A few days ago we received an e-mail. One of our readers wanted to know how to treat transgender people in a church context. Here is a part of their e-mail:
I am mentoring a young transman who came to church initially as a female, and left when he was not getting the affirmation he needed as a male. He is now denying any kind of faith interest at all. I find this situation incredibly sad. He needs all the support he can get as he faces this major life change. We and a trusted Christian counselor are trying to come to an agreement on what is the appropriate way to work these issues through. We want to keep our faith genuine and real and be a light in the darkness. Maybe your ministry can help?
If we want to talk about transgenderism and the bible we first have to agree on two things:
1. We admit that the Hebrew texts of the bible meant something different to Jewish readers thousands of years ago than the English text without the same cultural reference means to us today in 2016. Or in other words: “Scripture cannot mean now what it did not mean then.” (Rick Brentlinger, *1950, Independent Baptist preacher)
2. We must refrain from reading topics, word meanings, contexts and connotations into the bible that were not given when the texts were originally written down. Or again in other words: “Scripture only settles matters about which it speaks plainly.” (Richard Hooker, 1554-1600, Anglican theologian)
With these two aspects in mind, let’s look at what the bible says about transgender people.