Becoming Students of Scripture and Our Culture

Last years program in a much larger room

This morning I read an excellent article by Kevin DeYoung called “Safe Schools, gender-conformity, and common sense. “ It’s a response to the recent Michigan Department of Education release of a statement on safe learning environments for LGBT students, transgender students in particuar. What I loved about this article is he approached the cultural issue about transgender rights from a rational viewpoint instead of a Biblical one.

Now let me clarify there are definitely some Biblical problems with the transgender movement. At its core I believe the acceptance of other people becomes an idol or source of identity instead of God. Eventually this leads to an unhealthy fear of man so the slightest rejection or disagreement shatters your self-confidence, and complete acceptance is demanded.

Dr. Ed Welch explained how fear of man [1]affected his marriage saying “I needed love from her. I could finally take small amounts of rejection but I felt paralyzed if I didn’t get the love I needed from her. I needed unconditional love. If she didn’t think I was a great husband I would be crushed.” [2]

Whats interesting is Kevin DeYoung didn’t touch on approval of others becoming an idol, but instead respectfully pointed out weaknesses of the LGBT position.

  1. By clarifying he agreed wiht their position that a LGBT student should be treated with respect, but disagreed with their belief the current school system was unsafe for students from that background (Transgender especially)
  2. Pointing out the documentation included to prove this unsafe environment thesis was too small (two footnotes) one of which couldn’t be checked (from unpublished material) and the other footnote admitted this lack of safety impacting more than just LGBT students (includes discrimination regarding religion, race, and disability)
  3. Asking why the Department of Educations statement takes power away from parent by saying engagement with parents about decisions students make will be done when “appropriate.” In other words the school decides when the parents learn information
  4. He plays this decision out by asking what will happen when a transgender student who was male decides to play (and dominate) womens sports? And how both males and female using the same bathroom makes things safer.
  5. Finally Kevin DeYoung suggests a second option by saying “Instead of making our schools a cultural battleground and a place for gender experimentation, we could simply handle these issues on “a case-by-case basis” (as the statement says at one point).

No matter what a persons opinion is regarding whether or not our schools are an unsafe environment one thing is very clear from this article…Kevin DeYoung did his homework.

In other words he did the hard work of not only reading the document but studying it, thinking through it, making sure he realised exactly what the LGBT statement was saying, and created a clear rational response.

This is so different than what I find myself doing.

When faced with a cultural challenge like the transgender movement or someone who disagrees with me my first thought is to write a Facebook post [3] that explains the Biblical view in a confrontational way. But 90% of the time this will just start another argument online, or have little affect at all on those who have the opposing view.

Contrast this with DeYoung’s article that knows his opponents view backward and forwards (probably more than most who feel schools are unsafe for transgenders) lovingly points out weaknesses, and proposes a better way of doing things.

Who do you think people will listen to more?

There will never be a day when Christians should stop being students of the Bible…however maybe its time for us to stop sharing ten-minute Facebook posts and become students of our culture as well.


[1]: worried more about other people think than God

[2]: when People are Big and God is small pg.13 par.1

[3]: that takes less than ten-minutes

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