Norman Reply to on 7 August 2017
|It seems strange that just a few years ago almost no one was talking about issues like gender dissonance, transgender, intersex etc. because today these issues are everywhere. The Church, in its usual plodding way has been slow to catch up, and has therefore left the debating space to those who advocate total inclusion vs. those who advocate total exclusion of trans people from the church. So this little book has become very necessary and is very welcome.
It is a little book, 11cm x 18cm and only 74 pages, you could read it in 10 minutes, and you really should read it. I mention its size only because it gives a clue to what the book is and what it is not. It is one of a series of books called Talking Points, the aim of which is “to help Christians to think and talk about today’s big issues, and to relate to others with compassion, conviction and wisdom.” So this book will never answer all your questions about transgender, nor is it meant to. Nor will it provide a detailed blueprint for a personal or congregational response to transgender or other issues of sexual dissonance. On that score there is a very helpful guide at the end with suggestions for further reading.
Roberts writes with biblical clarity and pastoral sensitivity and manages to clear away many of the common misunderstandings of gender dysphoria, misunderstanding that are often generated by media hype. At the same time he points towards a Christian response that does justice to a biblical worldview and understanding of the human person, and helps readers to see trans people to be loved as people and not as an issue to be resolved.
I would like to see every leadership team in every Baptist Church in Scotland read this book, it will not provide all the answers you are looking for, but it might just help stop you getting it terribly wrong when trans people come to your church, or when members ask questions about it because a friend or relative is transitioning etc.
The book is not without its flaws, it might have been good to hear more from trans people however, as already noted, it is a small book, its purpose is not to provide in depth analysis but to help people to begin a discussion, and in that goal it succeeds very well.