In this video, Russell Moore explains three areas where churches need to prepare as they address transgenderism in the community. They must understand what the Bible teaches about gender, they must avoid stereotypes of gender, and they must prepare to disciple those who feel alienated from their own gender.
The following is a lightly edited transcript; please check video before quoting.
Several years ago, I had an ethics final where I asked my students at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary at the time about what they would do in a situation where a woman comes forward at the end of the service and says, “I want to be baptized. I want to become a Christian, but I was born a man biologically. I’ve had gender reassignment surgery. What does it mean for me to repent?” The thing that I noticed at the moment was many of my students thought I was asking a trick question. And I had to explain that it wasn’t. I told them, “You are going to be dealing with this in your ministries, and every ministry is either dealing with these issues, will be shortly dealing with these issues, or simply not on mission in their communities around them.”
What I wish that everyone understood, first of all, involves larger questions that go far deeper than just the transgender question. These are questions like:
- Has God put creational limits on us?
- Is God Lord over our biological creativeness?
- Has God created us as a unity of self and body?
But then secondly we need to understand and empathize with transgender persons, seeing them, as all of us are, as fallen and broken but not as freaks. And so sometimes I will see people dismissing those who have gender dysphoria as subjects of ridicule. That should never be the case if we’re on a mission with Christ, seeing to it that the message of Christ is goes to every person. So, we have to have churches that teach from the very beginning, the earliest points of childhood, what it means to be a man and what it means to be in woman in biblical terms, not in cultural stereotype terms.
I think frankly many of these culturally stereotypical views of masculinity and femininity actually fuel the transgender movement. You may have the young girl in your church who doesn’t like princesses and dolls, and she’d rather be out riding a four-wheeler with her dad. In a previous era, she would have just been seen to be a rough-and-tumble little girl. Now in our cultural environment, she may ask whether she’s a woman at all or if she’s something else.
We have a complex, biblical view of what it means to be a man and a woman. And we need to teach that view and to equip our people to be able to patiently disciple and work with those who feel alienated from their genders. We’re all, as fallen creatures, alienated from how God created us at some point or other. Some people are alienated from their sense of being a man and a woman. We need men to patiently work with men who are experiencing that kind of dysphoria and women who are patiently able to work with women who are going through the same thing. We need to know that this isn’t an overnight situation; this is, as with all of us, a long pattern of discipleship and sanctification.