There is a concept in the modern world that says that the newer something is, the better it is. This applies to the human race as well: We are getting better. We are evolving. We are smarter. And we have higher standards.
That would allegedly apply to contemporary America as well. Slavery is behind us. Segregation is behind us. Outmoded religious dogmas are behind us.
We have become more tolerant. More accepting. More inclusive. We are better today than we were yesterday.
Except for one thing. We are not.
The truth be told, in many ways, we are no better than previous generations while, in some ways, we are worse.
That’s because human nature doesn’t change.
That’s why the 20th century was the bloodiest century in world history.
That’s why there is still a nuclear arms race, since one nation cannot trust another nation to act peacefully.
That’s why human trafficking is flourishing.
That’s why violent crime and rape and theft continue unabated.
That’s why we celebrate our “right” to kill more than 60 million babies in the womb.
That’s why oppressive, totalitarian regimes continue to grow.
And that’s why the cancel culture thrives in the name of tolerance.
Human nature doesn’t change.
No one has to teach us to be greedy. Or dishonest. Or lustful. Or hateful. Or violent. Or selfish. Or judgmental. Or hypocritical. Or prideful. That is simply part of human nature.
And while there are many noble human qualities, including love and loyalty and courage and goodness, we are, at best, quite mixed.
That’s because we were created in God’s image and likeness but we rebelled and went our own way. As paraphrased in The Message, “God made men and women true and upright; we're the ones who’ve made a mess of things” (Ecclesiastes 7:29).
And that’s why we must get back to the divine blueprint if we are to be blessed as a people and a nation.
On Tuesday, American Family Studios released a watershed documentary, In His Image: Delighting in God’s Plan for Gender and Sexuality. (You can watch it here for free. I had the privilege of hosting the movie, which has been getting rave responses from viewers in its first days of release).
Not only does it share powerful stories of men and women who formerly lived as gay and trans. Not only does it share compelling scientific data. But it also lays a solid scriptural foundation for what, exactly, it means to be created in God’s image.
In particular, what did God intend for men and women? What is His plan for marriage? How do we best flourish as human beings and families? How should the gift of sexuality be expressed?
The one who designed us knows best, and the Bible, God’s Word, is the Creator’s instruction manual.
Of course, there are many who would differ with this assessment, including people of faith.
It is now reported that the Pope has stated that same-sex couples should be granted civil unions. Perhaps this is an example of more enlightened thinking? Perhaps this is proof of positive, human evolution? Perhaps we are growing in our understanding?
Not according to Catholic Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò. He said quite plainly (and rightly): “One does not have to be a theologian or a moral expert to know that such statements are totally heterodox and constitute a very serious cause of scandal for the faithful.”
Culture may change. God’s standards do not.
Commenting on my book Can You Be Gay and Christian: Responding with Love and Truth to Questions about Homosexuality, a critical reviewer on Amazon wrote: “Let me make a rather bold admission – the author is correct but not necessarily right. I have read the Bible enough times to conclude that yes, homosexuality as we know it is a prohibited practice for Christians.”
So, the reviewer is honest enough to say that, yes, the Bible is clear on this subject.
But, he continues, “I also know that Christianity has made so many compromises since its founding, what we know as Christian practices today would be completely alien to 1st century Christians. None of that matters to the author anyway – to him, verses that promoted slavery, just ‘seemed’ to promote it.”
Put another way, he was saying: Yes, the Bible is clear on the subject of homosexual practice, but who says the Bible is right? After all, the Bible sanctioned slavery, which all of us reject today. And Christian practices have changed over the years. So why uphold the Bible as if its moral standards are sacrosanct?
It’s because they are sacrosanct. It’s because thousands of years of human history point to the reliability of biblical standards. It’s because the wisdom of the Word is unchanged.
Accordingly, when Scripture consistently condemns a behavior or practice, both in the Old and New Testament, we can be sure that the behavior or practice is wrong and destructive.
Conversely, when Scripture consistently promotes a behavior or practice, both in the Old and New Testament, we can be sure that the behavior or practice is good and helpful.
When it comes to the subject of slavery, the Scriptures never promoted it as an ideal. To the contrary, the Word of God celebrates liberation from slavery and points to that as a final goal for humanity. Not only so, but the slavery that was sanctioned under the Sinai covenant was a far cry from the barbarous African slave trade of the not so distant past.
So, we cannot compare the Bible’s teaching on sexuality and marriage with the Bible’s teaching on slavery. In many ways, we are comparing apples and baseballs. They’re not even in the same category, and to point to the one to avoid the other is to make a costly, even fatal mistake.
Instead, following God’s blueprint, we find life and health and wholeness. Deviating from that blueprint we find death and pain and confusion.
Discarding the pattern of male and female as God’s intended norm, we end up with a mind-boggling array of gender options, leading to Google questions such as, “What are the 72 genders?”
That’s why, already in 2015, one website listed these as categories of people who believe they have multiple gender identities: ambigender; bigender; blurgender; collgender; conflictgender; cosmicgender; crystagender; deliciagender; duragender; demiflux; domgender; fissgender; gemelgender; gendercluster; genderfluid; gendersea; genderfuzz; genderfractal; genderspiral; genderswirl; gendervex; gyaragender; libragender; ogligender; pangender; polygender; and trigender.
This is what happens when we depart from the simple truth that God created us in His image, male and female. And it is a man and a woman that He joins together in marriage. And it is for the best.
Culture may change. God’s Word does not.