Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Recovering from a Gender Earthquake

Episode Resources

Print a copy of the True Woman Manifesto.

See other True Woman Manifesto resources.

Leslie Basham: Masculinity and femininity are built right into creation. Here’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Now, male is created in the image of God; female is created in the image of God. But when they function in those complementary and distinct ways, fulfilling their God-given identities as male and female together, there’s a reflection of the image of God that surpasses what is possible for one to do apart from the other.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Lies Women Believe, for Thursday, March 15, 2018. 

The True Woman Manifesto begins at the beginning.

We believe that God is the sovereign Lord of the universe and the creator of life, and that all created things exist for His pleasure and to bring Him glory.

Leslie: Yesterday, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth expounded on this important statement. Today we look at a unique property of God’s creation.

We believe that the creation of humanity as male and female was a purposeful and magnificent part of God’s wise plan and that men and women were designed to reflect the image of God in complementary and distinct ways.

Nancy: Today we’ll go more in depth on this important statement from the True Woman Manifesto. And what a good time to address the issue of gender. It’s almost impossible to keep up with all the fast-changing public opinion about so-called gender fluidity. The examples I give here are going to quickly be outdated, but just to name a few:

World Magazine just published an article about picture books that introduce pre-schoolers to transgenderism. Again, these are for pre-schoolers.

That includes a book called Introducing Teddy about a male teddy bear who thinks he’s really a female teddy bear. So he puts on a pink bow and starts to go by a different name.

Another one of these books is called I Am Jazz. It tells the story of Jared Jennings, who transitions into the female Jazz Jennings and becomes a reality TV star. World Magazine reports that this book is now a staple in public school libraries.

And as I’m recording this session, here are just a few of the items in the news:

  • Fashion companies are offering more and more gender-neutral clothing. They say people don’t want to be limited by colors or styles that are traditionally male or female.
  • One study says more U.S. teenagers are rejecting the labels “boy” and “girl.”
  • I heard last night about a school postponing a Daddy-Daughter dance because it didn’t fit with their gender-neutral policy.
  • And then a report came across my desk that says instead of describing people as LGBT; the acrynom now needs to be changed to LGBTQQICAPF2K to include even more groups of people who don’t fit the traditional “male” and “female” genders. I’m not sure how serious that article is, but it shows how confused people are about what it means to be created as a man or woman.

I know you hear your own examples of changing attitudes about gender all the time. And soon the examples I have just given will be out of date. But one thing never changes—the truth of God’s Word. Today we’re going to take a look at what the Bible says about gender. I first gave this message nearly ten years ago as we were releasing the True Woman Manifesto. At time we began to hear rumblings about gender fluidity, and we were trying to address those trends with the timeless truth of God’s Word.

A lot has changed in these last ten years, but again, I want us to just be reminded of the importance of putting our roots, our thinking, our hearts down deep into the unchanging soil and truth of God's Word.

Now there’s always been from time immemorial, a distinct line dividing the two genders. Countless books have been written based on the differences between men and women. Maybe the most famous is John Gray’s book, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. Men, women. Two genders. Male, female.

We’ve had in the last couple of decades a whole new vocabulary that has developed to deal with the many variations and permutations of gender in our culture. What I’m about to share over these next few moments, I want to be sensitive. I realize that we do have some younger women listening.

I am so thankful that most of what I’m about to say to you are things that I never heard myself until I was well into my adult life, and in fact, wish to this day that I never had to hear. I’m sorry you have to hear it, but we’re assaulted with these concepts in the news day after day, and I want to explore these things within the context of a biblical framework. How do we respond to and think about what we’re hearing in the culture as it relates to this whole gender issue?

Let me in as discreet a way as I can just acquaint you with some of those new vocabulary words that have emerged. In the early 90s we started hearing the term LGBT—lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender. Transgender meaning people who feel that their anatomical sex, their physiological body, does not match their gender identity.

I’m telling you, I had to go to the Internet to actually look up some of this stuff to try and get a grasp on really what is being said and meant by some of this. The concept here is that transgender people may identify themselves as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, polysexual, or asexual and probably some others that I’ve not heard of yet.

Here’s another word we’ve heard more of in recent decades. Androgynous, meaning having traits of both genders. I came across a website on human sexuality that is maintained by students at the University of California in Santa Barbara (tax dollars paying for this). On that website it says,

Many do not believe in gender as a binary [that is, two kinds, male and female] but see a continuum of possibilities between the extremes of traditional masculinity and traditional femininity.

In recent years, headlines have been captured by people identifying themselves as transsexuals, that is people who intend to live as a gender other than that assigned to them at birth based on the appearance of their sex organs at birth. This category includes drag queens, she-males, he-shes, and shims.

Another term: gender benders. According to one website, gender benders feel

That the gender assigned to them at their birth is an inaccurate or incomplete description of themselves. Some of these gender benders are transsexual and desire to change their physical sex through hormone therapy or sex reassignment surgery while others were born intersexual.

Gender bending. This whole concept has to do with overturning and pushing the boundaries of traditional perspectives on manhood and womanhood. Now this expanded vocabulary represents no small shift in our culture. This has been an earthquake of huge proportions.

Here’s an observation that Elisabeth Elliot made about twenty years ago and what she said then would be even more true today. She said,

Throughout the millennia of human history, up until the past two decades or so, people took for granted that the differences between men and women were so obvious as to need no comment. They accepted the way things were. But our easy assumptions have been assailed and confused, we have lost our bearings in a fog of rhetoric about something called equality, so that I find myself in the uncomfortable position of having to belabor to educated people what was once perfectly obvious to the simplest peasant.1

I was studying all this last week and my head was swimming with some of what I was learning that I would just as soon not know. I had a conversation with a friend who stopped by. I said to her, “Could you have envisioned all this fifteen years ago? The shift in public perception on these issues is taking place so rapidly that by the time we air this series months from now, things that even our secular culture once considered deviant will likely have become mainstream.” The change is taking place so quickly.

Those who hold to the position that we do will be considered at best out of touch or strange and at worst, our views are going to be labeled dangerous, a threat to society. The reality is that by the time we air a program like this, sooner or later, it will be the case that we may well end up in legal trouble for airing a program like this, for promoting the biblical position on these issues.

Now for most of us as Christians who have been schooled in the Word of God, many of these concepts that I’m talking about—some of these words that you have to look up to know what they even really mean—are foreign and incomprehensible. We would be quick to say that these are not consistent with Scripture, that they’re wrong. But the question is, why? What makes them wrong? And why does it really matter?

Are these not just issues where everyone is entitled to their own opinion? So we believe in manhood and womanhood but other people believe in this continuum, this transgender transsexual, this no-man’s land. Maybe you’re some of both sex. Maybe you’re neither of those sexes. Is it not okay for everybody to just think what they want to think about this whole subject?

There’s enormous pressure in the church today to accommodate to the culture’s view of manhood and womanhood. It doesn’t happen in extreme ways at first. There are entire denominations that were once true to the Word of God who now reject the Bible’s teaching on gender and sexuality and consider that teaching—I’m talking within the church—now some of that teaching is considered by many to be backwards and repressive.

So where do we turn to find the Truth? We turn to the Word of God. That’s where we discover our identity and our purpose and only through Christ and His truth can we find wholeness and live in a manner worthy of those who were created in the image and for the glory of God.

So what does the Scripture affirm about gender? That’s what every question in our culture has to go back to as we interact with it and want to be true women of God. Not just what do you think about this, not what does sociology say about this, not what is science learning about this or psychology, but go back to the Word of God. That’s our plumb line.

It’s so simple. The Scripture says that even a child who has the help of the Spirit of God can understand things that elude people who have PhDs and think themselves so wise.

What does the Scripture affirm about gender? It’s addressed clearly in the first chapter of the Bible. Whatever you find in the first chapter of the Bible—everything in the Bible is important. Everything in the Bible is true, but those things that are laid out in the early chapters of Genesis are particularly crucial and foundational as we build a whole system of thinking about the world and our culture.

Genesis 1, verse 27: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 5:2: “Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created.” So we have mankind divided into two genders, male and female, created by God and blessed by God.

The New Testament affirms what we read in the book of Genesis. “He [Jesus] answered, ‘Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female’” (Matthew 19:4).

That’s where we come to this second tenet, this second foundational statement in the True Woman Manifesto:

We believe that the creation of humanity as male and female was a purposeful and magnificent part of God’s wise plan, and that men and women were designed to reflect the image of God in complementary and distinct ways.

Now I want us to unpack that and this is something we could do a whole series on and in fact have done a whole series on in the past where we talked about this whole subject of complementarianism. That series is available through Revive Our Hearts. But in this series I’m just trying to give you a compact, concise overview of what is behind each of the statements in the True Woman Manifesto.

So we see that Scripture affirms the division of humanity into two genders—male and female. You say, “Duh.” Your three-year-old understands that. But that’s not a “duh” matter today. There are a lot of people on the planet who don’t comprehend that today. That’s why we need to go back to basics.

God divided humanity into male and female. There are similarities between men and women and there are differences. There are obvious physiological differences, but those physiological differences are reflective of other deeper even more profound differences between men and women.

Just some observations, and this may seem very obvious to you, but it’s not obvious to everyone today, so I just want to go ahead and state it. First of all, this thing of male and female, the division of humanity into two genders, was God’s idea. God created male and female. This concept was not an invention of our grandparents or of their grandparents or anyone else.

These gender differences are not the result of socialization. There’s a major debate today over whether gender is socially constructed or whether it’s genetic and inborn. Now there’s no question that cultural and social environments do influence how people perceive and live out their manhood or their womanhood, their gender and their sexuality.

But cultural and social environments and factors do not determine sexual identity. Our basic genetic makeup—male or female—was created by God. God made two categories of people—male and female. He called them both man but under that male and female. God’s idea.

Then I think we need to remind ourselves that this was an intentional and purposeful decision on God’s part. This was not an afterthought. It was not an accident. It was not a random thing that God did in creation. It was intentional, and it was purposeful. There is a reason for it. Now we may never understand all the reasons why God made male and female, but we have to believe that there was reason. There is reason. There is purpose; that God was intentional in this.

It’s important for us to remember that this was a good part of God’s plan. As the True Woman Manifesto affirms, this is a magnificent part of God’s wise plan. We can’t improve on God’s plan. We can try. We can try to have it our way and society is trying to do that, but society will never be able to improve on the goodness of what God made.

One of the important things as we try to persuade people in the public square today, we try to explain and defend the positions we take, it’s important that we not just hit people over the head with truth, that we not bombard them with it or become argumentative about it. We win their hearts by the beauty and the goodness of this position.

This is where there is blessing to come under the sovereign lordship of our creator God and to agree with what He has created. That’s where we find rest and peace and joy and contentment. By fitting into what He has designed because it’s a magnificent, wise and good plan.

This whole issue of gender is not incidental. It’s significant. It matters that there is male and female. It’s basic. It’s foundational. Why is that? Well, we get a hint in Genesis 1 where we see that male and female were created in the image of God. They were created to represent God, to reflect His image together through their God-given identities as male and female in a way that neither of them could do as completely apart from the other.

Male is created in the image of God. Female is created in the image of God. But when they function in those complementary and distinct ways, fulfilling their God-given identities as male and female together, there is a reflection of the image of God that surpasses what is possible for one to do apart from the other.

How do male and female reflect the image of God? I can just have time to touch on this, but let me just make a few comments about that in the moments we have here.

  • Male and female reflect the fact that there is plurality within the Trinity. There are relationships within the Trinity.
  • The fact that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have an interpersonal relationship and intimacy and so male and female when they come together have the capacity for relationship, for love, for communication, for honoring one another as takes place within the Trinity. 
  • The fact that the Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—are distinct persons who are equal in personhood and importance, neither more valuable or necessary than the other, but they don’t have identical functions and that’s how male and female reflect the image or the likeness of God. 
  • Then here’s another important reason why God created male and female. These gender differences are intended to be an earthly picture of the redemptive story, the love of Christ for His Bride. How He pursues and wins her heart and she gladly responds to Him with reverence and submission. Christ and His Bride, the Church. Male and female are to picture on earth something of the heavenly, eternal, redemptive story.

As we discover and live out our unique design as men and women, we glorify God and we display that redemptive plan. When we blur or eliminiate the distinctions, we mar that reflection. The image is incomplete. The picture of the redeeming love of Christ is destroyed. That’s why this is no small matter that boys grow up to be men and girls grow up to be women.

If we do away with these distinctions, there are other consequences. Not only is the glory of God affected, the story of God’s redemption marred, but within men and women we end up with confusion and pain and dysfunction. There’s so much gender confusion today as doubts are being planted in the minds and the hearts of many children and young men and women who don’t know which they are. We need clear biblical teaching and modeling of true women and true men in order for these who come behind us to have a healthy biblical understanding of their design as male and female.

Now let me say there are none of us who have all the answers on this. We’re talking about something, male and female, that is a profound mystery, and we cannot fully grasp all the implications with our finite minds. So we need to be careful not to draw conclusions or fall into stereotypes that are not rooted in Scripture.

But there’s much that is clear in Scripture about biblical manhood and womanhood. We need to hold that dear and proclaim it without apology regardless of what the culture says. You see when God looked at what He had made, male and female, what did He say? “It was very good” (Gen. 1:31). God said this is good.

Satan said this is not good. I have something better. From the outset Satan has sought to dismantle what God established, to provide other options. But when we buy into his lies as it relates to gender, we participate in an attack on the character and the image of God and an attack on the redemptive story that we are intended to reflect through our complementary manhood and womanhood.

To resist God’s created order and design is to resist God. It’s to resist the creator, to resist His sovereignty, and it’s to miss out on the beauty and the wonder of what He made you to be.

Leslie: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been showing you why God’s design is so beautiful. Teaching like this is so crucial in a world that’s gotten so confused about what it means to be a man or a woman.

Listeners to Revive Our Hearts make it possible for you to hear this kind of helpful, timely teaching. And Nancy, we are so grateful for those who help us present this kind of teaching.

Nancy: We sure are, Leslie. And that especially includes our Monthly Partner Team. This team I often call the lifeblood, the backbone of this ministry. They are so important because they help Revive Our Hearts have a solid base of support at certain times in the year when other donations ebb and flow. When we air a practical discussion on something like marriage, we usually receive a peak in support. But when we bring you longer Bible teaching series, support can kind of wane. Our Monthly Partners help keep the ministry steady during those ups and downs.

You might be wondering, What's a Monthly Partner? Monthly Partners commit to supporting the ministry at least $30 or more each month. Because they are giving to this ministry, that means their hearts are here, so they pray for Revive Our Hearts and they share its message, its ministry resources with other people.

As a partner, you’ll receive a daily devotional each month and a letter from me sharing my heart about what's happening in the ministry. And you’ll get a registration to one of our conferences each year at no charge. This year you can use that free registration for True Woman '18. And this month when you sign up as a new Monthly Partner, we’d like to give you a special gift. You’ll get two copies of the newly-released book Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free. This is an expanded, updated version. We are eager for you to have two copies so you can go through it yourself and share one with a friend. We'll also send you two study guides that go with the book and two bookmarks with a list of truths to counsel your heart with when you are tempted to believe lies. And we'll send you some of my related teaching on CD.

If you've been blessed by this teaching over a period of months or years, perhaps you have supported us from time to time, but now you want to step up and join our Monthly Partner Team, you can get all the details on how to do that at ReviveOurHearts.com, or you can give us a call at 1–800–569–5959.

Thank you for praying about whether the Lord would want you to be a part of our Monthly Partner Team. Of course, we would only want you to do that in addition to, over and above what you give to support the ministry of your local church. Start there with your giving. Then as God provides additional that you can give, if you want to be part of the Monthly Partner Team, we'd be so thankful. Your investment in this ministry will be multiplied in the hearts of women throughout the United States and around the world all for the glory of Christ. Thanks so much.

Leslie: Sin always brings pain. We've seen the results of this ever since the Garden of Eden. Nancy takes us there tomorrow. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help you know the truth in a world of confusion. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.


All Scripture is taken fromthe English Standard Version.

1 Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood. "The Essence of Femininity: A Personal Perspective." Elisabeth Elliot. Chapter 25.

 

 

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.