A Resolution on Transgender for the SBC

You know you’re at a cultural tipping-point when both Newsweek and Time magazine run cover stories on your cause within the span of a single year. Such is the case with transgender, which both Newsweek and Time have declared to be the next phase of the gay rights revolution. Transgender is the “T” in LGBT, but it is not a sexual orientation. It describes those whose perception of their gender identity does not match their biological sex.

Whereas transgender used to be considered a condition to be remedied, the sexual revolutionaries are telling us that is no longer the case. Last year, the American Psychiatric Association removed it from its list of disorders with the expressed purpose to remove the stigma from the condition. Indeed, as Time magazine has argued, we seem to be at a “tipping point.” Just as homosexuality has been mainstreamed, so the revolutionaries seek to mainstream transgender as well.

The public consequences of normalizing transgender are upon us. School systems across the country are beginning to allow boys who identify as transgender to make use of girls’s restrooms and locker rooms (see here and here). The state of New Jersey has made it illegal for licensed counselors to help a child embrace a gender identity that matches his sex. Medical professionals recommend sex-change surgeries for some transgender persons, and some parents are pursuing surgeries for minor children who experience conflict between their gender and bodily identity. Just last Friday Medicare lifted its ban on sex reassignment surgeries. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) has at different times seen majority support in both houses of Congress and would make it illegal for employers to make personnel decisions based on gender identity—a measure that would restrict the religious liberty of Christian employers.

The transgender revolution also presents us with a moment of pastoral urgency. As Christians, we have the privilege and responsibility to love our transgender neighbors and to minister the gospel to them. We also need to come alongside brothers and sisters who are trying to walk faithfully with Christ while feeling deep conflicts over their gender identity.

The severing of gender identity from biological sex has implications beyond those who identify as transgender. The gender revisionists are telling us that it is wrong to raise our little boys to be little boys and our little girls to be little girls. Instead, we are told, gender norms should be treated as fluid and unfixed. To teach otherwise is to trade in oppressive gender roles that have little relevance to the modern world.

For all of these reasons and more, Christians are going to have to meet the transgender challenge as a matter of great pastoral and missional urgency. We must be clear about what the Bible teaches and be faithful to live that message out in a culture that is increasingly out of step with biblical norms.

That is why I have submitted a resolution “On Transgender Identity” to the Resolutions Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention (along with my co-sponsor Andrew Walker). Next week, the Committee will decide whether or not to bring the resolution out to be voted on by the Convention. Below is the text of our proposal, though the Committee may very well make changes to it during their deliberations.

The Baptist Faith & Message 2000 says that “the gift of gender is…part of the goodness of God’s creation” (BF&M 2000, “III. Man”). So our confessional statement already has a faithful, biblical definition of gender. The hope is that this resolution will apply our confession to the transgender question. In doing so, the resolution will be a reference point for Southern Baptist colleges, hospitals, and other institutions that may be facing legal challenges for their stance on this issue. California Baptist University is just one example of a Southern Baptist institution that has found itself exposed on this issue (read about it here). This resolution will help fill that gap for Southern Baptists.

———————-

On Transgender Identity

WHEREAS, about 700,000 Americans perceive their gender identity to be at variance with the physical reality of their biological birth sex; and

WHEREAS, the American Psychiatric Association removed this condition (aka, “gender identity disorder”) from its list of disorders in 2013, substituting “gender identity disorder” with “gender dysphoria”; and

WHEREAS, the American Psychiatric Association includes among its treatment options for gender dysphoria cross-sex hormone therapy, gender reassignment surgery, and social and legal transition to the desired gender; and

WHEREAS, news reports indicate that parents are allowing their children to undergo these “therapies”; and

WHEREAS, many LGBT activists have sought to normalize the transgender experience and to define gender according to one’s self-perception apart from biological anatomy; and

WHEREAS, the separation of one’s gender identity from the physical reality of their biological birth sex poses the harmful effect of engendering an understanding of sexuality and personhood that is fluid; and

WHEREAS, some public school systems are encouraging parents and teachers to affirm the feelings of children whose self-perception of their own gender is at variance with their biological sex; and

WHEREAS, some public school systems are allowing access to bathrooms and locker rooms according to a child’s self-perception of gender and not according to their biological sex; and

WHEREAS, the state of New Jersey prohibits licensed counselors from any attempt to change a child’s “gender expression”; and

WHEREAS, the United States Senate passed last year legislation titled the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would radically alter the idea of protected classes in American law, granting sexual orientation and gender identity the same employment protections as sex and race; and

WHEREAS, ENDA would make it illegal for certain businesses and organizations to fire or to refuse to hire or promote an employee because of his or her gender identity that is at variance with biological sex; and

WHEREAS, Although recent formulations of ENDA contain a religious exemption, they do not contain an exemption for rights of conscience or religious freedom to protect businesses with a religious character (such as religious bookstores, publishers, and parachurch ministries) and other businesses with religious owners or managers; and

WHEREAS, Such legislation jeopardizes our First Amendment freedoms by establishing in law the principle that disapproval of transgender behavior is a form of bigotry, equivalent to racism; and

WHEREAS, these cultural currents run counter to the biblical teaching that “Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God’s creation” (BF&M 2000, “III. Man”); now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, June 10-12, 2014, recognize that all persons are created in God’s image and are made to glorify Him (Gen. 1:27; Isa. 43:7); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we recognize that the Fall of man into sin and God’s subsequent curse have introduced brokenness and futility into God’s good creation (Gen. 3:1-24; Rom. 8:20); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we extend love and compassion to those whose experience of this brokenness includes a perceived conflict between their biological sex and their gender identity (Rom. 8:22-23); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we affirm God’s good design that gender identity should be determined by biological sex and not by one’s self-perception—a perception which is often influenced by fallen human nature in ways contrary to God’s design (Eph. 4:17-18); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we affirm God’s original design to create two distinct and complementary sexes, male and female (Gen. 1:27; Matt. 19:4; Mk. 10:6); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we affirm that male and female designate the fundamental distinction that God has embedded in the very biology of the human race; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we affirm distinctions in masculine and feminine roles as ordained by God as part of the created order, and that those distinctions should find an echo in every human heart (Gen 2:18, 21-24; 1 Cor 11:7-9; Eph. 5:22-33; 1 Tim 2:12-14); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we invite all transgender persons to trust in Christ and to experience renewal in the gospel (1 Tim. 1:15-16); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we love our transgender neighbors, seek their good always, welcome them into our congregations as they repent and believe in Christ, and spur them on to love and good deeds in the name of Christ (2 Cor. 5:18-20; Gal. 5:14; Heb. 10:24); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we regard our transgender neighbors as image-bearers of almighty God and therefore that we condemn acts of abuse or bullying committed against them; and be if further

RESOLVED, That we condemn efforts to alter one’s bodily identity (e.g., cross-sex hormone therapy, gender reassignment surgery) to bring it into line with one’s perceived gender identity; and be if further

RESOLVED, That we continue to oppose steadfastly all efforts by any court or state legislature to validate transgender identity as morally praiseworthy (Isa. 5:20); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we commit ourselves to pray for and support legislative and legal efforts to oppose the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and other legislation like it that would give gender identity the same legal protections as sex and race; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call upon all judges and public officials to resist and oppose the efforts to treat gender identity as a protected class; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we oppose all efforts by media and entertainment outlets and public schools to mainstream transgender identity in the eyes of our children; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on Southern Baptist churches to commit to guard our religious liberty to teach and preach the Bible’s message about sex and gender; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we will to teach and model for our own children the Bible’s message about manhood and womanhood; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That our love for the gospel and urgency for the Great Commission must include declaring the whole counsel of God, including what God’s word teaches about God’s design for us as male and female persons created in His image and for His glory (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 20:27; Rom. 11:36).

116 Responses to A Resolution on Transgender for the SBC

  1. Mary Gray Moser June 2, 2014 at 12:34 am #

    Mary Gray Moser. May God bless this testimony.

    • Anne Beon June 9, 2014 at 2:25 pm #

      His ignorance of a basic genetic natural human condition. It has existed for as long as human existence, that predates Christianity by hundreds of thousands of years at the very least .That has been demonized by some christian religions, not all. The very idea that a medical condition that is naturally occurring is a sin is at best insane and the worse hatefull and evil in and of it self. I pray that the SBC will look into there hearts and see this for what it is. A large number of souls trying to find peace with in there lives. They don’t need more obstacles placed in the way of there already difficult lives.

      • Nancy Le (@gracejoyvictory) June 10, 2014 at 10:23 pm #

        rue the day a Southern Baptist pastor has to deal with this in his own family; I’m amazed that as much as we appear to want the separation of church and state we dabble in medicine, employment law, psychiatry and education as if we are experts in all.

      • LaDonna Sasscer June 14, 2014 at 9:57 pm #

        Thank you Anne Beon. I used to think everything about gender was cut and dried, so to speak, until I started studying embryology and fetal ultrasound. It’s not even as plain as DNA. So many things affect the development of primary and secondary sexual characteristics biologically, not to mention the effects of environment interaction. It’s just not that simple, it’s really not. Boo to today’s SBC. Though I will be forever grateful to the SBC for the 1964 Baptist Faith and Mission Statement, and my walk with Jesus that was borne of those teachings, I am ashamed of the SBC today. Very sad.

  2. Don Johnson June 2, 2014 at 4:30 am #

    Without getting into intersex conditions, I think the wording is simplistic.

    • Denny Burk June 2, 2014 at 6:55 am #

      Why? This resolution is not about intersex.

      • Don Johnson June 2, 2014 at 10:04 am #

        Because to my reading, the resolution assumes some form of gender essentialism which the intersex condition demonstrates does not exist.

        • frankturk June 2, 2014 at 4:02 pm #

          It’s not helpful to reason from the microscopic exception to form the rule.

          • Jane Dunn June 2, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

            Nor is it helpful to get hysterical because a very few exceptions to the general rule exist, either in the intersex category or in the transgender category. “Co-Ed Bathrooms” was the set-your-hair-on-fire scare tactic of the anti-Equal Rights Amendment decades ago. The world is not coming to an end, but we might just learn to treat people who are different with kindness rather than scorn.

            • Sarah Bianchini June 3, 2014 at 9:12 pm #

              Thank you Jane from a transgender Christian!

          • Chris Ryan June 2, 2014 at 9:34 pm #

            They’re not ‘microscopic’, they’re people. Beyond that you can’t say that you harbor Christ’s love for everyone if you tolerate discrimination against anyone. While I admit there are areas that require discussion (eg, co-ed bathrooms & locker rooms) in general but discrimination is never ok. The college that expelled that woman in California should be ashamed of itself. We’re a pluralistic democracy we need to act like it.

            • Richard Reeves June 5, 2014 at 11:34 am #

              Actually Chris, we are not a pluralistic Democracy. We are A Republic. Look at the difference between a Democracy and a Republic.

              • Jane Dunn June 5, 2014 at 4:02 pm #

                Actually, Richard, we are a constitutional republic. We elect our leaders by majority vote, but the laws that they pass or carry out are subject to our constitution, which does not provide that the majority always wins. Some fundamental rights exist even when the majority wants to deny them.

          • Darnell Jones June 3, 2014 at 12:43 pm #

            The incidence of intersex has been proven to be more prominent than that of having Red Hair and freckles so no it is not microscopic. It is actually higher in frequency than full transgender incidence.

        • Denny Burk June 2, 2014 at 5:46 pm #

          I address the intersex issue in my book. I demonstrate that its existence does not undermine a binary view of sex/gender.

          • Chris Ryan June 3, 2014 at 9:12 pm #

            What’s interesting abt the binary view of gender is that almost all of it is a function of socialization, not Christianity. The Bible itself says remarkably little abt gender roles. Whether women should wear pink while men wear blue; whether women should work outside the home; etc is entirely a matter of pop culture, not the Bible. Men who wear cotton sweat pants, or the short basketball shorts of the ’80s are considered effeminate, or outright gay today, but when I was coming up it was entirely masculine. Smithsonian had a great piece on this subject. It wasn’t until the ’40s that pink b/cm the color for girls & blue the color for boys. Smithsonian documented this with actual pictures taken in the late 1800s & early 1900s. Ppl really did dress their boys back then how we dress our girls today: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/when-did-girls-start-wearing-pink-1370097/?all

          • Tammy Rainey June 18, 2014 at 10:53 pm #

            the existence of intersex conditions does not undermine the GENERAL binary principle, it does however undermine the argument for an exclusively binary paradigm on the biological level.

            In other words, all this business of “God made male and female and nothing in between” and “you are either XX or XY period!” and other such nonsense commonly tossed around on threads like this by traditionalist is disproven by the existence of intersex conditions.

            • Mike Orrison June 18, 2014 at 11:13 pm #

              Show me the data and I’ll prove to you this is an anomaly! The fact remains that there is little historical generational data to support your refutatation! Therefore my original statement stands. Intersex anomaly’s are mutations of the norm and not A-typical genetic traits or code. Supposed Intersex conditions do not necessitate scientific fact. In reality, “intersex conditions” is at best, phenomenological evidencies which should be saved for further study and should not becaccepted as a third or transitional gender!

              • Tammy Rainey June 19, 2014 at 10:29 pm #

                OF COURSE it is an anomaly. There is absolutely nothing on this thread would suggest otherwise, certainly not by me. But the existence of an anomaly by definition means that one cannot make the case that the binary is a 100% prevalent condition. of course there is not generational data on the direct science for transsexual is a biological condition because we’ve only started looking for it in the last two decades. There is however generational evidence of intersex conditions going back as long as we have records. Even Jesus himself referred to eunuchs which were made that way by nature. Most likely a reference to an intersex individual.

                you are trying to claim your original statement stands while at the same time attempting to weasel around and modify your original statement. Is it an anomaly? Yes. Is it a mutation? Quite possibly. Is it genetic? Uncertain, but if it were asking for generational data of a situation which we have only been examining and the most recent generations is a rather illogical request.

                However, no informed person could possibly deny that there have been persons who exhibited the characteristics we would today call intersex recorded all throughout human history. Whatever accounts for WHY they exist, their existence is not new.

                More directly to the discussion in this thread, and it is a sad commentary that I have to continually repeat what should be remarkably obvious, it is illogical, irrational, and nonsensical to claim that 100% of human beings fall into a distinctly male or female category when these people exist. However they exist, and forever how long they have existed, the fact remains that their existence disproves the 100% claim. That is the contention at hand and your reply does nothing to address that claim. The only way someone can assert the 100% binary claim is to deny that they exist at all at any time for any reason. And you have already conceded that point.

        • Mike Orrison June 5, 2014 at 10:49 am #

          There is no intersex on the DNA level, therefore your argument is spurious, self defeating and invalid.

          • Don Johnson June 5, 2014 at 1:55 pm #

            There are people who are genetically XY (male) but have Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS) and so the so-called male hormones have no effect on them when their bodies are developing in the womb and after. They appear female externally, but have unformed testes inside them and are not fertile. This condition is often discovered when a girl fails to have her period and goes to a doctor who then discovers the DNA and AIS.

            • Mike Orrison June 5, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

              Scientifically speaking, these traits are to be considered as phenomenological anomalies and not evidentual data to prove that a transmutation of chromosomes has accorde, thus resulting in an quasi intersex hybrid gender.

              Philosophically, the element of belief system and training through sociological ethos play a rather large part on the psyche of the individual.

              Theologically, the affects of the fall and the imputation of sin effects the whole man. Cosequental to the fall, the nohetic affect; which is to say, the affects of sin upon the mind, not only affects the individual and how one might think, see or feel about themselves, but it also affects the observer of the individual on how one might process the information gathered. Therefore, in the final analyisis, one must conclude that the very idea of an intersex is flawed reasoning and should be disgaurded as true scientific methodology. There is simply not enough data to support the intersex hypothesis.

          • Tammy Rainey June 18, 2014 at 10:55 pm #

            factually incorrect. You’re going to need something a little more advanced than go straight biology to address this topic.

            • Tammy Rainey June 18, 2014 at 10:58 pm #

              this is the comment to which my above post was in reply:

              “There is no intersex on the DNA level, therefore your argument is spurious, self defeating and invalid.”

      • Virginia Anne June 4, 2014 at 10:39 am #

        I think that defining it for the SBC is both helpful and good to do. I’m glad you are taking the lead in making this happen, Denny Burk! However, schools/universities/colleges are going to face a much larger issue. A lot of biblical, SBC, and Christian universities receive federal funding, or have students that do. If any of them are doing so, they are going to be obligated to follow the US Dept of Education guidelines and statutes unfortunately. Schools are going to have to make the decision not to accept federal aid, much like the SBC seminaries do to really be exempt from these guidelines. Even so, it will be difficult. Thanks for all of your hard work!

  3. Ian Shaw June 2, 2014 at 8:43 am #

    I think those in the gay rights movement that supoprt this can’t see the potential damage they could bring to their own cause. This isn’t orientation any longer but now gender. Correct me if I am wrong- the only way one makes the claim of transgender is self-identification right? And I know this may sound flippant, but again, if a 15 yr old boy says he’s transgender, in school, (the school’s in those states listed) would have to give him access to the women’s restrooms and lockers. They can’t see the pandora’s box with this?

    Parents making decisions on hormorne therapy/surgeries, schools making administrative and policy decisions based purely on how an adolescent feels…..that is not a smart or a logical way to make changes that could cause exponential harm.

    • Rebecca Robinson June 12, 2014 at 7:37 am #

      One cannot just say “I’m transgendered let me in the girls bathroom.” It isn’t that simple. For one to identify as transgender it is usually a life long battle with depression, therapy, and finally acceptance. There is currently approximately a 75% suicide rate among those that are transgendered. Can you only imagine what it must be like to feel the way you do as the gender you currently are, but see yourself as the opposite gender in the mirror? Having everyone tell you that you should act differently then who you are to the core? Being forced into situations that make you feel very uncomfortable to the point that you just end it all because someone else doesn’t understand or thinks they know better than God’s plan for you? Having friends, family, and society shun you and treat you as if you were nothing?

      Well for me, I can’t imagine that anyone would just choose that life. I can only imagine that one could do it if there was no other choice. I can only imagine that it wouldn’t be a ploy to get into a women’s or men’s bathroom, but rather that it is an attempt to be at peace with oneself. And maybe that struggle is God’s plan for that person. Maybe that struggle is the growth needed to get to where that person needs to be to do good in the world.

      I don’t know. I’m not God, and I don’t know His plan. I do know that everyone should be treated equally, with respect, and not excluded just because they are different.

    • Tammy Rainey June 18, 2014 at 11:21 pm #

      “Correct me if I am wrong- the only way one makes the claim of transgender is self-identification right? And I know this may sound flippant, but again, if a 15 yr old boy says he’s transgender, in school, (the school’s in those states listed) would have to give him access to the women’s restrooms and lockers. They can’t see the pandora’s box with this?

      Parents making decisions on hormorne therapy/surgeries, schools making administrative and policy decisions based purely on how an adolescent feels….”

      at the school level where minor children are involved, the threshold for the profession of a trans identity is considerably higher than just “saying so”. Policies on this issue have been in place in various cities around the country for up to a decade, and then quite a few cities for several years now so we have a considerable sample size of information concerning policies, implementation, weaknesses, and potential abuses.

      What we can easily see is that the policies routinely set forth a documentable criteria for the claim having to do with professional treatment and daily living at a minimum. The notion that a 15-year-old boy could simply say “I’ve become a girl today” and gain access to the girls locker room is a laughable myth propagated by fear mongering traditionalist who are more than likely manipulating ill-informed sheep into a panic in order to elevate their political power or pocketbook or both. The track record shows that there is no history of that sort of sloppiness or abuse going on in schools for this is already the policy in force. It simply doesn’t happen, and is not going to.

      Moreover, if you step outside the schools, there are hundreds of these businesses including scores of major retailers who have trans friendly policies in place, most major cities (I think some 200 of them now) have trans friendly ordinances on the books and of course that’s not even referencing the trans people who take the risk of using the restroom which matches their sexual identity regardless of policy or ordinance. In other words there are literally thousands of opportunities every hour of every day for non-trans women and girls to share restroom or locker room facilities with trans women. and yet, and all those uncountable numbers of opportunities, there is essentially no track record of trans women behaving inappropriately towards non-trans women in any setting or at any age. There is a massive database of experience that proves conclusively that such people are a much lesser threat than are so-called “normal” men.

      And before anyone invokes the old saw about “this gives molesters permission to sneak into women’s areas disguised as trans people” that makes no common sense at all. For starters, molesters don’t seem to be having a lot of trouble gaining access from time to time now and they’re not shy about attempting access in even greater numbers. Very few of those feel the need to attempt cross-dress in order to sneak in however the ones who do are pretty much routinely failures. And they do this just as readily in areas without trans-friendly policies as in areas that do have them. More to the point, you’re suggesting that a person is willing to commit a felony offense is not restraining himself lest he commit a misdemeanor offense in order to gain access and commits a felony, however should the misdemeanor offense not be a threat then they would feel safe to go forward with the felony. I sincerely hope I don’t have to explain to anyone how weak that reasoning is. so no, pretty much everything you think you know about the “bathroom threat” is a myth.

      As for parents making medical decisions, lots of medical decisions are made based on how it person fields including children. If you treat a child with powerful mood stabilizing drugs because they seem to be very depressed or very angry are you not in fact basing a serious medical decision on how the child says they feel?

      there is no permanent physical effect until treatment lasts0 into the late teens, by that time the child will have been professing gender dysphoria for a decade or more and the scientific track record shows that if you make that profession for years on end it’s not a feeling that’s going to go away moderate, despite all the anecdotal accounts of “I was a tomboy and look at what turned out” that one can accumulate.

  4. buddyglass June 2, 2014 at 9:21 am #

    I expect the mainstreaming of transgender to be a much harder sell than homosexuality. Not least of which because transgender folks are much rarer, meaning they won’t be able to marshal the same political clout. But also because it’s less likely for the average non-transgender person to have a friend or family member who is transgender, which usually correlates with a higher rate of acceptance and support. There will never be as many people who have a close friend or family member who is transgender as there are people with a close friend or family member who is gay.

    I also think the average person is less comfortable interacting with someone who is “not quite male or female but somewhere in between” than he is interacting with someone who is fully male or fully female but happens to be gay.

    • Esther O'Reilly June 2, 2014 at 9:56 am #

      Let’s hope the average person stays that way though. People who have that discomfort are being increasingly demonized. If you watch the movie _Dallas Buyers Club_, there’s a scene in a grocery store where a transgender “woman” greets a man, and the man just stares and refuses to shake hands. So the main character puts the man in a head-lock and forces him to shake, and this is supposed to be such a wonderful moment of standing up against discrimination, blah-blah-blah. Of course, the guy who wouldn’t shake hands is the bad-guy in the whole situation. Nobody wants to think of him as a normal human being who doesn’t appreciate having a particularly bizarre sexual perversion thrust in his face.

      • Nathan Cesal June 2, 2014 at 10:08 am #

        Shaking someone’s hand is not thrusting anything in anyone’s face; it’s shaking someone’s hand.

        If you cannot shake the hand of a transgendered person, the love of God is not in you. Sorry.

        • Ian Shaw June 2, 2014 at 10:40 am #

          I’m pretty sure you can respectfully decline to shake someone’s hand. Didn’t know refusing to shake someone’s hand meant you are lost or a nazi. Was just at a memorial day parade last week and there was small LGBT group that marched with a few banners and were chanting during the parade route.

          I guess the spirit of God doesn’t dwell in me because I didn’t run up to them and shake their hands while they were trying to pass out literature. Guess I’m unloving and hell bound now, eh?

          • Nathan Cesal June 2, 2014 at 10:59 am #

            If the refusal comes from a sense of superiority and an attempt to avoid getting morally dirty, then yes, repent. Christ’s example is the complete opposite.

            • Ian Shaw June 2, 2014 at 11:15 am #

              Avoid getting morally dirty? Our sinful flesh already plauges us.However, there is a difference between someone who in a moment of weakness falls, repents/reconciles, then goes back to walking in the spirit, compared to flaunting a blatant disregard for what God calls sin. I’m not going to grab a pamphlet out of their hands because I see that as an affirmational act of their sin.

              That’s not claiming superiority at all. I’m the worst person I know, but I’m not going to cause my brother or sister harm or continue to support their stumbling as a result of it.

              • Nathan Cesal June 2, 2014 at 11:43 am #

                Read Ms. O’s comment. The person refused to greet a transgendered person. You can create whatever story you want to justify your actions. Jesus ran into similar situations and was accused of being friends of sinners because of what he did. You’ll be just fine when you shake someone’s hand. Honest question only you can answer: could your reservation about simply greeting someone be a result of pride?

                • Ian Shaw June 2, 2014 at 11:49 am #

                  Youi can greet someone without shaking their hands. The scenario from the movie mentioned using physical force to make someone do something they did not want to do.

                  I’m sure that’s not the loving Jesus response either.

                  • Esther O'Reilly June 2, 2014 at 5:54 pm #

                    Oh please, not the “Jesus hung out at the local gay bars with prostitutes and drunkards” line again. No situation Jesus encountered was at all “similar to this situation.”

                    For the character in the movie to feel a sense of shock and desire to withdraw is completely natural, and it’s pernicious to demonize that reaction as the movie does, and as you apparently want to do, Nathan. It’s entirely appropriate to feel a mingled sense of revulsion and pity at someone who literally is pretending to be the opposite gender. These people are fundamentally disturbed and pretending that they’re not. To smile and shake the person’s hand without skipping a beat is to act as though there is nothing horribly wrong or amiss with this, when there manifestly is. Now, if you’re being specifically called to reach out to a person suffering from this disorder, or a community of people with that disorder, then naturally you should prepare yourself accordingly. And it’s good to keep your cool and speak calmly on general principles. But I’m afraid your sense of horror is missing if you can’t look at such a picture of self-destruction/mutilation without at least feeling a wrench in your stomach.

                    • Nathan Cesal June 3, 2014 at 4:04 am #

                      Only an evil person would purposely treat another person without dignity and respect. There is a way to hold to biblical standards and shake a transgendered person’s hand, even hold it and walk with them. In fact, I think God expects it and modeled it just by Jesus stepping foot on the planet as a man (without even looking at any particular person he interacted with).

                      There shouldn’t be any moral dilemma when any kind of sinner greets you with a handshake. Jesus was greeted with a kiss from Judas. Are you better than Jesus?

                    • Esther O'Reilly June 3, 2014 at 7:40 am #

                      Uh… that was a Godfather kind of a kiss. And as I recall, Jesus had a well-timed, sarcastic reply for it. Sorry, I’m missing the part where you provide the magic ingredient that forces these wildly different cultural contexts/situations to have anything to do with one another?

                    • Nathan Cesal June 3, 2014 at 10:50 am #

                      Jesus is holy and sinless. He gave up his glory and personally interacted with humanity, from the lofty to the lowly, from the humble to the haughty, from his mother to Mary Magdalene, from Judas to John the Baptist. He served them. Washed their feet. Fed them. Healed them. Lowered himself even more by dying for them… and you, and me… every kind of sinner imaginable.

                      That’s the cultural context I was referring to. That’s the example Jesus gives. That’s our aspiration. That’s the goal of sanctification.

                      You can shake the hand of a transgendered person and anyone else on the planet. Jesus demonstrated this to the nth degree.

          • Bob Wilson June 2, 2014 at 11:45 am #

            I think you know that’s not the same. No one is obliged to greet all strangers in the street. But when someone offers you their hand, refusing to shake is a deliberate snub. So Christians have to decide if gays or transgendered people deserve such public scorn..

            • Ian Shaw June 2, 2014 at 11:52 am #

              Do you shake the hand of each and every person you have ever met, no exceptions? Not once did you not shake a hand?

              • buddyglass June 2, 2014 at 4:37 pm #

                I’ve never refused to shake the hand of someone who tried to initiate a hand shake.

              • Bob Wilson June 2, 2014 at 8:49 pm #

                I also have not ever refused a handshake and have a hard time imagining doing so in any likely situation. To me, refusing a handshake is pretty close to spitting in someone’s face. There are certainly politicians I loathe, but I don’t buy into the good/evil view of politics, so I wouldn’t refuse the hand of any typical politician.

                I don’t even think I’d refuse a handshake from the people at Westboro Baptist. As foul as they are, from documentaries I’ve seen of them, I just think they are profoundly and tragically delusional.

          • Janice Wainwright June 2, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

            Yes, you are and I’m going there with you! I mean, these parades are such family-oriented events. . . .

      • buddyglass June 2, 2014 at 4:36 pm #

        Yeah. I kind of think the guy in that scene *is* the bad guy. Albeit “bad” in a pretty commonplace “normal” way. Jesus calls us to shake hands with people that make us uncomfortable. Shaking hands doesn’t imply excusing or ignoring someone’s sin.

        • buddyglass June 2, 2014 at 4:55 pm #

          To add: they’re both “bad guys” in that the transgender guy shouldn’t have attacked the guy who refused to shake his hand.

          • Esther O'Reilly June 2, 2014 at 5:42 pm #

            Just to clarify, the transgender person doesn’t attack, it’s the protagonist who tried to introduce them and then suddenly decides to intervene forcefully on his behalf.

  5. Don Johnson June 2, 2014 at 10:02 am #

    For those that want to know a little of the history, at one point, there were considered to be 3 races in some form of racial essentialism: Negroid, Caucasian, and Asian. Supposedly, these were what people just were and everyone could be put into one of these 3 categories. But the reality was that it just was not that distinct, especially when racial characteristics were tied to class. So someone with Negroid and Caucasian parents was classified as Negroid in the US, for example. Until quite recently, one could only indicate one racial category on the US census, until enough people complained that they did not fit into the boxes specified.

    So the idea of racial essentialism has gone mostly extinct in science and is seen as too simplistic. With genome sequencing, one can see evidence of who one’s ancestors were and it can go further back in time.

    This sets the stage for the questioning of gender essentialism, the idea that everyone fits into one of 2 categories, masculine or feminine and there are supposedly “obvious” things that associate with one or the other. At one point, all babies in the US were dressed in white and baby clothes then were reused for the next baby. The manufacturers of baby clothes figured out that if they could associate a color with a gender, they could sell most baby clothes, so they started advertising that pink was a very masculine strong color for boys and blue was a delicate color for girls. Somehow they had gotten the “obvious” mapping wrong! But the reality is that there is no obvious mapping of color to gender, it is cultural. And the same for wedding colors for a bride, for a culturally western wedding, a bride is expected to wear white, but for a culturally eastern wedding a bride is expected to wear red. It is a form of cultural myopia to think that one way is obviously correct while the other is wrong. it is simply a matter of the cultures being different in this area.

    • Daryl Little. June 5, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

      Apples and oranges Don,

      Where does the Bible say “And God created man in his own image, black and white created he them”?
      On the other hand “And God created man in his own image, male and female created he them.”
      To suggest that gender is on a continuum which would be in any way similar to “race” is to ask that most deadly question “Hath God said?”

      • Don Johnson June 5, 2014 at 1:49 pm #

        The very existence of various intersex conditions shows that gender is on a continuum. Such lives are mostly very challenging and need our love and support.

      • Daniella Lollie June 5, 2014 at 4:53 pm #

        The most recent studies on psychology and gender point clearly to the fact that to view gender as a binary simply is to deny what can be observed. For instance, when it comes the physicality of men and women, it is a much stricter binary based on size, strength, weight, and height. But once the mentalities and psychological realities of men and women were measured with various stereotypically “feminine” and “masculine” traits being measured, the data showed a spectrum.

        The studies show that is literally to deny fact to say that gender is a strict binary and that it is contrary to observation and what is actually going on.

        Btw if it were so strict so many people wouldn’t feel so contrary to what has been established. Like, if these things were so innate then why does there even have to be such a hard push to make sure things stay the way they are. It would just happen. Of course the people who wrote the Bible didn’t have the understanding of science and gender and sexuality that we have now. They couldn’t have known but now we can prove this stuff.

        Its only apples and oranges if you view Scripture as an absolute authority, but not if you come to conclusions based on what can be observed in our reality.

      • Tammy Rainey June 18, 2014 at 11:31 pm #

        actually he “hath”. No less a figure than Jesus himself acknowledged, without rebuke, the existence of the eunuch which is a person who, while not trans in the modern sense, was also not characteristic of either side of the prefall gender binary. Moreover he specifically notes that some are born and some were made by men and does not condemn either case. Both in social standing and in physical makeup, the eunuch was neither exactly male or exactly female as is described in the creation model. Whatever implication one may try to draw from Scripture about trans people will have to address this reality and explain why their application defeats this rather direct example.

        • Mike Orrison June 19, 2014 at 7:25 am #

          Jesus didn’t accept the eunuch based on his so called transitive state, he sent Phillip to teach and explain Isaiah 53 to him as he struggled with understanding it’s truth: that he (the eunuch) was a sinner and the messiah was pure and holy yet willingly laid down his life. BTW eunichs were primarily house slaves and we’re not born that way. In fact, the process of making one a eunuch was rather barbaric. You would do well to not twist scripture to meet your need. Be like the eunich and let your mind be transformed!

          • Lianne Simon June 19, 2014 at 8:03 am #

            “and we’re not born that way.”

            You’re a eunuch?

            Matthew 19:12 “For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb…”

            • Mike Orrison June 19, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

              In context, Jesus is speaking about marriage and sexual relations, not transgender identity!

              Matthew 19:1-12 CONTEXT IS KING!
              Some are born this way means that some were born not to marry. Some were made this way meaning divorce was forced upon them because of some immoral act by men and some choose this way as a decision to remain pure and unencumbered by marriage.

              You should really do your homework and stop reading into the text of scripture. Your desire to force your belief system upon the text is scary!

              • Lianne Simon June 19, 2014 at 2:20 pm #

                Oh, I did my homework. Thus far Denny hasn’t been willing to post it. I take the “eunuch from their mother’s womb” statement a little more seriously than you appear to.

                http://www.liannesimon.com/2014/06/07/church-and-dsd/

                • Mike Orrison June 19, 2014 at 4:20 pm #

                  Etymologically, the term eunuch in Matthew is not referring to as you postulate “…three types of eunuchs—intersex, involuntary, and voluntary.” In fact, the context of Matthew 19:1-12 clearly defines how we are to interpret Jesus’ use of the term Eunuch. The term is defined from ???? (a bed) and a castrated person (such being employed in Oriental bed-chambers) or by extension an impotent or unmarried man or by implication, a chamberlain (state-officer) eunuch.

                  What’s important about the etymology of this word is that it removes the emotional attachment to the issue. What’s more it gives us clear parameters of the use of the word; in conjunction with the context of the passage in question.

                  So then, based on the etymological research and the context of the passage, one should rightly understand and interpret the passage to mean that Jesus is not speaking of “castrated Oriental chamber man, nor is he speaking of a “Chamberlain/States-officer. However, one should rightly conclude that Jesus is speaking of an impotent or unmarried man.

                  • Lianne Simon June 19, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

                    Impotence from birth is intersex. Given the Hebrew mandate to marry and procreate, Jesus’s listeners would have understood the first group as being physically incapable of procreation.

              • Tammy Rainey June 19, 2014 at 10:56 pm #

                seriously? Anybody who would offer such a wildly twisted interpretation, one which you would be hard-pressed to find any professor in a Baptist seminary who would agree with it, should really stop accusing anyone else at twisting Scripture. It’s true that context is king (one wonders if you’ve ever review those who invoke Leviticus towards transsexual, or even homosexuals with that admonition) and it’s true that the chapter starts with a question about marriage and divorce. However there are two points of context you choose to ignore. First, the context which suggests that Jesus acknowledges the existence, by permission of God Almighty of divorce in spite of its contradiction to the creation model; the for the context that Jesus mentions an exception for divorce, only one, and yet Paul who is considered authoritative specify several others, and the Christian church recognizes still other valid reasons for divorce, all of which fall outside of the prefall model. So in this King context we notice that the Bible itself acknowledges an acceptable situation between two married people which does not model the creation example.

                The second and more relevant to this post point of context is that the disciples had said immediately before Jesus’s reply “it is better not to marry” which is a standard rule of exegesis is the first bit of context we should consider. It is this statement to which Jesus apparently refers when he says “not everyone can receive it”.

                Therefore the logical interpretation is that the eunuch is “he who can receive it” and he happens to note several different ways which one may be considered a eunuch. Twisting this to be some reference to fertility or whatever won’t work either for what should be obvious reasons.

                no one is arguing that the biblical eunuch was a direct example of a modern transsexual, although certainly those individuals who behaves in a cross gender fashion could very well have been eunuchs, but rather that these people whether born or made by men fell outside of the creation model for male and female both physically and in their social roles. And yet we have a direct mention of these people by our Savior and he voiced no criticism.

                What we have here is a clear-cut case of Mike speaking for God hath not spoken.

          • Tammy Rainey June 19, 2014 at 10:42 pm #

            “BTW eunichs were primarily house slaves and we’re not born that way.”
            ~Mike Orrison

            “For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.”

            ~Jesus Christ (Matthew 19:12)

            who exactly is twisting Scripture to meet their needs again? I think perhaps your previously shaky credibility just completely collapsed.

  6. Ben Rhodes June 2, 2014 at 10:50 am #

    The resolution seems to indicate that our minds are fallen, but our biology is not.

    In other words, the assumption in the resolution is that a person’s “self-perception” is susceptible to “fallen human nature”, but not their actual engendered biology is not. Is this a tenable position? I’m coming at this from a bit of a different angle than Don Johnson, but it seems like this resolution over simplifies. Is not our biology fallen as well? If so, in what capacity can we say it is the “perception” but not the “biological sex” that is the fallen component of gender identity?

    I could say more, but I hope people get my point. It seems like there needs to be a much more robust Christian formulation of gender identity that acknowledges the effects of sin on all aspects of our lives (biologically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, etc.), while also acknowledging that no aspect can be held in isolation from he others. This resolution takes the angle that only physical biology matters, and is somehow free from the effects of the fall as it relates to gender identity.

    • Ian Shaw June 2, 2014 at 11:26 am #

      I understand your point about our biology, but what I’m afraid will happen is people will take a page out of satan’s playbook (as well as Rob Bell’s) and say, “did God really mean to create you as male just because he gave you the proper “plumbing” or vice versa with females?

      If you bring in that premise, it will open up those kinds of questions and people will not believe that God intended them to be male/female due the the proper plumbing they were born with, but rather just “feel” better if they think of themselves as the other gender.

      Complex issue it is.

  7. pauljacobsblog June 2, 2014 at 12:32 pm #

    I would change the word “condemn” to “oppose” as it is one of those buzz words that our enemies use against us.

    • Denny Burk June 2, 2014 at 5:49 pm #

      Thanks, Paul. Someone else made that suggestion as well, and I have passed the suggested revision on to the committee. Thanks!

  8. Ian Shaw June 2, 2014 at 3:25 pm #

    Is gender set by a preference of the individual, or a providence of God? Or to put it another way: Is my sex determined by my decision in my mind, or by God’s design in my nature?
    Desiring God has a good piece on this today as well.

  9. Ian Shaw June 2, 2014 at 3:28 pm #

    Similar to people that disagree with God’s character as a reason for not believing in him. People that will not submit to God’s will always seek a God of their own invention, so they can seek to submit themselves to their own self and desires..

    • James Bradshaw June 2, 2014 at 7:55 pm #

      Ian: I would assert that all people, including the most fundamentalist of Christians, believe in a God who is a reflection and projection of their own wants and needs. After all, who *knows* God as He is? Assuming He exists, He is invisible, not audible and always inscrutable, and even were the Bible to be inerrant, it will be read through the prism of one’s own pre-existing beliefs.

      Calvinists will view God one way, Arminians another, Catholics one way, Pentecostals another …

      Man creates God in his own image. Wrathful and angry men will view God as they are, compassionate and loving men likewise.

      I’m not suggesting God doesn’t exist. I’m saying that man is incapable in this life of seeing God as He is.

      • Gus Nelson June 3, 2014 at 9:02 pm #

        James Bradshaw:

        You are right – we are incapable in this life of seeing God as He is. Frankly, I suspect we will never see God as He is, at least not in any comprehensive way. However, that is no reason for people not to engage in an humble, sincere, and genuine effort to know God, however imperfectly they do it. I think your comment generalizes too much. I know too many genuine, changed Christians who thought one way before reading the Bible and thought another way after reading it. The Bible did not confirm their pre-existing beliefs, it changed them! Yes, that’s just anecdotal evidence, but it’s true.

    • Laurel Perkins June 5, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

      Agreeing with Ian on this. Being Christian means that you submit to the One God of the Bible. Everything He has done, is doing and will do is Perfect. By changing your gender, you are telling God that you don’t like the way He made you. Thus, you become your own God, and that is called idolatry!

      • Kathy Verbiest Baldock June 6, 2014 at 10:30 am #

        Laurel — then you agree with transfolks — God DID give them a gender. People tried in the 1950s to 1990s to prove one could nurture genre and that proved BADLY wrong. God has given people a gender and in the case of trans people, it does not match their genitals. No one in the SBC screamed when infant’s genitals were cut with a corresponding attempt to nurture gender. Now that adults are making conscious personal decisions to have brain and body match — you get your knickers in a twist.

        You and others may like and feel comfy in a world of gender and sex binaries with one type of acceptable orientation, but God is much richer in design than two and one.

      • nyah molineaux June 7, 2014 at 3:44 am #

        What about Psalms 82:6. And what about when Jesus said are ye gods to the Pharisees. Just asking.

      • Tammy Rainey June 16, 2014 at 2:04 am #

        so if we could medically give sight to one born blind we should refrain then? Your logic demands it.

        • Tammy Rainey June 16, 2014 at 2:08 am #

          that was to Laurel, no idea why it was dropped to the end.

  10. Jane Dunn June 2, 2014 at 5:32 pm #

    The more often you restate your opposition to ENDA, a bill to end discrimination in employment, the more people cannot hear anything else you have to say. It’s one thing to say you would support the bill if it were to include a broader exemption for religious entities. It’s another thing entirely to say, as this post does, that *any* Christian-owned (or -managed) business should be able to discriminate against LGBT folks in hiring and firing. This is why, when controversies break out over state-level “religious freedom” bills, the public so easily pegs them as anti-LGBT initiatives. It’s hard for LGBT folks and their friends and family to believe you love them when you want to allow the local bank or the local factory or a local department store to refuse to hire them.

  11. James Bradshaw June 2, 2014 at 5:57 pm #

    What should we make of the fact that one of the most repressive and theocratic regimes in the world has been somewhat generous towards transgendered individuals?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/04/iran-sex-change-operation_n_1568604.html

    “According to the BBC, the Iranian regime recently made sexual reassignment even more accessible by announcing that health insurance companies must cover the full cost of sex-change operations, which can cost upward of $3,000.”

  12. tmdurey June 2, 2014 at 8:11 pm #

    Dr. Burk, I see you have addressed the intersex issue in your book. I was wondering what that book is. I’m trying to help someone work through that issue since they are working in the field of special needs. Any help would be appreciated!

    • Denny Burk June 2, 2014 at 8:52 pm #

      “What Is the Meaning of Sex” There’s a picture and link to it in the sidebar.

  13. Ian Shaw June 3, 2014 at 7:47 am #

    The pluralistic democracy needs to go both ways. There’s been plenty of evidence that it tends to be one sided. Just had a diversity training at one of my employers facilities and was told that an employee using the phrase “have a blessed day” when saying good-bye to others is offensive, yet at the same time, allowing time for Muslims at work to place their prayers rugs towards Mecca multiple times a day is fine. That’s not pluralism.

    Discrimination isn’t always wrong. I discriminate against green vegetables and against post Garth Brooks/Alan Jackson country music. No harm in that.

    • buddyglass June 3, 2014 at 9:19 am #

      That surprises me. I had to undergo diversity training at a Fortune 100 company a few years ago and it was much more vague and primarily dealt with sexual harassment.

    • Chris Ryan June 3, 2014 at 9:01 pm #

      I’d suggest your diversity consultants got it wrong–as a matter of law–but that some ppl might indeed take offense to being told to have “a blessed day” (same as a few Jews I know take offense to being told, “Merry Christmas”). But ppl take offense at all kinds of silly things. O’Reilly is taking offense that some soldier’s father has a “Taliban-like” beard (but he doesn’t take offense at the Duck Dynasty beards). I don’t see why anyone would be offended by Muslims (or anyone else for that matter) praying 5X a day. And no company/school should have a right to tell its employees that they can’t be transgender. Which restrooms they can use is a different story. I worked with a transgender woman at a Fortune 100 company and while it was a tiny bit weird, we were all too mature for it to ever be an issue–we had work to do.

      • Ian Shaw June 5, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

        Chris, it wasn’t consultants, it was our own HR people….

  14. Victoria Mabry June 3, 2014 at 9:37 am #

    Without comment on content, a comment on form. Just in case this was a full copy/paste of the original, Denny, there are two “be ‘if’ further resolved” errors, where “if” is used instead of “it.” Just in case the original needs correction. Thanks for your work.

  15. Roger Fink June 3, 2014 at 10:57 am #

    FYI. The Houston, TX City Council just last week passed a new ordinance that allows Transgender individuals access to public restrooms based on their preference. The ordinance was “pushed” through by the city’s openly gay Mayor.
    It breaks my heart. All sin should break our heart. I have many friends in the LGBT community here in Houston. I love each one as an individual, treat each with love and respect, yet I am honest about what I believe about their lifestyle. Each one knows that I believe, according the God’s Word, that their decision is contrary to God’s plan. They accept me and my beliefs because I continue to love them and treat them with respect, while standing on the Truth of Scripture. It is funny that they find it hard to understand how I associate with other Christians who treat them with disgust and animosity, and the majority of Christians I worship with are confused by my friendship with people in the LGBT community.

    Denny, Thank you for standing on His Word alone.

    • Tammy Rainey June 4, 2014 at 11:20 pm #

      first things first, it is incumbent that you demonstrate from Scripture that transsexual transition is in point of fact sinful. If you have not then you do not have much of an argument. It does not break your heart because it actually is sinful but because it violates a dearly held tradition and it is 1000 years past time for the church to stop kneeling at the altar of tradition above all else.

      On the infamous “bathroom question” it should be known to you that Houston joined some 200 other major cities was such a resolution and that moreover almost all of the major retailers employ such policy regardless of the local law. This results in thousands if not tens of thousands of public restrooms where this policy already applies. Shockingly, none of the dire predictions made by traditionalist have come to fruition. No wave of rapes molestations or leering, psych wards are not flooded with women traumatized by the experience – indeed in the overwhelming majority of cases the “normal” woman never even realized she shared the company of a trans woman. it mystifies me why the people of God persist in perpetrating scare tactic myth in the face of verifiable experience that the predicted doom and gloom did not fall. Ought we not be about the gospel rather than sorting out who we should feel sorry for or look down upon?

      Your bottom line becomes mine. You thank you for standing on the word alone when in reality neither the author of the original post nor any reply has cited any bit of “the word” in support of the resolution. Likely because it is not in fact in there.

  16. Marcus Whitman June 3, 2014 at 11:26 am #

    While overall excellent, I imagine you’ll get some flak for not including anything about intersex individuals (those whose biological sex is indeterminate at birth). While it’s an exceedingly rare condition, transgender activists love to bring it up in any conversation about gender normitivity.

    • Denny Burk June 3, 2014 at 2:18 pm #

      I have a chapter on it in my book.

      • Tammy Rainey June 5, 2014 at 4:43 pm #

        I’m troubled,but alas not entirely surprised to see that the many respectful and thoughtful contributions offered yesterday did not pass through moderation. It does not reflect well on anyone who puts forth their ideas in a public forum that they are unwilling to have those ideas publicly challenged and defend them. I’m aware that this post also will be stuffed down the memory hole never to be seen in the light of day, but I hope that you, Mr. Burke, will see and can reflect upon your choices. Your position must be weak indeed if you are afraid to see it challenged even by your fellow Christian.

  17. Jordan Newberry June 3, 2014 at 6:29 pm #

    I think it is funny that so many people like to have views about what God thinks about this or that when we have scripture. Scripture is so extremely clear on certain issues (transgender, gay, etc.) that one would have to go way out of their way to support the claim that this is something God is okay with for human beings. However, if scripture is not really used in determining whether or not this or that is okay then people easily and very naturally make themselves their own gods whether they say they are doing this or not. They might even say the word “God” when in reality they only mean their opinions and perceptions of what God should be like. One problem with this is that people are people with presuppositions and many people do not take time to think through/study through issues for themselves. Therefore the television, and/or radio, and/or liberal professors determine what people should think about society. Many of these people view conservatism or Christianity as “old fashioned” and it is easy to see why. When everyone else was teaching Christian morals and/or values on television, the radio, and in most everyday life in society people followed more conservative morals. The problem has always been the same. The majority of people do not think or study issues and that means that the masses will be swayed by what they are taught when they are doing what unthinking people do (television, etc.). The masses could be swayed for conservatism (one could argue this used to be the case to an extent), but why would they when the world is saying through media that if you are okay with my sin I will be okay with your sin and so on and so forth. If people would think or open up their bibles and read a book they might have different views on things. What is laughable is that I do not try to talk about music because I do not know anything about music (how to read it, or play it). Why do people who know nothing about God because they do not seek God in God’s word get to make ludicrous claims about God? You get to know God through scripture and scripture is clear. Therefore if you think that transgenders and gays and lesbians and bisexuals are okay that is one thing, but to write as if God thinks its okay is laughable. Also, think about why you believe what you believe is it because it is what is popular in your culture or have you thought about things from all perspectives for yourself?

  18. Shellie Guarino June 3, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

    My father is transgendered and I have to say he is far from a menaice to society or a threat to our community. instead he tries his best to give back to society by volunteering to local charities and helping transgendered couples work through their struggles throughout their journey. My father has never asked anything of anyone, other than if his heels looked good, and has stayed to himself while trying live his life the best he can. He is married to my mother and they have been together for 17 years. She loves him unconditionally and continues to stand by him. He was born this way and has learned to embrace it. You may believe it is an abomination and feel as though society is in the wrong for accepting “those people” but I assure you “they” are as “normal” as you or I. Feel how you may but scare tactics are old school and if you preach about The Lord and the history of the bible then u should know how ineffective these tactics become and how ignorant they sound. If you want something to write about in order to create a following you should look at yourself for who you are and begin to understand your true self and insecurities. I pray for you.

    • Jane Dunn June 4, 2014 at 10:29 am #

      Shellie — That’s a beautiful testimony and a moving way to honor you father and mother. Thank you. Please know that not all Christian believe what’s in Denny’s post.

  19. Daryl Poe June 4, 2014 at 12:41 am #

    I am a bit confused by the wording of the resolution. It would appear that the intent is to deny the actual existence of a “transgender”. To that I would agree. But then the resolution uses the term transgender in addressing those who falsely identify themselves as transgender. If someone were to identify themselves as a Hobbit, should we have a Resolution on Hobbits for the SBC?

  20. Dan Groner June 4, 2014 at 2:05 am #

    Dan Groner

    As I read through this thread, I’m not sure this topic is receiving the weight that it should. As my wife and I have two best friends that are transgendered (and Christian), we have more perspective on this topic than anyone we know. So I would love to hear from any of the previous commenters: what exactly does it “feel like” to have Gender Dysphoria?

  21. Kathy Verbiest Baldock June 4, 2014 at 9:55 am #

    UNBELIEVABLE

    Did you sit down and consult with a geneticist, biologist, biochemist, psychologist, or expert on human sexuality before you drew this up? Clearly not.

    The Bible is not a science book. Stop treating it as such. There is a way to allow science to inform our Biblical wisdom and have them work in beautiful tandem and THIS is not it!

    It is nothing less than stunning to me to read this:

    “RESOLVED, That we condemn efforts to alter one’s bodily identity (e.g., cross-sex hormone therapy, gender reassignment surgery) to bring it into line with one’s perceived gender identity; and be if further

    RESOLVED, That we commit ourselves to pray for and support legislative and legal efforts to oppose the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and other legislation like it that would give gender identity the same legal protections as sex and race; and be it further ”

    Where was the SBC when hundreds of thousands of intersex babies we cut and had their gender decided for them from the 1950s to the late 1990s? It was okay to mutilate babies, but when ADULTS tell us their gender does not match their bodies, we essentially tell them to pray about it and God will fix it? is that consistent?

    WHY is it so difficult to understand that sometimes all the stages of genetic/sex development don’t go along the 90% line and you get some natural variation that does not fit into Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood pink and blue funnels? God created the variation before you all came along and said which ones are acceptable and which ones are not.

    You folks are making yourselves so irrelevant to the younger generation that actually incorporates science into their body of knowledge and wisdom.

    When I read that you propose to actually stand in the way of ending discrimination, I cannot believe you could in ANY WAY line this up with the Gospel.

    PLEASE — get help. Get help from experts.

    If you would like to speak with transgender Christians, please ask and I will gladly connect you to as many as you would like to talk with.

    Just stop this madness, in the name of God, please stop this madness.

  22. Doreen A Mannion June 4, 2014 at 10:24 am #

    I pray this does not pass. It is not in the spirit of Christ.

  23. Don Johnson June 4, 2014 at 11:48 am #

    I have great concerns with the resolution as I see it as yet another form of “othering” by the SBC. Othering is a term used to identify those who are (supposedly) not us, so it becomes a us versus them situation. In the NT, the example of othering are the Samaritans, who most pointedly are not Jews, they worship on the wrong mountain, for example. This is why Jesus uses a Samaritan in his parable often called the “good Samaritan” as Samaritans were despised by Jews.

    So who will be a neighbor to a transgender person?

  24. Dan Groner June 4, 2014 at 5:20 pm #

    Nobody? Nothing? I hope that’s because this post has run it’s course and not because everyone here is speaking from a position of theory and not from actual personal experience.

  25. Jim McNeely June 5, 2014 at 10:08 am #

    The world has gone mad. I can’t believe we actually have to worry about this. This is insanity. Extreme perversion is not a civil right.

    • Jane Dunn June 5, 2014 at 3:52 pm #

      I believe that home-schooling one’s daughters to believe that they must be subservient to men and that they should not go to college is a perversion. It’s also a civil right that I think must be enforced and upheld.

      (I don’t want to start a debate about home schooling or about complementarianism. My point is that tolerance is a two-way street. If I have to tolerate teachings that I consider perverse and sinful, then you should have to do the same.)

  26. Jim Peet June 5, 2014 at 11:26 am #

    We used this on Sharper Iron here. Thanks

  27. Struggling June 5, 2014 at 11:58 am #

    The worst thing about mainstreaming this type of behavior is that it makes it impossible for people like me, who struggle with these feelings but want to overcome them, to get any type of effective counseling.

    If I could tap a magic wand and make myself female and adjust the world accordingly, I would. But I recognize that 1. God made me what I am for a purpose, and 2. even if I became TG, it would be less than what I want because I would have the gender construct but not the sex — I’ll never be biologically female.

    So I’m destined to live out my life this way, with this sort of longing, with very little help.

    Similarly, I have Christian friends with homosexual feelings who desperately desire to be straight but are told that they have to accept their desires and give in to them in order to be at peace. Psychologists refuse to help because they consider it to be unethical.

    How is this fair?

    • Tammy Rainey June 16, 2014 at 2:33 am #

      my heart goes out to you. I labored most of my life under the same false doctrine that’s behind your comment. and I was just as miserable.

      The lies you’ve been led to believe are several, not the least of which being the idea that there’s any such thing as effective counseling to relieve our condition. The very best that may be found is the sort that tries to keep you from spiraling into depression and other mental disorder.

      that sort of counseling IS available, they are just not ethically able to afirm the lie that being trans is a mental illness. When you say “God made me this way for a reason” that does not logically imply he requires you to suffer through it. Maybe the reason is so that,transition or not, you can help call traditionalist to repentance for putting human tradition on the alter and calling it God’s will and thereby endangering even the very lives of people like you and me.

      In any case, when men promote a tradition with no biblical support, you can’t expect the medical community to bow the knee and be “fair” to a tradition in the face of contrary science. the pain you feel comes because christian tradition is oppressing you, not psychologists. I know, I spent most of my life in that same bondage.

  28. Miguel del Toro June 5, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

    “So our confessional statement already has a faithful, biblical definition of gender.” True, but because it is a Baptist confessional statement it is, by definition, non-binding. Thus, “this resolution will be a reference point for Southern Baptist colleges, hospitals, and other institutions that may be facing legal challenges for their stance on this issue” is also true. It is a “reference” point and is also non-binding. Because it is non-binding, then a case can be made by the other side that these statements/resolutions are only guides/references and do not, necessarily, dictate what any church or individual should believe in order to consider themselves SBCers. Practically speaking, that is a fatal flaw in traditional Baptist polity.

  29. Dave Dunbar June 6, 2014 at 10:16 am #

    Well put, Denny. I hope it goes through. So-called transgender folks are mostly like everyone else — they need the gospel so that they can have forgiveness of sin. TG is a rather odd one (to most of us), but the result is the same as all the “normal” sins, like gossip, anger, fornication, greed, etc.

    Since I am now (for the first time in my life) a member of an SBC church, I’m taking more notice of such things. :-)

    • Beatrix Kiddo June 13, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

      So-called transgender folks? Dear God. You really need to do some research! Do you not believe that they are transgender, or do you think they choose to identify that way? It’s startling to think someone may think that being transgender is some sort of fake, made up feeling. People don’t choose to suffer the way transgender people do. If you wanted to kill yourself because of how uncomfortable you felt in your body (which i myself cannot even fully wrap my own head around), trust me…you would not being saying “so-called transgender folks.” you’d be miserable.

  30. nyah molineaux June 7, 2014 at 3:36 am #

    Gender is not a fixed thing. It takes 49 days before gender is assigned to an embryo. The corpus collapsum which connects the right and left hemispheres and has a part to play in gender. Just because God created something in the beginning does not mean that presence meant for us to stay that way. In uncovering the truth of who we are ( which is spirit) there are some which come to a point where their spiritual experience doesnt match their physical experience and they change. Its called evolution and all of us evolve over time. If we as humans didnt, we would still be babies.

  31. nyah molineaux June 7, 2014 at 3:42 am #

    You and others within your org are witnessing the decline of your group. And this decline is coming from a fact that more people are having a sense if who they are and their relationship to God and the universe. Physical realities arent as fixed as you have been made to believe; we evolve over time. We are not sinners ; all of us including you are basically good people (1st timothy 4:4). And we are all one.

  32. Brett Cody June 20, 2014 at 10:06 am #

    It is interesting to see some of the same rhetorical tactics employed now that were used years ago. There truly is nothing new under the sun…

    Excellent job, Denny. I am thankful for the SBC.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Transgender identity is subject of proposed SBC resolution « iB2 News - June 2, 2014

    […] On his blog, Burk outlined several reasons for the resolution: The American Psychiatric Association removed transgender from its list of disorders last year. Some school systems now allow students to use opposite-gender restrooms and locker rooms. And, Burk wrote, parents, medical professionals, and counselors are increasingly open to treatment – including sex reassignment surgery – that helps children and others identify with the gender they feel, rather than the one with which they were born. […]

  2. Morning Mashup 06/03 | Theology Matters - June 3, 2014

    […] A Resolution on Transgender for the SBC - Denny Burk: “…I have submitted a resolution “On Transgender Identity” to the Resolutions Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention (along with my co-sponsor Andrew Walker). Next week, the Committee will decide whether or not to bring the resolution out to be voted on by the Convention. Below is the text of our proposal, though the Committee may very well make changes to it during their deliberations.” […]

  3. Where Does the Southern Baptist Go From Here? Thoughts by Guest Writer, Grant Castleberry - Kuyperian Commentary - June 3, 2014

    […] at the upcoming SBC convention. Moreover, it was just announced that Denny Burk and Andrew Walker will present a resolution at the SBC annual convention that preserves the biblical teaching on gender in the wake of the looming Transgender controversy. […]

  4. Southern Baptist Convention Could Adapt Resolution Condemning 700,000 Transgender Americans | Gay Richmond News, Entertainment, Nightlife & LGBT Community Guide :: GayRVA - June 4, 2014

    […] the undergraduate arm of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. Today, Burk published a resolution denying the existence of transgender people and turning their lobbying efforts against trans-rights […]

  5. Southern Baptists pass resolution on transgender | Denny Burk - June 11, 2014

    […] week, I wrote about a resolution that I proposed to the Southern Baptist Convention (along with my co-sponsor […]

  6. The Ugly Way Evangelicals Love Gay People (a new blog post)Matthew Paul Turner | Matthew Paul Turner - June 13, 2014

    […] Because on June 2, a whole bunch of Southern Baptists met in Baltimore for their annual convention. On their list of topics to discuss were the “700,000 Americans […]

  7. Burk and the Transgender Challenge | Adam Hankins - June 26, 2014

    […] his theological claims.  Burk believes that the “transgender challenge” is a “matter of pastoral and missional urgency” because the overarching goal of the gay rights movement is not simply acquiring this and […]

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