Woke in the WELS: Mike Novotny's pronouns are mark/avoid

Yes, Mike, it is.

I wish I could say that Pastor Novotny spends ten minutes beating around the bush to get to the correct answer, but if that were the case I wouldn't be posting it as Woke in the WELS.

Pastor Novotny ultimately says somewhere around the seven minute mark that you can't transition your gender. It is a sin to choose your own gender. This is correct. However, Pastor Novotny equivocates on the question of using a chosen pronoun. Around 2:25 he says "Preferred pronouns, attending [gay] weddings like that, these are issues where I really think the Christians who love the truth of the Bible and love of Jesus might end up in different places." Not right places, not wrong places, different places.

He frames this in terms of the supposed quandary
"[H]ow do we decide whether this is the time to be bold with the truth or to patiently love someone and deepen a relationship?"
which is repeated more verbosely to close out the video.

Pastor Novotny makes a theological error when he places an "or" between truth and love. Truth and love go hand in hand. Truth and love are bound up in the person of Jesus Christ. 
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. -Jn 14:6

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. - 1 Jn 4:7-11

As Christians, the Holy Spirit dwells in us and the image of God is restored, weakly. That same truth and love lives in us. Any perceived tension between truth and love, then, is sin - it's falling short of the perfect truth and love embodied in Christ.  

You cannot speak love if you do not speak truth. St Paul writes in Ephesians 4:15 that we speak the truth in love. Lenski has a beautiful commentary on this line:

We have seen how error and deceit go together, how falseness to the Word always goes together with moral falseness in the heart. The opposite is also true. Faithfulness to the truth and the Word goes together with purity and nobleness of motive, with true love, in fact, creates this high motive. Paul knows that some preach Christ because of envy, strife, and contention, with wrong motives, and speaks of this in Phil. 1:15–18. This is abnormal and a giving way to the flesh. It is the nature of truth ever to cleanse the heart, especially when this is handling the truth. “Speaking the truth” includes all teaching, all confession; the formula of the confessions is: “We believe, teach, and confess.” Paul’s “we” includes himself as an apostle, all his own preaching and teaching, admonition, rebuke, comfort. The love with which he did this never yielded an iota of the truth, it would not have been love if it had done so.

Love does not yield an iota of truth. Yielding truth is not love. We can't yield a first-article truth for the sake of second-article truths without sin and without weakening our witness. 

Transgenderism is the doctrine of demons. Transgenders - specifically males who pose as female - were a component of many cults at the time of Paul. Paul tells us that those pagans sacrifice to demons (1 Cor 10:20) and he warns Timothy that some will depart from the faith by giving heed to the doctrine of demons (1 Tim 4:1). We cannot compromise on pronouns calling it a 'little doctrine' compared to the 'great doctrine' of justification (or by calling it a 'first article' doctrine versus a 'second article' one). Lenski again is instructive

Satan is the father of lies, deception is his great work. His tools are his victims.... The great danger is that today false doctrines are not recognized as coming from demons unless they deny the faith in toto, as if the devil is not cunning enough to begin with little lies, as if only those that are as big as mountains come from him.

Pastor Novotny, we cannot use a persons' chosen pronouns. To do so is to sacrifice the article of creation by God the Father to the sanctifying work of God the Son. But God is One (James 2). We speak the truth, always, in love. 

And circling back to the idea of attending a "gay wedding", the answer is simple - there is no such thing as a gay wedding. God defines marriage as being between man and woman. Gay marriage is an ontological impossibility. It doesn't exist. The question then is do you attend a ceremony that celebrates the handing over of depraved minds to their vile passions which Paul warns us about Romans 1? By no means!

In reality there are two problems here. The first as we've discussed is the false doctrine of saying that truth and love are in tension. The second is simply accepting the world's frame, which we see demonstrated in the "gay wedding" hypothesis where Novotny assumes a worldly definition of marriage, and not God's definition. It's also present in the pronoun issue. Pastor Novotny accepts that a person sees their sexuality as the core of their being where historically this was never the case. This is not the Biblical frame; this is the world's post-Freudian frame. In Dr. Trueman's book "The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self" he explains sex-as-self as Freudian phenomenon: "The self must first be psychologized; psychology must then be sexualized; and sex must be politicized" ... "before Freud, sex was an activity... after Freud, sex is definitive of who we are." Novotny presumes the Freudian frame without repudiating it.

Mark and avoid.

"The theologian of glory calls evil good and good evil. The theologian of the cross calls a thing what it is."