The Biblical Response to Transgenderism
The Monstrous Crew
How should the church respond to the growing Transgender Community? What is the cause?
Hi, I’m Liz Sacks, and this is the Monstrous Regiment
In a controversial episode on Axe to the Root Podcast, Bo Marinov drew the comparisons between Patriarchy and Homosexuality, showing how one is the logical conclusion of the other.
I will argue in this episode that Patriarchy and Transgender culture are also related, and one inevitably flows from the other for the same reasons, and in a similar fashion. I will show how their doctrines are the same, with roots in Gnostic thinking, encouraging dualistic thought when it comes to our bodies and souls.
Patriarchy as we know it in the United States, generally paints an idealized picture of family life, a la Leave It to Beaver, or I Love Lucy. White Women in lipstick and heels, vacuuming as their circle skirts swish around their knees, their pretty aprons communicating cheerful womanhood. Their purpose in life is to exude “femininity” (as narrowly defined by strict social constructs.) They walk, talk, sit, and behave like a particular and narrow ideal of womanhood. Every iota of their body perfectly curated to the “feminine” standard of the culture. The dainty smile and perfectly coiffed 50’s housewife washing dishes in a beautiful dress with a frilly apron is an iconic image we hold in our cultural repository.
There is an obsession with the “roles” of men, and the “roles” of women, in conservative evangelical circles, as evidenced by blogs, recorded sermons, modesty debates, and complementarian teaching from noted teachers such as John Piper, Doug Wilson, and organizations like The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Women are taught from the pulpits to be submissive, men are taught to be dominant. Women are emotional, men are logical. These standards are held to be ontological and are collective in nature. Each person is to conform to their designated place in the world. This will lead to the ideal bucolic picture of family (except, it doesn’t, and it excludes many of the things that make womanhood, womanhood, because they are unpleasant, difficult, uncomfortable to talk about, and threaten this manufactured ideal with real life.)
In this view, externals define the man or woman. What they wear, how they express themselves, what they eat, do, practice, master, all an outward expression of their predetermined “role.” External and arbitrary actions define gender. If I do not work hard enough to wear someone’s idea of feminine clothing, if I do not try enough to fulfil somone’s idea of my “feminine role”, then I am in disobedience, and according to some, I am on the path to hell.
Often, this is justified using scriptures about wearing gender- specific articles of clothing, Demanding that women wear dresses and men wear pants (Because that’s what Jesus wore! Oh wait…), thus, any departure from the cultural (or sub-cultural) standard of “feminine” is to be in sin. This translates to a self righteous pursuit to make other women “feminine” like me, according to whatever extra-biblical criteria someone determines to be “biblical femininity.” This might mean being a stay-at-home-Mom. It might mean certain types of dress, and presentation of my body. It might be expressed by my fertility and/or prolific reproduction. My identity as a woman, determined by certain choices, including how I breastfeed, how I parent, and how I respond to my husband and other men in my circles. According this thinking, arbitrary externals determine my identity as a female, instead of the other way around.
This idolization of the specifically clad female body and old fashioned, but extra-biblical “family values” is exposed by our fascination with Amish culture, in Evangelical movies and books, where we idealize and romanticize a “simpler time” where men and women are defined by their roles and clothing and adherence to arbitrary external markers that express a culturally defined role.
It is this same gnostic ideal that transgender men and women embrace when they seek to alter their physical bodies to “match” how they feel on the inside, believeing that who they “really are” is at war with their biological reality. They believe and live: “How I express myself physically determines my gender. The clothing I wear, the mannerisms, the activities I engage in. The bathroom I use, the collective I am a part of.”
Transgender women engage in the same exaggerated expression of ideal femininity as the evangelical right.
It becomes all about presentation of self… Who I am, and how I express my gender dysphoria. Whether transition is achieved to define my external expression of my chosen gender, how the world percieves me, and determines my worth to myself.
Transpersons live by the idea: “My body is not as important as my inner self, I will alter my body to reflect my inner self.”
in both cases, this view treats our bodies as suits of clothes we manipulate to determine who we are. A dualistic idea that fails to see our bodies and souls as holistic parts of ourselves. Failing to see ourselves as Imago Dei. This is a rejection of an essential and holistic reality that our bodies and our souls are inextricably linked.
Christians view this principle as though our souls were ungendered and in need of external conformity and submission in order to be truly feminine or truly masculine, though we are admittedly inconsistent about this, the stated evangelical view being that we are naturally one way or another. Like the old canard that Men are naturally visual or that a woman is easily decieved. Or the related idea that men are more logical, while women are more emotional, and so male guidance is essential to restrain women from the sin their souls are predisposed to.
This pagan thinking at its root, whether expressed as a transgender principle, or a “biblical manhood/womanhood” one, goes back to the garden. Man choosing his own law, because of his lost identity, having refused to identify himself as a creature of God, but instead trying to redefine himself as his own god.
Ultimately, transgenderism agrees with evangelical gender roles in every way. This is the actual flattening of the differences between the sexes, as the only distinction is one we put on, and not an inherent God given distinction.
The logical extension of this point is that men being superior in every way, would be superior women.
(To understand this point better, I would strongly recommend listening to Axe To the Root’s episode entitled: “Patriarchy and Sodomy”)
The actual biblical idea of manhood or womanhood is at direct odds with this external standard. It acknowledges that men and women are essentially different. There is no need to force any external criteria to create femininity or masculinity.
Because God has made me feminine, everything I do is feminine. When I make dinner I am feminine. When I change my oil, I am still feminine. When I hold my baby and rock him to sleep, I am feminine. When I use my circular saw to build a bookcase, I am feminine. When I wear pants, I am feminine, When I lead a group of men and women to accomplish any given task, I am feminine. These are not feminine or masculine activities or “roles,” they are feminine when I do them because I am a woman doing them.
Being a woman is fundamentally different than being a man. Physically, women may be weaker than men, and more vulnerable. Our culture acknowledges this in things like self defense classes aimed at women, admonitions to women shopping with children to beware carjackers and human traffickers.
I remember one day when I was on a mission to talk about the gospel and the abolition of abortion in Seattle. A tall threatening man approached me, he was angry and upset. He leaned towards me, and I thought he would hurt me. I was newly pregnant with my son, and scared of how he might hurt me. I was certain he would burn me with his cigerette. Just then, a man in our group placed himself right behind me. The threatening man went from intimidating, to stepping back, and taking a more passive role in our interaction. Being a woman inherently impacted my experience in this interaction.
But this is just one aspect of who I am as a woman, my biology is not seperate from my soul. They are connected because both are who I am, and I am a woman in my soul AND my body. And in sharing how I am distinctly feminine, even my bodily experience impacts my spiritual understanding. Motherhood, for instance, can be a spiritual experience, that is intertwined with a bodily one. Pregnancy, breastfeeding, and motherhood makes women vulnerable, as we often have children in our care, and our bodies are often dedicated to their care directly and indirectly. This changes our experience fundamentally in ways we can never erase. Whether giving birth to a child, or bringing one into our arms and our homes through adoption, we have a very spiritual connection to that child, in nurture, in teaching them. We learn more about God through this experience, as we guide and teach our children.
Not every Mother has this growth, and realization, whether they gave birth physically, or cared for a child they adopted.
But it is one example of a uniquely feminine experience that impacts both body and soul. Inherently, the maturity that comes with Motherhood is the maturity of learning self sacrifice, and understanding Christ’s example of service through a uniquely feminine experience.
This is not the only way to reach this understanding or level of maturity, as men can learn these things in a masculine way, or women who are not mothers can mature in this way through another equally, yet different feminine experience, but it is a distinctly feminine one that illustrates succinctly how inextricably linked our bodies and souls are, and how holisticly inherent our feminine or masculine experience is.
There are other inherently feminine experiences, such as sexual vulnerability, that can further explain this point, women are sexually receptive, and more vulnerable. We may need to depend on good men, or even objects such as guns, to provide physical safety in the face of very real constant danger.
A single young lady, for instance, may find it difficult to travel in certain cultures without a protective male escort, simply because of the reality of how a woman’s experience in those cultures is significantly impacted by their sexual vulnerability, as percieved by stronger and more powerful men.
In 2009, a young woman in Saudi Arabia was jailed and sentenced to 100 lashes for adultery after being gang raped by a man who gave her a ride. She became pregnant and was prosecuted as a result. This is a uniquely female experience no man can understand as a woman can, that affected her body AND her soul.
My identity is not in the external expression of femininity, but in who God made me to BE, female.
I am a woman doing something. This is the distinction between the sexes, one God has inherently created, and not one we maintain externally by meeting man made standards.
This verse is often used to justify the kind of legalism that requires women to wear skirts as arbitrary external markers of femininity : “A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God,” (Deut. 22:5) But it isn’t about the act of putting on a specific garment, but the intention of changing and denying God’s created person. This is a principle, not a wooden prescription for wearing clothing with a tag marked with large print: “WOMEN’S CLOTHING.”
Another interpretation puts it this way: “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man (literally translated, the gear of a warrior), neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.”
Some commentators have framed this, not as a prohibition of cross-dressing, but as a prohibition of idol worship that would have involved cross-dressing. However,God had already rebuked idolatry pointedly elsewhere: this verse is specifically directed toward dress. It is surrounded by other short laws having to do with principles of perpetual justice: help your brother find his ox, do not eat two generations of wild birds at once, put a parapet around the roof of your house or you will be liable for any damage. At a minimum, this passage focuses on maintaining the distinctions between the sexes in how they dress.
But, Duet 22:5 makes most sense when it is taken as a prohibition against gender confusion. For instance, it ought not to be taken as a prohibition against the wearing of protective gear (my husband and I use the same safety goggles when we use the saw, the same gloves when we tend to the woodstove, the same kind of helmet when we ride a bike. Men and women use the same kevlar vest to protect from bullets, etc). To take it as a prohibition against wearing protective gear would be to put this provision above the sixth commandment (Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 68 says: “The sixth commandment requireth all lawful endeavours to preserve our own life, and the life of others.”).
Neither could the commandment prohibit women ever wearing items of clothing that may even have been touched by a man: pants are considered a male garment in the West, but are very feminine in the East, while skirts are a traditional Scottish attire and flowing robes were worn by Jesus and the OT patriarchs). Rather, the commandment exhorts us to take care to cultivate differences between the sexes in how we dress, as a means to generally preserving differences between the sexes. Inherent in the Deut 22:5 provision is a desire to conserve the difference between masculinity and femininity, and an indication that “the gear of a warrior” illustrates a particular blurring of the line (as we’d expect, if men are generally supposed to go to war in place of women).
Considered in light of Mark 7:15. “There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” this indicates it is about the intention of the heart, and not the structure of the garment itself.
So someone insisting that biblical womanhood requires skirts for women as an external standard, is just as pagan as the transgender doctrine that what present externally changes who you are, and are practically rejecting Christ’s words in Mark 7:15 in the same way.
Nancy Pearcey makes the point, in LOVE THY BODY, that transgender ideology devalues the body in favor of the spirit, saying that the way you feel on the inside is more important than the totality of you, body and soul. Your body IS part of who you are but transgender roles require denying your body, and denying other’s bodies. So then many Christians who would say you’re insufficiently feminine unless you’re wearing skirts (or insufficiently masculine unless you’re wearing denim and flannel) are both also devaluing the body in the exact same way. It follows, that since the body and spirit are in union holistically, that devaluing the body also devalues the soul.
This Gnosticism can be distilled down to this: externals are what make you male, or female.
This allows for those extrabiblical legalistic standards imposed as burdens onto women and men from a fundamentalist standpoint just as much as it allows for men to appropriate and imitate womanhood in a devaluation and trivialization of what womanhood truly is.
The similarities aren’t coincidental.
Transexual ideals are the ultimate conclusion of patriarchy, where the “best” women are actually men and conversely the most desirable thing for women to be is a man.
Men who enjoy male privilege can play at being women, and even at times be the best women without experiencing any of the struggle ot sacrifice or fear of womanhood. One example of this is Caitlyn Jenner being named woman of the year.
Transgender women can appropriate our experiences like visiting a theme park, and then abandon that in favor of their own privilege and power at when it gets too difficult.
We see this in sports, as they take our titles, best our categories, and in the wider culture in a similar fashion continue to objectify women’s bodies, and trivialize our experiences in a pale mimicry of womanhood, tinting pads to pretend to have their period, taking medication to induce breastfeeding, and furthering the view of women as sex objects, by presenting themselves as superior sex objects.
This communicates that men are better at being women than women are, and that women and children are for the purpose of men’s gratification and personal fulfilment, objects to provide experiences for the sake of men’s longings.
In the culture at large, spaces meant to be safe havens are now subject to the demands of male bodies for access, Rape shelters, domestic violence shelters, bathrooms, and locker rooms, are just some examples of where women are no longer able to have safe havens where they do not have to encounter the danger of rape or assault, or where women recovering from such harm are forced to give way to male entitlement, and have no choice but to exist in vulnerable spaces with no protection against stronger male bodies. In Toronto, at least one man, Christopher Hambrook, took advantage of this at a women’s shelter, and several women were made his victims.
This is a direct result of lost people using the tools they have available to enact what they believe will solve their problems, appealing to the state as a means to enforce what they consider to be right and good.
An example of how the transgender right’s movement has done this, is to use the state to enforce the integration of transpersons into prison populations, and public school facilities. We often wrongly view this as a problem caused by transgender rights, when it is really a much bigger issue.
Having the state deciding where boys and girl’s go to the bathroom and shower to begin with, and the existing problems with that model are only highlighted and exposed when you add transgender students to the mix.
If education were a free market enterprise where people could choose schools based on shared values and priorities, everyone could put their children where they felt safest and most comfortable, instead of at the mercy of the federal government whim.
In the case of women’s prisons specifically, it merely adds another layer of sexual abuse, and vulnerability to an already abusive and unjust system, where the state determines who is and is not criminal, places them under the power of corrupt agents, who already abuse and enslave them in our “in”justice system.
We cannot lay the blame for this pagan thinking at the feet of transgender rights, but our own desire to have the state control what is not its purview. Our own pagan thinking caused this, and the lost used the resources at their disposal to establish what was right in their own eyes. They do not know better, but WE SHOULD.
And yet, Women and children are still the most vulnerable in this state enforced system.
This is how transgender ideology is just another application of power religion in a patriarchal expression, children and women both being sacrificed on the altar of male desire and male privilege. It is not another form of such demands, but an extension of them. This is patriarchy realized in its fullest form.
In all these contexts, (Evangelical) we have men having to prove they are men, women proving they don’t mind being not as good as men, so that they can be considered properly feminine.
Or in a transgender context, men having to prove they are better women, and women having to prove they are as good as men, or are men. It is always men as the measuring stick!
This deprives women of our basic rights, our sense of worth, and our ability to retain any sort of unique female sisterhood when all distinctions are flattened, and there really is no such thing as innate womanhood.
This is also a foundational componant of abortion on demand, the belief that women must be identical to men in order to be as valuable as men, and so to achieve that, women must be entitled to oppress those weaker than ourselves just as men are.
The same pagan foundation for identity feeds all these views, with the evangelical view based on John Knox’s ideas, (Written out in ‘The Blast Of The Trumpet Against The Monstrous Regiment Of Women, discussed in our first episode of this podcast.) the specific belief I am referring to, being Knox’s claim that women are a lesser image of God than men.
Children are also included in this man centric belief, some versions of it even purport that women are not created in God’s image at all, but lesser image bearers reflecting the image of man, justified by the verse that calls woman “the glory of the man.” This props up the implied, and sometimes even explicit beliefs about women’s lesser worth, that are applied in evangelical expressions of patriarchy.
But, The verse about women being the glory of men, actually meaning the opposite, where women are indeed the glory of MANKIND, our vulnerability and femininity an helpmeet to humanity, and without our expression of the image of God in us, mankind’s kingdom work would be incomplete.
In this way, the biblical view of men and women rejects ANY flattening of the sexes and cherishes the unique holistic body and soul expression of Imago Dei that each of us are in our masculine and feminine forms of God’s image in mankind, and the very physical and spiritual way in which we complete one another.
The rejection of imago dei in any context, fractures any true understanding of human identity or dignity, creating a plethora of ways to dehumanize and oppress one another. Any time we reject God’s word, abuse will follow, whether abuse of ourselves or abuse of others.
The only thing separating the pagan foundations of evangelical thinking and transgender culture is tribal affiliation, and competition for moral superiority.
Both sides look at each other with utter hatred, and are disgusted at the other’s (shared) values. Posts in Evangelical groups along the lines of “How do we take a stand against LGBTQ stuff?” or “We are just fighting for our religious rights!” There is an us vs. them tribalism that stinks of children at the schoolyard shouting with smirks on their faces: “EW! I can’t go near HER! She has COOTIES!” or posting signs like: “BOYS aren’t allowed!” on clubhouse doors. Even more reflected is the “safe space” mentality where tidy church ladies gasp and clutch their pearls over the thought of seeing one of THOSE couples in the grocery store, at the park, or on a carnival ride. “I mean, I KNOW they exist, but why do they have to be in MY space?” we quiver.
Then there is the shaking anger, the mocking glee where crude names are used to refer to the other. The idea that “Our enemies are BAD! And not as good as WE ARE! Where gotcha moments and hatred are better than love and understanding. After all, compassion never scored points for OUR team!
These same opinions abound in “the other team” as well, and in surprisingly similar forms. Outspoken Christians are expelled from safe spaces, business owners won’t serve ‘those kind’ and there is equally as much pearl clutching and angry proclamations of moral superiority from the more progressive side of the debate.
Destruction is too good for them!
Let’s obliterate anyone who dares to disagree! Dehumanizing and belittling other people who aren’t as enlightened and righteous as I am is the order of the day, and so alienation of both sides continue as the screams reach fever pitch.
These similar reactions flow from the exact same foundation. The only difference is that one is realized in a slightly different context than the other. Both prioritize external rules, and a humanistic viewpoint. Both reject foundational Biblical doctrine, and both end in abuse of image bearers. Both believe peace can be found in the flesh, either in altering it, or achieving a man made ideal of it.
They (transpersons) assume we choose to persecute them solely to justify our own self righteousness (and in some cases, I think that we would do well to consider this point, as our loud disgust at the thought of transpersons often sounds much like self righteous attempts to distance ourselves from what we consider dangerous and sinful, as if we actually will be tainted by any contact with the especially heinous section of the lost. As if there is a test, and we will only pass by condemning the particularly terrible sinners. Like a sexual red scare in the Sunday School class.)
And we often unwittingly assume they choose to suffer depression, confusion, and lack of peace simply to come after each of us. Some of us expressing our ideal world, it sounds eerily similar to the closing scenes of Beauty and the Beast, as the angry townsmen seek to destroy the monster with pitchforks and torches.
But we all end up as different flavors of the same team.
“Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?” (Romans 2)
There we are, Christians, jeering and judging others as we do the exact same things in our own hearts. We know those who do not know God will stand firmly on whatever they deem right in their own eyes, but it is especially egregious that rather than “know us by our love” the world knows us by our strict adherance to the party line, and desperate attempts to maintain man made “purity” in our little Christian ghettos at the cost of furthering the gospel.
If we claim to have, and indeed do have, the spirit of God, why are we embracing pagan thinking when it comes to how we teach, and judge one another? What we think on this subject impacts the weakest among us, placing burdens that some won’t lift a finger to bear. They use this ideology to abuse their own bodies. We use it to justify abusing others.
And what can we fear in reaching out and loving those who need the power of the gospel? We know what is good and right and true, and yet we resort to the exact same tactics, foundation, and actions as “the other tribe,” tearing down, and destroying those we hate, instead of standing firmly on the truth of God’s word, and fearlessly advancing his kingdom, while showing to the lost and needy, who he is. It is not us, but Christ IN US who can do all things.
I cannot stress enough that what Christ himself calls foundational is the first principle of God’s law we should apply here: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul, and Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Rooted in the foundational doctrine of Imago Dei, we can begin to untangle all the threads of culture and explore what God actually says in light of these important laws.
Human beings have value and dignity. God does not abrogate his image in humans simply because they aren’t good enough or engage in sins we find especially heinous. If that were the case, NONE of us would be worthy of the gospel. In fact, that is THE VERY POINT of the gospel “for such were some of you” as I Corinthians 16:11 says.
We cannot cherish idolatry while pointing fingers at other’s idolatry, especially when it is the very same idol we bow down to. We need to take down our own idols first, realizing that it is not how we express ourselves, or speak, or what community we identify with that make us redeemed! We cannot engage in a gospel of works, assuming that a skirt will save me and my male neighbors from the inherent sin of my femininity. For it is the same gospel as that which assumes that a skirt will redeem a man, or pants will redeem a woman from their inherent sin natures. Looking to Christ does not require church attire. And our idols will always seperate us from truth.
Our attempts to share the gospel, and call the culture to repentance are lost in the noise, undermined by our own indulging in idolatry, the same exact kind in which the other tribe indulges. This hypocrisy blasphemes the gospel, and is the very reason the world claims moral superiority with little effort. We have ourselves elevated it to the place of an idol. Romans 2 describes this very situation:
“But if you call yourself a Jew and drely on the law and boast in God 18 and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; 19 and if you are sure that you yourself are ea guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law fthe embodiment of gknowledge and truth— 21 hyou then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you irob temples? 23 You who jboast in the law kdishonor God by breaking the law. 24 For, las it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed mamong the Gentiles because of you.”
Looking at our transgender neighbors with compassion enables us to see before us, broken men and women who are in need. In need of love, compassion, gospel truth, and not trite “I’ll pray for you!” statements that subtly communicate our condescension to their level.
We need to set aside our idols and recognize the truth of I Corinthians 11 in our own lives, taking the posture of the redeemed, not the high handed purveryors of piety. We should not look down on the unredeemed as “those blasted heathens ruining everything” but as image bearers in need of their Creator.
And we especially cannot boast in how we were spit on and hated and heard God blasphemed as we went to parades and pointed fingers at those who needed the gospel while we were engaged in the SAME pagan ideas.
signs saying things like “Women belong in the kitchen!” are exactly what Paul is speaking of when he says “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” We are just as pagan as they are, and so our angry hateful jabs at them eliciting angry hateful responses are NOT a badge of honor, but rather a tragic blasphemy of the gospel in the name of self righteous Pelegian street preaching tactics. There are God honoring ways to tell other image bearers about redemption of Christ. Calling people whores, or screaming at how they are going to hell for not being stay at home Moms, and they deserve to be raped for wearing yoga pants.
Christ died for men and women who are broken, sinful, and not worthy. We cannot know who is and is not redeemed, who will and will not be redeemed. We can know that EVERY human standing in front of us is an image bearer. A neighbor. Loving God begins in that case with loving them. It does not mean we charge them with loud yells of “Repent from your wickedness!” from across a picket line, so we can feel good about our own prideful self righteousness.
In the holistic view of bodies and souls, we must recognize our bodies as a part of ourselves, so we can rightly recognize the very real struggle and pain that comes with body dysmorphic disorder, seeking to minister to those suffering with this very real and difficult mental health problem.
The secular world sees only the body, treating it as a suit of clothing to be changed, an illlness to be cured.
Christians see only the soul, seeking to transform people with platitudes and prayers, telling transgender persons to “be warmed, be filled” and be on their way, just so long as they wear the right clothing when we are looking.
We know both are harmful, denying the needs of the soul, or denying the needs of the body.
We take part in the same error as secular healthcare, where they deny the soul, and build on the same dualist gnostic foundation from a different angle, by denying the body.
We have forgotten an inherently Christian principle in emphasizing dualistic approaches like nouthetic counseling aimed purely at the soul, denying or glossing over psychological illnesses, afflictions and injuries, whether caused by abuse, physical problems, etc.
Where are the Christians with evidence based medical help? If we are postmillenialist, why are we not seeking to make the world a better place, taking dominion even over mental health needs, and seeking to treat them as they are: afflictions of bodies AND souls? Where are the christians pioneering with compassionate medical care seeing human beings as in need of dignity in their holistic care? Are we seeking ways to address imbalances in the body which may affect or result from pain in the soul?
Even if we do think of this in a Biblical fashion, considering LGBTQ proponents as Image bearers who have value as God’s creation, speaking truth in love, and seeking to live the full orbed gospel in a world that embraces pagan ideas and traditions, are we using scripture to make them our enemies? Are we speaking of them in disgust, in hatred, with mocking? Are we belitting them? Taking every opportunity to tell them how vile they are in our eyes, because they are not as righteous, as clean as we are?
How did Jesus confront people in open sin? Consider the woman at the well, whom he gently confronted, not holding back an ounce of truth, but allowing her conscience to do the talking for him? He had every reason, culturally to treat her as dirty and lesser, like many of us speak of and to members of the LGBTQ movement today, and yet, he treated her with compassion and dignity, a new sensation for her. Consider how disarming this “Law to the proud, Grace to the humble” approach can be to those bracing themselves for the harsh retribution, because their consciences already bear witness to what we know to be true about sexual sin.
One scripture I’ve heard used to justify all manner of speech about LGBTQ proponents is Romans 1 “Therefore sGod gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to tthe dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for ua lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, vwho is blessed forever! Amen.”
This passage is not a blank check for us to spit in disgust at other image bearers. Rather it is a description of the downward fall into the tragic rejection of God. We cannot KNOW who is beyond the truth, or why. What we CAN do is obey the great commission, teaching every creature whatsoever Christ commanded. And Christ himself modeled for us a service based ministry that disarmed the haters, convicted the sinners, and rebuked the self righteous.
Repentance is hard, healing is messy, and understanding the holistic nature of each person is complex. Justification is the beginning of a long and individual journey of maturity through sanctification. We cannot demand overnight outward conformity so we can call them healed, and claim an easy victory at the expense of a broken soul. It takes a lot of pain to come to the place of deluding ourselves that we are what we are not, to deny God’s intent and purpose for us. Can we not compassionately consider, that many transpeople are trying to make sense of what really does feel like their real selves with what twisted pagan philosophy and tools they have available to them? This is what is meant by “the lost.” Every choice they make to deny God’s purpose in their life hurts themselves, and destroys their bodies and souls.
Our proper response to a culture that is continually rejecting God is to show in our lives and our actions WHO God is, what he does. By taking dominion of art, culture, medicine, manufacturing, services, entertainment, etc. It is to do it BETTER, and do it according to God’s ethics, judging all things correctly. We need to stop retreating in disgust and start taking dominion fearlessly.
We need to be unafraid to meet a gay couple in the store, a transgender woman in the parking lot, or see them buying houses on TV. It is not they and their presence we need fear.
Rather we meet it head on in the spirit of love and a sound mind. We can teach our children truth and compassion by example, instead of covering their eyes and hiding from the lost and needy in our communities. We can model grace and truthfulness, instead of seeking personal freedom from participation, just so long as OUR hands aren’t sullied by the culture around us. We need to remember what Christ said to the lost, and take his posture when we come into contact with them: “My burden is easy, and my yoke is light, come and find rest.”
Awhile ago, a friend in a service industry where she may find herself assisting gay couples in building families, asked me: “Liz, what should I do if a gay couple asks for my services?” I told her “Give them. And while you do, speak truth. Don’t be afraid of them, or their presence. Be bold and willing to speak openly about why you do what you do, and who you do it for. They will either accept that graciously or fire you. In which case, you have not compromised anything. You WILL have been an example of Christ in their lives though.”
We have nothing to fear in facing the Transgender men and women in our culture. We are not going to catch LGBTQ sin from them, and there is no reason to be hateful and make them our enemies because of HOW we act around them. Rather in love and a sound mind, we serve them boldly and fearlessly, being that walking witness to truth in their lives. Unafraid as Jesus was when he sat down and asked a Samaritan woman for water, and said: “I am living water, come to me and be satisfied.”