Archives For Gender Dysphoria

In our Theology Postconference, we focused on the theme of The Ministry of the Gospel and Gender Dysphoria. Mark Yarhouse was our speaker. His first two messages helped pastors and leaders to understand this issue from a biblical and scientific perspective, with the final message focusing on a pastoral response.

Here are the messages of this Postconference:

  • Framing the Issue, Greg Strand
  • Gender Dysphoria: Foundational Considerations (Key Terms and Biblical Perspectives)
  • Gender Dysphoria: Scientific – Biological, Psychological, and Sociocultural Considerations
  • Gender Dysphoria: Toward a Pastoral Response

We have posted recordings of all Yarhouse’s plenary lectures, along with his bibliography and notes on our Theology Conference webpage. These messages (minus the notes and bibliographies) will also be posted on our new Theology Podcast webpage over the course of the next few weeks.

Because this topic is a new one for many, I include below excerpts from my introduction.

Introduction

The culture has long moved beyond homosexuality and same-sex matters such that it is considered the norm. However, we in the church continue to think through and ponder the Scriptures, affirming its truth and authority, while we wrestle with and pray over pastoral responses. The cultural push now is the presentation and acceptance of gender dysphoria. While we in the church continue to think through the past cultural agenda, which is important, the cultural mandate of normalizing gender dysphoria presses on ahead. It is vital for us in the church to learn about gender dysphoria and to understand it through the lens of Scripture, the absolute and ultimate authority, so that we can engage in pastoral care to those affected, both directly and indirectly.

Topic

The title explains that what we do is rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Biblical truth and the gospel of Jesus Christ are the foundation of what we believe, the absolute and ultimate truth, what we affirm as sola Scriptura. This is also foundational for how we live, for God’s truth we affirm is also the means by which we grow in holiness and are conformed into the likeness of the Son. It is the only means through which we will truly flourish. From this foundation, we will focus on ministry among those who identify as, struggle or suffer with or are affected by gender dysphoria. This also includes those who know or love someone who so identifies. Although our title addresses gender dysphoria, the phenomenon, our focus will be on the person who experiences gender dysphoria, which emphasizes the role of pastoral care and shepherding.

Speaker

There are not many Evangelicals who are providing insight into gender dysphoria, much less are those who are actively seeking to provide pastoral care to those who experience gender dysphoria and their families affected by it. Mark Yarhouse is one of those few individuals.

Yarhouse affirms the inerrancy and authority of the Bible. He acknowledges the Scriptures as the absolute and ultimate authority. Furthermore, he is theologically anchored. His concern is to affirm the truthfulness of Scripture and apply those truths in a fallen world in which we provide care to people who experience gender dysphoria. He senses a call to minister directly to those suffering from gender dysphoria and families and others affected by it. This is why he has been asked to address this topic, as there really is no other Evangelical who speaks in such an informed manner on the subject.

EFCA

In the EFCA we are grounded in the gospel and tethered to the text of Scripture. We are also deeply committed to living out this truth of Scripture. And we do so in a fallen-yet-redeemed-though-not-yet-glorified world. There is sin, hurt, and brokenness. And yet in the midst of this, the gospel offers hope. We engage in pastoral care not only to share God’s truth with others, but because it is our only hope, our only true way of flourishing as God ordained.

As we engage in pastoral ministry of the gospel in the local church in the moral realms of human sexuality and gender dysphoria, we are an outpost of heaven. We reflect God’s eschatological people who offer the hope of the gospel in a context of love produced by the gospel which reflects the now of the kingdom. And we are often reminded through our pastoral care of our groaning, which reflects the not-yetness of the kingdom, as we await final redemption.

Our 2016 Theology Conference focuses on The Doctrine of the Church. In addition to understanding the biblical nature and purpose of the church, it is important that we discern the cultural and contextual issues of the day in which our pastors, leaders and churches need to think through and respond from a biblical, theological and pastoral perspective.

This year the focus will be on gender dysphoria: The Ministry of the Gospel and Gender Dysphoria. Although the numbers are small, the cultural push and implications have been huge. One of the recent figures I read was that 0.3 to 0.5 percent of the population identifies as transgender (acknowledging the challenge of compiling accurate statistics). One would certainly not know that through the media. Furthermore, those experiencing gender dysphoria or those in relationship with one experiencing gender dysphoria sense a far greater weight than that small percentage.

The title explains that what we do is rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Biblical truth and the gospel of Jesus Christ are the foundation of what we believe, the absolute and ultimate truth, what we affirm as sola Scriptura. This is also foundational for how we live, for God’s truth we affirm is also the means by which we grow in holiness and are conformed into the likeness of the Son. It is the only means through which we will truly flourish.

From this foundation, we will focus on ministry among those who identify as, struggle or suffer with or are affected by gender dysphoria. This also includes those who know or love someone who so identifies. Although our title addresses gender dysphoria, the phenomenon, our focus will be on the person who experiences gender dysphoria, which emphasizes the role of pastoral care and shepherding.

In the three sessions, we will focus on the following:

  • Session 1 – Gender Dysphoria: Foundational Considerations (Key Terms and Biblical Perspectives)
  • Session 2 – Gender Dysphoria: Scientific—Biological, Psychological, and Sociocultural Considerations
  • Session 3 – Gender Dysphoria: Toward a Pastoral Response

Dr. Mark Yarhouse is our speaker. He is a leading Evangelical voice addressing this issue.

As we engage in pastoral ministry of the gospel in the local church in the moral realms of human sexuality and gender dysphoria, we are an outpost of heaven. We reflect God’s eschatological people who offer the hope of the gospel in a context of love produced by the gospel which reflects the now of the kingdom. And we are often reminded through our pastoral care of our groaning, which reflects the not-yetness of the kingdom, as we await final redemption.

Plan to join us at our Theology Conference Postconference on January 22. You can register here for the Theology Conference January 20-22.

If you are unable to attend the entire conference, the Postconference is available for $50 – check made payable to EFCA or Credit Card, payable at the door.

 

Below is an excerpt from the book by Ed Shaw, Same-Sex Attraction and the Church: The Surprising Plausibility of the Celibate Life. The British title is The Plausibility Problem: The Church and Same-Sex Attraction. The former highlights the issue of same-sex attraction and the church, while placing in the background the plausibility question. In reversing this, the latter highlights the plausibility problem, while placing it in the context of the issue of same-sex attraction and the church. The titles do give a slightly different emphasis. My preference is the British title.

Following this excerpt below by Shaw are a number of responses, which are, as you would probably expect, a bit mixed. We heard this when we discussed our draft of our A Church Statement on Human Sexuality:Homosexuality and Same-Sex “Marriage” – A Resource for EFCA Churches. Some concluded that sanctification means that one’s same-sex attracted feelings ought to be completely sanctified, i.e. overcome such that there is no longer any struggle with it. This overlooks the fact that in the Christian life there is ongoing struggle to put to death the sins of the flesh and to put on the graces of Christ (Col. 3:5-17), both of which are made possible by the indwelling presence and power of the Holy Spirit. There is transformation (Rom. 12:2; 2 Cor. 3:18; Phil. 3:20-21) into the likeness of the Son (Rom. 8:29), but completely overcoming sin awaits glory. And until that time, we fight the fight of and for faith.

This is an important issue, which we still need to consider, to think through, to ponder, etc. Although there is unanimity among Evangelicals regarding the authority of the Bible in all matters pertaining to life, doctrine, history and science (even though it is not a scientific textbook, it does speak authoritatively when addressing matters of science), or one is not an Evangelical, there is no unanimity among Evangelicals about how to process this biblically, theologically and pastorally. However, I think there is a growing awareness in this realm, with increasing nuancing which is important and helpful, without compromising biblical and theological truth.

Here is the excerpt from Shaw’s book: Godliness Is Not Heterosexuality

Douglas Wilson takes issue with this excerpt: Semi-Gloss Obfuscation

And then Wilson posts again, reading it slightly differently but still with issues of concern about it: Multiple Women in One Day Attracted

Both Tim Challies – The Plausibility Problem – and Ron Citlau – The Plausibility of the Celibate Life for the Same-Sex Attracted – give affirming reviews of the book.

Denny Burk mostly affirms the work of Shaw, and takes slight issue with Wilson: “Giving away the store” on same-sex attraction?

Although these links above address a work focusing on same-sex attraction, an added dimension to our contemporary human sexuality discussion is gender dysphoria, which we will address at our upcoming Theology Conference: The Ministry of the Gospel and Gender Dysphoria. If there are strong differences regarding how to think and process biblically, theologically and pastorally the same-sex attracted person(s), that is multiplied when it comes to gender dysphoria, with transgenderism being the most commonly known expression of gender dysphoria. This also requires a keen sense of the biblical, theological pastoral truth and implications/applications based on that truth. And because we are holistic beings, one also ought to consider biology, psychology and sociology. These are not absolutely definitive, which is reserved for sola Scriptura, Scripture alone, but they do shed light, even if some of that light is on our depravity, it still also is with a hint and glimmer of the imago Dei that remains in all.

Please plan to join us for our Theology Conference on The Doctrine of the Church, followed by one of the questions/challenges experienced in the church today, gender dysphoria. We remain grounded in the gospel of Jesus Christ as we seek to minister to those struggling with gender dysphoria with that uncompromising, explicit and loving truth of the gospel. You can access the Theology Conference site here, and you can register here.