How would you deal with someone who has had a sex-change operation

Bruce Jenner has made the whole "sex change" concept "socially acceptable."  Of course we who are faithful to the Kingdom of God would take a different view.

People are born with either XX chromosomes or XY.  That is their objective gender.  Although some people may be born with both genital sets (extremely rare), the XX or XY pattern is one or the other.  

There are people who feel more comfortable being a gender other than the one into which they were born.  Reasons may vary, but I think most of us would insist the right thing to do is to learn to cope with and accept ones gender.  We should obviously seek to discourage any such operations or changes.  That is assumed, although if I have assumed correctly, you may comment to the contrary.

With Jenner's example, the culture's floodgates are now wide open.  It is ironic that the people who say, "Science, science, science" are silent when it comes to the real objectivity of genetics.  Chromosomes are objective.

So, how will we deal with people who have had sex operations and then get saved? Or who fell away from the Lord, had operations, and then later repented?  Is a male now female because he has altered genitals and artificial breasts?  How do you treat them?  Which rest room should they use?

Interestingly, some schools are now adding "family" (private single) rest rooms -- I think specifically for the kids of one gender who believe they are "internally" of another.  Will churches need to do the same?

A lot of this is not relevant right now. So the question assumes this problem will become more common and that some people in this category will get saved.

Being experienced with SI, I know some of you cannot lay off the phrase, "It depends."  So let's assume this situation.  Twyla, whose former name was Trevor,  is 40 years old.  This person has come forward and wants to give his/her life to Jesus and  has no spouse.  Now that Twyla/Trevor believes, what should this person do to follow Jesus?  Should this individual be treated with the advice of Paul in other (very different) situations (I Corinthians 7:20, ESV)?

 Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called.

What are your thoughts?  You might share comments about different situations and scenarios (e.g., what if there was a spouse involved, or step-children).

These are things we need to think through.

 

 

We should treat transgenders in our church as a third category, albeit one outside of God's will
0% (0 votes)
We should immediately treat people in our church solely on the basis of their chromosomes
14% (2 votes)
We should acclimate new converts into reaffirming their original gender, perhaps with some time for transition
50% (7 votes)
We should encourage converts to embrace their new assumed gender because it is too late now
0% (0 votes)
Other
36% (5 votes)
Total votes: 14
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There are 7 Comments

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I don't think there is any one-size-fits-all ministry response... other than that a Christian congregation should assume everyone who walks in the door is a sinner in need of grace and the love of the Savior--and that a huge part of how this love comes to us is by providing what Paul repeatedly called "sound teaching."

Even in the hypothetical example... a good bit of time and counsel would be required to figure out how to make this individual fully at home in their local church. If I were in that situation I would seek the advice both of wise biblical counselors and medical professionals.

Jim's picture

I only know 1 transgendered  person (at work). I am on diversity committee with she/he. But we typically "meet" over the telephone on a large conference call. 

My wife also knows the she/he. 

I suppose if I would be in an gospel-presentation context I would present the gospel like I would to anyone else. 

Ed Vasicek's picture

Jim, Aaron, let me clarify a few things.

Jim, the question is not about how to present the Gospel. The question is how to counsel someone like this once they have responded to the Gospel and been saved.  What path do we put them on?

We can be sure the number of transgenders will rise.  School teachers will tell you that there are now youth in grade school that are wondering if they might be happier as the other gender. It did  not used to be as common as it now is.  This Bruce Jenner thing will start a fad, IMO.

Aaron, asking others at the time begs the question.  The reason for the poll is to see what thinking we already have out there so that when the need arises, we are not taken by storm.  Helping one another to think these things through is much of what being "sharper iron" is all about.

Those of you answering "other," please comment: what might that "other" be?  Please use the example situation in the introductory post, because it is reasonable to assume every situation could be different.

Thanks!

 

 

"The Midrash Detective"

Jim's picture

In the midst of this cultural revolution - so many questions:

  • Consider the case of a married gay couple with adopted children:

    • One gets saved? Now what?
    • Advise to divorce? If so what about the children (what's best for them?)
    • Advise celibacy (in the sense of 'abstention from sexual intercourse'? I think this would be my advice. 
    • But how does that work out if the couple still is legally married?
  • The transgendered who has followed though with hormone therapy and surgery:
    • Advise to reverse? Possible?
    • They have mutilated self once: Again?
  • Will the church need a separate class of communicant who is not fully incorporated into the life of the church? Seems that this idea is foreign to Paul's teaching but Paul had no sense of this cultural revolution. 

 

pvawter's picture

While I agree with Aaron that every situation is unique and will require discernment to set a course of action, we must call sinners to repentance. This means that we do not tell the newly saved adulterer to take some time to acclimate to a life of faithful monogamy, we urge him to obey the Lord at once.
Assuming that the individual is truly repentant, then we ought to be able to counsel them to embrace the way God made them and live accordingly. Like any other new believer, we may allow time for growth, but there must be a desire for biblical change.

Ed Vasicek's picture

Jim wrote:

In the midst of this cultural revolution - so many questions:

  • Consider the case of a married gay couple with adopted children:

     

    • One gets saved? Now what?
    • Advise to divorce? If so what about the children (what's best for them?)
    • Advise celibacy (in the sense of 'abstention from sexual intercourse'? I think this would be my advice. 
    • But how does that work out if the couple still is legally married?
  • The transgendered who has followed though with hormone therapy and surgery:
    • Advise to reverse? Possible?
    • They have mutilated self once: Again?
  • Will the church need a separate class of communicant who is not fully incorporated into the life of the church? Seems that this idea is foreign to Paul's teaching but Paul had no sense of this cultural revolution. 

 

Jim, you have presented some interesting scenarios. I would take it, from the lack of comments, that many SI participants are not ready to offer much direction.  We need to develop a consensus or at least suggested approaches.  As you mentioned, I don't think Paul really had to quite deal with this one!

 

"The Midrash Detective"

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Jim wrote:

In the midst of this cultural revolution - so many questions:

  • Consider the case of a married gay couple with adopted children:

     

    • One gets saved? Now what?
    • Advise to divorce? If so what about the children (what's best for them?)
    • Advise celibacy (in the sense of 'abstention from sexual intercourse'? I think this would be my advice. 
    • But how does that work out if the couple still is legally married?
  • The transgendered who has followed though with hormone therapy and surgery:
    • Advise to reverse? Possible?
    • They have mutilated self once: Again?
  • Will the church need a separate class of communicant who is not fully incorporated into the life of the church? Seems that this idea is foreign to Paul's teaching but Paul had no sense of this cultural revolution. 

In my mind the second scenario would be somewhat analogous to a couple who have both been divorced and remarried getting saved. Even if both divorces could be considered sinful and neither of the abandoned partners had died or remarried, we would not counsel the newly saved couple to "make things right" by divorcing each other and trying to return to their first spouses. We would deal with them where they are. I would not counsel the transgendered person who had undergone sex-change surgery that they have to try to undo everything. However, no amount of therapy or surgery actually changes gender, only appearance. Therefore I would counsel ceasing the hormone therapy and the public facade. A man who wanted to become a woman should return to his male dress and behavior since that is what his DNA has been all along.

The married gay couple is truly a sad mess. The question I always ask myself is which parts are the ongoing results of past sin (as with the divorced and remarried couple) and which parts are an ongoing sinful activity. In this case, I would say "yes" they would need to divorce since there is no permutation of gay marriage that is ever acceptable before God. If they have adopted children as a couple, those adoption rights would be retained even after a divorce just as with straight couples. I don't think either one should have to give up parental rights necessarily, but wow, I really don't know where to go from there.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?