Shaping the Conversation About Transgender

As the transgender community talks about themselves they seek to control the narrative based on defining or redefining words and their meaning. They tell who they think are the good guys and bad guys. They subtly imply what is inside and outside our control.  Yet, as a Christian, I am bound to thinking about and defining things based on how God defines them in His very words, the Bible. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) Only God can determine good and bad; the rest is merely opinion.

Here are some examples that are very common.

Sex and gender: These two terms have been used interchangeably for many years. Many words have multiple meanings in the dictionary and these are no different. If you say there are two sexes or two genders, you are correct and the dictionary will confirm that.  However, the transgender community may disagree because they wish to limit their definition of ‘gender’ to any other valid meanings. They redefine ‘gender’ to mean an “internal sense of being male, female, both, or neither.” You may get chastised for using ‘gender’ in this way, but if you use the term ‘sex’ for biological male and female you won’t get disagreement.

Sex assigned at birth: Sex refers to that which can be determined by observable or detectable traits such as reproductive organs, structures, or chromosomes. “Assigned at birth” is a false mantra that is repeated to reinforce the lie that a doctor assigns a sex to be recorded on your birth certificate. A doctor cannot assign anything, he can only recognize this based on characteristics as mentioned above. A person’s sex can only be assigned, or more accurately determined, by God. (Genesis 1:27 “he created them male and female”). God determines this before your birth. (Psalm 139:13)

Gender identity: This means your internal sense of who you are; separate from physical attributes, outward behaviors, or appearance to others. If you lost a leg in an accident, your internal identity doesn’t change even if your outward appearance or function has changed. I still struggle with how anyone can have an objective understanding of an “internal sense of being male or female, both, or neither”. Who can know what an internal sense of being male is, except a male? Who can know what an internal sense of being a giraffe is? There is no objective standard. When the bible speaks of identity, it is based on things that are detectable such as appearance or behavior, or on things that can be discerned such as your relationship as mother, brother (Genesis 4:8), or cousin. God does not judge by appearances. (John 7:24)

Gender expression: Gender expression is how one outwardly expresses themselves, their body, dress, behaviors, etc. They imply that it is only natural to reflect their internal identity, but we all recognize that our outward expression doesn’t always reflect the true self. We put on a happy face to hide our pain or we show confidence to hide our fear or insecurity. The bible tells us we can recognize a false teacher by his fruit, rather than his words or appearance. (Matthew 7:15-20) Our outward expression as Christians should increasingly reflect Christ through the fruit of the spirit, that which is produced by the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-24) Yet this is not always true because we all have sinned. (1 John 1:8) Jesus told the Pharisees they were like whitewashed tombs. (Matthew 23:27)

Transgender: Referring to those whose gender expression crosses contrary to their sex. They may claim that it is their gender identity (inner sense) that is conflicts with their sex.

Non-binary: Refers to someone who doesn’t fit into the mold and expectations of one of the 2 genders, male and female, that God created (Genesis 1:27). There are many places where the bible indicates differences between male and female, in dress, in responsibility, appearance and much more. There is also much variation within those examples. If you believe there are only 2 genders you are accused of being close-minded. You are committing the evil of stereotyping.

Affirming (and non-affirming): There are good Christians and bad Christians. Evidently, the good Christians affirm transgender individuals and if you don’t affirm them you are just mean. The dividing line is your agreement with them rather than your agreement with God as he has revealed in his word. (John 17:17, Acts 5:29)

In any attempt to resolve the conflict between transgender acceptance and biblical morals, one will need to select certain positions in theology and doctrine. This is driven by the desire to bring acceptance of these individuals rather than a desire to listen to God. There are two key approaches to interpreting scripture. First is what we call exegesis, the idea that when we interpret the text we come with the idea of learning, studying, and shaping our own ideas based on what the text of the bible says. This is largely governed by the principles and science of hermeneutics. The second approach is called eisegesis which is the idea that we have our own ideas and we search through scripture to find ways to bolster that which we already think. There are no real rules or guidelines around this approach, but it is often recognized by mental gymnastics, ignoring context or original meaning, and other violations of hermeneutic principles. Understanding basic hermeneutics is crucial for the Christian to help prevent being carried away by every whim of doctrine. (Ephesians 4:14) We are encouraged to “test everything, hold on to that which is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21) The Christian must study and meditate deeply on God’s word with a listening ear to understand the text.

One key doctrine is the Biblical view of genders and their roles in God’s design. There are two views: complementarian and egalitarian. The complementarian view affirms that God created men and women in the beginning and while he values both equally, he has designed for them specific roles and responsibilities within the context of family and society. The egalitarian view must be embraced by the transgender because the complementarian view contradicts their idea that genders are multiple and happen upon a spectrum. However, it does not make any distinction between the roles of men and women, mothers and fathers.  Since it is tied up in genders, it is also closely related to the doctrine of marriage (Genesis 2:18, 23-24) and the profound representation of the church as the bride of Christ. (Ephesians 5:25-27, 31-32)

God has created great and beautiful diversity in both male and female. We should value that diversity, but when we cross the lines that God has drawn between them, we undermine his glory as we erase the distinctions he has created.  Likewise, when we use chosen pronouns for people rather than those determined by their sex, we erase any meaning those words have. It is a path toward ignorance as it lacks definition.

Another doctrine that is impacted is the doctrine of God’s creation. Not only does affirming the transgender theology erase meaning and distinction it removes his sovereignty in creation. If God created male and female, that was part of his design and he intended these differences. The contrary position is that of the atheistic evolution driven by random chance, natural selection to create diversity. If the genders evolved over long periods of time, then the random changes continue and create greater diversity in genders and gender expression.

In our effort to support and raise our children, we must lead them to the truth. A lie may allow you to feel good for a while, but it does not last. Only truth will set you free (John 8:32). Only the truth will give you confidence in your assurance of who you are, as a created image-bearer of Christ. One who was created by design, not by chance, and created for a purpose as we discover what God’s plan is for us. We are His workmanship.

Author: Jon Neifert
Posted on November 16 2021