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Thinking Biblically and Acting Compassionately

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December 2, 2020 1:00 am

Thinking Biblically and Acting Compassionately

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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December 2, 2020 1:00 am

Transgenderism is a real-world, right now topic in need of God's navigation! J. Alan Branch, Professor of Christian Ethics at Midwestern Seminary, shares about his book, "Affirming God's Image," with the heart of being able to think biblically and act compassionately.

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This is Bob Lapine from family life today with a heads up quarterly talking about a sensitive subject. Today the subject of transgender is him there's an epidemic today of gender confusion that J. Ellen branch says is leaving a lot of adolescents confused. If you're already in a July for the word about your body and what your body was like in other people like what I look like, being accepted by the people, and then suddenly to have this experience of will act like them in the wrong body piled on top of that, you can imagine the chaos that can be especially young persons managed to cause us to have mercy. This is family life today.

Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson on Bob Lapine can find us What should we think about gender confusion and gender dysphoria. What is the Bible say and how can we respond with compassion to those who are experiencing challenges in this area will talk more about that today. Stay with us and welcome to family life to. Thanks for joining us were talking today about something that two decades ago. With this would've been a fringe topic and know something that's out on the edges today. It's a mainstream topic and it's a mainstream topic that a lot of people want answers and help. Yeah, I think there is confusion about what's going on in the subject is transgender is amazing to say the listeners I really tackling today. There is confusion. People want to know how to think biblically and how to act compassionately with people you know who may be experiencing, gender, dysphoria, or people who are advocating that this should be normalized and should be a regular part of how you care for people in your life in your world how to talk to our kids about theft and even what is a biblical worldview and about this and whose writing about and who's talking about it. Well J Ellen branch is writing about another he's Chinese is he's joining us in family life today.

Alan welcome. Thank you for this event to be about Dr. branch is a professor of Christian ethics at Midwestern seminary in Kansas City, Missouri at the seminary for 20 years. He's written a book called affirming God's image where he takes a look at addressing the transgender question with both science and Scripture help our listeners understand the term gender dysphoria because they may have heard that and not understand what that means.

What is so gender dysphoria is a clinical diagnosis. It's in the DSM-V used to be called gender identity disorder but they changed it to gender dysphoria a for number of reasons, but to be clear, if you're going to follow the clinical diagnosis someone could hypothetically be transgender but not be clinically diagnosed as gender dysphoric. So here's the difference someone who is gender dysphoric is experiencing a disconnect between their biological sex and then their gender identity that they feel subjectively and is causing the great distress and problems in their life, so that person would be clinically described as gender dysphoric is possible for someone hypothetically to be transgender and have reconciled all these issues and thus they wouldn't clinically be diagnosed as gender dysphoric, but on the street, transgender and gender dysphoria get used as synonyms on the street, the time and somebody who is transgender is somebody who is taken action to deal with their dysphoria right well not necessarily so, let's clarify a few things. I think the first idea that needs to be clarified in the mind of the listeners is this, we typically use sex and gender. As Christians we use those as synonyms will just, and rightly so. The statement of faith for my schooling for our denomination refers to the gift of gender is part of the goodness of God's creation and I affirmed it wholeheartedly, but we are using the word gender is a synonym for six so the if you want to understand modern transgender is on the basic principle is this that sex and gender are two different things. So six is your body. It's just the body that God has given you in the. The genitalia that one must have an reproductive organs that one has your gender however is a subjective sense of your being either male or female, and so separating those two concepts allows the idea of transgender is him to really take place and if you don't understand that our culture is separated the ideas of sex and gender things can be really hard understand what they're saying now is at a recent separation is open ride.

It's been a is emerged from the 50s and 60s, there was a lot of chatter about this in the 1950s and 60s among people doing research on beginning with homosexuality and the moving in to what best time was called transvestites there investigating disorder things.

So yes, it's relatively recent in human history. So the word transvestite wasn't invented till 1910 by Mende Magnus Hirschfeld and then 1923 he invented the word transsexual in the word transgender is even more recent than that. So what were dealing with ideas that have really emerged in the last hundred years, not there are concepts like transgender that are in antiquity.

They just and call it that. So I think if I could just give a bit of historical perspective. I think sometimes Christians today when we hear about all these things happening in how we were chatting before about sports and athletics and transgender is him as famous case out of Connecticut for these two boys so identify the girls and then set the state record for girls and I had to put in scare quotes and they outran all the other girls and now that they've actually this the state of Connecticut's athletic associations being sued by these parents of these actual biological females are losing these races and it's interesting they're suing them under title IX, which is really fascinating but we see things like that coming boys pretending to be girls and outrunning all the girls in setting a female state record in Connecticut is a will in the world never seen anything like this so give a bit of perspective in the first century in Rome, there was a colt, the cult of Sibley.

She been around for a couple hundred years as a pagan goddess but you guys know and acts were touched by Artemis. This image, it fell from heaven right probably a meteorite. Something like that was going on with Sybil. He apparently had a meteorite or something that they are venerating related to her, but this is some rather grotesque Dante what happened March 24 was called the day of blood every year and in Rome, and men who wanted to dedicate themselves to be priests of Sibley would go to the streets in these public presentations. I'm not trying to be funny and not try to make a joke, but it was a sort of a pride parade if you will, in their coming to the streets and they work themselves into a frenzy and at the height of the frenzy they would emasculate themselves and then after that would begin dressing as women, and Augustine even talks about seeing these folks in North Africa, three and 400 years later.

So this is a long-standing cult and he talked to how they dress themselves up and paint themselves up and they grow to her lungs and dress like women. Now the degree to which those guys doing that I can first entry for really several centuries there in the Roman Empire. The degree what they were experiencing what we might call modern-day gender dysphoria, or transgender is him as opposed to just veneration to a pagan goddess. I don't know but at the end of the day is the same thing and I think it does help us get some perspective if we could travel in a time machine and meet our brothers and sisters in Christ in Rome in 65 A.D. so I guess what we got this thing going on in our country's call transgender in his what these men and women are doing. I think our brothers and sisters in Christ, from 65 A.D. with a set what we don't have the word transgender but we sing something like what you're talking about.

So if you take a deep breath and you realize were not the first generation of Christians to do was something like this and it does give us a sense of perspective about the ability of the gospel to persevere through all sorts of challenges that is fascinating and never hurts of my Midwestern seminary that I think the dog about you say in your book that in the 1960s, the sexual revolution, then yes had a big part of what's going on currently.

So Dave is from from Detroit. And so, let me say this about Detroit unknown as though this is good. This is really good and it has to do with the 1960s. I'm convinced that only good thing to come out. The 1960s was a Fender Stratocaster and muscle cars run other than that found the motel and I agree. I lewdly motivate us that the hackers but not always mean the proudest moments of my life was my daughter in high school, wrote a paper on the song Okie from Muskogee, Haggerty was just the point of the like seated and lifting the family left today. Did the signing of the supper of the but in all seriousness, yes, the sexual revolution was his radical transition really started with Kinsey's work, I think, and 48 sexual behavior in the human male is opening salvo.

But what comes on the sexual revolution is a radical rejection of Judeo-Christian ethics, specifically sexual at this moment all this aside and abandon it for sexual restraint. It is the height of Romans 118 to 32. His radical moral autonomy of the summer of love & Cisco 1967. I don't mean to go immediately to the most grotesque things, but I mean people are having sex on the street, and they're saying this is all about freedom and is not about freedom. This is exploitation and it is out of the 60s that you get this explosion of pornography, which the web has just accelerated like exponentially. The levels we can imagine is all in the name of sexual freedom is no coincidence that you have the summer of love and 67 the sexual revolution get stonewall just a couple years after the summer of love and 60 late 60s and then in 1973 get Roe V Wade will abortion is a brutal coping mechanism for abandoning sexual restraint.

There's no no coincidence you get that. So all these things are coming and the latest. If you want to know what's going on in 2020 with transgender is on. It is the latest and most expansive expression of the sexual revolution. That's what you're looking at it you know what were describing here is a cultural phenomenon, but I will zoom in on the personal experiences, I have a friend who many years ago in another city all opened up to me about his personal experience of gender dysphoria well and it was for him something that he never invited he is a follower of Christ. He was actively involved in the work of his local church at the time and it was something that he did not seek to indulge. It was something that was just this overwhelming sensation for him that he did know how to wrestle with Lizzie 20 experiences he had begun the experience after he was married as a young man, and it had continued for years and when he opened up about it. I mean, he was opening the door to what was the most personally shameful part of his life. So it was a huge door to pry open and yet crying it open and the liberation that comes from grace, and the gospel applied to that in his life has been so freeing for him.

Talk about people who are experiencing this drive that they never invited and don't want will first of all me go. Bless you. That means this man trust you and so that's really a great honor, so no one knows what causes transgender is in our childhood gender nonconformity.

No one knows there is not one story that explains everyone's everyone store is unique so when we divide into two big categories of the will.

Some people experience childhood gender nonconformity and then later own gender dysphoria.

If we want to call it. Then transgender of feelings for reasons we have no idea why it starts young and they don't know why is much like your friend yes maybe had it repressed and did know how to talk to people that did know who to talk to about it but wanted something different to Christian want to go the Lord's way camp and so is fighting this was to has these feelings.

There is another group that it emerges older and frequently it comes from fetish behavior and offense behavior of cross-dressing for sexual arousal turns into an identity over time.

And that's not something that started earlier and I know this can happen later. But even more, a couple of years ago there was some cost to some research and they ran into what they thought was something new and it was teenagers who had no previous experience of gender nonconformity suddenly identifying with transgender and what I'm going to oversimplify the bicycle what they said was this looks like old-fashioned peer pressure.

If so and so. These ideas of transgender is infrequently emerge around puberty and surprise you.

The hormones far off just the way the Lord made us, and so in puberty such a hard time for any of us anyway. Upcoming is brutal. This has to be part of the fall. At the very point in life where we suddenly get very concerned about what other people think about how we look, we get acne right and so you worried about your body and then if you're already in an age in life. Are you worried about a body.

Your body and what your body looks like in other people like what I look like hell being accepted by the people, and then suddenly to have this experience of will have to look them in the wrong body piled on top of that, you can imagine the chaos that can be especially young persons not it should cause us to have mercy writing. Mischa calls us to have mercy and very patient. None of that is helped in the culture. Now that says oh yeah, sure. Just adjust your body to your subjective feelings list we can do all these things we can puberty suppress and we can give you cross sex hormones.

We can do surgery and all these enormous steps instead of same listless work through how you're feeling was try to talk about that and God bless your friend to sell it to someone that just attorneys will go the Lord's way and Boris silent pain.

I don't know how many Christians are just like your friend, and I think we have to be aware that some people are experiencing this battle. There fighting it in part because of shame but in part because they know this is not what God wants for me and yet it kind of comes on them and overtakes them so would you say I mad at me with the above would you say and Dr. branch. What would you not the right or wrong that I had loved the no you know how did the conversation go and I sure wasn't just one conversation all it was a long series of conversations and I ask a lot of questions and I did a lot of listening and tried to understand something that I've never experienced personally but tried to hear the pain that was a part of that the struggle but it's a part of that and how my friend battled and coped and what his sense of this was and where it had led him. And so it was just a long series of conversations by God's grace. It was out. I didn't do anything to fix him or cure him. I think just haven't somebody that he could be open with and talk about was it we have said on this program many times that when sin comes out in the open when it's confessed half of the power of it is drained out of the seven point remember the first time we sat down he said something to me. We were talking about issues in his life and he said there's a part of my life that nobody will ever know about and I just left it alone well within a couple years he was being open about what nobody would ever know about and that openness was liberating. Think of James five. Confess your sins one to another, so that what you be healed even be healed. I think in the opening up and confessing God brought healing and hope in and he would say that what was a powerful force in his life is no longer a powerful portion God has brought freedom and healing in that area. Like I love that he was that open with you and were hearing stories of kids coming to their parents. Maybe as a teenager. Everything younger saying I have these desires. I have these feelings.

And then we hear parents putting their children hormonal therapy, so coach asked his parents, biblically speaking, if we are being raised in a household that honors Christ. What should that conversation look like well I think what Bob did was very wise for so he's listening and trying to understand and the worst thing we can do either as a friend or as a parent is to overreact when someone says that are not and that's not what we want to do so.

Childhood gender nonconformity frequently emerges very early so I will tell you that that is really strong. The vast majority of cases, self resolve, the data is pretty clear about this. Childhood gender nonconformity is strongly associated with a homosexual identity later in life. So that's just statistical data that that's pretty clear there's a lot of data gets thrown around the can be proven but that one is pretty clear that a point of what I would say is first was a parent does not freak out and our children need unconditional love from us and I think sometimes we want to own these special these LGBT Q issues was similar to put them off in the category they need a different response to degree understand what parents are thinking but sin is sin, and bad behavior by children is bad behavior. So how would you respond inulin. So what we want to do is to try to stay on it, even to show them unconditional love and say listen, I love you.

You're in a safe place. The home urine is safe. You're not in danger now God has made you a boy or God has made you a girl in this good so the best thing parents can do is a very early age to start affirming to the children. I'm so glad God made you a boy.

I'm so glad God made you a girl, and that they hear that message from their parents and the goodness of that ended in July. That's so great that you're a boy or I'll have a ride that leads to some interesting conversations you know we were on our children were younger, were trying to explain to them in a month so guy God made you a girl and explained to them the basic difference tween boys and girls and I remember one day when one of my daughters.

I will name which one to their grown women.

Now don't embarrass them.

But my mother had never had a conversation like that with me when I was growing up and she was one of my daughters about three years old and I heard her in my mother's kitchen sink and God made me a girl to oh I got going there mouth and she said my mom suggest is good and it's good to be a girl this right and she started naming the body parts for girls and my mother is well know this is what you do you try to teach her children that their body is a good thing not to be afraid it's not a dirty thing I have to say we have a 1 1/2-year-old grandson. It is right in that stage where he's telling everyone the boy and while I how and when he had his grandmother and he's very excited about telling everyone I thinking don't arrive but I think that at the end of the day. Children had to be children there and thus listen this age-appropriate prey. Now, if you have 21-year-old talk and write about age-appropriate Winston that but beyond that, if the child starts demonstrating these things.

I'm not a parenting expert. I teach ethics is what I been so not a psychologist on the psychiatrist on an endocrinologist on London, MD, but based on on the Bible. What I know is we don't want to exasperate our children. The word tells us that so what we need to do is stay firm and stay loving and stay calm and realize were probably in for a really long fight, but so often, children gauge their reactions off of our reaction and so we have to think very carefully about if our child demonstrates gender nonconformity portability with that. Now when they get older. What would they be doing that at next demonstrating that mother tell you I'm not a boy I'm a girl. They dress sometimes I want to do that right and you can't forget that sometimes teachers who do dumb things right.

You boys go see his sister to do and put it on and run through the yard or whatever.

I don't know this can be silly.

So this way, don't overreact, but sometimes I'll say that and use one of you, don't overreact to inform well know your boy and got a major boy in this good so these things can emerge at early ages and some as I can be quite defiant about it. Now the challenge were dealing with.

When children get older, especially teenagers and they start saying what I really think I'm in is an honest site preface by saying my children went to public school and graduated my both my girls graduate of McKenzie high school and they got a good education but we are in a situation now where in many school districts there sexually enlightened adults that think it is their responsibility to rescue children like that from Christian parents and they think it's their job to do that and they think they are being beneficent by doing it and they have no moral qualms with telnet child, oh no don't you listen your parents is really who you are.

You can't lump all school districts into one, but you just have to be aware of the environment and you really really have to be aware, though the thing is if I could do one thing different is apparent. This is especially true if you don't the child transgender issues or gender dysphoria is one mistake I might as I got my children. One of these. I'm holding up my smart phone. I got my children will leased at too early an age. I mean if I had do over again I made them use a flip phone to their 18 and they had built a social stigma right and then you're not alone and that the inventors are safety zones and these ab letter saying we don't come to our kids until there mature age they can handle and I was had done that and I got good girls like their fine Christian young women living for the Lord. I'm just I am arrived. So this is true transgender's as well because what you have to understand is you given a 12-year-old going through puberty that suddenly feels this will maybe I'm in the wrong body was week two clicks on this phone in one search and you got all sorts of people telling them all Known there's a YouTube videos that go on and on of testimonies recruiting videos and educating the track children in his hand, and I think with our kids.

You can handle it with the six-year-old who who is a we use to call girl tomboy who wants to go play football with the boys and you handle that differently than you can handle it with a 14-year-old who is saying I I think I'm a girl and a boy's body.

But I think the principles that you talked about here Allen the principles of patients not freaking out compassion, understanding, asking a lot of questions and then protecting your kids from a culture that is going to be aggressively trying to change the way they think about what they're feeling and move them away from a biblical approach to this your book I think is helpful. The book is called affirming God's image, addressing the transgender question with science and Scripture. And it's a good book for any of us to go through go to family life to get a copy of Jay Allen branches book affirming God's image ordered from us or call if you prefer to order by phone the number is one 800 F. L. Today, 1-800-358-6329 that's one 800 F as in family L as in life, and then the word today again. The book is called affirming God's image, addressing the transgender question with science and Scripture. I hope you find the conversations like the one we've had today helpful.

I hope it helps you think more biblically about issues related to marriage and family at the Preston family life David Robbins here with us. And if you do find these conversations helpful. You need to know that they don't happen without your help, David. Thanks, Bob owner reminded listeners. As we approach the end of the year that this is a critical time and family life's ministry over 40% of our donations for the entire year come in this month and these 30 days determine how family life's going to be able to fuel ministry in our future broadcasting over the next 12 months. As you can imagine, we've had to make some tough choices this year were hoping that through the generosity of people like you, we can continue to be on this station in the year ahead and keep offering help and hope for the relationships that matter most in her life.

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What you do in that moment, Jay Allen, branch joins us again tomorrow. Hope you can join us as well. Think our engineer today. Keith Lynch along with our entire broadcast production team on behalf of our hosts Dave and Ann Wilson on Bob Lapine see you back next time for another edition of family life, family life to day is a production of family life of Little Rock, Arkansas. Accrue ministry help for today hope for tomorrow

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