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Are Christians Ready to Minister to Transgenders?

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Recent news, media, and legislative events have made it evident that there is an entire community of people who know that something isn’t right and are desperately seeking a solution. Unfortunately, they are focused upon transforming their bodies when they should be focused on transforming their spirits. However, the natural guide in this process is conspicuously absent. “Transgender” may have been the word of the year in 2015, but it does not seem to have entered the church’s vocabulary.[1] The silence of the church on the matter of gender dysphoria is deafening. How can transgender individuals receive the transformative power of Jesus Christ if the Christian refuses to share with them the truth of God’s Word?

Presently, there are precious few books available that specifically address the subject of transgenderism from a Biblical perspective. Moreover, the vast majority of these books claim that the Bible supports transgenderism. Similarly, it is difficult to find sermons on the matter. Where then is someone who is struggling with sexual confusion supposed to turn for answers? The church is silent, and the only alternatives to the church are mostly eager to affirm and encourage transgender feelings.

So, what are we to do as Christians? The subject of transgenderism is complicated and controversial. There simply is not enough data to speak with authority on the science of the matter. Neither is there enough data to speak with authority on the social implications of transgenderism. Speculation is presented as fact, and social experimentation is presented as a proven solution.

As Christians, we would do well to avoid becoming ensnared in such a quagmire of ideological arguments. Instead, we must learn what the Bible says about the key questions undergirding transgenderism. Questions such as: Is the body sacred? Does gender matter? Is gender distinct from biological sex? Does God make mistakes? etc., etc. However, we cannot merely store the answers to these questions in our brains. As Christians we must communicate these truths with others—especially with those who do not agree—but it is crucial that this be done gently and in love (1 Cor. 16:13–14; Gal. 6:1).

If we alienate the transgender community in our effort to stand upon the truth of God’s Word, then we forfeit our opportunity to share the gospel when they become disillusioned. Why would they turn for answers to those they believe harbor animosity toward them? Similarly, if we affirm the transgender lifestyle in an effort to show our love and tolerance, then we can offer them no hope of change when they realize the path they are treading leads only to destruction and hopelessness. Why would they look for hope from someone who says they and the transgender individual are already so similar that we need not discuss the differences? Instead, when we as Christians stand apart from the transgender ideology in an honest yet loving manner, we protect the hope of the gospel.

We are not responsible for convicting others of their sin. This is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told His disciples in John 16:8, “When [the Holy Spirit] comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.” We are merely messengers responsible for telling others the truth of God’s Word. We stand as candles in the dark–sometimes shedding light upon the lies people believe, other times drawing people to the light. However, if we place our light under a bowl, then we can do nobody any good (Matt. 5:14–16). Therefore, we proclaim the truth of God’s Word to those who will listen, and we treat everyone with love and gentleness. In so doing we encourage the convicting work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts and minds of others.

Be sure to Read Timothy Zebell’s book Transitioning: A Biblical Understanding of Transgenderism.

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Timothy Zebell

Timothy Zebell

As a former missionary to Asia for twelve years and the author of several books, Timothy is passionate about helping people understand the relevancy of God's Word in today's world. His goals are to help Christians discern truth from error, empower Christians to speak into cultural matters with relevancy, and to help Christians capitalize on the opportunities that these matters provide for sharing the truth about God and His gospel message.
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1. Taylor, Trey. “Why 2015 Was the Year of Trans Visibility.” Vogue magazine, December 29, 2015. Accessed May 16, 2016. http://www.vogue.com/13383474/2015-year-of-trans-visibility.

 

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.