Nashville Statement on Sexuality: A Loving Appeal to Truth
On August 29, 2017, prominent religious leaders from across the country signed their names to and issued one of the most powerful affirmations of God’s truth about human sexuality that we have seen in our generation. It is called the Nashville Statement, and I would encourage everyone to read it carefully and repeatedly. You can access it from this Web site: https://cbmw.org/nashville-statement?ncid=edlinkushpmg00000313. It contains such powerful statements as:
WE AFFIRM that God has designed marriage to be a covenantal, sexual, procreative, lifelong union of one man and one woman, as husband and wife, and is meant to signify the covenant love between Christ and his bride the church. WE DENY that God has designed marriage to be a homosexual, polygamous, or polyamorous relationship. We also deny that marriage is a mere human contract rather than a covenant made before God.
WE AFFIRM that it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism and that such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness and witness. WE DENY that the approval of homosexual immorality or transgenderism is a matter of moral indifference about which otherwise faithful Christians should agree to disagree.
Sadly, many people who call themselves Christians are actively denouncing the truths found in the statement and contending that homosexuality and transgenderism are God-affirmed behaviors. Brandan Robertson, an LGBTQ activist and “pastor” helped put together a response to the statement called “Christians United.”1 That response, endorsed by hundreds of people calling themselves Christians, states:
WE AFFIRM that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God and that the great diversity expressed in humanity through our wide spectrum of unique sexualities and gender identities is a perfect reflection of the magnitude of God’s creative work.
It includes other statements that claim that active participation in homosexual behavior is in-line with God’s will.
As could be expected, the Nashville Statement is being slammed by those in the LGBTQ community, along with many “religious” people who approve of such behavior, as being hate-filled, vicious, mean-spirited, evil, and unloving. These accusations, however, could not be further from the truth. The Nashville Statement is saturated with sentiments about God’s love and acceptance of all people, but not sinful behavior. Article 11 of the statement reads:
WE AFFIRM our duty to speak the truth in love at all times, including when we speak to or about one another as male or female. WE DENY any obligation to speak in such ways that dishonor God’s design of his imagebearers as male and female.
And article 14 reads as follows:
WE AFFIRM that Christ Jesus has come into the world to save sinners and that through Christ’s death and resurrection forgiveness of sins and eternal life are available to every person who repents of sin and trusts in Christ alone as Savior, Lord, and supreme treasure. WE DENY that the Lord’s arm is too short to save or that any sinner is beyond his reach.
In truth, the Bible explains that homosexual and transgender behaviors are sinful.2 Since that is the case, the only truly loving approach is to kindly and gently, yet boldly and clearly, explain to our culture that such behaviors are sinful. Jesus Himself gave us this very example. In Mark 10:17-22, we read the story of the rich young ruler. He came to Jesus wanting to know how to be saved. Unfortunately, the young man loved money. The Bible explains, “then Jesus, looking at him, loved him.” Our society would claim that means Jesus must have changed His message to accommodate the young man’s behavior and accepted him regardless of his actions. That is not at all what Jesus did. He told the young man that if he wanted to be right with God, then he would have to give up his sinful behavior. The young man left Jesus with a sorrow-filled heart because he was not willing to give up his sin.
The story gives us a clear picture of the only truly loving approach. When people involve themselves in sinful behavior, if we love them, we will explain to them what God’s Word says they must leave behind in order to be right with God. If we really love people, we will gently tell them what the Bible says is right and wrong, regardless of how they respond. This was Jesus’ approach and He hung on the cross for it. We should expect to experience the same types of negative responses He experienced when we follow His example. As He said, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:18-19).
1 Antonia Blumberg, “Hundreds of Christian Leaders Denounce Anti-LGBTQ ‘Nashville Statement,’” Huffington Post, https://www.yahoo.com/news/hundreds-christian-leaders-denounce-anti-232701319.html.