Recently there has been a lot of traffic in social media in response to the Nashville Statement, since it’s release on Tuesday (08/29/2017). It is no surprise to me that the majority of the responses are very negative, coming both from people who identify as Christians as well as non-believers. I can understand the reasoning for the negative responses coming from the non-believers, especially those who are advocates for the LGBTQ community. The thing that concerns me are the individuals who call themselves Christians, most especially the leaders of Christian churches/organizations.
Everything that was put into the articles of the Nashville Statement serves as a ‘line drawn in the sand’ regarding the Biblical interpretation of marriage, gender, and sexuality. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that in the past few years our country has attempted (yet again) to redefine these terms as traditionally understood. And just like the Danvers Statement of 1987 addressed the issues brought about by feminism, the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) again attempts to affirm where the Church (that is, the body of Christ) must stand regarding same sex marriage, transgenderism, and sex outside of Biblical marriage.
The Bible is full of offensive truths, and the reason that it is so offensive is because it often hits close to home. We are ALL sinful creatures, and the laws of God are offensive to the sinner. Even the Pope, who is considered the most holy representative of Christ, is a sinner! Some Christians do understand this concept, believe it to be true and know that only through God are we able to overcome our struggles with sin. For those who do not understand this concept, it is easy to claim that most Christians are unsympathetic, judgmental and/or otherwise hateful towards other sinners.
Though God’s Word offends, it doesn’t make it any less true. The Bible is clear about the circumstances of how God made man and woman, and how the man is to leave his family and take the woman as his spouse (Genesis 2). The Bible is also very clear about sexual immorality and it’s view as inexcusable sin. (Leviticus, 1 Corinthians, Matthew 5, Ephesians 5, Colossians 3, Romans 1, and many more) Sexual immorality encompasses a variety of terms such as homosexuality, adultery, transgenderism, marital rape, etc. Despite what people’s feelings dictate, these are sin and sin cannot be tolerated by God.
There are Christians who want to use love as their defense for sin. The greatest commandment IS to love God and love people (Matthew 22), however that doesn’t mean you’re permitted to accept and encourage their sinful behavior. In Romans 1, Paul clearly says that those who deserve to die are not only those who practice sin, but those who also give approval of that sin (v. 28-32). Since all struggle with sin, it can be easy to sympathize and at times even show love as commanded, but as Christians we must not condone their sin.
Then there are those who want to quote the most misused verse in the Bible, “Judge not..” (Matthew 7). So if God doesn’t want us to give approval of sin, how are we to determine whether it is sin or not if we do not judge an individual? Jesus said: “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment” (John 7) That is to say to judge by the authority of God’s word to correct a brother who might sin against them. “Better is open rebuke, than hidden love….Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27).
While the Nashville Statement is a fallible man made doctrine, it does well the purpose it was drawn up for. I am sure that most churches already have their own statements regarding sexuality that they subscribe to, this one seems to me a broader reach out across multiple denominations and not just Reformed Christians. The hope is to bring truth to those in mainline churches that might be struggling one way or another with these topics. To God alone be the Glory!