Lutheran response to gender theorists, gnosticism
Rev. Dr. Matthew Richard
As a person of faith, I am responding to the recent letter to the editor titled, “People of faith respond to ‘truth matters.'”
First, it is crucial to acknowledge that there has been an ongoing war on “words” in Western Civilization for quite some time. For example, and brevity’s sake, consider pregnancies. Ponder the subtle implications of the last several decades of describing a baby in the womb as a “fetus” versus calling it a “human being.” Furthermore, contemplate how more recently, the definition of marriage has changed from a conjugal understanding (comprehensive bond between a husband and wife for the procreation of children) to a revisionist understanding (an intense emotional bond between two persons).
And finally, in more recent times, consider how the word “gender” has been redefined. That is, the word “gender” comes from a Proto-Indo-European root, “gen-“ which references the creation, birth, and bringing of a new human being. Gender also means to generate or engender. Even more, the word “gender” connects to the words: genesis, generation, genus, and genitals. That is to say, historically, the word “gender” has absolutely – nothing – to do with social constructs, feelings, behavior, or thoughts. And so, to the point, contrary to what modern gymnastic-linguists assert, “gender” and “sex” are two words that are on opposite sides of the same coin; just as gender refers to species, “sex” comes from the Latin word “sexus,” which refers to the state of being either male or female as well. They objectively mean the same thing… unless you are a word revisionist or a gender theorist.
Secondly, as a Lutheran, why are some spiritual leaders (e.g., other Lutherans) so unwittingly quick to separate “gender” and “sex” — making them two different words? The answer: the age-old heresy of Gnosticism is at work in the church and world. Simply stated, Gnosticism separates the human person into two distinctive spheres — body and soul. While Christianity recognizes these two categories of body and soul, Christianity does not pit them against each other. In other words, it is not healthy, biblical, or salutary for a person to have distinctly different parts separated and put into opposition from one another.
In the case of “gender” and “sex,” this is precisely what modern-day Gnostics are doing. They ascribe “gender” to the soul and “sex” to the body. For the modern-day Gnostic, gender is how you feel inside your “soul,” whereas sex is what your “body” physiologically constitutes. Listen to the words of Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner, “My brain is much more female than it is male. It’s hard for people to understand that. But that’s what my soul is.”
But Gnosticism does not stop with a simple division between the body and soul. It goes further to elevate the soul above the body. To the point, the telltale sign of Gnosticism comes through when the “soul” (i.e., gender) is given supremacy over the body (i.e., sex) of the person. In summary, the modern-day Gnostic splits the human into the “gendered soul” and “sex of the body” and “then” gives supremacy to the “gendered soul” to define the ontological makeup of the human person.
While everyone should treat all people with common good and decency, we cannot allow unbridled compassion to redefine words, for words are not mere labels but also the lens by which we understand and interpret the world around us. To change words is to change reality and what it means to be human. And, while every human person should be treated with dignity — because humanity was created in the image of God — we cannot consciously or subconsciously promote Gnosticism in our culture, especially in the church. Bluntly stated, and to use the words of the previous letter to the editor, it is “hogwash” for any Christian to promote Gnosticism, especially when the ancient church spent centuries to eradicate such a destructive and deceptive heresy that does not lead to love, respect, truth, and freedom.
In conclusion, humanity is not the way, the truth, and the life. We cannot relegate our perception of reality to our ideological constructs, feelings, thoughts, and social constructs. We humans cannot be a compass unto ourselves amid the raging sea of life. Instead, truth, words, and reality belong to Christ, for He is the way, the truth, and the life. He is truth and reality for you, me, and our neighbors.