Sexuality

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May 29, 2015

Transgender Troubles in the Church

When the LGBT agenda infects church authorities something has to give: the Gospel or sexual libertarianism. In the case of Dr. Giles Fraser, the priest-in-charge of South London’s St. Mary’s Newington and former canon chancellor of St. Paul’s Cathedral, the gospel gave.

In a piece for the Guardian, Fraser recapped his Bishop’s message from Isaiah on how God calls and loves us “by name,” before segueing into a full-fledged promotion for the acceptance and affirmation of transgendered ministers and congregants.

In pursuit of this goal, he invoked the occasion in which Rev. Chris Newlands, the vicar of Lancaster Priory, was asked for a second baptism by a transgender parishioner, who insisted that she needed to be baptized as a man now that she has transitioned into a new identity. Said episode prompted Newlands to get the Church of England to “to authorise [sic] a service for those transitioning from one gender identity to another….[L]ast month the diocese of Blackburn agreed, by an overwhelming majority, to ask the General Synod to debate the introduction of services of welcome specifically for those transitioning gender.”

Fraser applauded this course of action, “If God has called us all by name, it would be good if He got the name right.”

Fraser equally praised the church’s backing of transgendered Rev. Carol Stone (formerly Rev. Peter Stone), who it welcomed with “remarkably little fuss.”

His commentary on conservative Biblicists, however, was less than flattering. In between lamenting that there are still people who are “obsessed” with issues like female ordination and whose “heads nearly explode” over the transgender issue, Fraser took issue with “twitchy” evangelicals and their contention that one is either male or female. Concerning Deuteronomy’s prohibition against men dressing like women, Fraser finds it “a bit rich for men in lacy ecclesiastical dresses to be quoting such obvious nonsense.”

Using the title of “eunuch” as an analogue for transgender, Fraser pits the “conservative” Deuteronomy against the “progressive” Isaiah. He notes that the former said that they could not enter into the assembly of the Lord, while the latter promises “To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant, to them I will give within my temple a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will endure forever.”

Fraser concludes that these verses show “the Bible arguing with itself” and provide a “perfect illustration of why those who take the Bible literally, as verse-by-verse instructions, don’t understand how it works. It’s not supposed to be internally consistent.”

Furthermore, they show “prejudice being challenged and overcome. If being called by our own name is good enough for Isaiah, it is surely good enough for the C of E. Rev Carol Stone.”

But how well do Fraser’s arguments hold up? Is he correctly invoking God’s call by name reference in Isaiah? Is transgenderism an authentic identity? Is blessing transgenderism with the sacrament of baptism or ordination really the best way to bring help to the suffering? Are the evangelicals wrong for their beliefs in a gender binary? Are Eunuchs and transgenders the same? Finally, is Fraser right in his contention that the Bible “argues with itself” and should not be taken literally or assumed to be internally consistent?

Unfortunately, the answer is “no” on every point. Fraser is not only wrong, but he is a wrong as wrong can be.

Isaiah’s reference to God calling Israel out by name (Isaiah 43:1) is merely an emphasis that Israel was chosen from among the nations to be His nation. It has nothing to do with changing sexual identities. Fraser’s contention that one needs to be baptized a second time to make sure God gets the “[new] name right” falls apart both scripturally and logically. God knows the number of hairs on our heads (Luke 12:7); it is highly unlikely that His plan of salvation is obstructed by a simple name change. In fact, in Isaiah 43:1, God references both Jacob’s birth name and the name He gave him, Israel.  Furthermore, if Fraser’s contention was taken to the logical conclusion, one would have to get baptized every time they went to Court to get their name changed.

Second, Fraser assumes that transgenderism is an authentic identity worthy of celebration in the Church. However, evidence testifies to the contrary.

In her book Your Teaching My Child What?: A Physician Exposes the Lies of Sex Education and How They Harm Your Child, Dr. Miriam Grossman says the idea that gender identity develops independent of sexual anatomy can be traced back to the pseudoscience of Dr. John Money, an advocate of pedophilia and incest who taught that masculinity and femininity were largely social constructions and that children were gender neutral until age three (Grossman, 158-159).

Dr. Grossman notes that Money’s infant gender neutrality theory (and the transgendere pseudoscience it justifies today) is horribly out of date, “In the 1960s Money’s theory of infant gender neutrality may have been plausible…the predominant view was that the Y chromosome carried little important information…Today we know the Y chromosome is teeming with units of DNA that are unique to males. There are distinct male and female blueprints created from the moment of conception (Grossman, 163). Dr. Paul McHugh, who ultimately shut down Money’s clinic after taking over as chief psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins University, asserted that “sexual identity is mostly built into our constitution by the genes we inherit and the embryogenesis we undergo.” He went on to say that “We psychiatrists…would do better to concentrate on trying to fix their minds and not their genitalia” (Grossman 182).

Grossman ultimately concludes, “The goal should be to help [transgendered people] find relief. Normalizing transgenderism-called Gender Identity Disorder by mental health professionals-is…based on an ideology that wishes to blur the distinctions between male and female. Having this disorder is not ‘as normal as being alive’” (Grossman 170-171).

This is the proper course to follow in the Church. All men have a sinful nature (Gen 8:21) but some men are more vulnerable to certain sins than others (Romans 14:21). Those who genuinely struggle with Gender-Identity-Disorder and truly seek the Lord should be welcomed as struggling brothers and sisters, just like people who struggle with lust, pornography, or other sexual sins (Gal 6:1-2). However, at no point should people place their identity in their sin and demand to be celebrated for it. As Christians, our identity is not found in our sin, sexual orientation, or so called “gender identity.” Our identity is in Christ (Gal 2:20).

Fraser’s anger at evangelicals for their insistence that one is either male or female is misplaced. This gender binary formula came from God himself, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Gen 1:27). It is quite telling that Fraser attacks Deuteronomy rather than Genesis when commenting on this issue. One wonders how he would respond to a verse like the one above, which plainly contradicts his position. Rather than do that, Fraser makes immature jabs about men in “lacy ecclesiastical dresses” reading Deuteronomy’s gender dress code. Putting aside the fact alleged human failure to obey God’s commands does not invalidate them, the clear message of the passage in question is that men and women should not dress in a manner that erase sexual distinctions. The clothing expectations of men and women vary from culture to culture. For a man who despises a literal reading of the Bible, Fraser is making a lot of hyper-literal applications of the scripture.

Fraser’s treatment of the term “eunuch” is also unsound. In Matthew 19:12 Christ himself said that “For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others–and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”

The transgender narrative does not fit this description. Transgenders would not say that they are “made transgender by others.” Eunuchs, whether by birth defect or by mutilation, are incapable of sexual activity. Transgenders are capable of such things. People with Gender Identity Disorder may be born with certain propensities, but they can and should be resisted. The same cannot be said of eunuchs; they are stuck with their condition. In fact, the only things the transgenders and eunuchs seem to have in common is that both can be reconciled to God and both of their conditions are exceptional defects, which are never celebrated in of themselves.

Finally, the root of all Fraser’s problems is his poor approach to scripture. He openly admits that he believes the books of Deuteronomy and Isaiah are two different personalities from two independent, antagonistic competing forces. He believes that the Bible is at war with itself, that its tolerance has triumphed over its bigotry, and that it is not meant to be internally consistent.

Such conclusions can only work if one forfeits human logic and suspends basic doctrines of the faith.

For starters, Fraser’s celebration that the Bible is not logically consistent hurts his cause more than he realizes. He asserts that the Bible has “conservative” and “progressive” passages and then expects everyone to adopt the “progressive” passage as their way of life. If the Bible is inconsistent and argues with itself, on what moral or logical basis is one required to choose this “progressive “passage? Why not chose the “conservative” passage? Or why take it seriously at all?

Beyond this elementary problem of logic, Fraser’s assumption that Isaiah is revolting against Deuteronomy falls apart in the face of scripture itself. Paul says that all scripture is God breathed (II Tim 3:16-17), which means that God is behind the voices of both books. In Deuteronomy, Moses says he is merely giving Israel the laws God told him to give (Deut 4:1-2). Isaiah was a prophet, a man who God used to speak to people (Is. 6:8-11). Since both books came from God himself, it is impossible for one to contradict the other. Therefore any interpretation of eunuch passages in Isaiah 56 has to presuppose harmony with Deuteronomy, rather than in conflict with it. Since God rejected the transgender paradigm in Deuteronomy, one cannot read Isaiah as God blessing it.

After devoting the first eleven chapters to the book of Romans explaining the Gospel, Paul urges his readers, “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect“ (Romans 12:2 NASB).

Unfortunately, Fraser and the Church of England have abandoned this course of action. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, rather than allow God’s word on male and female sexuality to impact the culture.

Consequently, there is no call for the culture to repent and be reconnected to God, people remain in their state of spiritual death, and everyone, including the LGBT community is worse off.


8 Responses to Transgender Troubles in the Church

  1. Mark Brooks says:

    “He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created.”
    –God, through Moses.

    “But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh.”
    –God, in person as Jesus.

    I give praise to God that in his mercy to humankind, he is allowing it to be made clear who are the people who call upon His Name, and who are not. In this way those who can be saved and are not will not be deceived, and will have the chance to believe God and not men. And the iniquity of the Amorites will be completed, so they will be without excuse when He returns.

  2. DD says:

    The religious left wins the gold medal in Majoring in Minors. The C of E has been dying a slow death for the past 50 yrs (ditto for the leftwing churches in America), and here they are wringing their hands over acceptance of people so demented that they have their God-given bodies mutilated and force other people to call them by the wrong pronouns. Suffice it to say that the leaders in these churches are not made of the same stern stuff as those guys in the Book of Acts.

  3. MarcoPolo says:

    “…Since both books (Deuteronomy and Isaiah) came from God Himself…”

    Wow! God publishes too!
    Until Christians begin to realize that the Bible is just a collection of personal (Patriarchal) testimonies, and not a direct edict from ‘you know who’, this kind of bias and prejudice will continue unabated. Sigh!

    • Bruce427 says:

      Marco,

      Most people would grant that Jesus is an honest and trustworthy person.

      In His prayer for His disciples, in Acts 17:17, He said: “Sanctify them by the Truth; Your [God’s] Word is Truth.”

      So we have Jesus Himself testifying that Scripture is the Word of God.

      You can accept that or deny it, but it would seem the declaration of Jesus makes it impossible to dismiss the Bible as simply “a collection of personal (Patriarchal) testimonies.”

      Jesus further declared: “Unless a man has been born again (made regenerate) he cannot *see* the Kingdom of God.”

      That word “see” is an interesting word in the original Greek. It means to “look upon with the eyes and to perceive; to understand.” In plain words, Jesus was saying an unregenerate person cannot understand/grasp the things of God. So it is not surprising that many deny them.

      • MarcoPolo says:

        Thank you, Bruce427, for your guidance regarding the Bible’s nuances and meanings. You’re very thoughtful and civilized…unlike some, who would wish to use it as a bludgeoning device.

        I’m not an “all-out’ hater of all things Christian, having been born and raised in the Methodist Church. I just find the literal translation of many ancient texts to be lauded to the point of excluding common sense and Scientific discovery.

        The issue of the article is going to be one of those that either divides or unites. And that will probably distinguish between the Old Church, and the New one.

        Let’s hope we all survive the fray, and find the ability to coexist in harmony. Namaste’

  4. Nohm says:

    Turn a church into a freak show and see how many people pack into the pews. (Not!)

  5. Ben Welliver says:

    The tranny got attention from church bureaucrats by asking for a second baptism. That pretty much typifies these people: it’s all about getting attention – me, me, ME! And that should present a big problem for the churches, because the first step in becoming a Christian is to repent of your sins, which would definitely include narcissism. This person who was baptized as one sex (the one he was born with) then asked for a second baptism as the other sex (which he isn’t) does not sound like a Christian, HE sounds like a publicity ho.

  6. DMurphy says:

    We’re asked to accept unrepentant homosexuals into church leadership positions because God allegedly “made them that way.” On what basis are we supposed to accept transgendered people? Bisexuals? There’s no end to the scenarios.

    Sin is sin, and until each of us admits that we have a core problem with it, we’re denying the very God we claim to serve and spitting on the sacrifice made by Jesus on the cross.

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