“As Will Smith says in the movie Hitch to Kevin James: ‘Identity a very fluid concept.”
Whoever thought Hitch would give us good Christian advice?
“Gender identity’ is the defined as the sex that someone perceives them self as being, regardless of what their physical traits may display. Today there is a movement to say a lot of different things about gender identity. Some say they were born in the wrong body, and that they identify as their opposite gender. But what do we actually know about all this?
Owen Strachan helps us understand the sensitive issue.
“We are talking about identity as if it is a very fixed reality as human beings. But studies show, and scripture clearly states, that when we’re talking about identity we’re dealing with something that can really change over the course of a lifetime, even over the course of a childhood.”
“What we are seeing in headlines all around us is stories like a girl who might think they’re trapped in a boy’s body at age 10. That child may persist in that feeling over time but according to medical professionals who have no stake in the kind of theological debate we do, there’s a very good chance that that child actually will age out of those feelings.”
“So when we’re talking about gay identity, we have to know that these matters are not nearly as fixed as culture says they are.”
If a 7th grade girl told you they think they’re actually a boy, how would you react? How should you react? It may be comforting to know that this is part of the confusion of growing up in 2018. At a certain point most young people will change their opinions as they figure out what they actually feel. After all, Strachan says, the ability to change is fundamentally what we believe in.
“People can really change in all sorts of ways. Fundamentally, a Christian is somebody who believes absolutely in the power of change because our nature actually changes when we come to Christ.”
“It’s not simply that we start believing a few more principles, or tack a few more on to those we’ve always held. It’s that we actually get a new nature through Christ and through the grace of God.”
“So there’s a lot at stake here. There’s a lot of different places to go and we have to handle identity very carefully. But we have to define it Biblically before we go anywhere else.”
We’re not saying just wait it out, but growing up and figuring out who you are is incredibly confusing. Now that culture is opening up the possibility of ‘being the wrong gender,’ kids are more confused than ever. Walk with them, and help them understand that they were made in the image of God, and for now that is the only identity they need worry about.
Owen Strachan is the President of the Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood. He is also Assistant Professor of Christian Theology and Church History at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Boyce College and is the Director of the Carl F. H. Henry Institute for Evangelical Engagement at SBTS. He is married to Bethany, daughter of theologian Bruce Ware, and is the father of three children.Owen Strachan on Gender Identity