People talk about sex a lot. TV sitcoms joke about it. Politicians debate rights for “sexual minorities.” Progressives “modernize” God’s plan for sex. Terminology across the so-called “gender spectrum” seems to be changing almost daily.
An easy way to figure out what people think about sex is to look at the words they use. Below are two lists of twelve words each. The first list consists of the most common words used by the church for centuries when talking about sex. The second list consists of twelve of the most common words used in society today.
Traditional Christian Vocabulary
Today’s Worldly Vocabulary
- LGBTQ+ community
- reproductive rights
- women’s health
- sexual freedom
When people form sentences out of the words from the first list, they can easily express biblical truth: “God created us male and female. The Sixth Commandment promotes the virtue of chastity, which requires self-control. Sexual intimacy should be reserved for marriage. The relationship between husband and wife is one of life-long fidelity. Some people are called to celibacy instead of marriage. All people must be cautious to avoid lust. Sexual intercourse between unmarried persons is called fornication; when one person is married to someone else, it is called adultery. Either way, it is a serious sin against one’s neighbor and of course against God. Fornication-for-hire is called harlotry. A sexual act with someone of the same sex utterly rejects God’s creation plan and is called sodomy.”
The early sentences in the preceding paragraph highlight behaviors that promote physical and emotional health for adults and also the well-being of their children. The lessons in that paragraph hold true to how human relationships actually work. Lived experience, the human conscience, and the Ten Commandments all make it obvious where the line between purity and sin must be drawn. God’s way works; nothing else can.
When people use the other twelve words, they form very different sorts of sentences: “Some people are gay, others are lesbian, and still others are bisexual. So, heterosexual is just one of several options. Other people identify as transgender, meaning they were born with a male or female body, but they are transitioning into the other kind of body, perhaps through hormones or surgery. The LGBTQ+ community welcomes everyone. Heterosexism is judgmental and excludes people. Women are entitled to reproductive rights; abortion is a women’s health issue. It’s wrong to judge. Everyone should simply respect everyone else’s sexual freedom.”
Such revisionist terminology serves a false and deceptive philosophy. (cf. Colossians 2:8) The deception relies upon new and strange words that were purposely invented to lead people astray from God’s plan. Depression, disease, and death result from the so-called “sexual freedom” celebrated in the revised paragraph. Sadly, such “alternative lifestyles” are nothing more than deathstyles. The deception is that serious.
By becoming fluent in biblical phrases, Christians have an opportunity to speak words of truth to deceived people who are hurting and hell-bound. God’s own vocabulary distinguishes right from wrong. God’s own words announce merciful forgiveness to those who have fallen into sexual sin. This Gospel truth brings the hope that the world, with all its deceitful words, cannot provide.
Dr. Ryan C. MacPherson is the director of the
Center for Apologetics and Worldviews, and
professor of history, philosophy, and legal studies
at Bethany Lutheran College.