Today marks four years since the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges case that became a major turning point in the United States. This U.S. Supreme Court decision, requiring states to grant licenses to, and officially recognize, “same-sex marriage” (more accurately called “same-sex mirage” by one pastor) was a decision that sanctioned sexual perversion in an unprecedented manner in the United States. True Christians—those unwilling to indulge sexual sin by normalizing or legitimizing it in any way—have made it clear that we will not be swayed by this zeitgeist.
Pastor John MacArthur, for example, delivered a scathing response one month after this court decision, in a sermon entitled “We Will Not Bow.” In this message, MacArthur stated,
This nation, at its highest level, has taken a position against God. Such blasphemous rebellion is energized—it is energized by the corruption of the collection of sinful hearts, which make up this nation or any nation. There’s no question about that. But behind that collection of sinful, corrupt, human hearts—that make this kind of thing possible and acceptable—is the realm of Satan and demons. The Bible says Satan holds the whole world in his hands; the whole world lies in the lap of the evil one.
God, and Christ, and the Holy Spirit, and the Bible, and the church, and truth are the enemies of Satan. And Satan rules the world. He rules the world of sinners. And he has his power in high places. He is the ruler of the kingdom of darkness, and he hates and seeks to destroy all that is light, all that is truth, all that is pure, all that is holy, all that is virtuous, and all that is good.
I’m saying all of this to let you know that you don’t need to be surprised.
The reality is, many of us were not surprised by culture’s codified carnality. Well before the Supreme Court decision was given, it was obvious that issues related to sexuality, gender, marriage, and family were taking a quick turn into depravity. Of course, the breakneck speed at which this occurred post-Obergefell has been unimaginable. But the signs beforehand were all too clear.
The Cultural Shift
In fact, prior to this turning point in 2015, I was already convinced that this culture could no longer be relied upon to provide my children with even the most basic standards for gender roles. And of course, this unreliability is quite new in our nation’s history.
In decades past, there would have been little objection to women being portrayed with dignity as homemakers. Virtually no one would raise an eyebrow if a husband was the sole bread-winner who worked outside the home. It would be entirely expected that boys would play with toy cars, plastic soldiers, and building blocks, whereas girls would play with dolls, kitchen sets, and plastic jewelry. Sears catalogs from the 1920s through the 1960s show that everyone recognized the inherent difference in toy preferences between the two genders. And as June 6th of this year marked the 75th anniversary of the harrowing World War II operation known as “D-day,” our nation was again reminded of the heroism, bravery, and sacrifice of one of the greatest depictions of true manliness in the history of the world. All this to say, “little Johnny” and “little Susie” in past generations not only instinctively recognized what it meant to be a boy or girl, but culture reinforced that God-given identity for them.
Instead, we now supposedly have “men” who can give birth. We now have biological males winning NCAA women’s track championships. We now have “drag queen story time”—men wearing dresses and reading books in public libraries to young children. With words like “cisgender,” “transsexual,” and “genderqueer,” the number of so-called “gender identities” has all but surpassed the number of Baskin-Robbins ice cream flavors. Sadly, and ironically, our technologically-driven culture is actually more committed to binary (found in the 0s and 1s underlying the computer code of our cherished electronics) than ever before—except in the area of gender!
The stark reality is that our Western culture can no longer provide your children with even the most basic depictions of men and women.
All this to say, even before the flood gates opened with Obergefell, I began what can only be described as a “gender catechism” with my kids. It’s short, it’s basic, and it’s unsophisticated. But it's critically important. After all, when the Bible makes statements such as “Act like men” (1 Cor. 16:13) or “I do not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man” (1 Tim. 2:12), a commitment to gender truth is necessary for correct interpretation and application.
How gender catechism works is simple (as any discussion on gender should be): develop a list of “things a man does” and a list of “things a woman does,” teach your kids the list, and then at opportune times, quiz them by asking them to recite a certain number of things a man or woman does.
So for example, when your son holds a door open for his mom or sister (or any other female), in the moments following that chivalrous gesture, you might ask, “So, what are four other things a man does?” You then give him the opportunity to recite what he can from memory, and discuss it for a brief moment before moving on with the day. Unlike an official catechism, which should be used regularly and systematically for theological instruction, this kind of catechesis in gender roles is meant to be much more informal, mainly used to bolster your child’s understanding of why men and women are made to live and act in distinct ways. It’s not intended to be a formal lesson, nor an extended lecture, but a quick way to help shape your child’s understanding of what it means that “He who created them from the beginning made them male and female” (Matt. 19:4).
Here are my lists (in no particular order):
“Things a Man Does”
Goes to work
Protects his family
Teaches his family the Bible
Disciplines his kids
Smells like dirt and fire
Loves his wife
Loves his kids
Cooks food on the grill
“Things a Woman Does”
Cooks food for her family
Cleans the house
Teaches her kids the Bible
Is so pretty
Smells like flowers
Loves her husband
Loves her kids
They Will Be Catechized
As you can see from the lists above, there are some items that are identical for men and women, some things that are similar for men and women, and some things that are entirely specific to either men or women. However you shape your list, the point is to provide basic characteristics that will assist your child’s view of the two genders. If done in the right spirit, enjoying elements of truth-based silliness (for example, insisting that men “smell like dirt and fire”), your kids may find gender catechism to be more fun than you’d imagine. And all the while, you’ll be preemptively refuting the lies that will assault them in mainstream television, movies, music, and books.
Ultimately, if you assume culture will direct your kids toward a proper view of the differences between the two genders, you’re likely blinded by nostalgia. Gone are the days in which men are expected to be men and women are expected to be women. Culture has changed. Thankfully though, the true and living God “who made them male and female” never does.
So, you can either gender catechize your kids based on God’s intended roles, or you can let culture gender catechize your kids based on man’s perverted rebellion. But one way or another, make no mistake about it: your children will be gender catechized. May the Lord bless you as your raise your sons and daughters—precious little males and females—verse by verse through His Word, in a Romans 1 culture.