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Pastor Steve Massey preaching at Hayden Bible Church

SPOKANE, Washington, August 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — A Christian pastor and columnist for a local paper reportedly inflamed its readership when he wrote that gender-confused kids need compassion, not acceptance.

“Transgenderism is neither normative nor acceptable. To insist otherwise is dangerous and lacks true compassion for those struggling with gender identity,” asserted Steve Massey in last Saturday’s Spokesman-Review.

“This good news – the gospel – does not condemn those who embrace transgenderism. Instead, it lovingly offers to them and all of us sinners the freedom to forsake the disordered desires that seek to rule us,” wrote Massey, the senior pastor of non-denominational Hayden Bible Church.

He was riled by an Associated Press article he’d seen entitled “How to tell if your child is transgender.”

The question “is as destructive as it is provocative,” wrote Massey, a regular faith contributor to the Spokesman-Review, where he was once a reporter and editor.

“Why? Because a mainstream news purveyor is now peddling the premise that today’s transgender phenomenon is somehow normative and acceptable.”

It’s neither, observed Massey, noting parenthetically that “a staggering 41 percent of trans or gender nonconforming people surveyed have attempted suicide.”

Rather, transgenderism “is simply an attempt by people to create their own reality, perhaps to deal with deep emotional pain,” he wrote.

“That parents would assist their own precious, vulnerable kids in this is unconscionable.”

God’s Word on the matter “is simply this: ‘From the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female,’” noted Massey, adding a person can’t change his sex physiologically simply by how he feels.

“Christians approaching today’s transgender issue must balance this truth with compassion,” he observed.

“We best help a person struggling with gender dysphoria not by helping them ‘reassign’ gender outwardly, but by encouraging them to gladly accept the person God made them to be at their very core,” Massey wrote.

“For us to deny that we are someone other than who God has made us to be is an offense to our Creator, and a destructive fantasy.”

The fact is “all of us have desires that don’t match reality,” he noted.

The Bible “simply calls such disordered desires sin. And the good news is that God has a better way than you and me creating our own reality. God invites us to embrace who he has made us to be.”

All of this so inflamed the Spokesman-Review’s readership that editor Bob Curley ran an editorial with Massey’s column in the online edition, admitting he was “shocked” when he first read it.

“I even had regrets,” Curley wrote. “It’s just that I didn’t regret that we published it.”

Curley maintained that unpopular views and convictions should be published “Unfiltered. Unedited. Uncensored” to compel others to decide where they stand on such issues.

But he apologized “for not giving the column the right context and discussion that it deserved.”