University of Cambridge Dean Defends Chapel Sermon Suggesting Jesus Was Transgender

University of Cambridge Dean Defends Chapel Sermon Suggesting Jesus Was Transgender

A chapel sermon delivered Nov. 20 by a University of Cambridge student in the U.K. asserting that Jesus Christ is transgender is being defended by school officials as “in the spirit of thought-provoking academic inquiry.”

But Franklin Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse, rebuked the research student’s absurdity in a Facebook post calling the sermon “blasphemous.”

“This is repulsive and shameful,” Graham wrote. “To insinuate that Jesus Christ, the Holy Son of God, is transgender or to sexualize in any way His sacrificial death on the Cross for the sins of mankind is utter heresy.”

During a Sunday evening service at Trinity College Chapel on the Cambridge campus, Joshua Heath, a junior research fellow, likened Jesus’ side wound and blood flowing to the groin in Jean Malouel’s 1400 painting “Pietà” to looking like female genitalia.

Worshipers were outraged and distraught to hear Heath’s claim about Jesus’s pierced side in the Renaissance and Medieval painting of the crucifixion, The Telegraph reported.

Heath contended that the wound, also depicted in the 14th century Prayer Book of Bonne of Luxembourg, “takes on a decidedly vaginal appearance.” The Telegraph reported further that Heath discussed “non-erotic depictions of Christ’s penis in historical art,” which the research fellow maintained “urge a welcoming rather than hostile response toward the raised voices of trans people.” 

“In Christ’s simultaneously masculine and feminine body in these works, if the body of Christ as these works suggest the body of all bodies, then his body is also the trans body,” Heath claimed.

“No wonder parishioners at the Trinity College, Cambridge chapel said they were disgusted, in tears, outraged and distressed after hearing this blasphemous message,” Graham responded on social media. “The Bible warns us about false teachers. This speaker and the dean of the University of Cambridge who defended him are false teachers, preaching heresy.”

Still, Trinity College’s Dean Michael Banner defended the sermon as “legitimate” and suggested “that we might think about these images of Christ’s male/female body as providing us with ways of thinking about issues around transgender questions today.”

“For myself, I think that speculation was legitimate, whether or not you or I or anyone else disagrees with the interpretation, says something else about that artistic tradition, or resists its application to contemporary questions around transsexualism,” Banner added.

But Graham said the pulpit is no place for artistic interpretation.

“People don’t need messages from the pulpit that are trying to interpret art like this speaker was,” he wrote. “People need the truth of the Word of God that has the power of God to change hearts and lives for eternity! The Bible warns us to beware, ‘there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction’” (2 Peter 2:1, ESV).

Photo: Dorin Seremet /

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