News Articles

Resolution on gender transitions aims to ‘balance grace and truth’

Messengers vote during the 2023 SBC Annual Meeting in New Orleans. (Baptist Press/Sonya Singh)

NEW ORLEANS (BP) – The 2023 SBC Committee on Resolutions hopes the resolution “On Opposing Gender Transitions”, accurately represents Southern Baptists’ views on one of modern culture’s most pervasive and controversial issues.

Rob Collingsworth, director of strategic relationships at Criswell College, and a member of this year’s Resolutions Committee said the committee tried to approach the topic in a way that “balances grace and truth.” 

“I think the Resolutions Committee does its best work when it’s attempting to dial in on what Southern Baptists already believe, what they already have consensus about,” Collingsworth said.

“I think you would find overwhelming consensus among Southern Baptists that gender transitions, particularly among children, are a grievous result of the sexual revolution,” he told Baptist Press.

“And while we can, at the same time, hold genuine sympathy and care and compassion for those affected by gender dysphoria, we can also state very plainly that the long-term effects of gender transitions on children are devastating. While that may be a very controversial opinion in the world in 2023, that is a very uncontroversial opinion among Southern Baptists.

“The topic at hand is one we wanted to deal with in a way that balanced truth and grace. We don’t in any way want to apologize for the convictions that we hold regarding what we believe is the biblical sexual ethic and all that is entailed with that. We wanted to speak boldly to an ideology without attacking individuals.”

The resolution was submitted and co-authored by Southern Baptist Theological Seminary professors Denny Burk and Andrew Walker.

Burk is professor of biblical studies and director of The Center for Gospel and Culture. Walker is associate professor of Christian ethics and apologetics, associate dean of the School of Theology and director of the Carl F.H. Henry Institute for Evangelical Engagement.

The two also co-authored the first SBC resolution on the topic of transgenderism in 2014, and Walker said his research on the topic is “central” in his teaching ministry. 

Walker explained that although the gender transition movement is growing in the U.S., there is also growing concern – and not just among Christians – about certain medical procedures, especially when it comes to children.

He said in many countries, medical professionals are beginning to take a step back regarding these procedures because of the consequences on the body.

While America has not yet seen such a slowdown, Walker said, he believes the resolution can add to the building momentum against these procedures.

“We’re watching in real time that transgender movement come crashing down,” Walker said. “There’s too many cracks in the foundation.”

“The transgender revolution is built on an unbiblical worldview, which is at odds with what God says about the creation order. The creation order is immutable. The transgender ideology rejects the biblical created order, and exchanges it with fluidity and radical subjectivism.

“We have a moral obligation to speak up in defense of those who are vulnerable individuals who are being preyed upon by for-profit organizations. We must speak prophetically on this issue and not be silent,” Walker said.

Collingsworth said the collaboration process with the resolution, written by a pair of subject-matter experts and brought to the messengers by a committee with no specific expertise in the topic, perfectly illustrates the beauty of the way Southern Baptists can speak as a group on a weighty issue.

“I think that the resolutions process is, in a lot of ways, a mirror of our polity,” Collingsworth said.

He is sensitive knowing there is potential that some who read the resolution may have attempted to change their gender, but he emphasized there is still Gospel hope.

“God loves you, you are made in His image, and He longs for you to be in relationship with Him,” Collingsworth said.