Calling out sexual sin
Nashville Statement defines Christian position regarding sexuality and marriage
Sides have been taken in the wake of the recent release of the Nashville Statement.
The document was drafted by the Center for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and endorsed by evangelical Christian leaders across America in order to reaffirm the biblical views on gender, sexuality and marriage. Prominent signers of the statement include John Piper, Francis Chan, Russell Moore and Matt Chandler, among others.
After reading the statement’s preamble and 14 articles for myself, I was encouraged that biblical truth about such an important cultural issue was being lovingly spoken as a light into the darkness around us.
Statements, creeds and catechisms, which serve as summaries of Christian doctrine, have been written throughout Christian history as a way of drawing us back to what the Bible says in the midst of everchanging cultures. I assumed the biblical accuracy of the Nashville Statement would bring together most Christians and that secular circles would, at least, not be surprised by the stance, as it is the position Christians have always held.
I was wrong.
Well-known leaders and writers, such as Jen Hatmaker, stated clear disapproval of the statement, saying it will only lead to suffering, rejection, shame and despair. Musician Michael Gungor composed a response statement, and he has encouraged people who say they belong to Christ to sign and support his opinion that the Nashville Statement consisted of “powerful people of means us(ing) the platform of the Church to demean the basic dignity of gay, bisexual, lesbian, trans, intersex and queer people.”
In addition, many secular and liberal platforms have declared that the statement is not only hateful, but dangerous, saying that this rejection will not help decrease the high depression and suicide rates of the LGBT community.
Now, realizing that the ripples of positive response I expected have been replaced with mountainous waves of anger, I am both heartbroken and joyful that there has been such a widespread response.
I am heartbroken that we live in a fallen, sinful world where tough conversations about sexuality and gender are needed. But I am joyful that we live in a world redeemed through Jesus’ death where those who come to know and trust Christ are forever free from the bondage of sin.
I am heartbroken that there are people who claim to be Christians saying same-sex marriages are holy before God because people have full autonomy over their bodies. But I am joyful that there are Christians around the world battling their homosexual desires because they realize they themselves are not their own and that they have been bought with a price. They strive towards the holiness defined by the Bible, not their emotions.
I am heartbroken that there are people who believe loving someone means supporting who they claim to be. But I am joyful that Christ demonstrated that the most loving thing you can do is call out sin in a discerning manner in order to bring about a life of total fulfillment as opposed to living for fleeting moments and pleasures that never completely satisfy.
I am heartbroken that the statement came out in the days following Harvey’s destruction. But I am joyful that we serve a God who is present in and sovereign over every spiritual and physical storm we face.
I am heartbroken that there are LGBT people out there who have been treated wrongly by Christians in the past. But I am joyful that Christianity is not defined by the current actions of Christians, but the perfect, completed work of Jesus.
If this heartbreak and this joy is rooted in loving God and loving others, then the Nashville Statement should influence your Christian lifestyle.
Christians must find confidence in Christ to not back down from speaking truth in the face of lies, but they must do so with a gentleness that allows for meaningful friendships with the LGBT community to be formed. Just as Christ was the friend of sinners, we also get to share in the privilege of loving everyone around us.
Pray for a heart change as you faithfully sow seeds of grace and truth, trusting God to work in His perfect way.
Price is an opinion writer.