"Can you provide a definition for the word 'woman'"?
That's what Senator Marsha Blackburn asked Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson during her Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Over and over again, Judge Jackson's answer was played on television and the internet. Some mocked her answer; others supported it depending on their stance on gender identity issues.
A few weeks later, another story erupted over Florida's HB1557 law saying that sexual orientation or gender identity could not be taught to children below the third grade level in Florida. Again, the country and social media were ablaze with the debate question of how many genders are there?
For the Bible-believing Christian, there should be no debate. The issue is settled in Genesis 1:27:
So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
Genesis 2 provides a more detailed description of how God created man and woman.
Throughout the Bible, only two genders are recognized: male and female.
Scientifically and historically, whether you are male or female was determined by anatomy and chromosomes.
Ultimately, defining or redefining the definition of "male" or "female" is not just a societal issue—it is a fundamental attack on Biblical truth and Christianity.
Those who believe anything else have fallen under a delusion by Satan, seeking to keep people separated from God, from salvation, and God's plan for their lives.
These are the facts. However, it leaves followers of Christ with the dilemma of how to stand for Biblical truth and yet, show Christ's love to those who are deceived or trapped in Satan's deception. How do we do that?
While I am sure this is not a complete list, here are some things I believe.
1. Christians cannot ignore this issue. We need to understand what is happening in our culture and how we can stand for truth while loving those deceived by Satan's lies.
Two podcasts I would recommend for you to get started understanding this topic are:
Alicia Childer's Podcast: Side B Christianity and the Revoice Conference, with Christopher Yuan
Alicia Childer's Podcast: Biblical Sexuality: Will We Find Freedom in Christ or in Our Feelings? with Rosaria Butterfield
2. Christians must stand for Biblical truth.
We cannot believe the lies of society just because it is popular or easier to go with the flow. Instead, we must read what the Bible has to say about gender and sexuality and believe that every word is true. Then we must choose to obey it.
Pastors and teachers need to preach Biblical truth from the pulpit. This applies not just to gender issues and homosexual sin. True believers need to teach God's truth about heterosexual sins, including sex outside of marriage, living together, adultery, and pornography. Pastors and parishioners need to believe, live by, and stand for ALL Biblical truth, whether it's convenient or not.
"But isn't that harsh or unkind?"
Absolutely not! It is actually cruel to avoid telling someone the truth that will keep them from an eternity in Hell. Kindness is speaking the truth that saves their souls.
3. Everyone should be welcome in the church.
The Bible says, "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) That means that every person who walks through the doors of a church is struggling with sin. The church should welcome everyone into the church to hear God's Word, experience the power of the Holy Spirit, and be called to salvation. While, no, I do not believe everyone should be given a position of leadership in the church (1 Peter 5 addresses this), every person should be welcome inside of the church.
4. Followers of Christ should pray for those struggling with transgender issues.
It's so important that we remember those who are struggling with the issues of gender and sexuality aren't just numbers or statistics. They are real people. Over the past few months, the Holy Spirit has been leading me to intercede for the salvation of the people I know who have fallen into this deception. If I encounter someone dealing with these issues, I stop and pray for them quietly.
Why? Because they need Jesus? They need to experience His salvation and His transforming love in their lives. Those dealing with gender and sexuality struggles are not the enemy—they are in bondage. 1 Timothy 2:1-4 says,
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
5. Followers of Christ should show love and kindness to everyone.
I strongly believe that Christians aren't doing the kingdom of God any favors by making jokes, making cruel memes, or being downright ugly toward those who disagree with the Bible in the are of genders. In fact, I believe it is completely wrong and sinful. Rather than turning people to Jesus, it drives them away and confirms the "right-wing Christian hate" stereotype.
As followers of Christ, we are called to love.
We are called to be kind.
We're called to do good even to those who attack us.
While I believe Christians need to stand up for what they believe, it is entirely wrong for us to post vulgar, racist, demeaning, or unnecessarily cruel things on social media.
Colossians 4:6 says, "Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person."
6. Christians need to teach their children Biblical truth.
This may shock some people, but I really don't care if you let your kids watch Disney. That's between you and God. Here's what I care about:
You need to be monitoring all the content your kids watch on every channel and the internet.
More importantly, you need to get your kids to church.
Church needs to be a consistent priority, not an afterthought.
They need to be in Sunday School, Wednesday night programs, youth group, as well as Sunday morning services so that they can learn Biblical truth and see that they are not alone in their quest to follow Jesus.
Kids need positive influences in their lives to reinforce the messages of the world.
Even more importantly, you need to have family devotions with your kids. It's YOUR responsibility to teach your kids God's Word and His ways. They need to pray with you, read the Bible with you, and talk about what the Bible has to say about real life and real-life issues.
It's not just Disney—-the whole secular world wants to indoctrinate your children. It's your job to teach them Biblical truth and live a godly life in front of them, providing them with the support they need to follow Jesus and walk in God's ways.
7. We need to support Men's and Women's Ministries.
God created men and women differently. (Everyone said 'Amen!'). That's why we need Men's and Women's Ministries.
These ministries shouldn't just be clubs or fun events. They should contain solid, Biblical teaching that helps each gender face their unique challenges and then return to their families and communities and fulfill their God-given role.
8. Prepare to stand for what you believe.
Ephesians 6:11-13 says, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm."
"And having done all, stand firm."
I cannot, in good conscience, wrap up this article without making this point because the truth is that we are in a spiritual battle. All over the world, men and women of God face the choice of whether they will conform to the world's new standards regarding gender and sexual identity or choose to stand firm for Biblical truth and face the consequences.
For instance, I have a friend who lost her job because she could not compromise her beliefs and refer to mothers as "birthing persons" using gender-neutral pronouns. While I believe most Christians would prefer to stay on the sidelines in this spiritual battle, the truth is that many will be faced with circumstances like my friends.
What will you do?
Maybe it won't be a job, but it will be a friendship, a family relationship, access to a club, or a social group that will require you to compromise the Biblical truth. Most likely, it will happen when you aren't expecting it…almost out of the blue.
Can I encourage you to start preparing yourself for this possibility today?
As we continue loving people, praying for people, sharing the Gospel of Jesus, and exhibiting kindness, I believe we also need to be preparing our hearts to be like Daniel, like Shadrach, Meschach, and Abendigo, and Elijah and stand for truth even when it comes with a cost.
We need to prepare ourselves with prayer, by knowing what the Bible says about modern-day issues, and by determining in our hearts that when we've done all we can, in the end, we will stand.
We can't just pretend that we'll never be asked to answer questions, to take a stand.
Instead, we need to prepare ourselves and determine that no matter what society says, we will stand for Biblical truth about gender, sexuality, inclusivity, religion, and any other topic that may come up.
May we choose that we will always follow Jesus and stand for Biblical truth while loving people and praying that all come to repentance and a relationship with Him.
Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.
When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry."