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Conventional Thinking: Grammar & gender follies

In a disappointing yet not surprising announcement, the Boy Scouts of America voted to allow transgender “boys” into membership ranks. To be specific, the Boy Scouts will “include girls who identify as boys in their programs.”

The Scouts, once a bastion of virtue training and morals, for the second time in recent years, has surrendered to the demands and whims of the sexual revolution.

Rather than spilling a lot of ink criticizing this once great organization, I want to talk about the disastrous idea behind it, the concept of “transitioning” from a boy to a girl.

We must point out that word “transitioning” is a made up word and a made up concept. A modern-day dictionary says that “transitioning” is a verb meaning to “adopt permanently the outward or physical characteristics of the gender one identifies with, as opposed to those associated with one’s birth sex.”

Dictionaries from 100, even 25 years ago, however, do not have the word “transitioning.” These dictionaries rightly show that the root word transition is a noun, not a verb, and has absolutely nothing to do with so-called gender reassignment.

The dictionary addition of this word and concept is not just getting with the times, like when the term DNA had to be added. “Transitioning” is a made-up word fraught with worldview problems that will wreck people’s lives.

You might think I’m just a stick-in-the-mud editor, being picky about grammar. But as we know from George Orwell’s classic 1984, whoever determines language determines the course of the culture. If the word “transitioning” had never come about, the Boy Scouts, indeed society as a whole, may never have come to this point of accepting it.

That being said, there are also philosophical and theological realities at work behind these words. We know that God created humans as male or female (Genesis 1). We also know that Adam sinned and sin corrupted the world and our desires. Therefore it does not surprise that a number of people—including young people—in this fallen and confused culture, would be confused about their God-given sexuality.

Southern Baptist writer Trevin Wax once asked, “When a person feels a disjunction between one’s sex at birth and one’s gender identity, why is the only course of action to bring the body into closer conformity with the person’s psychological state, rather than vice versa.” As Christians, we know that feelings are unreliable and not a good basis on which to make decisions.

So when a person is a girl and “feels” like a boy, why would we suggest biologically “transitioning” (again, this is not a real word) or changing the body permanently to fit that current state of mind, especially when it’s been shown that many young people outgrow those feelings.

It is for these reasons and more that Christians must stand athwart this cultural moment and shout “stop!” even as others like the Scouts say “go right ahead.”

Brian Hobbs

Author: Brian Hobbs

Brian is editor of The Baptist Messenger.

View more articles by Brian Hobbs.

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  • So thoughtfully and intelligently written, Brian. A thought just occurred to me yesterday, as I was thinking about the deceptive and destructive “lie” (that you can change your gender, or sexual preference for a partner, etc.) that much of the world has fallen for. Immediately, the Holy Spirit impressed this thought upon me: “God is unchangeable, steadfast, reliable, and faithful. He made humankind in His image, and the only “changing” that people are to do is in turning from their sins and being made a new creation in Christ, and THAT is a work of the Holy Spirit. We CANNOT change our gender, or arbitrarily change the definition of male and female, nor God’s male-female design for marriage.” Thank you for your boldness to proclaim the TRUTH that sets people free, Brian!

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