jQuery Slider

You are here


The minister at the centre of a transgender storm speaks to Evangelicals Now

By John Parker
Evangelicals Now
November 30, 2020

'You are all now honorary Mermaids, whether you want to be or not.' That was what the trainer said, and I did not want to be. Why not?

We should approach those suffering from gender dysphoria with compassion. As Christians, however, we know that compassion is also truthful, unlike the 'compassion' of the world. The effect of the training I received was the suppression of the grace and truth of Jesus Christ. As the above quotation reveals, respect for other views -- be they scientific, legal, Islamic, Jewish, Christian or just traditional British -- was absent. This was a totalitarian approach masquerading as Equality Law: an ideology using a vulnerable child to pursue its agenda. Grace and truth were being sacrificed on the altar of ideology. I am glad that new government guidance has realised the dangers of such organisations, though I do not believe activists will give up any time soon.

Ever since my conversion in 1988, a verse of the Bible has been very precious to me: 'Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels' (Mark 8:38). This was one of the many verses which guided my stand against Mermaids. Why did I feel the need to take a stand? I was convinced that what they were promoting was harming, and would harm, the children in the school. Not only were they advocating the unquestioned 'social transition' of children (treating them as the opposite sex rather than their actual one), in our case an eight-year-old, but would apply this to any child. This could lead swiftly (potentially by age ten) to puberty-suppressing drugs and then to surgery. Appropriate scientific studies on these drugs had not, and still has not, been done. One does not need to reflect long to know that the effects of this are potentially devastating. Their health -- be it reproductive, sexual, mental or physical -- could be irretrievably damaged. This, combined with the reality of detransition (the decision to revert to biological sex) and amelioration (the known science that 80--90% of children have their dysphoria removed by puberty) as well as the fact that other children are likely to follow in copycat fashion, made this an issue of child protection. I was, and still am, stunned that many do not see this, especially as Mermaids' doctrine is so obviously false, legally and scientifically (speaking as someone who studied biology at Oxford University). I needed to heed the words of Jesus, 'Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea' (Mark 9:42). I could not be part of a decision that encouraged children to 'consent' to potential destruction of their bodies and encouraged others down the same route. Nor could I be part of an organisation, the Diocese of Chelmsford, which accepted Mermaids' encouragement of this route for children. It was the final straw.

Grateful for the grace of God

There were many facets to the stand I took. I had broken communion with my Bishop and with the Deanery, due to false teaching, prior to the situation in the school. This distancing commanded by Scripture in response to false teaching is clear. Sadly, the teaching necessitated that. I am grateful for the Lord's sovereignty leading into the situation in the school. He enabled me to be in a position to more easily take this stand, to resign as a governor and from the Church of England, thus giving freedom to whistle-blow. Of course, various narratives were and still are doing the rounds. Truth 'will out' on the day that matters and is very unlikely to 'out' before then. The Lord graciously led me and was palpably with me. He was also with my wife, such that she was willing to leave home, career and security in our middle age. She is a wonderful gift. I am still grateful to Him because this experience has shown me that the Lord Jesus is more precious to me, and to my wife, than family, home, 'career', and emotional wellbeing. He did it all, and is more precious than all.

Grateful to many people

Yet, this has been a lonely road and we still bear the scars. I have needed people to support me. I am most grateful to my wife, who has stood by me and is working more hours now so that we have the basic necessities of life. The governor who resigned alongside me was also a great encouragement. But other Christians did not support me, and therein lies a challenge for our constituency -- to understand the Scriptures more clearly regarding the difference between Christian compassion and the 'compassion' of the world. The support of Christian Concern was invaluable to give legal confidence. Many, both Christian and non-Christian, nationally and globally, indicated their support through letters, emails and phone calls. Thank you! How much we needed the expressions of love from members of Greenstead Evangelical Free Church, where we 'landed'. They have a special place in our hearts for their love and the clear understanding of the stand we took. It has been a tonic to be able to link with Grace Baptist brothers in Suffolk, and ministers in Felixstowe, Clacton, Walthamstow and Manningtree -- you know who you are! As we planned to plant Cornerstone Church Colchester, it was a joy to meet the Canadian Bishop, Charlie Masters and to receive such blessing from one who understands the pain of leaving a denomination. Lee McMunn and Jon Cawsey were a great encouragement as we sought the Lord about planting in Colchester. Bishop Andy Lines has taken a real interest in the needs of the Parker family and the struggles of this year. Our wider families have supported us financially and emotionally. The team of six who are planting with us are dear friends. We have developed a love for each other the like of which I had not hitherto experienced. Without these encouragements, and the prayers of many others, I doubt we would still be going. I am grateful to them all.

The Future

Cornerstone Church Colchester started publicly on 18 October 2020. Very conscious of our weakness, we are reaching out to the unconverted 190,000 in Colchester. There are other faithful Bible churches in Colchester, but we are wanting to be different by emphasising deep Christian community in homes. This enables us to reach anywhere. I am even more convinced that the world needs to see that we believe, whatever the cost. This is an apologetic largely forgotten, but church history is full of it, as is the non-Western world. I would encourage others to take a stand. It may be lonely, it may be messy, but the Lord will be with you. You may lose friends but will gain deeper ones. Above all, you will know just how precious Jesus Christ is to you, and long for his verdict on the final day. Until that day, let's stand in whatever situation we find ourselves. We don't have to submit to totalitarian ideology, nor fear it. We can stand against it and we should want to. Why? Because our Lord's words really are more precious than life.

The Mermaid's website has been updated recently but still promotes transgender ideology to children.

In Evangelicals Now for December here:


Get a bi-weekly summary of Anglican news from around the world.
comments powered by Disqus
Trinity School for Ministry
Go To Top