Light Magazine Presidential Letters

A Beacon of Hope

We live in a confused world. Confused about sex. Confused about gender. Questions like “what is a man?” and “what is a woman?” seem to regularly bedevil the top minds in academia and law. If answers are provided, they generally fall along two extremes: One side of the culture denies any difference between men and women in an attempt to dismantle what it sees as unjust systems of oppression, while the other side asserts cartoonish or even misogynistic notions of manliness or femininity. Christians should reject both of these options, instead allowing Scripture to provide answers for the questions about sexuality posed by modern culture. 

In 2014, messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention gave us a helpful model to follow. In a resolution titled “On Transgender Identity,” these representatives affirmed God’s good design of humanity as male and female (Gen. 1:27); stated “distinctions in masculine and feminine roles as ordained by God are part of the created order and should find expression in every human heart”; and asserted that attempts to erase these distinctions, like gender transition surgeries, do real and lasting harm.

In effect, messengers said to one side of the spectrum that the extremism in erasing differences between the sexes is inherently wrong. And to the other side, they said an unhealthy fixation on hyper-masculine and hyper-feminine attributes obscures the fact God created male and female with equal worth and dignity. 

Our culture is in desperate need of this truth, not as a cudgel, but as a lifeline to bring people back to reality. The young male enmeshed in the ever-present toxic misogyny online or the young lady who is plagued by depression because of the images of the digitally altered body she’s confronted with on TikTok are just two examples of our neighbors who need what only Scripture provides.

And so, Christians offer the message of hope that God’s design brings flourishing and that there is healing for those broken by the unfulfilled promises of the sexual revolution. The answer to a confused and questioning culture is not anger or despair, but a clear, confident return to the teachings of Scripture—anchored in the truth that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—and I am the worst of them” (1 Tim. 1:15) You see, we stand, not outside of or above culture, but as those who are first in line and are willing to submit our own thinking and influences under the Lordship of Christ. 

The articles in this issue of Light magazine are a step toward helping us engage the confusion around us, or even within us, with a message shaped more by the Bible than culture, hope than despair, and goodness than vitriol. And this hope will be our anchor as we love our neighbors, raise our children, and walk in faith, pointing to the Creator and the goodness of his design—all for his glory.

F. Brent Leatherwood
President, ERLC

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