Christians united, an analysis and response

Sep 12, 2017 by

by Martin Barratt Davie:


​The Nashville Statement of August 29 2017[1] reaffirming traditional Christian teaching about human identity and sexual ethics has been met with a number of responses. Among these has been the declaration Christians United in Support of LGBT+ Inclusion in the Church which was issued on 30 August.[2]

This declaration has attracted signatories on both sides of the Atlantic, including the Revd Steve Chalke and Jayne Ozanne, and it represents a significant reaffirmation of the liberal Christian position. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the theological claims made in the declaration and to respond to them.


The claim made in the Preamble is that the Church is currently undergoing a period of reformation in which Christians are being led by the Spirit to affirm the LGBT+ community and its relationships. What should we make of this claim?

It is true, as the Preamble says, that ‘like each generation before us, are called to reflect, repent, and reform our teachings and practices to be ever more closely aligned with the heart and will of God revealed to us in Jesus Christ.’ If we believe as Christians that God has made himself known to us in Jesus Christ (John 1:18) it necessarily follows that we constantly need to ensure that our teachings and practices are in accordance with this revelation, reforming them where necessary.

It is also true that it is the work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness to Christ (John 15:26) that shows us where such reformation is required.

What is questionable is the assertion in the Preamble that it is the guidance of the Holy Spirit that has led a growing number of Christians in recent years:

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