Christ’s Compassion in the Transgender Conversation



What does Jesus teach us about sex and gender, and how can we apply that to the complex and controversial topic of transgenderism?

With open hearts and minds, we turn to Scripture and the historic teachings of the church to understand how to respond as Christians.

Join us as we examine the original plan for creation in Genesis 1 and 2, and explore Jesus’s teachings in Matthew 19 to navigate this important conversation.

We also contemplate the hope found in the Incarnation, discussing the implications of God becoming flesh.

Jesus’s care for the physical bodies of men and women illustrates his love and compassion, ultimately leading him to the cross for our sake. His death and resurrection offer hope for those who have a transgender experience or have irreversibly altered their body.

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Learn how we can walk alongside those in that space with grace, understanding, and a compassionate heart.

Ready? Let’s dive in!

What We Discuss:

  • 2:16 – The pharisees that tried to trap Jesus.
  • 4:33 – Transgenderism and God’s will.
  • 6:46 – God’s original design for our sexuality.
  • 8:01 – What is a sex change operation?
  • 9:21 – How we think about compassion in our culture.
  • 10:49 – Why is the body so important to Christians?
  • 12:49 – He literally became flesh for our sake.
Transcription: Christ’s Compassion in the Transgender Conversation

Josh: Hey friends. So today I want to dive into a topic that might be a little bit more controversial but hopefully meaningful to you And if you don’t find yourself identifying right away with, like, yep, that’s a topic, it’s important to me. I want to encourage you to hang on, because it really is, if not already in your life, it is coming down the pike. We’re talking about transgenderism. That experiences some people have, where they feel like they’re in the wrong body, they’re in the wrong sex. They feel like a guy trapped in a girl’s body, a girl trapped in a guy’s body, and they just want to get free, to get out. And I want to talk about this, hopefully with the heart of Jesus. So, lord, set a fire in my heart to speak like you. But, with that said, i want to encourage you back to Scripture, back to the historic teachings of the Christian church. I’ll take my word for it. Be like the noble Bereans in the book of Acts who went back and searched out what the truth was.

Josh: Transgenderism is a big topic. It’s a hot topic. It’s a controversial topic within church communities, certainly with our Western culture in general. Within church communities, within families, within neighborhoods, within even an individual themselves, where they experience conflicting desires, what they want to do about this, or how they should respond to a loved one with this, whether it’s their personal struggle, or someone in their family, or someone they know from school or wherever else. So how are we to respond as Christians? And if you yourself wrestle with transgender feelings, feeling like you’re in the wrong body, you’re in the wrong sex, how are you supposed to respond? I don’t have all the answers. I certainly don’t, but I want to offer some perspective that I hope will be helpful, because what I feel like sometimes is that as a Christian culture, as a Christian specifically, that we are on the precipice here, and there used to be a lot of guardrails preserving people in our communities, even in our Christian communities, and our families from just kind of going over the edge when it came to the way they were understanding who they are and what it means to be male or female or what it means to be a sexed person, and a lot of those guardrails have been removed for various reasons And well-meaning Christians who want to love like Jesus are going over the edge and who are declaring as love behaviors and approval that really are not loving in the end.

Josh: They may have good hearts. They may be people of good will, but they’re making decisions, giving thumbs up about things that are really actually destructive and harmful to people. So I want to start by looking at Matthew 19. In Matthew 19, there’s a group of Pharisees that come to Jesus and they say hey, we got a question for you, and it wasn’t an authentic question. They didn’t really want to know. They were trying to trap Jesus, which is important.

Josh: Gregory of Nazion I’m not sure if I pronounced that correctly, but he lived in the 4th century AD and he actually, in one of his theological orations, talked about how there are people who are not really looking for the truth. Their hearts are really not right. They don’t desire to find out what God truly desires, but rather they are just in it for the argument, just in it for the fight, just in it for the spectacle, just in it for the likes. If we could translate that to today’s language just in it to garner an audience, to look good. He says those people really don’t have any business in the realm of philosophy or theology, because in order to move into the realm of theology and to understand it, speak it, teach it. Especially, to teach it, we need to have hearts before the Lord that really want the desire to desire what God wants and are humbled before him. And it’s a check and balance for me I’m not sure I’m always perfect in that The desire to be liked is certainly a strong pull, so I confess that.

Speaker 1: So these Pharisees came in, their hearts weren’t right. They didn’t really want to know what Jesus had in, so they wanted to trap him and they asked him basically why is it that Moses allowed us to divorce our wives? What do you say about that? And Jesus said well, it was the hardness of your hearts that Moses permitted that. And then he said these important words. He said but in the beginning it was not so. In the beginning it was not so, which I think is an important thing for us to be thinking about as we’re trying to answer questions today about the way people are viewing sexual morality. So let’s come back to the topic of transgenderism As a person’s wrestling with their inner self, their sense of themselves and where they fit along the masculine feminine spectrum and how they should identify themselves.

Josh: I think an important question is, as we’re trying to understand, what God’s will is, what God’s heart is towards men and women who are wrestling in this way. I think we need to go back to the beginning. What was it in the beginning? What was God’s idea in the beginning? What was his ideal in the beginning? What was his blueprint in the beginning? And Jesus points back to Genesis one and two, which is interesting, right, because there are a lot of us Christians today who are mature and scientifically whatever and who would say I’m not sure, i really believe that Genesis one and two is fact, matter of fact. How does Genesis one and Genesis two fit together? They seem to be different narratives. Not gonna get into that in this podcast, but I will say this that they’re important enough to Jesus that he points to them and says this is a reference point. You can put a stake in the ground and understand yourself, understand God’s will, by looking at Genesis one and Genesis two.

Josh: Genesis one God creates human beings in his image and there’s only one characteristic, one characteristic about this creature that he’s made in his image and likeness. Only one. What’s the characteristic? Male and female. He created them. Male and female, he created them. There’s something about our maleness and our femaleness being made male and female that images God on the earth in a way that is unique among all creatures. There is as much as other pieces of creation. Image God, the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, the sea. We can identify there is a God. There is a God by looking at all these things. But there is something about male and female that image God in a unique way in all of creation and not just tell us that there is a God but tell us something about what that God is like and what he is like relationally to us. Then in Genesis two, we read the end of Genesis two, that when God created male and female and that for this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be united with his wife and the two shall become one flesh. God’s original design for our sexuality, for our male, female sexual expression, is marriage between one man and one woman for life.

Josh: Now, what is this? may sound like I’m talking about gay marriage and yes, it has implications for marriage, for how we understand ourselves. Christian anthropology certainly has implications for marriage and divorce. This is what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 19,. And also has implications for us when we’re thinking about transgenderism. How do we reply? respond to a culture, to friends, to loved ones, to schoolmates, to workmates, to political pressure, even within our own selves. How do I understand who I am if I feel at a disconnect there? I’d say that Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 were reference points for Jesus and they ought to be reference points for us.

Josh: Now, looking outside of Scripture, we can also look and say scientifically our biology is pretty unique. Look right down to the level of our DNA, outside of a very, very small percentage of people who are born with chromosomal problems. Every cell in our body has chromosomes of either male or female. So even as we’re looking at men and women who have a quote unquote sex change operation, sex change operation doesn’t actually change someone’s biological sex. it just is a cosmetic operation that changes how they look.

Josh: But there is really no way to make a male a female. It can’t be done. Science has not created any way for a male his genitals, which Christa West points out. They’re called genitals because they are the way that a male generates, just like a female’s genitals. Genitalia is how she generates life. There is no way to transfer that from one sex to the other. So there’s no way for a woman who has a quote unquote sex change operation to produce sperm to be able to generate, as a male does. Vice versa, a male who has his penis amputated and has his genitalia cosmetically structured to look more like a female’s genitalia can never produce an egg to generate new life in that way. There is really truly no such thing as a sex change operation, just a cosmetic surgery to make someone appear more like the other sex.

Josh: And I think that has implications for us when we think about compassion, when we think about how we’re going to respond to this in our culture, how we want to respond to it in ourselves. Take that where you will, but to me it certainly speaks on a level to say I recognize that there are people who truly experience that they’re in the wrong body, that they belong to the opposite sex And yet their body is significant enough and important enough to who they are that I would strongly urge, argue, that it might behoove them to spend careful time and to get help to address some of those inner feelings that suggest that they’re in the wrong body before they radically and irreversibly change their body. And for those who have, i have great compassion. And there is an increasing number of people who are going through what’s called detransitioning, who have had a quote, unquote sex change operation have transitioned from quote unquote male to female Again, they didn’t really become female or who have transitioned from female to quote unquote male, although they didn’t really become male. Who are now deciding this? Actually, this was a bad decision and they’re seeking to detransition. Google, if you haven’t, google the detransition or detransitioners and watch and listen to some of the testimonies of people there. They’re very sad.

Josh: Now, as a Christian, why is the body so important? Why would I say the body is so important? Why not just change my body If I don’t feel comfortable? why not look like a woman? If I don’t feel comfortable as a woman, why not look like a man? Why not have that kind of surgery?
Josh: If you’re not convinced already yet, i’d say again as Christians we hold there is a Christian anthropology that has held for almost 2000 years. That has held that God created human beings not just as a spirit encased in some kind of flesh, kind of an amorphous flesh that is clay that we can do what we want with, but rather that to be a human being is to be simultaneously spirit and body, not one or the other, not more one than the other, but simultaneously spirit and body. That who you are is an embodied spirit, we might put it that way And so your body actually expresses something of your spirit, and I think we know this even on a kind of a visceral emotional level. There are times where somebody walks in and you can just tell by their body that something is hurting in their spirit, and vice versa, you can tell in someone’s face sometimes when something good is happening in their spirit. How come? Because we are embodied spirits. There is a connection between our outsides and our insides. They both need tending to. We live in a fallen world where there’s lots of confusion in our bodies, there’s lots of confusion in our spirits, and they both need the salvation, the salvific work of Jesus. They both need the tender, loving care of Jesus and of brothers and sisters and the Lord. And I think we also cannot, as Christians. We cannot overlook the reality that our bodies are so important to God, they are so central to his heart for us that he became embodied for us.

Josh: God, who is spirit, became embodied. He took on flesh, and that doesn’t mean that he was wearing a flesh costume. He literally became flesh. And for the first two 300 years of Christianity, the Christian fathers, the church fathers and mothers were wrestling with. What does this mean about God? What does this mean about us And so many of the creeds? the apostles’ creed for sure, the Athanasian creed for sure, were designed. The Nicene creed for sure, were designed because we were wrestling with. What does it mean? Who was Jesus? Was he really God? And universally, i mean across the board, the Christian church agreed yes, yes, yes, jesus was fully God and fully human. How The creeds do not say They didn’t say That’s a mystery. That’s beyond us, that’s way above our pay grade. But he was both.

Josh: So Jesus became in flesh for our sake And as he walked the earth, you can see his care for human bodies, male and female, both in how he treated men and how he treated women, in how he healed men, how he healed women, how he raised bodies from the dead. He didn’t just say you know, go in peace. You know I love your spirit, you’re great. He healed people’s bodies. As people were suffering physically with blindness, or they were crippled, or they couldn’t hear, or they were deeply sick, he didn’t say well, you know, at least your spirit’s okay, you know, thumbs up. He healed their bodies because he cared for their bodies And then, ultimately, he went to the cross for them And I brought this if you’re watching this as a video on YouTube, i brought this crucifix, which I leave it hangs over my desk at my work, as a reminder of this.

Josh: Now, this is just a depiction, but Jesus literally went bodily to the cross. He died in the flesh for the life of your flesh. He was wounded in the flesh for the health of your flesh And then, on the third day, he rose from the dead in the flesh, bodily rose for the life, the wellbeing, the eternal life of your flesh. And the Christian church has taught since the beginning that we are raised, not just spirits. We won’t be angels when we die. We don’t change from humans to angels, those that’s a different species. We are raised as human beings, spirit and body. And that means that, no, we won’t be sexual in heaven, but we will be raised. I believe, male and female, there’s something down to the core of who we are, as male and female, that images God on the earth.

Josh: Now, there’s also hope in this, because if Jesus Christ came in the flesh, died in the flesh and rose in the flesh for our bodies, then it also means that those who experience, who have a transgender experience, who feel themselves to be in the wrong body that there is hope for reconciliation, for integration, for reintegration between their inner sense of themselves and their physical bodies. Jesus can bring healing there, and it may take work and time and it may take suffering, but can we walk with men and women who are in that space? And it also means for men and women who have begun transitioning or who have transitioned and who have had their physical body altered to appear like the other gender, that there is nonetheless hope there, because even death, physical, bodily death, has hope because of the death and resurrection of Jesus. And so, certainly, just as there is hope for the person who’s had an amputated arm or who has lost their sight, there is hope for a person who’s irreversibly altered their body to be restored. And who knows, maybe the Lord will begin doing miracles even among the transgender community and bringing back the fullness of who he’s made them to be, as male or female, brothers and sisters.

Josh: I know I don’t have all the answers here. I do wanna just express that, if this is a struggle for you personally, you have our compassion, you have our hearts and I don’t share any of this with a heart of condemnation, but a heart of love, a heart that desires the best for you, and I hope that’s come across, and if it hasn’t, then I ask for your grace, because that’s certainly been my intention. Lord, would you meet us, each one of us, as we wrestle with these topics, as we seek to be to bring both grace and truth to a culture that has gotten so confused, both in our thinking and certainly for some of us, lord, in our experiences and our feeling. I don’t know what it means to be male and female, made in your image. Lord, raise us up. We pray in the name of the Father, son and Holy Spirit. Thanks for listening.

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