Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Trans Transformation

Written by: on March 5, 2020

It has been several months now since my professor friend and I met for coffee at one of the coffee shops at Biola University. I often reflect on that sobering moment. We chatted about the latest goings on in culture as reflected in news outlets and social media, lamenting the fact that Evangelicalism today has increasingly appeared less relevant and more repugnant in modern society, especially in areas in which traditional moral values is the subject. It’s not just that progressives find Christian values outdated, ill-suited to modern times, they are incorrigibly incensed by their stance in public discourse. 

My friend suggested that perhaps one of the reasons for such vehemence is a reaction against what believers did during the height of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and 90s—which was nothing. “The church has been noticeably silent,” charged Earl E. Help and Ronald H. Sunderland, research fellows at the Texas Medical Center’s Institute of Religion. “The personal tragedies and social failures associated with the disease appear to have been ignored by the church—except for those strident segments that view AIDS as God’s retribution on sinful people.”1. Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority, even blocked legislation givings basic rights to gay people.

Christian leaders in the 1980s and 90s were sanctimoniously watching AIDS victims die in the tens of thousands, offering no help. By God’s grace, the tide of criticism and disdain eventually turned and by the early 2000s, emergency plans for AIDS relief were set in motion saving millions. Thanks in part to efforts led by Kay and Rick Warren, evangelical leaders who had their own personal encounters with those suffering from HIV and AIDS.2 But could all this have been too little too late? Could this have been handled better by the church? I can imagine a gay friend saying to me “you judged us, you distanced yourself from us offering nothing while we were dying of AIDS, and now, all of a sudden you care?”

We are in a similar situation today. According to Barna Research, “GenZ, more than older generations, considers their sexuality or gender to be central to their sense of self.”3 Heather Brunkskell-Evans and Michele Moore, editors of Transgender Children and Young People: Born in Your Own Body confirm this trend. Contributing author Stephanie Davies-Arai reports a 1000% increase of adolescents being referred to the Tavistock gender clinic in London.4 Treatments there often are pursued based on political pressure to conform to the prevailing progressive idea that gender is whatever one feels. And if gender is indeed a matter of personal choice, then no one or no organization has the right to stop transexuals from obtaining disfiguring surgeries and lifelong hormone regiments. It’s too early to ascertain the effects of undergoing these treatments but common sense tells us that there ought to be “a serious public concern that practices of transgendering children involve the use of puberty suppression, cross-sex hormonal mediation that harms children’s reproductive capacity, their bodily integrity and future physical and psychological health, and possible surgery involving the amputation of penises and breasts that cannot be re-attached”5 be treated with extreme caution.  

It is hoped that Christian leaders by now have learned the painful lessons of failure to care for the “least of these.” Will we idly watch our young gender dysphoric community suffer or will we be ready to help this time? The church can ill afford to miss this opportunity to demonstrate neighborly love. The stakes are too high. Doing what Jesus would do does not affirm the sin. Yes, we live in a complex and broken world, wracked by sin. But Scripture commands us to be imitators of our Lord who loved the lost while admonishing them to sin no more.6 Truth and grace always go together. The aphorism is true: “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”

          1 Bruce Buursma, “AIDS May Be Churches’ Ministry of the ‘80s,” chicagotribune.com, September 4, 2018, https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1985-11-16-8503190311-story.html)
          2 Richard Stearns, “Christianity and HIV/AIDS: From Criticism to Compassion,” The Washington Post (WP Company, July 25, 2012), https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/christianity-and-hivaids-from-criticism-to-compassion/2012/07/25/gJQAzeL18W_story.html)
          3 Barna Group. Gen Z: The Culture, Beliefs and Motivations Shaping the next Generation.
(Ventura, CA: Barna Group, 2018), 46.
          4 Brunskell-Evans, Heather, and Moore, Michele, eds. Transgender Children and Young People : Born in Your Own Body. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publisher, 2018. Accessed March 5, 2020. ProQuest Ebook Central, 16.
          5 Ibid. 50.
          6 John 8: 1-11

About the Author

Harry Edwards

Harry is married to Minerva and has the privilege of raising two young men. He is the founder and director of Apologetics.com, Inc., an organization dedicated to defending the truth claims of Christianity on the internet, radio and other related activities. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Christian Education and a Masters of Arts degree in Christian Apologetics from Biola University where he currently works full time as the Associate Director of the graduate programs in Christian Apologetics and Science & Religion. Harry is currently pursuing a DMin (Leadership & Global Perspectives) from George Fox University. He is an active member at Ocean View Baptist Church where he leads an adult Bible study and plays the drums for the praise and worship band. In his spare time, Harry enjoys doing things with his family, i.e., tennis, camping/backpacking, flying RC planes and mentoring others to realize their full potential in the service of our Lord.

4 responses to “Trans Transformation”

  1. Harry Fritzenschaft says:

    Well done, a great combination of heart and scholarship! How true, “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” May we the Church learn from our corporate sins and mistakes of the past to move forward in empowered love.

  2. Rev Jacob Bolton says:

    Harry, what a deeply moving, personal, well researched, and simply beautiful post. Thank you!

  3. Mary Mims says:

    Thank you Harry for that last line, about how no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care. Whether we agree or not we still have to show the love of Christ, and that’s what matters.

    • Amen to that Mary. I also am very concerned that the enemy is working overtime to subvert our humanity, ultimately destroying ourselves, family and society. Christian leaders in churches may have to start creating programs for families of young children how to deal with these kinds of issues.

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