JD Greear, Pastor of The Summit Church and the current President of the Southern Baptist Convention, explained his position on how Christians should address transgendered people during a recent podcast.
Greear raised some eyebrows but claiming he’d address folks with their “preferred pronoun.”
This advice, of course, caused some to express dismay that a pastor and leader in the church of Greear’s stature would consider disregarding the gender given to a person by their Creator.
Many Christians are conflicted between which Christian stance is best employed in this increasingly common scenario. Should one, in a “spirit of generosity” use the person’s preferred pronoun, as a courtesy and sign of respect? Or should one simply tell the truth?
Greear, in the podcast description, explains which approach he prefers:
I tend toward generosity of spirit.
Andrew Walker: “My own position is that if a transgender person comes to your church, it is fine to refer to them by their preferred pronoun. .. If and when this person desires greater involvement or membership in the church, a church leader will need to meet with them and talk about how they identify. … The best solution is to avoid pronouns altogether if possible. Calling a person by their legal name or preferred name is more acceptable because names are not objectively gendered, but change from culture to culture.”
Best if you use the proper name over and over, even if it means it sounds weird
Greear went on to explain why he feels using “pronoun hospitality” is the best approach, and even went so far as to say it’s biblically supported by Acts 17:
Preston Sprinkle, who heads up The Center for Faith, Sexuality, and Gender, has a similar approach:He calls it “pronoun hospitality.”
The Bible appears to use accommodating language. ACTS 17. We know there is only one God.
You might find a correlation in “wives” in polygamous society / to a divorced man: “your adulteress”
I wouldn’t invest too much into language–”oh, I am lying” You can be clear in other ways.
“I’ll argue in this paper that the most biblical response to transgender people’s pronouns is a posture of unequivocal pronoun hospitality.”
That is, I believe that all Christians can and should use pronouns that reflect the expressed gender identities of transgender people, regardless of our views about gender identity ethics. If a person identifies herself to you as ‘she,’ I hope you will consider it an act of Christ-like love to call her ‘she’ out of respect, whether or not you believe that the way she expresses her gender identity is honoring to God” (11.1).
Of course, as Christians, we want to be as charitable as possible while at the same time not contributing to a societal issue that is causing great confusion and distress among an increasing number of Americans.
Using a person’s name, as Greear suggests even when it’s awkward, may be a good landing place for any Christian struggling with trying to be hospitable yet unwavering to the truth.