Here are two questions I have received in the last few weeks:
Question #1: I have a cousin who was married for over thirty years. He decided to become a female, and he has changed his name to a female name and legally changed his sex status to female in Austin, though he still has male parts (at least for now). He is taking female hormones and growing breasts.
He didn’t want a divorce, but his wife didn’t want to stay married to a woman.
He found a church that accepts transgender people and doesn’t believe it’s a sin. He talks more about Jesus and God than he ever did before all this.
My question is this: Can he be saved as a transgender man becoming a woman? It seems like the obvious answer would be yes, but he has NO INTENTION of repenting and doesn’t feel or even think it is sin. Then again, repentance isn’t required for believing in Jesus.
What do you guys say about it all?
Question #2: What do you think of attending my gay son’s wedding? It’s a sin, not repented of. On the other hand, I’m going to support him.
His mother (my ex-wife) will not go, as she believes that encourages an obvious sin and encourages him into hell.
I believe that both my son and his partner are misled by the liberal ideas of the Pope. I think we just need to pray and encourage them into a relationship with our risen Savior. And our grace must be based on His promises.
I want to encourage my ex to go.
If you had told me when I graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary in 1982 that just thirty-eight years later same sex marriages were ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court, and gay marriages are now fairly common, I’d have thought you were crazy. The idea of transgenderism was so far out there back then that only a few people worldwide would suggest it.
Today we have a whole alphabet of new sexual orientation and practices.
Answer to Question #1: The only condition for being born again is believing in the Lord Jesus Christ for the everlasting life He promises (e.g., John 3:16; 5:24; 6:47; 11:25-27; Acts 16:31; Eph 2:8-9; Rev 22:17). Turning from sins, as you say, isn’t required for believing in Jesus. Therefore, turning from sins is not required to be born again.
That means that even a transgender person can be born again just as he is. He does not need to turn from his sins first. Of course, in this case he doesn’t even think that this is sin. Some would think it is our job to explain to him that this is sin and that having sexual relations with other men is sin. Indeed, if he has other major besetting sins like drug abuse or thefts, he’d have to admit all those things are sin and then turn from all of them. But because of the shed blood of Christ, our sins are no longer a barrier to our being born again. Jesus completely removed the sin barrier (John 1:29; 1 John 2:2).
Let’s say your cousin was an unmarried heterosexual young man who was having sex outside of marriage. That is sin. Would you try to convince him that premarital sex is sin and then try to get him to improve the quality of his life so that he would be good enough to be saved? Of course not.
What about the case if the person has “NO INTENTION” of repenting of his sins? The answer is the same. The condition is believing in Jesus, plus nothing. If intending to turn from our sins was also required, then believing in Jesus would not be enough, and John 3:16 would be a false message.
I’m sorry your cousin is doing this. I’d say he is mentally ill. Yes, it is sinful. But it is also a mental illness.
You did not ask whether your cousin could have been born again before he transitioned. He could have been. Whenever a person believes in Jesus, he is saved once and for all. If he later decides he is no longer a male, he still has everlasting life. Of course, if a believer does that, he is bringing shame on the name of Christ. But his eternal salvation is not in doubt.
Answer to Question #2: Paul indicated that we are not to “keep company” with believers who are immoral (1 Cor 5:11). But he did say that we should not withdraw from immoral unbelievers (1 Cor 5:12-13).
You did not say if your son is a believer or unbeliever.
It sounds like right now he is in a liberal Roman Catholic church (though surely this “wedding” will not take place in a Roman Catholic church). Possibly he came to faith in Christ earlier in his life.
Let’s assume he is an unbeliever. Then going to the “wedding” is clearly not forbidden in Scripture. It might be encouraging your son in his sin. Or it might be keeping the door of dialog open. You and your ex each need to decide that. But practicing homosexuality does not send anyone to hell. See my answer to question #1.
If he is a backslidden believer, then the situation is more difficult. Paul does not mention any exceptions in 1 Cor 5:11. However, I do not think that Paul was teaching absolute shunning. If your son were practicing immorality and still living at home, you’d still talk with him. While you’d try to get him to turn from his sinful ways, and you’d make it clear you did not approve, you’d still care for him and provide for him.
Attending an event like this, however, is more than simply being cordial with your son. It shows some level of acceptance. Is that OK? I don’t know. First Corinthians 5:11 is not trying to answer this sort of question. I personally don’t think I’d attend. I think I’d meet with both, explain that this is not a salvation issue, but that because of my understanding of God’s Word, I cannot approve of this action, and attending the wedding would show some level of approval. I have other friends who’ve been through this and attended, but who felt that they were not showing approval. It is a tough question. I don’t think there is a simple answer since the Bible does not specifically address this question.
The key is that your son knows that you are not basing his eternal destiny on his morality. It is simply whether he believes in Jesus for everlasting life. It is also important that he knows the difference between your acceptance of him, which is unconditional, and your approval.