Southern Baptists pass resolution on transgender

Last week, I wrote about a resolution that I proposed to the Southern Baptist Convention (along with my co-sponsor Andrew Walker). This morning, the resolutions committee included a revised version in their slate of resolutions for 2014 annual meeting. I think they did a fine job with it and offered many helpful improvements to the text that we sent them. The final draft of resolution #9 titled “On Transgender Identity” is printed below. The messengers just voted overwhelmingly in favor of the resolution. In fact, I couldn’t see a single ballot raised against it.

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ON TRANSGENDER IDENTITY

WHEREAS, All persons are created in God’s image and are made to glorify Him (Genesis 1:27; Isaiah 43:7); and

WHEREAS, God’s design was the creation of two distinct and complementary sexes, male and female (Genesis 1:27; Matthew 19:4; Mark 10:6) which designate the fundamental distinction that God has embedded in the very biology of the human race; and

WHEREAS, Distinctions in masculine and feminine roles as ordained by God are part of the created order and should find expression in every human heart (Genesis 2:18, 21-24; 1 Corinthians 11:7-9; Ephesians 5:22-33; 1 Timothy 2:12-14); and

WHEREAS, The Fall of man into sin and God’s subsequent curse have introduced brokenness and futility into God’s good creation (Genesis 3:1-24; Romans 8:20); and

WHEREAS, According to a 2011 survey, about 700,000 Americans perceive their gender identity to be at variance with the physical reality of their biological birth sex; and

WHEREAS, Transgenderism differs from hermaphroditism or intersexualism in that the sex of the individual is not biologically ambiguous but psychologically ambiguous; 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 biological birth sex poses the harmful effect of engendering an understanding of sexuality and personhood that is fluid; and

WHEREAS, Some public schools 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 schools are allowing access to restrooms and locker rooms according to children’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, These cultural currents run counter to the biblical teaching as summarized in The Baptist Faith and Message, Article III, 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”; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, June 10-11, 2014, affirm God’s good design that gender identity is 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 (Ephesians 4:17-18); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we grieve the reality of human fallenness which can result in such biological manifestations as intersexuality or psychological manifestations as gender identity confusion and point all to the hope of the redemption of our bodies in Christ (Romans 8:23); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we extend love and compassion to those whose sexual self-understanding is shaped by a distressing conflict between their biological sex and their gender identity; and be it further

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

RESOLVED, That we love our transgender neighbors, seek their good always, welcome them to our churches and, as they repent and believe in Christ, receive them into church membership (2 Corinthians 5:18-20; Galatians 5:14); and be it further

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

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

RESOLVED, That we continue to oppose steadfastly all efforts by any governing official or body to validate transgender identity as morally praiseworthy (Isaiah 5:20); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we oppose all cultural efforts to validate claims to transgender identity; 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, proclaiming what Scripture teaches about God’s design for us as male and female persons created in His image and for His glory (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 20:27; Romans 11:36).

87 Responses to Southern Baptists pass resolution on transgender

  1. Don Johnson June 10, 2014 at 7:56 pm #

    I think this will be another resolution that the future members of SBC will repent from, just like they did from slavery.

    • Tammy Rainey June 10, 2014 at 10:51 pm #

      agreed, though like the slaves those of us affected won’t live to see it, and those who see it won’t be very much impressed

    • buddyglass June 11, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

      Have to disagree. If it does come to pass that future SBC members repent of this resolution, it will be because the SBC has gone the way of the liberal mainline denominations.

      • Tammy Rainey June 11, 2014 at 1:55 pm #

        by all means, Mr. Glass, take out your Bible and any other reference material that you need and let’s discuss it. I invite you to provide conclusive proof from the Bible the transsexual transition is sinful. If you can’t do that then you have no basis to sling around words like “liberal”. I suggest that you are bowing the knee to human tradition and have mistakenly considered it the word of God. Can you support your view from Scripture? Or no?

        • buddyglass June 11, 2014 at 4:30 pm #

          “by all means, Mr. Glass, take out your Bible and any other reference material that you need and let’s discuss it.”

          How is the Bible relevant to the question of whether future members of the SBC will some day repent of this resolution? That’s the narrow statement I was addressing without stating (or implying) any position on rightness or wrongness of the resolution.

          • Tammy Rainey June 11, 2014 at 9:34 pm #

            With respect, Mr. Glass, my argument was that if they pass a resolution based on social traditions which has no scriptural support then it would parallel previous errors where the church took position that did not in fact have scriptural support which they eventually had to repent of, most notoriously of course the stand on slavery which created the denomination.

            f you did not mean to suggest that the resolution reflected some biblical teaching on the subject than I misunderstood your comment and I apologize.

            • buddyglass June 12, 2014 at 12:19 am #

              I mean exactly what I said: I don’t expect the SBC will ever repent of the resolution. But, if they do, it will be because they’ve gone the way of the liberal mainline denominations and the future SBC has become largely unrecognizable compared to the current SBC.

              • Tammy Rainey June 12, 2014 at 12:29 am #

                then please clarify your intentions so that we may discuss the subject openly: do you in fact consider transsexual transition to be on biblical and if so, based upon what citations?

                If not then why do you considered a “liberal” position to repent of the resolution which is not based on biblical directives?

                • buddyglass June 12, 2014 at 9:44 am #

                  “then please clarify your intentions so that we may discuss the subject openly”

                  That’s the thing, though. My view of the rightness or wrongness of transitioning has almost nothing to do with the question of what the SBC will or won’t do in the future.

                  “do you in fact consider transsexual transition to be on biblical and if so, based upon what citations?”

                  No, I don’t. Based on principle rather than explicit prohibition. Some principles that seem to apply:

                  1. God’s people are told not to “mutilate their bodies” in the Old Testament. This wasn’t in reference to gender reassignment surgeries, but the principle is that bodily integrity is something valued by God.

                  2. We’re told that their our bodies are temples for the Holy Spirit and that, as such, they should be treated in a certain way. While this concept of “body as a temple” isn’t tied explicitly to physical dismemberment, it would seem to apply.

                  3. Believers are frequently asked to sacrifice their own rights and comfort for the sake of the gospel. I’m reminded of Onesimus being told to return to Philemon. Also, in my opinion (though not Denny’s), many of the commands given to women in the early church about how they should dress and behave were given with this principle in mind. This would apply to transgender if it were shown that transitioning is so shocking as to damage the credibility of the church among the wider culture.

                  4. God made them male and female. In some cases this isn’t physiologically clear. In most of the cases where an individual is transitioning, though, that individual is clearly male or clearly female. That person is definitionally male or female. He either has parts A or parts B. He may have a psychological pathology that causes him to feel alienated from his physiological sex, but that doesn’t mean he’s not still a man or woman.

                  5. Those seeking to transition have often bought into the lie that certain behaviors are inherently “male” or “female”, which (IMO) has no biblical basis. And, regrettably, this lie is often propagated and enforced by social conservatives. For instance, imagine a girl who likes trucks, sports, rough play, short hair, etc. She hates dolls, princesses, the color pink, wearing any sort of dress, and she doesn’t have many female friends because they’re not interested in the same things as her. So she feels alienated from other girls/women and identifies with boys and maleness. There’s the lie. The fact is that you can be female and like all those stereotypically male things while disliking all the stereotypically female things. Who says you can’t? If you’re such a person it doesn’t mean you’re a man trapped in a woman’s body; it just means you’re a woman with unusual preferences.

                  “If not then why do you considered a “liberal” position to repent of the resolution which is not based on biblical directives?”

                  Mainly because recognition of transgender is seen a “liberal” cause, politically, lumped in with GLBT rights. The SBC is a bastion of social conservatism. For the SBC to repent of this resolution would require it to have done a complete 180 and flipped from the “social conservative” side on this issue to the “social liberal” one. That’s not unprecedented (e.g. slavery) but it would probably require one of two things to happen:

                  1. For the SBC to change so fundamentally that it supports “liberal” causes in the general case. That’s what I meant by it going the way of liberal mainline denominations. It seems incredibly unlikely to me that the SBC would ever flip-flop on transgender while still holding all the other social conservative positions it holds.

                  2. Transgender support could gain such acceptance in society that it’s no longer deemed a “liberal cause”, which would allow the SBC to flip without compromising its conservativeness. This is the “slavery” model. 150 years ago nobody would have dreamed the SBC would some day have a black president and issue a statement condemning slavery. But, by the same token, nobody would have dreamed that slavery would be universally condemned as a moral evil by society as a whole.

                  Outside of those two scenarios I can’t envision a situation in which the SBC back-tracks on this.

                  • Tammy Rainey June 12, 2014 at 8:55 pm #

                    1. Circumcision
                    2. as you say, you are drawing an i