Saturday, May 23, 2015

Bruce Jenner’s Gender Indentity Confusion

20Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!  21Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! – Is. 5:20-21

Earlier this year, ABC aired an interview with Bruce Jenner, former Olympic decathlon winner and reality TV personality.  Hosted by Diane Sawyer, the 2-hour interview was Jenner’s reveal to the world about his lifelong struggle with his gender identity.  Born male, he’s remiss to think of himself as “a woman trapped in a man’s body,” but prefers to live his everyday life as woman instead of a man.[1]  He isn’t homosexual nor has he ever been attracted to men.  He has no current plans to change his anatomy.  But if he does, it isn’t to receive sexual gratification as a woman, but to further his feminine identity.  Thus we have a distinction between sexuality and gender identity.  “Sexuality” is loosely defined as who you go to bed with while “gender identity” is who you went to bed as.  If you’re not confused already, what this means is that Bruce is going to walk into a bedroom as a woman, take his dress off, hop into bed and perform as a man, then get out of bed and put his dress and makeup back on.  {Gasp}    

Jenner admits that God gave him “many wonderful qualities.”  But everyone has “stuff,” and the “stuff” that God gave Jenner was the desire to be female, even though he was created in a male body, he opines.  He then muses, "God's looking down making little Bruce.  He's looking down and he says, 'Okay, what are we going to do with this one?' … God looks down, chuckles a little bit and says, 'Lets give him a soul of a female, and let’s see how he deals with that!”  And how does he deal with that?  He concludes, “For all intents and purposes, I’m a woman.”                  

This is a Christian article written from a biblical perspective.  Therefore note that the first thing that Jenner does is blame God.  He’s essentially saying, “God made me this way.  It’s his fault!”  And since men wearing women’s clothes is sin, then Jenner is implying that God created him with sin in his life (Dt. 22:5).  He makes it sound as though God was sadistically toying with him.  But as James 1:13, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.”  And what about v. 14?  “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.”  So who’s really at fault here? 

Man is made in God’s image (Gen. 1:26-27; Ps. 139:14), but our sin nature was inherited from Adam (Rom. 5:12-21).  So God didn’t create Jenner to sin; he didn’t create him male with female inclinations.  Sin did that – the sin that he inherited from Adam.  Jenner says that he knows what the Bible says (about dress), but he evidently doesn’t understand what it has to say about sin and salvation.  Scripture further teaches that God isn’t the Author of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33), which is why he forbids men from wearing women’s clothes, and vice versa (Dt. 22:5).  But according to Jenner’s logic, God is the author of confusion because he created “little Bruce” male with female tendencies and then left him alone to reconcile the conflict.     
Jenner claims to be Christian; but then again, people can say anything (Mt. 7:21-23).  I wasn’t bothered by the fact that he “came out” on national television.  It doesn’t mean that I like it, or that I’m turning a blind eye to it.  What it means is that I understand that he’s just a small cog in a world system that rejects God, and so he’s only doing what lost people do – justifying their sin by blaming God and then swaying people with fair speeches and subtle appeals (Rom. 16:17-18).  They don’t see it as that, of course.  But that’s what it is: sin.  Jenner wants to “provide tolerance and understanding for all people.”  He wants everyone to “have an open mind and an open heart.” 

But open to what?  Sin and rebellion against God is the only gospel he’s espousing.  He wants to enjoy his sin but avoid the natural disgust that even unsaved moral people often have against people like him. 

But the deception deepens.  Jenner is taking hormones and surgically altering his body; thus his worldview begins and ends with his perceptions of himself and not God’s.  God created him male.  But in his understated arrogance, he’s changing his outward appearance to match his internal inclination for sin.  Evidently, God calling for him to be a man wasn’t good enough, and so he’s taking it upon himself to change it. 

And what of his children?  He still wants them to refer to him as “Dad” even though he’s wearing a dress and makeup!  He accuses God of creating confusion, but what kind of signal does this send!    

He says that at one point he was considering suicide so that he could “go to a better place.”  So he rejects what God has to say about himself and the origin of man’s sin, but then chooses to believe Satan’s lies!  Sin promises freedom, but only brings bondage and eternal torment.  Many view him as being brave and courageous for coming out as he did; the Bible sees him as a fool in his folly (Pr. 13:16).  He was no doubt earnest and sincere in discussing his struggles, but these are attributes that people frequently mistake as Truth.  Sincerity isn’t Truth, it’s just the manner in which thoughts are communicated.  All men are born with a sin nature; it’s just a matter of how it’s going to be revealed.  Jenner says he knows what the Bible says.  But instead of submitting himself to God’s Word and allowing God to change him, he’s chosen instead to remain in his life of sin.  Selah.

[1] He in fact has six children by three different women.  Fine moral example, eh?

Water Baptism and 1 Peter 3:20-21

20Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water21The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: 
Since Noah and those with him were “saved by water,” and since baptism “also now” saves us, then many are led to teach that water baptism is necessary for salvation; i.e. baptismal regeneration.  But as it happens, most are completely unaware of the fact that water baptism originally began under the Mosaic Law when Moses baptized Aaron and his four sons.[1]  It’s the first occasion where one individual baptized another.  But it wasn’t for salvation, but for ordination into the ministry.  It was when Aaron and his sons began to serve as priests.  In type, they were already saved; they had already been born into the children of Israel and the tribe of Levi, specifically, and so they were already counted as being one of God’s people before being baptized.  And as subsequent Levitical males came of age, they too were baptized.  This explains why Jesus was baptized by John.  But it wasn't for his salvation – as it would be heresy to suggest that it was – it was to mark the beginning of his public ministry, as required by Law.[2]     

But the confusion for many begins when baptism is used to represent the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  This is true, but it’s only symbolic.  It’s only representative of how Jesus secured our salvation.  It is an outward expression of an inward commitment that’s already been made.  But as briefly covered, baptism was for ordination and not salvation.  And so any verse or passage that seems to suggest that it is must be examined more closely.  Suffice it to say that salvation has always been by faith alone (Eph. 2:8-10 etc.).  But even without this knowledge, there are several problems in using 1 Pet. 3:20-21 to teach that water baptism is necessary for salvation. 

To begin, and reminiscent of the Levitical males and their calling, Noah was already a saved man: he was a preacher of righteousness (2 Pet. 2:5).  This means that while he was building the Ark, he was giving testimony as to what he was doing and why.  This might not seem like much, but at this time it hadn’t rained on the earth (Gen. 2:5-6).  And so Noah was testifying of impending judgment through natural causes that no one had ever seen or experienced.  Therefore let it be understood that Noah had a real testimony here; he wasn’t just some nut building a boat.

Second, the basic mechanics of the story are different.  In baptism, water is symbolic of the grave, but it wasn’t used as an instrument of judgment.  While in Noah’s Flood, it was.  The grave in baptism is (seemingly) an end while in the Flood the water was only a means to an end.  Baptism is one Christian baptizing another.  But Noah’s Flood was corporate.  Baptism is designed to draw individual believers closer to Christ.  But in Noah’s Flood, the water was used to separate the saint from the sinner.  In baptism, the saint is publicly testifying that what they heard about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ was true.  But in Noah’s Flood, the unsaved were publicly denying this.  And in baptism, the Christian gets wet.  But in Noah’s Flood, the saints were kept dry while the ungodly drowned.  If the saints had gotten wet, they would have died in the judgment. 

Third, the means of salvation was different.  Since the waters were used as a means of judgment, it wasn’t the water that saved Noah, per se, but the Ark.  The Ark was the result of God’s plans sent down to earth.  The ark was then made from materials found in the earth, which was the vessel by which all who, by faith, were willing to enter.  Thus we have Jesus who came from God, was made after the fashion of an earthly man, who then secured salvation for those who’d “enter” into him (Php. 2:5-11).  For Noah, the water was a means of separation.  It was the “great gulf” between the saved and unsaved (Lu. 16:26).  Noah and his family were delivered by floating on top of the waters and not through them as found in baptism.  Again, baptism is symbolic of the grave, of which all saints, both physically and spiritually, will be delivered (1 Cor. 15:54-55).  Thus it was the Ark that really saved them.  The Ark was the vessel that was sent down from Heaven that Noah and his family, by faith, had to enter.  And once they had, they were held safe from the waters of judgment.  So what water baptism and Noah’s Flood have in common is water.  But beyond this, the same parallels can’t be drawn even though the same verbiage is used.   

*   *   *   *   *

18For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 19By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 20Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water21The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: 

But let’s look a little closer at the passage itself.  Verse 18 makes it clear that Jesus was a just man who died for the sins of the world even though he never sinned.  And having been put to death, he was then brought back to life by the Spirit.  Verse 19 reveals that while he was in Paradise, or Abraham’s bosom (Lu. 16:22), which is a temporary “holding cell” for the saint waiting for Heaven, as Hell is for the sinner on their way to the Lake of Fire, that he told them of how he was the fulfillment of all they’d believed.

Verse 20 reveals that the people in Abraham’s bosom were at one time disobedient.  They were once like the people of Noah’s day.  They had heard the gospel and of the judgment to come, but had repented whereas the people of Noah’s day didn’t.  There’s often a period of time between when we first hear the gospel and when we actually accept it.  This was true of Noah’s day as there was time between when he first started building and when he closed the door.  This time period is described in Peter as God’s “longsuffering... while the ark was a preparing”.  Most reject the gospel when first hearing it, and they often do many times before making their final rejection, but only God knows when this occurs.  But the point here is that God is patient, but not so patient that there won’t come a time when it’s too late.  As 2 Cor. 2 teaches, now is the acceptable time... 

But then v. 20 says that Noah and his immediate family were “saved by water.”  But as explained, the waters of Noah’s Flood were used in judgment against the sinner rather than salvation for the saint.  Salvation for the saint was found in the personal decision to enter the Ark.  As individuals, Noah and his family weren’t saved by the waters, they were saved by the Ark.  He was already safe in the Ark when the waters came and so the waters didn’t save him.  He wasn’t saved by the waters, he was saved from the waters.  The Ark is what was given him as the safe place to stay.  And once he entered, he was never in danger of judgment.[3]  But the verse still says that they were “saved by water”!

The context of the passage is not one of personal salvation, per se, but of the corporate or universal judgment that will eventually come upon all men.  Verse 18-19 speaks of those who have already died while v. 20 speaks of those that are alive and those yet to be born.  Everyone will either go to Heaven or Hell as symbolized by Noah’s waters of judgment.  God’s people will be kept safe and sound in the Ark (Jesus).  They will be held above God’s judgment (floating safely on top) until God’s judgment against the unsaved is complete (Flood waters recede; unsaved cast into the Lake of Fire), at which time God’s people will safely land again on the earth and exit the Ark onto a new heaven and a new earth – just like Noah.[4]  So when v. 20 speaks of them being saved by water, it’s referring to end times’ judgment at which time all of the unsaved will have been cast into the Lake of Fire and not personal salvation.  It’s the preservation of the entirety of God’s people from his eternal judgment against the unsaved.  It’s the complete removal of all those offend from the presence of God and his people, forever! 

Peter then makes this clear in v. 21.  The decision to step onto the Ark was a personal decision.  But once all men are dead, then an eternal judgment is all that remains.  This is why he then says, “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us”.  Salvation is a personal decision.  But based on that decision, we will either be judged corporately with all the saints or judged corporately with all the sinners.  He’s telling his reading audience that this was true of both the saints that died before and those who’ll die after.  But from what he’s written, he knows that people are going to misinterpret it as water baptism being necessary for salvation, and so he reiterates that salvation has nothing to do with the washing the physical body (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh” ; but instead, “the answer of a good conscience toward God” and “by the resurrection of Jesus Christ”. 

Thus it should be clear.  This passage has nothing to do with water baptism for personal salvation.  This is doctrinally impossible because baptism was for ordination and not salvation, the ritual is different and the context of this passage is one of eternal salvation for the godly and eternal judgment against the ungodly and not salvation of individuals.  Selah.

[1] Ex. 29:1-9; 40:11-16; Lev. 8:1-9
[2] Spiritually, we’re all priests unto the Lord (1 Pet. 2:9-10).  But practically, we’re not.  Aaron and his sons were called out from God’s people to minister his Word back to them, and there were qualifications involved (Lev. 21; Num. 4).  Same today.  There are those who are called out from among his people to minister his Word back to them (Eph. 4:11-15).  But not everyone is qualified.  For just as the Old Testament had qualifications, so too does the New (1 Tim. 2:11-3:13; Tit. 1:5-9).  We’re spiritually all priests unto the Lord, but we’re not all “teaching priests” on earth.  And as some may be aware, Jesus was of the tribe of Judah and not Levi.  This was not sin.  The fundamental principles associated with the priesthood have remained the same, but its application has changed.  So when Jesus was baptized, he was revealing that there would soon be a change in the priesthood.  Selah.        
[3] Thus teaching that a Christian cannot lose their salvation.
[4] Is. 65:14-18; 2 Pet. 3:10-14; Rev. 21:1-5