Sexual Identity - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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Faith President's Desk The College
April 27, 2016

Sexual Identity

The great confessions of Christian faith, such as the Nicene Creed, have three things in common: 1) They declare in precise language what Scripture teaches; 2) They therefore declare what the Christian Church has always known, albeit sometimes in an unsystematic or even implicit way; and 3) They are the Church’s response, usually after spirited debate, to falsehood.

In our day, people loudly assert novel ideas about sexual identity and gender, often with a show of scholarly wisdom centered in universities, with considerable help from popular entertainment and news media, and more recently from major corporations. United States law made at all levels, both by legislative bodies and courts, and enforced with regulations promulgated by administrative agencies, often supports these novel ideas, while people who continue to assert older ideas about sexual identity are shamed as ignorant and persecuting bigots.

The Bible calls believers to “contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).” God commands us: “do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world (I John 4:1).” So what is Geneva College’s stand on the new idea that a person’s gender is separable from his sex, and that he (or she) has the right to claim acceptance for his (or her) declared identity? In line with what the Christian Church has always known and based upon the Holy Scriptures, Geneva College by action of its Board of Trustees on February 5, 2016, rejects the novel ideas about sexual identity being widely asserted in our country.

Here is our statement, which is placed in the Student Handbook and will be placed in the Faculty Handbook as well.

STATEMENT ON SEXUAL IDENTITY

From the beginning (Genesis 1:27, 5:2), the Bible teaches that there are precisely two sexes, male and female, a stable reality confirmed by Jesus Christ in the gospels (Matthew 19:4; Mark 10:6). The doctrinal standards of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America establish Geneva College’s chartered commitment to this truth: “God created Man, male and female after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, with dominion over the creatures (WSC #10).” In rare cases today, a human being is born with both male and female sexual organs (hermaphroditism) or without complete sexual organs (e.g. Turner’s Syndrome). We believe such physical anomalies to be a result of the fall (Genesis 3; Romans 8:18-25). In the beginning, however, God made humans as a man or a woman (Genesis 2:22-23); that is as a man or woman in person, not merely male or female physically.

The Bible further teaches that people’s personhood is an incarnate personhood—souls do not leave their bodies permanently. God will resurrect all from the dead in their own bodies (Revelation 20:11-13; WCF 32.2). “The souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness, and do immediately pass into glory, while their bodies being still united to Christ do rest in their graves till the resurrection (WSC #37).” A Christian’s body belongs to God. “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself (I Corinthians 6:19).” God makes us persons—men and women—with integral identities established by our Creator and given by Him at birth. In our fallen world, a person might have uncertainty about the self-perceived relationship between their physical sex and their gender; we nevertheless maintain that people are born into the body of the sex ordained for them and given to them by God.

Finally, in our present moment as in other ages, uncertainty about gender identity as it relates to one’s body poses a genuine challenge for some men and women. Christians are obligated to engage one another in navigating such challenges with love and kindness.

Given the confessional commitments in the Geneva College Charter and Mission,

College decisions regarding student admission and retention, employment hiring and retention, housing, restroom usage, and other related matters will be made according to one’s given biological sex established at birth. Further:

  • Geneva College designates housing, restroom, and locker room facilities for use according to one’s given biological sex established at birth. The college rejects claims to differential treatment in housing, restrooms, or locker rooms on the grounds of gender identity that differs from someone’s given biological sex established at birth.
  • Geneva College requires student athletes to participate in college sports teams based on one’s given biological sex established at birth. The college does not permit students of one sex to play on sports teams of the opposite sex because of a claimed gender identity.
  • Geneva College provides counseling and medical care that encourages people to work through problems of sexual uncertainty to engage their given biological sex established at birth.  The college does not support use of medical procedures when a person chooses to make a physical alteration to that of the opposite sex.

Bill EdgarDr. William Edgar, Interim President


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