General Conference Issues Statement on Transgenderism

The last item on the agenda for day one of Spring Meeting was a “Statement on Transgenderism.” The statement, crafted by the Biblical Research Institute (BRI), a General Conference entity, has been in the works for several years. A previous version of the statement was set to be voted on during last fall’s Annual Council, but dissension among the executive committee led BRI to revise the statement and re-present it at Spring Meeting.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

One would wish that the transgender research, ongoing at Loma Linda Medical School, as mentioned by Pastor Randy Roberts, would have been more apparent in this document.

The psychiatric department of Loma Linda, and the Pediatric/Adolescent Medicine department would have been more appropriate to author and craft this response.

Dr Allen Handysides, the seemingly only medical specialist present, brought up multiple concerns about the document.

This raises issues about whether pastors/theologians/administrators with pathetically minimal medical expertise, should be crafting a statement about a medical condition that has multiple physical, emotional, and psychiatric aspects.

But again the megalomania of the current church administration, which presumes omniscience in all matters, both theological and scientific and medical, knows no bounds.


My concern is not the vetting but the credentials and qualifications of those who vetted the document.

What medical specialists were asked to offer an opinion on this medical document and what were their percentage to the total voting members? Did theologians outstrip in numbers those medical specialists? Otherwise, this document would carry as much credibility and objectivity as a study on obesity funded by Dunkin Brands, makers of “31 Flavors” Baskin-Robbins and Dunkin Donuts.


My question is this: is it imperative for the church to have a position on EVERYTHING? It seems to me that as Christians we should have mercy on, and be kind to, those who suffer from gender confusion.


Yes, to all you said. Sigh. Some things really should not be the domain of church theologians. And the “transgender phenomenal phenomenon”? :pensive:


Just curious as to why there is always such vitriol when the church makes a statement regarding any subject, especially those related to the cause du jour, in this case transgenderism? It seems that if you are a trained theologian in our tradition you actually cannot express an opinion or a thought about very much without first vetting your ideas through the latest scientific research?
Science by definition is an open enterprise, respectful of the prospect of change in light of additional data. This would suggest that at any one point science may not actually have the final word on any particular subject.
Could someone please let us know who is qualified to address the human predicament? Is it only the scientist? Or is it possible, that maybe just maybe, the carefully thought out ideas of other thoroughly trained thinkers may have some value?


This is astonishingly narrow-minded for our community of faith that believes in a God that is simultaneously three different Beings. And lest we forget that our God is also representative of both man and woman (and is referred to as such, interchangeably, in the Bible).


“Elias Brasil de Souza, Director of BRI, then took the Executive Committee through a lengthy presentation, discussing various definitions and descriptions of transgender individuals, how the Bible guides on this topic, and references to transgender individuals throughout history.”
“…how the Bible guides on this topic…” Therein lies the problem. The Bible is not a science book.


Somehow the saying of Jesus comes to mind: “Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.”

If we need 21 revisions of a BRI document, several years of work to produce THIS … sorry … but something has gotten out of proportion. While the topic of transgenderism receives a lot of political attention in the secular realm, the actual occurence in local churches is so rare that one really has to wonder why so much time, energy and money is invested at the highest church level on the subject.

No matter what the voted statement might or might not say - if as a pastor or church you have to actually deal with the issue, you don’t need a statement so much as you need profound skills in pastoral care and counseling coupled with some expert knowledge about the medical facts.

In the meantime far more urgent and prevalent topics are being ignored … that have a lot to do with ethics (both in the sexual realm and outside the sexual realm). That I find strangely selective and somewhat peculiar.


And there are many of us in biology and medicine who understand the biological nature of things like this. Why do they never involve us in the conversation and in the crafting of policy? This makes me so discouraged. :cry:


Why cannot we face the reality of “the way things are” in today’s world, and how to relate in a grace-filled way to individuals with gender-disphoria, instead of insisting on the “Eden ideal?” Do we really think that only “male” and “female” apply to people living today, and that they are perfect representatives of the “Eden ideal”? If God could look with favor on the release of Gentiles from the requirement of circumcision, surely He would want us to love and accommodate the reality of gender-different people today.


How many members of the committee even know a transgendered person and the struggles their life brings?!


I’m thinking that, in a document where individual bible verses are collected and interpreted to support a very specific point of view, there is a perceived lack of grace, mercy, and liberty of conscience extended toward those who are actually living with the condition.

This is not necessarily the case - sometimes people misjudge motives due to their own fears and suspicions - but it is a perception by many that the church should be more liberal in matters where there is no clear scriptural precedent or consensus. I wouldn’t consider most of these protests to be “vitriol” (some of these responses are indeed “vitriol” - especially the ones who make ad hominem attacks on various individuals in leadership positions), but rather grief over a church which is increasingly defined by policy statements rather than the precious fruit of the Spirit.


So , If science says that transgender is a third and unique gender , should the church than allow them to marry ? Or do we still believe that God only made male and female, and any problems in between are only the results of sin .We must be kinder and gentler to persons living out their lives this way , but we cannot change what God has said. For 6000 years, the doctor or mid wife caught the new born baby , and said to the mother, , “YOU HAVE A BOY , or YOU HAVE A GIRL .” How did they know ? What distinctive features on a new born allows a person looking on to identify their gender ? Have those features changed over 6000 years ? No ! So what do the supporters of this movement want," The church to extend the right hand of fellowship to same sex married partners ? " This push will split the church. Elder Ted Wilson must stand firm. People , with their feelings and emotions will be hurt , but we cannot change our stance. No degree of science or psychology should persuade us other wise. Church , Let’s pray.


Watching the live stream for a bit, I note that when Elder Wilson introduced the discussion of the Transgender statement he referenced the need to provide ‘a theological, a Biblical basis, a solid biblical Basis’ for the statement. It is as though in real time Elder Wilson realized that the issue at hand was Biblical. And it is. Not that the Bible actually addresses transgenderism, but precisely because it does not, as Elias Brasil de Souza confirmed when introducing the document.

Not only then do we have to address Biblical statements that no longer explain what our experience is, but we have something of an addiction to trying to find Biblical statements that we can convolute into such use, uses for which they were never intended to be put.

We are not without a Biblical paradigm for acting when there is no Biblical commentary, but also when there is plenty of Biblical commentary, even with words attributed to Almighty God but which is out of harmony with present experience. Acts 15 describes how the church in its first encounter with a straight up Biblical issue defined the paradigm for resolving Biblical matters that no longer sufficiently inform the present.

There is a reason James and Ellen White named their ‘little paper’ The Present Truth. That paper has suffered numerous name changes until today its name is, Adventist Review.

Despite the gravitational pull toward church traditions rooted in the shallows of an undifferentiated need to bolster every statement from and about the church and about humanity with all-too-simple readings from of the Bible, this document is a massive step for the denomination in formally agreeing that transgenderism is a reality and it is not merely a choice.

And it is even more bold to have confirmed this by urging the churches to welcome transgender people into membership, not just fellowship. “Those who are members can fully participate in Church life as long as they embrace the message, mission, and values of the Church.”

What is insufficient are but details to work out going forward, ideally in the spirit of Acts 15.


I AM late in the discussion. BUT I do want to raise MY QUESTIONING.
As I look this over.

IS the statement scientifically based??? ARE Transgendered children born to and raised to Adults
by SDA heterosexual parents going to be allowed to BE WHO THEY ARE, AND to participate
FULLY in ALL aspects of the SDA Denomination BOTH Locally AND Globally?

If not, the statement is not worth the “paper” it is printed on. Way I see it.

PS-- Read the long statement. What it IS essentially attempting to say, WITHOUT SAYING IT, is that Trans are Children of God just like everyone else, BUT that they can’t act in their Trans state and be SDAs. They “politely” say Trans persons are DEFECTIVE.
They “politely” say We Will PRETEND to accommodate Trans persons in the Local church in
"fellowship". But no further.
This is just an AWFUL statement. And to waste so much time creating it, and having to take so many typed written pages to express their DISTAIN for Trans persons [who by the way are the flesh and blood offspring of the Seventh day Adventist parents. For whom this Committee has absolutely no regard, no care, no interest.]
The more I think about it the MORE AWFUL it becomes. SORRY!!

On another article we have a promotion of our church world-wide BASED on our Sabbath Message.
If ALL my friends who attend a number of Sunday churches read this Statement, it would certainly turn them AGAINST becoming an SDA.

EDIT 4/14-- No one at the GC level, spring get together has now or EVER said that GLTIO’s who are SDAs are “Made in the Image of God”. Have never quoted the psalmist, “GLTIO’s are fearfully and wondrously made”. Don’t even talk of them being ACTUALLY Children of God, Sons and Daughters of God by Birth through Adam and Eve, who were the original Son and Daughter of God [actually Christ, according to John and Hebrews].
They are talked about, referred to as IF they were FREAKS of nature. As having been born with some type of Birth Defect. And therefore, Rejects by God. And so, because they are Defective [like Eunuchs of old] are not eligible to participate TOTALLY in the Local Community of believers, and not eligible to participate TOTALLY in the World Wide Community of believers.


Another reporter gives interesting info about surprisingly compassionate responses during the discussion:

They drew a circle…that shut us out
A phenomena, oddity…a thing to flout.
But love and I had the will to win.
We ignored their statement…please try again.

For those of us that have trans family members.
The church’s statements…done with conversation without us…sounds hollow.

One thing is for sure…when discussing Eden’s ideal.
“We’re not in Eden anymore…and we’re not in heaven yet.”


Brilliant! We still have faithful leadership.

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The GC’s Statement on Transgenderism has traumatized my cerebral sensibilities, as follows:

  1. The GC claims that a woman may enter into marriage and engage in sexual relations with a transgender woman, even though both identify as women. p. 2, par. 1. What’s worse is that the GC’s suggestion that the transgender woman might be “suffering silently” under such circumstances reflects an incredible obliviousness to the fact that the transgender woman might be gay.

  2. The GC offers that sex assignment surgery (at birth) may be beneficial (p. 1, n.2), but “strongly cautions” against sex reassignment surgery. p. 3, par. 2. And those who have had sex reassignment surgery are strongly cautioned against marriage, but those who have had sex assignment surgery may (by implication from the Statement’s silence) marry. The GC does not offer a biblical basis for distinguishing between sex assignment surgery and sex reassignment surgery. If there is a cogent extra-biblical basis for such distinction, we would not expect to learn what that is from the GC.

  3. Correct me if I am wrong, but Seventh-day Adventists endorse blood transfusions and the donation of human organs, right? Language in the Statement, such as “biblical wholistic viewpoint of human nature,” “integrated…identity,” “undivided…entity,” etc., suggests to me a hostility to Platonic dualism that is rigid and fanatical. Careful scholars avoid such extremism. Are we to argue that a person may not benefit from a corneal transplant because such person would then become a combination of two souls? Seventh-day Adventists have always privileged ethical pragmatism over doctrinaire scholasticism in the practice of medicine. And Christians have always understood that theology and ethics are two different and distinct disciplines.

  4. It would be nice if the GC cited John 9:1-3 in support of the fact that no sin is the proximate cause of transgenderism. Of course, transgenderism is in some attenuated sense the result of sin, because everything is the result of sin. The heterosexual brains of the GC Executive Committee members who voted the Statement are the result of sin. Given that being left-handed and being transgender are both the result of sin, the GC’s contention that transgenderism is the result of sin is not illuminating or helpful but may be perceived as unduly disparaging.

I sincerely hope that the Statement will accomplish some good.