God and the Transgender Debate
Book review by Pastor Tom Anderson
A parent wrote, “Today at school, while my ten-year-old son was in the restroom, a girl his age came in and used the restroom. Except he says she’s not a girl anymore—now she’s called Bryce.”
If you are a parent, it is going to be impossible to avoid the topic of transgenderism. When it happens, what will you say? Will you avoid the topic altogether and leave your child to be informed and shaped by the world at large? Will you show a mocking disbelief? Will you panic and withdraw your child from school to shield them from this?
Or will you have a difficult and honest conversation about a topic that young minds might find very confusing? Your children will have this conversation. The question is will they have it with you or someone else?
Andrew T Walker has written an award winning book entitled God and the Transgender Debate. At 150 pages, it’s an accessible resource for Christian parents to navigate a most perplexing social issue. Walker is associate dean at the Southern Baptist School of Theology.
The book is divided into three parts. Chapters one to three deal with how our culture came to the place where Facebook offers 50 separate gender identities for its customers to choose from.
The middle chapters four through eight dive into the Biblical message about human identity. He clearly announces his premise that the Bible is the Word of God.
In the last third he deals with practical matters: how to hold conversations with your children, how to love your transgendered neighbor, the challenge for churches, and more. He writes, “I think it’s important that God’s voice is heard in this debate. That’s what this book is about. It is not a medical or psychological study, nor is it a statistical analysis or a political manifesto. It’s aiming as clearly as possible to let God’s voice be heard.”
Here’s what Walker would cover to an inquiring child in a conversation together:
People see reality in different ways and Christians base our view of reality on what the Bible teaches about the world because it is inspired by the God who made us.
God made men and women different but equally valuable. And this is a wonderful thing. Then he’d talk in an age appropriate way about the unique traits of being a boy or girl without endorsing cultural stereotypes.
God made a beautiful world but it’s been messed up by the consequences of sin. Even when we are not actually sinning we still suffer the consequences of a broken world that is alienated from God.
Not everyone shares this Biblical view of the world and people who reject God’s good rule are not going to accept God’s teaching. Sometimes we don’t feel like accepting it either.
Some people feel they are a different gender than their birth sex and it really upsets them. We don’t need to be mean to these people or consider them weird because all of us are made in God’s image. But we need to remember that God made them with a male or female body so how they feel about themselves is not what God wants for them. “Bryce” is a girl because God made her that way.
In a fallen world, each of us is walking with brokenness that we did not choose and can’t simply walk away from. Every Christian sometimes has to say “no” to how they feel because Jesus is their King. To be a Christian means we trust God even when it seems different than what our feelings say. To be a Christian also means to love our neighbors especially when we disagree with them. That’s what Jesus did.
Walker writes well and avoids using technical jargon. In the words of another reviewer, “If you want to learn more and love better, and are open to considering what God has to say about sex and gender, this hope-filled book is for you.”