MSBNC in 2014 identified “the most radical preacher in America,” because Daniel Robinson, turned Allyson Dylan Robinson, is the first openly transgendered person ordained by the Baptist church. (See video below).
Making headlines again last week, during an annual Alliance of Baptists gathering in St. Louis, Mo., Robinson said,
I have known my entire life that the world was wrong about me, that on the day I was born, when the doctor took a cursory glance between my legs and authoritatively declared ‘It’s a boy,’ he was wrong — dead wrong.
“In the case of my gender, it was what the world assigned to me and demanded of me.”
Because of his gender confusion Robinson said contemplated suicide, but says an angel named “Reason” intervened. She asked him:
What if God hasn’t fixed you because you’re not broken?
“That can’t be true. The Bible says I’m broken.
“What if the Bible is wrong? What if you’ve been reading it wrong?”
“Reason” saved his life. Robinson writes in his Crossing the T blog, that he found a way to combine transgender identity with “the cross of Christ and, more broadly, to cruciformity as a way of life.”
He described his theology and his “spiritual predecessors” to the Baptist Alliance audience:
I have challenged nearly every doctrine that was entrusted to me and that I promised to keep on the day of my ordination. I determined to keep those only that keep me alive.
“I consider Job, Gautama Buddha, Joan of Arc, Rumi and Johnny Cash to be my spiritual predecessors far more than Augustine, Aquinas or Barth. My hymnal has a lot less Isaac Watts and Fanny Crosby, but it’s full of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Tupac and Beyonce.”
Born as a biological boy, Daniel Robinson graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1994, the same year he married his wife. They moved to Europe and the Middle East where he commanded PATRIOT missile units, was a senior trainer/evaluator for NATO, and advised the armed forces of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar. In 1999, he felt “called to the ministry” and left the military, enrolling at Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary. When he arrived at Baylor to study theology he says that he looked like a typical “white, straight, lower/upper middle class, European-descended man.”
Roughly half-way through, he told his family and friends that he wanted to live as a woman. His wife (now of 22 years), Danyelle Robinson, and the mother of their four children, stood by him. He postponed his “coming out” until graduation from Truett in 2007 because of Baylor’s adherence to biblical teaching on homosexuality and gender identity.
Calvary Baptist Church, in Washington, D.C., re-ordained Robinson as a woman on June 24, 2014 (who was first ordained as a man). During this ceremony, outgoing pastor Amy Butler said (and later posted on her blog):
Allyson Dylan Robinson is a minister of the gospel, trained for the task, and ordained to the gospel ministry by another community in which she has served as pastor. Over the course of her journey, God has invited her to step into the faithful witness of a new identity, a true identity, and a new name. While we have always known her as Allyson, she was ordained with a different name.”
The same month, the Southern Baptist Convention adopted a resolution emphasizing its opposition “to alter ‘bodily identity’ through cross-sex hormone therapy or gender-reassignment surgery” and “all efforts by any governing official or body to validate transgender identity as morally praiseworthy.”
Sadly, Robinson continues to “play church” and “pastor” by his own rules despite what the Baptist denomination affirms to be the Biblical, true, teaching on human sexuality. Robinson recently officiated the “re-naming” ceremony for Bruce Jenner and says of his faith,
Once I let go of all my folk theology and my fairy tales about God and started taking God at God’s word, and started using the meager faculties that God gave me to ponder it all, I could do no other.
“What would it mean for the church to embrace all of this?” Robinson pondered. “I don’t know. I think it would look a lot different than it looks today. All I know is that it would mean a lot to a lot of the people who are sitting in your pews every week.”
Robinson advocated for military veterans “coming out” as homosexual and transgender via the now bankrupted OutServe-SLDN and serves on SPARTA’s Board of Directors. He now “consult[s] with companies, government agencies, and NGOs on organizational design, culture and climate, cross-cultural engagement, and social/civic entrepreneurship.”
This article was first published on April 19, 2016.