Transgender: Christian compassion, convictions and wisdom for todays big questions (Talking Points) By Vaughan Roberts

    There's been huge cultural change in the last few decades. Same-sex marriage would have been unthinkable 20 or 30 years ago. Now it's almost universally accepted in the Western world. Now suddenly the issue of transgender is the next big social, cultural issue that has dominated the headlines.

    Vaughan Roberts surveys the Christian worldview and seeks to apply these principles to the many complex questions surrounding gender identity. This short book gives an overview and a starting point for constructive discussion as we seek to live in a world with different values, and love, serve and relate to transgender people.

    Talking Points is a series of short books designed to help Christians think, talk and relate to others with compassion, conviction and wisdom about today's big issues. Transgender: Christian compassion, convictions and wisdom for todays big questions (Talking Points)

    Transgender:

    Short little book for a very controversial conversation in the Christian world.

    This book is mainly written for Christians. It explains what being trans means, and also says what the Bible says about gender, sex, and our bodies.

    I appreciated that the author had multiple citations from secular sources. Often Christians fear information that isn't created by them, but this was a delightful exception.

    This book does not cover everything, and I do think he took a rather broad brush to sweep over Christian help available for trans people, but the purpose of the book is to start a conversation, not to provide all the answers, so I can't complain.

    I would highly recommend this book to my fellow Christians. It's less than 100 pages. It's worth every page. Paperback For what it is, and for what it claims to be (short, readable summary of the issue at hand), it is excellent. Some moments of genuine insight and clarity for me. Paperback It’s always wise to judge a book by what it claims itself to be. In the case of “Transgender”, Vaughan Roberts states that his purpose is not to present a thorough treatment of all the issues surrounding transgenderism, but “rather, our aim is to give you an accessible introduction to the many questions that surround the transgender issue, as we hold our questions up to the big story of the Bible: the story of creation, fall, redemption, and eternity.” In terms of an “accessible introduction” the book succeeds, given it’s only 68 pages long. In terms of conveying the “big story of the Bible: the story of creation, fall, redemption, and eternity,” the book again succeeds, given that 30 pages of the 68 are devoted to this very thing. But in terms of addressing the “many questions that surround the transgender issue,” the book is not as successful.

    As you’ve probably already done the math and discovered, almost half of the book is devoted to relating the story of redemptive history through three chapters, “Creation”, “Fall”, and “Rescue.” This is a great summary of the main narrative of the Bible and serves the reader well. However, I don’t feel that it serves the book well. Given the title of the book, one would not expect to find the majority of the book devoted to unpacking the Gospel. To be fair, there are some minor applications of the Gospel made to the topic of transgenderism throughout these three chapters, but they are few and far between, and very shallow when they do occur.

    That said, the first two chapters are very helpful, with chapter one being devoted to defining several terms in the transgender discussion and chapter two giving a concise analysis of how subjective individualism has contributed to the transgender movement. The concluding chapter, however, isn’t as helpful and it’s really a shame seeing as how it’s titled “Wisdom.” Roberts attempts to provide biblical guidance for several situations involving trasngendered people, non-transgendered people, and the church, but again, the biblical application is fairly shallow and there’s not much in the way of practical advice.

    This book wasn’t expensive and didn’t take much of my time at all to read, but honestly, I don’t feel as though I benefited very much from this book. The definition of terms in the first chapter will be good to have as a reference and the recommended reading for further study in the back will probably prove helpful, but as far as this book is concerned, I don’t feel it fully lives up to it’s stated purpose. Paperback Short but helpful biblical crash course through the topic of Transgenderism and how the church should respond. Something we all need to read. Paperback Great Introduction to a Difficult Issue

    With wisdom, grace, and conviction Roberts addresses the issues surrounding Gender Identity Disorder/transgender. This was a very clear and helpful book from a man who understands deep struggles. Paperback

    Talking Points is a series of short books designed to help Christians to think and talk about today's big issues, and to relate to others with compassion, conviction and wisdom.

    The topic for this short book is transgenderism. It is a good introduction to the topic and explains all of the various terms. The author then focuses on what the Bible says and the fall of man which essentially is at the root of all of these things.

    I felt the use of definitions provided by Stonewall was unwise. Stonewall are not only an LGBT rights group but they often actively campaign against Christians in an attempt to force them not only to tolerate their agenda but to celebrate and embrace it.

    Worth glancing through if you get a chance but limited in its scope. Paperback A fantastically helpful gospel-centred approach to the transgender topic, and to sexuality in general. Confident, clear and compassionate. Highly recommended!

    Chapter 1: A transgender person is someone whose feelings about their gender don't fit with their biological sex. Two common and wrong unthinking emotional responses to avoid summarised under the headings Yuk and Yes. Helpful glossary of current terminology.

    Chapter 2: The current cultural climate (iWorld) values individual autonomy and authenticity above all else, meaning that each person is free & encouraged to define their own sexual identity with reference to nothing but their own feelings.

    Chapter 3: The Christian Response #1 - Creation. Because humans are created by God, we are not free to define who we are, rather true freedom is found in embracing who God has made us to be. Art restoration: We are works of art created by a master, seeking restoration to our original glory. We are embodied creatures with a high view of our physical bodies, and sexual creatures made either man or woman. However, various cultures have imposed limited/stereotyped views of what it means to be a man or a women, whereas the Bible allows a wider range of ways to express our essential maleness or femaleness.

    Chapter 4: The Christian Response #2 - Fall. Human sin & rebellion against God has resulted in disordered bodies (including disabilities, some of which cause gender confusion, such as intersex conditions), disordered minds (including physiological disorders, some of which also cause gender confusion, such as gender dysphoria), and most of all, disordered hearts which desire to turn from God's good design (including turning from natural to unnatural sexual behaviour, as described in Romans 1).

    Chapter 5: The Christian Response #3 - Rescue. Through Jesus, we can find a new identity, security and acceptance, a growing ability to resist the sinful desires of our disordered hearts, and hope to persevere amidst the struggles of disordered bodies and minds. We look forward to the promise of perfectly restored bodies, minds and hearts in the future new creation.

    Chapter 6: Wisdom. Practical and compassionate advice for responding to various people and situations. When we have a firm basis in the gospel (creation, the fall and rescue), it allows us to confidently and boldly extend a healthy grace and patience as we encourage others to understand and respond to the good news of Jesus as it relates to transgender issues. Paperback 1 star

    I've rated this actually 1 star instead of 0

    The start of the book was really strong and I was actually pleasantly surprised with it. It went through terminology facts about transgender issues.

    Then it went downhill

    It basically says that you shouldn't give into the temptations to transition and you should ignore the feelings of gender dysphoria. If it really was that easy to do, there wouldn't be such a high rate of suicide amoung those who haven't been supported after coming out

    Here's a quote from a study run by the Trevor Project:

    “We have found, now year over year, that greater levels of support and acceptance is associated with dramatically lower rates of attempting suicide,” said Dr. Amy Green, director of research at The Trevor Project. “This includes the powerful role of gender-affirming care and support for transgender and nonbinary youth. The data serve as a clarion call for us to prioritize affirming systems of support for LGBTQ youth that will benefit society for years to come.”

    By simply supporting people, you help them drastically. Support comes from not only loving them, but using they chosen name and correct pronouns. That's it, that's the very basics that someone who is trans needs

    This book doesn't preach for love towards transgender people, it basically says you should tolerate trans people because they are human. It says that if you are close to someone, to discuss what the bible has to say about it

    The author also goes to say that if you are Christian and dealing with these feelings, to not deal with it alone and to reach out. But then it says that the Holy Spirit will help you to conform your desires and behaviours to that identity. Saying that it will demand careful thought and persistent prayer that you won't be able to do alone. Basically praying theses feelings away, which might not work because there is nothing wrong with you

    This book has the illusion of love and support, but instead dismisses it and tells you to hide gender dystopia. That isn't support, that's 'I'll support you as long as you know it's wrong and make no decision to actively pursue transitioning in any way'. Paperback Picked up on a whim in London; not what I expected or hoped. Written for an Evangelical, biblical literalist, Christian audience. Within that framework, it’s essentially: how to politely be anti-trans. Paperback Vaughan Roberts is a past master of pithy clarity and concise overview - exemplified by his great popularisation of Graeme Goldsworthy's work in his God's Big Picture: Tracing the Story-Line of the Bible. Over the years he has written on a number of theological and ethical issues in similar fashion.

    This contribution (the first of a handful of his in the Good Book Company's new Talking Points series) is timely and crucial. Christians are too often caught lagging far behind the concerns and debates of wider society - and transgender issues is a case in point.

    So hopefully many will read and get thinking. There are several positive things about Vaughan's all too short volume:
    - he has engaged with some voices from the trans community;
    - he is prepared to let them set the terms (e.g. by using Stonewall's online definitions);
    - he writes with a compassionate and approachable tone
    - he works hard to bring ancient biblical truths to bear on some thorny and painful issues in a non-judgmental way.

    That said, we should be clear that this is at best an introduction, square 1, or perhaps 1.5. In that, it excels. But you won't find difficult, risky or (dare I say it) dangerous, explorations of how on earth we love and help people for whom these questions are so personal. For example, it is impossible to exaggerate the importance of this reassurance for the Christian facing this battle:

    this struggle, these feelings, do not define you. They may, at least partly, describe how you are, but they do not describe who you are. (p66)
    This is vital. Many would do well to learn not to define anyone by they struggles or failings or battles. But the danger of a book of such brevity is that it can seem a little glib at that very point, leaving open the whole issue of what one does with those feelings. As another reviewer has said, it would have been better to get to this final chapter quicker, although I do understand the desire to place everything into a gospel framework. That is vital. [By the way, as a small aside and not a specific comment on Vaughan's book, must every biblical issues book follow the creation-fall-redemption-new creation structure?! There's no doubting how foundational it is - but why not search out alternatives just once in a while?!]

    As a primer for prompting believers to think, this is perfect. Just see it for what it is: a start, not an end. Still, I'm hugely grateful for Vaughan and his courage and work in some very tricky areas. He has been a model of open vulnerability, and so this book never comes from a position of moral superiority - and so he is in a perfect position to write about these matters. I just wish he went beyond providing the helpful list of further reading! For that reason, I hovered between 3 and 4 stars, but gave it the benefit of the doubt for what it does achieve.

    [Disclaimer: I was sent a free review copy of this book, and have known and worked with Vaughan at various points for nearly 30 years] Paperback

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