Hashkama: 15th March 2017 - Strong delusion to believe the lie

(by guest author)

Whilst lawlessness and Godlessness is not a new phenomenon, we are surely living in times when these factors are pervading every element of society and on a global scale. There have always been wicked individuals and evil ideologies which have appealed to some elements of society in certain places but we are seeing changes to the concept of what it means to be human beings made in the image of God, as never before. These changes are accelerating rapidly to the extent that we are told that there is the new ‘normal’. 

In the end times Scripture (2 Thessalonians 2:11) indicates that God will send ‘strong delusion - that they should believe the lie’. Any lie is the work of Satan, and we only open ourselves to the consequences of a lie when we refuse to believe or reject the truth. Postmodernism has sought to replace objective and absolute truth with a subjective and fluid alternative where facts are less important than ensuring individual emotions are satisfied. This has resulted in a so-called ‘post-truth society’ and the emergence of ‘fake news’ to increase confusion about truth and lies. 

There is a lie which has gained increasing acceptance in recent years to the extent that one could surmise that a strong delusion is pervading all strata of society across the globe and this lie is the concept of ‘non-binary’ gender, i.e. any gender that is not exclusively male or female, and ‘sexual fluidity’ which proposes that human sexuality is not stable but malleable through life. Rejecting the truth of mankind made in the image of God, and created as male and female (Gen 1:27-8) has catastrophic consequences for family and community. The effects of this strong delusion are already evident within government policies at an international level, within education, healthcare and legislature and will have significant detrimental consequences for children and families and societal health, wellbeing and stability.

Karl Marx noted that, ‘The secret to the Holy Family is the earthly family. To make the former disappear, the latter must be destroyed, in theory and in practice’[1]. What we are witnessing in society is surely a resolute strategy to try to achieve this goal. The traditional nuclear family has been under threat for several decades and the role of marriage within society has been denigrated but never before has there been such a concerted effort to undermine the essential nature of humanity as made in the image of God. Creation ordinances are being trampled underfoot in the name of tolerance, diversity and equality (Genesis 2:24), and yet those who mount this assault are among the most intolerant and prejudiced and in seeking to deny absolute truth aim to force their worldview onto others. The resulting dissolution of moral standards is being enforced by legal sanctions and opposition is not tolerated.

For example, in Canada if Bill C-16 is passed by the Senate the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code will be amended to add gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination. Those who rejection the concept of gender fluidity could be deemed to encourage hatred and be subject to up to two years in prison.[2] When a magistrate’s court will convict two Christian preachers on public order offences and the Prosecutor claims that to say ‘the only way to God is through Jesus cannot be a truth,’ then we are not far from similar legislation and sanction being introduced in the UK. [3]

In the UK, the Gender Recognition Act (2004) already provides many legal rights for transsexuals, i.e. individuals wanting to change their physical sex because they feel they are ‘in the wrong body’. In December 2016, the Government committed to revising the Act to further accommodate transsexualism. Chairman of the Women and Equalities Committee, Maria Miller MP claimed that more than 650,000 people in the UK ‘identify with being Trans’ (about 1 % of the population). However, since the Gender Recognition Act was introduced in 2004 fewer than 4,500 people have legally changed their sex (0.006 % of the population). The Government is also publishing guidance on gender-neutral toilets[4], how to survey transsexual staff to ensure their needs are met in the workplace, and is committed to looking at ‘self-declaration’ of gender. This would allow individuals to fill out a simple form in order to formalise their legal gender, ‘simpler than renewing a passport’, a process which has existed in Ireland since 2015.[5]

There is a similar process occurring in education, with the UK government proposing an amendment to the Children and Social Work Bill called ‘New Clause 5’ would create a national curriculum subject of ‘Relationships Education’ to be compulsory for children as young as four. Several of the party leaders in Scotland have backed ‘The Time for Inclusive Education’ campaign (TIE), which would make teaching on a number of LGBT issues a compulsory part of the curriculum.[6] This would potentially include same-sex relationships, transgenderism, pro-LGBT sexual health education, Stonewall and the Gay Liberation Movement. This will no doubt be done under the ‘rainbow banner’ thus further perverting a covenant symbol of God’s grace, mercy and faithfulness (Genesis 9:13).

Another such initiative is the Educate & Celebrate book ‘Can I Tell You about Gender Diversity?’ which is described as ‘a helpful guide and discussion starter for children age 7+’. The book undermines the concept of 2 genders (male and female), criticises the phrases ‘boys and girls’ and ‘ladies and gents’, and recommends terms such as ‘cisgender, pan-romantic and genderqueer’. The goal of Educate & Celebrate is to ‘transform schools and organisations into LGBT+ friendly places’ and it has so far received £200,000 from the Department for Education to provide training to school staff and has been praised by Ofsted.[7]  

In 2016 Brighton and Hove City Council were criticised for suggesting to parents that children as young as four should select what sex they identified with before starting school, and yet soon this could be formal government policy, with sanctions for those who do not comply. The right of parents to parent their children is being steadily eroded and this will inevitably result in tension and division in families (Luke 12:53). However, scripture clearly warns of the penalties for those who seek to lead the little ones to stumble when they would seek to put their trust in God (Matthew 18:6).

If parents take their concerns to the Police and judiciary are they likely to have a sympathetic hearing? The Metropolitan Police website makes it clear that ‘abuse because of someone's sexual orientation or gender identity is hate crime’.[8] Most Police Forces now have LGBT liaison officers to provide members of the LGBT community with ‘a thoroughly professional and sensitive service’ and LGBT Networks[9] for officers and staff who identify themselves as ‘lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, GQ, intersex or non-binary.’

In the past, citizens may have sought spiritual counsel and wisdom of the established church. However, globally across denominations[10] church leaders are capitulating to the secular humanist forces which are seeking to redefine human sexuality and the family.[11] The resulting schisms are causing division and confusion within churches[12] and diverting the church from its true purpose in making known the gospel of Christ who alone can save humanity from destruction (Acts 4:12). Younger generations of believers in seeing the ensuing chaos are seeking alternative ways to worship[13] and a ‘pick and mix’ gospel which appeals to the emotions but which will not save their souls (2 Timothy 4:3-4). The church of Christ is far from being ‘purified from errors, divisions, and corruptions, in doctrine, discipline, worship, and practice, and made ready to be publicly owned by Him as His delight and His beloved’ (Revelation 19:7).[14]

Health care has been similarly responsive to the human sexuality and diversity agenda. The British Medical Association 2016 guide to ‘Effective communication- inclusive language in the workplace’ says that pregnant women should be called ‘pregnant people’ and not ‘expectant mothers’ as it could offend transgender people.[15]

The funding crisis in the NHS continues to be newsworthy and yet certain areas of funding rarely make headlines.

The NHS increased its budget for ‘treating’ the transgendered to £26 million last year, up from £17.13 million in 2014. The average cost of ‘gender reassignment’ in 2015 was £19,236 per patient, including hormones, support and surgery, which is equivalent to the starting salary of an NHS nurse.[16] Last year the NHS also assumed responsibility for the provision of PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) to homosexuals at a cost of up to £20million a year. PrEP enables men to continue same sex activity by reducing the risk of them acquiring HIV infection.

The number of children seeking medical attention for transgenderism has increased by 400 per cent in the last five years. The Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust is currently the only British clinic to provide ‘medical treatment’ to transgendered children, some as young as three, at a cost to the taxpayer of almost £5million.[17] Between April 2016 and 26 January 2017, 1,561 children were referred, with the number of referrals having risen by more than 1,000 per cent since records began in 2009/10. Last year Dr Bernadette Wren, a Consultant Clinical Psychologist from the Gender Identity Development Service at the NHS Trust said ‘We should facilitate the “social revolution” of transsexualism and then just wait to see how it turns out’. What will be the consequences of such an experiment? (2 Timothy 3:1-5, Galatians 5:19-21).

The Gender Identity Research and Education Society (GIRES)[18] estimates that about 1% of the British population are gender nonconforming to some degree, with numbers of ‘trans-boys’ and ‘trans-girls’ about equal. In 2015, the Annual Population Survey found 1.7% of adults in the UK identified themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB), however this rose to 3.3% among those aged 16 to 24, the largest percentage within any age group. As a result of the 2015 parliamentary elections there are 32 openly gay, lesbian and bisexual MPs (just under 5%) in the House of Commons. The SNP has the highest proportion of any party in the world (12.5%). How strong a delusion that such a minority should persuade the majority of this new ‘normal’ and reconstruct cultural norms around this lie.

Until recently ‘gender identity disorder’ was classified as a mental disorder (in the Psychiatric diagnostic inventory DSM-IV) but it has now been reclassified and renamed ‘gender dysphoria’ (in the DSM-V).  As with other societal changes highlighted above this was driven by prevailing ideology rather than by scientific evidence or consensus, and many psychologists and psychiatrists dispute the reclassification.  Transgender groups have also disputed the new classification claiming that many are not distressed by their cross-gender identification but as a result of a culture that stigmatizes people who do not conform to gender norms.[19]

In 2016 The American College of Paediatricians produced detailed research confirming that the norm for human design is to be conceived either male or female.[20] The authors confirmed that human sexuality is binary by design with the obvious purpose being the reproduction and flourishing of our species. They highlighted that people who identify as ‘feeling like the opposite sex’ remain biological men or biological women, and based on research data 98% of gender confused boys and 88% of gender confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty. Similarly, rates of suicide are nearly 20 times higher among adults who use cross-sex hormones and undergo sex reassignment surgery. The authors concluded that endorsing gender discordance as normal consigns young people to a lifetime of toxic cross-sex hormones, and unnecessary surgical mutilation of healthy body parts. Within weeks of the report being published Johns Hopkins University, where the lead author was employed, were warned by the Human Right Campaign that failure to take steps to distance the University from the report’s findings would undermine LGBTQ equality and patient care and impact on the ‘Healthcare Equality Index’ score for Johns Hopkins, a sought-after recognition awarded to fewer than 150 of the more than 2,000 US healthcare facilities. In this ‘post-truth’ era those who shout the loudest and have the ear of the media are most likely to be believed (Isaiah 5:20-1).

When people reject the truth, it leaves them open to all manner of evil and false beliefs (Romans 1:18-28, Ephesians 4:17-19). The warning of 2 Thessalonians 2:11 is that being misled by such falsehood is the divine judgment on those who refuse to hear or close their eyes to the truth. It is the sobering reality that people can so resist the truth that God finally gives them over to greater and greater delusion where they wander further from the truth and willingly believe one lie after another. The father of lies (John 8:44) has increasing claim on those who steadfastly refuse to believe the truth and blinds their minds so that they are no longer able to differentiate truth from lies, or light from darkness and so become impervious to ‘the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ’ (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). In this, our creator God who graciously gave us free-will to choose gives the wicked over to the wickedness they have chosen (Proverbs 5:22-3). Those who remain unrepentant and unbelieving thus determine their eternal destiny (Revelation 13:3-8, 20:7-10).

Obedience to Christ in every aspect of life is only possible by God’s grace, and through the indwelling work of his Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 5:17, Ezekiel 36:26-27). The life that we each have been given is precious and unique and each human being has a purpose in the will of God that no one else can fulfil. In creating human beings as male and female God intended a complementarity of roles, and a union that would foreshadow that of Christ and his bride - the church (Ephesians 5:32). The two joined together in life-long union, living in accordance with God’s word are to provide a stable, loving and nurturing environment for children to be born and develop into God honouring adults who would similarly be fruitful and good stewards of God’s created order (Galatians 5:22-3). Whilst sin has marred this intended reality, each human being is made in God’s image, and it is only as we find our identity in Him that we truly discover what it is to be human (1 John 3:1-2). We belong to God and should use our minds and bodies in ways which reflects this sacred truth (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Colossians 3:1-3).

In seeking to do God’s will we are also to rely on His wisdom to keep us from error and where we see error to expose this to prevent others from being deceived by it (Ephesians 5:11). However, we are exhorted to do this with ‘gentleness and respect’ (1 Peter 3:15). If we truly love one another as Christ has loved us (John 13:34-5) we will not wish to see other human beings succumbing to such a strong delusion that will lead them ultimately to destruction and a lost eternity. In a secular humanist society which is increasingly hostile to the things of God and His word this is not an easy task and yet we are assured that we are not alone and with His help we will prevail (1 John 4:4). Those who struggle with their sexuality and gender have often already encountered difficulties in life which cause them to feel isolated, under-valued or unloved. A willingness to listen is often the starting point of a more positive affirming relationship, and overtime this may facilitate prayer and counsel, but ultimately it is only by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ that lives can be truly transformed (Ephesians 2:5). At a societal level we are also called to be witnesses to the truth and despite prevailing concepts there is only One source of absolute and eternal truth (John 3:16). Although it may be increasingly costly to take a stand for the truth of God’s word there are eternal blessings for doing so and eternal consequences for misrepresenting or denying this truth (Matthew 5:11-16,10:32-33). When we consider all that Christ has done for us surely we want others to know the love of God in which we find true peace and from which we can never be separated (Ephesians 2:14, Romans 8:35-9). May God help us in our quest in these perilous days.

[1] Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels, Gesamtausgabe. Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1976:vol. 3, 6.