A Baptist Press story recently reported on the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood’s (CBMW) Aug. 29 announcement on the release of a very important document, The Nashville Statement. It consists of 14 affirmations and denials consistent with the church’s long-held teaching on human sexuality.
The statement confronts critical issues relating to marriage, sexuality and gender identity.
It is a bold attempt to inject the biblical position on these matters into a public conversation that is currently driven by aggressive left-leaning forces.
Here are some of the reactions from voices on both sides of the arguments.
Among the many unsurprising comments on Twitter, the Nashville Statement is condemned as “toxic theology, unfathomable stupidity, hateful and unloving.” One complete tweet reads, “Y’all who wrote/support the #NashvilleStatment should be ashamed of naming a bigoted piece of trash after such a beautiful, welcoming city.”
Others said, “U claim to be Christian but are filled with so much hate??? Not sure Jesus would like u very much or @TheGoodGodAbove” and “Jesus loved everyone, so why shouldn’t we?” and “#NashvilleStatment is #hatred pure and simple.”
Megan Barry, mayor of the city of Nashville, tweeted, “The @CBMWorg’s so-called ‘Nashville Statement’ is poorly named and does not represent the inclusive values of the city & people of Nashville.”
The @CBMWorg's so-called "Nashville Statement" is poorly named and does not represent the inclusive values of the city & people of Nashville
— Megan Barry (@MayorMeganBarry) August 29, 2017
A pro-LGBTQ Huffington Post writer said the statement is “heretical and boldly against the teachings of God as we find in the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ.”
One Twitter commenter favoring the Nashville Statement wrote: “I’m amazed at people who claim to be Christian but endorse the homosexual lifestyle, when the Bible says it’s wrong.”
Former Southern Baptist Convention president and Georgia pastor James Merritt tweeted, “I’m proud to join this coalition of evangelicals signing the historic Nashville Statement.”
Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary said, “There is much need for biblical clarity & compassion in the discussion on sexuality. This statement helps: nashvillestatement.com.”
On his Desiring God website, John Piper wrote: “In recent years, the celebration of attempts to transform oneself from male to female, or female to male, and the normalization of same-sex attraction, including so-called ‘same-sex marriage,’ have reconfigured the global landscape of sexual ethics. It is timely and hopeful, therefore, that the Nashville Statement has appeared at this time. With a focus on this new ethical landscape, the statement aims to help clarify Christian convictions. … [The statement] speaks with forthright clarity, biblical conviction, gospel compassion, cultural relevance and practical helpfulness. There is no effort to equivocate for the sake of wider, but muddled, acceptance. It is built on the persuasion that the Christian [s]criptures speak with clarity and authority for the good of humankind.”
Al Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said in his daily podcast, “In a time of confusion, one of the greatest gifts that can be given to and by Christ’s church is clarity, and clarity requires, at times, … [that] matters of truth in particular times of trial, should be put into words in order to bear the testimony of that clarity. [The Nashville Statement] was a statement by Christians who believe that it is our responsibility to speak clearly to issues of gender and sex and sexuality and biblical morality in a time when these issues are commonly confused. … Now as the statement makes clear, there is a particular subversion of a biblical understanding of humanity – what it means to be human – at the level of denying the gift of what it means to be a man and a woman and for that to be a part of God’s intention in creation for each one of us as revealed even in our anatomy; it’s a biological fact. … there really is no middle ground on these questions, we really are talking about a forced decision.
“Either you will join with the clarity, the biblical clarity, found in this document or you’re going to join with those who hold to a revisionist understanding not only of how the Bible is to be interpreted but also the gospel of Jesus Christ. There’s no way around it. We are now facing a forced set of alternatives, and there is no place to hide.”
Richard Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Matthews, N.C., issued this comment by email: “The Nashville Statement is a statement by Christian scholars of many different Christian traditions who have come together with a set of affirmations and denials, affirming a biblical sexuality. And it is all about the question, ‘who and what is a human being?’ – the mega ethical issue of our age.
“The challenge of how to biblically address transgenderism is different from same-sex relationships, in that same-sex relationships are addressed directly in [s]cripture in ways transgenderism is not. This statement is an attempt to help Christians respond to the transgender challenge biblically and Christianly.”
On Aug. 30, an alternate declaration was released in response to the Nashville Statement. It declared that God accepts LGBTQ persons as they are, regardless of their willingness to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Article 7 of the Christians United Statement in Support of LGBT Inclusion in the Church (christiansunitedstatement.org) says, “We affirm that one may live proudly and openly as an LGBT+ individual and as a faithful follower of Jesus Christ, and that LGBT+ individuals must be fully embraced and included in every level of Christian leadership, life and ministry without exception in order for the church to fully embrace its call to be the body of Christ.”
The Christians United statement calls for unity “in the midst of our diversity of sexual orientations, gender identities, relationships and beliefs about the same,” countering the position of the Nashville Statement that reads, “teachings on the biblical interpretation of sexuality and gender identity constitute a matter of orthodoxy and should be a cause for division among Christians.”
In their arguments, LGBTQ sympathizers focus heavily on the temporal, physical condition of mankind, including the alleged “psychological harm” the document will inflict on those who disagree with its position. But the Nashville Statement minimizes man’s temporal values and elevates the eternal standards of divine truth. It is not surprising that the biblical position falls on deaf ears.
Some closing words
- Sept. 10 is Grandparents’ Day. Please revisit the story about the unique needs of grandparents from the Aug. 12 edition of the Biblical Recorder. Consider some different ways your church can minister to the increasing number of senior adults in your community.
- Sept. 18 is marked as Anti-Gambling Sunday across the Southern Baptist Convention. Please visit ERLC.com for information and a free downloadable handout or bulletin insert to help your church understand the seriousness of the gambling problem.
- September is the month we give to the North Carolina Missions Offering. Your gifts are the primary support system for North Carolina Baptist Men/Baptists on Mission. Please give generously so they will be prepared with resources for disaster relief ministry when a crisis comes. Your dollars will support their ministry in Texas and around the world. Pray for the residents of Texas and Louisiana who were directly impacted by Hurricane Harvey and for all disaster relief volunteers.