Recently 150 religious leaders met in Nashville, Tennessee, to ratify a statement regarding biblical sexuality now known as the “Nashville Statement.” The group’s organizer stated, “It was our aim to say nothing new, but to bear witness to something very ancient.”
The Nashville Statement consists of a preamble stating its purpose and 14 articles articulating their beliefs. Each of the articles includes a statement of affirmation as well as a denial.
In summary, the Nashville Statement affirms God’s design for marriage from the beginning as a life time union between one man and one woman. It condemns all other sexual relationships–homosexual, polygamous, or polyamorous.
Furthermore, it affirms that unique differences between male and female as God created each with equal worth, but distinct in their nature, role, and relationships.
The Nashville statement reminds us that “sin distorts sexual desires” and leads us toward sexual immorality. However, such desires must be restrained and not acted upon.
The signers affirmed their duty to “speak the truth in love,” (Eph 4:16) and that sinners could be saved, transformed and redirected from their sins through God’s grace, love and mercy.
While I’m sure that I would have some theological differences with the Nashville signers, and would not have worded some portions of the statement in the same manner, I do appreciate their courage and stand for Biblical morality in our immoral culture.
However, not everyone sees it that way. The statement was met with fierce opposition by many news outlets, social media, and politicians. Nashville’s Mayor, Megan Barry tweeted that the statement “does not represent the inclusive values of the city and people of Nashville.” Both the New York Times and The Washington Post lambasted The Nashville Statement as “an attack on L.G.B.T. Christians.” The New Republic describes it as “the death rattle of a movement that has disgraced itself.”
Of course, to our modern-day culture Truth is subjective. The Bible is outdated. Sexuality is a choice. And any religious teaching that disagrees is dangerous.
Our readers may wonder “Why cause controversy?” Why “stir the pot?” Shouldn’t we just be quiet and let people live as they want? Why risk the wrath of cultural outrage?
Albert Mohler, one of the Nashville Statement signers, expressed it this way: “It would be much easier to be quiet, to let the moral revolution proceed unanswered, and to seek some kind of refuge in silence or ambiguity.”
Jim Denison, a writer on cultural commentary expressed the need to speak out this way. “Our silence deprives our culture—including LGBTQ people—of truth they desperately need to hear.”
When the apostles, Peter and John were commanded not to speak any more in the name of Jesus, they boldly responded, “We cannot stop speaking what we have seen and heard” (Ax 4:22).
In a culture that views Truth as relative, we must preach that God’s Word is Truth (Jn 17:17). The fact is that sin is real and it soils the soul and brings eternal death (Rom 3:23; 6:23). But there is power in the Gospel to save us from sin (Rom 1:16).
Issues of morality that include marriage, sexuality, and gender are not excluded from the gospel message. They were addressed in the first century and the need exists today to reaffirm our beliefs in whatever forum we’re able to do so.
Let us never be ashamed of the Gospel. And never be afraid to stand up for our moral beliefs.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman