|From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase|
The recent shootings at a church school in Nashville have brought the sin of sexual self-identification to the forefront of the news. But among many in the church today there is an even deeper problem of sinful self-identification.
April 2023 - Audrey Elizabeth Hale, a 28-year-old woman who self-identified as a man, shot her way into Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee on the morning of March 27 and murdered three nine-year-old students and three staff members before being killed by police officers. A few minutes before the shooting, this woman sent an Instagram message to a friend telling her that she would soon be committing suicide and that her friend would learn about it on the news. 
Clearly this woman was in the grip of Satan, whose agenda in this world can be summarized in a single word: destruction. In John 8:44 Jesus declared that Satan "was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him." Satan is the great slayer of humanity, and that murderous pursuit began in Eden with the words, "Has God indeed said...?"
Man's rebellion against God makes him Satan's prey. Revelation chapter 9 describes Satan as "the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon [Destruction], but in Greek he has the name Apollyon [Destroyer]." The name Abaddon also appears several places in Job, Psalms, and Proverbs, and is consistently translated "destruction." Job speaks of "Destruction" (Abaddon) as a person in Job 28:22.
The Nashville murders took place in a school sponsored by a church affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). I am not familiar with the position of Covenant Presbyterian Church on issues related to sexual perversion. (I have found nothing on their website or social media outlets that address this specifically.) Some PCA churches publicly oppose sexual perversion as Scripture commands; others remain sinfully quiet; still others are brazenly opening their doors to it. But this particular church, even if opposed, has knowingly remained part of a denomination that allows so-called "gay Christians" to serve in its pulpits and is being steadily corrupted by a contingent of theologians and member churches who are increasingly tolerant of and even welcoming toward the LGBTQ movement, and believe the PCA as a denomination must be so. Once again, this is the work of Satan the Destroyer.
The Sin of Sexual Self-Identification
We live in a time when Satan is using even reputedly conservative churches and denominations to mount unprecedented attacks on Biblical manhood and womanhood, Biblical marriage, and the Biblical family, as he has ever since his first temptation of Eve in the Garden of Eden. Today his evil question, "Has God indeed said..." (Genesis 3:1) especially takes the form of aggressive attacks on God's created order for mankind made in His image. In recent years Satan's campaign has advanced at breathtaking speed.
Some time ago I spoke with a lady whose daughter-in-law works with pre-schoolers in a daycare center. Two of the children under her care are five-year-old boys. Their parents send them to the daycare center dressed as boys one day, as girls the next, and so on, depending on what these little ones "choose". Their parents believe that they should not make a "gender choice" for them, but should leave the decision - as though there were one to be made - up to their children.
Today Target Corporation, one of America's largest department store chains, permits people to use whichever restroom they choose, depending on whether the individual self-identifies as a man, a woman, or something allegedly in between. Nearly every secular humanist college and university also pursues this folly - as do growing numbers of so-called Christian institutions. In the name of political correctness, the ungodly ignore the plain fact that their perverse arrangements place women in jeopardy if men who are sexual predators decide to use their restrooms, and vice versa - to say nothing of the peril in which this places small children and teenagers. Men who self-identify as women are, in many places, allowed to compete in women's events in high school and college sports - and to use the women's locker rooms.
Hell-bound society's darkened state of mind ignores a simple Biblical fact: We have no right or authority to self-identify as male or female. Scripture declares that God created human beings male and female from the beginning. This is true of every individual who is born. God has never made anything else, and He never will. Male and female are not mere states of mind. They are part of the decree of God:
Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them (Genesis 1:26-27).
Any person who seeks to alter his or her physical sexual characteristics, or to identify as being of a different sex by dress or behavior, or to identify with lower beings in God's created order, is in open rebellion against the ordinance of God. The dictionary defines perversion as "altering anything from its original course, meaning, or state to a distortion or corruption of what was first intended." We are on solid Biblical ground when we call such a person a sexual pervert.
A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman's garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 22:5).
Any parent who would give a child the impression that he can "decide" to be male, female, or some other gender monstrosity, falls under the condemnation of Christ:
It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend [Greek skandalise, set a snare for] one of these little ones (Luke 17:2).
The Sin of Spiritual Self-Identification
Ironically, many professing Christians who condemn sexual self-identification in contemporary society practice an even deadlier form of self-identification within the church: Many self-identify as Christians, and encourage others to do so, when they are nothing of the sort. Some self-identify as Christians based on nationality, others because they come from a family of Christians, and still others because they are members of a particular church. Some self-identify as Christians based on their efforts to follow Biblical standards of morality.
On the other hand, even some who unrepentantly self-identify as sexual perverts, shaking their fists at the God who made them, at the same time pridefully self-identify as Christians. Growing numbers of post-evangelical churches are welcoming them to their congregations, their leadership, and even their pulpits.
No pose of self-identification makes anyone a Christian. It is God who makes a Christian by His work of regeneration:
For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:5-7)
It is the Spirit of God who places an individual into the body of Christ:
For by one Spirit we were all baptized [literally, placed] into one body - whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free - and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:13)
We do not make ourselves Christians; we do not place ourselves in the eternal Body of Christ; we do not regenerate ourselves. We have no righteousness of our own, and perfect righteousness is God's holy and just demand.
But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith. (Philippians 3:7-9)
You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness. (Habakkuk 1:13)
For an individual to merely self-identify as a Christian is, once again, to shake a fist in the face of God and to deny His authority to declare what we are by nature:
As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one."
"Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have practiced deceit"; "The poison of asps is under their lips"; "Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness." "Their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their ways; and the way of peace they have not known." "There is no fear of God before their eyes."
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. (Romans 3:9-19)
Jesus Himself spoke against the sin of spiritual self-identification, just as clearly as Christ the Lawgiver spoke against sexual self-identification:
Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank You that I am not like other men - extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.'
And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Luke 18:9-14)
The Pharisee, despite the spiritual perversion his sect repeatedly demonstrated - rank unbelief, superficial morality, hatred of God, perversion of His law - self-identified as a man in right standing with God. The tax collector understood his true identity in the eyes of God - a hopeless sinner in need of His salvation, unfit even to lift up his eyes before God, whose only hope of access to His presence was the outpouring of His mercy.
What About You?
Dear reader, this is the vital question you must face: By whose authority do you claim to be a Christian? Do you claim to be a Christian because God has made you one, delivering you from what you are by nature, or merely because you are living in the sin of self-identification? Spiritual self-identification only deepens a sinner's state of eternal damnation. Abandoning any pose of spiritual self-identification, bowing the knee to God's identification of our wretched state and deepest need, and calling upon Him for mercy through Christ, is the instrument of faith bringing eternal life.
1. Matt Delaney, "Nashville Shooter Sent Final Message to Friend Right Before Massacre: 'I'm Planning to Die Today' ", Washington Times, March 29, 2023, as viewed at https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2023/mar/29/nashville-shooter-sent-final-message-friend-right-/
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