Public Repentance For Public Sin
Rosaria Butterfield is a well-known name in evangelical circles. She was engrossed in lesbianism before she came to Christ savingly renouncing her former lifestyle. Recently, she made headlines publicly repenting of her use of “transgender pronouns.” In the piece, she states:
“My use of transgendered pronouns was not a mistake; it was sin. Public sin requires public repentance, not course correction. I have publicly sinned on the issue of transgender pronouns, which I have carelessly used in books and articles. I have publicly sinned by advocating for the use of transgender pronouns in interviews and public Q&As.”1
First of all, let me state that I am not intimately familiar with all of Mrs. Butterfield’s writings and works. With that being said, I must say that I respect her humility to come out in public repentance once she saw that she was in error. That kind of sincerity is very rare in today’s world of digital media. No doubt, she could have just gone forward never mentioning the issue, yet her willingness to speak out on this point demonstrates in this instance a genuine passion for the truth that is not normal in today’s culture. Notice how she is clear to point out this was not merely a mistake rather “it was sin.” I appreciate that direct approach in talking about this entire subject. My point in today’s article is not to give thoughts on Butterfield’s entire body of work before or after this repentance. Rather, I want to highlight some of the insights she gives on the issue of transgender pronouns. I believe much of what she says is helpful when considering this issue especially considering she has come to a solidified and biblical conclusion on the subject at this point.
Creational Design or Rebellion
One of the key points when discussing the issue of transgenderism is the subject of creation. Because God created male and female, those are the only two genders, period! We as human beings have no ability to change our gender anymore than a dog can become a cat. Therefore, what someone who is struggling on this issue needs is to be reminded of God’s design while also being exhorted to live in submission to their Creator. This point is precisely one which was foundational for Butterfield’s change of mind:
“When the Supreme Court decided in favor of gay marriage, the danger of my position started to come into focus. The codification of gay marriage and LGBTQ+ civil rights launched a collision course between LGBTQ+ and the Christian faith. The LGBTQ+ movement’s understanding of itself as ontological and morally good conflicts with the biblical account in Genesis 1:27. Which is it? Which side was I on? Is LGBTQ+ a normal option in the ever-expanding menu of sexual orientation and gender identity, needing a little Jesus to aid human flourishing? Or does LGBTQ+ come from Satan as a reflection of the world, the flesh, and the devil? Is it part of God’s creational design or rebellion against the creation ordinance? It’s one or the other because the Christian faith is inherently binary, not non-binary.”
Note well the point of conflict Butterfield sees between the sexual revolution and biblical Christianity. The push of the LGBTQ+ agenda will inevitably collide with the Christian faith because they are coming from two different foundations. Once it is understood that what a person ensnared in this ideology needs is not merely a little bit of Jesus to go along with it, but rather a full heart transformation being brought to live in submission to God, then that point changes everything. It then becomes plain that love dictates we must set forth God’s creational actions and mandates instead of caving to the revolution. Someone in the LGBTQ+ movement does not merely need a slight adjustment, they need the full course correction that only biblical truth can bring by the power of Christ the Lord! We as evangelicals need to lean into this matter of the design of God. He did not create countless sexual orientations or genders. Rather, we are designed to be men or women depending on how He creates us biologically.
One of the charges often aimed at those proclaiming the Gospel message of repentance to those caught in the lies of transgenderism is a lack of “winsomeness.” Butterfield makes a very intriguing point on this matter as well:
“Preston Sprinkle, Mark Yarhouse, David French, Revoice, Side B Christianity, and any parachurch ministry that elevates “being winsome” as the endgame provide useful examples to defy. They nod in the direction of traditional values but then swap biblical clarity for postmodern pluralism, thus burning to the ground any legitimate theological bridge to gospel grace. Transgenderism is satanic. We who once promoted “pronoun hospitality” lent false credibility to a wolfish theology that fails to protect the sheep. Instead, it eats them alive.”
I want to particularly highlight the point she makes about nodding “in the direction of traditional values” but winding up swapping “biblical clarity for postmodern pluralism, thus burning to the ground any legitimate theological bridge to the gospel of grace.” This point, my dear friends, is precisely why we need to be clear in our speech. Not mean, angry, or rude, but clear to the truth. We serve the God of truth which means we must be people of the truth. Without divine truth, there is no true repentance. Our allegiance is to Christ and our heart to preach His Gospel must propel us to speak the unvarnished truth on all issues. We must not merely assent to this concept in our heads, but also in our daily application.
The Language Game
At the end of the day, it must be said that for someone to cave to the language of the LGBTQ+ revolution is to at the very least put them in control of the revolutionaries in terms of the discussion. Even those who are novices in debate knows the adage that he who defines the terms wins the debate, so it is no different here. Towards the end of the article Butterfield writes:
“Christians who use the moral lens of LGBTQ+ personhood are not merely a “soft presence” in the enemy camp. Their malleability makes them pudding in the enemy’s hand. They make false converts to a counterfeit gospel that bends the knee to the fictional identity of LGBTQ+. This wolfish theology cedes the moral language to the left by using transgendered pronouns as a moral lens (“respect, courtesy, hospitality”). They reject the clarity of the word of God and replace it with garbage. By doing so, they have rejected the gospel truth that Jesus is the only way to salvation.”
Indeed, I am grateful for Mrs. Butterfield’s clarity on this matter. I believe she brings up here the need to be clear on this great point of contention in our culture today. Scripture speaks with clarity and it is our duty as the church to hold that line. Let us not give way to the moral language games that many play, instead may we remain focused on the truth of our Lord. His Gospel is sufficient to save rebel sinners! He does not need our capitulation or winsomeness as defined by the culture in order to redeem a soul. No, what we must do is declare the truth with humble hearts knowing we too are sinners saved by grace. Yet, proclaim the truth we must, with courage in the face of adversity. For we serve the glorious God who delights in bringing souls to Himself by the blood of Jesus Christ!
1 All quotes from the article can be found here: https://www.reformation21.org/blog/why-i-no-longer-use-transgender-pronouns-and-why-you-shouldnt-either