Trueman: A New Pastoral Problem

ast week, a pastor friend told me about a new problem he is facing in his congregation. I hesitate to call it a “first world pastoral problem” because that runs the risk of trivializing it, of making it seem akin to those issues only deemed catastrophic by chattering-class Westerners—a sudden shortage of quinoa at Whole Foods, for example, or a blight on zinfandel grapes. This is a first world problem in the sense that it is created by the chattering classes; but it is in no sense trivial.

The problem my pastor friend faces is how to counsel parents of teenage girls who will not drink anything before going to school lest they have to use the bathrooms that, thanks to the stroke of President Biden’s pen, are now open to teenage boys who think—or claim—to have been born in the wrong bodies. It seems that anxiety and physical discomfort caused by the new bathroom policy will now be the new normal for young high school girls. Trans activists like to use the language of “safety” as a way of playing to the aesthetics of our therapeutic culture and delegitimizing their critics. Well, these biological women no longer feel safe. Their spaces, like their gender, have been stolen from them by men and for men. They now feel themselves to be in such danger that they cannot even hydrate before school lest they have to use the restroom during the day. America has had a number of presidents whose appetites meant that they arguably posed a danger to many women who crossed their physical paths; but the current president has out-performed them all. His policies have made him a danger to all women everywhere, even in high school restrooms. Read more»

Carl R. Trueman, “A New Pastoral Problem,” First Things (March 2, 2021)


    Post authored by:

  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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  1. Thank you, Dr Clark, for reproducing this – It’s a pity it’s not shouted from every housetop>

  2. Reading Carl Trueman’s article left me outraged. And so it should. But the alternative, simply continuing with the status quo, is far worse. Outrage and lament can be helpful if they drive us to a action. Political change adequate to the situation is not going to happen in time to rescue our youth. This won’t be solved by the PTA or by writing your representatives. The damage is deep and will be long-lasting, requiring generations to change. I appreciate your efforts to continually expose the people and urging the reasonableness of removing children from public schools. Remaining is not a reasonable option.

  3. After 60 years of the modern feminist movement, men are still winning and women and girls are still losing. The privacy rights of women and girls are being trampled on in the name of Leftist ideology, again. How is this new ruling by the Biden Administration a win for females?

  4. I think the bathrooms wars is lost.

    The genie is out of the bottle and there is little to put it back in again without a sea change in public opinion. Now that the idea of being trans is more accepted its hard to view anyone with a certainty as to their sex.

    For example even with laws that limited use of bathrooms to ones in-utereo sex, there is nothing to stop a male pervert from going into a woman’s toilet and saying (if challenged) that they are a transman who has to use this bathroom even thought ‘its not my choice’ . (Lying in effect)

    On a totally anecdotal and personal note i believe I’m witnessing that gender-typical dress has actually increased and i believe this is because no woman wants others to doubt as to whether they are a transman (who is not passing) or a transwoman (who is passing but not quite..) with the reverse being true for any man.

    I’m sure that laws that enforce bathrooms ‘norms’ would help but once the idea that sex is a social construct is out there, then the sex of anyone you are looking at is debateable as such no matter what laws are enforced i think we will be seeing these kinds of issues for some time to come.

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