“Too often we think the only categories are affirmation or alienation,” Southern Baptist Convention president J.D. Greear said.
What pronoun should a Christian use when interacting with a Transgendered person? Southern Baptist Convention president J.D. Greear suggests that a generosity of spirit should trump truth telling. In other words, use the preferred pronoun. Greear, pastor of the Summit Church, gave the advice in the latest (Nov. 18, 2019) edition of his Ask Me Anything podcast. (Source)
When presented the question for this week, Greear commented on how some questions are posed to cause trouble.
“Behind every question is a questioner,” Greear said. “When I hear a question like this, one of the first thing I want to do is filter. Is this somebody that is antagonistic? Are they trying to pick a fight? Is this like the Pharisees with Jesus?”
Greear points out that often the question is asked from the opposite side, from someone who is themselves transgender and trying to make sense of the issue. Or, the question can come from someone “trying to love” someone transgender and figure out the best way to show someone love and respect.
“Like with homosexuality, too often we think the only categories are affirmation or alienation,” Greear said.
Greear said that behind every issue of homosexuality and transgender “is a question of unanswered prayer.”
Guiding Greear’s thinking on this topic is a desire for the church to be a safe place for sinners.
“The church ought to be for people who struggle with sins of any kind because we teach this is the human condition and Jesus died for sinners,” Greear said.
Greear covered what determines gender. Greear claims genetics and examines the reasons for advancing this view. He bases this on the Bible, “He created them male and female,” and said God declared someone’s gender based upon their DNA.
“Our gender identity comes not from looking in, but from what our Heavenly Father declares over us,” Greear said.
As for the pronoun question, Greear “leans” heavily on Andrew Walker’s book that calls for charity.
“Some people on one side are going to say, ‘Hey, we’ve got to tell the truth and the truth is this person is male or female,’ and there are others who say, ‘Well, look as a courtesy you should refer to a transgender person by their preferred pronoun,” Greear said.
These are the two typical approaches, according to Greear: “Is it generosity of spirit or telling the truth?”
A “generosity of spirit” approach is what Greear prefers. “Personally, I lean a little bit toward generosity of spirit and that is where Andrew Walker is.
“If a transgender person came into our church, came into my life, I think my disposition would be to refer to them by their preferred pronoun,” Greear said. “When we want to talk about gender, I will be clear to them about the truth. The question is that the battlefront you want to choose.”
Greear citing Walker and Preston Sprinkle pointed to the Bible for evidence of a generosity of spirit being the best way to handle these types of situations. He cited the example of referring to different gods in the Old Testament.
So, what do you think? Is it generosity of spirit to tell the truth or use the preferred pronoun? Is Greear’s approach loving?
One Twitter user responded with an interesting question: “I wonder if that “generosity of spirit” would apply to someone who’s a white supremacist?” Good question.