Understanding and gaining insight is important, but at some point the church needs to respond with biblical wisdom and practical help. What do we say, and how should the church respond to individuals with a transgender identity and who might be thinking of transitioning? Here’s a few article resources that give some practical helps.
Bringing A Biblical Perspective On What To Do Or Say
“Conservative Christianity and the Transgender Question,” by Russell Moore, on his webpage
Russell Moore’s blog, now three years old, is still a good one in helping Scripturally-grounded believers approach this issue with truth and mercy. Here’s a great quote:
“As conservative Christians, we do not see transgendered persons as “freaks” to be despised or ridiculed. We acknowledge that there are some persons who feel alienated from their identities as men or as women. Of course that would be the case in a fallen universe in which all of us are alienated, in some way, from how God created us to be.
But we don’t believe this alienation can be solved by pretending as though we have Pharaoh-like dominion over our maleness or femaleness. These categories we believe (along with every civilization before us) are about more than just self-construction, and they can’t be eradicated by a change of clothes or chemical tinkering or a surgeon’s knife, much less by an arbitrary announcement in the high school gym.”
“How Should Christians Respond to the Transgender Phenomenon?” by Robert A. J. Gagnon
Dr. Gagnon responds to Mark A. Yarhouse’s Christianity Today article on transgenderism (see that article listed in the previous section) and how the church should respond. Gagnon agrees with Yarhouse for the need to be compassionate and sensitive to those with gender dysphoria, but stresses the need for the church to not be involved in an individual’s pursuit of thinking they should be transformed into the gender they are not. Good quote: “ Incremental choices made in response to impulses may strengthen the same impulses.”
“The Gospel of Jesus on Sexual Binaries,” by Robert Gagnon, in First Things
Dr. Gagnon addresses the mistaken exegetical interpretative view (based on Jesus’ comments to both the Pharisees and his own followers in Matthew 19: 3-12) that Jesus was not concerned about sexual binaries (male and female), and thus, like the unbiblical argument about homosexuality, would have been OK with transgenderism.
“The Tragedy of transgenderism,” by Sam Andreades, World Magazine Online
Sam Andreades, author of Engendered: God’s Gift of Gender Difference in Relationship, asks the question that the media won’t ask: “The most important question remains unasked. It is an obvious question, when you think about it, but it’s one Diane Sawyer—or any media correspondent praising the courage of those undergoing sex-change operations—will never ask Bruce/Caitlin Jenner. It is the elephant in the room that everyone has tacitly agreed to ignore. It is this: “What is a man, Bruce? How do you know you aren’t one? Or, alternatively, what is a woman supposed to feel like? If you cannot answer that question, how can you know you have ‘felt like one all your life’?”
Sam then raises important observations about the nature of gender, the difficulty of exactly saying what it is, and the importance of not rushing to fix what God has given to each of us.
“Transgenderism: A Biblical Truth and Mercy Response: Part 1,” Tim Geiger, Harvest USA online
Tim writes a brief overview of the cultural message today of extreme individualism: that truth about oneself is based on one’s feelings, inner perceptions and life experiences. That’s a critical piece of knowledge to know when thinking about the conflicting perspectives on transgenderism.
“Transgenderism: A Biblical Truth and Mercy Response: Part II,” Tim Geiger, Harvest USA online
What does Scripture say about gender? That’s the focus of this blog post, where Tim points out that Scripture talks about God creating gender generally in creation (male and female) but also that God particularly gives to us the gender we were born with. This truth is foundational to understanding transgenderism, along with a clear recognition that we live in a fallen, broken creation where things do not work as they were intended. But brokenness displays brokenness, a deviation from what was intended in the original creation; it does not establish a merely a different normal.
“Transgenderism: A Biblical Truth and Mercy Response: Part III,” Nicholas Black, Harvest USA online
What do you say to someone who wants to transition? This blog addresses a few key points that can help someone (a friend or a pastor, for example) communicate that there are other ways of thinking about gender confusion, and that learning to live within one’s biological sex is possible for those who struggle.