A year ago, I underwent a faith-healing. At the same time, last summer, I was receiving counsel from a prominent minister in my Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), who has asked me not to reveal his identity, whose goal, as I believed from the way each conversation went, was to use God’s Word to get me to convince myself that I was a male.
I flunked at both. Add these to my lifetime of failed repentance, never losing the desire to be a female, and I have the fatal three strikes against me: I’m out. I don’t have enough faith in the Lord, or, even worse, perhaps I do not have genuine faith in Christ. If I had, I would have been healed by those who laid hands on and prayed over me, I would have been able to find confidence in my being created a male, and my lifetime of repentance would have borne fruit.
Apparently, I am not a Christian.
It gets worse.
This topic was prompted by my watching of another video of the former transsexual, Walt Heyer, in which he addressed the group, STAND4TRUTH.
Last March, I wrote about Heyer in my piece, “Sex Change Regret?”
Here is a summary of Heyer’s life, from my previous piece:
• At age five, Heyer says, “My grandmother, when I was being babysat by her, started dressing me in female clothing.” He reports that his older, adopted brother sexually molested him and that his mother’s discipline became so severe that, once, she was afraid she had killed him.
• Heyer suffered gender conflict and, at age forty-two, fully transitioned, including sex reassignment surgery, to Lauren Jensen, and lived as Lauren for eight years. Fifteen years ago, he detransitioned and became an active opponent of all things transgender.
In the speech to STAND4TRUTH, Heyer recounted all of this. Here is the final minute of his speech, beginning at 12:33. As you read the following paragraph, keep in mind the three faith-strikes I have against myself.
“All the things that were lost have been redeemed and restored because I had faith. And the Lord came to me because I gave my life to Him. And anybody who struggles with these issues we know today are struggling with issues that happened in early childhood, and through good therapy, good counseling, prayer, and good people, all of them, if they have a desire and are willing, can be redeemed and restored just as I have been.”
Did you catch the reasons Heyer was healed and I was not? Here they are, in his words:
• “I had faith.”
• “And the Lord came to me because I gave my life to Him.”
• “And anybody who struggles . . . if they have a desire and are willing, can be redeemed and restored just as I have been.”
If Heyer is correct, here is each of my strikes:
• I do not have faith.
• I did not give my life to the Lord.
• I do not have a desire and am not willing.
There it is. Heyer had the faith, the heart for the Lord, and the desire and will, and he was healed. I did not. What else could it possibly be?
You knew I would have an answer.
I begin with the middle item, this idea of giving one’s life to the Lord. Heyer practices the popular Christian faith in which a person makes a decision for Christ. Decision Theology became rooted in the USA with the revivals of early American history then, in our era, by Billy Graham’s rallies where attenders were encouraged to come forward and give their lives to Christ. “Make a decision for Christ” is the common practice across American Evangelicalism.
This flies in the face of God’s Word. Three scriptures will suffice; I could quote many more.
• Ephesians 2:1: “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins.”
• Colossians 2:13: “When you were dead in your sins . . . God made you alive with Christ.”
• John 1:12-13: “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”
Here are the two keys. From the John quote, no one can come to God by his own decision, which flies in the face of “I gave my life to the Lord,” and before the Lord gives us faith we are dead. Dead people can do nothing for themselves, so how could they give themselves to Christ?
We do not give our lives to the Lord. The Lord Jesus Christ gave His life for us, then the Holy Spirit gives Christ to us, making us alive via the gift of faith, and then we are able to live to the Lord.
I was “born of God” (John 1:13) when I was baptized at the age of nineteen days.
Back to Heyer’s claim that it was his faith which did the trick, and that he had the desire and willingness. In my unceasing prayers to the Lord—especially after my gender dysphoria crushed me in 2013—I would remind the Lord that I believed He could heal me if He were willing. I believe the events recounted in the Gospels of Christ’s healing every sort of malady. I believe that nothing is beyond His grasp. And I believe that He hears my prayers, loves my prayers, and will only answer them according to His good and gracious will for my life.
Let’s assume that I do, in fact, have genuine faith in the Lord and return to that evening, a year ago, when two women laid hands on me and prayed over me with the explicit intent of healing my gender dysphoria. One of the two is a friend, and the other is her relative. Both told me of specific times God performed a miracle of healing in their lives.
Because they longed to pray over me, and I am grateful for every Christian who displays love for me, I gladly visited them. They prayed over me in every way you can imagine, imploring the Lord to heal me. After awhile, I prayed out loud with them, reminding the Lord of how I had prayed these exact things to Him for so long.
We prayed for a half-hour. As we chatted afterward, the conversation kept returning to my believing the Lord would heal me. I felt like the women were saying I had to have enough faith. Each time I heard it, I addressed it with them: “Are you saying I don’t have enough faith?” “No, no,” was always the answer, yet the ladies kept saying things like, “If you will just believe.” I would press the point again, even asking if God heals us based on our having enough faith (and how do we know when we do or do not?) or out of His grace and goodness?
We remained at an impasse. I was not healed of my desire to be a female.
Several weeks before that evening, I began my sessions with the LCMS theologian. I admire this man, having read and deeply appreciated some of his books, and love him for having reached out to me immediately after he learned about me. I was totally invested in his counsel. I so longed for it all to be over, to be a man, to stop freaking out my family and fellow Christians.
Sadly, it only took a few sessions for us to reach a stalemate. He always insisted, “God created you a male” and “this is what God intends you to be.” I would remind him that I was not a regular male, but had a physical condition which was the cause of my struggle, and if God intends me to be a male then why doesn’t He answer YES to my prayers to be a male?
Several times, I made a clear confession of my faith, wanting to demonstrate to this theologian that I have both an abiding faith and hold proper theology. He never found error in my theology.
I told him that I was looking for his key to all of this—I so wanted him to say something that no one had before said to me, the thing to unlock the door to healing. He admitted that he had nothing up his sleeve. Ultimately, his mantra was, “God created you a male and intends you to be a male.” Sadly, because that was the foundation of his argument, because I had received the exact same counsel from several pastors over the two years prior, and because it felt like he wanted me to use faith and determination—hello, Walt Heyer—to be able to abide in my male self, that was the end of our sessions.
Now, how do I know this is not a faith issue? And how do I know that I have not struck out, as I suggested up front? Here is how.
The craziest thing happened on my way to transitioning: My faith in Jesus Christ deepened. My desire to worship each Sunday heightened. My pleasure at receiving the Lord Supper resulted in my often leaving the Communion rail in my tears of joy. My prayer life has expanded. My devotion to reading God’s Word is the first thing I do seven days a week. My thirst for showing my love for Him through my love for my fellow man cannot be quenched.
The Lord had always blessed me with an abiding faith and desire to serve Him. Remember, I was a minister and loved it! Yet, through these past three-plus years, and in the two years since I retired, everything of the previous paragraph is bigger, deeper, wider, greater, more profound.
Whew! I am a Christian, after all.
Finally, Walt Heyer believes that all transgender people are mentally ill due to early childhood trauma. More on that in a piece which I will likely title, “Apparently, I had a traumatic childhood.”