I recently read an article by Arthur Shafer, the director of the Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics at the University of Manitoba. The article centered on a family who has decided to not tell close friends and family members the gender of their baby. Now this can be a normal practice before the baby is born, but what make this practice different is the child is already born.
The reason for this practice, according to the parents, is to allow the child time to grow and develop, without a fixed gender. The rest of the article bemoaned the stereotypes in society concerning male and female identity. Some of the points were well put. For instance, we should be ashamed that we glorify men who are promiscuous, but look down on women who are. However, the bulk of the article argued against this idea of fixed gender roles and identity.
The articled ended by speaking of “cruel intolerance,” in reference to people who think there are distinctions between the genders. The final sentence states, “the debate about what it means to be male or female in 21st-century Canada is not going away.”
Her last point is also true. When individuals reject standards, then everything is in question. Everything includes, what it means to be male or female (or as a Christian author wrote recently if we even can determine who is male or female). This will have lasting consequences on culture.
From the beginning of Creation God intended differences between men and women. He created us, purposefully, male and female. He assigned men with different tasks than He did women. He designed us differently on purpose. We were built to be complements of one another.
The witness of Scripture is to this end. For instance in Paul’s writings in Titus, he makes distinctions between men and women. He commands of the men of the congregation certain things and then commands the woman of the congregation certain things. When you read chapter 2, you can’t help but see that the apostle believed God had made us different, and therefore we had different responsibilities.
Peter is the same in his epistle. He lays out for us teaching for men and teaching for women (more specifically husbands and wives). He views the two as having distinct roles that were to be fulfilled. He even acknowledges this distinction more clearly by stating women are the “weaker vessel” (most likely referring to physical strength).
The point is God is the one who determines gender. We are not up to our own devices to declare if we will be men or women. That has already been decided. Our responsibility is to live our lives as godly men and women. The choice we make is not what gender, but rather whether or not we will follow God’s way.