Leaning on the recent statement from the American College of Pediatricians, Sean Nolan offers up some wisdom on how to teach our youth about Biblical sexuality in a world that is increasingly hostile to it and those who promote it.
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.
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.
1) God does in fact make humans either male or female. While there is increasing hostility to this view, our biology cannot be changed…Meet confused students with compassion and grace, while challenging them to think deeply about who God has made us to be biologically.2) No one is exempt from believing lies. Currently there are massively popular lies about our sexual identities and our bodies that we cannot inoculate our teenagers from. Let us steep ourselves in God’s Word while keeping abreast of the changing climates of culture and medicine and the insights they will provide us.
3) Puberty is an awkward time for everyone and insecurities abound during this season of life. The physical and hormonal changes are only compounded by the rhetoric that states we can choose our gender. Appropriately (use caution as there are many inappropriate ways) affirm and encourage students that despite the transition their body goes through God made it and ordains its transformation, he sees them as “very good” (Gen 1:31) and they are his workmanship (Eph 2:10).
4) Do not tell teens struggling to work through sexual identity issues that what they are going through “is just a phase.” While the statement from ACPeds research suggests that it is, this sort of comment is unhelpful for those in the midst of the confusion. All you will achieve by bringing this up to those in the midst of the confusion is invalidating their struggles and feelings. This will shut down conversation and eliminate trust.
5) Conversely, for those teens who are thinking biblically about sexual identity and ministering to those struggling with it: do mention that it is just a phase. It can be encouraging for students that are praying for hope and healing for their friends to know that with time it is likely feelings of gender dysphoria will eventually subside. We may also want to remind them that sharing the idea that this “is only a phase” with their friends comes across as dismissive and unhelpful.
Our youth are growing up in a culture filled with passionate, hostile, and never-silent preachers of sexual liberty and self-actualizing autonomy. The sermons of the world are ubiquitous and unceasing. Therefore, it is essential that the Church be the pillar and foundation of truth God calls her to be (1 Timothy 3:15) and shed light amidst our darkened generation. May the preaching of the world not be met with the silence of the Church.
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