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God and the Transgender Debate Perfect Paperback – August 15, 2017
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From the Publisher
Andrew T. Walker
Andrew is the Director of Policy Studies for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Erick Erickson, Editor of The Resurgent
How can Christians love our transgender neighbors compassionately, without compromising our faith? Andrew Walker puts us on the right path.
Jackie Hill Perry, writer and artist
I have been waiting for a resource that would provide me with a clear, loving, and gospel-centered analysis on the topic of gender dysphoria, and I have finally found it.
Rod Dreher, Author of The Benedict Option
Andrew T. Walker has thought deeply about these things, and is an invaluable guide for faithful Christians walking through the heat and confusion of this debate.
Rosaria Butterfield, author
In addition to its loving pastoral care and biblical family guidance, this book models how to discern the times, and to respond with Christian hope.
--Glenn T. Stanton, Director of Family Formation Studies at Focus on the Family
Andrew Walker is one of the young bright lights in the Evangelical church. In God and the Transgender Debate he helps the church both understand and compassionately respond to today's challenges on gender identity.
--Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D., Senior Research Fellow at The Heritage Foundation and author of Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom and When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment
Gender-identity questions are among the most radical of our time and the church is not prepared. Andrew T. Walker has thought deeply about these things, and is an invaluable guide for faithful Christians walking through the heat and confusion of this debate.
--Rod Dreher, Author of The Benedict Option
This book resonates with gospel clarity and gospel compassion. It will empower you to share the good news of Jesus with those who grapple with gender-identity issues. The book is smart, wise, persuasive, and practical.
--Russell Moore, President, The Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
Andrew Walker offers overdue clarity, compassion, and practical wisdom on one of the most difficult questions of our day. Along the way he demonstrates not only that we need not choose between truth and love, as we are often told, but that especially on these issues of human identity, we cannot. This is such an important book.
--John Stonestreet, President of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview
I have been waiting for a resource that would provide me with a clear, loving, and gospel-centered analysis on the topic of gender dysphoria, and I have finally found it. This resource will be incredibly helpful in assisting the body of Christ to be a light in today's cultural climate.
--Jackie Hill Perry, Writer and artist
This book puts the hand of the suffering into the hands of the Savior, and therefore, this is the book that I will put into the hands of parents struggling to know how God's word speaks into loving a child who struggles with gender-identity issues. In addition to its loving pastoral care and biblical family guidance, this book models how to discern the times, and to respond with Christian hope.
--Rosaria Butterfield, Author of Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert
What should Christians think and say about those who feel their gender is out of line with their biological sex? Should we accept that or silently acquiesce? Andrew Walker rightly says no, but in a compassionate manner that recognizes the psychological struggles and the suffering of people who experience alienation from themselves as God made them.
--Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University
Christians must begin to think and speak biblically, in truth and love, about this issue. Andrew Walker has provided a steady foundation from which the church can begin to grapple with this cultural shift.
--Karen Swallow Prior, Author of Fierce Convictions The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More: Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist
Andrew Walker writes on a tough subject with courage and compassion. This is the book Christians need to read to cut through the politically-correct noise and get to the heart of one of the most contentious issues of our time.
--David French, Senior Fellow, National Review Institute
The post-Christian West says that we are what we think we are, not what our bodies reveal us to be and this is one of the chief challenges to Christianity today. That is why God and the Transgender Debate is so important. It is a countercultural, compassionate, must-read book.
--Denny Burk, President, the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
The Bible says to love your neighbor and to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. How can Christians love our transgender neighbors compassionately, without compromising our faith? Andrew Walker puts us on the right path.
--Erick Erickson, Editor of The Resurgent
Andrew Walker has given us a much-needed resource for understanding the questions around transgender issues. With clarity and gentleness, he calls us back to a biblical vision of humanity, creation, and gender, and invites us to see fidelity to that vision as the most loving way we can engage with a confused world.
--Mike Cosper, Founder of Harbor Media; Author of The Stories we Tell
Walker has done what many could not. He has not only given the church a tool for greater understanding of this area, but has done so with grace, conviction, careful study and thought, and deep love for others. This is not only a timely book; it's a timeless resource for anyone desiring to serve and love their neighbor as themselves.
--Trillia Newbell, Author of Enjoy and Fear and Faith
Andrew Walker brings a sharp mind and pastoral heart to a complex and often painful issue, and the result is a hugely helpful resource for the church today, full of wisdom, grace and truth. I recommend it highly.
--Sam Allberry, Speaker with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries; Editor at The Gospel Coalition
One of evangelicalism's brightest young stars helps us understand how the gospel can be good news, and how the church can be a faithful community, for somebody experiencing gender dysphoria. If you are looking for a one-stop resource for responding biblically to questions about transgender and gender fluidity, look no further.
--Bruce Riley Ashford, Provost and Professor of Theology and Culture, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; Author of Every Square Inch
Christians will need an extra measure of wisdom and an extra measure of compassion in walking with people who struggle with their gender identity. Andrew Walker demonstrates the kind of wisdom and compassion we will need in the days ahead. God and the Transgender Debate sets current debates over identity within a biblical worldview and offers counsel on tough questions.
--Trevin Wax, Bible and Reference Publisher for B&H, author of This Is Our Time: Everyday Myths In Light of the Gospel
About the Author
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To begin with, Walker commits the cardinal sin of hermeneutics in that he allows his preconceptions to determine his conclusion. We all have preconceptions when it comes to Scripture, especially with a subject as complex as this, yet what matters is that we set those preconceptions aside and allow the textual evidence to drive the conclusions we draw. Walker does not do this. Rather, by the time he actually engages with Scripture in Chapter 5 his argument is laid out such that the reader already knows what his conclusion is going to be. And Walker then proceeds to examine just enough Scripture to support it. The result is an overly narrow determination which ignores evidence from the text that doesn’t fit the narrative Walker advocates.
In addition, Walker makes assumptions with regards to the biblical text that do not hold up logically. In Chapter 7, for example, he argues that experiencing gender dysphoria is not sinful but that transitioning, or acting upon those feelings, is. In other words, the inner reality is not sinful but acting on it in the outer reality is. To the best of my knowledge, gender dysphoria is not mentioned in Scripture yet when one examines comparable examples of inner vs outer realities you see that Walker’s assertion doesn’t hold up. In Matthew 5:28, for example, Jesus says, “I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” In terms of sinfulness, there is no difference between the inner reality of lust and the outer reality of adultery. The same is true several verses earlier where, in v. 21-22 Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.” The inner reality again gets you in just as much trouble as the outer one. (Please note that I’m not arguing for the sinfulness of dysphoria or transitioning. There are good reasons in the biblical text to reject such a view. I am simply demonstrating the flaw in Walker’s assertion.) Why then should a distinction be made in terms of sinfulness with regards to dysphoria and transitioning? The only rationale I can see for it is that Walker wants such a distinction to exist.
Finally, it needs to said that the only compassion Walker shows in "God and the Transgender Debate" is not for trans people but rather for those who are troubled by our existence. He spends most of the latter half of the book setting up a theological “box” for trans people to live in. He cannot reject our existence altogether and so instead he sets up this box within which he will tolerate trans people. Again, given the sloppy exegesis and flawed logic which characterizes the book, the only rationale I can see for supporting such a box is that Walker wants it to exist. (For those who disagree regarding his compassion I’d ask how he shows it for people he won’t even include in a book that’s supposedly about them.)
This book does not represent the level of scholarship I would expect from one associated with the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. "God and the Transgender Debate" does not live up to its title. Walker is not speaking for God. He’s not even speaking from the Bible. He is, rather, speaking from his own prejudice and discomfort around trans people. If you really want to understand trans people in light of Scripture there are other, far more honest resources out there. Don’t waste your time with this one.
Walker articulates a genuine compassion toward those who experience Gender Dysphoria. He speaks of personal experience and of the BIble's command to love our neighbor. Pg.102–103 are especially rich in this regard. Moreover, Walker directly challenges the church with our lack of compassion and empathy toward people who have experiences we don't understand.
Walker speaks with a clarity and wisdom that indicates genuine thought and reflection. He provides a biblical view of the body, sexuality, and emotions. In doing so, he frames the conversation in a way that enables the reader to rightly understand how the Bible does in fact speak to a person's experience of gender dysphoria.
This book challenged me to think more carefully, biblically, and reflectively about what it means to love my neighbor in general, but my transgender neighbor in particular. Throughout the book, Walker does not speak of hatred, fear, manipulation, or intimidation. Rather, he helpfully blends grace and truth together to paint a picture of love—love that dignifies, love that serves, love that listens, love that speaks, and love that endures.
Missing From This Book
One thing this book does lack is the scientific research about the medical nature of gender dysphoria, stories of transitioning, and the like. However, this is not the purpose of the book and it appears walker has left that project up to those who are already writing on the subject. For such information, I would personally recommend Nancy Pearcy's chapter in "Love Thy Body."
At the very least, he acknowledges that gender dysphoria is a real and horrible thing to experience, but misses the point on how to deal with it. If you are considering getting this book for a transgender person in your life. Don't. The only reason to buy this book is to spread an anti-LGBT message.
Top international reviews
There is a distinct lack of effort on the part of the author to inform themselves on the current clinical literature on transgender topics, instead the author relies on a couple of questionable essays by authors like McHugh and Mayer - neither of whom have contributed to the knowledge in this field in the last 30 years.
The theological analysis is similarly profoundly superficial, choosing to mostly reiterate common arguments without examining them critically in the context of either scripture or clinical evidence. As a result, what we get is largely a bunch of arguments which serve only to further entrench existing biases rather than help the readers move beyond those biases and understand how new information challenges the interpretation of scripture.
The weakness in the analysis is made all the clearer by the lack of quality in the footnotes. For the entire book ( some 175 pages ) there are a total of 33 footnotes, and not one of those references anything more credible than a blog article. Considering a 10-15 page undergraduate paper is likely to have more references than this book does.