In April, 2017, the members of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist Executive Committee voted to accept a “Statement on Transgenderism.”1 Reactions reported from the floor as well as published responses underscore the controversial and personal nature of the subject. 2 When we talk about transgenderism we are talking about people. When a face (person) is attached to the word “transgender,” it abruptly becomes something very personal, undeniably real, and extremely complex. The intensely personal realities of human internal crisis are highlighted in the rise of transgender issues to social and medical prominence in our changing culture.3 It can be seen in both professional and popular discussion. The personal quest for wholeness has no easy answers. While statements are limited and well-crafted words can unwittingly define,4 the Adventist community has every right to reference its discussion of transgenderism from the perspective of Scripture. But the question remains, how does it do so in relation to compelling insights from the body of medical science—especially when the information, discussion and beliefs about gender are rapidly shifting? How does it do so compassionately in relation to the oft pained existential journey of individual transgender people? How do we understand and balance the intersect between the biblical ideal, the reality of the Fall, the body of medical and genome research, the transgender person’s unique crisis experience and longings, and the redeeming grace, purpose, and power of God? How do we understand the tensions which these varied perspectives create in a way that orients us toward God together with the principles and values of His Word; and at the same time avoid a secular paradigm or judgmental attitude? How do we maintain a biblically informed worldview which includes both God’s ideal and grace on the one hand, and our fallen human experience on the other? This article does not profess to comprehensively answer these questions. Rather, it offers reflections on select New Testament passages with the hope of deepening our understanding ofrelevant biblical principles and values. Our purpose is to enlarge on the terse explanations reflected in the biblical references cited in the Church’s “Statement on Transgenderism.” While doing so, we will not attempt to explain or define transgenderism. Nor will we step too deeply into the contemporary “gender” and “sexuality” debate, except by way of contrast with the view of human nature which Scripture unfolds. The body of current professional and popular literature is easily attainable to orient the interested reader. Before engaging NT passages however, we will first ask how they might speak to our concerns. At the same time, we will orient our thinking against the contrasting philosophical backdrop of contemporary transgender theory.
Lichtenwalter, Larry L.
"Gender, Anthropology, and Sexuality in New Testament Perspective: Implications for Transgenderism,"
Journal of the Adventist Theological Society: Vol. 29:
1, Article 10.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/jats/vol29/iss1/10
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