A new phenomenon is occurring within some church congregations in the western world. In a few cases, some new attenders are not exactly either men or women! They are transsexuals!
Transsexuals are either:
1. Men who had always felt themselves to be truly women and not men and have undergone extensive treatment with female hormones and electrolysis (for the removal of bodily hair). Finally, their genital area has been transformed by the removal of the penis and the construction of a 'vagina'.
2. Women who had always felt themselves to be truly men and have now undergone extensive treatment to appear as 'mannish' as possible. But Doctors tell us that while it is entirely possible to turn a man into a woman (although such a 'former man' can never have a womb), there is a limit on turning women into men since it is impossible to construct a penis by surgery.
As far as I am aware, I have never met any transsexuals (though I might have been fooled!), but I have recently watched a very informative TV programme about three former men who are now women. Also, an American friend has furnished me with further information on the subject due to her friendship with a former man (now living as a woman).
The television programme on the subject was something of an 'eye-opener' because one of the "ladies" featured was not only a very stunning lady but she had also become a sought-after fashion model. She was shapely, her voice was soft and there was really nothing about this person which might make one suspect that she had apparently once been a man. Indeed, one of the reasons that I decided to pursue this article was that I later went to this person's web site and discovered that she is now an evangelical Christian!
Two other examples of very stunning ladies (who were originally accepted as men) have been brought to my attention. One is a singer who lives in another country and once represented her country in a singing competition, and another took part in a television programme which I would never normally watch, but I glanced at it in order to check out this 'lady'. In both of these cases these were apparently two very attractive, and what many might call, two very "sexy" women! So when some medical experts say that, with the advances in hormonal treatment and in surgery, a man can now virtually be turned into a woman......I am now more or less convinced!
Now many Christians would say that the issues here are very clear cut; under the Old Covenant were not men who had interfered with their sexuality barred from coming into the house of the Lord? Therefore it must surely follow that any person who has changed from the sex which God originally gave them cannot be accepted into Christian congregations. Indeed, perhaps a majority of evangelical Christians would say that if such people should approach a minister for baptismal counseling, they should - first of all - be told to return to their original sexual status.
This initially seems a right, just, moral and clear-cut approach, however, there are considerable pastoral problems in adopting such an approach and it soon becomes clear that some New Testament principles and teachings could be seriously undermined by this initially apparently 'straightforward and clear-cut approach'.
Let me point out some problems, and they are considerable problems, which this 'Return to original sexual status before Christian acceptance' brings with it:
1. The argument assumes that sexual status is always absolutely clear from the beginning. But this is not correct! Every single year hundreds of babies are born with unsure sexual status. I cannot go into this in great detail here but it is a well-known fact although no new parent would ever admit that this applied to their own child. I used to think that every child was either 100% male or 100% female, but a long talk with a vastly experienced nursing tutor a few years ago caused me to re-think this. I am not making excuses, these are just plain medical facts and we have to accept them. Indeed modern men seem to have a particular problem here since it has been claimed that their average sperm count has fallen well below the level which their grandfathers would have experienced. The reason for this is something of a mystery. I happen to think that many people who choose to change their gender had been babies with unsure sexuality. These people would almost certainly have gone through a sexual identity crisis during their lives.
2. The argument neglects the fact that hundreds of eunuchs (whose sexuality had been surgically changed) were accepted into Christian congregations in the first few centuries of the New Testament Church! Why did some men become eunuchs? Many leaders and rulers kept harems of lovely women. These men wanted men in charge of these harems but wanted to be certain that these men would not touch their women, so they made them eunuchs. In case we are in any doubt that God accepted eunuchs, we have a vivid illustration of this in Acts 8:26-40. This eunuch was not rejected because his sexuality had been altered by surgery, he was willingly accepted as a child of God!
3. The argument ignores the scientific fact that many such people now cannot revert to their original status. It is biologically impossible! The die has been cast! Sometimes such people are coming to Christ many many years after their sex change.
4. The argument ignores the advice of the apostle Paul:
PAUL ARGUED THAT - AS FAR AS THEY ARE ABLE - THOSE COMING TO CHRIST IN FAITH SHOULD REMAIN IN THE STATUS/LIFE STATION WHICH THEY WERE IN WHEN THEY FIRST CAME TO CHRIST! See 1 Corinthians 7:17-24.
Actually, this is a woefully neglected area of Christian teaching in our day. Today we often observe people coming to Christ in their youth, then putting their beliefs 'on hold' and spending the next 5-10 years of their lives pursuing education and wealth! Of course, we all think that education is important for young people, but I am convinced that too many who come to Christ are then pushing their calling onto a 'back-burner' while they pursue other things which they tend to assume are more important! Of course, Paul is not saying that we should do nothing for the rest of our lives after our conversion - far from it. He says, for instance, that if slaves have the opportunity to attain freedom they should certainly go for it (verse 21), otherwise they should continue to accept their station in life; this is a principle which Paul obviously thought very important, in fact, Paul who is always so reluctant to lay down rules (meat sacrificed to idols, which days are 'holy' etc, etc), actually issued a judgment on this matter:
'But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And so I ordain in all the churches.' (1 Corinthians 7:17).
The foregoing means that we Christians must not encourage those who are coming to Christ to radically change their lifestyles, since the Lord is prepared to accept us as we are when we come to Him (obviously, this does not mean that those who are living a plainly sinful lifestyle should just continue).
The above four points make it absolutely plain to me that if transsexuals start to attend Christian congregations they should be willingly accepted.
However, there are obviously provisos:
Such people would have no right to 'promote' transsexuality, or for that matter, homosexuality or 'cross-dressing' or any other sexual deviancy among other believers.
I think that most ministers/pastors, walking in the Law of Christ, would hopefully accept such people without prejudice, but then be somewhat watchful that such people understand and accept the moral laws which Christians are bound to submit to.
Copyright Robin A. Brace, 2004. UK Apologetics.