There are glimmers of optimism that the secular foundation upon which the transgender worldview is built is beginning to crack. There are a growing number of people, some of them quite prominent, who are not Christians, who are raising concerns about the unsustainability of the transgender worldview.
Pastors have no shortage of issues that they are called up to address in their ministries. The pressure to be an expert on every new issue can be daunting when thinking about everything else on the pastor’s plate. Most pastors need fewer burdens, not more. But when issues of what it means to be human surface — and this is at the center of the debate over transgenderism — it’s important that pastors seek to bring the full counsel of God’s word to bear on the issue at hand.
Having written a book on transgenderism, my purpose here is to simplify for pastors what I think are the absolute essentials for them to consider when addressing their congregations and counselees on the challenge of transgenderism.
Necessity of Nature
What is a man? What is a woman? Until just a few years ago, these questions would have hardly been controversial. But now one cannot answer them without fear of offending someone who identifies as transgender. But this is where ground zero of the debate really is: whether the category of maleness and femaleness means anything concrete at all. In theological terms, we call this ontology, which is the study of being.
When a male claims to be a female, that is not only a psychological claim, but also a philosophical and biological claim about one’s being. From Genesis 1 onward, Scripture teaches that males and females are biological and embodied beings with immutable natures. We cannot change who we are. To speak of nature is to say that there exists an ideal form and function of what something ought to be. The nature of a family, for example, is to care for and raise offspring. To say that something has a nature is to insist upon the existence of concrete purposes to that thing’s being, which supplies our understanding of what the thing in question truly is.
This is where the true debate resides. Christianity views reality through the lens of Scripture, which speaks of male and female as beings defined by their anatomical and reproductive organization (Genesis 1:26–28). Hormones or surgery cannot override the underlying realities of our genetic structure. If culture tries to define male and female apart from anatomy and reproductive organization, male and female become fluid, absurd categories. Hence where we are as a culture.
The transgender worldview is an active thwarting of one’s nature. It is akin to defying limits or swimming upstream against a current: you might try, but eventually limitations and the strength of the current are going to sweep you up against your will.