The Gospel and Transsexuals
Published: 27 July 2014 (GMT+10)
We regularly receive questions asking about how to understand sexual orientations that go against God’s design for the human body and sexual relationships, and how we should interact with people who claim that these orientations are part of who they are. One point that we emphasize is that Jesus died for all sorts of people, who are engaged in all sorts of behaviours contrary to what God commands. All sin separates from God, whether homosexual acts or greed or lust, and all sin is forgiven when we repent and turn to Christ.
O. F., Ireland, wrote in:
To whom it may concern,
I have a lot of transsexual friends. The majority of them have felt that way as a young young child and some of them tried to commit suicide because of it. The second they came to the realisation and they did something about it they were able to live a happy and normal life. I believe that maybe these transgender people have the brain of one sex in the body of another sex if that makes sense. We have intersexed people so are Trans people just intersexed because of a wrong mind in a wrong body? I do know that God loves Eunuchs so much and that in Isaiah he says that there will be a monument built for eunuchs that is better than any child.
Lita Cosner, CMI–US, responds:
Thanks for writing in. Part of the reality of the Fall is that things have gone wrong with all parts of creation, including human sexuality and how we perceive our own identities. As Christians, we believe that our feelings are not a fundamentally trustworthy measure of what is true, or of what is good for us. As an analogy, there are people with anorexia who are convinced that they are fat. When they look in the mirror, they see themselves as grossly obese, when in reality their ribs may be poking out and they are dangerously underweight. We offer these individuals compassionate counseling with the goal of restoring a self-image that is in line with reality, for both their physical and mental health.
But when a boy looks in the mirror and sees a girl, and thinks he is a girl, and should dress and socialize as such, society is now entering into a charade where we reinforce this objectively false belief, to the extent that we will amputate perfectly healthy body parts and pump him full of female hormones to make his body fit this false perception. But this would be akin to offering gastric bypass surgery to anorexics. And it doesn’t change the fundamental, genetic, and biological fact that he is a boy.
A man who has body parts amputated and pumps his body full of chemicals to maintain the illusion that he is of the opposite sex may live a happy life, but it certainly is not ‘normal’ by any objective definition.
Today, increasingly, people define themselves by their sexual preferences. So 200 years ago, a man might have had a homosexual relationship (probably on the side, with a wife and kids at home), but today, such a man is ‘gay’, and his whole being is defined by the fact that he likes to do certain things with other men. This is a narrow and objectifying view of sexual identity, and is not good for people who have harmful sexual preferences, or the people with whom they engage.
It is true that God loves these people, as He loves others, and so should Christians. But for Christians, love cannot be divorced from truth, so we would regard it as fundamentally unloving to tell a transgender person that he really is a female, or that she really is a male. Rather, we would lovingly share the Gospel and work to help the individual conform his or her thinking to the biblical worldview. See Transgender arguments hinge on sex versus gender and Gender confusion.
My good friend and I were talking about this at lunch today. My point was that although people struggle with feelings for the same sex, it only becomes sin when they act on it. We all have negative feelings, like anger or jealousy, but we are not to allow ourselves to act on them. Thus with those who for one reason or another feel homosexual. They can live godly, useful lives as celibates, in the same way that any unmarried Christian person does. It is a sad fact of life that a single woman who lives a celibate life will not have children, but they receive blessings in other areas. Having a partner or children isn't any guarantee of a happy fulfilled life. I have elderly friends who have given their whole working lives to needy children or missionary work and have never felt they should have been allowed to live promiscuous lives just because they were unmarried.
I just wanted to greet you all, and to encourage you to keep up the good work!
Not that you needed it of course... The Lord gives you wisdom to "speak as you shoud."
I'm glad to see a site (and a work) like this... and mostly I'm very glad to see that you don't make "discount" to the Word of God, but you keep the truth (with love)
I think the first half of your first paragraph nailed it. The remainder was a digression. Much has gone wrong with creation following six thousand years of the curse, including the human genome. I'm straight, I believe homosexuality is a sin and should be treated as such, and also believe there could be some real sexual confusion issues for some people due to the curse. What do you think?
Obviously gender confusion is a result of the Curse, in an unfallen creation this wouldn't be a problem. However, twin studies seem to have ruled out much of a genetic role. See our Morality and Ethics Q&A page for articles that discuss the issues in more detail, and the booklet Gay Marriage: Right or Wrong?
The Bible teaches in Psalm 5:5 and 11:5 that God hates the wicked and the sinner. The idea that God "loves everyone" is not Biblical; it is formed from a superficial reading of the text.
John, the problem with that interpretation is that all of us are wicked sinners. And Scripture tells us that "God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). So the doctrine of who God loves and hates is clearly more complex than you are claiming, and to say that God unreservedly hates sinners makes no sense, because Jesus' death on the Cross shows that God loves sinners and wants to save them. But this isn't the place for such a discussion; I'd suggest talking to your pastor.
exactly - thank you so very much for publishing this question and your response. The world and society at large has so twisted "love" that it has forgotten that love is of God - and what the world teaches ( as love) is destructive and abusive. To encourage anyone to live in sin, and teach that it will bring them joy and life is cruel and abusive, and the Gospel is the BEST news anyone could ever hear! How abusive to teach children, teens, adults that God meant them to live in homosexual relationships, or likewise, adulterous relationships to make them happy - the Truth will set them free. Thank you CMI for consistently engaging in the Truth - this ministry is invaluable - all glory be to God
Thanks for this beautiful answer. It is time to speak the truth in love to this sometimes perverse generation.
Your statement “All sin separates from God ... and all sin is forgiven when we repent and turn to Christ.” is crucial in this debate. When we receive Jesus as our Saviour, repent of whatever thoughts, words, deeds, behaviours which are contrary to the commandments of the Lord, and are born again of the Holy Spirit, the Lord begins to heal us and to change us into His likeness. Much might be changed at once but some things take longer, sometimes much longer.It is important to differentiate between the ‘brain’ which is ‘flesh’ and the ‘mind’ which is ‘spirit’. Paul points out in Romans 7:23 “... I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." He cries out in desperation, v.24 "Oh wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Then straight away he gives the answer in v.25 “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” In Romans 12:2 the Holy Spirit commands through Paul “... be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind...” When we surrender our whole being to the Lord He will do the transforming and the renewing. The brain might be damaged in some way, perhaps through some trauma in early childhood, but nothing is too hard for the Lord to heal and reshape to conform to His will.
I like the comparison to the anorexic, but I wonder how many objectors will disregard the comparison by saying it's not the same without explaining why the comparison should not be made.
When we look into the mirror of god's word it describes us truly. When we do not trust that word we necessarily form some false image of ourself.
Romans 1 describes how we all suppress the truth
about ourselves following our first parents on the broad way.
Some evidently do this in more blatant ways than others but that unbelief is our natural condition in a fallen world.
By grace we are enabled to move to the straight and narrow way. If God creates us He can surely
re-create us in His Son's Image.
We must be born again.
Lita, I hope the advice you gave to John Z is the right advice in his case. Your argument puts a lot of weight on "the fundamental, genetic, and biological fact that he is a boy". However, our "immaterial soul seems to be, during our earthly life, associated with the material of the brain ... but is not ultimately dependent on it—such that when that material substrate dies, decays away, the ‘soul’ does not."
So, just being hypothetical, is it possible that in this fallen world someone might have a female soul in a male body or vice versa? Admittedly, I'm assuming that when God made us male and female that this difference was not just physical, and of course we know that males and females tend to differ in non-physical ways. Is this assumption wrong?
I'm sure you'll have a good answer, but I'm curious to know what it is!
Philip, I think saying someone has a "female body with a male mind" or vice versa compartmentalizes the two too much. I think the human body and soul are so unified to create the whole person that the soul's gender (if that's even the right terminology to use, since the soul is immaterial) can't contradict the biological gender. We do know that a lot of things can go wrong with bodies and brains in this fallen world, and that can affect self-perception in a whole range of cases.
Again, the article is an example of casting a negative judgment on the foundation of religion when god can't be proven thus the judgement is founded on factual vapor. Last week I had a very interesting discussion with a christian friend about homosexuality and gender affiliation and for some reason I kindly but very firmly defended the simple concept of love...of joy. Millions of Americans, in our free society, have chosen a life without the possibility of finding loving mate. They will live alone without holding hands during a romantic movie. They will never share the ambience of a coffee shop with a lover. They will live decades without an embrace of a soulmate and they will never live as they truly are. I am writing of people who are homosexual or transsexual but who live asexually simply because of religion. There is absolutely no excuse of this frustration or forwarding of any platform which aggressively culls love from life. My christian friend tried a couple of paths in his argument but both were blocked. The cause of homosexuality or transsexuality is irrelevant. If a person is loved...is happy and this joy is not causing harm then the root cause is unimportant. Also variations of "love the sinner but hate the sin" line of agruement bypasses the requirement to prove god in order to provide a factual foundation for negative actions such as the removal or withholding of basic protections such as marriage.
Larry, you equate sexual experience with "living as they truly are". But we are more than sexual urges, and self-control is an important capacity. There are many people who find that celibacy, while not their anticipated lifestyle, brings a sort of freedom and self-respect that they would not have had if they had indulged every desire.
Gay and transgender people have higher rates of suicide, drug abuse, and a whole range of other destructive behaviors. Their relationships have higher rates of domestic abuse (particular gay men). Pretending like this is an unadulterated good thing despite the proven risks associated with the lifestyle does not strike me as very loving.
Jean P.'s comment 'My point was that although people struggle with feelings for the same sex, it only becomes sin when they act on it. We all have negative feelings, like anger or jealousy, but we are not to allow ourselves to act on them. '
Jesus also went further to define adultery as not the act, but he states in Matthew that 'whosoever looks on a woman with lust in his heart hath already committed adultery with her'
However the Book says in Ephesians 'but you have the mind of Christ' and impure thoughts does not reflect a perfected state - we need to realize that in even what we think is our own thoughts 'we wrestle not with flesh and blood, but with principalities, and spiritual darkness in high places' - know that the battle for your soul is being made in your mind, and all our thoughts needs to be brought in subjection to Christ. So be a King and have dominion over sin, let no evil be allowed to take root in you, lest it corrupt your being.
That was so well written. I have looked for answers and ways of answering people with such mindsets. Not that I have come across them recently. I love it when succinct answers can be given for difficult questions. It makes it more manageable.
I wonder in the long run, whether a more detailed and thorough answer can be given encompassing a whole of condition analysis. Just like ADHD, covers behaviour in children.
More Glory to God, be given in the big picture.
Thank you and God Bless the ministry.