Portraying Jesus as transgender deeply offensive
We write as a group of Church leaders to express our grave concern at the portrayal of Jesus as transgender in a performance at a theatre in Belfast this Sunday.
The traditional teaching of the Church - expressed in its historic creeds - clearly portrays Jesus Christ as the eternal Son of God.
As the Bible says, he is "the exact imprint" of his Father in Heaven (Hebrews 1:3) and the good news of the Christian message entirely depends on this unique and unchangeable relationship.
Although in his incarnation he is male, the New Testament is very clear that his death upon the cross is for all.
All have sinned and all can be redeemed through faith in him - irrespective of gender, ethnicity, social class, or any other human distinction. There is, therefore, no need for any other Jesus.
A presentation of a different Jesus, such as a transgender Jesus, is just one particular version of a "DIY Jesus", which will not only be regarded as offensive by Christian believers, but also by Christ himself.
We say this because, at the heart of Christianity is not an impersonal philosophy, or a religious idea that can be changed with time and culture.
Instead, the historic Christian faith - and all that it offers - is thoroughly personal and relational. It rests on the reality of a living person, God Himself, who came to earth in His son Jesus, Lord and Saviour.
The performance will, therefore, cause great offence and for this reason we respectfully urge that it may not happen.
TIM ANDERSON (Rector, St Elizabeth's Church, Dundonald),
JOHNNY BEARE (Youth leader, St Elizabeth's, Dundonald),
PETER BOURKE (Associate minister, St Elizabeth's, Dundonald),
STUART CROOKS (Pastor, Dundonald Baptist Church),
TREVOR JOHNSTON (All Saints, University Street, Belfast),
IVAN DE LIMA GONCALVES (Pastoral worker, St Elizabeth's, Dundonald), DAVID LUCKMAN (Crosslinks Ireland), WILLIAM PRESS (Rector, Knockbreda Parish Church, Belfast)