Why Saying ‘Love Is Love’ Cheapens Real Love

Why Saying ‘Love Is Love’ Cheapens Real Love

If you’ve spent any time on social media lately, you’ve probably seen a phrase being used which simply says, ‘Love is Love’. The meaning behind the statement is that falling in love is not about the gender of the person, nor important if it’s monogamous or polyamorous. The sentiment is that you can be gay, bi or straight and pursue a monogamous or polyamorous relationship as long as you’re getting the love, affection and companionship that you need to be happy and fulfilled emotionally as well as satisfied sexually.

The understanding is that when someone makes the statement using the three words, ‘love is Love’, that should settle the matter. After all, how can you argue with someone else’s choice to love? For that matter, it might not even be a choice anyways if I have ‘fallen in love’ because that’s an uncontrolled physical and emotional response to chemistry between two people that just happens. Is it though?

There are a few issues that need to be addressed that come along with the blanket statement ‘Love is Love. For instance, where do we draw the line? Does it only include ‘love’ between two consenting adults, or could it include love between an adult and a child or a human and an animal?

To most of us, including those who promote the current idea of the phrase ‘love is love’, those suggestions would be unthinkable. However, only a few short years ago the majority would have been aghast at the idea of the love is love ideology as it is promoted today. Yet there are movements afoot to normalize both pedophilia and bestiality as we speak, who’s to say that one day they wouldn’t be ‘normalized’? It’s happened before in past cultures – Rome & Greece are just two examples of many.

Who set’s the boundary of this love is love ideology anyways? After all, ‘Love is love’ isn’t it? It comes down to the simple pursuit of happiness and that sense of being needed, wanted, and cared for – isn’t that what we all want? If the answer to those questions are in the affirmative then I’d say, ‘go for it!’.

But what if it is not an enlightened way to live but is instead a foolish lie? What if it leads to unhealthy places for one or both involved; emotionally, spiritually, and yes even physically?[1] If that’s the case then we need to be extremely careful in making a case for what we might think should be normal and accepted in our culture.

Before we go on, let’s look at this falling in love idea…

IS FALLING IN LOVE A REAL THING? 

I’ve heard the statement used, “Well you can’t help who you ‘fall in love’ with”. Falling in love is an expression describing someone’s emotional state when those puppy dog, googly eyed, happy feelings of what’s assumed to be love, start to grip the soul and make you feel like you just can’t breathe another moment without that person being in the same room with you. But I think we need to ask whether or not ‘falling in love’ is even a real thing.

The idea of “falling in love” relies on warm emotions and (more than likely) surging hormones. However, the idea that love is all about feelings is more of a western cultural, 20th century invention than anything else. The biblical view of love is that love can exist apart from feelings. Think about it, no hormones are needed to obey the command to “love your neighbour as yourself” – James 2:8. In other words, we choose to love; that is, we commit ourselves to act in the best interests of another person.

Of course, nice emotions often accompany love, and we naturally have warm feelings toward someone we’re attracted to. And of course, it’s good and proper to have positive feelings and surging hormones when in the company of your spouse. But if that’s all there is to “falling in love,” then we’re in trouble. What happens when the feelings fall away? What about when the hormones stop surging? Have we fallen “out” of love?

Love should never be seen as dependent on feelings or expediency or romantic attraction. The “falling in love” concept places undue emphasis on the emotional condition of those involved. The wording of the phrase almost makes it sound as if love were an accident: “I can’t help falling in love with you” makes a nice song lyric, but, in real life, we are responsible to control our emotions. Many marriages have been ended (and many foolishly begun) because someone “fell in love” with the wrong person.

Love isn’t a state that we stumble into; it’s a commitment that we grow into. It’s probably more accurate to say that those who “fall in love” actually “fall in lust” or “fall into infatuation” or “fall into co-dependency.”

So my answer to that question, ‘is falling in love a real thing?’ can only be no, but rather an invention of the western world’s infatuation with a ‘fun’ emotional sensation.

LOVE IS LOVE STILL… ISN’T IT?

Even still, someone may not have experienced the emotional sensation of falling in love but have instead grown into a love commitment with someone other than their spouse, with more than one partner at a time or with someone of the same gender. If that’s the case then can we not say that for them at least, love is love? If loving is a choice that means I can still love someone of the same gender, or more than one person… after all love is love – right?

Ephesians 5:31 is a quotation of Genesis 2:24, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one.” Paul adds in verse 32: “This is a great mystery, and I take it to mean Christ and the church.”

The union of one man and one woman in marriage is a mystery because it presents a parable, a true story, a picture of Christ and the church. And hidden in this allegory of marriage is that God ordained a permanent union between his Son Jesus and the church. In other words, marriage Is not simply an ancient cultural definition that we haven’t ‘evolved’ away from yet, nor is it an accident that marriage between a man and woman provides the church with a language to explain Christ’s relation to the church.

God had purposefully designed human marriage to be an earthly reflection of his celestial plan. Do you see that picture? God willed it that Christ and the church become one body, and then willed it for marriage to reflect that pattern. That is why we see the blessing and encouragement of a husband and wife becoming one flesh as stated in Genesis 2:24.

Paul paints the picture for us even further about this being the image for the church when he says, “For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 11:2

Now, understanding that – when people say that “love is Love” – we can’t help but see how it cheapens what true love is. It doesn’t allow for the full expression to be experienced as God intended, and we see it for what it is (or is not). It’s not an enlightened understanding of love at all but is in truth a bad copy at best.

Of all the ways we might think about love being expressed, biblical love gives us the best definition. In fact, it’s described as “the most excellent way” – 1 Corinthians 12:31. Paul says that “Love is patient, love is kind” – 1 Corinthians 13:4. I don’t think that it should be lost on us that we don’t find too many people, if any at all, “falling into” patience or kindness, do we?

“Falling in love” or saying that “love is Love” are nice phrases and make for great soundbites to use in the moment or in songs on a soundtrack. They appeal to the emotions and give us nice fuzzies, the goosebumps, the enjoyable feelings of having entered the ideal romance. Please understand that I think that those feelings are fine, in and of themselves, and it’s possible that those who are “falling in love” have actually found a perfect match.

But we need always remember that love is more than emotional involvement based on physical attraction. It’s more than finding a person or persons to ‘enjoy’ experiences with. Truth is that those who are falling in love are sometimes blinded to the reality of their situation and can easily mistake the intensity of their emotions for genuine love.

But there’s some good news…

REDEMPTION BRINGS RECOVERY

God created marriage between one man and one woman to be THE image of Jesus’ relationship to the church. But the problem has been that sin has so confused the image as to make it unrecognizable. If contemporary culture succeeds in redefining and reimaging the purpose of love relationships, the meaning of the image we are to reflect to the world of Christ & his bride, seen as love between a husband and wife will be obscured for many years to come.

That is why we, who are committed to God’s definition of marriage, must live out the true meaning of authentic, committed love relationships, with our spouses if we’re married, within the church in authentic ways, with our neighbours representing Jesus to them, and even more importantly with Jesus Christ himself, growing to know him intimately.

As we grow in these love relationships, we need to commit to living out our true love publicly and joyfully, so that the world sees it and begins to recognize the depth of love they are missing out on. We need to live it out in such a way that our love displays Christ in all his beauty. That’s the Gospel being put on display! And pray that those who see our love in action will be so attracted to Jesus that they soon become counted among the redeemed and recover the life they were created for – a love relationship with our Heavenly Father, through his son Jesus, accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit.

True story – It’s only as our lives are redeemed that true recovery back to reflecting the image of Jesus can be realized just as those ‘some’ were redeemed and recovered who Paul wrote to in the Corinthian church so long ago.

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” – 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

[1]A telling statistic is that HPV infection is found in about 90% of people with anal cancer: https://www.medicaldaily.com/does-anal-sex-lead-anal-cancer-3-facts-and-myths-400561

Should Christians Care About Drag Shows?

I don’t think it’s just me, but it only seems like we (our collective culture)  blinked and then, what was once a part of the gay subculture, men dressing up as drag queens, have now become a common and celebrated feature of pop culture.

They’re featured prominently in Pride parades and other LGBTQ+ celebrations. Events promoted as “family friendly” are easily discovered in places like the public library for story time readings, elementary schools, family time brunches, beauty contests, and talent shows.  And of course, there are a number of current TV shows focused on drag, like RuPaul’s Drag Race (VH1), We’re Here (HBO), Call Me Mother (OutTV), and Legendary (HBO Max).

As the world of drag becomes more mainstream a question has begun to be asked. Is this type of entertainment ok for the Christian to enjoy? Isn’t it just another form of acting? After all, the ancient Greek actors were only men who’d dress up to act the various roles of women in their plays. We have watched Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie and Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire without watching the world blow up – even had good laughs while watching those movies. Totally innocent fun – isn’t it? 

Well, I personally think that the ancient Greeks probably shouldn’t be held up as the moral standard, and Hollywood should not be the litmus test for right or wrong about anything. Instead, let’s explore a little about what message is being sent via this current entertainment craze – ‘drag shows’ and what if anything the bible says about it and why or if a Christian should care.

Let’s begin by exploring a term that has been gaining traction lately to describe the actual purpose of drag shows – ‘Queering’.

What is Queering?

The term Queer itself has become an identity label as well as a point of pride and celebration. Hence the Q in the LGBTQ+ acronym. Queer can be a collective label for anything within the LGBTQ+ spectrum – that is, any person or thing that falls outside heterosexual or stereotypical gender norms.

As academic scholars began using the word queer to define their radical social theories, the word gained additional power. These theories were aimed at elevating non-traditional sexuality and devaluing heterosexuality as the normalized good in society. One way of combating what these scholars labeled heteronormativity was by a specific disruptive process of queering. Through this use, queer had become a verb – an action.

Queering is intended to complicate and disrupt what is perceived to be the normative. As an action, it is the use of words, actions, or representatives to directly challenge heterosexuality, traditional gender roles, or the male/female binary. (binary is identifying as a man or a woman or even presenting yourself specifically and exclusively as a man or woman)

The Encyclopedia of Diversity and Social Justice (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015) defines queering in this way: Queering is one strategy for queer activists who want to unsettle or complicate normative practices, spaces, or discourses. Introducing queer bodies into normative spaces, for instance, changes the dynamics of that space by unsettling the taken-for-granted characteristics of that space. Drag queens might “take over” a “straight bar” in order to queer the space or complicate what that space means to the people inhabiting it.

In other words, disrupt foundational assumptions about sex and gender and, thereby, transform social norms by offering new possibilities. These possibilities do not have to be the new normal in themselves, but they work to move people’s sensibility toward accepting queerness as normal (and fun) by offering a counterpoint to it.

We can clearly see this unfolding during a Drag performance. That’s because the Drag performance itself is an act of queering in its attempt to complicate and unsettle binary depictions of sex and gender.

This is evidenced in the complicated use of pronouns which dismantles order and clarity as in the case of Ru Paul. Ru Paul has one set of pronouns (he/him) and a different set when dressed in drag (she/her). The drag persona is female while the real person underneath is male, as evidenced when RuPaul was signed to a modeling contract for MAC Cosmetics. Various billboards featured him in full drag, often with the text “I am the MAC girl”.

But the queering practice goes deeper. Consider the way Drag Queen Story Hours have become a feature of education in recent years. These are events where a drag performer reads storybooks to young children in a school, library, or bookstore setting. The Drag Queen Story Hour website proudly declares that through these events “kids are able to see people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where everyone can be their authentic selves!” The purpose is to stretch a child’s imagination to include drag queens as normal. This is precariously close to, if not already, the grooming of our children.

Here’s the thing, queering is intentionally designed to blur the lines of male, and female. Further, It’s meant to make people more accepting of the LGBTQ+ ideology at an emotional level.

And not only are (should) Christians completely be right to oppose it. Even some within the LGBTQ+ community speak out against the practice of queering. One drag queen, who goes by the name “Kitty Demure,” scolded parents for promoting Drag Queen Story Hour events.

“Would you want a stripper or a porn star to influence your child? It makes no sense at all. A drag queen performs in a nightclub for adults. There is a lot of filth that goes on. A lot of sexual stuff that goes on. And backstage there’s a lot of nudity, sex, and drugs. Okay? So I don’t think this is an avenue you would want your child to explore.” – Kitty Demure

Why Should Christians Care?

Many Christians insist that other Christians just need to quiet down, hold their peace, and love their neighbours and let each be who they want to be. In a conversation I recently had with a friend who was promoting that approach said to me, “After all, Jesus didn’t speak against homosexuality, drag, or other LGBTQ+ issues, so he’s at least neutral if not open to it. What Jesus doesn’t condemn; we shouldn’t condemn.”

On the surface this may sound plausible; however, the problem with this argument is that this is an argument from silence. The fact is that silence doesn’t take place in a vacuum. Should kidnapping be allowable too? After all Jesus never said that kidnapping was a sin, yet I’m sure that all of us would agree that stealing children is wrong.

It’s true that Jesus didn’t address drag directly, but he did speak clearly about sexuality in general, specifically addressing and defining marriage and gender roles in Matthew 19:4–6 & Mark 10:6–9 using both Genesis 1:26–27 & Genesis 2:24 to explain it.

 “At the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So, they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.” – Matthew 19:4-6

Here Jesus defines and affirms gender roles as a man and a woman, a reflection of the fact that God made us male and female to care for creation together. If Jesus had believed in a broader definition of gender and a blurring of the lines between the two, then here was his opportunity to present it.

Yet he never spoke of, or presented a spectrum along the gender line, he spoke only of two clearly defined terms and roles – man and woman. Jesus was solidly affirming the male – female relationship as it had been established with the very first couple, Adam & Eve. This is a major reason we Christians should care.

Back to the Drag show situation – we Christians should also care because of an issue that has become more prevalent over the past number of years and of which drag shows most certainly help to normalize. Namely a condition termed ‘Gender Dysphoria’ (or gender identity disorder).

Gender Dysphoria is fast becoming an accepted standard in our world and is quickly being eliminated as a classified disorder at all. An individual may now identify as ‘male’, ‘female’ or ‘other’ on many, if not all, government forms today. In this new world order we now see that Transgenderism currently finds protection within the law of the land… at least north of the American/Canadian border.

In Canada, Bill C-16, was recently introduced that updates the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to include the terms “gender identity” and “gender expression” making it illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender identity or expression. It also extends hate speech laws to include the two terms, making it a hate crime to target someone for being transgender.

Jordan Peterson, Canadian clinical psychologist, cultural critic, and professor of physiology at the University of Toronto, jumped all over it, “I will never use words I hate,” Peterson wrote, “like the trendy and artificially constructed words ‘zhe’ and ‘zher.’ These words are at the vanguard of a post-modern, radical leftist ideology that I detest, and which is, in my professional opinion, frighteningly similar to the Marxist doctrines that killed at least 100 million people in the 20th century.”

Granted, not all drag performances are brazenly sexualized, nor are all those who identify with a gender dysphoria sexual predators, however the truth rains that the very act of drag perverts the picture of God’s clearly defined created order and why again we as Christians should care.

“God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female.” – Genesis 1:27

How Should Christians Respond?

Certainly, some applaud Jordan Peterson, even while others decry his position. Lines have been drawn, opinions shared, accusations made, and unkind words are being thrown left and right. For myself, no matter my personal opinion about the ‘gender’ issue, I am first and foremost a believer in treating people with a value and respect that I’d hope to receive for myself. We shouldn’t need a law to force us to respect other people.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t believe that this blurring of the gender lines is sin and a problem. I do believe that it is certainly sin and needs to be called out for what it is. It is controlling the hearts and minds of people, damaging society along with the individuals who are caught in the lie that says their self-worth is found in their sexuality or sexual identity. It’s not! Self-worth can only be found in Jesus Christ. And one of the ways we discover our self-worth and true identities through Jesus is in the celebration of the sexes as God created them, male and female.

However, this never gives a Christian license to demean someone who might struggle with sexual identity or identifies other than their birth gender. In fact, as disciples of Jesus Christ, our churches should be the safest place to talk about, and struggle with gender dysphoria. Yet too often, our churches have been anything but safe – and that’s something that Christians, including me, need to repent about. The Bible challenges churches to reflect and represent Jesus by reaching out to transgender and gender dysphoric neighbours with loving grace-filled hope.

I’m not sure that the average church is living out that challenge though. Having said that I believe most churches would like to. So, the question begs to be asked; To live like that, what would we need to be more like? If we lived like that what would we look like?

We Must be a Caring People

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” – Luke 19:10

If a self-identified transgender individual walked into your church, would this person be greeted? How about invited for lunch? How about invited back next Sunday? Our response to those who identify as transgender must be absolute and sincere, “You are welcome here. You are loved.”

That’s because we believe that all people matter to God. As a result, we must seek to intentionally engage all people with an effort to move them toward God, while relating to them where they are at in every stage of life and spiritual journey. The mission of every Christian is to be ‘salt’ and ‘light’ within their circle of influence. This needs to be characterized by genuine friendships; actively doing good deeds; sharing a personal witness; & dependence upon prayer and the Holy Spirit’s convicting /drawing work.

Sadly though, too often our churches give the impression that the Son of Man came to seek and save the squeaky clean, not the lost. To combat this requires us to be transparent about our own struggles and failings. The antidote to this impression is to embrace the compassion that Jesus extends to each of us – and in turn extend it to others. We need to live lives that habitually repent often, forgive freely, extend grace continuously, and love fully.

We Must be a Listening People

As the bringers of light to a dark world and as representatives of Jesus who declared himself as the way, the truth and the life, we must boldly stand for truth and declare the way. That must never change. However, I wonder if, in our fervor we too often believe we can just declare the truth to the world and think that our job is done. “Good job boys… that’ll tell em.”

We work hard to make sure we have our truth or theology and apologetics down pat and then act as though we can simply give the ‘right’ answer, or the so called ‘Sunday school response’ to all the cultural problems being faced, believing then that the ‘issue’ will be cleared up, much like a home remedy for a spiritual head cold. But the problem is that many aren’t looking for head answers because they’re crying out to us from the heart. God made us with both heads and hearts that come with real thoughts, real feelings, and real desires.

I wonder if we sometimes forget that it is real people living in our neighbourhoods, interacting in our work spaces, sitting in our gatherings, and having real struggles. What do they hear in our conversations? Do they hear people trying to understand them or do they hear the dismissiveness of someone who has never really stopped to consider how they feel?

Of anyone on this earth, we should be known for being the ones who seek to understand their heart. This takes work, because sometimes, instead of coming up with the ‘answers’ we should spend more time being silent while honestly listening. In order to sincerely affect someone, we need to first listen to their heart.

We Must be a People of Grace & Truth

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” – John 1:14

Jesus was full of both grace and truth. He wasn’t 50% grace and 50% truth. He was 100% grace and 100% truth. He always had exactly the right balance in his response to people and situations.

Most of us gravitate to one side or the other. We’re primarily truth people or primarily grace people. But rarely does anyone exhibit a healthy, Christ-like balance of both virtues. I confess to being out of balance on the truth side. I frequently need an extra measure of mercy and grace.

Only Jesus demonstrated a perfect even-handedness in every situation. He was passionate for truth. He prayed, “Sanctify them in the truth – your word is truth” – John 17:17. Yet he was compassionate toward hurting people. He encouraged his followers, “Love one another as I have loved you” – John 15:12.

To truly understand grace is to understand that I am an unworthy recipient of God’s mercy, and that but for the grace of God I would be not only a sinner but a condemned sinner. In consequence, I must endeavor to reflect in my dealings with others something of the mercy God has shown me.

Grace is an essential part of God’s character and is closely related to his benevolence, love, and mercy. Grace can be variously defined as “God’s favour toward the unworthy” or “God’s benevolence on the undeserving.” In his grace, God is willing to forgive us and bless us abundantly, in spite of the fact that we don’t deserve to be treated so well or dealt with so generously. As the recipients of God’s grace, Christians are to be gracious to others even while speaking the truth.

If our churches are marked by one thing, let it be both grace and truth – the grace that always welcomes, always goes the extra mile, always forgives, and is extended continuously, even while being anchored in the truth of God’s Word.

We were meant to be a place of grace and truth – a place where everyone, no matter background or struggles, finds homes open and family offered, a place where people are listened to and loved rather than stereotyped and lectured. But also a place where people can find the truth of God’s Word being taught and applied. If you’re a disciple of Jesus Christ, God is calling you to that ministry.

We’re not in Kansas Anymore – Reflections on the Passage of Bill C-4

PAUL CARTER  |  DECEMBER 8, 2021 (From an article written for the Gospel Coalition)

On Tuesday, December 7th the Canadian Senate passed Bill C-4, effectively banning the practice known as conversion therapy. The bill had been introduced to the House of Commons on November 29th and was approved on December 1st without further debate or study. It received Royal Assent today and will become the law of the land in 30 days.

The vast majority of Christians are opposed to the sort of coercive practices that many associate with conversion therapy; however, the language of Bill C-4 as passed is exceedingly broad and may have the effect of criminalizing religious conversation and teaching with respect to the Biblical perspective on human sexuality and gender.

The proposed changes to the Criminal Code by Bill C-4 are summarized as follows:

This enactment amends the Criminal Code to, among other things, create the following offences:

(a)?causing another person to undergo conversion therapy;

(b)?doing anything for the purpose of removing a child from Canada with the intention that the child undergo conversion therapy outside Canada;

(c)?promoting or advertising conversion therapy; and

(d)?receiving a financial or other material benefit from the provision of conversion therapy.

It also amends the Criminal Code to authorize courts to order that advertisements for conversion therapy be disposed of or deleted.[1]

This new bill thus expands the provisions of the original proposal from protecting minors to protecting persons in general. It seeks to criminalize any act of “causing another person to undergo conversion therapy”. It does not matter that the person consented to or even sought out the therapy in question.

Again, if conversion therapy were to be defined as “using coercive means or methods to change a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation/behaviour” then most Christians would heartily endorse this bill. The definition proposed, however, is exceedingly broad:

Definition of conversion therapy

320.?101?In sections 320.?102 to 320.?104, conversion therapy means a practice, treatment or service designed to

(a)?change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual;

(b)?change a person’s gender identity to cisgender;

(c)?change a person’s gender expression so that it conforms to the sex assigned to the person at birth;

(d)?repress or reduce non-heterosexual attraction or sexual behaviour;

(e)?repress a person’s non-cisgender gender identity; or

(f)?repress or reduce a person’s gender expression that does not conform to the sex assigned to the person at birth.

For greater certainty, this definition does not include a practice, treatment or service that relates to the exploration or development of an integrated personal identity — such as a practice, treatment or service that relates to a person’s gender transition — and that is not based on an assumption that a particular sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression is to be preferred over another.[2]

The Bible does not make a distinction between biological sex and gender, so it is unclear from this definition if preaching a sermon on Genesis 1:27 would now place a pastor outside the boundaries of Canadian law:

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27 ESV)

Of further concern is the provision that “conversion therapy” be identified with efforts to “repress or reduce non-heterosexual attraction or sexual behaviour”. The Bible clearly identifies heterosexual marriage as the proper context for sexual behaviour and expression and urges all others outside that estate to exercise self-control. Is a Bible Study on the fruit of the Spirit, as taught in Galatians 5, now to be considered outside the law?

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22–23 ESV)

One suspects that the government intends to see such questions answered in the courts.

What is clear is that the government has privileged a very particular metaphysical view – a view at odds with medical science and nearly every religious tradition on planet earth. Their view is plainly stated in the preamble to the bill that passed without dissent and to loud applause on December 7th:

Whereas conversion therapy causes harm to the persons who are subjected to it;

Whereas conversion therapy causes harm to society because, among other things, it is based on and propagates myths and stereotypes about sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, including the myth that heterosexuality, cisgender gender identity, and gender expression that conforms to the sex assigned to a person at birth are to be preferred over other sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions;

And whereas, in light of those harms, it is important to discourage and denounce the provision of conversion therapy in order to protect the human dignity and equality of all Canadians;

Now, therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

The idea that gender equates to biological sex would have been taken for granted by every generation of Canadians prior to this one. To enshrine the spirit of the age as the law of the land is an act of hubris. To refer to the beliefs once held universally and still held broadly by many Canadians, as “myths” and “stereotypes” is an act of blatant intolerance. The net result will be legal exposure and authorized harassment of pastors and churches.

Where Does This Go From Here?

As mentioned above, having received Royal Assent, Bill C-4 will become the law of the land within 30 days. At some point thereafter it will likely end up before the courts subject to a constitutional challenge. Given the robust provisions of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms with respect to religious belief and expression, it may be expected that the language and breadth of the bill will be found to exceed what is permitted by law.

Christians should be praying for and working towards a better version of this legislation with the ultimate goal of protecting all people from abusive and coercive practices while at the same time protecting the rights of parents and pastors to read, teach and commend what the Bible has to say about sex and gender.

How Should Canadian Christians Respond?

There are two extremes that ought to be avoided.

Firstly, Christians should avoid over reaction. We mustn’t even appear to be in favour of abusive and coercive practices. Christians do not resort to strong arm tactics. We speak, we love, we model, we commend, we pray. That is our playbook. Conversion therapy should never have been a tool in anyone’s toolbox in the first place. We must avoid over stating our concerns and we must avoid even the appearance of indifference toward people who have suffered under these treatments. We must be narrow and specific with respect to our concerns with Bill C-4.

Secondly, we must avoid trimming our sails. I’ve already heard pastors talking about no longer making their sermons available online and no longer broadcasting worship services. This would place the elderly, the sick and the stranger outside the sound of the Gospel! There may be a place for an offline training event; there may be wisdom in providing some “closed door counsel” to the congregation as to how to engage on these matters, but the Gospel must remain public. If we must suffer for preaching the whole counsel of God, then so be it.

Jesus told us that dangerous days were to be assumed and expected.

“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16 ESV)

It’s time for us to take that counsel seriously.

Let us be wise as serpents. Let us not rant and rave in the Public Square. Let us not take the bait on every offered hook. Let us be measured and disciplined in the statement of our concerns.

And let us be innocent as doves. Let us not abandon our call to preach. Let us not turn our backs on the vulnerable and the abused. Let us be humble and restrained in our public protestations.

And if we should suffer for preaching and speaking the truth in love, then let us rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is our reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before us.

Even so, come Lord Jesus!

Pastor Paul Carter


To listen to the most recent episodes of Pastor Paul’s Into The Word devotional podcast on the TGC Canada website see here. To access the entire library of available episodes see here. You can find his personal blog, Semper Reformanda, by clicking here.

[1] https://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/44-1/bill/C-4/first-reading

[2] https://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/44-1/bill/C-4/first-reading