by Eric Teetsel, president, Family Policy Alliance of Kansas
I was put to shame last week.
This is what happened. A friend told my wife that a doctor had given a talk at her women’s group at church on transgender issues. My wife mentioned it to me. Curious, I asked for more details.
I learned that the speaker was Beth Sonneville, a chaplain at Children’s Mercy Hospital. The purpose of her presentation was to make a biblical argument in favor of transgenderism.
Her argument included Genesis 1:27, which says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Apparently, per Sonneville, this passage says that God contains both male and female, and since we are all created in God’s image, we each have male and female within us.
Sonneville also used Galatians 3:28 – or part of it anyway. The passage she used was, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one”.
It’s a lie. Like the serpent in the Garden, Sonneville twists God’s word to further her pernicious influence.
Genesis 1:27 is fundamental in the Bible’s instruction on human sexuality, but it is not the only word on the subject. A proper understanding of any verse must take into account the full counsel of God’s word. In this case, the Bible provides a fuller account in Genesis 2, and fuller explication of Genesis 1:27 from both Paul and Jesus Himself in Matthew 19, among other teachings.
Genesis 2 provides “the rest of the story” of the creation of Adam and Eve. Here we find Adam in the Garden alone. For the first time, God’s pattern of creation and affirmation is interrupted. Whereas before the LORD surveyed everything He made and saw that it was good, in response to Adam’s loneliness God says, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him,” (18).
God says a creation in which man is without woman is “not good.” We are complementary pieces. At the close of chapter 2, the Bible says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh,” (24).
In his letter to the Church in Ephesus, Paul quotes this verse from Genesis and reveals that the one flesh union of husband and wife is a living picture of a magnificent spiritual reality. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church,” (3:32).
Contrary to Sonneville, the implication of the Imago Dei for human sexuality is not that each of us contains male and female, but rather that the duality of male and female was instituted by God as part of a created order that brings distinct halves together in marriage in demonstration of God’s love for His Church.
Sonneville’s twisting of Galatians 3:28 is even more obvious and damnable. She simply left out the crucial clause at the end: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Emphasis added.)
Put aside for a moment the male and female aspect of this verse. What exactly does Sonneville think Paul was saying about Jews and Greeks? Slave and free? If you apply the logic of her conclusion, Paul was not only eliminating sexual distinctions but ethnic and class distinctions as well. That would be odd for Paul, who later relies on his dual citizenship as both a Jew and a Roman in his appeal to Caesar (Acts 25) and who exhorts bondservants to obey their masters and masters to be good to their slaves (Ephesians 6).
Clearly, Galatians 3:28 is not the literal elimination of every differentiating human characteristic. Rather, it is an acknowledgement of the reality of those differences. Paul’s point is not that differences don’t exist, but that they do exist but shouldn’t preclude Christians from fellowshipping together under the banner of the one ultimate characteristic they share: devotion to Christ.
My friend says Sonneville has done several of these presentations in the Kansas City area. She says women rave about the talk. Unfortunately, no one was there to rebuke her false teaching and correct it. The Church has been asleep while the proponents of an anti-biblical sexual ideology have methodically been making their rounds.
For this I apologize. I won’t allow these voices to go unchallenged any longer.
The Family Policy Alliance of Kansas will begin building a network of churches and ministry leaders committed to upholding biblical truths on matters of life, human sexuality, and religious freedom.
We do this to ensure the integrity of the Gospel, yes, and because we understand that the Gospel is desperately needed throughout the world. We will engage opposing voices in person and in print, speaking, preaching, debating and testifying because we know that if God’s word is true than it is good, and if it is good then it is necessary if our neighbors are to thrive.
Will you help me?
Here’s are three things you can do:
First, pray. Please don’t mistake this for some lame head fake towards holiness. Our appeals to the Creator of the Universe are a proclamation that there is an authority higher than any school board, legislature, or Congress. Prayer is, therefore, a political act. And a radical one.
Second, get in the game. This isn’t as daunting as it may sound. Identify your state representative and state senator. (Here’s a tool that makes it easy: Action Center.) Email them and invite them to join you for a coffee. Get to know them. Tell them about yourself. Tell them you will be praying for them. Over time, email them to encourage them and congratulate them. And, when the time comes, tell them what you expect them to do. Remember, they work for you.
I can’t emphasize too strongly the power of such an effort. Almost nobody bothers with their local representatives. Most people don’t even know their name. If you establish a positive, respectful relationship you will influence them.
Third, we need to know your stories. This session, we are working closely with legislators to craft a Student Protection Act. This commonsense bill will require public schools to limit bathrooms, locker rooms, and other similar spaces to members of one sex. It also instructs school leaders to provide reasonable accommodations for students who are not comfortable in such a setting, for whatever reason.
Make no mistake, despite our efforts to provide a safe, fair environment for all students this law will be attacked as hateful, bigoted, and mean. Its supporters will be held accountable for the bullying, depression, and even suicide of LGBTQ students. It’s already happening.
The best way to counter these narratives is by putting forward the voices of Kansans who are concerned with the safety and wellbeing of their children. If that’s you, would you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org?