Transgender issues to be focus of conf. at SBTS

by James A. Smith Sr., posted Monday, September 14, 2015 (2 years ago)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) -- A "first-ever" conference by evangelicals on the subject of transgenderism will be held Oct. 5 at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

"Transgender Confusion and Transformational Christianity" is a preconference to the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors annual conference Oct. 5-7, which is focused this year on the subject of homosexuality.

Speakers for the transgenderism conference, which is co-sponsored by Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, will include:

-- Heath Lambert, executive director of Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) and assistant professor of biblical counseling at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary;

-- Owen Strachan, president of Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) and associate professor of Christian theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary;

-- R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary;

-- Denny Burk, professor of biblical studies at Boyce College; and

-- James M. Hamilton Jr., professor of biblical theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

"Christians today are confronting issues that would have been unfathomable even a decade ago," Lambert said. "We are faced with news reports of parents allowing their children to choose their own gender, demands for cross-gender access to restrooms, and the insistence that tax dollars be used to fund gender reassignment surgeries. Issues like these and many others require an urgent Christian response. That is why ACBC is happy to partner with CBMW for the first-ever evangelical conference on transgender issues. We want to help the church respond in the present crisis with the wisdom and love of Jesus Christ."

Noting the "church desperately needs wisdom" on transgenderism, Strachan said, CBMW is "thrilled" to cosponsor the conference.

"Whenever men and women are encouraged to embrace an unbiblical identity, we are at the ready with God-given truth," he said. "Tragically, people today are being sold the lie that transgenderism will solve their deepest problems. At the ACBC preconference, we will show how the Gospel alone resolves the very real issue of gender dysphoria. Beyond that, we will make clear that Christ is our only hope, and we will equip the church to go out and rescue those trapped in falsehood."

Following the transgenderism preconference, ACBC will hold its annual conference: "Homosexuality: Compassion, Care, and Counsel for Struggling People." The sold-out conference is expected to draw 2,000 participants from across the nation, Lambert said.

Plenary speakers, including Lambert and Mohler, will be:

-- Rosaria Champagne Butterfield, formerly a tenured faculty member at Syracuse University where she taught English and Women's Studies, and published in the fields of 19th-century British literature and culture, feminist and queer theory and psychoanalysis. She is the author of "Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert and Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert on Sexual Identity and Union with Christ";

-- Sam Allberry, associate pastor of St. Mary's Church in Maidenhead, U.K., and author of "Is God Anti-Gay? And Other Questions About Homosexuality, the Bible, and Same-Sex Attraction."

-- Stuart Scott, professor of biblical counseling at The Master's College and Seminary, author of several books, and a fellow and member of the ACBC board; and

-- Robert Jones, professor of biblical counseling at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and author of "Uprooting Anger: Biblical Help for a Common Problem."

Rejecting the so-called "reparative therapy" model of homosexual change, Lambert said the event would be a "first-of-its-kind" conference addressing homosexuality from an evangelical perspective centered in the "conviction that the grace of Christ alone empowers the change that God requires and the Word of God is sufficient to chart this course for transformation."

Lambert noted, "In the current cultural climate, evangelicals must believe more about homosexuality than that it is sinful. Christians must also believe people who struggle with homosexuality can change and must have conviction about how to help them change."

In addition to the plenary session, professors, counselors, authors, theologians and other experts in the field will offer nearly 40 workshops during the three-day conference.

More information about both conferences is available at: www.biblicalcounseling.com.

Credentialed members of the news media will be granted access to all the plenary sessions of both the preconference and conference.

James A. Smith Sr. is executive editor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
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