God and the Transgender Debate: What Does the Bible Actually Say About Gender Identity
By Andrew T. Walker
My brother came out to me in the summer of 2011. Five years later, during the summer of 2016, he told me he was planning to focus his profession from actor/stand-up comedian to comedian drag queen/podcast host. This was around the same time that 1) he became sober (after years of battling alcohol addiction), 2) there was an upcoming presidential election, and 3) the topic of transgenderism, specifically, the transgender bathroom debate, entered the mainstream media conversation.
As any good sister and professing follower of Christ would, I immediately took interest in learning more about transgenderism even though my brother assured me he was a gay man and not a woman trapped inside a man’s body.* My brother has always been a creative personality so combining his acting, performing, comedic personality and artistic design skills into a drag queen persona made perfect sense to him. As it turned out, it made sense to Hollywood as well because [by the world’s standards] my brother has made a name for himself and is quite successful.
I give that backstory because I have a personal connection to and a big heart for the LBGTQ+ community. I have sought out numerous resources, asked questions, sought counsel and more, over the last decade. Up until now, my go-to book for the biblical perspective on transgenderism was Love Thy Body by Nancy Pearcey. (I still endorse this book for biblical wisdom on all cultural issues and controversies that are “body” related. Click here for my full review of Love Thy Body.)
But if you desire to dig a bit deeper into understanding transgenderism and gender identity, like all the way down to the root of the issue, then I highly recommend you read God and the Transgender Debate: What Does the Bible Actually Say About Gender Identity by Andrew T. Walker.
But first, why is there a debate?
Understanding transgenderism and gender identity begins with acknowledging God’s original design for sex and gender. In the beginning, God created man and woman in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-28). Men and women were made to be equal, but different. The two genders are essential for the existence of humanity and are designed with great purpose and clear intention. Walker illustrates this beautifully in comparing God’s design to the blueprint of an aircraft and uses an entire chapter to cover this subject in further detail.
Additionally, Walker reminds his readers that God is the Creator and humans are His creation. Creatures cannot be recreated by will, force or surgical act, even though humans may try to rewire what has been hardwired.Attempting to do so will never produce complete function but rather, malfunction. (Many studies have been conducted that support this conclusion.) When humans reject God’s original creation, they rebel against the natural order of what was intended for humanity’s good and God’s glory.
Alas, Genesis 3 happened, sin infiltrated the world and many things in life no longer make any sense. Hence, the issue of gender dysphoria.
One of the biggest faults of modern-day society, in my opinion, is the stereotyping of gender traits, preferences, interests and personalities. This idea was first introduced to me in Love Thy Body and I am grateful it was also addressed in God and the Transgender Debate.
Meaning, if you are a boy then you must love the color blue and if you are a girl then you must prefer the color pink. No, no, no! God never assigned blue to boys and pink to girls, nor did He say boys have to enjoy sports while girls have to participate in homemaking.
We cannot forget that humans were made in God’s image and likeness – God enjoys all elements of His creation because, hello, He created it! All of it! Boys can certainly enjoy art, dressing up, and yes, even playing with dolls or playing house, and guess what? That does not mean they are gay or are a girl trapped in a boy’s body. Perhaps what should be considered instead is that the boy who prefers these things may be sensitive, creative, nurturing or artistic which could lead to his greater purpose as a teacher, pediatric health professional, caregiver or other. There is so much more truth to unpack in that consideration, but it is just another example of the valuable elements found in this book.
Gosh, there are so many powerful truths throughout God and the Transgender Debate! Seriously, I feel like I could talk about this book all day. (Don’t worry, I won’t 😉 )
To highlight a few more takeaways, here are some questions that are asked and answered in this book. The responses will equip you to love God and love all of His people:
- How did culture get here? (Using relativism, post-christendom, radical individualism, the sexual revolution, and gnosticism as support)
- What does it mean to love those who identify as transgender?
- What does Jesus say to those who experience gender dysphoria or who identify as transgender?
- How does Jesus challenge local churches to show compassion to all people who enter the church community?
- How do parents speak to their children about gender identity?
Additionally, I found myself exploring many of the resources referenced throughout this book. There are some really insight articles as well as videos for further consideration and commentary. Likewise, Walker dedicates an entire chapter to some common Q&As, however, the questions are more exploratory introductions to much deeper discussions and the author prefaces that. I also received a lot of value in Walker’s appendix where he includes a dictionary of familiar language and terminology associated with transgenderism and gender identity.
Moreover, I appreciated the construction of this book, the theme of each chapter, and all of the information covered. I especially enjoyed the author’s perspective, vulnerability, and capability to speak the truth in love. I believe God and the Transgender Debate is a must-read for ANYONE who claims to follow Jesus Christ. There is so much wisdom to be gained for each person who reads this book, regardless if you experience gender dysphoria or not.
Another note: God and the Transgender Debate was released in 2017. I purchased this book about a year ago but didn’t read it until recently. I wish I would have read it sooner. If I had, I believe I would have confidently participated in more conversations within my sphere of influence while have encouraged other Christians to study this topic for themselves. The transgender debate has grown stronger and more apparent since the release of this book. I pray the discussion is far from over and hope to inspire more followers of Christ to do their part in sharing the gospel to all who experience brokenness. No one is ever too far gone and Lord knows there are many lost souls waiting to be found!
Throughout it all, Walker does a fantastic job at using scripture to relate to gender dysphoria while always pointing the reader back to Jesus. Jesus knows all, loves all, and saves all. He wasn’t afraid to enter into debate and controversy – when He did, He did so with compassion, humility, wisdom, knowledge and affection. Jesus would agree to disagree. We need to be willing to do the same. We can no longer sit on the sidelines while culture continues to reign and control the tide. We must confront the transgender revolution by faithfully and fearlessly preaching the gospel – loving God and loving people. There are so many people in this world who are hurting and who feel they are alone in their struggle.
If there is one takeaway from this review, let it be this – the transgender issue is no different than the many issues you and I face. A sin is a sin is a sin because sin taints what God created to be good for good purposes. All of my research over the years claims that same truth. The problem is culture deems some sins and behaviors as normal or natural and others are bad, wrong, inappropriate or destructive.
*I began researching, studying, and seeking biblical counsel for the issue of same-sex attraction immediately after I found out my brother is gay (2011). I began researching transgenderism about five years ago.
**The thoughts expressed in this book review are completely my own. It is on my own merit that I chose to endorse this book.