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Pride Month & the Lost 2nd Use of the Law

Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. – Romans 1:32

“George, what are you afraid of if Gay Marriage is legalized? Its not like people will become gay.  People don’t choose to be gay.”  That was an oft-repeated point in the time leading up to the Obergefell decision.  In the years since, we have seen homosexuality go from merely tolerated to Gay Marriage being legalized, corporations tripping over themselves to cash-in, school books celebrating it and kids encouraged to explore it, dragshows for children, and now the Presidential Declaration that June is Pride month.

In the midst of all of this, I have heard repeated concerns from parents with stories of gender and sexual confusion running rampant in their children’s middle schools. One friend in North Carolina told me that in the public school where his daughter goes that 50% of the girls identify as other than straight-female.  A friend in Florida laments how all the middle school girls have girlfriends.   One man in a Christian Facebook group asked for prayer because his daughter who is struggling to make friends came home and told him that she is bisexual because a popular girl in her class came up and spoke to her and she became flush. Naturally, this to her meant she must be gay, because that’s what she’s hearing in school. It can’t be that she was just glad to be noticed.

Are these stories just anecdotal?  Or is something going on? And why is this phenomenon heavily weighted toward adolescent girls?   Abigail Shrier, who is not a Christian, explored an aspect of this in her 2020 book entitled Irreversible Damage : The Transgender Craze that is Seducing Our Daughters.  Her observations are heartbreaking, the statistics are telling, and what is happening is nothing short of child abuse.

And while 50% may be difficult to believe, the statistics do bear out a huge increase in youth identifying as something other than heterosexual + their biological gender.  In reporting on this phenomenon, US News cited a study showing that 17.8% of girls between ages 15-17 identify as other than heterosexual.  Nearly 18%! This compared to a much lower 6% for boys.  When both genders are taken together, that is an overall 41% increase in just 5 years!  A Christianity Today piece cites a recent Barna Study that shows that “Teenagers in Gen Z are at least TWICE as likely as American adults to identify as LGBT.”  That’s a 100% increase between current teenagers and adults.

It is common for social scientists to explain this phenomenon in this way:

“… we cannot be certain if this represents a true increase of this magnitude, or if it reflects at least in part, greater comfort by teens with acknowledging a non-heterosexual identity on an anonymous questionnaire,” – Dr. Andrew Adesman

It is reasonable that this explains some of the increase, but 41% over 5 years, and 100% increase over adults?  Not likely.

What’s This have to do with the Moral Law?

This is where Calvin’s Institutes, Book II helps us out.  Calvin explains that while Christians are saved by Grace through faith there is still validity to the Moral Law of God.  In that, he gives his “3 uses of the law”:

  1. It is a Mirror – It shows us that we don’t live up to God’s standard.
  2. It Restrains Evil in Society – Civil Law is modeled after the moral law.
  3. It shows us what is pleasing to God and encourages us to walk in that manner by the Power of the Holy Spirit.

While there has been much controversy over the 3rd use of the Law being abandoned among Christians, we are seeing the same happen with the 2nd use of the Law.   This has even occurred among Christians who have bought into the lie that gay marriage should be allowed because we aren’t a Christian nation.  We are supposed to after-all have a separation between the Church and State, so the argument goes.

Does it not follow that losing the 3rd Use of the Law leads to a loss of the 2nd Use? If we aren’t to pursue spirit-empowered holiness (3rd), why would we want to see policies and postures that view the law positively (2nd)?  Should we then lament when the culture rejects that sin exists (1st)?

Is it any surprise that Christian leaders who minimize the 3rd use also don’t promote the 2nd, leading them to stop using the 1st use to help people see their need for Christ?

There is great irony in Christian leaders who speak of “human flourishing” while not holding out God’s goodness in His law for how society should operate.   It is counterproductive to overemphasize “Common Grace” without holding out God’s primary mechanism of that grace. The Law does in fact restrain evil in society. Does not society flourish under that? And deconstruct without it?

To be clear, I’m not saying the Law saves a person, nor that it changes one’s heart.
I am saying that it restrains evil, and in doing so is good for society and helps others not be led astray.

I’m NOT saying homosexual activity should be criminalized.

I am also NOT saying that kids should be bullied for not meeting gender norms.

What I am saying is that society should not be legitimizing behavior that is against nature (Romans 1:26-32) and that which the Bible condemns (1 Corinthians 6:9-20).

I am also saying that the Supreme Court had no right to redefine marriage, thereby normalizing homosexual activity and identity.  Governments don’t get to define for themselves this most basic institution for a society.

Marriage and sexuality is defined by God in Genesis 1 and 2 as part of Common Grace for all people.  This is why in Protestantism marriage is not a Sacrament.  It is for all of humanity.  Jesus Christ affirms that Genesis 1 and 2 defines marriage and sexuality (Matthew 19:1-12) as does Paul (Ephesians 5:31).  Therefore, sexual desire is just desire. It may be descriptive of experience but it is not defining of personhood. This of course is also challenged in society.

But, back to the assertion that Gay Marriage will only affect Gay people.  We are seeing that is in fact not the case.  With the normalization of homosexual activity and the removal of the stigma, and the promotion that “sexuality is fluid” kids are being encouraged to explore what in the past we were taught not to.  Making sexual desire for the same-sex a normal and even good thing has in fact led to more kids to consider what they would not have otherwise.  Of course people in the past haven’t chosen this struggle, but now MANY are being trained to.

It is no surprise that the more porn you watch the more likely you are to be bisexual.  It should also be no surprise that during adolescence, when one is understanding (or not) their sexuality that one can be open to alternate sexualities, especially if they are celebrated.

Yes, social pressure helps people not do what society says they shouldn’t.  As Calvin writes about the second use of the law:

The second office of the Law is, by means of its fearful denunciations and the consequent dread of punishment, to curb those who, unless forced, have no regard for rectitude and justice. Such persons are curbed not because their mind is inwardly moved and affected, but because, as if a bridle were laid upon them, they refrain their hands from external acts, and internally check the depravity which would otherwise petulantly burst forth. – Institutes II.6.10

In my day, we didn’t want to be called gay (or any slur version of it).  Again, I am not  affirming bullying but rather that society must rightly acknowledge sin.  Kevin DeYoung explains:

This may sound unloving at first, but we must re-stigmatize fornication and promiscuity, cohabitation and no fault divorce. Social approval for behaviors that used to be considered sinful or at least inappropriate and unwise has been a powerful force in changing this state of marriage in the West. Stigma often speaks louder than dogma. As Christians, we must find ways to lovingly help and forgive those who make mistakes, and especially those who suffer from the mistakes that others have made. I’m not suggesting we stigmatize people, but we should stigmatize sinful behaviors.

While this doesn’t mention homosexuality, the same applies.  As the culture celebrates that which should be suppressed, and kids are encouraged to explore hints of desires that were once easily corrected through both social stigma and proper understanding of desire as it relates to sexuality, we can expect more people to identify as other than “straight”+ their biological gender.

In the end, it’s a disordering of the order of creation, a destruction of society,  and an attempt to dethrone God.  The effects are real. Our kids are being confused and a generation is being destroyed because God has turned us over to madness as we’ve rejected Him.  Romans 1 clearly explains this. We are living it out. And, folks, God will not be mocked.  This warning from our Savior should bring us great trepidation.

but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.  Matthew 18:6

And what about Pride month?  Well, DeYoung is helpful here also:

“But, of course, “pride” is not the only antidote to shame. There are other alternatives, like contrition, repentance, and chastity. Or Spirit-empowered struggle and victory. Or gospel-infused forgiveness and transformation. One way to deal with shame is to convince yourself it shouldn’t be there. The other way is to lay it at the foot of the cross.”

Amen.

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George Sayour

George is Senior Pastor of Meadowview Reformed Presbyterian
Church (PCA) in Lexington, NC. When he's not pastoring or writing, he's fishing, kayaking and spending time with his family.

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