By Bob Allen
The Southern Baptist Convention has condemned acts of abuse or bullying against people who identify as a gender different than the one assigned at birth but said the transgender experience is not supported by Scripture.
In a resolution adopted June 10, messengers to the SBC annual meeting in Baltimore passed a resolution describing “the creation of two distinct and complementary sexes” as part of God’s design and stating that “distinctions in masculine and feminine roles as ordained by God are part of the created order and should find expression in every human heart.”
For that reason, the resolution says, “cultural currents” including medical treatments of “gender dysphoria,” attempts by LGBT activists to “normalize the transgender experience” and public schools “allowing access to restrooms and locker rooms according to children’s self-perception of gender and not according to their biological sex” all run contrary to biblical teaching as summarized in the Baptist Faith and Message, the SBC’s official consensus doctrinal statement.
The SBC resolution invites “all transgender persons to trust in Christ and to experience renewal in the gospel.” It affirms “that we love our transgender neighbors, seek their good always, welcome them to our churches and, as they repent and believe in Christ, receive them into church membership.”
Southern Baptists oppose, however, “efforts to alter one’s bodily identity” through treatments like cross-sex hormone therapy or gender reassignment surgery, “cultural efforts to validate claims to transgender identity” and efforts by the government to validate the lifestyle “as morally praiseworthy.”
“Our love for the gospel and urgency for the Great Commission must include declaring the whole counsel of God, proclaiming what Scripture teaches about God’s design for us as male and female persons created in His image and for His glory,” the resolution concludes, citing Matthew 28:19–20, Acts 20:27 and Romans 11:36.
The resolution cites a 2011 survey showing that 700,000 Americans identify as transgender. A recent Time cover story described transgender identity as “America’s next civil rights frontier.”