world, everyone is welcome. Acceptance is the highest value. Nobody bullies the socially awkward there. Nobody tells them same-sex attraction is wrong. Nobody says homosexual sex is a sin. Nobody tells trans kids that transgender identity is a delusion. Approval of every form of sexuality is the highest value of the LGBTQ+ movement. What teen does not crave unconditional acceptance, and a non-judgmental place to belong? So, our teens are very vulnerable to being captured by this false ideology.
Our children inside the covenant community and the children outside the church need Christian men to be strong in two ways.
A. Be strong by speaking up for the truth about gender and gender theory. No man wants to act like a coward. Yet it is easy to fall into silence on the topic of gender when we are afraid that we will say the wrong thing. For example, if our teen comes home from school and says gender is “assigned at birth,” there is a better approach than saying, “NO its not. What the *** are they teaching you at that ***school.” How about this approach:
What makes you say that?
That is what my social studies teacher said.
So, use your imagination. Picture the birthing room right after a baby comes out. The doctor cries out, “it’s a boy.” What makes the doctor say that?
I guess the doctor looks at the baby’s privates.
Right, so did they arbitrarily “assign” it’s gender or “observe” its gender?
I guess they observed it.
So, is gender “arbitrarily assigned at birth” or is it a biological reality “discovered at birth?”
You win. I guess it is a biological reality discovered at birth.
We can’t expect to speak up wisely for truth about gender without getting equipped. You can do this by viewing the 3rd message, Countering Radical Gender Theory on the FREE YouTube lectures, A Biblical Response to Confusion and Transgenderism, or by going to the Colson Center’s, What Would You Say website.
B. Be strong for your loved ones by being strong in prevailing prayer.
- Pray to King Jesus, Gird your sword on your thigh, O mighty one, in your splendor and majesty! In your majesty ride out victoriously for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness when it comes to gender (Ps 45).
- Pray for the Spirit of God to employ the weapons of our warfare which are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds, destroying arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ (1 Cor 10:4-5).
- Consider joining our ministry’s “Protect Our Children from Gender Confusion” prayer campaign. Please click the link to the website page where you can find out more about this effort to enlist praying Christians in this particular, spiritual battle.
For Further Prayerful Thought:
- What do you see as the implications of God’s command, “be watchful,” regarding our response to radical gender theory’s influence in our day?
- What do you see as the implications of God’s command, “stand firm in the faith” regarding our response to radical gender theory’s influence in our day?
- What do you see as the implications of God’s command, “act like men,” regarding our response to radical gender theory’s influence in our day?
- What do you see as the implications of God’s command, “be strong,” regarding our response to radical gender theory’s influence in our day?
Resources To Enable Men to BE WATCHFUL
- FREE YouTube Video Series, A Biblical Response to Gender Confusion and the Transgender Movement. The 4 lectures are Understanding Gender Theory, Understanding Today’s Transgender Craze, Countering Radical Gender Theory, Biblical Worldview of Sexuality (For teens and youth leaders).
- Gospel Coalition article. Sarah Zylstra, “Transformation of a Transgender Teen,” The Gospel Coalition, July 6, 2022.
- 48-page booklet, Our Daughter and the Transgender Craze: Responding with Grace and Truth.
- Anchoring Your Child to God's Truth in a Gender-Confused Culture: Helping Our Children Embrace Their Calling to Godly Manhood or Womanhood
- What Would You Say Colson Center website.
- “Protect Our Children from Gender Confusion” Campaign—our ministry’s call to get prepared, get praying, and get promoting this campaign on Facebook.