Know Your Bible

VOL. 14                                                                                                                         June 21, 2015                                                                                                                            NO. 15




It’s not always easy to warn the unruly (1 Thes. 5:14), restore one overtaken in a trespass (Gal. 6:1-2), stop the mouths of the insubordinate (Titus 1:10-11), or withdraw from the disorderly (2 Thes. 3:6, 14). In a similar fashion, it is a real challenge to contend for the faith and preach the word in a way that convinces, rebukes, and exhorts, both in season and out of season (Jude 1:3; 2 Tim. 4:2). To proclaim the whole counsel of God requires both courage and a considerable amount of judgment (Acts 20:27). In fact, the difficulties involved in these things probably make it impossible for anyone to perform them all perfectly on a consistent basis, but since they are commanded aren’t we expected to try our best to do them and do them well? 

If we are committed to the two greatest commandments we will appreciate the necessity of warnings, discipline, sound teaching, etc., yet we sometimes fall short in these areas. Why? Why do we sometimes not preach things that need to be preached? Why do we sometimes seek to delay having to deal with erring Christians? Why is church discipline much rarer than disorderly behavior? Various answers could be given, but one key factor may be the things we come to expect when we attempt to deal with a difficult situation or address a challenging topic. 

“Bro. White said you talked to him the other day about his attendance and he thought you were rude. I know our attendance is important, but you know he’s had a lot of family problems to deal with lately and I’m not sure this was a good time to talk to him.” 

“Why are you elders in such a rush to withdraw from Sis. Black? After all, a few years ago Sis. Green was in a similar situation and you showed a lot more patience with her.” 

“Don’t get us wrong, we don’t object to lessons on modest dress—we just don’t draw the modesty lines where Bro. Blue draws them.” 

While all of these can be legitimate objections or concerns and everyone involved should welcome suggestions and constructive criticism, too often they do not reflect a desire to see rebuke, restoration, discipline, preaching, etc. done better; instead, they reflect a desire for generic preaching with little application, no real discipline, and doing very little, if anything, to deal with sin within the church. It may be that this kind of thinking originated out of the concerns some had with the genuine mistakes they observed in others, for it is a reality that through the years some preachers have become lawmakers instead of preaching God’s law and few elders have always been consistent in their dealings with the disorderly. Add to this the fact that among those dealing with the unruly, most would admit that there have been times when they failed to maintain the spirit of gentleness. Yes, all of this has been done improperly at times, but we must have the spiritual maturity to realize that abuse does not justify our rejection of things God has commanded His people to do. 

If you have suggestions for how these things can be done better, please share them with those involved in both seeking to prevent sin and restore the erring, for we want to do them in the best way possible. But if you have been critical because you don’t believe these things should be done, please go back and read again the passages listed in the first paragraph. And finally, if you have been attempting to heed the previously mentioned instructions about how to deal with sin among God’s people, then do not grow weary while doing good. There may be naysayers, but it is expected of us by our Lord and desperately needed by our brothers and sisters.

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matt. 5:14-16 

I want to challenge us all, myself included, to make a special effort today to use our words as shining lights. Let’s make today’s speech joyful, humble, kind, honest, and evangelistic. Surely all can do this for one day! And when we awaken tomorrow, why can’t we do it again for that one day? And then the next day.... Let’s use our words in such a way that will cause our light to shine in all we say. 


—John R. Gibson





Popular sentiment notwithstanding, transgenderism is repugnant to God. The Almighty did not intend fluidity between the genders when He created humanity – quite the opposite, in fact. “In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God.  He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created” (Genesis 5:1-2). Mankind is composed of two very distinct categories, male and female, and what each is, is what God made, not what the individual chose.

Jesus taught that “you cannot make one hair white or black” (Matthew 5:36). Although dye may be used, even something as simple as hair color cannot be permanently altered. The effects are merely temporary. Gender cannot be changed either. A man may mutilate his genitals and replace them with what approximates a woman’s in appearance, but he will never possess a fertile womb. He may have silicone or saline injected to form breasts, but he will never lactate and nourish a child thereby. Hormone treatments may confuse his body, but without them, things will revert to normal. Cosmetic augmentations can never turn a man into a woman, or a woman into a man. It is impossible.

There are eunuchs”, the Master acknowledged (Matthew 19:12). A eunuch, by definition, is an emasculated man. The Lord explained, “there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb”, meaning they suffered birth defects. “There are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men”, meaning they underwent castration to serve without sexual temptation, usually as a royal official (cf. Esther 1:10-12; Daniel 1:3-18). “There are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake”, meaning they have forfeited sexual pleasure in order to please God; in some cases this celibacy is required to abstain from sin (Matthew 19:9), and in others it is chosen as a matter of personal devotion (1 Corinthians 7:7-9, 32-33). Jesus provided three reasons one might become a eunuch: birth defect, royal service, or spiritual devotion; not one of these reasons even remotely resembles the modern notion of altering gender identity. In fact, the most famous eunuch in Scripture is described as “a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury” (Acts 8:27). Although he was a eunuch, the Ethiopian treasurer remained a man. His manhood was not severed to become something other than a man.

Masculinity should be embraced by men, not scorned. On his deathbed, King David admonished his son Solomon, the heir to his throne, “Prove yourself a man” (2 Kings 2:2). To provide Israel with proper leadership, God said, “I sought for a man” (Ezekiel 22:30). There are different assignments for men than there are for women in the home (Ephesians 5:22-33) and in the church (1 Corinthians 14:34-35). Men must look like men, not women, and women must look women, not men (1 Cor. 11:14-15; Deut. 22:5).

Rhetorically, Jesus asked, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female …?” (Matthew 19:4). Gender is God’s doing and none should strive against God to countermand His creative work. “But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God?  Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ Does not the potter have power over the clay…?” (Romans 9:20-21).

Those who are confused need to learn, from Scripture, and from worthy examples in life, how to be the men God intends them to be. They should not surrender their male identities and pose as women. The public should certainly not encourage nor applaud such despicable antics. These souls need good, godly counsel from those who want to honor the Master and help His creatures. They certainly don’t need their perverse inclinations enabled.

—Bryan Matthew Dockens



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