Easy Reference: Click on the name below to be taken directly to their comments regarding Pastor Keenan's gender post.
Introduction by Keenan Roberts, Senior Pastor, New Destiny Christian Center, Thornton, CO.
Romans 1:16: For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God unto the salvation of everyone who believes...
On February 26, 2019, I created a post on our church’s Facebook page that has been Shared over 45,000 times. A screenshot of that post is pictured above. It speaks of numerous things, including God’s omnipotence and authority as Creator, even specifically as it relates to humanity. Genesis 5:2 tells us that “male and female he created them...” God created the male and female genders in the beginning, and to this day, there remain two genders, male and female. The post also represents a very strong biblical belief and confidence. Facebook statistics tell us that the post has currently been seen by over 3 million
people. The post has generated tremendous interest from multiplied thousands of Bible-believing, Christian people --many who Shared the post on their page to identify with the message and the image
represented in the post.
The post also generated questions and comments from people who did not agree with my statements. This is not new for us because during my 30+ years in Pastoral ministry our church has had the privilege of reaching and engaging with people around the world because of our Romans 6:23 declarations that sin destroys and Jesus saves. Our stand on issues like illicit sex, drugs, alcohol, abortion, domestic abuse, gay marriage, campus violence, suicide, drunk driving, death, the born gay deception, homosexuality and heaven and hell have generated opportunities through drama ministry and outreach--as well as through the media--to communicate to people that life is truly found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ! He is the Way, the Truth and the Life! (John 14:6) And we have had opportunities to communicate that message through all the major television networks, talk radio around the world, newspaper/magazine articles and numerous documentary films.
No matter what vehicle we are given the privilege to broadcast through--be it social media, church services on Sundays or The New York Times--the Message is still the same. Jesus saves, sin destroys, the devil is a liar and hope can be found in Christ Jesus. We enjoy proclaiming that God loves people and we love you too-- so much so that we will brave the crossfire of criticism to unapologetically stand up for what the Bible says--and that includes all of the current misinformation and confusion surrounding gender identity. (Male and female he created them. Genesis 5:2.)
Whether you are a supporter or a dissenter of the Facebook GENDER post, I encourage you to hang around a little while longer and read what some highly respected Pastoral colleagues have written in response to many of the comments and objections that have been raised. It is very compelling reading, authored by very Godly, anointed men. You might learn a little....or a lot.
Thanks for dropping by.
Pastor Keenan Roberts
I Corinthians 9:22--I have become all things to all people, so that BY ALL POSSIBLE MEANS, I might save some.
Jude 1--22 And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering.
23 Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.
Author: Ryan Popineau, Associate Pastor, Living Hope Church, Colorado Springs, CO. Former Debate Collegiate National Champion.
There are several questions raised by Pastor Keenan Roberts post on Facebook regarding how God created us and whether He makes any mistakes. The following is my attempt to address as many of these questions as I can. The post read, “Your GENDER is assigned by God, your Creator, when He knit you together in your mother’s womb! (Psalms 139) He makes no mistakes. End of story!”
I will take a two-pronged approach in answering some questions this comment might raise. First, I will offer positive arguments in favor of the general point Pastor Roberts is making. Second, I will suggest some negative arguments against possible alternative explanations for how we come to be. But before we begin, we must understand both the question we are asking and agree on some definitions of the terms I will use to frame the following arguments.
The question, as I see it, is whether the idea of a God who is both good and all- powerful is compatible with the fact that some people are born with defects or anomalies. In other words, “If God is perfect then why does he allow people with defects or sexual anomalies to be born?” This is a good question, and the burden is on Pastor Roberts to suggest an answer, since it is his claim that God is perfect and does not make mistakes. The first term that must be defined in this argument is “God”. This term is understood in myriad different ways, so without getting too theological, let us restrict “God” in this argument to the Christian understanding of the uncreated spiritual being who created all things and is benevolent and all- powerful. We will address the implications of this later in the argument. Next, we must understand what is meant by “gender”. Pastor Roberts uses the term “gender” to seemingly encapsulate all of the elements of human sexuality and group them together. This may reflect a traditional Christian understanding of the concept of “gender” (as being no different than biological sex), but it is not how the term has come to be used today. Therefore, I will avoid using the word “gender” to refer to all the elements of human sexuality and will instead try to be more precise in this argument. Biological sex and gender have come to be viewed as separate (whether we feel this is right or not). This distinction may be helpful in sorting through some of the comments and questions raised through this post. Finally, “mistake” must be addressed. For the remainder of this argument, I proffer that as an omnipotent being, God does not make mistakes in the sense that God accomplishes whatever God intends to accomplish. God never has an accident, and nothing is outside of God’s control. We will discuss later what else is meant when Pastor Roberts uses the word mistake, but for now, let me specify that it does not equate with accident. Let us begin with the positive arguments for God’s autonomy.
1. Some people have responded to Pastor Roberts’ post by pointing out that there are people born with birth defects. This supposedly undermines his point that God “makes no mistakes.” First, we must delineate between three types of defects. The first kind I will call “behavioral” defects. These are birth defects that are caused by the behavior of another person—often but not always the mother. Drinking alcohol, smoking and drug use (among others) are all behaviors that can produce a defect in a baby. While this is always unfortunate, God should not be blamed for the behavior of the mother or others when that behavior is avoidable and known to have deleterious effects on a fetus. Human beings exercise free will in their decision-making, and those decisions have consequences. No one should blame God when a baby is born with fetal alcohol syndrome to a mother who drinks heavily. The other two kinds of defects I will combine because although they are different, they share in common an expectation that God could (maybe even should) do something about them. Genetic defects or defects that result from unexplained causes are commonly referenced when complaining that if God were omnipotent, God would not allow such defects in something as innocent as a newborn baby. While this argument is emotionally compelling, it fails to grasp the breadth of what is meant by “human freedom”. For God to allow humanity to exercise free-will, it means God necessarily does not always intervene to prevent any negative consequences from such actions. If the biblical picture of reality is true, we should expect to see a world riddled with disease and decay—which is exactly what we find. Death, disease, decay—all “twistings” of an original creation that was very good. When humanity rejected God and sinned, it severed the relationship we had with God. The price to pay for that rebellion is not simply eternal, it had imminent consequences as well. If God is not just the creator but also sustainer of life—as God’s Word says—we should expect that when the connection between us and God was severed, creation would suffer as a result. We cannot cut ourselves off from the source of life and expect to go on living without repercussion. Therefore, the evidence points toward a biblical view of reality. The problem with this explanation is that it does not answer the question of why God intervenes sometimes but not others. That is a separate (albeit important) question from whether birth defects are compatible with a God who is omnipotent. If God gives human beings some liberty to act on their own, we cannot hold God responsible for the consequences of their actions, whether it be direct (as in excessive alcohol consumption) or indirect (human rebellion introducing disease and decay into the equation). As to whether God could be benevolent and allow suffering, the issue there lies in what is meant by benevolent. Which is kinder: to control everyone’s decisions, thereby keeping them safe or to allow personal freedom, knowing that it will produce suffering? I think most of us can agree that although freedom comes with a cost, we would rather be free than the alternative.
2. I now turn to issues of sexuality. As I see it, there are three levels of propensities that a person can be born with. The first I refer to as “psychosis”. In this level, a person is born with a propensity to do something that most everyone in general society agrees is very bad. For instance, most serial killers have an innate propensity toward harming others. Everyone else recognizes that this is wrong. If you are born with some form of psychosis, you are still responsible for your behavior. You must not act on your psychotic impulses, or we will lock you up. The second level contains propensities toward behaviors that are generally considered to only harm oneself. In this category are propensities such as alcoholism and gluttony. Again, a person is held responsible for these behaviors— despite their natural-born propensities—even though it is generally understood to primarily affect only themselves. Third level propensities are widely considered harmless, to oneself or others, and therefore are much more socially acceptable. A propensity to brunette over blonde, rap over country music, blue over red— none of these strikes us as impinging on others. Yet again, we discover that persons are still held responsible for their actions arising out of this category. A person cannot cheat on his wife, for example, and explain it away simply because “I prefer brunettes.” These propensities are harmless as long as they stay under the control of the individual. When they get out-of-hand, they are no longer excusable. This reveals that no matter what level of propensity a person has, they are still accountable for the responsible exercise of those propensities. Wherever you place sexual anomalies, then, the principle holds: simply because a person is born with a propensity toward something does not excuse that behavior. People are responsible for their actions. We do not excuse illicit heterosexual behavior simply due to a person’s propensity, and so the principle holds: no sexual behavior is acceptable simply because a person is following their sexual desires.
3. Moving on from propensities, we now come to anomalies. This is where Pastor Roberts must tread carefully with use of the term “gender”. For what happens when a person is born with sexual parts of both “men” and “women”? Also, what do we say to issues of transgenderism (heretofore known as “gender dysphoria”), queer, questioning, asexual, and the like? These additional sexualities can be grouped together under the category of anomalies. I refer back to our discussion of the consequences of a free-will system above to answer the question of how anomalies come to be. In a broken system (the biblical picture of reality) we should expect to see mutations and anomalies in rare instances. And this is precisely what we find. The scope of the argument here does not entail answering the difficult (but necessary) questions of what, exactly, the biblical sexual ethic requires of those born with such anomalies; I seek instead only to answer the much more narrow question of whether such anomalies reveal that God has made a mistake. We could also include here non-sexual anomalies, such as babies born with six fingers, or conjoined twins. The point, as above, is that although the Bible suggests that God creates each baby in its mother’s womb (Ps 139, as Pastor Roberts quotes), it does not suggest God does so in a vacuum. God does not always overrule genetic defects, although it is possible for God to do so. Similarly, God does not erase the consequences of sin for each new baby being formed. All of creation suffered when humanity severed its relationship with God, and that includes babies still in their mothers’ wombs. Again, this does not rebuff the concept of God’s omnipotence nor God’s benevolence – it is a feature of the free- will God allows us to live by.
4. Finally, it is argued that doctrine must progress and “keep up with the times”. One needs only to pay attention to the news to see how many mainline Protestant denominations in America and Europe are “updating” their doctrine to include the realities of life after the sexual revolution. The primary response to this is that for the Christian, the Bible’s doctrinal stance on sexual purity has never been culturally situated. It is suggested that the Bible’s prohibitions on homosexuality refer to a specific situation of sexual aggression and abuse endemic in the Roman empire. While the sexuality of Rome was indeed aggressive and abusive, and the Bible certainly pushes against that, the Bible’s focus is not so narrow. Prohibitions on homosexuality span the reigns of all the world’s ancient empires: Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Persia, Greece, Rome. That same sexual ethic then persists throughout the common era as well. In fact, the biblical sexual ethic has undergone virtually no changes in well-over 3,500 years. It is absurd to think that the prohibitions on sexual morality contained in the Bible only pertain to a narrowly-defined period of human history, when the Bible claims to apply the rules universally. Also, it is argued that the New Testament- based Christian religion that came to dominate European culture in the common era stilted and repressed the sexual libertinism of the classical period. In this argument, Christianity is responsible for plunging Europe into a “dark age” of sexual and moral repression. It is ironic, then, that the same period is used on the one hand as a picture of enlightened human freedom (which the Church sought to crush and repress) and on the other as a period of sexual aggression and abuse (which contrasts with the loving, caring homoeroticism of today). Whether one argues that the homosexuality of Rome was of a respectable kind or abhorrent, it is better to see the New Testament as continuing to promote the biblical sexual ethic as God always intended it to be.
This concludes the section of positive arguments in favor of the position that God can be both all-powerful and benevolent and yet still allow defects, propensities and anomalies to be present. Now I will move on to a negative thrust, in which I will seek to demonstrate that the alternatives to biblical faith offer no more satisfactory an answer to this problem than Christianity.
1. If you reject the Christian take on reality, then you must offer some other social imaginary in its place. These alternative explanations fall into two primary categories, which I will briefly address. The first is exclusive humanism, which is based off of the underlying assumptions that the God of the Bible does not exist, and the material universe which we can study through science is all there is. Next, I will lump all other contra-biblical religious and spiritual views together. I believe I can show that the answer offered by all other non-humanist, non-biblical options fit neatly into one of two categories. But first, a reminder. Any other construal on reality must be held to the same standards one subjects biblical Christianity to. Both exclusive humanism and other religious/spiritual options must answer the same questions about our existence: why are there aberrations in the genetic makeup of human beings?
2. Exclusive humanism has, at its core, the opposite answer to biblical Christianity regarding human existence. We were not created by a benevolent, omnipotent being, rather, we came to be the way we are through evolution and natural selection processes. I would like to address two concerns with this viewpoint.
A) A belief in natural selection as the process by which evolution is carried out has an interesting dilemma regarding human sexuality. Natural selection is fundamentally about advancing the human species through small changes propagated through procreation. However, procreation is not possible homosexually (as well as with some other sexual anomalies). This means that natural selection ought to have weeded out homosexual genetic propensities a long time ago. Additionally, if natural selection is actually believed, one loses the ability to try to circumvent the selection process by other methods. If homosexuals (and others who cannot procreate) were sequestered, natural selection would cause that genetic “variation” to die out. This is an obvious point of cognitive dissonance in exclusive humanism today. Although Christians are opposed to matters such as gay marriage and homosexual sexual expression, it is not orthodox Christianity to want all homosexuals to simply die out. Finally, natural selection does not give a sufficient answer regarding what to do with propensities. If a person has a genetic predisposition to some behavior, who are we to deny them the full expression of their identity? This presents a major problem, as nearly everyone agrees that psychopaths and pedophiles should not be excused of their behavior on purely naturalistic terms (i.e. the argument “I was born this way” is not a valid defense for a serial killer). Natural selection, however, is supposed to be the supreme arbiter of what is beneficial for the progress of humanity. The problems with this view should be apparent.
B) When one believes that humanity is evolving, typically this entails the view that humanity is progressing toward some positive, higher plane. However, the genetic evidence points in the opposite direction. Genetic entropy is a well- documented fact. With each successive generation, mutations are passed on at alarming rates. Instead of progressing forward, the human genome is showing signs of decaying. This points to a good creation gone bad, rather than the other way around. This creates a dilemma. Either we should stop procreating altogether (why would we want to continue this downward trend and set our children up for failure?) or we should significantly ramp up genetic engineering. If the idea of test tube babies and extreme genetic engineering is not at least concerning to you, we are operating on such different moral codes that debate is hardly fruitful.
3. As for the other religious/spiritual solutions, they all fall into one of two categories. Either they suggest the same basic answers as A) Christianity, or B) exclusive humanism. They may substitute different theology than Christianity, but the belief that some being stronger than us created (in some form) the human race is characteristic of most other religious/spiritual views. While they may not have the exact same problems as Christianity, they still must answer the question as to why things are not better than they are. Or else, their spirituality is pliable enough that their answer falls more in line with evolutionary theory. Either way, we have already addressed both possibilities, and need not say more here.
This brings us to the conclusion of our argument. There are good reasons for accepting the Christian position that God is both omnipotent and benevolent, and that the Christian construal of reality is consistent with the picture we actually see, viz., the appearance of a good creation gone bad. Additionally, it is in vogue to argue against Christianity without feeling the need to proffer a better solution. It is easy (and intellectually lazy) to suggest that Christianity does not supply the answer I want to hear without then offering a comprehensive worldview that sufficiently answers these same questions. There are problems and dilemmas with all of the possible solutions, not simply Christianity. And on the preponderance of evidence, Christianity has more answers that line up with my construal, so I accept the Christian position as Pastor Keenan Roberts has suggested.
Author: Gene Roncone, Senior Pastor, Highpoint Church, Aurora, CO.
“DOES SEXUAL AMBIGUITY PROVE GOD INTENDED FOR SOME TO BE GAY?”
The question was asked, “What about people that are born with both male and female parts; does that mean God makes mistakes?” The question concerns what is also been referred to as hermaphrodite, intersex, cross-sexual or even transsexual. This is a rare condition where individuals are born with both male and female reproductive organs and sex glands.
Some seem to think the existence of this sexual ambiguity proves theologically that God creates some people gay. Although I acknowledge there are many medical, physiological, emotional, behavioral and even preferential factors that play into this issue, I would like to comment on a theological perspective on why this condition is not theological proof of the gay lifestyle.
First, the position wrongly assumes that the condition by which we are born is God’s natural or intended state. It fails to take into consideration that Adam and Eve’s willful disobedience of God introduced sin into the world (Romans 5:12). Sin negatively effected every part of human existence. It affected mankind relationally as we are told Adam and Eve’s relationship with each other became complicated with guilt and shame (Genesis 3:7). Sin also affected them spiritually, in that they hid and alienated themselves from God (Genesis 3:8). Sin even negatively effected the environment as the Garden of Eden, which was once a flourishing garden became uncooperative, laborious and burdensome (Genesis 3:17-19). Every child after that was born with the “sin nature” as part of their spiritual DNA. Death, human sickness, deformities and human disabilities became part of the sin-tarnished world. The fact that a child is born a hermaphrodite is not any more evidence of God’s approval of a gay lifestyle than a child born with a withered hand is proof that God favors disabilities. The Apostle Paul tells us that all creation “groans” and eagerly awaits for God’s redemption to its intended state (Romans 8:22-24).
I once ordered a wheelbarrow online. However, when it arrived it was damaged in transport. That was not how it was created or intended by its designer to be. While in transport the frame had been bent and the tire was flattened. Don’t get me wrong. It still worked but required much more effort and compensating strength. The wheelbarrow did not exist in its intended state. As it was damaged and mutated by careless transport, so our physical, spiritual and natural world has been damaged by sin. However, Christ died to redeem us from the painful morphing of sin. His death wrote the check for that redemption. His resurrection was heaven’s message that the check had cleared and in heaven all of creation will finally be totally restored to His intended state. Until then, we push broken wheelbarrows of pain, deformity a world mutated, and a world morphed by sin.
Second, the position wrongly assumes that the existence of desire is proof that it should be satisfied. The implication is that a loving God would not create us one way and then expect us to resist the urges that come with that nature. But again, we do not currently exist in our intended state. Sin tarnished ALL of creation and affects each of us in different ways. I was delivered from drugs and am overweight. I had to fight those temptations for many years. A gay person’s temptations are no different than the temptations an alcoholic, drug addict, workaholic or any other sin-mutated human has. We will not be delivered from the “urge” to sin until we get to heaven. Until then, we all have our own battles we must fight. I believe that is what the Apostle Paul meant when he said, “Each one should carry their own load” (Galatians 6:5). That means we each have a battle we must own until God redeems all of creation in heaven. Being born with genetic, psychological, or hormonal abnormalities is no more license for sexual sin than being born with violent tendencies is license for violence. My own struggle with self-control in regards to food does not mean that God intended me to be obese or that an alcoholic’s urge should be satisfied for them to be “true to themselves”. The fact of the matter is we all have a cross to bear in this sin- mutated world. That is why God has given us access to his Holy Spirit to resist and fight our fight, whatever it may be, as an act of faith in our eternal redemption.
Third, this position assumes we are victims of evil instead of victors. God never gives us a command He can not empower us to obey. Biblical salvation is God’s way of providing his people deliverance from sin and spiritual death through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament the concept of salvation is rooted in Israel’s deliverance from Egypt in the book of Exodus. The New Testament reveals the source of salvation in Jesus Christ. By faith in Jesus Christ, believers are saved from God’s judgment of sin and its consequence— eternal death. The name “Jesus” is derived from the Hebrew-Aramaic word “Yeshua,” meaning “Yahweh [the Lord] is salvation.” Religious people would have us think a relationship with him is dependent upon earning his love. However, it is as simple as confessing our need for him and his Holy Spirit to help us faithfully resist and overcome whatever burden is ours to carry.
If you want to start a relationship with God you can make your response to God’s call of salvation in prayer. Prayer is simply talking with God. You can pray by yourself, using your own words. There is no special formula. Just pray from your heart to God and he will save you. If you feel lost and don’t know what to pray, here’s a prayer of salvation:
“Father, I know that I have come up short and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my sinful life and turn toward you. Please forgive me, and help me avoid sinning again. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ, died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord and leader of my life from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey you, and to do your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”
Author: Phil Steiger, Senior Pastor, Living Hope Church, Colorado Springs, CO.
The number of people born as intersex is significantly low and doesn't prove anything about the rule of binary gender. Being born with 6 fingers on one hand doesn't have anything to do with 5 fingers being normal. Intersex people do not have a confusion of XY or XX chromosomes, so they actually are either male or female, they just have a physical anomaly that can be fixed surgically.
Some people (on Pastor Keenan’s Facebook post concerning gender) are implying that intersex people *are* transgendered? They have attempted to raise this kind of question as an apologetic move and throw it out there like there is a link between the two when there isn't--it is a false connection that some have implied. Transgender activism in favor of surgical and hormonal therapy requires a binary understanding of gender - "we need to physically change me from gender X to gender Y." If gender is fluid, why the need for medical intervention to change it? In a twist of irony, transgender activism relies heavily on the reality of binary genders and hard-core gender stereotypes.
Regarding the original Facebook post and responses, the Christian answer is pretty straightforward - God doesn't make mistakes but our sin brought all kinds of mistakes and problems into the world. Any attempt to deny the design by pointing to exceptions only proves the power of the design. When a car engine doesn't work because a fan belt broke, we don't say that all car engines are broken. We know how to fix it because we know how the design works. Knowing that something is broken proves we know how it should work.