People wrestling with transsexualism need the truth and the love of the Bible, a Christian theologian has said.
Rob Smith, a lecturer at an Australian Bible college, warned that all people will try to invent themselves in a potentially damaging way, unless “we find our rest in Christ”.
In a series of interviews with the Desiring God website, Smith addressed the tension between public and pastoral responses to the issue, saying that the core of the answer must remain unchanged.
Smith said that the possible causes of gender dysphoria, believing you are in the wrong body, can be complex.
But he said “the truth is the truth and our message is the same”, while acknowledging there is a distinction between how we respond to activists seeking to ‘deconstruct gender’ and genuine sufferers.
“Our political engagement and our pastoral practice can’t be two completely separate things”, he explained, adding it is a love for our neighbours and a concern for society which is behind both.
He said Christians need to listen to transsexuals’ stories, but make sense of them “in the light of Scripture”.
Discussing the levels of regret that people face, he stated, “for those who take the radical steps of sex reassignment surgery, there is so much that cannot then be undone”.
He urged Christians to engage in the issue with “gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).
Until we find our rest in Christ, we will be trying to invent ourselves in some way or another
But he emphasised that while helping people struggling with transsexualism is not easy, “encouraging or enabling” them to ‘change sex’ is not the answer.
Smith concluded by recognising that all people have been made by God. He said finding our identity in Jesus is “really the only place for any of us to begin”.
“This, of course, may be highlighted in a special way for those who are battling unwanted same-sex attraction as it is for those who are battling unwanted gender dysphoria.
“But it is actually true of all of us. Until we find our rest in Christ, we will be trying to invent ourselves in some way or another, in a way that will only end in tears.”
Rob Smith is a theologian who studied at Moore Theological College before becoming a lecturer at Sydney Missionary and Bible College, Australia.
In February, former transsexual Walt Heyer spoke to The Christian Institute about his experience, after the BBC promoted hormone therapy and sex-change surgery in its six o’clock news bulletin.