In this Article it is acknowledged that sometimes issues related to gender and biology are real and have a physical component. It is then declared that in those cases you have to go with what others can see and confirm about you rather than what may or may not be real.
Plato taught about the Forms. In the eternal there is a perfect version of every form — a form for a chair; a form for a table; and a form for a human. In the physical there are copies of forms and they range in closeness to the eternal form. Some are closer – some farther. Plato believed that men were closest to the form of a human. Women were imperfect men.
St. Augustine, before he was a Christian and after, was a Neoplatonist.
In his day it had come back in fashion to study Plato and interpret the world through a Platonic lens. It is through this lens that Augustine interpreted Scripture and through this lens that he taught. This is the legacy of Augustinian doctrine that we have inherited and like his mentor before him Augustine viewed women as imperfect men.
Is it any wonder then that the Nashville Statement argues that anything short of being a hyper masculine male is equivalent to being a “eunuch?”
Yet there is not one perfect “form” of human that is hyper masculine and “manly” to which Scripture teaches we should aspire. Therefore, while it is, I suppose, gracious of them to acknowledge that even those who fall on the spectrum far away from the “perfect form” of man are image bearers of God, they then go on to make claims that there is no Biblical support to make.
There are various arguments about biology vs gender but even in this Article from the Statement there is acknowledgement that they are talking about “physical disorders of sex development” where one’s actual sex may not match their external or internal biology. This is important — they are talking about those who are intersex. And yet they deny them basic human dignity beyond this acknowledgement.
As soon as they speak of “living a fruitful life in joyful obedience to Christ” they are speaking again in code. By this they mean that regardless of anything else biology has given you, you must take on the gendered role that matches the sexual organs that can be identified on you. If you have a penis you are a boy and if you have a vagina you are a girl – even if the rest of your *biology* does not agree with this. Even if your parents made a choice when you were born and gender reassignment was done without your awareness. Even if you carry evidence of both sexes within your body. What they can see is all that counts and if you do not align with their determination of your gender you are living a life they believe is “disobedient” to Christ.
Nowhere in Scripture does God make such a claim. Jesus certainly never spoke on this issue.
It is also painful to note the use of the word “fruitful” in their denial. The implication is that if you make this ‘correct choice’ and live in alignment with your visible biology then you will be doing your part to be in male/female relationships that are being “fruitful and multiplying” or, in other words, you will do your part to have children and grow the Christian army they are trying to bring forth (this is their Joshua Generation for those familiar with the term and the goals).
While some intersex people would be able to have children should they try, others are not. This is also another denial of personhood and purpose that does not involve having babies. Impregnating a woman and being pregnant are not the only purposes for which men and women were created. This narrow understanding of God’s purpose for us does a lot of damage and this is only one example.
Rather, if one is in all ways biologically female but was born with a penis it would seem it is the penis that is confused, not the person in every other way biologically female. And when one is born intersex they are not necessarily male or female – they may be both. This is already something that they must work through and there is no justification for putting religious bigotry between them and God. God loves intersex people!
Ultimately the idea that one’s sex is determined by what other people can see is an incredibly egotistical idea. If this is the personal conviction of any individual regarding their own life and their own choices and they are born intersex but feel a conviction to live according to their external biology then they should be supported and encouraged in their conviction. Without this personal conviction there should be no shame in choosing something even if it makes others – even those who wrote the Nashville Statement – uncomfortable.