Transgenderism: Speaking Truth While Showing Love
by Ryan MacIntyre
No more than one hundred years ago, the idea of transgenderism was much more of a hypothetical, taboo concept than a concrete reality. Fast forward to the present day, and one third of Christians in America say that they personally know someone who claims to be transgender, while seventy percent of American non-Christians believe that people should be allowed to use whatever public bathroom that they choose based on what gender they identify as. In fact, the modern sense of gender being an identity more than a biological reality is so new that the term "transgender" was first seen in print in America in 1965, without its use being widespread until the early 1990's. In the last few decades, transgenderism has gone from a subject people would not talk about to the topic at the forefront of the modern movement for acceptance of all.
A topic such as transgenderism can split a room very quickly. No one is really neutral about this subject. When transgenderism comes up in a conversation, it is more than likely that people will either be very supportive of or very against the movement, and thus very opposed to each other on the issue. Because of the polarity of the issue, it is very important to lay out what is true and false, what is fact and fiction, and what definitions are vital to understanding the arguments surrounding transgenderism. The most common misconception that has to be addressed before discussing transgenderism is the idea that within the last fifty years it has become possible for men to become women and for women to become men. While many arguments will be made in this paper from a biblical and moral standpoint, this is not one of those arguments. Paul McHugh is a psychiatrist and professor at Johns Hopkins University, and he used to assist people in gender reassignment surgeries. He is now opposed to the surgeries and has stopped helping with them. He has given his opinion on the topic of transgenderism, saying, "Transgendered men do not become women, nor do transgendered women become men. All (including Bruce Jenner) become feminized men or masculinized women, counterfeits or impersonators of the sex with which they 'identify.'" As much as proponents of transgenderism would love for McHugh to be wrong, it is simply not a reality to just go changing something as deeply rooted as one's biological sex, and that is important to remember throughout the discussion of transgenderism.
The other idea that is critical to establish is the definitions surrounding the debate of transgenderism, and to determine which ones are relevant to this paper. The first of these definitions is for the term "sex." The difference between gender and sex is essentially what this whole debate centers around. Sex is whether a person's anatomy and biological makeup are male or female. Gender is the ideas about the roles of each sex that society has, and while as far as this paper is concerned a person's sex cannot be questioned even by those in favor of transgenderism, the idea of transgender is crossing the lines of gender in a way they have not been crossed before. There are two other key definitions surrounding transgenderism. The first term is gender-nonconforming, which is the broad term used to describe someone whose behavior and mindset do not align with what society expects based on their sex. The second is binary transgender, which is the term used to describe men who identify as women and women who identify as men. With these definitions a discussion of the issues at hand can be more effectively held.
It is easy to dismiss a topic such as transgenderism due to the safe environment that NCA provides students. But such dismissal is a very naïve mistake with potentially disastrous consequences. Nova Classical Academy is a charter school in Minnesota which has been described as, "Founded in 2003, the school teaches the classical curriculum of grammar, logic, and rhetoric. Students read the Aeneid, the Iliad, and Dante's Inferno." This description is strikingly similar to one that could be given of NCA, and Nova made a mistake that I hope NCA and Christians in general can avoid. They were not ready for the transgender movement to come at them, and when it did the school nearly collapsed, only surviving by compromising its beliefs. A student at Nova Classical came out as transgender and the school was split between those who supported the student and those who opposed. This is what a topic as polarizing as transgenderism can do, and it is foolish to believe that it will never make its way to NCA, which is why we must be ready for it and know what is true and what we are going to do to defend that truth.
The solution to the problem of transgenderism is the opposite of what proponents of the movement want everyone to do, because they have key ideas mixed up. They believe that disapproval of the movement comes from a place of hate, but really approving and accepting of their actions is the least loving thing we as Christians can do to transgender individuals. Christ tells us to love our neighbors, not to love their sins. We must not compromise what we know to be true in order to please others, because letting someone do something that is not healthy for them mentally, physically, or spiritually is not loving at all.
How We Got Here
The rise of postmodernism and relativism in America lead to a rapid moral and intellectual decline concerning truth, which created the ideal environment for transgenderism to grow in because it gave unlimited moral authority to the individual. In the beginning God created mankind with two unique but equally important genders, and this original blueprint does not need any improvement from the transgender movement. As Christians, we have a duty to defend truth against the attacks of moral relativists, and while we are called to love everyone regardless of what gender they identify as, there is a difference between loving and approving, so we must not feed the rise of transgenderism by approving its attempt to correct God's creation.
G.K. Chesterton once said, "Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid." Along the same lines, he also remarked, "Do not be so open-minded that your brains fall out." While these witty sayings from Chesterton came before moral relativism rose to prominence, he addressed an issue which was beginning to rise during his life and became a serious issue in the years to come after his death. Moral relativism is the idea that all moral authority and judgment should be put in the hands of the individual instead of in the hands of a collective society. The argument could be made that the success or failure of such a philosophy would depend greatly on one's view of human nature, but this debate is trivial in today's society. The time to debate human nature and its role in the potential success of relativism is in the past. Moral relativism is a dangerous threat to the integrity of society, and to view it as a system of belief that only affects the individual is naïve. In their book Relativism, Francis J. Beckwith and Gregory Koukl address this danger in a story they tell about a nurse working in a hospital in Los Angeles. As the nurse tells the story, a baby in the clinic was born far too early for the doctors to have hope. The nurse walked into the break room where other hospital staff members were casually interacting as if nothing was wrong. As she entered the room, this particular nurse saw the baby lying on the cold metal desk in the break room, completely abandoned by everyone else in the room. The nurse rushed to the child and held him in her warm embrace. As she looked around the room, she was shocked and distraught by the lack of empathy for this dying child, but to the other doctors and nurses in the room, there was no baby on the table. As Beckwith puts it, "If there is no truth, nothing has transcendent value, including human beings. The death of morality reduces people to the status of mere creatures. When persons are viewed as things, they begin to be treated as things." The baby in that hospital was born nineteen weeks early, one week before the designated time where medical professionals will attempt to perform life saving procedures. The sick and twisted logic that makes a baby born nineteen weeks early less alive than a baby born eighteen weeks early is the sad and dangerous ideology of moral relativism that, when taken to extremes, can result in an atrocity such as the one described by the nurse.
The horrific incident at the Los Angeles hospital is just one way that moral relativism can manifest in dangerous ways. In Life Under Compulsion, Anthony Esolen describes an experience he had with a student who was attempting to make dangerous relativistic conclusion about morality. He writes,
I encountered this nihilism one day when I found myself in an argument with a student who insisted that all forms of government were merely relative to the society in which they were made, and that outside of that society we could not judge them at all. The position is self-contradictory, of course, because it is itself a judgment, one that is notably severe in its attack on the very principal of judgment. The student went so far as to insist that we could not stand in judgment over the men who murdered Jews in the gas chambers of Nazi Germany. "What was right for the Nazis was right for the Nazis," she said. This statement cannot be characterized as mere moral relativism. It was absolute dogma. It had to be upheld, even at the cost of justifying the monsters.
This seems like an extreme example of relativism that could be concluded based on what relativism is at its core, but to hear moral relativists actually argue that we cannot judge the morality of the decisions made by the Nazis continues to emphasize the dangerous and often ludicrous ways that relativism manifests itself in the world today. And while he lays out what relativism can lead to very clearly, Esolen also gets at the fundamental issue with the entire belief of relativism. It is fundamentally a self-contradiction. There is no way around this reality for people who claim to follow a morally relativistic lifestyle. Claiming that no one can judge the actions of another as moral or immoral is in and of itself a judgment of that person. And while transgenderism is quite new in the world, relativism is not. People have not just been morally relativistic in the postmodern era, but also as far back as biblical times.
In the Bible, after the death of Joshua, the Israelites entered a time of rebellion from God and his commandments. The book of Judges deals with this time period when people were not obeying God in the way that they had under the leadership of Joshua. The book ends with the author writing, "In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes." This verse defines what moral relativism is in a very broad sense: every person determining for themselves what is right and what is wrong and having the ability to act upon that decision. People wanting this moral freedom is not new. And as it continues to be a dangerous mindset, it also was in the time of Judges. Israel had this mindset and was continually punished for it. They were conquered by oppressors and lived in sin. They adopted the practices of other nations and were punished for it. Moral relativism was dangerous then and it is dangerous now. As is seen in Judges, people have been morally relativistic for a very long time, and there will likely always be people who oppose truth and advocate for morality being relative to the individual. Relativism may have been around for a long time, but transgenderism in the modern sense has not been.
Transgenderism is a movement that came about due to the rise of postmodernism and moral relativism in the 1950's, making its development quite recent, and it is important to understand how one lead to the other in order to understand how to respond to transgenderism.
At a very basic level it is easy to see how relativism could lead to transgenderism. Proponents of the movement would argue that gender is a social construct, a shared ideology about an idea in the world that a society holds, and since there is no such thing as absolute truth, people do not have to conform to their assigned gender, whether they are called male or female at birth. Once morality becomes relative, anything can be decided. A person can theoretically decide anything about themselves, and as long as relativism is accepted that decision cannot be questioned. And while this type of thinking did lead to the rise of the transgender movement, it was not as direct of a cause as it might seem. Rather, relativism and postmodernism lead to social movements in America that cultivated the perfect environment for transgenderism to grow in.
Throughout the 1950's, the movements of postmodernism and moral relativism gained traction in society in America and were able to gradually influence the social, moral, and political atmosphere. One of these influences came in the 1960's, and has later been called the "sexual revolution." During this movement, people's mindset became that they should just do whatever feels good to them. It caused them to question so many traditional beliefs about marriage, gender, and sexuality because the traditional beliefs did not feel the best to them. They questioned ideas about marriage, such as it being between a man and a woman who did not engage in sexual activity until marriage. They questioned ideas about sexuality, such as why anyone can tell a person who to be attracted to or how many people they can sleep with. And in this time of moral upheaval, questions began to be raised about the validity of traditional beliefs surrounding the concepts of gender. Relativism did not just lead to transgenderism because people could decide that their gender was relative, but because it started a movement that caused people to abandon beliefs held for many years before and determine for themselves that if a man identifying as a woman "felt better," that is absolutely what he should do.
How Christians Ought to View Transgenderism
As is the case with many topics, transgenderism can be viewed from many different angles and understood in different ways. For example, arguments for or against transgenderism could come out of biblical, moral, scientific, or political ideologies. Obviously the most important of these is a biblical lens with which Christians must view the world in all situations. If someone could only use one Bible verse in a discussion about transgenderism, they should use Genesis 1:27, which reads, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.' And a statement which comes four verses later and strengthens the biblical argument against transgenderism says, "And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day." God did not make mistakes when he created the cosmos. He has a design for everything, a perfect blueprint without which the world would cease to exist. Humanity is not an exception to this blueprint. God intentionally created two distinct, unique, equally important genders. Throughout the creation narrative in Genesis 1, God sees that his creation "is good" at the end of each day. But the sixth day, the day when God creates mankind, he sees that his creation is "very good." All that God created on all the days was good in his eyes, but the sixth day is set apart as being very good in his eyes. It does not make sense, therefore, for the Bible to describe the creation of man in such a way if the blueprint for mankind is flawed. The Bible says, "male and female he created them," and then, "it was very good," within just a few verses. God did not make any mistakes in creation, and his creation does not need to be improved by humans. People attempting to change their gender are calling into question the validity of God's perfect plan for creation. Clearly the idea of transgenderism is not supported based on the verses in Genesis 1, but many people could argue that maybe God changed his mind or made a mistake in creation. They could argue that God was different back then, and he has somehow changed or evolved his view of things. God is unchanging, and this attribute of God is seen all over scripture.
The evidence in Genesis 1 against transgenderism is hard for a Christian to ignore. God created mankind as two unique and important genders, and this creation was very good in God's eyes. However, people often argue that God changes over time. Some people believe that he changed between the Old Testament and the New Testament. However, throughout scripture there are verses that give humans a glimpse into the person of God and the attributes that he has. Hebrews 13:8 says, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." James 1:17 says, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." Numbers 23:19 says, "God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?" These are just a few of the many verses that could be used to describe the unchangeable nature of God. And this idea is really summarized in Isaiah 40:8, which says, "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever." This is at its core an anti-relativistic verse. Moral relativists are made so uncomfortable by the ideas in these verses but specifically in Isaiah. The fact that there is a God of truth whose words are unchanging and whose very being is unchanging completely discredits every morally relativistic argument. It also discredits the argument that God has changed his mind on certain issues over time. If Christians can conclude that God has not changed, then they also are able to apply truths of the past from the Bible to present day, which is very relevant to Genesis 1.
As was previously argued, Genesis 1 lays out a blueprint of creation that God used and was not in need of any changes or improvements. God created mankind according to this blueprint, and when he was finished, he saw that his creation of mankind was "very good," and he rested. This creation included two distinct and unique genders, created uniquely and very intentionally with different roles. Based on these verses, the movement of transgenderism goes against God's original perfect blueprint for humans. He formed all of us, including our gender, and he knitted us together without ever making a mistake . And since God is unchanging, and his will and words remain into the ages, the ideas in Genesis 1 and Psalm 139 still apply today. Christians must hold onto the truths gifted to mankind in the Bible, and one of these truths is that the way mankind was created does not need improving.
However, while the Bible should be an ultimate authority for Christians, it is not always the most effective means to argue about something like transgenderism with people who do not believe in the authority of the Bible. Therefore, there are other angles from which transgenderism can be viewed and argued against, such as a moral concern for the wellbeing of an individual.
The common misconception surrounding the transgender movement is that society is doing transgender individuals a service by accommodating them. This is the biggest disservice that a society can do for people struggling with these issues. Even when arguing with atheists or anyone who does not believe the Bible, moral appeals can be made against transgenderism. In February of 2019, I ran into one of the leaders of my church's youth group at a lunch event after church, and we began talking about how life was going and what we had been up to. The conversation was just like any other one of the many other conversations we have had, but then his words took a more serious tone and he asked me if I would be praying for him in the following week. I told him I definitely would be praying and I asked what he had going on. He proceeded to tell me that one of his cousins had committed suicide the day before, and he was driving out to Virginia for the funeral. I knew he had many family members who were really struggling so I did not press him on what this cousin was struggling with in particular. However, he preceded to tell me that the funeral was going to be extra hard because his cousin had been struggling with gender identity and half of the family supported him in his transition, and half did not. This one story illustrates perfectly the objections that can be brought against transgenderism based solely on morality. Proponents of transgenderism believe that the moral thing to do would be to support and assist an individual's transition of gender identity. However, without even looking at the data that has been collected on this issue, which there is plenty of, a simple look at a case study such as the man from my church's family will reveal the moral issues with transgenderism. His cousin, who was struggling with issues of gender identity, decided that life was not worth living in his current condition. Proponents of transgenderism would argue that this death was not caused by the man deciding he wanted to be a woman, but by the unloving nature of his family throughout his transition. They are misunderstanding the concept of love, because loving a transgender individual does not look anything like approving of their actions to give them the validation that they desire. And the negative effects of transgenderism do not just hurt the individual who desires to be a different gender. The people around them suffer too. In the case of the man from my church, his family was divided on this issue so when they were forced to face it inside their family, they took sides and fought. Similarly to Nova Classical Academy, their family was divided due to one individual wanting to change his gender. This story is a great example of the negative effects of transgenderism on an individual and the people around them, but it is definitely not the only example or piece of evidence that backs up a moral argument against transgenderism.
Moral arguments can be made and defended through many means, but one of the most effective ways it can be backed up is by pairing moral obligation with concrete data. Transgenderism is new, but it has been a movement in America long enough for surveys to be done on populations of transgender individuals. One study of 153 individuals found that twenty percent of women who desire to identify as men had attempted to commit suicide. The rates in men desiring to identify as women are even higher, over double in fact, as this study estimated around forty-one percent who had attempted to commit suicide. Another study found that as high as forty-eight percent of transgender males had attempted suicide. This second study also found that transgender individuals who had attempted suicide previously were ten times more likely to attempt another suicide within a year of the study than those who had not previously attempted suicide.
Christians have a duty to do what the Bible says and defend God's truth, but not everyone believes in the Bible, which is why the statistics are so effective in arguing against transgenderism. Someone does not have to profess Jesus Christ as their lord and savior to believe that suicide is an evil in the world. It is a tragic loss of life that ends in tragedy and is caused by tragic situations. People will often put Christianity and science in opposition to one another, trying to make them two mutually exclusive sets of beliefs that people must choose between. However, in the case of transgenderism, Christianity and research can be seen affirming the same truths about morality.
The two articles previously referenced with data about the likelihood of transgender individuals attempting suicide give great evidence about the dangers of transgenderism, but the conclusions they come to are not ideal. After listing the results of their surveys on transgender individuals, one of the articles says, "These results highlight the need for suicide prevention programs for LGBT youth and suggest the importance of addressing depression and hopelessness as proximal determinants and family support and victimization, which have more distal effects." Their concern for people contemplating suicide is by no means an invalid one, but they have the way to go about it all wrong. They suggest that "family support" would benefit transgender individuals, but this again goes back to the idea that supporting and approving of their actions is the least loving thing that a person close to them can do. These researchers believe that the depression and suicidal thoughts are caused solely by people's treatment of transgender individuals, and while this definitely is a factor and will be addressed later in the paper, they are overlooking the possibility that all the negative side effects could be a result of transgenderism itself. As was previously referenced, Paul McHugh used to assist people in gender transition surgeries and therapy. He was doing exactly what the researchers suggested: supporting people in their decision and approving of it because he believed that his help would benefit the individuals. He has now come to believe the opposite, and he actively speaks out against transgenderism and gender transition procedures due to the physical and mental dangers that come with them. With McHugh's realization, science and Christianity really can come to the same conclusion about transgenderism. Both can determine in their own ways that the way humans are created does not need changing. They can both acknowledge the dangers of transgenderism on the individual and recognize that allowing the individual to do something that has been shown to increase suicide rates is not the right course of action, and the best response will be discussed later in this paper. But first, there is one more angle from which transgenderism can be viewed, and while the arguments from this angle of political legitimacy are different than the previous arguments, they still come to the same conclusion.
The political problem that arises from something such as transgenderism is that it creates a very slippery slope of making any reality relative. Stella Morabito of The Federalist lays this argument out clearly, saying,
Facebook offers a rainbow selection of more than 50 genders to choose from when you sign up. So why doesn't Facebook let us select our date of birth as well? After all, both our sex and our age are "assigned" to us at birth. If you perceive yourself as younger or older than the "official" calendar says you are, you face discrimination by the state, by employers, by schools, and the whole array of ageist organizations and clubs and restaurants, etc., that provide you only one option when it comes to age or date of birth. And they stick you with it for life.
While Morabito does not desire to change her age by using the momentum of transgenderism to push the boundaries of self-identification, there are people in the world who do attempt to do so. The logic to the argument is there, and it is hard to argue against a statement that if one thing about you is relative and can be decided later in life, then other things should also be relative. And people have attempted to make this argument to government authorities already. A Dutch man named Emile Ratelband has formally started a legal attempt to change his age. Time.com describes the situation, saying, "Emile Ratelband, who was born March 11, 1949, told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf he wants to legally move his birthday to March 11, 1969 because he identifies as a much younger man." They also quote Ratelband who said, "It is really a question of free will," and also, "We live in a time when you can change your name and change your gender. Why can't I decide my own age?" He is making an appeal to the same idea that Stella Morabito was using. But logically and politically, this slippery slope just does not make sense. It does not make sense for people to be allowed to identify as any age or race they want to, though they might try, so it also does not make sense for gender to be something which can be changed as just a matter of "identity." If gender is made relative, then attributes such as age and race will likely soon follow, and they will not be the only ones. And after a short time, society will truly be lost in an endless sea of relativity with no truth grounding it to anything at all. Christians have a duty to stand against this. As believers in the truth which has been gifted from God, we are to oppose movements that try to remove any sense of absolute truth from people's minds. But the way we must go about this is by first aligning our arguments and actions with the Word of God, and then always showing the love of Christ to those whom we come in contact with, even if that interaction is one of opposition.
Loving Without Approving
Endless pages can be written on arguments for and against any movement, but in the end arguments and logic must be practically applied to life in order for effective change to come about. We as Christians can spend all of our time learning about different issues and knowing what the Bible says about them, but we must also know what we are going to do based on the biblical truth that we hold as ultimate truth. With this in mind, all of the arguments and research and scripture used to argue against transgenderism can be condensed into three practical applications for Christians. The first is that Christians must show the unconditional love of Jesus Christ to everyone, but at the same time we must be firm and clear about our biblically based disapproval of transgenderism. The second is that Naperville Christians Academy, because of the culture it aims to maintain, must not allow transgender students to attend because of the double standard it would set and the dangerous learning environment it would put students in. And finally, Christians as individuals and NCA as an institution must never compromise beliefs about transgenderism or any other matter of morality in any circumstance, even in the face of serious worldly consequences.
Throughout the gospels in the Bible, Jesus debates many people, but he is not remembered and worshipped as a great debater. Jesus first and foremost loved people, just as we are called to love people. This call to love is seen all over the Bible, but it is seen most clearly in Matthew 22:39, which says, "And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Jesus says this is one of the two greatest commandments that Christians should keep. This verse is critical to keep in mind when dealing with something like transgenderism. This "debate" of transgenderism is not really about a debate, but rather about people who are created and loved by God. Sometimes people disagree, but that does not mean that God loves either side any less than the other based on their beliefs. However, while we must always keep in mind the loving attitude we are required to have towards our neighbor, loving and approving are two very different actions when it comes to transgenderism.
When determining how to handle a situation involving a transgender individual, there are two types of situations that would require different responses from Christians. The first is if they know someone who is struggling with gender identity and is a Christian or attends their church. The second situation is a Christian knowing someone who is struggling with gender identity who is not involved with Christianity at all. The first scenario should obviously be handled differently, because the individual who is struggling with big issues in their life believes in the Bible. The first verse that a Christian should go to when put in this situation is James 5:19-20, which says, "My brothers if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins." Christians who are struggling with gender identity or other personal crises similar to transgenderism are wandering away from truth. They are lost and are searching in the wrong places to be found. There is no worldly power, no political or social movement, no doctor or gender transition surgery that can provide rest in the time of crisis that these individuals are going through. Timothy Okman Ki is the senior pastor at Hope Bible Presbyterian Church in southern Australia, and he wrote eighteen points for the members of his church on the topic of transgenderism. He covers many ideas in his points, but his fourteenth and eighteenth points highlight the ideas of brokenness and the only true solution for it. The fourteenth point says,
We must understand that the argument that says the brain is wired differently than the body does not justify a reason for sex reassignment surgery or the transgender option. Rather, it testifies to the brokenness of creation and the effects of human sin. It is an opportunity for the Christian to respond with the message of the gospel and with the recognition that every Christian is a broken individual seeking wholeness in the only place it can be found—in obedience to Scripture under the Lordship of Christ.
Here Ki argues that that confusion concerning a person's gender does not logically lead to the transgender movement, but rather it further displays the brokenness of creation and the fallen nature of mankind. Genesis 1 clearly lays out the way mankind is supposed to be, but then the fall happened. Transgenderism is not due to some personal choice to separate mind from body and choose how to identify in society, but rather it is due to the brokenness of mankind and the brokenness of these individuals. But no matter what it is caused by, we as Christians have a duty to love and help people struggling with these ideas, whether they are Christians or not, and Pastor Ki offers insight into the best way to help them in his eighteenth point.
Whether people are Christians or not, they can still struggle with the same things, and in the case of transgenderism there is only one solution to the brokenness they feel. Pastor Ki writes, "The gospel provides the only true remedy for sexual brokenness. The theological and pastoral challenges we face in the transgender revolution are indeed enormous but they are not beyond the sufficiency of Christ's cross and resurrection." Individuals who wish to become transgender are overcome by their sexual brokenness, but two critical mistakes are made. First, the mistake of the individual is seeking to find refuge from the hardships and struggles they face in things of this world. They will never be satisfied if they search for rest in things that have been guaranteed to pass away. But rather, as Ki suggests, the gospel and good news of Jesus Christ is the only true remedy for their brokenness. The second mistake is Christians forgetting the fact that God is sufficient for all circumstances in all places at all times. Ki argues in his fourteenth point that the problem of transgenderism can be utilized as an "opportunity" where Christians can help people in great need. The sinfulness of the movement is not changed by the call for Christians to love our neighbor. We must love them, but we by no means are to love their sin, which is what transgenderism is. At a very down-to-earth level, Christians must keep two things in mind when dealing with this issue. The first is that transgenderism is wrong. It is a sin and a corruption of God's good and beautiful creation of mankind in his own image seen in Genesis 1. The second is that we are called to love everyone we come into contact with, regardless of their life choices. These two ideas are of utmost importance when dealing with something like transgenderism. Neither of them can be lost in the debate because they are both equally important. We cannot love people any less in order to stand firm in our beliefs about what they are doing, but we also cannot abandon our beliefs in order to love them. We can minister to them, show them the love of Christ in a time of great need in their life, even have forceful talks with them about their sinful decisions, but we must never forget those two things, because if we do, we are not handling the issue in the most effective way. The Bible has lots of guidance for Christians as individuals, but transgenderism will not just affect people on the individual level. Someday it might come to a place like NCA, and the school must be prepared to address it biblically.
NCA is a very unique place of education in every sense of the word. This uniqueness is made very clear by the NCA mission statement, which says,
The mission of Naperville Christian Academy is to train students in the fullness of faith seeking understanding, so that God is both the source and purpose of all knowledge, and students are broadly equipped to honor and serve Him with all of their mind, heart, body, and soul.
This mission statement is very contrary to the mission of the schools surrounding NCA. NCA is not just focused on making students "smarter" by the world's standards, but rather on raising up young men and women of character who are well educated in a wide variety of subjects which will help them to live godly lives. Because of this difference in mission, NCA must also have different policies on controversial issues such as transgenderism. Since its founding in 2000, NCA has never had any interaction with transgender students or parents, currently enrolled or wishing to attend, but it is naïve to dismiss this interaction because it has not happened yet. Nova Classical did not intend to fall apart due to the attendance of a transgender student, but that reality came at them rapidly, and the same thing could happen to NCA. Because of this, NCA must be prepared, basing its decision off of the Bible as well as the mission statement which it has put forth. As has been argued throughout this paper, the Bible does not condone transgenderism in anyway. If NCA's mission is to "train students in the fullness of faith seeking understanding," the school cannot approve of something like transgenderism. But what approval looks like gets more complicated for some people. John MacIntyre, who is the president of the NCA board, said that the school most definitely is morally opposed to the transgender movement that has occurred in America. So ideologically the school is opposed to it, but a student who struggles with gender identity and who is currently at NCA or wishes to attend changes the conversation greatly.
There are two main reasons that NCA should not allow transgender students to attend: practical and ideological. The practical reasons are more black and white. If a transgender student were to attend, they would most likely demand to use the bathroom of their choice. The school cannot have a boy using the women's bathroom or a girl using the men's bathroom. Things in school and anywhere else are often split by gender such as sports teams, gym class activities, certain in-school activities, and Bible studies. All of these activities and the groups that they are commonly divided into would become exponentially more complicated if a transgender student was at NCA. Practically the school and faculty and students would constantly be trying to navigate the minefield of political correctness that surrounds transgenderism. Along with the practical problems of having a transgender student at NCA comes the ideological ones. The school cannot oppose transgenderism and also allow transgender students to attend. That would set a dangerous double standard that would be detrimental to the learning environment that the school has worked so hard to cultivate. Allowing a transgender student to attend would be condoning a lifestyle of active sin in a building filled with young students whose minds are being shaped by their learning experience. This learning experience cannot be one where the students hear one thing is wrong and then see other students living that sin as a lifestyle. On top of this danger, the Bible calls Christians to avoid conforming to the world, and the world is pushing for the acceptance of transgenderism. Within the last year, the Illinois state House of Representatives voted to pass a bill that would require public schools to teach a unit in school about the LGBT civil rights movement and the contribution of individuals in the movement. This bill is intended to benefit a worldly agenda. NCA cannot conform to this pattern of the world. Allowing a transgender student at the school would severely limit NCA from making any comment against this bill, because it would be essentially supporting the same movement. Making the statement that the school will not allow a transgender student to attend is the right thing to do, and a Christian loving a transgender person while also opposing their lifestyle is the right thing to do. But this already complicated issue gets vastly more complex when our beliefs as Christians are met with worldly opposition that could have serious ramifications.
What if NCA denied attendance to a transgender student, and then a lawsuit followed? What if a Christian stands against the transgender movement in the workplace and loses a job? Christians are almost guaranteed to be called hateful, hypocritical, self-righteous bigots for their beliefs on transgenderism or any other movement that involves sexual sin. When faced with these situations, Christians can look to the Bible, to the past, and to the present to see examples of people who overcame opposition to do what they knew was right. A beautiful example of this conviction in the Bible is Daniel. The king's advisors in the book of Daniel convinced the king to sign a law that would keep Daniel from praying to God. Daniel 6:10 shows his conviction, saying, "When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously." The law that was passed directly prohibited what Daniel knew he should do, and his first response when he hears the decree is to go pray, breaking the law and putting his life at risk. And he does not just go pray to God to keep him safe or punish the king's advisors. Daniel goes to pray to God to give him thanks just "as he had done previously." This is the mindset we as Christians should have even when we face hardship due to our beliefs and convictions. Earlier in the book of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were willing to go to the furnace if it meant not bowing down to the image of the king. Again the conviction that Christians should have is seen in these heroes of the Bible. This is the conviction we should display when it comes to a topic like transgenderism, a mindset that prepares us to go to the furnace for what we believe is right. Maybe our furnace or lions' den is not a matter of life or death, such as a lawsuit or job, but we have to be prepared to go that far to defend what we believe. The men in Daniel are great examples of this mindset, and it continues to be seen throughout history and even into the present.
It is unavoidable that Christians will make enemies who will seek to oppose their beliefs especially when their beliefs are controversial. Many people could see this as a bad thing, displaying the conflict-seeking nature of Christians. Winston Churchill once commented on this idea, saying, "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." Kevin Burgess, a pastor and Christian musician, argues for fortitude in the face of antagonism. Because his faith is very evident in his music, he has faced much opposition. One company threatened to hurt his career because of the way he was talking about God and how it was making people uncomfortable. He responded,
But what if they were to ruin my career? What if me talking about Jesus in a way that rubs against people's interests costs me? I think that the Bible would want me to say, 'Amen, halleluiah!' I will wear your threats like a crown on my head. Because threats are not an indication that something is wrong. Threats are often an indication that something is right. And I will smile telling my children that I lost it all serving Jesus who deserved it all. And God will vindicate me. What can't I lose if I am gaining Christ?
Somehow the man who lead a country through World War II believed in and argued for the same ideas as a Christians musician living in 2019. That is the beauty of this whole belief. As was argued earlier, God does not change and the truths surrounding him do not change. People in the Bible, in history, and in the present all believe in the truth that God has revealed to them so strongly that they are willing to give up everything for that truth. Daniel was willing to go to the lions' den. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were willing to be thrown into a furnace. Winston Churchill was willing to have countless enemies oppose him in a time of great conflict and trouble in the world. And even someone like Burgess is willing to give up his career to proclaim the glory of God and the truth he has revealed. All of these men were willing to go to these lengths to defend truth, and we must be also. Our views on transgenderism may make people call us hateful bigots. They may try and get us in legal trouble or negatively impact our careers or lives in retaliation to our beliefs. We really can lose the world if it means we are gaining Christ.
John 1:14 says, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." When dealing with relativism, transgenderism, and all of the other issues discussed in this paper, one thing is essential to an effective response: a Christ-like spirit of grace and truth. The influence of moral relativism in allowing each person to define their own morality provided the fertile soil where ideas like transgenderism could grow. The further impact of a lack of absolute truth led society to approve of transgenderism, thereby allowing the movement to grow. We as Christians must not think and act in this way. We must not approve of that which we know to be false. Jesus came with a spirit of grace and truth. He loved others and showed them grace, but he also defended truth no matter the consequences. We must be humble enough to approach the situation with grace, while at the same time firm enough in our beliefs to defend truth in the face of opposition. We must defend the truth God has given us while also loving those he put around us, and only by doing so can we effectively respond to the transgender movement.
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