The Transgender Poster Boy Goes Public: A pastor’s personal take concerning the Bruce-to-Caitlyn Jenner controversy
You would have to be living in a remote region of the planet cut off from all communication not to have heard about the Bruce-to-Caitlyn Jenner transformation. Well, it’s not really a transformation when compared with the offer of new life freely given to all in the gospel of Jesus of Nazareth. Let’s just say that Bruce has had a drastic hormonal and surgical makeover. William Bruce Jenner came into this world on October 28, 1949. He became one of the most famous American athletes of the 20th century by winning the 1976 Olympic Decathlon in Montreal.
Bruce, or Caitlyn as he wants to be called today, has been married three times. His last marriage to Kris Jenner (formally Kardashian) lasted for 23 years. He has four children by previous marriages as well as two more daughters with Kris. Bruce was also the stepparent to Kris’s four other children from her previous marriage to the lawyer Robert Kardashian. The couple announced their separation in October 2013 and their divorce terms were finalized in December 2014 and went into effect on March 23, 2015.
After Olympic success, Jenner decided to cash in on his celebrity status requiring him to forgo any future Olympic appearances. His agent at the time, George Wallach, felt at the time that there was a four-year window as holder to the title of “World's Greatest Athlete” to capitalize upon. As is customary, Jenner appeared on the front of Wheaties brand breakfast cereal.
I have discovered that there is a politically correct way to speak and write about the transgendered person. The proper etiquette for them is to refer to them with gender appropriate pronouns even when making references to their past history as a biological male or female. Caitlyn has become the darling of the LBGT community. She is a very high profile celebrity as well as a self-described Christian conservative Republican. Aside from challenging the false stereotype of the progressives that all conservatives are homophobic racists, Jenner’s personal beliefs are being challenged by many evangelical Christians. Most of this is directed towards the assertion that she was a female trapped in the body of a man.
I do not want to rehash the debate concerning homosexuality and the other hot button topic issues of the LGBT community. I do want to challenge my fellow evangelicals to recognize that we have not done a very good job of presenting the gospel to those who struggle with issues of sexual identity and/or same sex attraction. The gospel is the only real hope for humanity. The Apostle Paul made it very clear when he wrote to the believers in Rome that both religious and non-religious people are sinners in need of the Savior, Rom. 3:9-20. “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Rom. 3.23.
The cure for what ails people cannot be found in a cosmetic makeover. Gender reassignment may make a person feel more comfortable, or more in sync with their self concept, but transformation is found only in Jesus. Only in Him can we become the righteousness of God in Christ, II Cor. 5:17-21. Because of what Jesus has done, we can be transformed from sinners into saints by the grace of God. Even the gift of saving faith is the result of God’s grace (unmerited favor). Only then can we be truly holy and blameless before Him in love, Eph. 1:4. Therefore, the born again child of God is not dysfunctional in any way, but is being conformed into the likeness of the Messiah. God changes people from the inside out.
It is a sad truth that often we are instructed with only one half of the gospel. We know that we are forgiven and are heaven-bound, but who is this new creation? There is much confusion concerning this topic and it is only dispelled when we take God at His Word and believe what the Messiah did for us. Only then can we find true joy, peace and contentment. When we understand the scope of the solution that our Creator offers a confused and sin-cursed world, we will be able to offer a real solution to the LGBT community. If we don’t take God at His Word with regard to our own new identity in Christ, how can we possibly believe this will apply to the LBGT’s or anyone else for that matter?
What are we telling sinners? That they are choosing an immoral and unbiblical lifestyle? Are we sending them the message that they can choose not to have these physical and psychological inclinations that are entrenched in them. That is not the complete gospel. Error will always lead to bondage but God’s truth will always set us free. For this reason, understanding the complete gospel is critical to our victory over the world, the flesh (our carnal mind left over from the person we used to be) and the Devil.
It seems that Christians develop a sort of self-induced amnesia. We forget or downplay the fact that we were all sinners from the time of our conception, Ps. 51:5. That the Fall really changed us. Sin is not just what we do when we transgresses God’s commandments; sin is what we are apart from Christ. We are genetically, physically, psychologically, emotionally and quite literally born sinners. We find this hopeless condition in ourselves and apart from divine intervention; we cannot do that which is right in the sight of the Lord for the right reasons. If anyone can will themselves into becoming righteous, there is no need for the Savior. Why then do we so easily condemn others? It is easy to see our faults in others while being blissfully unaware that we suffer from the same maladies.
How can we possibly reach the lost if we are only condemning them? Are we telling them that they can choose not to have these physical and psychological proclivities that seem to be rooted in their innermost being? Because we do not offer the LBGTs the hope of a transformed life in Christ, those who are born again will usually opt to go to places where their lifestyle choices are embraced such as the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC). If you read the MCC statement of faith, it would sound like any other evangelical denomination of Christianity. What is not being emphasized is MCC’s inclusion of same sex marriage as well as their tacit approval of all the alternative lifestyles of the LBGT community.
It seems evident that all of the media pundits agree that Bruce, now Caitlyn, is heroic for following what she believes is God’s plan for her life. It also seems that Caitlyn is cashing in on her celebrity with yet another reality TV series to follow. When I heard Bruce (prior to his sex-change surgery) tell us he struggled with this and he waited until his children were grown adults to go through with the transgender surgery, I thought he might be keeping this change in his life private. That turned out to be far from truth. I am concerned that this high profile example of extreme self-centeredness and Jenner’s blatant disregard for the way God originally created him will have dire consequences on the young people of the next generation.
Are we speaking the truth in love to those others including those who are part of the LGBT community? Or are we simply condemning them without sharing the hope that the gospel offers as a free gift to anyone who comes to God through the sacrifice of His Son? We want everyone to know that the Creator has a plan for their lives. Let’s prayerfully consider the amazing grace of our Lord and Savior and how we can best present the gospel to those who are lost, including those who are in the LGBT community.
Submitted by Pastor Steve Rowitt, Ph.D.
Postscript: This article is written from my personal perspective. This article is not being presented as the Creation Studies Institute’s view on this matter. CSI has a position paper on the subject of homosexuality that can be found at here: A Position Paper of the Creation Studies Institute on Homosexuality.