Of all the pressing issues in the world, one writer at preacher John Piper‘s Desiring God website wants to know: Will being effeminate keep people out of Heaven?
Does the Bible even have anything to say about that, or will Greg Morse have to twist some verses to support an obviously homophobic and transphobic mindset?
Take a wild guess.
Some teachers can no longer say “boys and girls” in classrooms. In some school districts, young men can go into girls’ locker rooms simply with a note from a parent. Recently, actress Kate Hudson shared her plans to raise her daughter, Rani Rose, with a “genderless approach.” What a sad time to be alive. But not only sad: also dangerous and rebellious.
Into the gender confusion of our day, even razor companies are stepping forward to help groom the next generation into healthy expressions of masculinity. Therefore, Christians, of all people, need to be clear that brutality, passivity, complacency, and effeminacy miss the mark of manhood. Jesus Christ did not domineer, live disinterestedly, or act like a woman — and he is the model of God-honoring masculinity. But the inclusion of effeminacy in that list may prick some sensibilities today.
Which teachers are banned from saying boys and girls? A couple of years ago, one North Carolina school district recommended using gender-neutral language… but that’s about it. It’s not like a teacher was fired for saying “boys and girls.” Suggesting otherwise is a lie. Just like saying boys can just waltz into a girls’ locker room if his parents give him the okay. That’s not how it works. Ever.
Also, I’m not sure Jesus is the best example to use here when talking about “true masculinity.” He just laid down on that cross like a loser, you know? Didn’t even try to fight back. Didn’t defend His flock with a hailstorm of bullets from an AK-47. Wasn’t exactly known as a ladies’ man. Then there’s the long hair…
Some will retort that effeminacy isn’t a problem. Nothing to fight against, nothing to repent of, and nothing that can keep anyone from heaven. The Bible condemns acts of homosexuality, they may acknowledge, but not effeminacy. We need not concern ourselves with separating one’s “gender expression” from his biological sex. We need not tell men they must dress a certain way and not another… or call them to “act like men”… — no such thing exists. I believe this all to be gravely mistaken.
As unclear as the distinctions may feel in any given culture, the word of God is surprisingly plain: those who gladly, consistently indulge in effeminacy as a lifestyle are in eternal danger… Love will dive headlong into all the sinful aspects of manhood to kill whatever sin Satan has tucked under the veils of cultural acceptance. And not mainly others’ sin but first and foremost one’s own. Much is at stake. Souls are at stake. We must gird up our loins, ask God for wisdom, take his words seriously, and seek discernment and courage together.
Will it surprise you to learn that the word “effeminate” isn’t even in the Bible? Or that expressions of it look different in every society and culture, therefore making it impossible to exclusively define?
I doubt it.
Oddly enough, Morse doesn’t bother to define it, either. But there’s a good reason for that: It’s what Satan would do.
Satan tries to obscure sins by rendering them nearly impossible to define. He smuggles effeminacy into the church by forbidding any specific definition. In the ancient world, effeminacy entailed a moral frailty (acting cowardly or “womanish” in battle), inordinate love for luxury (rendering men delicate and tender), and the sexual deviancy of acting like a woman in one’s demeanor, speech, and gesture. The Bible addresses each, describing men who “become women” on the battlefield…, go “soft” due to luxury…, and become sexually deviant… The term effeminacy is not an attack on femininity itself — which is a woman’s glory — but rather on femininity when attached to a male.
But as it pertains to today, Satan whispers confusions into modern ears. If one should give such traits to effeminacy as “lispy sentences, light gestures, soft mannerisms, and flamboyant jokes,” Satan immediately suggests a handful of men who, not having these qualities in the aggregate, have one individually. He lisps, but he isn’t effeminate; he just has a gap in his teeth. He has a softer demeanor, but he isn’t effeminate; he just is introverted and weak in tone. Instead of simply concluding (rightly) that such people aren’t effeminate, we conclude that these traits don’t really characterize effeminacy. We deny the existence of forests by examining each tree individually.
Once again, the Bible has nothing to say about any of this; this is all just Morse’s personal prejudice being loosely justified with Scripture. It’s the same scripture that allows conservative pastors to pretend transgender identities don’t even exist. It’s bigotry cloaked in a narrow definition of masculinity that they just made up. The problem is that these same people often have the power to write or advocate for legislation that’s actually harmful.
I’m tempted to say they should be more empathetic or sensitive to the idea that not all people fit some pre-determined gender mold, but they’d probably dismiss the suggestion because empathy and sensitivity are too feminine for their tastes.
In any case, I guess every heterosexual pastor who wears skinny jeans and a V-neck shirt is in trouble.