Reading a blog - VERY interesting pastoral dilemma - Transgender

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by annsni, Jun 4, 2009.

  1. annsni

    annsni
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    I'm reading a blog by Russel Moore who is the Dean of the School of Theology and Senior Vice-President for Academic Administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

    He posted a very interesting dilemma to his students in his Christian Ethics class that I figured I'd post here, we can discuss it then we can see what he posts as his own answer (please, no cheating and looking ahead at those answers he has).

    Here's the initial post with the info:

    http://www.russellmoore.com/2009/05/04/christian-ethics-this-years-dilemma/
     
  2. abcgrad94

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    Wow, Ann! You sure know how to pick 'em! LOL! I have not looked at the "answers" or spent hours thinking about my response, but here is my "gut reaction" about this.

    1. First, I would take this individual down the Romans road and lead him to salvation. Before we address the outward man, the inward man must be dealt with. Once the person is saved, God will reveal the rest as he grows in Christ.

    2. My off-the-cuff reaction to the transgender issue is this: It may not be physically, medically, or financially possible for the lady to return to her physical beginnings as a man. In that case, I'd say, let her continue to be a woman and rear her daughter as she always has, and ask God to help her with her burden. When a divorced person comes to Christ, we don't expect them to return to their former spouse and remarry, especially if there are other new families involved. What's done is done and is in the past, it should be covered by the blood if the person has recieved Christ. "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new."

    If God convicts the woman for her transgender status, He will provide the means emotionally, physically, etc. for her to be the man she was intended to be before the surgery.
     
  3. Revmitchell

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    Scripture tells us that we are fearfully made. (Psalm 139:14) That means that God makes us as he intends us to be. Therefore we need to respect His decision and live our lives according to his design.

    We can become confused by a great many things. Our feelings can be a product of so many outside influences and lack of knowledge of any real truth. Feelings and experiences should always be measured by the only solid unchanging truth in this world. The Samaritan woman had lived her life by her feelings. Having lived with many men she bounced around from one relationship to another evidently looking for something even though she had some knowledge of God. But it was not until she was presented with the Word that she experienced real change in both her knowledge and her heart.

    So how do we live with poor decisions of the past? So many cases of sin have created tragic situations that some must now live with that are difficult to work through and live with. Some have multiple children with multiple spouses, some have damaged others emotionally and physically through physical and sexual abuse. And some have made physical changes to God's creation that have altered their bodies in drastic and tragic ways. And some have lived lives of deceit that now must be dealt with.

    The consequences of our ungodly choices do not prohibit the repenting of our sin. We must repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand (Matt 4:17). This man who has pretended to be a woman can stop taking the hormone therapy and begin to take on godly principles that only men can and should do. He can begin to dress as the man God intended him to be. And as far as the physical surgery of the past what cannot be reversed will have to be lived with. But the lack of appendage because of a poor and ungodly decision does not change this man's responsibility in this life.

    The Child, as unfortunate as it is, should be made aware of this so that a full repentance can be made. And while it most likely will be a shock to the child what is important is the love of what is in reality the father.

    In all of this he should be supported and encouraged by his church family and most likely will require some extra attention from them for a period of time as the repentance and transition is made ( Galatians 6;2).
     
  4. Servent

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    First deal with repentance & salvation.

    Second the child before it goes any further she will have to be told, the truth must come out.

    Third lot's & lot's of love grace and prayer. let the LORD reveal what needs to be done next.
     
  5. Marcia

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    I would make sure she understand the gospel and wants to trust Christ. I would assure her that her past sins are forgiven if she trusts Christ.

    Since her past sins are forgiven, she does not need to try to go back to being a man, which may not be possible anyway. It is not like she is presently robbing banks or living with someone, in which case, she would need to be urged to stop the activity.

    At some point, the daughter should be told but I'm not sure when. I think 10 is too young. I did not even tell my son that I almost aborted him until he was 19 and it was because of something his dad told him.

    I would not want to be a pastor and have to counsel people on difficult issues like this! I do have to advise people on some difficult things in my ministry, but they are things I know about and don't encompass issues like this.
     
  6. swaimj

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    Yes. Make sure the individual is truly saved. As far as their gender issues go, these verses from I Cor 7:17-24 are pertinent:

    Nevertheless, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each person, so must he live. I give this sort of direction in all the churches. Was anyone called after he had been circumcised? He should not try to undo his circumcision. Was anyone called who is uncircumcised? He should not get circumcised. Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Instead, keeping God’s commandments is what counts. Let each one remain in that situation in life in which he was called. Were you called as a slave? Do not worry about it. But if indeed you are able to be free, make the most of the opportunity. For the one who was called in the Lord as a slave is the Lord’s freedman. In the same way, the one who was called as a free person is Christ’s slave. You were bought with a price. Do not become slaves of men. In whatever situation someone was called, brothers and sisters, let him remain in it with God.

    The person should know that, whatever sin they have committed in the past has now been forgiven. Whatever ongoing consequences that sin may have in their life, they should accept that God, in his sovereignty, allowed the sin to occur, and he will give grace to endure its aftermath. If changing the aftermath is possible, that is good, but changing the aftermath is not a necessity for one to please God. And a person can be confident that, in eternity, God will make all things new, whole, and right.
     
  7. Scarlett O.

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    I like everyone's posts so far even if they haven't totally agreed.

    This is HARD. It's hard because it's real and happening this very minute. Somewhere, this very minute, a transgendered person is being convicted by the Holy Spirit to come to repentance.

    What would I do?

    1. Pray my guts out.

    2. Counsel him (and I am going to refer to Joan as "him") in the understanding of salvation and see that this is the top priority in his life now.

    3. He is going to have to bear the consequences of sin as do we all. Rahab, the harlot, was called Rahab, the harlot, long after she was no longer a harlot. The author of Hebrews called her that and so did James. Some members of the church will not receive him with grace and love and others will. He needs to be surrounded by Godly men who can usher him through this very difficult ordeal with compassion and support - and it will be difficult.......for both parties.

    4. He is, biologically and genetically, a man. No matter what surgeries he has had or how he "thinks" of himself, he is a man - he is a eunuch. Now, should be have surgeries to alter himself to what he originally was? Well, I think that's pretty much impossible. Should he stop the hormone treatments, if he is still taking them. Probably so. And he needs to be supervised, medically.

    5. Should his 10-year-old daughter be told? Yes. If the pastor and one of the Godly older women knows about it - then it is no longer a secret. Secrets are only secrets between two people if one of them is dead. The daughter can handle it. Should she be told all the intimate details? Heavens no!

    6. Should he still continue to live as a woman? I have agonized over this one. AND I may change my mind again in an hour. Right now.....I say no. Is he going to be able to live as a "normal" man? Physically? No. Mentally? Not now. That mindset that began as a small child is going to be difficult to remove. Outwardly in the eyes of others? I say yes. Dressing like a man. Not wearing make-up.

    7. Should he not date like a woman would date - as in seeing men. Yes, he should stop seeing men - period. Because he IS a man, his seeing men is homosexuality.

    8. Is this issue going to solve itself overnight? NO!!! This man was so convinced that he is a woman that he had his genitals removed. REMOVED! This psychological conviction is going to fight the conviction of the Holy Spirit. The flesh that feels at peace with being a woman will fight the spirit that wants so badly to trust God and to follow Jesus. It's going to hurt to change the mindset. It's not unlike an alcoholic or food-addict or junkie. Reality, even when it's better for you, hurts too bad sometimes to face. The illusion of peace that the drugs or the food give you feels "safe" even though you know it's killing you. That's a demon that's hard to fight.

    9. Will I change my mind about what I've said? Probably. Several times.

    10. Should we pray for these people whose number is increasing with an alarming frequency? Yes.
     
    #7 Scarlett O., Jun 4, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2009
  8. Revmitchell

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    Remaining to pretend to be a woman is to avoid repentance. That is to remain in rebellion and serves no one except the flesh and satan.
     
  9. Deacon

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    The few transgendered people I’ve had contact with are not people that you’d envy;
    they live a conflicted life.

    How would Jesus treat her?

    Just a few scattered thoughts:

    • Don’t ostracize or condemn her.
    • Treat her like a woman with the same safeguards within the counseling chambers
    • Confidentiality: Assure her that her secret is safe with you.
    • Ensure her salvation
    • Ensure that she knows of God love.
    • Help her to begin to live a victorious life
    “Am I too messed up to repent and be saved?

    Obviously No!

    If not, what does it mean for me to repent and live my life as a follower of Jesus?

    • Repent; turning sin
    • Romans 1:26-27 doesn’t really apply here, the woman is not a homosexual;
      transexuality is another disorder.
    • We wouldn’t ask a divorced person to return to their former spouse;
      I wouldn’t expect this person to return either.
    What is right for me to do?”

    'That's a hard question that may take a lifetime to discover; can we help you walk the path to discovery.'

    Consider Matthew 22:30
    She just hurried things along.

    Rob
     
  10. annsni

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    I'm impressed! Everyone has been really good about this discussion. I questioned posting it but I think it's an important issue to consider since I really think we'll be seeing more and more of this sort of thing.

    I honestly had no idea about how I'd respond. It is SUCH a tough situation and I have to admit, I read the "answer" before I really considered my own thoughts. But you guys did great. :)

    If you guys want to go on to read the rest of his posts, go ahead but I like having your own thoughts on this one! It's very encouraging to read. :)
     
  11. Scarlett O.

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    You are exactly correct about the pretense and the rebellion. :thumbs: He should dress like a man and abstain from make-up.

    However, the difficulty lies in all of the surgeries and hormonal permanence that promoted a female appearance. He can't go back and have hairs implanted in his arms, hands, underarms, and face if he has had an electrolysis.

    He should stop the hormone injections, but some hormonal alterations will be permanent.

    The most obvious surgical change cannot be undone......not really.

    It's going to take time for his body fat to "shift" to where men carry their fat.

    It's going to take time for him to find a "male" gait and speech again, if he ever had one at all.

    Even if some of the hormonal changes reduce themselves and even if his body fat shifts around, he will never look like the man he was pre-op and pre-hormones.

    But you are right, he should make the attempt to avoid pretense. And the hardest part won't be the "look". It will be the mindset.

     
  12. abcgrad94

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    As a mother of a 12- year old girl, VERY mature for her age, I completely disagree that the child should be told about this at age 10. This has the potential to RUIN this little girl's perception of God and church. I can just see the daughter thinking "Hmm. Mommy went to church and in order to be a good Christian, she now has to be a man." Can you imagine the confusion and fear, horror and distrust she would suddenly face? I say, Joan is now a woman, leave it at that unless GOD convicts her heart to once again change genders. Maybe Joan could inform her daughter of the surgery, without making a complete switch of genders all of a sudden.

    When an overweight person gets saved, do we start shoving salad down their throat so they aren't living in rebellion? What about smokers? Drinkers? The divorced? People who work at a bar or gambling joint? You have to let the LORD convict people and lead them, especially when they are already a mental mess. The Lord works from the inside out, not the other way around.

    Joan's FIRST identity should be A CHILD OF GOD before she decides (over a long period of time, probably) if she is male or female.
     
  13. canadyjd

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    First, let me agree with you concerning the idea that John's first identity is as a child of God. God needs to convict John (Joan) of the correct thing to do.

    However, I have always felt it is a mistake, and participation in a lie, to indulge a "gender confused" person's desires to be something they are not.

    John is not a woman. Regardless of what he looks like, or how he talks, or how he walks, or what name he calls himself by, John is a man. John is a man who has mutilated himself. He has the genetics of a man. God would not approve of us participating in a lie by indulging John's confusion.

    As far as the child is concerned, the sooner she finds out the better, and it should come from her father, John. As someone said earlier. A secret between two people is only a secret if one of them is dead. The child will find out. There is no way to put it off, and it would be sinful and even more tragic to hear it from someone at her school.

    Extensive Christian counseling is a must for both.

    peace to you:praying:
     
  14. Revmitchell

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    This man who has pretended to be a woman cannot continue to pretend and be repentant. As unfortunate as it is for this child, this child will now have to live with the consequences of the man's poor and ungodly decisions. I so appreciate your concern for the child. But the child is not the determining factor here for this man.
     
  15. sag38

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    Gender confusion is not about a woman trapped inside of a man's body or vise-versa. Rather, it is a selfish, twisted, and erotic confusion. And, it starts at an very early age. Perhaps mom wanted a daughter and got a boy and personified her disappointment on her son. Siblings or someone dressed her as a boy at a very early age as a prank. Most likely there is some type of s*xual abuse. Personally, I believe that it is a form of satanic bondage of which only the power of God can break. So, how do you handle someone who has gone all the way and done what, in many ways, cannot be reversed? I don't think there are any easy answers. Above all else there is to be an intense focus on God. He or she must freely admit that even though they may feel one way, those feelings are not right. What God's says, through His word defines reality. I would encourage the elders of the church to lay hands on him/her and pray over him/her asking for deliverance from this bondage. Lastly, be patient. The person did not get in this mess overnight and most likely it won't go away overnight.
     
  16. abcgrad94

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    I understand what you're saying. Here's where we disagree. I think the sin was in the "change" but the operation is over and for all physical purposes, Joan is now a woman. Christ has forgiven the sin and it's done.

    What you're saying is that it's still sin as long as Joan doesn't return to being male.

    I can't remember the exact reference, but when Paul talked about circumcision he said "let them remain as they are." In other words, if they came to Christ, they did not have to be circumcised. In Christ, we are neither circumcised or uncircumcised, male or female, bond or free.
     
  17. Pastor Larry

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    That assumes that John stopped being male because the plumbing got changed. That's not the way it works. Male or female is how we are created. It can't be changed. So "Joan" doesn't "return" to being male. He never stopped being male.
     
  18. abcgrad94

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    Let's substitute the word "transgendered" with something else, say, smoking.

    Would we tell a new convert they must stop smoking in order to be repentant? Is an outward action necessary for a heart decision? If we're going to make the transgendered individual stop practicing his "sin" then we have to be consistent.

    What if we substituted "fat" for transgendered. God didn't MAKE the new convert fat, said convert altered his body. Does repentance mean he must lose weight in order to prove he is saved or not rebelling against God? Of course not.

    Again, we must be consistent. I think we want a separate set of rules for different sins, especially when we view some sins as worse than others.
     
  19. Pastor Larry

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    That's the very type of argument taht won't work because smoking/fat is not t the same as transgendered. You are the one wanting to be consistent, so be consistent. Don't equate unlike sins.

    And some sins are worse than others. Read the law. Some deserved capital punishment and others did not. That's because while all sin brings death and separation, all sin is not equal.
     
  20. abcgrad94

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    Yet all sin is equal at the foot of the cross, is it not? Must a transgendered person do more to be saved than a liar or thief? All sin does not have the same severity of consequences, but sin is still sin in God's eyes, and caused death and separation from God.

    Why would Paul say there is neither male or female, circumcised or uncircumcised in Christ?
     

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