A recent article at the Huffington Post entitled The Foolishness of So-Called Biblical Gender Roles got me thinking – what is a Christian approach to gender roles?
Now, to be fair, the HP article was criticizing the hard Complementarian position, one which I too criticize. 1 She refers to probably the most well known representatives of the hard Complementarian position, that is, Mark Driscoll’s Acts 29 Network, The Reformed Baptist Gospel Coalition, and Wayne Grudem’s Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.
However, predictably, the author entirely rejects gender-based roles in Church and home, striding to the opposite extreme, Christian egalitarianism. Here’s one of her conclusions:
Besides the exegetical problems with teaching a gender hierarchy, which are plentiful, the basic idea that God ordains a gender hierarchy is completely counter to God’s character, and the entire message of redemption in scripture.
What Can Egalitarians Say About Transgenderism?
More important than the fact that she has missed the balanced position of partial complementarianism 2 is the open question that I have yet to see egalitarians answer – if Christian ministry and authority are “gender blind,” does that mean that transgenderism is OK? Is that just another sexual preference we ought to “accept in love,” like homosexuality?
The foolishness of choosing a gender identity other than what you are born with seems obvious. Beyond the inability of gays to procreate, transgenderism goes beyond rejecting gender roles to rejecting one’s own biology – a split even more against one’s own biology and nature than homosexuality may be.
Think of it as just another type of imposition of gender on the person. While societal and perhaps biblical gender roles are an imposition on the soul of the person who does not conform, allowing the soul to impose its gender identity on a body that is clearly of a certain gender seems to be resisting nature in another way. When a trans boy wants to become a boy and supress his girl body, he ends up sterile. Doesn’t that seem like a violent thing to do to one’s body?
The disconnect between gender identity and biological gender needs more exploration – it seems more like a dysjunction than a coming into order.While societal and biblical gender roles can be too narrow, they are based on biological norms and the matching psychology of gender that typically goes along with that biology – men are typically stronger, more aggressive, and unable to bear children. Women are typically physically weaker, more relationally oriented, and able to bear children.I think a better and more natural approach to gender would be to:
- Maintain less narrow gender expections based on role, and allow for more feminine men and masculine women as acceptable outliers
- Consider the splitting of one’s gender identity from their biology a bad thing – this goes beyond an outlier in the gender expectations to a rejection of one’s body – not an improvement or removal of a defect, but a wholesale rejection of a healthy body.