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Saturday, February 22, 2020

What Would RC Do?



Not long ago I saw a posting on Facebook that asked the question in effect "what would RC do"? The context of the question was a video that came with the posting about one of RC's classes on YouTube. In the episode in question, RC was discussing with his class that he once encountered a lady, in his earlier years, to whom he originally referred as "colored." In the course of their conversation, the lady told him that she preferred to be addressed as "negro" (you can likely guess the time frame in which the conversation took place). After thinking about it for a bit, RC tells his class, he decided that if that is what the lady wanted to be called, then that's what he would call her.

So far nothing controversial about RC's actions. After all, why would you not want to make the person you're speaking to feel comfortable whenever you can. That is especially true when it comes to the manner of address they would prefer. Here's where the controversy comes in, however. The Facebook poster asked the question in the context of whether we as Christians should be willing to address transgender people by their preferred manner of address or pronoun. In other words, calling a transgender person who has become a "man" sir or he or calling a transgender person who has become a "woman" she or lady. It doesn't take much imagination to determine where the individual fell on this spectrum although they didn't say so explicitly. 

Aside from the propriety of a Christian supporting someone's twisted sense of who they really are, the primary issue in my view is not what we call people. The primary issue is: who exactly is it that we follow? Most of those who will read this article will likely remember the fad saying that went around several years ago "What Would Jesus Do"? A whole host of paraphernalia was developed to capitalize on the fact that just about every "Christian" went around with that saying on their lips. Eventually, it was abbreviated to WWJD and wrist bands, t-shirts, and many other items were produced to help people remember what Jesus would supposedly do in every situation. Although the campaign was rather superficial and gimmicky, the idea behind it is essentially correct. We need to ask ourselves the question of what Jesus and not man thinks about anything and everything.

Here's the bottom line. Whether we're talking about RC Sproul, John Macarthur, Arthur W. Pink or whoever, our responsibility when we consider what they say is the same as when we consider what any other much less important person such as me would say: we need to "prove all things and hold fast what is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:22). This Scripture implies that whatever is not good needs to discarded. So if RC had said something about transgenderism (and to my knowledge he didn't say anything about how to address such individuals directly), then our responsibility is to examine it in light of the Scriptures and determine whether it is biblically sound or not. We cannot become people worshipers. And I believe that RC himself would tell us as much. 

Regardless of how theologically sound we may be, we are not perfect. Thus, we will make mistakes, we will say things that are in error, and we will go astray in some things at some time or another. Our theological knowledge, however strong it may be, is not complete and perfect. It will not be perfect until we reach the other shore. Therefore, we need to be sensitive to that fact and not think of ourselves "more highly than we ought to" (Romans 12:3). So regardless of who said what, and regardless of how much you may respect them, examine what they say in the light of God's revelation, not the other way around. It is the only way to ensure that what you follow is according to God's revealed, inerrant, infallible word.




4 comments:

  1. Clearly, what black people (and other folk) have been called has changed with the times. I certainly remember back to the 50's & 60's when "colored" and "black" were the terms of choice. And certainly there were less flattering names, as all races have directed at them. I do agree with your premise that we ought call people what they prefer, so whatever word is the (more or less) consensus label among a race of people ought be honored. However, I have no responsibility (or desire) to call a man...a woman. Or a woman a man. Whatever you are born - you are. And so shall you ever be addressed by me. Period. My Christian sense of deference and civility does not extend far enough
    to cater to the delusion of misguided men and women who seek to destroy God's most basic creation order of male/female.

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    1. Agree. There is so much confusion already that for us to add to it would be unforgivable. We can't continue to feed people's delusions. But there may be opportunities for us to share the gospel when we encounter folks who fall in this category. Sinners need to know they're sinners; otherwise they'll never see the need for a Savior. As someone told my wife just yesterday "if God doesn't accept my good works, I don't want that kind of God." Yeah, the natural man doesn't want God, that's the point. They want to be, in the words of Invictus, "the Captain of my soul, the Master of my destiny." Thanks for sharing.

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  2. RC would probably say, look to God's infallible word, not at me.

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    1. I would dare say that he would definitely say so! Thanks!

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