Our Cultural Confusion over Gender and Sexuality

The Church’s Opportunity to Speak the Truth with Love and Clarity

Over the last six months, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and reading about gender confusion, which is sometimes called gender dysphoria. This is an issue of immense importance that we cannot wish away. It has become inescapable, and we and our children and grandchildren will be forced to come to terms with it.

In the decades long history of our website and in the 16 years we’ve had a blog, we have never done what we’ll be doing these next three weeks. We are going to feature a series of guest blogs all related to gender and sexuality. We will look at gender as God’s creation, gender confusion as part of the Fall, and listen to wise voices that can guide us as to what we need to believe and do to walk as God wants. We will seek to please Him and avoid the landmines of a lost and deceived culture. While I am providing intros for each guest blog, they are written by others. This first one, an introduction to the series, is by me.

In the early 1980’s, while still in my late twenties, I began researching my first book, Christians in the Wake of the Sexual Revolution, which was released in 1985. I was alarmed at the degree of sexual immorality I knew of already as a young pastor. (A revision of the book was later re-released under the title Restoring Sexual Sanity.) That book took a toll on me, especially the parts related to children. I vividly remember weeping as I prayed for my daughters while they slept, because of the direction of our culture and all the evils of pornography and sexual abuse they and other children would have to face in their lifetimes.

What I didn’t know, however, is that I would live to see my children’s children growing up in a culture which attempts to teach them that someone is a boy or girl depending on what they want, and decide to choose, regardless of the prior choice of God and biology.

Here’s what I wrote in the introduction of that first book. Forty years later it has come to fruition in ways even more radical than I anticipated:

The sexual revolution has fostered a barnyard morality that robs human dignity. It has resulted in people being seen and treated as sexual objects rather than sexual subjects. It has left us a nation of technological giants and moral dwarves. Millions now live under the burden of sexual expectations and pressures to perform in a prescribed manner. Victims of the tyranny of the orgasm, they feel that unless their sexual experience is what they see in the media—where everyone is effortlessly erotic and every encounter is comparable to nuclear fission—they’re being robbed, or they’re not a real man or a real woman.

Instead of a spontaneous expression of other-oriented marital love, sex has become a self-oriented, goal-oriented obsession—an object of endless analysis, comparison, experimentation, and disappointment. Like the end of the rainbow, the ultimate sexual experience is always sought, but never found. No matter how hard we try, no matter how much we pay to surgically alter our bodies, we are left pathetic creatures, different in degree but not in kind from burnt out prostitutes standing on street corners.

Our modern sexual openness is endlessly pawned off as healthy, emancipating, and long overdue. But is our preoccupation with sex really a sign of sexual health? Who talks most about how they’re feeling? Sick people. Who buys the books on car repairs? Those with car problems. Who buys the drain cleaner? Those with clogged drains. Who thinks about, talks about, and buys the most books about sex? Those with sexual problems.

…The more we say about sex, the more we herald the new liberating sexual doctrines, the more we seem to uncover (or is it produce?) a myriad of sexual problems. The harder we try to drown these sexual problems in a flood of new relationships, erotic magazines, novels, movies, and sex education literature and classes, the louder and more persistently our sexual problems cry out for attention…

The more we have sought fulfillment apart from God, the further into the sexual desert we have wandered. Throats parched, lips cracked and bleeding, we are nomads in search of a sexual oasis that forever eludes us.

Galatians 6:7 says it perfectly: “Do not be deceived. God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”

We have turned our backs on the Architect, Engineer, and Builder of human sexuality. We have denied His authority and ridiculed His servants. Our glands as our gods, we have discarded His directions, burned His blueprint, trampled on the ashes, and, like rebellious children, stalked off to do sex our own way. And we are reaping the results.

As pervasive as the sexual revolution was and is, I wasn’t really prepared for the fact that it would not be content to only keep pressing the borders of sexual perversion. In fact, it has led to fundamental and anti-scientific denials of gender reality. It didn’t occur to me that this sex-crazed culture would increasingly come to embrace the belief that people have the right and power to choose their gender. Or that some parents and teachers would encourage children to take hormones and have surgeries to mutilate their bodies in an attempt to artificially change their own biology. Even fifteen years ago, who would have predicted that so many educated people would actually be saying, “You are the gender you choose to be, no matter if your body says otherwise”?

The world is looking for answers to spiritual and moral questions. God’s people don’t have answers for every little thing, but we do have the answers for many big things revealed to us in His Word. They are not easy answers, but they are real ones. For the sake of our children and our culture, may God empower His Church not to doubt, hold back, apologize for, or dilute the answers He has given us. I hope you find this series helpful.

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)

“Haven’t you read,” [Jesus] replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?” (Matthew 19:4-5)

Photo: Unsplash

Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries