One of the more common arguments waged by anti-Christian activists in our culture is to attack the relevance of the Bible for 21st century living. “How can you try to impose the values of a book from the Iron Age on people living today?” they demand. The question is certainly a fair one, with the obvious answer resting on the acknowledgement that the Biblical text is divine in nature and thus its values transcend the supposed cultural evolution of man.
Perhaps the more pressing question, then, would be for us to ask the precise opposite question: why do we seek to impose the values of the 21st century, replete with its moral rebellion to God, on the sacred scriptures that are timeless? How is that even approaching rationality or responsibility?
Take for example the recent movie called “Transfigurations” by Peterson Toscano. Toscano puts into film an emerging theme on the left that the Bible actually speaks favorably of some of what we have to this point termed the recent manifestations of man’s ongoing sexual rebellion against God.
No, Toscano is not peddling the standard, “David and Jonathan were gay together” argument. Instead his movie suggests that Biblical scholars have overlooked for centuries the reality that many of the Bible’s characters were “gender non-conforming.”
I suppose before we look at the idioicy of this assertion it is important to define terms. Obviously we all commit acts that are “gender nonconforming.” When men cross their legs or watch chick-flicks when no one is around, when women compete aggressively or exhibit cold, emotionless characteristics, we can say those behaviors do not conform to the standard expectation for their gender.
But that’s not what Toscano means. Toscano is using the modern cultural definition for gender nonconforming that suggests a person does not really belong to the gender they’ve been “assigned” by their biology. This belief dabbles on the brink of transgenderism by its insinuation of some biological component and physiological reality. To impose it on the Bible is pure nonsense.
As examples of his thesis, Toscano suggests that:
- Deborah, the female warrior from the book of Judges, must have been “gendered differently” given that she was used by God in a role typically reserved for men.
- Jacob, whose brother Esau grew to be a skillful hunter and outdoorsman, was gendered female given that he preferred being a homebody with mom.
- Joseph, the son of Jacob whose brothers sold into slavery, was also gendered femininely given his refusal to “crush his brothers when they come to him,” and preference to act in an “unmanly” way (forgiveness).
Besides the shameless attempt to shoehorn contemporary sexual deviance onto the pages of God’s Word, the real problem with Toscano’s efforts lies in its manipulation of what these biblical accounts actually teach us.
Here’s what I mean. God is not using Deborah to teach the glories of gender fluidity. He is using her to demonstrate that He can use even those things considered “weak” by society to be His champions when our hearts are obedient to His will.
And God is not introducing us to the account of Joseph to teach us that some people are gender nonconforming. But He is trying to teach us that greatness – and true manliness – can be found in forgiveness and compassion.
It’s one thing to ignore the Scriptures as irrelevant and outdated. It is quite another to manipulate them to affirm messages contrary to God’s explicit will. We should all tremble at the implications of a society that embraces the latter.