Can we accept and receive Transgender as a pastor of the church ministry?
Yes I do accept and receive the Transgender Pastor and support and encourage this move in the ministry with the following proofs.
Zechariah 12:1: "The LORD ... forms the spirit of man within him ..."
This implies that a person’s spirit is separate from their body. This leaves open the possibility that God occasionally makes the spirit and body of a person to be of different genders. If this is God’s intent, then it presumably should be respected.
1 Samuel 16:7:
"... The LORD sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart."
This could be interpreted as supporting the acceptance of transgenderism and transsexuality. The verse might imply that humans typically observe only a person’s physical appearance -- their genetic gender. On the other hand, God observes the person’s interior reality -- their perceived gender.
"For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knows right well."
This is a psalm of praise to God who wonderfully and marvellously formed the writer as a fetus in their mother’s womb. One’s genetic gender is determined at conception; many researchers believe that the brain’s gender identity is determined during gestation. This psalm thus appears to be confirmation that a transgender person/transsexual is exactly what God had in mind. Their Gender Identity Disorder (GID) is specifically designed, natural, and not an accident. Thus, it could be argued from this verse that persons with GID should be honoured and accepted as equal to.
For centuries it was part of our common intellectual heritage that the terms ’person’ and ‘living human being’ were virtually equivalent. In ancient Christian thought, the concept of “person” is an ontologically foundational concept – it cannot be defined in terms of more fundamental properties. It is the nature which we as human beings share.
The original Greek word for person (prosopon) means literally ’the face’, but in ancient Greek it also referred to the mask that actors used to represent the character they were playing in the theatre. In Greek and Roman thinking what mattered about an individual was the face they showed to the world, the role they played in society. We have retained this meaning when we refer to someone’s ’persona’. It is the public face they show to the world. It is interesting that this is how the word is used in the Greek New Testament. At several points God is described as one who shows no favouritism. The literal Greek says that he is not a respecter of persons, meaning that he is not influenced by our external and social role.
However in Hebrews 1:3 the Son is described as the exact representation of God’s person and a different word is used, hypostasis, which literally means ’what lies under’. The early Church Fathers, as they reflected on the nature of the Godhead and the meaning of the Trinity, fastened on this word hypostasis to describe the three persons of the Trinity. God’s ultimate being (what ’lay under’ his activity), was in the form of persons - persons giving themselves to one another in love. And as human beings are made in God’s image, we too are created as persons. We reflect God’s nature in our personhood; we are created to give ourselves to God and to others in love.
Just as the three persons of the Trinity are individually unique, yet give them continually in love, so each human person is unique, yet made for relationship with others. Personhood is not something we can have in isolation - in Christian thinking it is a relational concept. Every human person is locked in a web of relations. Every person has a father and mother. All have relatives - brothers and sisters, sons and daughters - as well as those we voluntary commit ourselves to, our partners and friends.
And because we have relatives, partners, friends, neighbours, we are all locked together. In fact we live lives where we are burdens to one another. As one theologian put it the life of the family is one of “mutual burdensomeness.”
The famous statement, ’I think, therefore I am’. By contrast we might suggest an alternative Christian version, ’You love me, and therefore I am’. My being comes not from my rational abilities but from the fact that I am known and loved - first of all by God himself, and secondly by other human beings. This is why the experience of rejection and isolation can be so psychologically devastating, and why persons who have never experienced love and acceptance fail to develop into normal healthy adults. But even if I am rejected by other humans, I am still a person. Ultimately my personhood rests on the fact that God called me into existence and that he continues to know and love me.
This Christian understanding of personhood is much more permanent, more resilient, than the secular one. Your personhood might disappear at any moment if your cortex starts to malfunction. But in Christian thinking, whatever happens to you in the future, whatever disease or accident may befall your central nervous system, even if you are struck down by dementia or enter a persistent vegetative state, you will still be you: a unique and wonderful person. To be a person is to be a unique somebody - someone on a journey. We are becoming what we already are. From the time of your embryonic origins until now you have been on a journey – a process of becoming what we already are.
This is true as we look back to our individual origins. When you think of yourself as you were when you were a newborn baby, a fetus, an embryo, is there any point at which you can confidently say, “That being was not me.” It seems to me that you cannot. When you were an embryo you were on the journey – you were in the process of becoming what you already were. And this process of “becoming” continues throughout our life.
So in Christian thinking dependence is not an evil, outrageous inhuman thing. To the secular philosopher dependence is a terrible threat because it robs us of autonomy – the essential defining characteristic of personhood. But in Christian thinking dependence is part of the narrative of a human life. You come into the world totally dependent on the love and care of others. The very fact that you are sitting there is only because someone loved you, fed you, and protected you when you were a defenceless newborn baby. Then we go through a phase of life when others depend on us. And most of us will end our life totally dependent on the love and care of others. But this does not rob us of our humanity. No, it is part of the narrative of a human life.
In my experience this understanding of personhood matches the intuitions of many people. What kind of society do you wish to belong to? So what are the practical implications? Firstly, in this way of thinking my moral value function, on my creation in God’s image. Human beings are godlike beings. Only human beings, in all the vast array of life on planet Earth, have this privilege and responsibility. Hence we are to treat all human beings, however tragically incapacitated, with wonder, reverence and respect. We are called to protect all human beings from abuse, from manipulation and from any who would deliberately end their life. We cannot rate some lives as more worthwhile, more valuable than others. Secondly, whereas the law does not recognise personhood until the moment of birth, this way of thinking points to the moral significance of the unborn fetus. And although we cannot ultimately know what the significance is of any individual embryo, it seems to me that we must treat even a microscopic human embryo as a unique and precious being that is being called into existence.
Thirdly, as far as we know, of all the species on the planet only Homo sapiens is made in God’s image, and hence only human beings can be called persons. Although we are called to treat not only chimpanzees and dolphins but all sentient beings with care, we cannot value their lives as equal to those of humans. When we show compassion and love for the weakest and most pathetic members of our society, we are expressing an essential element of our humanity. So even Bharathi is a person, one to be loved and respected, not rejected or marginalised.
Transgender Pastor Bharathi ordained by Rev. Dr. Ezra Sargunam, Founder Evangelical Fellowship of India.
I see Bharathi as unique person has the ability to express the image of God and to build the kingdom of among transgender.
Yes I do. The Bible does give human that particular position. Whatever else the image of God means it means that here, of all the biological creatures, is one particular creature with whom God deals. Now I know that Professor Dawkins says that we just happen to be one terminal twig on the great tree of evolution and we shouldn’t give ourselves such airs as to imagine there is anything special about us - but that’s a faith position, of course. But as a Christian, as one informed by the story of the Bible, we must accept that we have a special calling and a responsibility. That calling and responsibility does not entail a privilege to abuse what we don’t like but, to be God’s representatives on this earth. For example, I think one of the implications of what the image of God means that we have this incredible responsibility to support and to care persons like Bharathi and ministry among transgender.
Humanity is in some respect the result of specific treatment within one’s community. Being human is being treated by humans as human. A priest, Joseph Pieper, put it like this, “Love is to say to another, it’s good that you are in the world. It’s good that you exist.”