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Gender Identity In The Body Of Christ

Many Christians profess to hold a “Biblical view” of gender, marriage, and sexuality, but they are wildly selective when it comes to how they choose verses in scripture to support their views.

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Many Christians profess to hold a “Biblical view” of gender, marriage, and sexuality, but they are wildly selective when it comes to how they choose verses in scripture to support their views.

Essentially, what most of those people are doing is deciding ahead of time what they believe about gender, sexuality, and marriage in advance and then carefully selecting only those verses that support their narrow views. This is called “Eisegesis” and it’s the other side of the coin to the more reputable and honest process of “Exegesis” where one only forms an opinion after examining the entirety of what is taught in the scriptures.

So, for example, if you were to point out that in the scriptures, men are called the Bride of Christ, and that women are called the Sons of God, and that all are called the Body of Christ, you’d probably be accused of blasphemy or heresy, or both. But these are the facts. The scriptures lump everyone together – both male and female – into one genderless organism.

Paul famously put it this way:

“As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:27-28)

Yes, I do understand that Paul is aiming to communicate that those distinctions of race, class, and gender no longer apply or carry weight in the Body of Christ (and that is a lesson many Christians have still yet to accept), but there is still the reality here that Paul is saying that “male and female” are “no longer” relevant distinctions for us.

I remember having a conversation a few years ago with a young man who admitted that he wasn’t comfortable with the language that Jesus loved him, or that he should love Jesus intimately and become the Bride of Christ. On one level, I could understand, but I had to ask him, “Do you love your Father?” and he said, “Of course, I do.” Then I asked him, “Does your Father love you?” and he nodded.

So then I said, “you’re both males, and yet you and your Dad have no trouble admitting a deep love for one another. How is this any different from loving Jesus?”

He squinted at me and said, “But it says I am supposed to become the Bride of Christ. That’s….weird.”

And I had to admit that he was right. It is kinda weird for a guy to think of himself as becoming the Bride of Christ. But it’s also kinda weird for a woman to see herself as one of the “sons of God” which is true for everyone who is in Christ.

For those who adamantly demand that “Biblical marriage” is one man and one woman, and insist that marriage is intended to be a picture of Christ and the Church (as Paul stresses in Ephesians 5:22-32), it can be quite scandalous to point out to them that scripture explicitly tells us that when Jesus returns he will marry billions of men and call them his bride, (see Rev. 19:6-9).

So, if marriage is supposed to be a metaphor for Christ and the Church, what do we with the fact that Jesus intends to engage in a gigantic same-sex marriage with every man who has ever put faith in Him?

Like it or not, the Bible doesn’t always play nice with those who insist on rigid distinctions of male and female, nor does it have one unifying perspective on marriage as one man and one woman.

We are all – male and female (and otherwise) – incorporated into the Body of Christ, even as both Adam and Eve were once hidden together in one flesh at the beginning of Creation when God made a creature in His own image.

Keep in mind, God does not have a penis or a vagina. God is not male or female. We use the term “He” simply because we prefer not to refer to God as an “It”, but God has no gender. God is a Spirit, (John 4:24).

The Scriptures use male pronouns and metaphors to refer to God, but there are many female metaphors and pronouns used to portray God, including pictures of God as a nursing mother, and a God who gives birth to us, and a God who gathers us like a mother hen gathers her chicks.

The Bible is very progressive when it comes to these ideas of gender, marriage, and sexuality. It might do us some good to go back and read those passages again with fresh eyes and an open heart.

What do you think?

-kg

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