Could you give a convincing teaching that:
- shows some of the wonders and power of the Scripture?
- establishes the historical trustworthiness of Job?
- examines the entire book of Job with profound insights?
- speaks to God’s purposes in suffering?
- counsels people on how to suffer well?
- answers whether God causes or allows suffering?
- answers whether God predestines everything, some things, or nothing?
- answers whether God is sovereign over everything or only some things?
- and explains whether hell is a real place of conscious, eternal judgment?
Now how about doing all this in under 50 minutes?
But…good news! God raised up Dr. Peter Williams to do such a thing. And it’s my pleasure to share that teaching with all of you:
There are a lot of opinions freely available on transgender issues. For instance, as of 9/19/18, Google yielded 168 million results for
transgender. And that number more than doubled within 1 month.
So, you may be happy to hear that I’m not going to add my opinion to that list.
Instead, I want us to pursue the only opinion that matters: Christ’s opinion.
It is His word that judges our thoughts and intents (Heb. 4:12). It is His word that we must stand before when we pass on from this life (Rev. 19:15). Not pastors, not professors. Jesus alone*.
*note that all Scripture = Jesus’ words (not just the “red letter” portions).
What does Jesus think about transgender issues?
Jesus esteems the transgender person (and all people) higher than anyone else does.
- He created male and female uniquely in His image (Gen. 1:27), and thus sees inherent dignity within all humans.
- Further, while we all rebelled against Him in incalculable ways, He loved us enough to die for us (Rom. 5:8). He paid the high cost of shedding His blood, satisfying God’s wrath, and offering forgiveness and redemption for the transgender person (and all people). You can search the world and never find a love like this.
Jesus is displeased with transgenderism.
- First, let me say that transgenderism is not a sin I struggle with. Sadly, I do struggle with my own share of sins, and thus can write this as a fellow sinner and sin-struggler. But there is part of me that feels bad to offer this teaching without truly empathizing. However, I have been thankful that people have loved me enough to patiently teach what God has to say concerning my own sins as well as the hope that Christ can offer. I pray I can do the same here.
- Routinely we see that, “God made them male and female,” (Gen. 1:27; 5:2; Mark 10:6) – 2 separate, distinguishable types of people
- And this isn’t just the first 2 humans.
- David says, “You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made,” (Psalm 139:13-14a). And, “Your works are wonderful,” (Psalm 139:14b).
- There is a clear and intimate process of creation for each individual.
- God makes all of us, “male and female.”
- Thus, to claim your gender/identity contradicts your biology offends your Creator who intentionally purposed and made you male or female. Along these lines, He says…
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.
- Further, it seems to me that a large topic related to transgenderism is the weight we should give to feelings/desires. In brief, the Bible clearly acknowledges the real struggle of personal feelings, yet still places God’s law/command higher than our personal feelings. See, for instance, Deut. 21:15-17 where a man is told that regardless of how much love he feels toward someone else, he must not violate God’s law and intent (note that God permitted, but did not desire, multiple wives in the Old Testament – compare Matt. 19:8-9).
Jesus offers the transgender person hope.
- Finally, Jesus does not come to bring bad news to the transgender person, but good news. The truth is, we have all sinned in unthinkable ways. Yet, Christ shows His goodness in:
- Telling us where our behavior is destructive and leads to death/judgment (e.g. James 5:20).
- Taking our penalty for sin (1 Cor. 15:3).
- Offering reconciliation to God through repentance and faith in Jesus’ death/resurrection for our sins (Romans 5:9-11).
- See TranZformed (documentary) for 15 firsthand testimonies of the hope in Jesus found by many transgender individuals.
Jesus commands Christians to reach out to the marginalized (including transgender people) while speaking the truth in love.
- In John 5:1-17 and 7:53-8:11, for instance, Jesus:
- enters the situation of sinful, marginalized people (a sick man and an adulterous woman)
- offers mercy, forgiveness, hope, and healing to them
- tells them to stop sinning–not lessening the seriousness of their sin (cf. John 5:14; 8:11)
- Also, Paul writes: “Being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us,” (1 Thes. 2:8). Thus, Paul shares more than words. He also gave of his very life to those he ministered to.
- And these examples are not for Jesus and Paul alone. No. Jesus commands us to follow His commands and imitate His ways (see Matt. 28:18-20). And Paul, likewise, says, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ,” (1 Cor. 11:1). Thus, we are called to follow these examples.
- But do not miss this: when we go in obedience to Christ, to follow His example, we go with his Holy Spirit to overcome our deficiencies (see Matt. 28:20). Did you catch that? You are not walking alone in being Jesus’ hands, feet, and mouth to lovingly minister to the transgender person (or anyone else)! We have God’s Spirit with us.
I sincerely hope and pray we hear what Christ is saying on this issue. I humbly submit this, hoping others would love me enough to point out if I may have missed the mark here as well.
OK. You only get a Bible. Don’t look elsewhere (as hard as it may be). Now imagine there is a completely blank slate. You have a people group with 0 Christians. Using only the Bible, how would that people group be reached, start a church, and grow that church?
For now, let’s just focus on the methods used in the N.T. to do this. I know that’s dangerous (truly) – because outside of a work of the Holy Spirit nothing can happen. I hope we see that. But I also think the Holy Spirit wrote down various principles and methods in the Scripture for a reason. And, as Derek Prince said, “You can’t get New Testament results without New Testament methods.”
So…what would New Testament methods look like in starting this church from start to finish?
Here’s my answer, as best I can tell. I’m counting on you (any of you) to help point out where I might be erring:
Are the emphases by the contemporary Western church in line with what we read in the Scriptures? I think A.W. Tozer hits the nail on the head. Please read and consider his 1-page entry on this.
A friend sent me this short video of Dr. Levatino testifying before congress. I thought it was gripping and to-the-point on the evils of abortion.
I recently studied 1 & 2 Peter, and thought others might appreciate the quick outline and comparison of the 2 letters of Peter.
I recently studied the life of Joseph and was amazed at how many similarities there are between him and Christ. He clearly serves as a type/shadow of Jesus Christ who would come roughly 2,000 years later.
Check it out for yourselves: