BGCT transgender resolution: Gender is 'gift of God'
DALLAS (BP) -- A resolution on transgender issues, declaring gender is determined biologically, not psychologically, was adopted by the Baptist General Convention of Texas' Executive Board during its Feb. 23-24 meeting in Dallas.
The resolution was considered at the request of several Texas Baptist university presidents who stated the need to apply for a Title IX exemption from the U.S. Department of Education in dealing with accommodations for transgender students. Their application would be strengthened with a statement from the BGCT addressing the issue, the presidents had noted.
Title IX of the federal Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities that receive any federal assistance.
The Department of Education added transgender persons last year as a protected class in Title IX regulations.
The Executive Board resolution was approved without opposition, upholding the Bible as the authority for faith and practice for the BGCT and its institutions.
The resolution cites Genesis 1:27, Matthew 19:4 and Mark 10:6 as affirmation that God created humanity as two genders: male and female. And it notes that "in creation, God made male and female as biological gender assignment."
It expresses "great concern with the emergence of the transgender agenda and the notion that one's gender is determined psychologically, not biologically." Some people today, the resolution states, are "expressing a desire to identify themselves with the gender, which differs from their biological gender.... Some of these persons are seeking to function in the broader society as if they are members of the gender that differs from their biological gender."
A call for respect and ministry also is sounded in the resolution.
"We desire for all people, including those who consider themselves transgender, to be treated with love and respect, but that such love and respect not be construed as approval for every behavior," the BGCT Executive Board stated. "[W]e seek to minister to all persons, including those who consider themselves transgender."
The full text of the resolution follows this story.
David Hardage, executive director for the BGCT, voiced affirmation of the board's resolution.
"As Texas Baptists, we believe in the value and worth of all people," Hardage said in a statement after the meeting. "It is never our intention to demean or harm. We believe we have managed this functional and political matter appropriately on behalf of our great institutions."
Ferrell Foster, director of ethics and justice for the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission, said in a Feb. 25 statement, "Some of our institutions may desire to seek a religious exemption to the Title IX requirement, and they asked that the convention speak specifically to the issue. The resolution approved by the Executive Board represents both the truth of the biblical testimony regarding gender and the love of Christ for all people."
During discussion, board member Wesley Shotwell, pastor of Ash Creek Baptist Church in Azle, expressed understanding of the legal reasons, but also concern for how the resolution could be perceived.
"I hope anything we say, any resolution we make, has no opportunity to be construed by a group of people that we are against them, that Jesus is against them," Shotwell said. "I hope we will always project compassion and, while maybe not understanding, at least love and allow the Gospel to work in the lives of these people."
The Southern Baptist Convention, in its June 2014 meeting in Baltimore, also adopted a resolution "On Gender Identity," stating that "our love for the Gospel and urgency for the Great Commission must include declaring the whole counsel of God, proclaiming what Scripture teaches about God's design for us as male and female persons created in His image and for His glory."
SBC leaders stated at the time that the resolution was in response to recent gains by LGBT advocates (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) in state legislatures, the federal executive branch, public schools and the wider culture.
The SBC resolution stated that "we love our transgender neighbors, seek their good always, welcome them to our churches and, as they repent and believe in Christ, receive them into church membership (2 Corinthians 5:18–20; Galatians 5:14)" and that "we regard our transgender neighbors as image-bearers of Almighty God and therefore condemn acts of abuse or bullying committed against them."
BGCT Executive Board Resolution on Transgender Issues
WHEREAS, the Bible is the authority for faith and practice by Texas Baptists, the Baptist General Convention of Texas, and BGCT institutions; and
WHEREAS, the Bible states that God created humanity as two genders, male and female, and this includes Jesus' own affirmation (Genesis 1:27; Matthew 19:4; Mark 10:6); and
WHEREAS, in the Bible gender is based on biological attributes and is seen as a gift from God and immutable; and
WHEREAS, some people today are expressing a desire to identify themselves with the gender which differs from their biological gender; and
WHEREAS, some of these persons are seeking to function in the broader society as if they are members of the gender that differs from their biological gender; therefore
BE IT RESOLVED that the Executive Board of the Baptist General Convention of Texas express great concern with the emergence of the transgender agenda and the notion that one's gender is determined psychologically, not biologically; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we affirm that in creation God made male and female as biological gender assignment; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we desire for all people, including those who consider themselves transgender, to be treated with love and respect but that such love and respect not be construed as approval for every behavior, and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that we seek to minister to all persons, including those who consider themselves transgender.