Should Christians use a transgender’s preferred pronouns even if they don’t agree with transgenderism?
What if using their biological pronouns burns a bridge that could otherwise be used to share the gospel?
What about Paul’s message about being “all things to all people?”
I was recently involved in this very discussion with a group of about 20 fellow Christians. As a disclaimer, the participants of the dialogue are professing Christians who are involved and committed to a theologically sound, gospel-preaching church. Nobody in this dialogue expressed affirmation towards transgenderism, but there was friction as to whether we, as orthodox Christians, should use preferred pronouns. It made for fruitful discussion and I hope everyone walked away with a more biblically grounded approach to this matter.
I argued no, we should absolutely not use preferred pronouns for many reasons described below. To re-preface, this article is written specifically to those who are Bible-believing Christians who do not affirm extra-heteronormativity but wrestle with whether to use preferred pronouns, namely for the sake of “loving others” and keeping a relationship open to them.
The use of preferred pronouns is an endorsement of transgenderism. So, if you don’t believe in transgenderism, but you use preferred pronouns anyway, you’re essentially endorsing what you know to be a farce. Indeed, in the name of “love,” you’re endorsing an idea that you know to be false, and, in a thrilling act of irony, you’re conclusively lying to the very people you’re trying so hard to love. To the transgender community, this approach is categorically dishonest and patently condescending.
“Male and female He created them” therefore God’s preference has been spoken. Whose preference is more important to you? One cannot serve two masters, and there is no middle ground here as the preferred pronouns of the transgender/non-binary community are not compatible with God’s design for creation.
“You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
–James 4:4, ESV
The use of “adulterous,” a word that alludes to sexual immorality that disrupts the covenant of marriage, a covenant not seen lightly by God, sends a strong message illustrating the severity of prioritizing man over God. When you use the preferred pronouns of those who see gender as fluid, you dishonor the very Creator who designed His creation’s biological makeup as absolute.
While this argument may be well-intended, it is severely misguided.
Biblically speaking, we have no examples of Christ-followers sacrificing truth in the name of ministry — even to keep a bridge open.
Theologically speaking, the idea that advocating truth would wreck the chance of someone coming to Christ is an erroneous view of salvation and God’s sovereignty. This idea makes evangelism out to be about you and the lost, while neglecting the work of the Holy Spirit.
Our job is to preach Christ and Him crucified and pray that the Holy Spirit does the work in the lives of those to whom we minister.
As far as “being all things to all people,” it is important to understand Paul’s context. Paul is talking about contextualizing scripture. Contextualizing scripture is the act of adapting our delivery of the gospel to make it palatable for a particular demographic. Basically, contextualizing scripture is delivering it in a way that others will understand but without changing the message. The contrast to contextualization is syncretism. Syncretism is the act of changing scripture to make it more palatable for an audience. This is dangerous and sinful. Syncretising scripture to make it enjoyable only misleads a bigger flock. So, just to clarify, “all things to all people” does not include changing biblical truth, but rather the delivery of it.
Let’s be real: for some of you, this isn’t a matter of “keeping a bridge open” but rather avoiding awkward situations because you don’t like confrontation. To that I say, look to scripture. We see examples of Christ-followers speaking truth with the understanding that it could cost them their lives. Why did they preach truth despite the threats? Because they had reverence to God and a concern for people’s souls. They would rather show reverence to God than man, and they would rather share truth with the lost than lie to them.
Who is man to disavow the design of the Sovereign Holy Creator of the Universe? HE is Holy, therefore His creation is perfect.
Think about it like this: Our Creator is God Almighty, the only Holy One, the only perfect One, whose creation is perfect. We are sinful, depraved souls who could only be saved by the only one who would be just to let us spend eternity in Hell. Yet He descended among men, suffered as a man, and was killed by men so as to appease His righteous divine anger. Read that again and hopefully it will seem silly to think that WE are in any position to apologize for, sugarcoat, or be ashamed of God’s design for HIS creation!
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
–Mathew 22:37-40, ESV
The second greatest command is clear that God loves His people so much that He commands us to love them as we love ourselves. But to truly love others, we must submit ourselves to God’s grace, His truth, and His will for our lives — cue: the first and greatest command, to love God with everything we have. This includes revering His truth and loving His creation, straight or LGBT, with His truth.