It’s bizarre, but it’s probably not the end of the world.
It’s weird, nonetheless. Southern Seminary, which has the reputation of being a stalwart proponent of the inerrancy of Scripture and a bastion of Calvinism, has a peculiar feature on their online admissions application form. It asks “birth gender.” One would think that the clarification of birth gender would be unnecessary (as though there were any other kind).
To be very clear, Southern Seminary and its leadership have pretty explicitly denied transgenderism as a Biblical life-choice. It hosted a conference on transgender confusion in 2015, during which Dr. Albert Mohler – the seminary’s president – said during his plenary talk, “The transgender revolution presents a more acute and more comprehensive challenge than merely the issue of homosexuality. Because of the identity questions rooted in creation, the transgender revolution represents a challenge on an altogether different scale.”And although
Likewise, Dr. Mohler and other leading faculty members signed the Nashville Declaration, which (although it stops short of calling homosexual desire sin), does call transgenderism and homosexual behavior sinful. Certainly, this oddity shouldn’t be taken as a sign that Southern Baptist Theological Seminary will soon be admitting transgender students (even though Southwestern Seminary has enrolled Muslims, so stranger things have happened).
Most likely – if anything – the extra caveat of “birth” in front of “gender” is designed to keep people from self-identifying in any such way that they want. Nonetheless, it’s a startling remembrance stone of our cultural drift that a semi-conservative seminary has to specify that when it asks about gender, it means that which was assigned at birth by God, and not that which the admissions applicant feels.
Such is our age.
[Editor’s Note: Seth Dunn wrote an excellent piece on this at his blog, Seth Dunn: A Christian Worldview]