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What's All The Fuss Over Pronouns?

The truth is, it's more than a fuss. Just last month I met with a ministry for which I've helped raise money which serves the poor. All of a sudden the pronouns he/him started showing up under the name of a straight, senior staff member married to a person of the opposite sex, and a committed follower of Jesus. A few donors noticed it before I did and called me to voice their concern.

By the way these donors have been very generous donors to The Center For Faith, Sexuality, & Gender which I co-founded with Preston Sprinkle. So they are all for promoting kindness and understanding to LGBTQ people and having this ministry serve them without a reservation. However they viewed the increasing use of pronouns she/her/them/us, etc, a nod to some vocal members of the transgender and liberal straight community who appear to be wanting to blur the male/female distinction that the Bible clearly does not.

"In the beginning he made them male and female."

So I called that ministry to ask them "Why the pronoun use?"

"Clare, we serve everyone regardless of their race, marriage status, or sexual orientation and we want to send out a subtle message that we do." "Great." I said. "If that's your goal I'd suggest just coming right out and saying that." I proposed adding on their website the following statement: "We serve everyone. All races, all sexes, all religion, all sexual orientations. All."

"Then drop the pronoun use because with my proposed statement, or something like it you've made it very clear to everyone that you serve everyone." So far there's no indication they will take my suggestion. I'm not hopeful.

Here's the problem as I see it. Christians are in a culture war to re-define sex and gender, and pronoun use is "the camel sticking his nose in the tent." It's an attempt to slowly acclimate us to the lie that there is no longer male, or female. Having said that, if I were trying to introduce a transgender man to Jesus, I'd probably observe what has been described as "pronoun hospitality," and use whatever pronoun that person asked me to use out of simple courtesy. Their eternal destiny is far more important than a pronoun and without the Holy Spirit giving them understanding, why would they understand, or obey God?

But if a person claims to be a Christian and wants you to use a pronoun different than their obvious biological sex, please don't begin arguing with them. I begin by asking them "why?" "Please help me understand." Then hear them out. Just like it's not a sin for a Christian who is gay to call themselves a "gay Christian", it can send an indentity message that my sexuality is on a par with my love for Jesus. Maybe they don't mean that, but it could easily be misunderstood.

Here's the message you want to get across: Christians are not defined by their sexuality. Whether they mean it or not, using a pronoun other than their biological sex is sending out a message that perhaps they are. It may be cool and trendy but here's the question. "Is that really how you want to identify yourself as a true follower of Jesus, by your sexuality, or your aligence to Jesus?"

So while I'd never go to war over pronouns, neither should we be silent. Make it clear what you believe and why, thoughtfully and respectfully.

"Always be prepared to make a defensive to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is within you; yet do it with gentleness and respect." I Peter 3:15

My greatest fear for the future and the Church is this; If Christian boys are growing uncertain if they are male, or female, why bother learning to be a godly man, or what a godly husband/father is? The same goes for girls.

One final word. I've met with transgender Christians, males older than me who've lived all their lives confused by a mental view of themselves opposite their biological sex. This is a very real, and scary condition for some people. They need our love and compassion. That's completely different than a 13 year old girl who goes to a Lady Gaga concert and isn't sure anymore if she's really a girl. And both of these are very different from straight liberals, and loud and proud trans people who are trying to do away with what God created and said was good.

Don't go to war over pronouns. But don't roll over on their use either!

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