Apologetics

Eugene Peterson and the Imitation of Culture

I read an article by Jonathan Merritt, who happens to be controversial in his own right concerning moral issues, but he wrote an article on the bestselling author Eugene Peterson changing his mind about gay marriage.

In the article, Merritt quotes Eugene Peterson saying, “I wouldn’t have said this 20 years ago, but now I know a lot of people who are gay and lesbian and they seem to have as good a spiritual life as I do. I think that kind of debate about lesbians and gays might be over.” He goes on to say, “It’s not a right or wrong thing as far as I’m concerned.” As far as performing same-sex weddings, he says, absolutely, “Yes,” that would be something that he would do.

Now, when I read this article, the first thing that came to my mind was, “Changed his mind? Are you kidding me?” More than twenty years ago, he published The Message (MSG). It has been a cottage industry within the evangelical Christian community. In that paraphrase of the Bible — I’ve said this many times over the years on the Bible Answer Man broadcast — Peterson attempts to squeeze the New Testament into the mode of today’s politically correct culture. In other words, instead of being a change agent, being an initiator, we become politically correct and imitators.

As cultural imitators, of course, we cannot correct or rebuke, for that would not be politically correct. We should not argue with anyone in the family of God who thinks hell is a myth. Think Peterson’s endorsement of Rob Bell and the book Love Wins, which denounces hell as little more than a fantasy or a myth.

Cultural imitators, above all, do not mention homosexuality. Better yet, they take it out of the biblical text, which is precisely what Peterson does in 1 Corinthians 6:9, where he refrains from mentioning homosexuality, as opposed to the Greek text. Here is how Peterson puts it: “Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex” (1 Cor. 6:9 MSG). Obviously, someone who is in the gay lifestyle, someone who is a homosexual, would not have a problem with Peterson’s text in the least in that they do not consider sodomy an abuse of sex. In their view, homosexuality is simply an alternative lifestyle.

As significantly, I think we should ask, “On what basis does Peterson have the temerity to replace a sin not mentioned in the biblical text ‘use and abuse the earth’”? (1 Cor. 6:9 MSG). That is gratuitously inserted into the text as a substitute for homosexuality. So, he replaces one sin with what he considers to be I guess a greater sin.

I find it strange that so many people are making a big deal out of this now. I find it ironic. Sixteen million copies later. Long ago, Peterson showed his colors and despite the fact that he has tampered with the text in a substantial way, the Message, continues to be popularized and glorified in the Christian world.

There are many examples of problems with the Message I can give. It is not just— as egregious as the example I just gave — it is not just that. Think about what he does with the Lord’s Prayer. Here is how Peterson renders it in the Message: “Our Father in heaven, Reveal who you are. Set the world right; Do what’s best — as above, so below. Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. You’re in charge! You can do anything you want! You’re ablaze in beauty! Yes. Yes. Yes.”

The Lord’s Prayer is a model prayer, and every word of that prayer has incredible significance. For example, did you notice in Peterson’s version, there is no “Hallowed be thy name”? When we pray “Hallowed be thy name,” it is an incredibly important part and petition of the prayer. It is to put emphasis on God first, exactly where the emphasis belongs. Our daily lives ought to radiate far greater commitment to God’s nature and holiness than to our own needs; therefore, to pray “Hallowed be thy name” is tantamount to praying that God be given the unique reverence that His holiness demands. That His Word be preached without corruption or without alteration. That our churches be led by faithful pastors who do not perform same-sex marriages because now that is the politically correct thing to do. That our churches be preserved from false prophets. That we would be kept from language that profanes the name of God. That our thought lives remain holy. That we cease from seeking honor for ourselves and seek instead that God’s name be glorified.

I loved what Augustine said about this, it is memorable: “And this is prayed for, not as if the name of God were not holy already, but that it may be held holy by men.” In other words, that God may so become known to them, that they shall reckon nothing more holy, and which they are more afraid of offending” (Augustine, Sermon on the Mount, 2.5.19). The glorious truth of this petition is that while we were once impotent to hallow His name, God has hallowed us through the sacrifice of the very one who taught us these words. Once His light shining into our darkness would have been terrifying, but thank God, for like Isaiah, He has touched our lips with a burning coal, and whispers through our pain, Your guilt is taken away, your sin atoned for.

I know what I am saying is not popular, probably not even with my audience. The politically correct thing is to laude a paraphrase of the Bible that has sold sixteen million copies. It is a cottage industry in the evangelical Christian world. But, I think these things ought to be said, and the reason they ought to be said is when we start to take God’s words and alter them not only in a slight way but in a dramatic way, we become our own pope. We start to pontificate to people what we think is right in an ever-changing culture. In other words, we want to keep up with the size and scope of the latest lobby group, and truth is, therefore, is in a constant state of flux. Politically correct or not, I feel that these things need to be said. I would be remiss with my platform, which is not a platform seeking popularity or to be politically correct, I would be remiss with this platform if I did not mention that, after reading an article like the one I just read.

I think it is homophobic in the extreme not to tell people the truth about the principles and precepts of Christ, about the teachings of the Bible in their unadulterated clarity. That is not the way to treat other people. It is not the way to love other people. It is not the way to be kind to people. My doctor has told me the truth about my condition. Had she not told me the truth about my condition, I would not be taking the chemotherapy that I am taking now. The drugs that I am taking now. She told me the truth because she wanted to cure.

A lot of people will ask the question, and I think gratuitously in some cases, “Well, do you not think homosexuals are going to heaven?” That is a misplaced question. It is asking the wrong question. It is not a matter of whether a homosexual is going to go to heaven, it is a matter of whether or not a homosexual or a heterosexual or any person on the planet wants to follow Light — The Light of creation, the Light of Christ, the Light of conscious — and as they do, they will learn more and more about the King of kings and Lord of lords, and the parameters He sets around our lives and learn that He does so not because He is a cosmic killjoy but He does so that our joy might be complete.

Imagine now the person in a lifestyle that robs them of joy, encountering the text in an adulterated fashion. You have to ask, “Does that help or hurt?” It is sort of like if my doctor gave me a therapy that was not really a therapy for my particular disease. Again, the point is this: as we learn more and more about the principles and precepts of Christ, of our Father who is in heaven, we follow them. But, it is hard to follow them, when there are now all kinds of people who are pontificating different messages. That is the problem when you have a cottage industry that proliferates this stuff and when you have just about anybody being able to hang up a shingle today and then — think about the temerity of this — taking the text of Scripture and altering it in light of Deuteronomy 4:2, “Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you” (NIV84). If that is not enough, Proverbs 30:6, “Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar” (NIV84). Or Revelation 22:18–19, “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book” (NIV84). These are sobering words.

Dr. Adolph Saphir says this about the Lord’s Prayer, or what I call the Prayer of Jesus:

It is a model prayer and, as such, commends itself to the most superficial glance — approves itself at once to the conscience of man. It is beautiful and symmetrical, like the most finished work of art. The words are plain and unadorned, yet majestic; and so transparent and appropriate that, once fixed in the memory, no other expressions ever mix themselves up with them; the thought of substituting other words never enters the mind. Grave and solemn are the petitions, yet the serenity and tranquil confidence, the peace and joy which they breathe, prove attractive to every heart.
The Prayer is short, that it may be quickly learned, easily remembered, and frequently used; but it contains all things pertaining to life and godliness. In its simplicity, it seems adapted purposely for the weakness of the inexperienced and ignorant, and yet none can say that he is familiar with the heights and depths which it reveals, and with the treasures of wisdom it contains. It is calm, and suited to the even tenor of our daily life, and yet in times of trouble and conflict the church has felt its value and power more especially, has discovered anew that it anticipates every difficulty and danger, that it solves every problem, and comforts the disciples of Christ in every tribulation of the world.
It is the beloved and revered friend of our childhood, and it grows with our growth, a never-failing counselor and companion amid all the changing scenes of life. And as in our lifetime we must confess ourselves, with Luther, to be only learning the high and deep lessons of those petitions, so it will take eternity to give them their answer.

It is the model prayer, and Jesus made every word count. Words of the prayer He taught us to pray are treasures of incalculable value lying deep beneath the cobalt waters of a vast ocean. Like the siren call of the mermaids, His words beckon those snorkeling with burnt backs in shallow tide pools to dawn scuba gear to descend into the prayer’s glorious depths there await unfathomed resources and riches that can scarcely be described to those living on the surface. While the prayer of Jesus is not a prayer mantra, it is a prayer manner, as such it has been eloquently described and used by the church throughout its history. This is precisely why it is for me a very serious matter to tamper with the Word of God.

Someone brought to my attention the fact that Christianity Today produced an article entitled, “Actually, Eugene Peterson Does Not Support Same-Sex Marriage,” with the subtitle, “In retraction, popular author affirms ‘a biblical view of everything’ — including marriage.” If he indeed retracts what he said, that would be wonderful. Retracts what he said twenty years ago in the Message. Retracts his tampering of the text in 1 Corinthians 6, starting with verse 9. Retracts his version of the model prayer or the elimination of “Hallowed be thy name.”

What Peterson said according to this article is that he was asked “a hypothetical question: if I were pastoring today and if a gay couple were Christians of good faith and if they asked me to perform their wedding ceremony — if, if, if. Pastors don’t have the luxury of indulging in hypotheticals….And to be honest, no is not a word I typically use.” The article notes that Peterson “went on to state, because of the biblical view of marriage, he would not marry a same-sex couple.” So, he said “yes” because “no” is not a word that he would typically use.

“When put on the spot by this particular interviewer,” says Peterson, “I said yes in the moment. But on further reflection and prayer, I would like to retract that. That’s not something I would do out of respect to the congregation, the larger church body, and the historic biblical Christian view and teaching on marriage. That said, I would still love such a couple as their pastor.” Good for him. “They’d be welcome at my table, along with everybody else.” I hope he does not mean the Communion table. This is a popular view now within evangelicalism, that regardless of a sin, a perpetual sin, a sin that is a clear violation of the principles and precepts of the King of kings and Lord of lords, you serve them Communion. “Gay or straight, there is no hate here” I think is the manta typically used for the occasion.

There is a further point to be made here. (I do not know if the article goes into this, I only scanned it; I do not think it does.) Peterson’s retraction, his ambiguity as it were about the words “yes” and “no” is not the salient point to begin with. What he said, he said within a context. In the Merritt interview, Peterson said, “I wouldn’t have said this 20 years ago, but now I know a lot of people who are gay and lesbian and they seem to have as good a spiritual life as I do. I think that kind of debate about lesbians and gays might be over.” On the one hand, he is saying he is affirming the orthodox position, the historic position of the church, on the other hand, he is saying that he thinks that kind of debate about lesbians and gays might be over. He goes on to say in context, “People who disapprove of it, they’ll probably just go to another church. So we’re in a transition and I think it’s a transition for the best, for the good. I don’t think it’s something that you can parade, but it’s not a right or wrong thing as far as I’m concerned.” It was not just the ambiguity of substituting a word that he typically does not use, the word “no,” with the word “yes”; there is a full-orbed explanation that precedes it.

Now, I do not want to cast dispersions on anyone when Peterson outright says in retraction that he now affirms the biblical view of everything. The problem here is this: what is the biblical view of everything that he is talking about? Because when I read his version of the Bible, it is not just the things that I have mentioned, it is many other things that he has said as well in terms of changing the biblical text to his particular version.

Think about John 14:28 where he says, “the Father is the goal and purpose of my life.” Where the Greek says, translated into common English, “the Father is greater than I.” Or, John 3:5, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit;” well, Peterson’s version says, “Unless a person submits to this original creation — the ‘wind-hovering-over-the-water’ creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life — it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom.” Or Matthew 5, I can go on and on about this, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect;” Peterson changes to “Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” These are substantive changes. I understand this is not a translation but a paraphrase; yet, you still have to stay within the range of meaning that is being elucidated by the Spirit of God, you cannot add your own suppositions to the biblical text, “use and abuse the earth” as he does in 1 Corinthians 6, and you cannot eliminate.

I think it is critical that this issue is raised. If Eugene Peterson is confused, I do not know. Certainly, I want to give everybody the benefit of the doubt, but this is not a small issue; this is an issue on the front burner of civilization.

— Hank Hanegraaff

This blog is adapted from the July 13, 2017, Bible Answer Man broadcast.

Apologetics

Agender Max and the Abolition of Humanity

A New Generation Overthrows Gender,” an article from NPR, says “Max, age 13, is agender — Max is neither male nor female. When referring to Max, you don’t use ‘he’ or ‘she;’ you must use ‘they.’” But, this is actually pontificated. It is not a suggestion. The dogmatic assertion is Max, thirteen, agender, is not male nor female.

This comes through people who are very knowledgeable as psychiatrists and psychologists. One psychologist quoted, Diane Ehrensaft, says, “We are seeing more and more kids saying, ‘You know what? What’s with this either/or business? What’s with this boy/girl, and you have to fit in one box or the other?’” All the paradigms of civilization, to be a bit redundant, seem to have been kicked to the curb.

“So, what does ‘agender’ mean to Max?” Well, Max is instructing us now. It is sort of like he is teaching those people who are Neanderthals a little bit about how human sexuality works. He says, “Because I don’t feel like I’m both guy and girl,” that means, of course, “that I’m neither.”

Just as an aside, there is also a little sidebar in the article about gender versus sexual orientation. The explanation is “Gender is the way you express yourself to the world, and your sexual orientation is who do you go to bed with.” The definitions are, well, I would say interesting at best.

So if, according to NPR, “same-sex marriage was yesterday’s battle to redefine gender roles and privileges, and transgender rights is today’s fight, American society may now be on the cusp of the most transformational shift yet — the end of categorizing people as either male or female.”

How do you translate all of that? You translate that by saying we have to as Christians come to the realization that the sexual revolution has posted a very decisive victory. Complementarity with respect to same-sex marriage is now, well, I mean you know it — if you have not been under a rock, you know it — it is considered pure unadulterated bigotry. Of course, the latest permutation is what we ae talking about: gender fluidity, or agender status, or fifty-seven different gender designations.

What we are witnessing in real time is what may rightly be called the abolition of what it means to be human. (By the way, the cover story in the Christian Research Journal is on just that: “The Abolition of Man Today.” It is one of the reasons that all last month I was so excited about putting that Journal into the hands of people. We have to look at what the abolition of humanity looks like today. Dr. Adam Pelser did that in eloquent fashion in the Journal. It is a must read.) Again, biblical anthropology has been cast aside, meaning that the Christian worldview has been jettisoned.

Now, why is this important? Why am I talking about this? I am talking about this because this is a social experiment that is going to end very, very badly and that for millions and millions of people. Which means this: the church continues to have a role. The church will be picking up the pieces of lives that have been devastated. The reason is now we are all kind of marching lockstep to the tune of a social experiment based on the size and scope of the latest lobby group. We are not sailing by a North Star; we are sailing by winds that are extraordinarily dangerous.

—Hank Hanegraaff

This blog adapted from the May 3, 2017, Bible Answer Man.

Apologetics

Sounding the Alarm for Transgender Regrets

CRI-Blog-Hanegraaff, Hank-Sound the AlarmI was reading an article before I came into the studio, and quite frankly got emotional. The article was written by Sophia Lee. She is writing for World Magazine. The title of the article is “Sounding the Alarm,” which is subtitled: “Many transgender persons regret what they did to their bodies and souls, and some are pleading that others not repeat their mistake.”

Sophia writes as follows:

Robert Wenman was four years into being a “full-time” transgender woman in Ontario, Canada, when a police officer asked him: “You got all your legal rights by now. Why don’t you just enjoy life as a woman?”

The question left the then-LGBT activist stuttering: Here he was, training a group of law enforcers on transgender rights, yet he couldn’t answer a basic question: Why? Why was he still campaigning, still fighting?

The Canadian healthcare system, after all, had paid for his sex reassignment surgery and 10-day postoperative stay. The court changed his birth records from Robert John to Rebecca Jean. He had a secure job at the Canada Post with full access to female facilities, and his family accepted him. Wenman was the textbook case of a successful transgender woman—so why, he wondered, did he feel he was constantly battling something?

For days, Wenman stewed on the question and thought about all the ways he had blamed “intolerant society” for “the destruction in our souls.” Yet the deeper he searched his heart, the clearer he reached a painful acknowledgment: He had said he was fighting for transgender rights, but he was really fighting an internal battle. “I’ve been trying to fix things on the outside without fixing the inside,” he said.

The idea that anything needs fixing inside a transgender person is anathema to big media. Time calls transgender rights “America’s next civil rights frontier.” The New York Times has, in its own words, “forcefully” advocated a transgender “crusade,” with former Times editor Andrew Rosenthal calling those who question the transgender movement “ignorant, stupid people.” This year, National Geographic joined the crusade, dedicating its first issue to the emerging “gender revolution.”

What’s missing from these stories, however, are the silent laments of individuals who now see their transgender experience as psychological and physical mutilation.

I cannot read the entirety of the story, but let me just progress a little bit with what Sophia Lee wrote. She talked about how

Many underwent irreversible surgery and now regret it….

When a psychiatrist told Robert Wenman he had gender dysphoria and advised him to transition into a woman, every loose piece of his life seemed to lock into place: “Oh yeah! Of course that’s it: I’m really a woman in a man’s body” ….

So in 1991 when a transgender expert told him to transition into a woman, Wenman thought that would solve all his problems…He…began hormone therapy, and he changed his legal documents…he flew out to England and he underwent sex reassignment surgery, and then returned home to Canada in euphoria.

But, there was a problem.

At 6 feet tall with big, manly hands and a masculine voice, Wenman struggled to “pass” as a woman and dreaded being in public. One stranger’s weird look would provoke days of anguish…and kids…gaped at him…

Outwardly, Wenman…giggled with fellow trans “sisters” at local bars, and preached that gender is a psychological construct.

But after seventeen years as living as a woman, Wenman, now sixty years old, has transitioned back to a man. His surgery, unfortunately, is irreparable. Now hearing the stories of husbands who come out as transgender then leave their families he grieves. He says, “I want to shake them and scream, ‘You don’t know what you’re doing!’”

All of this and more in an article “Sounding the Alarm” by Sophia Lee. I tell you it is a very courageous thing that she did to chronicle these stories in face of the preponderance of the narrative in a different direction. Time magazine, New York Times, National Geographic, and it goes on and on. This is an unending narrative. It is very, very shrill. If you say anything counter to this narrative, as demonstrated in the article, you are called “ignorant” and “stupid.” “Be quiet! We have this under control.” But, in the meantime there is a silent holocaust. We are sowing to the wind while reaping the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7). Tragic circumstance.

—Hank Hanegraaff

Apologetics

Discussing Homosexuality with Gentleness, Respect, and Clarity

cri-blog-dallas-joe-speaking-of-homosexuality

Give us if you will a state of the union. From your perspective, where are we?

We are on the deep end. When the culture shifts to a different viewpoint, those holding a traditional viewpoint are now required to explain and even defend their refusal to shift with the culture. Peter said, “Always be prepared to give an answer” (1 Peter 3:15, NIV), and that word “answer” to my thinking is a key word in this discussion. We are making our apologia our defense.

That is what the book Speaking of Homosexuality: Discussing the Issues with Kindness & Clarity is about because more than ever, the church is required to make a defense for our claim that God indeed defined what He created as existing between a man and a woman exclusively. Because we believe that marriage has a specific definition, which our culture has now varied from, we’re called on to defend that position.

Here’s where it gets dicey, though. We are being called on to defend something we know but largely have not examined because we never thought we would have to defend it. It seems so self-evident. Our very anatomy testifies to the normalness of a heterosexual union and the abnormalness of a male mating with a male or a female with a female. What we seem to know intuitively and by observation we are still being challenged to defend. Sometimes I think defending the obvious can be tough because the thing is so self-evident we wonder why we have to defend it, and for that reason I think many people haven’t bothered to think it through.

Let’s start with your own life story. You were a gay-activist., yourself?

I was. I was like many people. I realized early in life that I was attracted to the same sex. I acted on those attractions at a young age, and then heard the Gospel and responded. I was born again in 1971 under the ministry of Pastor Chuck Smith at Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California, during what we often call the Jesus Movement. I served the Lord very fervently for years, while silently wrestling with homosexual temptations.

I reached a point of giving myself permission when I was in my early 20s to give into those temptations, and then I had a dilemma. I did not want to abandon Christianity. I also didn’t want to abandon homosexual practices, and I heard about a church where I would be given permission, sanction if you will, to express both parts of myself—my spiritual life and my homosexuality. I thought for years, when I say thought, I debated on college campuses and I promoted the idea that homosexuality and Christianity were compatible until 1984, when the conviction of the Holy Spirit combined with the knowledge that I had with sound teaching in my earlier years just became too much for me, and I had to admit I had been kidding myself.

You say that you knew what you believed, but at first you didn’t know how to state it. Then you knew how to state it, but you didn’t know how to defend it. And then you came to the place where you knew how to defend it, but you didn’t do it with the right attitude. I think a lot of people can relate.

I think so. Yes. So often we know what we believe, but we’ve never known how to explain it. Often times, as I point out in the introduction to my book, when I first tried to explain my beliefs, I sputtered through it because the subject can be so emotional that when you try to finesse it too much you make a fool out of yourself. I’ll give you a good example; it’s the one I gave in the introduction to the book. When I repented of homosexuality in January of 1984, I needed to tell my gay friends about the decision I had made. I sat down with some of them and I started trying to explain. Now I made one of many mistakes that I have made over the years. The first one I made was trying so hard to put it nicely that I got too vague, too hypersensitive, and I lost all verity. I said vague things like, “I’ve had kind of a spiritual awakening” and “I’m not sure that this is right anymore” and “I’m seeking God’s will;” rather than simply saying, “I repented of homosexuality because I have come to believe it is a sin.”

What I have found, when people sense you are trying too hard to finesse your words, you come across as phony, you come across as apologetic and not really convinced of what you’re saying. I bring this up because I think many believers today are so concerned about not giving offense, that they are actually dancing pirouettes, when they should be speaking plainly, always respectfully, and with gentleness, but with clarity. I find many people who are either non-Christian or pro-gay appreciate it much more when we are honest and direct and respectful with them; rather than trying to finesse our words so much that we wind up saying virtually nothing.

—Joe Dallas

This blog adapted from the October 3, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast.

Apologetics

Life in a Brave New Gender Fluid World

cri-blog-hanegraaff-hank-gender-fluiditySeptember 27, 2016

I typically read a local newspaper and USA Today, but this morning they weren’t delivered. So I picked up a copy of the Wall Street Journal and read it from cover to cover. In the health and wellness section, there is a very interesting article titled “With Insurers on Board, More Hospitals Offer Transgender Surgery.”

The article tells the story of Stacey Parsons, a 45-year old man, at least biologically, who “had genital surgery in August at Cleveland Clinic.” Stacey grew up as Scott Orms, a self-described gay man but still unhappy with his choice of sexual orientation. Then he saw a documentary on television, and it changed his life forever. As the result of what he saw on television, Scott decided to transition to Stacey. He began hormone therapy, had surgery to remove his testicles, began breast augmentation, and then began to date Mike Parsons. They were subsequently married in 2012.

Well, thereafter, as the article continues, the Cleveland Clinic performed a vaginoplasty, creating a vagina by using parts of his penis. Next came feminization surgeries and finally a wonderful new life as a female named Stacey.

“To change somebody’s life in a few hours is really rewarding,” says Rachel Bluebond-Langner, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. I guess we can thank God for the new openness to transgenderism and for Obamacare that now makes it all possible for as little as $50,000 to $125,000. If you want that kind of surgery, it’s now available.

The Wall Street Journal does mention,

Research on the surgeries is mixed. Critics point to a 2011 study published in the online journal PLOS One by researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden that followed more than 300 transgender people after surgery and found they had a higher rate of psychiatric care, suicide and mortality than a control group. But a number of other studies have shown that transgender people undergoing various surgeries report greater quality of life and satisfaction years later. Doctors say with more academic institutions tracking the procedures, higher quality studies in the future should produce more evidence-based outcomes.

So they admit there is at least the possibility that you might want to kill yourself, but that this is not conclusive.

This is a new world in which we live. A world in which biology is no longer associated with your gender; rather, I should say, is no longer associated with your biology, it’s associated with whatever feeling you happen to have. In New York City it’s illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender identity. The New York City Commission on Human Rights is committed to “ensuring that transgender and gender nonconforming New Yorkers are treated with dignity, respect” and part of that means that an individual has the right, I’m reading right from their Gender Identity Card statement, “use the locker room most consistent with their gender identity and/or expression without being required to show ‘proof’ of gender.” “Courtesy 101,” according to the New York City Commission on Human Rights, “If you don’t know what pronouns to use, ask. Be polite and respectful; if you use the wrong pronoun, apologize and move on…Respect the terminology a transgender person uses to describe their identity.” It could be “Bi-Gendered,” or “Crossdresser.” It could be “Drag King” or “Drag Queen.” So, if the person is a “Drag Queen,” you want to make sure that you say, “Drag Queen.” If it is “Bi-Gender,” you want to make sure you say, “Bi-Gender.” Other identities include: “Butch,” “Two-Spirit,” “Third Sex,” “Gender Fluid,” in other words you switch back and forth from one gender to another depending on the time of the month or day of the week, “Gender Gifted,” “Gender Blender,” and many others. I think there are some fifty-six or so genders now.

We live in an age of gender fluidity and according to the New York City Commission on Human Rights, “If you believe you have been discriminated against,” well there is something like a 911 number to call, instead of 911 it is 311. It’s the New York City Commission on Human Rights, you call them. And you say you have been discriminated against. If you are a man, who feels that you are a woman, and you go to the woman’s locker room, you start to shower there, and someone says, “What are you doing here?” and discriminates against you, you have a hotline number to call.

It is a brave new world, and it is not a joke. Quite frankly, sometimes when you read these things, you this cannot be serious. It is in the Wall-Street Journal in the Health and Wellness section, it has to be a joke. But, it is not a joke. It is dead serious. The culture has changed dramatically. It has changed with vast rapidity, such that today, again as I mentioned earlier on, biology no longer determines your gender, your gender is determined by how you feel at any given moment.

—Hank Hanegraaff

Blog adapted from the September 27, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast.

Apologetics

Politicians Reflecting a Devolved Culture

cri-blog-hanegraaff-hank-politicians

“If anyone wonders what the costs of discrimination are, just ask the people and businesses of North Carolina. Look at what’s happening with the NCAA and the ACC. This is where bigotry leads and we can’t afford it, not here or anywhere else in America” —Hillary Clinton | Campaign speech, Greensboro, North Carolina, September 15, 2016

“My full, complete, unconditional support for marriage equality is at odds with the current doctrine of the church I still attend. But I think that’s going to change too. I think that’s going to change too. And I think it’s going to change because my church also teaches me about a creator in the first chapter of Genesis, who surveyed the entire world including mankind and said, ‘It is very good,’ ‘It is very good.’ Pope Francis famously said, ‘Who am I to judge?’ And to that I want to add: Who am I to challenge God for the beautiful diversity of the human family? I think we’re supposed to celebrate it, not challenge it” —Tim Kain | Human Rights Campaign dinner speech, Washington, DC, September 10, 2016


Hillary Clinton was in North Carolina. North Carolina, of course, is one of the battleground states. She had a huge rally and made a big issue out of gender fluidity.

What was interesting, as you listen to Clinton, was that she left no room or place for anyone who wants to thoughtfully consider whether or not gender is determined by biology as opposed to being determined by feelings. No room whatsoever for what the civilized world has always believed prior to her recent dogmatism. If you have the temerity—the reckless boldness to think—that gender might be determined by biology, she has a name for you and its certainly not pleasant. She renders you a bigot. All those who hold to the opposite position are guilty—she stamped it—they are guilty of bigotry. Pure and simple.

If you, for example, you think that perhaps, you are just considering this, perhaps a person with male genitalia should not shower in a public facility with females, well then you rightly belong in her infamous basket of deplorables. You can’t even think about this anymore. It’s a settled issue. You don’t hold her point of view, you are in the basket. You are deplorable. Perhaps even irredeemable.

It is truly astonishing unspeakably radical just a short while ago is now considered to be beyond debate. Any opposition to Hillary Clinton’s point of view is now rank bigotry.

On top of all of that you have Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kain, just a few days ago, addressing America’s largest pro-gay lobby group, and pontificating that the Bible is in full support of same sex marriage. His slight of mind in this regard is simply breathtaking. Says Kain, the “creator in the first chapter of Genesis…surveys the entire world including mankind and said ‘It is very good’” “Who am I to judge,” says Tim Kain, “Who am I to challenge God for the beautiful diversity of the human family? I think we’re supposed to celebrate it, not challenge it.”

Now here again it is kind of interesting because Kain has changed his point of view ant that quite recently (See “Kain cites Genesis 1…”). I suppose if you have not followed along with Tim Kain, if you are not lockstep with him now, you belong in Hillary’s basket of deplorables as well.

If what Tim Kain believes to be true is true, then the Bible is internally incoherent. When God created male and female to be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 1:28; 9:1,7), He made a mistake because this self-evidently cannot happen through same-sex unions. Not only that but also God’s affirmation of creation (Gen. 1:31), contra Tim Kain, occurred prior to the fall (Gen. 3). If it applies, as Kain supposes, to that which happened post fall, or after the fall, then God not only affirms homosexuality but He would be affirming everything else—murder, incest, bestiality, adultery, and everything that makes a fallen world desperate for redemption.

When you think about this a little further, here you have a person who potentially could be the second most powerful man in the entirety of the free world who misses the basic message of Scripture. I am not talking about minutia or complex matters. I am talking about the basic message of Scripture. Worst still, he purposefully seeks to mislead a biblically illiterate nation as to what the grand metanarrative of Scripture actually is! We are not just talking about any book here; we are talking about Tim Kain missing the most basic message of the most significant book in the history of humanity. The Bible, of course, has been read by more people, it has been translated in more languages, it has been sold in more copies than any book in the history of humanity, in the history of the world. In fact, it is the very book by which Western Civilization has determined its ethos, its morays, its civil liberties, its art, its language, its science, its jurisprudence, and he can’t understand its basic message or purposefully misleads people.

This is an epic moment in human history. I suppose to some degree it is fair to say that people like Tim Kain simply reflect the culture. The culture has devolved; therefore, now we get people running for the highest office in the land that resort to twisting the biblical text, misunderstanding the biblical text, or even worst, calling those that disagree with their vaunted positions “bigots.”

Hillary Clinton was very, very clear. You keep this up, you keep thinking that biology determines gender—which is what the free world has always thought, in fact what the world has always thought period, even pagans thought that—but if you believe that now, we are going to see that you are punished. These politicians, of course, are pointing out that North Carolina has lost millions and millions and millions and millions of dollars as the result of the NBA, which has put down its iron boot, and now the ACC and other groups pulling their tournaments from North Carolina. She says you keep this up, you are going to pay the economic price. If you do not want to pay the economic price, you do not think, that is not permitted, you follow me lockstep or else.

—Hank Hanegraaff

For further related study, please see the following:

Cultural Free-Fall (Hank Hanegraaff)

The Transsexual Dilemma: A Dialogue about the Ethics of Sex Change (Joe Dallas)

This blog adapted from the monologue on the September 16, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast.

Apologetics

Is the Current Transgender Bathroom Bills Debate a Primary Issue?

Dallas, Joe-TransgenderBathroomPrimarySecondary

Hank Hanegraaff: This is a special edition of the Bible Answer Man broadcast. My special guest is Joe Dallas. We’re going to be talking about a cover story in the Christian Research Journal titled “Of Bathroom Bills and Basic Beliefs,” transgenderism, homosexuality, and things related. I want to start out by talking about an the April 21, 2016 article from USA Today entitled “NBA Should Move All-Star Game from North Carolina Now” by Nancy Armour.

Armour states,

NBA commissioner Adam Silver reiterated Thursday that the All-Star Game won’t be played in Charlotte next February if hatred, bigotry and discrimination continue to be the law of the land in North Carolina…

…North Carolina lawmakers have shown no signs of budging from their hateful stance.

It is also pointed out by Armour that,

Bruce Springsteen, Boston and Pearl Jam have all canceled concerts in North Carolina in protest of the law. PayPal dropped plans for a global operations center in Charlotte, costing the state 400 new jobs.

If those public shamings weren’t enough to prompt a change of heart, no amount of “pretty pleases” by Silver and the NBA will, either.

In Armour’s opinion,

The best way to deal with bullies – there’s no other way to describe North Carolina’s small-minded lawmakers—is to stand up to them. With as popular as basketball is in North Carolina, home to both Steph Curry and Michael Jordan, the NBA pulling the All-Star Game would be the strongest statement yet that intolerance has no place in today’s world.

Armour’s bottom line is this: “North Carolina’s discriminatory law [HB2] is both hurtful and hateful.”

Think of all those words she used in one article: “hateful,” “hurtful,” “bigotry,” “discrimination,” “bullies,” “small minded lawmakers,” and “intolerance.” The rhetoric has ratcheted up on this subject, and I can tell you that there is not a day that has gone by in the last month wherein I did not read two or three front page news articles on this subject. All of that led me to ask Joe Dallas to write a cover story for the current edition of the Christian Research Journal, which is entitled “Of Bathroom Bills and Basic Beliefs.”

Joe Dallas has been on the Bible Answer Man broadcast many times. He is the Program Director of Genesis Counseling in Tustin, California. It’s a Christian counseling service to men dealing with sexual addiction, homosexuality, and other sexual relational problems. He is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He’s author of some incredible books on human sexuality, including A Strong Delusion and the forthcoming Speaking of Homosexuality. Along with “Of Bathroom Bills and Basic Beliefs,” he also contributed to the same issue of the Journal another article that just fantastic: “Is Gay Christian an Acceptable Identity?” This is must reading for every Christian on the planet. As always Joe, it’s great to have you on the broadcast.

Joe Dallas: Hey, Good being here, Hank.

Hank: I want to start out with a very simple question. Is the issue at hand, the issue which I tried to set forth in the opening of the broadcast; is this a primary issue or a secondary issue?

Joe: That’s an important question because, Hank, if it is a secondary issue, why are we bothering?

I think that if we cannot be persuaded to change our position, as believers, the next tactic will get us to see that position as a secondary issue, which we don’t really need to stand firm upon. We would not break fellowship over say when we may or may not believe the Rapture of the church is going to happen, or over which gifts of the Spirit are available today. We would not call those primary issues.

I would argue that this is a primary issue for a number of reasons, the first being the very account of creation. Hank, we can’t get around this simple fact. To be human is to be sexual. To be sexual is to be male or female. To be male or female is to have an assigned sex given to us with our Creator’s foreknowledge. Those are foundational truths, when we try to alter them, we create madness, and candidly, just listening to you now describing the current scene, what other word could you use other than “madness”?

Hank: Joe, I kind of set this up at the opening of the show, but give us some kind of idea of what you’re driving at, what the subject matter is that we are underscoring in the broadcast, when you talk about “Bathroom Bills and Basic Beliefs.”

Joe: Yes. We’re taking about a couple of things simultaneously. We’re talking about transgenderism, Hank, which is a broad common term covering primarily the more technical term, transsexual. A transsexual is an individual we feels that he or she was born with the wrong body and is in fact a member of the opposite sex. A transsexual male will say, “I know I have the body parts of a male, but all my life, I have felt I am a woman.” That is a condition commonly called gender dysphoria. When a transsexual realizes he or she has that condition a decision has to be made. Either I am going to treat this condition as though it is a problem, which I need to manage and deal with, or I’m going to give into to it, and say the problem is my body not the condition.

Now, traditionally, Hank, we have believed that if someone believes they are in the wrong body the problem is their beliefs. Only recently have we come to begin believing as a culture that the problem is actually the body, and not the beliefs. There’s the rub, because as more people come forward and say “I demand the right to determine for myself what my sex is regardless of what my anatomy testifies,” there is concurrent with that a demand that the culture come into agreement with that assessment. So, more and more people who are saying, “I am female,” even though they have male parts, are also demanding that we refer to them as female and that reverence needs to extend it self even to which bathroom and shower facilities they use.

That is the crux of the controversy we’re facing, really on a national level, but, as you have said, specifically now in North Carolina. However, as you know Hank, President Barack Obama has sent out a letter from a federal position basically saying that schools will need to comply with Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination, and he is interpreting sex discrimination as discrimination against students who identify as transgender. What we are seeing a resistance to is the federal based move to force women and girls to allow males, anatomical males, into their showers or their bathroom facilities or vice versa, simply based on the male saying “I am a female, and that’s all I need to say.”

Hank: You point this out in the article, but there are people who are in very significant positions in our culture, like Governor Nicky Haley (South Carolina) and Charles Krauthammer (Fox News) who both contented that HB2 represents a fabricated problem?

Joe: Well, I wish they were right. I wish that I was overreacting. I wish that the millions of us who are concerned about this were overreacting. But, Hank, the problem has already shown itself, it’s not fabricated, it’s now historical. There are already a number of cases—which I’ve cited in the article we’re talking about, in this special edition of the Journal—cases which men have seized on this new opportunity to enter into women’s restrooms and changing rooms, and they are not transsexual men, they are simply males, because you really do not—in order to take advantage of these new laws—you don’t have to really be transsexual, all you have to do is say, “I am a woman,” and that gives you access into the women’s facility.

So, there are two reasons we’re concerned about this: One is the very real problem of sexual predators. We know they exist. We know that to some extent they will always prey on victims, but this gives them a “green light” like they never had before.

The second problem is the violation of a girl. The violation she will feel having to share toilet facilities or shower facilities with an anatomical male, whether that male is in any way physically violating her or not, she will feel violated by his presence because of what we would call “natural modesty.” We’re trying to rip natural modesty away from women and force them to accept communal showing and toilet use with anatomical males all for the sake of catering to a very minuscule percentage of the population which is making this demand.

For further related study, please see the following equip.org resources:

The Transsexual Dilemma: A Dialogue about the Ethics of Sex Change (Joe Dallas)

How Do Biblical Ethics Apply to Hermaphrodites? (Hank Hanegraaff)

(Blog adapted from the June 8, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast.)

Apologetics, In the News

About Barack Obama’s Bathroom Edict

Hanegraaff, Hank-Barack Obama’s Bathroom Edict

May 17, 2016

I was thinking today of President Barack Obama’s bathroom edict. Do you remember John F. Kennedy envisioned a man on the moon? Obama envisions a man in a woman’s bathroom.

Think about the paradoxes, in our crumbling post-Christian culture, we’re steeped in a naturalistic worldview; therefore, on one hand, children are told that human beings are mere molecules in motion. In other words, there is no room for a subjective first person point of view. Yet, in an ironic twist, children are now to walk lockstep in the belief that they are not determined gender wise by objective biology but by an individual first person subjective conscious feeling regarding gender. Think about it? It is a mind warp.

Today I was reading an article by David French titled “President Obama’s Transgender Proclamation is Far Broader and More Dangerous than You Think.” He’s absolutely right. French points out that on May 9th Vanita Gupta , head of the Civil Rights Division of Justice, said,

Here are the Facts. Transgender men are men—they live, work, and study as men. Transgender women are women—they live, work and study as women.

In other words, according to the Department of Justice, it is a simple fact that a man can have a menstrual cycle, and a woman can have a penis, and that men can get pregnant.

Then 3 days ago, May 13 the administration threatened

Every single public school in America with the loss of federal funds unless it adopts the administration’s point of view that gender is defined not by biology but instead by personal preference.

French makes a number of points. First of which is that

Teaching biology and human physiology will be hate speech unless it’s modified to conform to the new transgender “facts.” Teachers will have to take great pains to note that chromosomes, reproductive organs, hormonal systems, and any other physical marker of sex is irrelevant to this thing called “gender,” which, “factually,” is a mere state of mind.

At least according to this narrative! Secondly,

Any statements of dissent — from teachers or students — will be treated as both “anti-science” and “discriminatory.”

In other words, it’s against science and it’s discrimination.

The argument that a “girl” with a penis remains a boy will be treated exactly the same as an argument that blacks are inferior to whites or Arabs inferior to Jews.

Third point is,

Public schools will now be even further opposed, doctrinally and legally, to orthodox Christianity.

Children are going to be taught, not only that their churches are factually wrong in their assessment and gender but they’re actually bigoted and hateful, kind of like White Supremacist.

Because the Administration’s edict is tied to funding not even civil disobedience can block the enforcement.

Unless schools can declare their full and complete independence from federal funding, they will continue to face escalating pressure from the federal government to use their classrooms to transform American culture and values.

Think about a remark on May 9th of Attorney General Loretta Lynch. She

Very deliberately compared the DOJ’s aggressive actions to guarantee male access to women’s restrooms (and vice versa) to the fight against Jim Crow. These words were an unmistakable declaration of political war against people of orthodox faith.

When she uttered those words she didn’t just grotesquely exaggerate the plight of the transgender, she minimized the reality the memory of past discrimination.

No one understands this subject in my view as well as Joe Dallas, who has an incredible article, “The Transsexual Dilemma” He points out

Traditionally, if a man felt like a woman yet inhabited a male body, his feelings, not his body, were viewed as the problem. They were considered something to be resisted, modified if possible, and contrary to what was. Currently, what one is is being determined by what one feels—an ominous trend when one considers its implications. It is, in essence, an attempt to define reality by desire, knowledge by intuition.

Then Joe talks about a counseling session with a person named Kim.

“I know I’m a man because I feel like one!” Kim screamed at me as our session continued, leaving me stunned that an intelligent, educated woman subordinated a verifiable truth—her born, inalterable state—to subjective (though strongly held) perceptions.

The only way in which we ultimately change culture is by changing the hearts of people. So many people look at the Presidential race that we have going on right now and I heard one key evangelical voice say that now we have a choice of the lesser of evils and therefore we shouldn’t vote in this election. We should abstain from voting. The truth of the matter is the Presidential candidates reflect our culture. That’s the reality. They always will. We should still be involved in voting because our vote is going to have enormous implications for the years that lie before us as yet.

We have to ultimately recognize our responsibility as Christians to be able to give cogent, clear, concise, and compelling answers to the questions that the culture is asking. We need to learn how to reach rather than repel.

When Christians do not understand how to think clearly about these issues they lose by default. The bathroom edict narrative, as I pointed out, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The minute you start thinking about it you see the ironic twist. You see the self-stultifying statements. The problem is the narrative is repeated over and over with such dogmatism that unless you can respond with gentleness and with respect but clearly the thought is that there is no cogent response on the other side of the ledger.

So we as Christians must learn discernment skills and must take seriously our responsibility to train our children in such a way that they themselves can think. They need to learn discernment skills.

—Hank Hanegraaff

(Adapted from the 5/17/2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast)