“In my case, this was further demonstrated when I was diagnosed with an intersex condition, having been born with both male and some female organs,” continued Buchleiter. “I either had to view my body as a mistake … or allow for the fact that God is truly the master creator — operating outside the boundaries of gender binaries.” Buchleiter also drew a parallel to Jesus’ acceptance of eunuchs, as explained in Matthew 19:12. However, the pastor also acknowledged that “LGBTQ identity is not directly equivalent to the status of ‘eunuch’ in biblical times… My calling into ordained ministry is not intended to cater to the comfort of all; neither does it require the affirmation of all,” said Buchleiter.
An Indiana congregation affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has ordained who is believed to be the first confirmed transgender pastor in the denomination’s history.
Laura Bethany Buchleiter, a trans-identified individual who identifies as female, was ordained at University Baptist Church of Bloomington in a ceremony held last month.
In an interview with The Christian Post on Tuesday, Buchleiter credited a meeting with the late progressive Christian writer Rachel Held Evans with helping to reignite a childhood interest in ordained ministry.
“She introduced me to communities that were both faithful and affirming of LGBTQ people. I began to study with The Reformation Project. I attended conferences, helped to organize and then traveled on the first Free Mom Hugs Tour from Oklahoma to Stonewall Inn,” explained Buchleiter.
“I re-entered Baptist culture through Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, at a time when they were discerning their status as an open and affirming church. It was there the call to serve the Church was revived.”
Buchleiter told CP that the ordination was “not to a specific congregation” and will initially take on the role of “interim pastor” for four months at a United Church of Christ congregation in Green River, Wyoming.
Many, especially theological conservatives such a Texas Baptist megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress, have argued that transgender ideology is inherently incompatible with Christianity.
“It’s not that confusing,” said Jeffress in a 2016 sermon. “In Matthew 19:4, God’s Words are applicable. The Bible says, ‘God made them from the beginning male and female,’ not male, female and question mark. God has determined how many sexes there are — there are two, not three.”