Upset about the Culture’s Gender Ideology? Look to Your Own Relationships

One point I often stress, and seem to have to keep stressing based on the blank stares I get, is the biblical principle: gender matters in relationship. This is a big point from the Scriptures—just witness what it is about when gender is brought up by Biblical writers. Going back to the very beginning when God creates gender (Genesis 2) and on through the gender-intense passages of the New Testament such as Ephesians 5 or 1Corinthians 11 or 1Peter 3.


This principle is critical in understanding (and responding to) the culture’s promulgation of its gender theories, especially if you want to help a loved one you feel is making a wrong move. So, when people express shock or anger at “how far” the culture has come, I draw them a diagram:


Gender Minimizing    →     Gayness     →     Trans


I mean by this that minimizing gender in relationship will initiate a cascade of dominos that leads inevitably to large-scale, widespread trans. It starts when you turn away the Bible’s consistent message about gender distinction in close relationships like marriage, family and church, how we should follow God’s commands to love each other asymmetrically. In this, the Christian church is, at times, complicit. When we do this, eschewing masculine and feminine roles in close relationships, an eschewing sometimes called “egalitarianism,” we flatten out those relationships, including the marital relationship, inhibiting the intimacy God has for us. We get the equality part right. But we also make husbands and wives interchangeable.


Now think for a moment. If wives and husbands are interchangeable, if they are really there just to do the same things to and for each other, some bright envelope-pusher is certainly going to come along and ask, why is it necessary for there to be both a man and a woman in a marriage? You can pretty much do the same thing with two men or two (or maybe more?) women, can’t you? Why not? Said bright artist has a point. Voila, same-sex marriage.


But the dominoes will continue to fall. Because once we buy that marriage is not gender-diverse, we stop finding therein our distinctive identities in our genders. We lose one of the main places where we feel and celebrate our gender. Oh, maybe physical intimacy still works (though a lesser, less meaningful, cheaper version), but our place for really growing into our manhood and womanhood evaporates. It cannot be long before such a society’s un-gendered people will start asking, “Well, then what makes me a woman?” “How come I am called a man?”


It is a short step thence to doubt whether one is a man or a woman. The vision for gender has been completely lost. “So maybe I really am not what I have been called. Is it really just because of an appendage on my body? I That can be changed.”  I recently heard a mother say exactly that in agreeing with her trans son. When fashion, comorbidity and abuse trauma exacerbates this condition, we arrive at our contemporary zeitgeist.


All because, as the Bible teaches us, gender matters in relationship.


So any distress we may feel at the culture ought to inspire a look in the mirror. If we have any interest in saving loved ones from this gender never never land, we must reckon with this loss of vision by demonstrating a healthy one in our own relationships. This is where we should feel the challenge. Gender is a journey for all of us. How are we doing?


Gender in operation immediately generates intimacy and fruitfulness, which is attractive. In our fraternities and sororities and marriages, are we showing the beauty of the gift? Where can we repent in failing to lean into the asymmetries and love one another genderly? Where can we grow in being a real man to our wife or sister, or a true woman to our husband or brother?


Answer that question and you’ll be the solution to the culture’s growing woes.


  1. Steve Goble

    Sam, I heartily agree with you that “gender matters in relationship”. I believe gender, according to God’s biblical design, is ***how we relate to others*** in the goodness of our maleness or femaleness, as opposed to a self-oriented identity or abstraction based on worldly assumptions and unbelief. The root of gender, gene-, is a verb, not a noun, and means to “give birth or beget”. Gender according to God’s biblical design, is dynamic, life-giving and magnanimous to others relationally, whether we’re single or married. As followers of Jesus, our capacity to relate healthily with others increases as we follow Him in healing, sanctification and transformation. Thank you for articulating God’s life-giving design in your excellent books and blog articles!

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