A manifesto written by evangelical leaders has drawn the ire of the LGBTQ community, the liberal press, and has Progressive Christians ticked off as well. Why? Because conservative evangelicals had the audacity to release a statement proclaiming that traditional sexual morality is based on the clear teaching of Scripture, not on the whims of an ever changing culture.
Liberals aren’t the only ones who have voiced their concern. Even some conservative evangelicals are apprehensive about the declaration. They point out that there are always risks involved with these sorts of issue declarations. And they’d like those who penned what is being called the Nashville Statement to address those concerns.
So – our advice is this: Before you sign it make sure your concerns are addressed. Ask yourself, do I really want my signature on a statement just because some of my favorite Church leaders signed it?
Being a Berean means doing your research. Bereans investigate. So for starters, go to the scriptures and find out what our Creator has to say about what it means to be a human being. What was God’s design for marriage from the very beginning? Then carefully read through the Nashville Statement. Does it line up with Scripture?
Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, was a speaker at the event in Nashville, TN where the manifesto was announced and a signatory as well. On August 30th Dr. Mohler began The Briefing with a lengthy explanation of what the Nashville Statement contains. Following is from the transcript:
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, matters of truth in particular times of trial, should to be put into words in order to bear the testimony of that clarity. A manifesto was released yesterday; it’s known as the Nashville Statement, it’s a coalition for biblical sexuality. A group of evangelical leaders had gathered in Nashville for a meeting to determine how the statement should be released, and it was released yesterday morning by the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. I should say at the beginning, I was a speaker at the event and a signatory to this statement, and there are many others, as we shall see, who signed it as well. The big issue is this: What took place as released on August 29, 2017 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. By late yesterday the Nashville Statement was one of the most often discussed issues in social media and it had gained a great deal of media attention as well. More on that attention in just a moment, back to the statement for now.
The statement begins with a preamble that states,
“Evangelical Christians at the dawn of the twenty-first century find themselves living in a period of historic transition. As Western culture has become increasingly post-Christian, it has embarked upon a massive revision of what it means to be a human being.”
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. In discussions as the statement was being framed, one of the points I really wanted to make is that our understanding of human dignity as grounded in creation has to acknowledge that in the very same verse in which we are told that God had created human beings in his image, thus distinctive creatures — the only creatures made in God’s image — it also states unequivocally that God has made those human beings in his image as male and female. Thus, one of the things we need to make very clear as Christians is that a subversion of what it means to be male and female is actually a subversion of human dignity of any adequate understanding of human dignity that can undergird what makes human beings distinct from other creatures, and furthermore, what undergirds the understanding that every single human being is made in God’s image.
Following the form of other important evangelical statements and manifestoes, this document includes affirmations and denials. This is a yes and no structure that has a long history in the Christian church. The structure’s explained by this: It’s not enough to say what we do believe when clarity also requires that we say what we do not believe. It’s not just enough to say this is what we believe the Bible teaches, we must also say this is contrary to what we understand the Bible to teach. Article 1 states classical Christian biblical doctrine in reality,
“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.”