Southern Baptist president says Christians should use “Pronoun Hospitality”

SBC President JD Greear still stands by a November 18 podcast episode in which he discusses how Christians should use gender pronouns.

In it, he claims there is a “spectrum of ‘generosity of spirit’ versus telling the truth.” When it comes to which one he chooses, he says he leans towards, “generosity of spirit.”

“Christians disagree—hopefully charitably—about pronoun usage,” he says. “Some think that as a personal courtesy, you should refer to a transgender person by their preferred pronoun. … Others think that it is wrong to inject further confusion into a person’s situation by referring to them with a pronoun that is not aligned with their biological sex.

“In other words, there is a spectrum of generosity of spirit vs. telling truth. I tend toward generosity of spirit.”

On his website, he appears to quote from Andrew Walker’s God and the Transgender Debate:

“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.”

When it comes to defining gender, Greear does not mention the creation story of God creating Adam and Eve in Genesis.

Instead, he refers to DNA and chromosomes. He says, “All told, when it comes to genetic sex, at the DNA level, there really is just male and female.”

Greear credits Preston Sprinkle, who heads The Center for Faith, Sexuality, and Gender, for creating the terminology of, “pronoun hospitality,” which he suggests Christians use. Sprinkle, a professor, speaker, and a New York Times bestselling author, argues, “the Bible uses accommodating language.”

From Greear’s website, according to Sprinkle, pronoun hospitality includes:

  • 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.”

  • “What does it look like for people who think differently about gender identity ethics to speak truthfully and effectively about one another? This paper considers the common reasons given by Christian conservatives for rejecting the idea of pronoun hospitality, then challenges two assumptions about the nature of language that such arguments make and lays out an affirmative case for pronoun hospitality based in a robust understanding of how language works.”

  • “Christian arguments against pronoun accommodation—that is, using the pronouns with which trans people identify—are generally rooted in the importance of truth-telling. According to this view of language, the purpose of a pronoun is to make a statement about a person’s appointed sex.”

  • “Whereas [the truth-telling position] emphasizes the importance of truthfulness for the sake of personal integrity before God, Andrew Walker’s position focuses primarily on how his truthfulness will impact others who are listening to his words.”

Another option for pastors, and a leader of a major denomination, is to clarify what the Bible actually says about transgender– and the eternal consequences of sexual sin. The Apostle Paul is quite clear in Romans 1, and he does not mince words.

The question appears to be whether or not we take the Apostle Paul’s word or Sprinkle’s and Greear’s.



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