Dr. Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, has shared his thoughts on how Christian parents can address transgender issues with their children and better help them develop a biblical perspective on the subject.
In a video posted on the Gospel Coalition website, Dr. Moore makes his comments in response to the question, "What is the worst thing you can do when talking to your kids about sex?"
"I think the worst thing we can do when talking to our kids about sex in this current environment is to give the impression that there's something we're afraid of," he says.
The theologian and author explains that he understands that impulse, however, as he was taken off guard when, several years ago, his 5-year-old son asked him, "How does a boy become a girl?"
"I said, 'Where did you hear this?' He told me it was in the dentist's office...he was sitting there waiting to see the dentists and the TV was on and it had a news report of a little boy who is becoming a girl," Moore said, explaining that his first reaction was to want to shelter his son from such realities: "I didn't want him to have to think through those things right now."
Moore contends that for a Christian, such a response is not appropriate. "We have a Word to give. So, if we give our children the idea that somehow we're not willing to talk to them about these issues, or that the idea of talking about these things freaks us out, then we're not going to disciple the next generation."
Because such issues are sensitive, Moore says it is imperative that parents use age-appropriate language when teaching children about what's happening in the culture around them.
But the most important thing a parent can do when talking to their children, he says, is present a "positive vision of a Christian view of sexuality grounded in the picture of Christ and the church and the Gospel."
However, parents must be careful to not disciple their children into a type of Pharisaism. "That's really easy to do," Moore cautions. "We give children the proper moral categories without Gospel mission, so that children can kind of unintentionally come to the place where they're doing exactly do exactly what the Pharisee is doing in Jesus' story of the Pharisee and the publican in the temple: 'Thank you, Lord, that I'm not like these immoral people around in our neighborhood around us.' We have to guard against that constantly."
Speaking at the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio in June, Moore encouraged parents to not throw their gay or transgender children out of the house, as the sin of pride is what leads them to be ashamed when their children struggle with same-sex attraction or gender issues.
"We need to equip parents not to be ashamed" of their gay, lesbian, transgender children, Moore said. "There are many parents who somehow feel, when they have gay, lesbian or transgender children, that somehow that's a reflection on them, that they didn't do something right, that everyone else in the community is talking about them. That is pride."
He then added that he can find no example in the Bible of a family without a prodigal.
"We do not turn around and repudiate our prodigals," Moore continued. "We speak truthfully to our prodigals and we keep a place for them to come home to in the end. Do not throw your gay and lesbian child out of the house. Be the sort of place where the Gospel is present."