The following quotes caught my attention as I read Brian Seagraves and Hunter Leavine’s new little book, Gender: A Conversation Guide for Parents and Pastors (The Good Book Company, 2018).

In a world cluttered with opinions about gender, sexuality, race, and truth, we don’t need to be louder; we need to be clearer. (7)

It’s not just children who want to fit in with their peers; we all do. We all have a longing to be loved and accepted. Often, our fallenness leads us to want to be accepted for our brokenness, not in spite of it. Our identity can become based on things directly opposed to God’s design. The antidote to this problem is the gospel, where we find acceptance by God in the midst of our brokenness, not because of it. We find fulfillment that was elusive when we tried to locate our identity and self-worth internally. (10)

How we think and talk about gender is connected to our view of God’s Word as a whole. . . . If we choose not to believe what God’s Word says about gender, we should not be too surprised when we choose not to believe God’s Word at all. (11–12)

If we treat the Bible just like a rulebook, [children] will be shaped to see it as cold and impersonal. If we just treat the Bible like an adventure novel, they will be shaped to see it as an accumulation of entertaining and inspirational stories. If we don’t talk with our children about the Bible at all, then they will be shaped to see it as irrelevant. We need to understand that how we handle Scripture with our children when they are young will shape how they see Scripture in the future. (20–21)

When we go outside of God’s design, we get hurt. When something is not right, it is not because God is not there; it is because sin is there. (23)

It will never be loving to support something that God is against, and it will never be loving to encourage someone to act contrary to how God has designed them. As Christians, our first allegiance—indeed the greatest commandment—is to love God, and then, secondarily, people. True godly love for your neighbor will never entail encouraging them in behaviors that God condemns. Love often looks like telling people what they don’t want to hear out of concern for their wellbeing. (39)

The trend today is to say that when a person’s self-image doesn’t match their biology, it’s the body that’s wrong, not the psychology. We need to encourage people to align their gender identity and sense of self with what their physical self is. Encouraging the opposite will only lead to a greater sense of inner division. There are individuals who struggle with something called “bodily integrity disorder.” Some of these people feel that an arm or leg doesn’t belong on their body. Should we encourage them to remove the arm/leg based on this feeling? No. A loving response will help the person see that the limb is a natural part of who they are, and they should work to align their feelings with their biology. The same holds true for those who struggle with an eating disorder. You don’t tell the 95-pound 16-year-old, “Your feelings are right; you are too fat.” They need to see that their biology is not the problem, and we can help them work through their feelings, which are out of concert with their body. (40)

Just because someone agrees with you on something does not mean that they love you. Just because someone disagrees with you does not mean that they do not love you. (44)

Think of a doctor who discovers that a patient has an illness. The patient obviously wants to hear the doctor say, “All is well. We will see you again for another check-up next year!” The patient might even feel great, because they have no idea that the doctor knows there is something seriously wrong with them. I think we can agree that the doctor should not avoid telling the patient the truth, just to keep the patient feeling good. That would be malpractice. If the doctor cares, she will be honest and tell her patient the truth. When someone shares what they believe to be true, even if it disagrees with what you believe, that is not necessarily unloving. (44)

Are we going to let culture frame the discussion [for our children], or are we going to frame the discussion? . . . While your child might not struggle with their gender identity, they will almost certainly struggle with who they will listen to—Scripture or culture? (49, 53)

Remember: it’s never too late to start having these conversations, but it’s never too early, either. (54)

We can admit to our children that this may be awkward, but that it’s important enough that we’re going to talk about it. This models that discomfort shouldn’t keep us from doing the right thing. Culture doesn’t feel awkward talking to our children about gender, and neither should we. (55)

The most pressing risk is not that your child becomes trans, but that this or another issue will drive a wedge between them and God’s authoritative Word. Christians don’t have to buy the lie that you can either love your friends or agree with the Bible. We can and must do both. (60)

Along with the sexual revolution has come the tendency for people to base their identity and worth on their sexuality or gender identity. While we believe this is misguided, we must remember how deeply felt this is when talking with such people. When we disagree with their behavior or say it’s wrong or against God’s design, they often take this to mean that all of who they are is wrong or against God’s design. While we still need to communicate biblical truth, we must be conscious of how it is likely to be interpreted on these types of issues. (61)

When we discuss these topics, we have to remember that these struggles have names and faces. The trans person is not a potential argument to be won but a soul to be comforted and encouraged—a person who is lost in the darkness who we want to lead to the Light of the world. Ultimately, true rest is only found through the soul-transforming work of the Spirit, which accompanies belief in the gospel. We must be gracious and kind toward these people to show them the love of Jesus if we ever hope for them to listen to God’s design and redemptive plan for them. (61–62)

If we seek happiness, it will be fleeting, but if we seek holiness, we will find lasting joy. Perhaps the easiest way to deal with this objection is to ask the objector: “How did you come to the conclusion that God just wants you to be happy?” Make them provide you with the reasons why you (and they) should hold that view. Most likely, they will say something about God being love, and that love means making someone happy. You can provide counter examples from Scripture and daily life showing that love sometimes requires unpleasant actions, that are nonetheless loving. (67)

If God’s creation of a person means that their desires and actions are acceptable, then how can we condemn murder, adultery, and rape? People who commit those actions have natural desires leading them to those actions. People who lie and gossip were made by God too, but this doesn’t mean those actions are acceptable. You can never determine if something should be the case just by noticing that it is the case. Just because people lie, that doesn’t mean lying is okay. And just because people have gender dysphoria, that doesn’t mean changing one’s gender is good either. (67–68)

We should not have closed minds, but minds open to being filled with the Word of God. (69)

These conversations aren’t a “one-time thing.” They’re a “lifetime thing.” This isn’t to say that there aren’t important and strategic times to sit down and have a discussion, but it must be understood that we have to be continually in conversation about gender in age-appropriate ways. Television and radio will not have a one-time talk with your child about gender. Social media will not have a one-time conversation with your child about gender. And you can be certain that the students in the hallway or in gym class won’t have a one-time conversation about gender with your child. As Christians who believe what God’s Word says about gender, let’s not be the ones who talk about it the least or last. (72)

A person’s sex is intrinsic to their biology. We do not assign it; we describe it. (73)

Previously in the “20 Quotes” series:

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