By Bob Allen
Three Southern Baptist scholars will discuss “transgender confusion” in a daylong conference Oct. 5 prior to the annual conference of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors scheduled on the campus of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood announced Feb. 3 it will partner with the ACBC in presentations on “Transgender Confusion and Transformational Christianity” preceding the main conference on “Homosexuality: Compassion, Counsel, and Care for Struggling People” scheduled Oct. 5-7.
“Our culture is flooded with transgender confusion,” says a video promoting the pre-conference posted on the CBMW website. “Parents delay the announcement of their infant’s gender until the child makes an independent choice. Laws are passed allowing persons to choose which public restrooms they would use. Surgery attempts to erase the obvious physical indicators of manhood and womanhood.”
Pre-conference speakers include Owen Strachan, president of the council headquartered in offices on the campus of the Southern Baptist Convention seminary in Louisville, Ky.; Southern Seminary President Albert Mohler and Denny Burk, a professor of biblical studies at Boyce College, the seminary’s undergraduate arm.
Burk, former editor of the Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, sponsored a resolution on transgender identity adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention last summer in Baltimore. In its final form drafted by a resolutions committee, the statement opposed the use of procedures like gender reassignment surgery and efforts in society “to validate transgender identity as morally praiseworthy.”
“The Christian gospel speaks into this confusion with revolutionary clarity,” the conference-introduction video continues. “God sovereignly assigns a gender to people created in his image. The powerful grace of Jesus Christ redeems and restores to sanity our thinking, which has been corrupted by sin. The church must speak with biblical conviction into this chaos with the clarity and love of Jesus.”
Heath Lambert, executive director at the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, said in a video promoting the main conference that people struggling with “homosexual desire” are often trapped between a dominant culture that tells them to quit trying to change and Christians who say only that homosexuality is a sin.
“Our homosexual friends who battle against their desires need more than this,” said Lambert, who teaches biblical counseling courses at both Southern Seminary and Boyce College. “They need help getting through the locked door to change.”
The Association of Certified Biblical Counselors is a 40-year-old organization that certifies “biblical counselors,” Christian therapists who base their practice on teaching from the Bible instead of theories developed within secular psychiatry.
“The Association of Certified Biblical Counselors is committed to the truth that homosexuality is a sinful way of life, but we are committed to more than that,” Lambert said. “We are committed to biblical love that manifests itself in tangible care for those struggling with this sin. We are committed to providing a place to go for help, when everybody else says that change is impossible.”
The National Center for Transgender Equality defines transgender people as those “whose gender identity, expression or behavior is different from those typically associated with their assigned sex at birth.”
The term is sometimes confused with “intersex,” a medical term describing a number of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit standard definitions of male or female.
Recently, prominent Southern Baptist churches fought non-discrimination ordinances in Fayetteville, Ark., and Plano, Texas, denounced by opponents as “bathroom bills,” claiming the use of sex-specific facilities such as men’s and women’s public restrooms, locker rooms and showers could no longer be limited on the basis of a person’s biological sex.