LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Christian Examiner) – The Association of Certified Biblical Counselors and the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood are teaming up for a first ever conference on transgenderism at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., Oct. 5.
The Christian gospel speaks into this confusion with revolutionary clarity. God sovereignly assigns a gender to people created in his image. The powerful grace of Jesus Christ redeems and restores to sanity our thinking corrupted by sin. The church must speak with biblical conviction into this chaos with the clarity and love of Jesus.
The conference, a precursor to a larger gathering on homosexuality in American culture, was necessary, conference organizers say, because "our culture is flooded with transgender confusion."
"Parent's delay the announcement of their child'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," a video promoting the conference says.
"The Christian Gospel speaks into this confusion with revolutionary clarity. God sovereignly assigns a gender to people created in His image. The powerful grace of Jesus Christ redeems and restores to sanity our thinking corrupted by sin. The church must speak with biblical conviction into this chaos with the clarity and love of Jesus."
While the sold out conference will focus on transgenderism, Religion News Service – which has mainstreamed coverage of transgenderism – suggests attendees shouldn't expect to hear from an actual transgender person.
And RNS suggests the conference will not have anything valid to say on the subject because only psychologists should deal with such matters. The news agency interviewed Clinton Anderson, head of the American Psychological Association's office on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender concerns.
According to Anderson – who RNS reports has never heard of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors – it is best to avoid mixing religion and science. That is an approach, he said, "we don't feel works very well for people."
"We want to be very careful to keep what psychology has to say from its knowledge distinct from what religion may have to say from its knowledge," Anderson told RNS.
The American Psychological Association has released its own instructions for dealing with transgenders who suffer from a mental condition called "gender dysphoria." The APA used to refer to the same condition as "gender identity disorder." It dropped the term because of the negative connotations associated with "disorder."
The session on transgenderism in Louisville will lead into the plenary conference on "Homosexuality: Compassion, Care and Counsel for Struggling People."
Heath Lambert, president of the biblical counseling group, said in a video promoting the event that homosexuals are trapped behind a door they can't open.
"These people desperately want to change, but they find themselves unable to change after years of effort and numerous attempts. The cultural battle over homosexuality only increases the desperation these struggling people feel," Lambert said.
"The dominant cultural voice today screams that homosexuality is good. 'Come out of the closet,' they say. 'Embrace your homosexuality and quit trying to change.' On the other hand, many well-intended Christians only talk about how sinful homosexuality is. They correctly note that God's word does not condone homosexuality, but they fail to give practical insight about how to help struggling people change. And those struggling with same-sex desire feel trapped between the contemporary screams."
Lambert suggests there is more to the issue.
"Our homosexual friends need more than this," Lambert said. They need "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 change is impossible."
The issue is one of "urgent concern," he says in the promotional materials.
"The Christian people cannot only be known as the people who understand that homosexuality is wrong. It's a matter of urgent concern that we also be the people who know how to move towards those struggling with same-sex attraction with the love, power, grace and hope of Jesus Christ and walk with them through the door to real and lasting change," Lambert said.
That view is, of course, unpopular among non-Christians who argue that homosexuals do not need to change. And, according to a recent study from Italy, those who hold conservative biblical values and present them in "homophobic" speech really are the "psychotic" members of society.