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Transgender: Christian compassion, convictions and wisdom for today's big questions

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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 princi 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.


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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 princi 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.

30 review for Transgender: Christian compassion, convictions and wisdom for today's big questions

  1. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Vellacott

    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. Ston 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.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Essie-Marie W.

    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 Chris 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.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    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 debate 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]

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    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 an 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.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dylan Brady

    Short but helpful biblical crash course through the topic of Transgenderism and how the church should respond. Something we all need to read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jacinta Sheridan

    A helpfully clear and concise book by Vaughan. He deals with the topic empathetically as a Godly man, who himself has struggled with his own same-sex attraction. He does a great job of helping Christians understand Transgenderism and identity as made, but marred people. He shows us how the good news of Jesus tells a better story and gives us a firm identity, one that isn't based on who we think we are or how we feel, instead, of who we are made to be. This can take away the anxiety of determinin A helpfully clear and concise book by Vaughan. He deals with the topic empathetically as a Godly man, who himself has struggled with his own same-sex attraction. He does a great job of helping Christians understand Transgenderism and identity as made, but marred people. He shows us how the good news of Jesus tells a better story and gives us a firm identity, one that isn't based on who we think we are or how we feel, instead, of who we are made to be. This can take away the anxiety of determining for ourselves an identity and instead trusting God who gives us one, as fully known, fully loved creatures who need some restoration to the Creator's intention, not to try and change it. It ends with some helpful questions and practical answers of how we can love and care for people struggling with gender identity.

  7. 4 out of 5

    David Monreal

    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.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    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.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tommy Humbert

    Good for what it claimed to be: a very brief introduction to how we can think about transgender people. Key word being people, all of whom are worthy of our love and respect.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Josh Miller

    Good overview of the transgender issue. Helps to inform one's thinking regarding those who struggle with gender dysphoria and similar issues in light of the truth of God's Word. My main takeaway from this book is the emphasis that we are ALL broken in one way or another and that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only answer to our brokenness. Good overview of the transgender issue. Helps to inform one's thinking regarding those who struggle with gender dysphoria and similar issues in light of the truth of God's Word. My main takeaway from this book is the emphasis that we are ALL broken in one way or another and that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only answer to our brokenness.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kris

    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” th 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.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Manchester

    This was a good book, particularly for one struggling with the topic. Not very extensive, but it's not meant to be. The last two chapters are worth the book, "Rescue" and "Wisdom". I really hope those reading it take home the point of being respectful (though I'm sure will disagree with how far we should go with that). The middle of the book kinda slows but that doesn't mean it's not helpful in those sections. Overall, it's a really good book and I recommend it. However, I am still looking for m This was a good book, particularly for one struggling with the topic. Not very extensive, but it's not meant to be. The last two chapters are worth the book, "Rescue" and "Wisdom". I really hope those reading it take home the point of being respectful (though I'm sure will disagree with how far we should go with that). The middle of the book kinda slows but that doesn't mean it's not helpful in those sections. Overall, it's a really good book and I recommend it. However, I am still looking for my one-stop-shop book on this subject.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tom Wilding

    A short (and, I think, helpful) introduction to thinking more biblically (and sensitively) about a very current question. It was great to see recommended further reading at the back of the book. I look forward to seeing the insights that more discussion on this topic will provide for Christians and churches looking to serve this group and others in a loving way.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Smith

    Excellent introduction to an evolving topic. Helpful definitions and pastoral advice regarding how to approach those who are experiencing gender dysphoria or identify as transgender. While I believe Roberts succeeded in his main goal of introducing the topic as it relates to the gospel, he lacked in actually providing substantial information about the topic itself. The majority of the chapters seem to deal with man's sinfulness and God's redemptive plan while only sprinkling in snippets of how t Excellent introduction to an evolving topic. Helpful definitions and pastoral advice regarding how to approach those who are experiencing gender dysphoria or identify as transgender. While I believe Roberts succeeded in his main goal of introducing the topic as it relates to the gospel, he lacked in actually providing substantial information about the topic itself. The majority of the chapters seem to deal with man's sinfulness and God's redemptive plan while only sprinkling in snippets of how the transgender issue applies. The content is solid, but with only 74 pages of material there could have been more about the title. Chapters 1 & 2 along with the resources at the end are worth this small book though.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Steven Wiegman

    I don’t completely agree with the author and what is being said in the book. I have several trans friends who are honest with me and I with them. This book misses. I am glad that the church is inviting topics previously untouchable to the table, and how we can be Jesus to everyone. That is what I’m most happy about this book in it’s clarity - the response from believers needs to be one of love. Our response cannot be unquestioning affirmation, or complete ignorance and hateful, but it HAS to be o I don’t completely agree with the author and what is being said in the book. I have several trans friends who are honest with me and I with them. This book misses. I am glad that the church is inviting topics previously untouchable to the table, and how we can be Jesus to everyone. That is what I’m most happy about this book in it’s clarity - the response from believers needs to be one of love. Our response cannot be unquestioning affirmation, or complete ignorance and hateful, but it HAS to be of love for God’s creation and for someone who bears His image. If you’ve read and agree/disagree, please shoot me a message. This is specifically a short book of talking points, so let’s talk about it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jake Burlaga

    I think this read is very helpful, it is helpful for those who do not know much about those who are transgender. This book gives a clear Christian vision of how to interact with those who struggle with gender dysphoria. For instance, those struggling with gender dysphoria are struggling with identity, and God in His kindness has given us an Identity in the image of God. And more so, amid our brokenness in the world— God has given us identity in Him as a son or daughter because of what Jesus did I think this read is very helpful, it is helpful for those who do not know much about those who are transgender. This book gives a clear Christian vision of how to interact with those who struggle with gender dysphoria. For instance, those struggling with gender dysphoria are struggling with identity, and God in His kindness has given us an Identity in the image of God. And more so, amid our brokenness in the world— God has given us identity in Him as a son or daughter because of what Jesus did on the cross. Overall, this book is a short read that is very practical for engaging with those who struggle with gender identity. Great read!

  17. 4 out of 5

    J. Amill Santiago

    Short and sweet. The book doesn't aim to be exhaustive, but concise in nature. It is sort of an introduction to the subject from the perspective of the Christian worldview, rooting a Christian response in Creation and Eschatological Theology. Not a bad place to start thinking about this controversial matter. Nevertheless, perhaps the most positive aspect of the book was how gracious and compassionate was the whole tone of the book. We need more of that. Short and sweet. The book doesn't aim to be exhaustive, but concise in nature. It is sort of an introduction to the subject from the perspective of the Christian worldview, rooting a Christian response in Creation and Eschatological Theology. Not a bad place to start thinking about this controversial matter. Nevertheless, perhaps the most positive aspect of the book was how gracious and compassionate was the whole tone of the book. We need more of that.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa

    Another short, well written overview of the issues surrounding the transgender argument, that is an excellent introduction to the topic. The biblical argument built well through the chapters and the exortation to love and direct to Christ first is sorely needed in the Christian community. Yes from me.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Joshua

    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.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Varady-szabo

    This is a very simple overview of a christian position on transgenderism. Roberts clarifies the core issues, and suggest some ways to approach the topic with grace and truth.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    Provides a good start for talking and thinking about this subject.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Julie Reynolds

    A brief introduction on how the Christian church should be engaging with transgender people in a sensitive and Christ centred way. It could have been more detailed. It skimmed over the feelings of transgender people which was a shame because unless you wholly engage with transgender people you cannot stand beside them and love them.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Troy Nevitt

    Helpful thoughts. Some critiques, but a good response to a hard topic.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Hopson

    Crucial introductory reading for Christians wanting to think through the transgender issue from a biblical perspective. Roberts is compassionate, clear, and convictionally rooted in biblical truth. And at 80 pages this book could easily be read in one sitting. Highly recommend this one!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Courtney Huskisson

    This book is an excellent and well balanced introduction to what is happening on the battle front of gender in our culture and how Christians can live and respond. An incredibly accessible and short read. Roberts introduces where things are presently in the culture with clarity, yet with respect. Then turning to the biblical doctrine he outlines the design, the fall of the design, and how we got to where we are. He closes with a call to Christians for wisdom and grace. What I appreciated about t This book is an excellent and well balanced introduction to what is happening on the battle front of gender in our culture and how Christians can live and respond. An incredibly accessible and short read. Roberts introduces where things are presently in the culture with clarity, yet with respect. Then turning to the biblical doctrine he outlines the design, the fall of the design, and how we got to where we are. He closes with a call to Christians for wisdom and grace. What I appreciated about this book is that it is an outline of right doctrine, however is not antagonistic, but rather, grace-filled. I also really appreciated his metaphor of 'art restoration.' The design of all of creation has been broken in the fall. Our call is not to continue to completely mar the design, but to restore it back to it's original design; like art restoration seeks to reveal the original artists' intention. I think every Christian needs to pick up this book as an introduction, and then explore the larger works referenced in the back if the book if they are interested further.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Norton

    An excellent book about a hard topic. The transgender movement has many Christians confused and worried, I include myself in this. Roberts does a wonderful job of explaining what being transgender means and the various definitions used the LGBTQ community. Roberts goes a step further in this book and explains God's design in creation, the fall, and our rescue. He ends the book by giving practical advice on how to love those who are transgender and how to share their struggles and lead them to Ch An excellent book about a hard topic. The transgender movement has many Christians confused and worried, I include myself in this. Roberts does a wonderful job of explaining what being transgender means and the various definitions used the LGBTQ community. Roberts goes a step further in this book and explains God's design in creation, the fall, and our rescue. He ends the book by giving practical advice on how to love those who are transgender and how to share their struggles and lead them to Christ, who is the ultimate answer to the problems they and all of us face. Roberts was clear that being transgender or gay for that matter is no worse sin than being a liar or a murderer. We all are fallen creatures but we are also all created perfectly by God just as we are. A short, good read on a very relevant topic.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Imogen

    This book does what it says - it is a short book examining how Christians should approach transgender in light of the gospel. It's not meant to be comprehensive but it's a good summary, non-judgemental, Biblical and has some useful references to explore further. Though I've read quite a few reviews on here which bemoan that the majority of book is Roberts retelling the gospel, I think this is so vital - while remaining true to the gospel, he deftly links in what the Bible teaches about gender. T This book does what it says - it is a short book examining how Christians should approach transgender in light of the gospel. It's not meant to be comprehensive but it's a good summary, non-judgemental, Biblical and has some useful references to explore further. Though I've read quite a few reviews on here which bemoan that the majority of book is Roberts retelling the gospel, I think this is so vital - while remaining true to the gospel, he deftly links in what the Bible teaches about gender. Therefore, this is ideal for someone who is transgender to read, as well as for Christians who are concerned about how to approach this really challenging issue.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Seger

    I picked this up to get a little better understanding on what “transgender” means and how I might respond to the issue, especially since it’s come up so much lately in our culture. This is by no means an exhaustive book on transgenderism from a Christian perspective, but it is a gem. I feel like after finishing this book I’m a little more informed on the issue, a little more humble, & a lot more compassionate towards people for whom this is an issue.

  29. 4 out of 5

    John

    This is a very helpful book on a very important topic. Christians must be equipped to discuss this issue from a biblical perspective and this book serves as a helpful introduction. It is a very easy read (you could probably finish it in hour). Because of its accessibility and the importance of the topic, every Christian should pick up a copy.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    An excellent, short primer on transgender issues. Roberts uses the framework of creation, fall, and redemption to analyze and start the discussion. Certainly not an exhaustive resource, but a very helpful starting point.

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