In 1987, a very important statement was formed to provide clarity on human sexuality titled, The Danvers Statement. The statement provided some helpful language on some difficult cultural matters back in 1987. Over these 30 years, many cultural complications have arisen on the issues of biblical sexuality necessitating another statement. The recent release of the Nashville Statement has provided quite a bit of cultural commentary and religious conversation. Should pastors and church members sign this statement or is it merely a document that will do more harm than good?
Over the past week, I have been extremely busy preaching out of state in a conference along with the typical ministerial responsibilities at our church on Sunday which prevented me from reading all of the articles in full until early Monday morning. After reading them and thinking through each affirmation and denial, I signed the statement. Not only did I sign it, but I think you should too.
Clarity in a Culture of Confusion
Anytime throughout history when Christians publish creeds, confessions, and statements of faith—it’s always done with a desire to provide clarity on important doctrinal issues. When the Nicene Creed was written, it was in response to the confusion provided by the false teachings of Arius. The same thing is true of the doctrines that we know as Calvinism. They were put into a systematic 5-point format in response to the false teachings of Jacobus Arminius and his followers.
Our culture today is swimming in a pool of depraved confusion regarding human sexuality. In the wake of the Obergefell v. Hodgesdecision, the United States is sill very much divided on the issue of homosexuality—and the rest of the world is watching. Our nation is headed down a dangerous road where other radical groups will soon press the law even further to see if they can have their way with other forms of vile sexual sin. In this present sexual revolution—the world needs more clarity, more light, and more truth rather than gray areas and confusion on what is acceptable in the eyes of God.
Affirming Truth Is a Loving Thing to Do
Anytime a person or a group of people draw a line in the sand, progressive postmodern and postChristian sinners will protest. The Nashville Statement has produced its fair share of protest, but should it be viewed as demeaning and hateful document? The truth is not always an easy thing to receive, especially when the truth hurts. In this case, the truth does offend people who have chosen to redefine marriage and reconfigure themselves sexually.
The Nashville Statement was formed out of love for the culture rather than hate. The hateful thing to do for a culture that’s confused about human sexuality would be to allow people to continue down a broken road without warning anyone The world needs to know that all humans are image bearers, and that marriage is one way in which God illustrates the gospel through human relationships. One of the greatest ways to hate a culture is to allow people to muddy the waters on gender specificity and continue to rewrite the dictionary on human sexuality to the point that male and female are stripped of their masculine and feminine characteristics. This is not God’s plan for humanity—and our culture needs to know the truth.
Affirmations and Denials Are Biblically Sound
The language of the Nashville Statement is founded upon the clear biblical texts regarding human sexuality, marriage, reproduction, gender distinctions, and the facts surrounding imago Dei within the whole of humanity. What the protesters fail to consider is that the statement is far more than a group of Christians getting together to craft their opinion and put it on paper. The words and sentences that form the affirmations and denials are built upon the foundation of God’s Word. Far more important than a group of Christians sharing their opinion is a group of Christians sharing God’s Word. That is what the statement intends to communicate clearly to a confused culture.
There Is Always Room for Improvement
No matter how strong the creed or how biblically saturated the confession, there is always room for improvement when it comes to human vocabulary. We are limited when it comes to articulating truth with language. Choices have to be made regarding terms, sentence structures, and specific vocabulary that make up each affirmation and denial. The goal is clarity, but not every sentence will always accomplish this goal—including the Nashville Statement.
One way to improve the statement would be to include biblical citations in the text (or at least at the bottom) so that as people read the affirmation and denials the text of Scripture can be clearly tied to the vocabulary choices that are used in the statement. It would also be helpful to provide a good dictionary of terms so that everyone can operate from the same source during the cultural conversation as opposed to using conflicting dictionaries.
Furthermore, the statement could have been written sooner. When the nation was going through the debate on same sex marriage and churches were drafting statements to amend their constitution and governing documents—the Nashville Statement would have served a good purpose to stand in open opposition to the cultural trends on same sex marriage before the ruling and would have provided assistance to pastors and churches in the process.
Don’t refuse to sign the statement based on superficial reasons. The statement is good, helpful, loving, and needed in our day. Take time to read through the statement and add your name to the list. Consider downloading it and e-mailing it to your church in order that believers in local churches can be kept up to speed with this important conversation and so that the church can be further discipled on these important doctrinal distinctives.
A few days ago Jack Phillips broke his silence for the first time since the announcement that the Supreme Court would be hearing his case. He appeared on “The View” to answer questions about his reasoning for refusing services to a homosexual couple. As you can imagine, the women on “The View” went for the jugular, and Joy Behar made a very presumptuous statement that deserves attention. With quite a bit of confidence, Behar insisted that Jesus would have baked the cake for the two homosexual men who entered Jack’s bakery.
Although the conversation that surrounded Jack Phillips’ discrimination case contained many erroneous statements and false ideologies about Christianity and the reliability of the Bible—consider the following reasons why the Jesus of the Bible would not have baked a cake for a homosexual wedding celebration.
Jesus Is God
First of all, Jesus is not a baker. Jesus is God. Jesus made that abundantly clear in his earthly ministry through his signs and wonders—and his preaching. Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). God does what he wants, when he wants, and all of it for his glory. That being said, Jesus did not dance to the tune of the popular opinion of his day. Read the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7).
The same Jesus who made the wind and waves submit to his cry of peace is the same Jesus who was with the Father during the days of the Old Testament when massive rocks of fire and brimstone came crashing down upon the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. It is theologically impossible to disconnect the Jesus of the New Testament from the God of the Old Testament—they are one—co-equal and co-eternal.
Jesus Is Committed to Biblical Marriage
The first miracle of Jesus’ public earthly ministry was pictured at a wedding in Cana of Galilee (see John 2). That was not by accident. It’s a clear reminder that Jesus celebrated the true biblical marriage as God originally designed it. Jesus turned the water into wine at a wedding celebration, and just as Jesus celebrated God’s true design of marriage—we should do the same in our present day.
Jesus is committed to the definition he crafted from the beginning. Keep in mind, Jesus was not absent when Eve was presented to Adam in the Garden of Eden at the very first wedding ceremony (Gen. 2:18-25). As Colossians teaches (see Col. 1:15-20), when the creative genius of the Trinity was bursting forth and the entire universe was being fashioned by God’s powerful word—Jesus was present and involved.
Marriage is not something that man thought up as a nice idea for human civilization. Marriage was instituted by God from the very beginning and since God wrote the original dictionary for the family—Jesus would not support nor celebrate any revision or change to his original plan. Suppose a graffiti artist from New York was invited into the Sistine Chapel to reshape and change the work of Michelangelo. Do you think Michelangelo would support the new updated graffiti renditions to his original work? Not in the slightest degree. The new changes and alterations to biblical marriage are a far greater insult to Jesus who instituted marriage.
Jesus Condemned Homosexuality as Sinful
Many people want to claim that Jesus never said anything about homosexuality. That simply is not true. Jesus said something very clear about the subject of sexual sin. According to Jesus, “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person” (Mark 7:21-23). The word translated “sexual sin” is the Greek term—πορνεία. This particular word encompasses many different and varied definitions of sexual misconduct including beastility, adultery, homosexuality, and various forms of fornication.
We know that Jesus embraced the totality of God’s Word as truth and reliable, therefore, as we consider the other references to such sin in the New Testament, we find Paul condemning it as well in Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9, and 1 Timothy 1:10. For Jesus to celebrate a homosexual wedding by making a wedding cake in their honor would be for Jesus to contradict the Word of God that came to us by the ministry of the Holy Spirit. This would mean something far more than Jesus merely disagreeing with a written document. This would result in a fracture among the Trinity as Jesus violated the Father’s ordered plan in creation and the work of the Spirit in the Scriptures.
Why Did Jesus “Hang Out” with Tax Collectors, Drunkards, and Gluttons?
Often we hear people make a mistake by concluding that Jesus condones sin because he was seen spending time with the outcasts, sinners, and the reproachable of his day. We must be clear regarding Jesus’ intentions. First and foremost, spending time with people should not be equated with condoning their sin. That’s simply not an appropriate conclusion—not reasonable or logical—and certainly not theologically accurate.
It must likewise be pointed out that while Jesus spent time with sinners, his goal as the “friend of sinners” was to bring the outcasts near to God. Jesus came on a mission of salvation. Jesus came preaching repentance—not tolerance. The ambition of Jesus’ friendship with sinners was to show mercy to the outcast (1 Cor. 1:26-29) and to bring people out of darkness into the marvelous light of Christ (John 8:12; 1 Pet. 2:9). Jesus never once encouraged or condoned people to remain in a perpetual lifestyle of sin.
To put it bluntly, the women on “The View” made it clear in their presumption that they don’t know the Jesus of the Bible. If they had known the Jesus of the Bible, they would not see any contradictions between Jesus’ friendship with sinners and his preaching of repentance. They would have been able to clearly see that Jesus’ preaching ministry clearly called out sexual immorality as sinful. Furthermore, they would not have suggested that the true faith of Jesus is “progressing” and “changing” to accept homosexuality. The world, the flesh, and the devil will always work to be tolerant of sin. Sometimes religious groups will swerve from the true faith, but Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).
Any true definition of “repentance” will surely show that Jesus was not playing the tolerance game. Keep in mind—if Jesus was the messenger of “tolerance” rather than the gospel, he would likely have never been crucified on the cross in the first place. Jesus came as a preacher of righteousness and was crucified on the cross as the Savior of sinners. As Jesus died on the cross he was paying the sin debt of many who would engage in the sin of homosexuality. That’s why some of the church at Corinth had been spared from that lifestyle, because they were cleansed by Jesus Christ. Jesus went to the outsiders in order that they would become insiders. Jesus did not come to praise sinners—he came to save sinners.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 — Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,  nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (ESV)
This week, as we traveled down the highway, our family spotted a beautiful rainbow to the east as the sun was setting in the west. The contrast of colors filling the sky was stunningly beautiful. As we pointed to the rainbow in the sky, we asked our youngest daughter if she understood the meaning behind this beautiful spectacle that reappears in the sky on certain occasions. She responded by saying that there was probably gold at the end—so after a quick chuckle we talked about the real meaning of the colorful bow in the sky.
The Origin of the Rainbow
The rainbow finds its origin in a covenant that was made to Noah after the great flood. The Bible records that event in Genesis 9, and the whole backdrop can be seen leading up to the Noahic covenant. God was angry with the depraved population that filled planet earth. He commissioned Noah to build the ark in accordance with his plan of judgment and salvation. Only Noah and his family (eight people in total) were saved from the fury of God’s vengeance.
After flooding the entire world with a global flood, God made a promise that he would never again destroy the world with water. In order to communicate this promise, God not only spoke it to Noah, but he also hung a majestic bow in the sky. Genesis 9:12-17 records the scene of God’s promise to Noah and future generations:
And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”
The rainbow, like all of God’s creation, reflects the beauty and majesty of God. The radiant colors and glorious appearance of a rainbow in the sky points to the existence of God and reflects his glory. When we see a rainbow, we should consider how much more glorious and beautiful God is and one day the whole world will see his glory shine in an unveiled manner.
The Hijacking of the Rainbow
A few years ago I was riding in a vehicle through a remote village high in the Andes mountains. As we passed clusters of homes along the road, I noticed that many of the windows of the homes were decorated with a rainbow banner. Immediately my mind went to the homosexual agenda. I asked my friend who lives in Ecuador to explain, and he informed me that the rainbow banner represents a specific political party.
Why did my mind immediately go to the LGBTQ agenda rather than God’s covenant with Noah? Years ago, a man named Gilbert Baker was one of the original architects who designed a plan to use the rainbow as a symbol of the gay pride movement. Baker died at 65 in March of 2017 and is being honored this month at many LGBTQ events. According to Baker, “The flag is an action – it’s more than just the cloth and the stripes. When a person puts the Rainbow Flag on his car or his house, they’re not just flying a flag. They’re taking action.”  The idea took off with a great deal of enthusiasm and soon large numbers of homosexuals were marching the streets of major cities in America waving, wearing, and identifying themselves under majestic and colorful rainbow banners and flags. Today, that image is placed on bumper stickers and even appeared on the White House following the Obergefell v. Hodges decision in 2015. Baker would later recount:
The moment I knew that the flag was beyond my own personal experience – that it wasn’t just something I was making but was something that was happening – was the 1993 March on Washington. From my home in San Francisco I watched the March on C-SPAN and saw hundreds of thousands of people carrying and waving Rainbow Flags on a scale I’d never imagined. 
The Paradox of the LGBTQ Symbol
Interestingly enough, as the LGBTQ groups use the rainbow to identify their movement and to celebrate their freedom, God remains angry with sinners—including those engaged in the sin of homosexuality. The rainbow was not created by God as a sign of God’s cessation of anger. It was a sign to remember that God is holding back his anger and will not issue a global flood again.
The rainbow does not communicate that God is pleased with homosexuals. It communicates that God remains angry with sin and sinners, but he has chosen to not destroy the earth with a global flood again. That does not mean that God will not unleash his divine wrath. It should be noted that when Christ returns, he will come clothed in wrath to judge all rebels of God. On that day, people will run into the hills and hide in caves and no place will be safe—not even beneath a rainbow flag.
The very symbol used to promote freedom among the LGBTQ population is one that communicates the fact that God’s wrath is coming upon the world of sinners. When Christ returns, he will certainly reclaim the rainbow for what it was originally intended for in the first place. Even around the throne of God, there is pictured a majestic rainbow—used to communicate the glory of God (Rev. 4:3). One day, the rainbow will no longer be misused by sinners to boast in their sin. The rainbow will be reserved for the glory of God alone when Christ returns and makes all things new.
Until Christ returns, we must communicate the truth and the glory of the rainbow to our daughters and sons as we ride down the highway. We likewise have a duty to communicate this same truth to others who have misused, abused, and hijacked a glorious symbol used by God to communicate a promise. Veiled in God’s promise to not flood the earth with water is another promise that God remains angry with sinners. God’s glory will shine again throughout the whole earth, but before then Christ will return in judgment (Rom. 2:8; Matt. 13:41-43; Matt. 24:51; Is. 66). Therefore, we must point people to find their refuge in Jesus Christ, the only means of satisfying the divine wrath and holy justice of God. Until Christ returns—we must point all people to Jesus Christ for salvation. God loves to save sinners through his Son (1 Cor. 6:9-11).
In recent years, there has been an ongoing push for Disney to create LGBT characters. One online petition has over 650 signatures and continues to grow. Interestingly enough, another online petition to boycott an LGBT agenda in “Beauty and the Beast” currently has over 102k signatures. Disney, like many other production companies, is set to change the image of homosexuality in the public’s eye through their new live-action film based on their classic — “Beauty and the Beast.” According to a prominent British gay lifestyle magazine, this is “a watershed moment for Disney.” That statement is based on the leaked information that has now surfaced in preview screenings and interviews about the upcoming film set to be released on March 17th.
At various times, Christians align and call for boycotts on companies who promote policies that violate Christian principles or teach harmful theology. There may be a need to boycott a specific organization or company at times, but for the most part, I don’t engage in the boycott agendas. For instance, I still drink Starbucks. I still wear Nike products. I order my Starbucks from an Apple device and then pay for it with my Starbucks app. I don’t always play the boycott game.
However, there may be times when we should refrain from supporting entertainment outlets and businesses that teach false doctrine. For instance, drinking Starbucks coffee doesn’t engage my mind with an unbiblical worldview, but going to a movie that teaches the same worldview of Starbucks’ executives could be harmful. Wisdom is necessary at this point since Scripture is silent on the subject of boycotts.
The movie, “Beauty and the Beast” is not like drinking Starbucks coffee. It will display information in form of powerful graphics and surround sound on the big screen, and those scenes are loaded with teachable moments. Beware of the damage that a little scene in a movie will have upon your children. No matter how flamboyant or subtle the scene may be, it will be used as a lesson for you and your children.
“Beauty and the Beast” — Normalizing What Is Abnormal
We have been fighting a war in America over language, restroom privileges, and same-sex marriage for years now. That war has, in many ways, been won by a minority of people who have used their “minority” status to leverage support and sympathy. In the landmark decision of the Supreme Court of the United States of America on June 26th, 2015, their five to four ruling did more than liberate a segment of the American population. Their ruling was a redefining and total overhaul of marriage from its original design. Chief Justice Roberts, in his dissent said, “The majority’s decision is an act of will, not a legal judgment.”  In their act of will, they rewrote the dictionary by the power of a single vote. He who controls the dictionary controls the minds of people.
In essence, the Supreme Court of the United States took the abnormal and made it normal by a single vote. For years Hollywood has been working to normalize the homosexual lifestyle. From subtle roles in sitcoms to leading personalities such as Ellen, the lifestyle of homosexuality has been paraded before the eyes of the American public for years with a clear agenda to make it normal. If enough people will continue to see it, they will start to become desensitized to it. Much like the American people have become desensitized to the culture of death in the legalization of abortion. It’s legal, so it must be normal—right? But now, it’s not a sitcom, a daytime talk show, or a late night comedy, it’s Disney, a company that makes its fortunes on children and families.
According to Bill Condon, the director of “Beauty and the Beast” — this film will contain a character who is confused about his sexuality. While same-sex attraction is a temptation that many people fight against, this new Disney film is positioned to make it normal to act upon those feelings. Josh Gad, one of the lead actors in the film, tweeted that he was “beyond proud” to be playing such a groundbreaking role. In an interview with Attitude magazine, Bill Condon says:
LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston…And Josh makes something really subtle and delicious out of it. And that’s what has its payoff at the end, which I don’t want to give away. But it is a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie.
“Gone with the Wind” broke the MPAA profanity ban in 1934 by using one single profane word. In 2013, the movie “Wolf of Wall Street” used the “f” bomb 506 times. What was once abnormal has been made normal to the eyes and ears of the entire world. If the Supreme Court of the United States couldn’t make homosexuality normal, now Disney has joined arms to assist. Human sexuality, as God once defined it in creation, has now been redefined and altered. Who controls the dictionary, Disney or God?
The Responsibility of Parents
Notice the rating of the movie. The film is rated “PG” and will be viewed by many families and young children. Many of these families and young children will be faced with a powerful display of a gay relationship in ways that only Hollywood can depict it — in a fictional manner that veils the broken road of homosexuality. Hollywood has made billions by creating fake worlds, fictional characters, and false relationships. This will certainly fall into line with other false realities created by Hollywood, only this time it’s their “watershed moment” according to the director.
As parents, we have a responsibility to care for and instruct our children in truth (see Deuteronomy 6:4-9; 20-25). Taking the family to a theater, placing a box of popcorn and a coke in the hands of your children, and allowing them to be taught a subtle lie of homosexuality on the big screen will have an impact upon their understanding of human sexuality at some level. Even if it’s just a few bricks, your children are steadily building their worldview one block at a time. Sometimes children need to be taught why we don’t go to all movies, and this could be a good step in the right direction in assisting the construction of your children’s worldview.
Engage the Culture with Love and Truth
One blogger said, “I want my kids growing up in a world where they are taught to love EVERYONE and I think Beauty and the Beast did a wonderful job reinforcing values that I want my kids to have.” While we should care for all people, showing acceptance for people’s sinful lifestyle choices should not be equated with love. In fact, it could be argued that subjecting your children to scenes of homosexuality at impressionable ages is actually unloving to your own children as it causes confusion on the subject of human sexuality.
Wisdom is necessary in how we respond to a culture who hates God. However, we are called to respond. A boycott is not enough. The church in America is much smaller than we realize. We can’t expect to change the culture through restrictions, blog posts, and boycotts. We must engage the culture with truth, and this must be done in a winsome and loving manner.
When Paul arrived in Ephesus and witnessed a city filled with pagan idolatry and sexual perversion, he didn’t call for the disciples there to boycott. Instead, he engaged the culture of Ephesus with the gospel. According to the account in Acts, “Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods” (Acts 19:26). It was through his preaching that people were moved to believe the gospel and became followers of Christ. The preaching of the gospel was so successful that it damaged the sales of the silversmiths who made a living constructing false gods. This resulted in a massive riot in Ephesus.
Riots are not the goal in gospel ministry, but if they come, may it be said that they were the result of gospel preaching instead of mere boycotts. Martyrdom is not our goal as followers of Christ, but if they kill us, let it be the result of our gospel message rather than our choice of retail stores. My family will not be seeing “Beauty and the Beast,” but I’m not trusting in my abstinence from this film as a means of solving our cultural problem. It will take much more than a boycott. We need clear gospel preachers in the pulpit and in the home who believe the gospel, teach the gospel, and live gospel focused lives in the face of a pagan culture.
 OBERGEFELL ET AL. v. HODGES, DIRECTOR, OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, ET AL. — https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-556_3204.pdf [accessed 11-25-16]
This past weekend I was sitting in my living room watching a football game that I wasn’t interested in because there wasn’t a baseball game on, a marathon (or any foot race) to watch, or a better football game to choose from. While sitting there, a commercial came on that grabbed my attention and elevated my pulse far more than the boring football game. The commercial was in form of a short video by the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association). The advertisement contains an agenda that transcends collegiate sports. Near the end of the advertisement, two female athletes make the following statement, “Genders don’t play sports, athletes do.” As the commercial ends, a statement appears on the screen: Creating equal opportunities for college athletes.
What Is Gender?
The gender of a person is part of the fabric of the individual’s identity. Male and female are the two possible genders as God designed His creation in the beginning (Gen. 1:27) when He created Adam and Eve as the progenitors of the human race. In short, there are no other options available. However, in recent months our progressive culture has sought to craft new boundaries, new options, even no options at all in the gender debate.
Today, it’s possible to have a man with all of the signs and indications of masculinity using the restroom designated for women because he “self identifies” as a woman. This has caused great tension in the public gender debate and in the wake of the landmark decision of the Supreme Court of the United States to legalize homosexual marriage in in all fifty states.
According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, the word gender as it pertains to humans is “the state of being male or female (chiefly in cultural or social contexts).”  Although much change has occurred in recent years on this very subject and the boundaries are continually being pushed, to exist as a human being involves being either male or female. This is visibly evident in the physical traits of a person, including the body parts of each individual person.
Why the “Gender Bender” Agenda is Harmful
You might have heard the rumbling story of Nattaphon “Ice” Wangyot who made history at Alaska’s state track meet, becoming the first transgender student-athlete to compete individually for a high school state championship back in the 2016 track season. Wangyot, a Thai native who was born male and identifies as female, qualified and competed in the Class 3A girls’ sprints at the state meet, capturing third place in the 200-meter dash (27.3) and fifth in the 100 (13.36). 
Is Wangyot really that good? When you examine his times, if he had been forced to run against the male students in the men’s race, he wouldn’t have made the finals in the 100-meter. In fact, he wouldn’t have made it to the state meet. The slowest runner in the 100-meter race was Jacob Rogers from Holy Rosary Academy who ran a 12.47. His time was the 17th fastest in the preliminary races, and he didn’t make the finals. Rogers’ time is much faster than Wangyot, but he was able to capture the 5th fastest time in the women’s state meet because he self identifies as a female.
In the end, the gender bender policy of the NCAA is killing competition in women’s sports. Male athletes who would otherwise not rise to the top are able to do so by competing in women’s events. This is not only true in high school but in collegiate events as well. This will harm true competition for women athletes. In a world that demands equality for women, this gender bender identity policy by the NCAA will do just the opposite. The very organization that prides itself in “Creating equal opportunities for college athletes” is pushing an agenda that refuses reat women as women.
Why Have Boundaries in Sports?
If you’ve ever played a sport, or watched one on television, you know about boundaries. In football, there are sidelines that border the field. If a wide receiver catches a pass from the quarterback outside of those boundaries, the pass is considered incomplete. In golf, if your ball lands in the water hazard, you will be penalized for it. In basketball, the playing surface has boundaries around the court in order to contain the playing area within those specified boundaries. If a play is made beyond those lines, it results in a turnover in possession. If football field sidelines, water hazards, and basketball court boundaries are treated as absolutes, why should gender be treated with such relativism by the NCAA?
As the debate continues to grow in our culture, are we prepared for the man who self identifies as a dog to be allowed to compete in The National Dog Show? We’re living in strange times where common sense, logic, and absolutes are completely ignored and rejected. The problem with that type of world is that it doesn’t exist. The very minute that we treat the laws of nature with a relativistic attitude, we will certainly do bodily harm to ourselves and people around us. The real world is full of absolutes, and that includes the subject of gender. If gender is merely a social construct, why can’t we treat boundaries in athletics in the same manner? Do rules and boundaries really mean anything?
The NCAA may not see it this way, but they have entered the perverse revolt against God. We are living in a sexual and moral revolution that is twisting and spiraling out of control into the abyss of human depravity. The NCAA can’t remain socially consistent in their positions. While running advertisements on national television stating, “Genders don’t play sports, athletes do”—the very website of the NCAA makes a clear distinction between men’s and women’s sports. The inconsistency is striking.
The NCAA will never be able to bypass God in the gender conversation. Just as the NCAA is accustomed to reading rule books and operating by the set boundaries of various sporting events, it would do them well to read the boundaries instituted and crafted by God regarding human gender and sexuality. When pronouns are replaced with abstract neuter forms to bypass masculinity and femininity, God doesn’t lose—we do. We all do. Our children do. So will the world of athletics. You can make a word neuter, but you can’t make an athlete neuter. An athlete will always be male or female. Athletes are human. John Piper provides helpful wisdom on this subject in an article titled, “Male and Female, Created in God’s Image” found at CBMW.org. He writes:
The tendency today is to stress the equality of men and women by minimizing the unique significance of our maleness or femaleness. But this depreciation of male and female personhood is a great loss. It is taking a tremendous toll on generations of young men and women who do not know what it means to be a man or a woman. Confusion over the meaning of sexual personhood today is epidemic. The consequence of this confusion is not a free and happy harmony among gender-free persons relating on the basis of abstract competencies. The consequence rather is more divorce, more homosexuality, more sexual abuse, more promiscuity, more social awkwardness, and more emotional distress and suicide that come with the loss of God-given identity. 
Catherine Soanes and Angus Stevenson, eds., Concise Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).
Today, I’m publishing an interview with Emily Thomes (@Emilysatt19), a young Christian lady who once identified as a homosexual. I initially met Emily at a recent G3 Conference, and since then she has been actively speaking out about her former sin struggles and her new life as a Christian. Since her conversion and over the past year, Emily has become Mrs. Benjamin Thomes.
Hi Emily. Thank you for joining me for this conversation. We first met at the 2016 G3 Conference. Since then, you’ve had a busy year. You’ve recently married your husband Benjamin Thomes and you’ve written some articles (see: “Girl in the Picture“) that have become rather controversial. In this interview, I’d like to talk through your conversion to Christianity and your views regarding marriage, headship, and the sin of homosexuality.
In recent days, you have spoken out about your life before you were converted by Christ. Can you briefly walk us through what that looked like?
Sure thing. I grew up in a relatively moral home and family. I attended church occasionally and even church camp some during the summertime. I made a profession of faith and was baptized pretty early in life. While believing I was saved, fully trusting in that sinner’s prayer and the water, I grew into being a really rebellious individual. Before graduating high school, I was smoking weed regularly, drinking, and sleeping with girls. In my young adult life before coming to know the Lord, I’d slowed down slightly. I was working full time so I wasn’t able to really party as often but was still smoking marijuana daily and was still dating and sleeping with various women. That was my life up until the day I was born again.
As you well know, our nation has recently faced a decision to legalize same-sex marriage. What do you think about this decision?
It breaks my heart. I know how easy it is for our own flesh and heart to deceive us and provide us comfort and assurance in sin. It makes it all the more easy when the world around us not only affirms but encourages our sin, too. When I first realized I was attracted to girls as a child, I kept it to myself for years because it wasn’t accepted like it is today. I can’t imagine growing up with same-sex marriage being legal and celebrated. I’ve got a few friends that are now legally married to their partners, and it’s even harder to try and point them to truth. With it legalized, the message I’m attempting to share daily is even more ridiculous.
It’s becoming increasingly popular to hear people toss around the category of “gay Christian.” Is it possible to be a gay Christian?
I hear that expression far too often. It’s really important to be clear with our terms when discussing things like this, and it’s why I try and use phrases like “practicing homosexuality” and “same sex attracted” in order to maintain clarity because “gay” means different things to different crowds. It is absolutely possible for one to be battling same sex attraction as a believer. I’m in that camp currently. Even as believers, our flesh will always pull us towards various types of sins. Now, can one practice homosexuality unrepentantly, meaning without contrition, conviction, and without a daily desire and attempt to abstain, and be a Christian? No. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 makes that very clear, regarding homosexuality specifically. In a general sense, we see throughout the epistles and the gospels that those who are saved don’t continue in unrepentant sin and that a good tree cannot bear bad fruit. Though our flesh desires sin, believers will deny themselves and follow Jesus instead. We won’t make any provision for the flesh and we will flee sexual immorality rather than leap into it. This isn’t to say that believers won’t ever fall into sin. Undoubtedly they will; it’s why we so eagerly await the glorification and removal of these bodies of death we currently carry around. When believers stray, the Lord convicts and disciplines those whom He loves and they will repent and be restored or else they were not of us.
As a former homosexual, what advice would you provide to the church today (in general) regarding methods and strategies of reaching people with the gospel?
We’re called to love God and love our neighbors. In order to do both of those, we must be reaching out to those that are lost in order to bring them into the fold. We’re all sovereignly placed in our communities and workplaces and families in order that we be ambassadors for Christ in those roles. Charles Spurgeon said that every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter; that’s because those who are regenerate have a burden to see the lost saved. In our congregations, we ought to be being equipped and exhorted to be faithful witnesses when we’re outside of the assembly. It’s crucial that we be uncompromising but also gracious and humble in our evangelism. We’re to be Jesus to those who are still in darkness and that cannot exclude truth or love.
Would you encourage churches to develop homosexual support groups that reach out to those who struggle with the sin of homosexuality and seek to provide support for former homosexuals within the church?
Hmm. That’s a good question. My initial instinct is to say “No” though I’d be open to persuasion. It’s not been of much benefit for me to discuss, regularly anyway, my battle with same sex attraction with those who battle it also. It’s actually been most helpful for me to discuss the differing struggles that myself and others face in order to see that though the specific sin struggle varies, the human condition does not. It’s also helped others to better understand homosexuality and see it through the lens of scripture and as another sin that one can fall into rather than something completely foreign. Too much of an emphasis on same sex attraction, in my experience, can nearly glorify the sin and make the struggler feel like more of an alien than what comes with it anyway. It’s also an easy way to continue holding on to the identity that’s rooted in sin rather than in Christ for those that are prone to that type of thing.
What advice would you provide for people who are dealing with sexual identity problems and are thinking about pursuing a homosexual lifestyle?
I would say that if someone is seriously considering entering into an unrepentant state, they need to be questioning if they do in fact belong to the Lord or if they’re actually already unrepentant. It’s very normal, because of the fall, for believers to think on sin and to wrestle with the thoughts that can entice us, but deliberately choosing to walk in and remain in rebellion to God is a very serious matter and is not the fruit of a regenerate person. Experiencing an inclination towards sin proves you’re human; it doesn’t give one a license to sin and the believer won’t take it as one.
Other than the Bible, what resource (book, article, or sermon) has helped you think biblically about the homosexual agenda in our nation?
Rosaria Butterfield has probably been my greatest influence regarding understanding sexuality and identity thus far. Her books, articles, and videos have been very helpful to me personally. I’ve actually recently been hearing and reading Kevin DeYoung regarding homosexuality and our culture, and he articulates it wonderfully. Listening to Al Mohler on The Briefing daily has also been instrumental in helping me to understanding the sexual revolution and how our world is moving forward into it in both blatant and more subtle ways.
How prevalent is pornography in the homosexual community and what would be your advice for people who find themselves trapped by the pornography industry?
I can only answer this one from my own experience in my life and that of those whom I’ve spoken with in the LGBT. From what I can discern, porn is unfortunately rampant across all groups of people presently. I used to watch it and knew many others that did also. I also know that it, like heterosexual porn, is available in ridiculous quantities. For those struggling with porn, like those battling any sin, it’s important not to elevate or diminish it. Yes, it is a deplorable sin that God will not overlook. He’s either dealt with it at the cross or will do so in eternity. But no, it is not a sin or a sin struggle that the Lord cannot enable the believer to overcome and even use it for His glory and the good of the user. Accountability with this sin is a huge benefit to the one wrestling it whether that be believing friends, Covenant Eyes, a browser that filters through explicit content, or all of the above. As with all sin, the fight is real and though we will fall, He will sustain and keep His people to the end.
Often times you hear people who are former alcoholics consistently referring to themselves as former alcoholics as their mark or identity. Is it helpful to consider yourself a former homosexual as your true identity in life?
I can see no reason that one would label themselves by any sin struggle, past or present. If I’m speaking to someone about sin and specific struggles, I’ll be open about my battle with same sex attraction, but I’m not going to use it as a modifier for my place in Christ. Biblically, in Corinthians specifically, we see that Paul while carried along by the Holy Spirit said “As were some of you” regarding those who were practicing homosexuality. He also tells us that we’re new creations in Christ, that the old has passed away, etc. Part of growth and sanctification is that we’re no longer fixating on our sin but on the finished work of Christ. We will see our shortcomings daily and everyday, we’ll look to Jesus instead of ourselves. We’ll fight and mourn our flesh but cling tightly to the promises of God and put off the old self in exchange for the new one.
If you could speak to all evangelical preachers, what advice would you give to them regarding their preaching ministry and the need to reach out to people struggling with sexual identity and the sin of homosexuality?
It sounds simple but I’d encourage pastors to holdfast to a biblical worldview when dealing with the sin of homosexuality from the pulpit and personally with those who are battling it. Faithful pastors will discuss homosexuality in the same way that they discuss sexual immorality among heterosexual couples. They won’t cower back from it, but they won’t elevate it to being so heinous and unknown that those who are in it are beyond the hand of God should He draw them. In the same way that pastors and those they’re shepherding should reach out to the lost battling alcoholism or pride, we must attempt to reconcile those practicing homosexuality to Christ knowing He gives the growth if He chooses to. Remembering that if not for the grace of God we would all be practicing every single kind of wickedness ought to drive us to push past our discomfort and into loving our neighbors with truth. As bothered as we are by the sins we don’t understand, the sins that we coddle are far more grotesque to God, yet He loves us still.
If you could talk to law makers and politicians, what advice would you give to them as they continue to embrace and further the homosexual agenda in our nation?
I would proclaim the gospel to them firstly and explain that like all those who have yet to be born again, they stand in rebellion to a holy God who will not overlook their sin. I’d plead with them to reason within themselves concerning creation, the clearly intended design, given our anatomy if nothing else, and the unignorable Creator who will hold all of humanity accountable for every word and deed.
Apart from the Lord opening their eyes to see His glory though, they’re unlikely to view the “homosexual agenda” as a bad thing. Without a biblical worldview, this is another civil rights matter and we would truly be on the wrong side of history. I remember believing that in standing up for the LGBT I was standing for the underdogs, and I saw that as noble. Apart from the God of the Bible and a right understanding of sin and sexuality, telling people that their desires are wrong and that they must stop doing them, especially because they don’t cause physical harm to another person, would make us actually bigoted. Remembering the ideals I held for so long allow me to pity those who are under this strong delusion rather than to be angry with them. Their hearts are darkened. They truly do believe that sexual orientation is as much of one’s personhood as race or gender and unless He grants them sight for spiritual matters, they’ll continue in that understanding. I pray for those who are blinded by all sin but this sin in particular because so many believers view them, and not the spirit that leads them, as the enemies. May we look at those propagating the homosexual agenda as broken, fallen people who are in need of a Savior and are attempting to find peace and happiness apart from Him like we all once were.
Is submission to Christ and submission to your husband (the idea of complementarianism) belittling or oppressive to women?
Submission to one’s husband is God’s design for wives as it’s His design for husbands to love their wives like Christ loves the church and gave Himself up for her. Scripture makes it very clear that wives are coheirs with their husband of His grace and that both bear His image and are therefore equal in value and in worth. Contrary to my previously held ideals and those held by so many today, gender has significance. Gender is assigned by God and the roles prescribed to each are as well. As the Creator, God knows how His creations best function and has lovingly provided a system for us in which we can best operate (and be sanctified if you’re like me and meekness doesn’t come at all natural to you) and model His gospel to the world. Like Jesus to His Father, wives are to humbly submit in all things to their husbands. Like Christ to His bride, the church, husbands are to sacrificially love, pursue, and nourish their wives. Before becoming a believer, complementarianism was preposterous. I didn’t understand that it wasn’t because I lacked worth but was instead because I had worth that God intended me as a helpmate to a husband who was to love and provide for me. I feel not belittled but made much of understanding that I’ve been given protection, security, and unconditional love from both the Lord who saved me and the husband He ordained for me.