I have found it increasingly effective in ministering to youth and children to quote sources from outside of the broad evangelical circle. For example, this past Sunday I used a clip of Christopher Hitchens quoting Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians in a debate with a Universalist. He may not have assented to the gospel message, but he certainly understood it intellectually.
When it comes to biblical manhood and womanhood, my new favorite source from outside the circle is the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds). You will not find any reference to the Bible on their website. The authority to which they submit is purely scientific. Yet, their recent statement titled, Gender Ideology Harms Children affirms what those who trust the Bible have claimed all along: human beings are created both male and female and these distinctions are assigned at birth.
This statement is invaluable to my toolbox for ministering to youth. It is an example of science catching up to what the Bible has taught all along. Long before a man could surgically transform himself to resemble a woman the Bible’s Old Testament gave this warning: A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God (Deut 22:5). Let us also be cautious not to think that this was only an Old Testament prohibition. The apostle Paul upholds the twofold distinction between man and woman in all of his New Testament writings. When writing about proper worship practices he appeals not to Scripture, but to nature regarding some gender confusion happening in the first century Church: Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering (1 Cor 11:14, 15). As always, the commands God gives us not only please him, but are best for human flourishing as well.
What God reveals in Scripture to be immoral, science is now finding to be destructive. ACPeds research corroborates what God has stated from old: it is dangerous to encourage humans to embrace a sex other than the one assigned to them at birth. It offends God, mars the imago dei, and leads to further human suffering as sin is always guaranteed to do.
How can we talk with our churches’ teenagers who are at the forefront of the ongoing battle over gender ideology? Here are some things we can share with teenagers about human sexuality that the Bible affirms and the ACPeds research confirms.
Those of us working with youth have a momentous task ahead of us. There is growing suspicion amongst the next generation that traditional sexual identity is outdated, bigoted, and ignorant. However, the same God that rescued people in a previous generation from the errors of the sexual revolution is in control of the generations that will outlive us.
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