Same-sex mirage and divorce. Same-sex mirage and fornication. In a previous post, I argued that far too often, the idolatry we enshrine in our own hearts matches the idolatry present in same-sex mirage. As Christians, when we countenance any sort of abuse of God’s gifts of sexual intimacy and marriage, namely divorce and pretty much any kind of fooling around, we bow down to the same idols we claim to want to tear down.
For the sake of review, our main weapons in this warfare against idolatry are the sword of the Spirit and prayer (Eph. 6:17-18). But, in our hands, these weapons become impotent if we regard iniquity in our own hearts (Ps. 66:18). In order to be effective in pulling down strongholds—which are very real and present and ripe for pulling down—we must first cast down the shrines and high places where we worship the same gods as our culture (2 Cor. 10:4-6).
Next up in this idol matching series is what is commonly called “transgenderism.” This is essentially the idea that one can choose one’s sexual identity or gender based on how one feels. There may be all kinds of ways the doctrines of this idol are nuanced, but at its root, “transgenderism” is discontentment with how God made you and an attempt to change the gender He gave you. This idol lusts after the self-mutilation of its worshippers, and in addition requires the sacrifice of God’s created order of male and female.
Call It Like It Is
I’m frankly uncomfortable using the term “transgender” or “transgenderism” because it admits too much (so does “gender dysphoria,” but in different ways). Similar to “homosexual marriage,” “transgenderism” claims to be a thing when I’m not sure it actually is a thing. You can mutilate your chemistry or zip on other body parts, you can mar the image, but ultimately you cannot remove the image of God. A coin can’t remove the stamp of the ruler or governor or historical favorite placed on it. God stamps humans with His image, and part of that is creating each of us as male or female (Gen. 1:27). Perhaps we should just call this “gender defacement.” So then, gender defacement requires an assault on the image of God, on the gender of a person as a gift from God.
Match It Up
The corresponding idol in the hearts of Christians similarly demands the sacrifice of God-designed and God-assigned gender roles. We see this manifested in the church in many ways. Husbands, when you refuse to love, lead, and die for your wives as Christ did for the church (Eph. 5:25-33), you have emasculated yourself and are refusing to take on the role that God has given to you. You refuse to get up off the couch, to change that diaper, to tear your eyes and your mind from your phone, to leave that truck alone for the sake of your children—and in doing so, you bow down to the very idols you cringe at and want to bring down out there in the world.
Wives, when you refuse to honor and submit to your husbands (Eph. 5:22-24, 33), you reject what God calls you to as a woman in a marital relationship with a man. You hate it when he doesn’t lead, but when he does, he’s an idiot and doesn’t understand, so you really don’t feel like doing what he says, and really the apostles couldn’t have meant every time, and isn’t submission of a wife an antiquated posture anyways? But you were created as a woman in God’s image, and God calls women in marriage to submit to their husband. When you refuse to do so and instead lead the home, you are swapping out your duties for those of your husband. Sound familiar?
Similarly, church leaders are guilty of bowing down to this idol where churches ordain women in worship. God has said that a woman may not teach in worship (1 Tim. 2:12-15). Period. Why? Because Adam, the male, was created before Eve, the female, when God created male and female in His image. This passage is an exegetical Thanksgiving dinner. We can gain much by studying and meditating on it. The unmistakable thing, however, is that women may not teach in worship because God did not give them that role. Did I say unmistakable? I guess, it should be unmistakable. Except for the fact that we’ve mistaken it. But, it’s okay, at least we still know the difference between a boy and a girl. And we wonder why the world around us can’t think straight.
To wrap it up, the gender defacement idolatry says you can change your gender depending on how you feel. We must tell the world that there is a higher standard than how you feel. But, in the church, the idolatry looks like changing the role of your gender depending on how you feel. I don’t feel like leading. I don’t feel like submitting. I don’t feel like telling her she may not preach. I don’t feel like embracing the particular role God has given me as a man or woman. And note, these idols are not something we find just in the liberal, Bible-forsaking churches. They’re here, in your heart.
So tear it down. Confess your idolatry. Cast the idol away. God’s image is in you. Embrace it and all that it calls you to.
And hurry up. We got work to do.