People Say the Bible Doesn’t Talk About Transgenderism. It Does.
Andrew T. Walker's new book explains what the Bible says about gender identity.
Quick now: Where does the Bible say it say it’s wrong to change sex?
LGBT advocates will answer: Nowhere. They’ll say the Bible mentions the topic only once and that verse doesn’t apply. Deut. 22:5 says a man shouldn’t wear women’s clothes, and vice versa. That was Old Testament (they’ll say) and we’ve left Old Testament laws behind us.
Furthermore, it never says a man shouldn’t become a woman (or vice versa). And what if someone is only a man on the outside, but really a woman on the inside? Shouldn’t “she” be who “she” really is?
Can’t answer that? Enter Andrew T. Walker, author of the readable, compassionate, practical and biblical God and the Transgender Debate: What Does the Bible Actually Say About Gender Identity?
No Proof Text
LGBT advocates are partly right: The Bible has no single proof text clearly stating transgenderism is wrong, as there is for, say, stealing, murder or even homosexuality. Deut. 22:5 helps, but doesn’t clearly answer the other side’s objections, as we’ve seen.
That’s okay. The Bible doesn’t list every right and every wrong in a catalog. It teaches principles by which we can discern right and wrong. Walker finds just principles in God’s purpose and design for humans.
What is a man? Genesis tells us that a man is a human who can be united to a woman, a wife, with whom he can physically become “one flesh” (2:24). A person with male anatomy is reflecting physically the fact that he is] created a man. … Maleness isn’t only anatomy, but anatomy shows that there is maleness.
The same applies to femaleness of course. “Men and women are more than just their anatomy, but they are not less,” he explains. “To misunderstand, blur or reject the Creator’s categories for humanity doesn’t just put us in rebellion against the Creator and creation — it puts us at odds with how each of us was made.”
The Source of the Problem
There’s a problem with that, though. Not everyone feels their body’s sex fits their mind’s view of their gender. They suffer from the condition called gender dysphoria.
What’s going on here, Walker explains, is one more effect of humankind’s fallen condition (Gen. 3). This sex-and-gender mismatch isn’t a result of that person’s sin, any more than the man in John 9 was born blind because he had sinned. It’s another instance of the pain that comes with humanity’s brokenness.
What about the claim, “I was born this way”? There’s no way to be sure that’s true. We don’t know why some people come to feel their sex doesn’t fit their gender. Even if did, though, it would simply be one of many instances in which the fall has marred God’s design.
The solution isn’t to reject the design. The solution is to pursue the redemption and peace that comes through a relationship with Christ.
The Pain of Transgenderism
Gender dysphoria is suffering, Walker reminds us. The Church must deal compassionately with that pain.
The church’s response to those who identify as transgender, and to those who struggle with gender dysphoria but who are not actively identifying as transgender, must be — immediately and with integrity, “You are welcome here. You are loved here.”
Churches must be both “listening communities” and “convictional communities” committed to biblical truth. Only this combination, says Walkers, “allows us to offer a word of hope and reconciliation. We can only offer this message if we believe the message is true!”
So that answers a couple questions, very briefly. Walker clearly, sensitively and biblically many other tough questions, like:
- Can someone be transgender and Christian?
- Should parents keep kids in state-run schools if those schools promote transgenderism?
- What should churches do if a member asks for their child to be identified as the opposite sex — or neither sex?
- Shouldn’t we focus on sins that actually harm people (murder, adultery, etc.)? Transgenderism doesn’t hurt anyone, does it?
- What pronouns should we use?
You will face at least one of those questions head-on before long. God and the Transgender Debate will equip you for these very real challenges — challenges none of us can avoid facing.