With the recent nomination of Dr. Rachel Levine to the Department of Health and Human Services and President Biden’s Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation, transgenderism and its uncertain and unstable ideology has been brought into the American conversation in a new and existential way. Christians have been concerned about this growing attack on the very foundations of human identity. Unfortunately, we have been insufficiently prepared to address or answer it.
While considering and addressing the claims of transgenderism warrants its own post, I wanted to start by sharing some literature that presents a Christian perspective on how to think and respond to this ongoing issue.
Roberts, Vaughn. Transgender. UK: The Good Book Company, 2016.
Vaughn’s is a small book (about 74 pages), but it contains terms and definitions of the transgdner movement and approaches the topic with empathy. Someone may in fact be struggling with “gender dysphoria” (the confusion of what gender one actually is). I believe given the effect of sin on the human condition that we should admit that people may “feel” such confusion (though we should always resist and counsel against acting on it).
Walker, Andrew T. God and the Transgender Debate: What Does the Bible Actually Say about Gender Identity? UK: The Good Book Company, 2017.
Walker’s book is a little more detailed than Roberts’ (see above). I would say that his strong points are explaining the new distinction between “sex” (i.e., biology) and “gender” (i.e., cultural expression), presenting an applicable theology of the human condition (i.e., “sin”), and keeping a Gospel-centered focus on addressing the issue. I appreciated both the exegetical and historical approach of the book.
Yarhouse, Mark A. Understanding Gender Dysphoria: Navigating Transgender Issues in a Changing Culture. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2015.
I have not read this book, though it is on my shelf, but I do intend to read it (maybe you have some books like that yourself). I suggest it for your consideration because it is one of only a handful of publications addressing gender dysphoria from a Christian perspective. Yarhouse’s expertise (he holds a Doctorate of Psychology and is a licensed clinical psychologist) is sure to offer rich analysis. I cannot endorse anything in the book (yet), so I would urge caution and careful reflection if you choose to read it.
McConnell, Nathan. Be What You Are: Bible Principles for Gender, Roles, and Distinction. Murfreesboro, TN: Bill Rice Ranch Publications, 2014.
This, of course, is a book I wrote almost seven years ago. I admit that it needs refreshing! The book references transgenderism as a confusion of what the Bible actually teaches about gender. One major weakness of the book is that it does not clearly delineate between transgenderism, homosexuality, and other gender confusions. The majority of the book focuses on what the Bible actually teaches about gender, gender roles, and the distinction between the sexes while addressing these other issues as an aside. This may be an excellent primer for someone interested in what the Bible teaches about gender.
Anderson, Ryan T. When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment. New York, NY: Encounter Books, 2018.
Ryan Anderson is associated with the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank in Washington, so his book does not present an evangelical perspective but rather a conservative one. That being said, Anderson’s book is excellent and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to understand what is at stake politically, culturally, and sociologically in America with the transgender issue. Some of the major strengths of the book include his quotations of transgender activists, allowing them to speak for themselves, his contradicting transgender claims with sound logic, and his description of the transitioning process (parts of which can be graphic). This is a necessary resource to understanding the transgender ideology in America today.
I hope you find these recommendations helpful. Are there any Christian books that you have read on this topic that didn’t make the list?