Joan or John?

Russell Moore | October 8, 2014

This question takes place sometime in the future—or the present—in your ministry.

Joan is a 50-year-old woman who has been visiting your church for a little more than a year. She sits on the third row from the back, and usually exits during the closing hymn, often with tears in her eyes. Joan approaches you after the service on Sunday to tell you that she wants to follow Jesus as her Lord.

You ask Joan a series of diagnostic questions about her faith, and it’s clear she understands the gospel. She still seems distressed, though. When you ask if she’s repented of her sin, she starts to cry and grit her teeth.

“I don’t know,” she says. “I don’t know how . . . I don’t know where to start. . . . Can I meet with you privately?”

You, Joan, and a godly Titus 2-type women’s ministry leader in your church meet in your office right away, and Joan tells her story.

She wasn’t born Joan. She was born John. From early on in John’s life, though, he felt as though he was “a woman trapped in a man’s body.” “I don’t mean to repeat that old shopworn cliché,”…

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