Christ, The Bible, & Transgender Issues

There are a lot of opinions freely available on transgender issues. For instance, as of 9/19/18, Google yielded 168 million results for transgender. And that number more than doubled within 1 month.

So, you may be happy to hear that I’m not going to add my opinion to that list.

Instead, I want us to pursue the only opinion that matters: Christ’s opinion.

It is His word that judges our thoughts and intents (Heb. 4:12). It is His word that we must stand before when we pass on from this life (Rev. 19:15). Not pastors, not professors. Jesus alone*.

*note that all Scripture = Jesus’ words (not just the “red letter” portions).

What does Jesus think about transgender issues?

  1. Jesus esteems the transgender person (and all people) higher than anyone else does.

    • He created male and female uniquely in His image (Gen. 1:27), and thus sees inherent dignity within all humans.
    • Further, while we all rebelled against Him in incalculable ways, He loved us enough to die for us (Rom. 5:8). He paid the high cost of shedding His blood, satisfying God’s wrath, and offering forgiveness and redemption for the transgender person (and all people). You can search the world and never find a love like this.
  2. Jesus is displeased with transgenderism.

    • First, let me say that transgenderism is not a sin I struggle with. Sadly, I do struggle with my own share of sins, and thus can write this as a fellow sinner and sin-struggler. But there is part of me that feels bad to offer this teaching without truly empathizing. However, I have been thankful that people have loved me enough to patiently teach what God has to say concerning my own sins as well as the hope that Christ can offer. I pray I can do the same here.
    • Routinely we see that, “God made them male and female,” (Gen. 1:27; 5:2; Mark 10:6).
      • And this isn’t just the first 2 humans.
      • David says, “You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made,” (Psalm 139:13-14a). And, “Your works are wonderful,” (Psalm 139:14b).
      • There is a clear and intimate process of creation for each individual.
        • God makes all of us, “male and female.”
      • Thus, to claim your gender/identity contradicts your biology offends your Creator who intentionally purposed and made you male or female. Along these lines, He says…
          • A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God.

            Deut. 22:5, ESV
    • Further, it seems to me that a large topic related to transgenderism is the weight we should give to feelings/desires. In brief, the Bible clearly acknowledges the real struggle of personal feelings, yet still places God’s law/command higher than our personal feelings. See, for instance, Deut. 21:15-17 where a man is told that regardless of how much love he feels toward someone else, he must not violate God’s law and intent (note that God permitted, but did not desire, multiple wives in the Old Testament – compare Matt. 19:8-9).
  3. Jesus offers the transgender person hope.

    • Finally, Jesus does not come to bring bad news to the transgender person, but good news. The truth is, we have all sinned in unthinkable ways. Yet, Christ shows His goodness in:
      1. Telling us where our behavior is destructive and leads to death/judgment (e.g. James 5:20).
      2. Taking our penalty for sin (1 Cor. 15:3).
      3. Offering reconciliation to God through repentance and faith in Jesus’ death/resurrection for our sins (Romans 5:9-11).
    • See TranZformed (documentary) for 15 firsthand testimonies of the hope in Jesus found by many transgender individuals.
  4. Jesus commands Christians to reach out to the marginalized (including transgender people) while speaking the truth in love.

    • In John 5:1-17 and 7:53-8:11, for instance, Jesus:
      1. enters the situation of sinful, marginalized people (a sick man and an adulterous woman)
      2. offers mercy, forgiveness, hope, and healing to them
      3. tells them to stop sinning–not lessening the seriousness of their sin (cf. John 5:14; 8:11)
    • Also, Paul writes: “Being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us,” (1 Thes. 2:8). Thus, Paul shares more than words. He also gave of his very life to those he ministered to.
    • And these examples are not for Jesus and Paul alone. No. Jesus commands us to follow His commands and imitate His ways (see Matt. 28:18-20). And Paul, likewise, says, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ,” (1 Cor. 11:1). Thus, we are called to follow these examples.
      • But do not miss this: when we go in obedience to Christ, to follow His example, we go with his Holy Spirit to overcome our deficiencies (see Matt. 28:20). Did you catch that? You are not walking alone in being Jesus’ hands, feet, and mouth to lovingly minister to the transgender person (or anyone else)! We have God’s Spirit with us.

I sincerely hope and pray we hear what Christ is saying on this issue. I humbly submit this, hoping others would love me enough to point out if I may have missed the mark here as well.

Brian

The New Testament Church: A Blank Slate

OK. You only get a Bible. Don’t look elsewhere (as hard as it may be). Now imagine there is a completely blank slate. You have a people group with 0 Christians. Using only the Bible, how would that people group be reached, start a church, and grow that church?

For now, let’s just focus on the methods used in the N.T. to do this. I know that’s dangerous (truly) – because outside of a work of the Holy Spirit nothing can happen. I hope we see that. But I also think the Holy Spirit wrote down various principles and methods in the Scripture for a reason. And, as Derek Prince said, “You can’t get New Testament results without New Testament methods.”

So…what would New Testament methods look like in starting this church from start to finish?

Here’s my answer, as best I can tell. I’m counting on you (any of you) to help point out where I might be erring:

N.T. Church Model: Blank Slate

 

-Brian

Resurrection Harmonization

Some of you may know I’ve been working on a color-coded chronological harmonization of all four gospels for the past 5 or so years. I’m happy to say that it’s almost complete (details coming soon).

As a teaser, here is the “Harmonizing the Resurrection” Appendix.


The list of resurrection events (in sequence):

  1. Weekly Sabbath
  2. Women buy and prepare anointing spices
  3. Women go to Jesus’ tomb
  4. Angel moves stone and frightens guard away
  5. Women arrive to tomb, see stone removed
  6. Mary Magdalene notifies John and Peter
  7. Mary Magdalene, Peter, and John return to tomb
  8. Peter and John leave after finding tomb empty
  9. Mary Magdalene discovers angels in tomb; departs to consult “gardener”
  10. Other women talk with angels
  11. Mary Magdalene realizes the “gardener” is Jesus
  12. Other women join Mary Magdalene and Jesus
  13. Women leave to tell disciples
  14. Guard conspires with Jewish leaders
  15. Disciples doubt women’s report
  16. 2 to Emmaus encounter Jesus
  17. Peter encounters Jesus
  18. Group of disciples (minus Thomas) encounter Jesus
  19. Group of disciples (including Thomas) encounter Jesus
  20. Disciples journey back to Galilee
  21. 7 apostles encounter Jesus while fishing in Galilee
  22. Jesus appears to 500+ people at Galilean mountain
  23. Jesus appears to James (His brother)
  24. Disciples return to Jerusalem (for Pentecost)
  25. Jesus meets with disciples
  26. Jesus ascends to heaven 40 days after resurrection