The Heresy That Fuels Transgenderism

By Julie Roys
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

He was born Ben Bruesehoff. But now the 10-year-old son of a New Jersey pastor and his wife goes by the name Rebekah. His parents say, “Rebekah has always been gender non-conforming. As young as two or three, she gravitated toward typically feminine things. She loved pink and sparkles and all things girly and that was fine with us.”

But three years ago, this alleged gender non-conformity intensified, reaching a crisis when Ben, now Rebekah, tried to jump out a second-story window. Distressed, the boy’s parents took Ben to a gender specialist, who apparently helped him discover, “I’m a girl in my head, in my heart.”

Soon after, these Christian parents began allowing their son Ben to identify as Rebekah – to wear girls’ clothes and even dye his hair pink. They’re also planning to put their son on puberty blockers so he won’t develop into a man. And when he’s 18, they say it will be his decision whether or not to pursue a complete sex-change.

This supposedly new perspective is not new at all. It is actually rooted in an ancient heretical philosophy called Gnosticism, though I doubt many transgender-supporting Christians realize it.

Fifteen years ago, this response by a Christian, let alone a pastor’s, family would have been almost unthinkable. Yet attitudes about gender have been rapidly changing not just in culture, but also in the church. According to a 2015 study by a dean at St. John’s College, University of Cambridge, “there is growing momentum for change; for acceptance and welcoming of transgender Christians,” especially within Protestant denominations.

The study found there were at least eight transgender priests serving in the Church of England. There are also transgender priests or pastors in the Episcopal Church in the United States, the Presbyterian Church USA, United Methodist Church, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Yet this supposedly new perspective is not new at all. It is actually rooted in an ancient heretical philosophy called Gnosticism, though I doubt many transgender-supporting Christians realize it. New Testament scholar and retired Anglican Bishop N.T. Wright recently highlighted this fact in a letter to the editor published in The Times of London. “(T)he confusion about gender identity is a modern, and now internet-fueled, form of the ancient philosophy of Gnosticism,” he wrote. “The Gnostic, one who ‘knows,’ has discovered the secret of ‘who I really am,’ behind the deceptive outward appearance. . . . This involves denying the goodness, or even the ultimate reality of the natural world.”

Gnosticism flourished during the Second Century and taught that the material world is bad and dominated by evil and ignorance, but the spirit world is good. Since a good God could not have created an evil world, Gnostics deduced that the world must have been created by a flawed heavenly being. Yet within this corrupt world remains a spiritual component, fragments of the true and good God.

This distorted worldview had a profound impact on how Gnostics perceived the human person. They believed most people possess a “divine spark,” a piece of the true God, within them. However, this spark is trapped within a corrupt body, which few people recognize, and as a result, live in ignorance and attachment to the material world. A person can achieve salvation, however, by attaining secret knowledge of his or her true self and eventually leaving the prison of the body at death. (If a person fails to become sufficiently enlightened, this spark again becomes imprisoned in another body.)

Some Gnostics were pagan, but many others syncretized Christianity with Gnosticism and considered themselves to be higher and more enlightened Christians. These Gnostic Christians denied the incarnation of Christ. After all, how could a good God possess an evil body? And instead of salvation coming through Christ’s death on the cross, they taught it came through attaining secret spiritual knowledge, or “gnosis.”

Largely in response to the heresy of Gnosticism (and also Arianism, which denied the eternal pre-existence of Jesus), the church produced the Nicene Creed. Refuting Gnosticism, it says Jesus “was incarnate by the Holy Ghost and of the Virgin Mary, and was made man; he was crucified . . . suffered, and was buried, and the third day he rose again . . .”

Only a Gnostic could say that one’s biological sex doesn’t matter; the only thing that matters is what you think and feel.

Though Gnosticism waned after the second century, it never really died out – and has persisted throughout the centuries as an undercurrent of Western culture. Today, it is the driving force of the LGBT movement, though many LGBT advocates likely have no idea they’ve succumbed to this ancient lie.

Yet only a Gnostic could say that one’s biological sex doesn’t matter; the only thing that matters is what you think and feel. Only a Gnostic could say that a boy is a girl in his head and heart, when his anatomy shows he is male. And only a Gnostic could allege that the physical design of the male body, obviously intended to unite sexually with the female body, is irrelevant; the only thing that matters is one’s internal desire.

To Gnostics, matter doesn’t matter. But to Christians, matter matters very much.

God created the body and the physical world and called it good. He created marriage and blessed the physical union of the husband and wife. And He ordained that this one-flesh union would actually serve as a symbol revealing how Christ relates to His bride, the Church. But perhaps most telling, Jesus – the pre-existent God of the universe – took on flesh and became a man. He died a bodily death – and he bodily resurrected, forever dispelling the notion that matter is bad or in any way unimportant.

No doubt, people who suffer from gender dysphoria, and experience a conflict between their physical sex and their perceived gender, need our compassion and help. But as Christians, we believe the truth sets us free, not a lie. Encouraging people, and especially children, to deny their God-assigned gender will only harm them in the long run. As N.T. Wright noted in his letter, nature “tends to strike back, with the likely victims . . . being vulnerable and impressionable youngsters, who as confused adults, will pay the price for their elders’ fashionable fantasies.”

No doubt, people who suffer from gender dysphoria, and experience a conflict between their physical sex and their perceived gender, need our compassion and help. But as Christians, we believe the truth sets us free, not a lie.

Though I have never suffered from gender dysphoria, I can relate in some ways to those who do. As a kid, I was a quintessential tomboy. I loved sports and always felt the boys had way more fun. Yet I thank God that my mother and older sisters had the good sense to shape my identity in a way that matched my anatomy. When I’d display masculine mannerisms, they’d gently encourage me to be more feminine. And when I’d choose boyish looking clothes, they’d urge me to wear something more appropriate for a girl.

Today many would discourage such intentional gender identity formation, but I’m extremely grateful for it. God designed a good physical world, and those who seek to align their internal feelings and identity to match their God-given biology will find greater freedom than those who attempt to do the reverse. Truly, even with modern science, changing one’s sex is impossible. One may change his external anatomy, but the truth of one’s assigned sex remains in every cell of his or her body as either two X chromosomes (female) or one X chromosome and one Y chromosome (male).

We cannot set our will against God’s and prosper. One study involving sex-reassigned persons makes this painfully clear. It found that the suicide mortality rate 10 to 15 years after sex-change surgery to be almost 20 times greater than that of the comparable non-transgender population. As Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”

As Christians, we must submit to God’s design, trusting in His goodness and the goodness of His creation. And we must reject Gnosticism. It was heretical in the Second Century and it remains heretical today.



Julie explains more about gender and sexuality in her upcoming book “Redeeming the Feminine Soul: God’s Surprising Vision for Womanhood.” Preorder now and get 1/3 off the list price!



Keep in touch with Julie and get updates in your inbox!

Don’t worry we won’t spam you.

More to explore

4 thoughts on “The Heresy That Fuels Transgenderism”

  1. I like this explanation very much. Yet, I sense in reality this is only the tip of the ice berg that the devil will deceive mankind with. The arch-enemy of truth, Satan, has no compassion for anyone and lies and deceives people caught aware of his crafty tactics, especially, when it comes to human sexuality. Human sexuality was perfectly designed by God our creator for ecstatic human pleasure and pro-creation to life, all that the devil hates with disdained passion. For him to subvert and pervert human sexuality has been his mastery of weak humankind. Our post-modern generations are now being exploited to an exponential disregard because the end time is near. True Christians must hold fast to the real truth and withdraw from deceived Christians. There is no exceptions. It will only get worse.

  2. I agree that a Gnostic teaching is at root of this. This is just one sacrament affected (marriage and natural personhood ultimately is at issue). However, I also believe that Gnostic thought also informs “orthodox” Protestant thought, especially in the denial of Jesus words that Holy Eucharist actually is Himself, and the denial of any reality to Baptism. That a reason I strongly urge Protestants to take another look at the Catholic Church they left. Protestants hail various groups like the Waldenses as their forebears, but the Waldenses, Cathars, Bogomils, Patarines, etc. were all gnostic communities.

    A very, very detailed account of Cathars and Waldenses, etc., was written by a Scottish Baptist.…/dp/1117395030. I own a copy, and formerly believed that his point of view was correct. His information on the lineage of the groups, by which he says that the Gospel had always been preserved free of Roman error, is corroborated by other sources, Christian and Gnostic.

    Not only does “X” view on sexuality that is infecting these pastors’ families have gnostic antecedents, but other, more commonly held beliefs also have gnostic antecedents, and that it would be prudent to distinguish what are the gnostic antecedents from Christian belief.

    God designed matter and spirit to be associated in relationship, otherwise, there would be no such verse as he who unites himself with a harlot pollutes the temple of God. Gnostics, Cathars, etc., separate matter and spirit.

    Thus, sex is the sacramental sign and the unifying reality of marriage, which is a theological parable of Christ and His Church.

    Thus, we are saved through the waters of Baptism, as Noah’s family was saved on the ark and the Israelites were saved passing through the Red Sea.

    Thus, we are brought into a “marital” relationship with God, when the one man, Jesus, uniting in His person, without mixture, fully God and fully man, reconciled God and man … and gave us Himself “Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity” fully and completely, without reservation, as a bridegroom does. We are enjoined to fidelity in body and soul because as the Bride of Christ, corporately and individually, we ought to have the same unhindered reception that a bride has.

  3. TOO MANY Christians do not want to boldly stand for Christ. I see this in my own church. “Comfortable Christianity” that ignores the obvious Culture challenges, and more (inner city violence…) – Yet remaining introverted in our holy huddles and Self centered spiritual social clubs.
    Thank you Julie Roys. I pray for more like you.

Leave a Reply