Hermeneutics And Helen Savage
Helen Savages 2006 doctoral dissertation from Durham University, Changing Sex?: Transsexuality and Christian Theology is the most immediately helpful in our subject matter here. Savage is a former clergy member, a student of theology and a transgender woman who studied, in part, transgender peoples interpretations of the Bible. In her dissertation, Savage conducts interviews with seven British transgender people and surveys available literature on hermeneutics written by transgender people. Although I would have liked to include interviews and conduct both quantitative and qualitative surveys in this study, time constraints and lack of institutional clearance precluded me from doing so. One significant drawback to this limitation is that my study does not engage with transgender people who are fully in the closet, as well as individuals who do not have access to academic publishing, or do not have internet access. Additionally, my subjects tend to be white Americans if I had more time, academic clearance, and sufficient resources, my first goal would have been to establish a more representative sample of transgender Christians, particularly along racial lines.
Establishing a hierarchy of texts,
resolution through historical/redaction criticism,
changing the subject.
For my study, I adopt Savages three categories of hermeneutics and expand on them by adding two further categories that I observe in transgender hermeneutics:
Sharing Your Faith With Grace And Purpose
You can confidently and lovingly share your faithyou just need to learn some new tactics to do so! In this Focus on the Family Daily Broadcast, apologist Greg Koukl outlines the Columbo tactic of asking questions, the self-defeating argument tactic to find holes in your opponents arguments, and other specific methods for engaging in faith-building conversations with others. Greg pulls from his over 30 years of experience debating atheists and agnostics to help you share your faith with grace and truth.
Christians Need Both Conviction And Compassion In The Transgender Debate
The transgender debate is ripe with controversy. Holding a biblical conviction in this debate means that individuals will find themselves in disagreements with friends, families, and co-workersand that, however we express ourselves, we will be accused of being haters, bigots, and worse.
At a time like this, Christians need the courage to defend a true vision for human flourishing based on the biblical understanding of being made in His image. We must avoid trite explanations or knee-jerk reactions, but we must continue to say that, since God made us, he gets the ultimate say in who we are. We must put steel in our spines.
But all the conviction in the world wont matter if we act or speak without compassion. Jesus did not aim to win debates. He sought to love people. So must we as his followers. As we ground our convictions in Gods unchanging, perfect, Word, we must speak with compassion in our hearts.
God and The Transgender Debate by Andrew Walker will help you think through these issues, and equip you to engage positively in the discussions around the transgender movement.
Andrew T. Walker
Andrew T. Walker is Director of Policy Studies for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.
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But What If These Interpretations Are Wrong
The answer to this question will be different depending on the tradition of the person asking. For example, for some Christians, affirming or not affirming transgender and non-binary people is connected to salvation and eternity. For other Christians, the afterlife isnt their main concern, but instead their focus is determining what it means for Christians to contribute to human flourishing and to the moral integrity of the church. Whatever is at stake for the person asking, it is important to note the role of humility, grace and having a consistent standard to apply in discerning what is true of God. We read in Pauls letter to the Corinthians that until Christ returns we are bound to see truth in a way that is incomplete, a mere reflection, as in a mirror, dimly . The Bible calls its interpreters to the awareness that even if ultimate truth about any subject isnt always in our grasp, we can still remain committed to the task of trying to find it.
Focus On Enjoying God Instead Of Simply Teaching Moral Behaviors
One of the biggest misperceptions about Christianity is that its simply about acting right. When Christian parents overemphasize their childs behavior rather than their heart, the real message they send often has more shame than love. This distorted view of the Gospel leads people to reject traditional gender roles as being just another Christian idea thats outmoded and unnecessarily restrictive.
The message our kids really need to hear is that forming your spirit in deep friendship with God is the only way to peace, salvation, and your true identity.
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Understanding The Root Of Your Child’s Misbehavior
Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their childs behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your childs temperament based on his birth order.
Tactics 10th Anniversary Edition: A Game Plan For Discussing Your Christian Convictions
In a world increasingly indifferent to Christian truth, followers of Christ need to be equipped to communicate with those who do not speak their language or accept their source of authority. In Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition, Gregory Koukl demonstrates how to artfully regain control of conversations, keeping them moving forward in constructive ways through thoughtful diplomacy. Youll learn how to stop challengers in their tracks and how to turn the tables on questions or provocative statements. Most important, youll learn how to get people thinking about Jesus.
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Moms Raising Sons To Be Men
Mothers of boys have the special calling to shape future men of God. Popular speaker Rhonda Stoppe, mom to two sons, knows this opportunity is a challenge, a joy, and probably the most important work of a womans life. Drawing from years of experience, this inspirational resource will revive the faithfulness and fortitude a woman needs to partner with God as they shape the character and heart of a future godly man.
A Man Cannot Become A Woman And A Woman Cannot Become A Man
The biggest claim of the transgender movement is that a man who thinks hes a woman can really be a woman, and vice versa. You see this in many ways from preferred pronouns, sex reassignment surgeries, and demands to use the restroom of perceived rather than given gender.
The problem is that this is a philosophical claim that is not true, and can never be true, in any way or form. A mans chromosomes cannot be engineered into female chromosomes. Altering ones appearance cosmetically or surgically cannot change the underlying reality of a persons biological make-up. The psychology of the mind cannot override the facts of a persons biological markers. The transgender revolution demands that we believe falsehoods about human nature. And truth and falsehood have never been a matter of majority vote, because we know that there is a Creator who has the authority to decide and state what is right and wrong.
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What Is Sexual Orientation
Sexual orientation refers to who we are sexually and romantically attracted to. It has to do with our relationship to others. Gender identity is separate from sexual orientation. Gender identity has to do with our internal sense of self and gender.
Genesis 1 talks about night and day and land and water, but we have dusk and we have marshes. These verses don’t mean ‘there’s only land and water, and there’s nowhere where these two met.’ These binaries aren’t meant to speak to all of reality – they invite us into thinking about everything between and beyond.
– M. Barclay, as quoted in Transforming, The Bible and the Lives of Transgender Christians, by Austen Hartke, Westminster John Knox Press, 2018.
What If Im A Christian Experiencing Gender Dysphoria
Spencer’s StorySpencer is a 19-year-old college freshman who has been in church all his life. One Tuesday morning he called his pastor in tears. I dont understand why these thoughts wont leave. I cant eat, I cant sleep, and my grades are already shot. I dont want to be trans, but its on my mind 24/7. Im not sure how much longer I can fight this.
Your story and experiences are important and worthy of being heard and respected as you bravely share them, but theyre also no doubt challenging. Dont go this alone or under the sickening burden of shame that the enemy of our souls tries to heap on us . Find a safe place to slowly and patiently unwind your story. Know the truth that you are loved deeply and unconditionally even as you face your feelings and questions. Christ is a redeemer and healer of our bodies, minds, and spirits.
As you obediently embark on this path with Jesus, you will need a support team with resources at each of these three levels:
- Body: a trustworthy, Christian physician who can address any physical problems such as brain chemistry, depression, anxiety, or endocrine problems.
- Mind: a professional Christian counselor who can help you find healing from any trauma you may have experienced.
- Spirit: a pastor and several spiritual friendships who can mentor and walk with you into deeper friendship with God.
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Raising A Strong Daughter In A Toxic Culture: 11 Steps To Keep Her Happy Healthy And Safe
Meg Meeker has been a pediatrician for more than thirty years, is a mother and a grandmother, and has seen it all. She knows what makes for strong, happy, healthy young womenand what puts our daughters at risk. Combining that experience with her famous common sense, she explains the eleven steps that will help your daughterwhether shes a toddler or a troubled teento achieve her full human potential.
Standing Firm In Gods Truth Is The Best Way To Help Your Child
Have you ever noticed in the story of the prodigal son that the father didnt have to kick the son out of the house? The son chose to leave. He wanted a lifestyle of excess and sin, and the father allowed him to make that choice as an adult. It was simply a given that the son had to leave his fathers home in order to live in this manner. The father didnt cave to the fear of losing his son and compromise to get him to stay. He didnt even use financial control and withhold his inheritance.
In the end, what changed the sons heart wasnt his father preaching at him or pleading with him. Instead, Gods Spirit used the emptiness and filth that a rebellious lifestyle naturally yields over time to make the son yearn for his fathers comfort and care.
God works in ways we cant comprehend, even using the consequences of our sin. He is able to do far beyond what you can do for your child in your own wisdom and strength. Your job is to maintain personal integrity, love, and solid faith in Gods truth. For more information and encouragement in dealing with a prodigal child, .
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Instead Heres What I Think Is A Helpful Conversation:
As we read throughout Scripture there are a large number of affirming passages for trans and gender non-conforming people. We find righteous women warriors, a wonderful passage in Isaiah about Eunuchs being given a name and a family, Jesus words of affirmation towards Eunuchs, the man carrying a jar of water in the Passion narrative, the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts, and much more.
There is ample evidence that people who dont conform to gender norms are not only accepted but celebrated throughout the Scriptures. So lets start there.
The Transgender Debate Questions Whether Men And Women Moms And Dads Are Really Real
If being a man or woman is determined by someones mind or will, it means that theres no such thing as true maleness or femaleness. Both become just a construct based on cultural stereotypes. We would be unable to tell a young boy that hes really a boy. We would be unable to tell a young girl that her fathers unique responses to her as a father is anything objective or real.
Erasing the biological significance of our maleness and femaleness destroys the script that God knit into human existence for how the sexes interact with one another and how children know the difference between a mother and a father.
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What Creation Tells Us
Read Genesis 1:26-28 and notice four things:
1. Were made in Gods image. All of us are, whatever we do and whatever is done to us.
2. We have bodies. And your body is not just something in which the real you lives its part of the real you.
3. Were under authority. You and I are not the Creator. We are created. We dont get to make the rules .
4. Were gendered. God made two genders: male, and female . So being female or a male isnt only about your anatomy but your anatomy will show you whether youre a female or a male.
A Brief Introduction To Transgenderism
In April 2015, Bruce Jenner, the gold medal mens decathlon winner at the 1976 Montreal Olympic games, participated in a nationally televised interview with ABC News Diane Sawyer in which he explained that he had struggled with his gender identity since childhood. In his words, My brain is much more female than it is male. Its hard for people to understand that, but thats what my soul is. That female side is part of me. Thats who I am.1 A few months later, in July 2015, Jenner appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine dressed as a woman and announcing that he had changed his name to Caitlyn.2 In the same month, he received ESPNs prestigious Arthur Ashe Award for Courage, largely because of his very public transition from Bruce to Caitlyn.3 In December 2015, he was featured once again, this time in an extensive article in TIMEMagazine.4
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How To Please God Despite Having Same
The Bible says: Dont be controlled by your body. Kill every desire for the wrong kind of sex. To kill wrong desires, which lead to wrong actions, you need to control your thinking. If you regularly fill your mind with wholesome thoughts, you can more readily dismiss wrong desires. While you may struggle greatly at first, it can become easier. God promises to help you to be made new in the force actuating your mind.Ephesians 4:22-24.
The same struggle is faced by millions with heterosexual desires who wish to conform to the Bibles standards. For example, those who are single with little prospect of marriage or who are married to a partner who is unable to function sexually choose to control their sexual urges despite any temptations they might face. They are able to live happily, and those with same-sex urges can do so as well if they truly want to please God.Deuteronomy 30:19.
How Should Christians Respond To Transgenderism As An Ideology And A Movement
We should resist it. In the long run, this ideological movement and the power-brokers, professional agitators, lobbies, and corporations who promote it will harm not only society at large but also vulnerable individuals who are experiencing gender dysphoria.
As the great sociologist Philip Rieff argued, American society is in the midst of an unprecedented experiment in building society apart from religion. One of the primary ways weve done this is by overthrowing the Judeo-Christian view of sex and gender. By untethering sex from marriage, we have enabled the normalization of hard core pornography, extramarital affairs, explosive growth of STDs, death of 60 million babies in the womb, and a divorce epidemic. And by severing gender identity from God-given sex, we will likewise reap a psychological, social, cultural, and political whirlwind.
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What The Cross Tells Us
That may be a hard, and painful, thing for you to hear. Please remember that Jesus understands that he knows what its like to live in a human body, and he knows what its like to really really desire doing something that isnt in line with Gods plan .
And please remember that Jesus loves you. He died on a cross because he loves you so much he wants to make it possible for you to be forgiven any wrong youve done , and to open up an eternal life with him one day hell give you a perfect mind, heart, and body, all in agreement with each other, with no experience of shame or sadness.
Transformation is coming to anyone who trusts Jesus. The Bible says that, until that day of transformation comes when Jesus returns, all Christians, one way or another, groan . But we know that the groaning wont last for ever, and will be worth it in the end.
But Really Is This Conversation Helpful
If someone has an issue with trans people, is my explanation of the TWO verses that seem to condemn transgender people really going to change their mind? I think not. Especially since we have been debating those seven clobber passages about LGB people for at least 30 years now and the debate is still just as heated.
Heres what I think debating these passages does allow: It allows us to stay at a 101 level. It allows us to get caught in semantics and definitions of Greek and Hebrew words and allows us to continue to deny that we are talking about actual people with actual feelings and actual lives. It allows us to never move past this defensive posture of sin and apologetics. And so we proof text and argue and accuse and waffle. We bring out people who can debate both sides. We try to build bridges between different communities. This isnt a helpful conversation.
As Brian says, we queer folks dont have time for cheap theology. And this sort of proof texting is cheap theology at its worst. If you want to know what these passages say, read Justins book and then lets move on.
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