Nashville Statement: evangelicals divided

Sep 2, 2017 by

Read the Nashville Statement here, some introductory comments and many articles below:

From the Statement’s preamble:

As Western culture has become increasingly post-Christian, it has embarked upon a massive revision of what it means to be a human being…Will the church of the Lord Jesus Christ …hold fast to the word of life, draw courage from Jesus, and unashamedly proclaim his way as the way of life? Will she maintain her clear, counter-cultural witness to a world that seems bent on ruin? We are persuaded that faithfulness in our generation means declaring once again the true story of the world and of our place in it—particularly as male and female.

Many have welcomed and applauded the Statement for being clear, biblical, culturally relevant, prophetic and Gospel-centred. For example Christian Concern say:

We applaud the clarity, conviction, compassion and courage of the Nashville Statement. It is a statement for our time when Christian moral values are under attack. It is a statement that all Bible believing Christians can unreservedly affirm and be grateful for. At the same time, it says nothing new. It affirms the same beliefs and practices that the Church has upheld throughout church history. We hope that the Nashville statement gains wide recognition and acceptance as a clear expression of Christian values on sexual ethics and sexuality.

Others however are concerned that the Statement, and ‘Article 7’ in particular, is not pastorally sensitive towards gay people, as it says that to self-define using certain sexual identity labels is sinful, as well as sexual activity outside heterosexual marriage. David Bennett, writing in Christian Today, says:

This is a blatant misunderstanding of Christian eschatology – people are not finally redeemed yet although marked for such redemption and thus must be real and honest about their humanity, broken and otherwise, identifying in their weakness as well as their strength….To deny this, is to commit the error of ‘over-realised eschatology’, thinking Heaven has now come and the human flesh has disappeared, even if being crucified.

Bennett appears to have misunderstood the Statement’s clear distinction between sinful sexual desire, which as he says may continue to trouble many believers during earthly life, requiring repentance and the empowering of the Holy Spirit for obedience and transformation, and holding to anti-biblical worldviews about sex and gender, which must be rejected as part of the renewing of the mind that comes after conversion.

Psychologist Mark Yarhouse comments:

the Nashville Statement will be experienced by some as unnecessarily antagonistic toward some of the very people whose commitment to a biblical sexual ethic means they are living out costly obedience.

Yet some of the signatories to Nashville have publicly stated their struggle with same-sex attraction, and clearly do not feel that the statement is ‘antagonistic’ towards them.

Meanwhile, Christian progressives have, predictably,  vehemently denounced the whole document.

A selection of articles are posted below. (Newer items at the top.)

The Nashville Statement and Same-Sex Attraction by Warren Throckmorton, Patheos

Christians united: an analysis and response, by Martin Davie

Defining orthodoxy in our modern world, by Peter Jones, Truth Exchange

Sex, Sanity, and Beliefs that ‘Live Loudly’ Within Us by Abp Charles J Chaput, Crisis Magazine

Comparing the Nashville Statement and one response from the Gay Christian perspective, Core Issues Trust

Making a Clear Statement on God’s Design for Marriage | Family Policy Briefing

On the Nashville Statement and My Signing of It by Alastair Roberts

7 Christian Leaders’ Reactions to Nashville Statement on Human Sexuality, Identity by Michael Gryboski, Christian Post

Why the Rejection of the Nashville Statement on Sexuality Is a Rejection of the Bible by Michael Brown, Christian Post

Evangelical responses to the ‘Nashville Statement’ by Ian Paul, Psephizo

Reflections on the Nashville Statement by Michael F Bird and response by Robert Gagnon

Christian Doctrine, Sex & Nashville Statement by Mark Tooley, Juicy Ecumenism

This survey is about much more than same-sex marriage by Aubrey Perry, Sydney Morning Herald

Nashville Statement from Episcopal Cafe

Former Lesbian Explains Why She Signed the Nashville Statement, Christian Post

Why I, Peter Jones, signed the Nashville Statement on Sexuality by Dr Peter Jones

Take a deep breath. The Nashville Statement won’t change anything by Jonathan Merritt, RNS

Christian clarity on human nature has never been more needed. That is why I signed the Nashville Statement on sexuality by Alastair Roberts, Premier

‘We are all made in the image of God’: Church leaders join forces to denounce Nashville Statement by Ruth Gledhill, Christian Today

Read Christians United statement here

Read also: Progressives Appalled As Christians Affirm Doctrine Held Unanimously For 2,000 Years, Babylon Bee

Evangelicals Assailed for Affirming Biblical Morality on Sex in ‘Nashville Statement’ by Thomas D Williams, PhD, Breitbart

Broad Coalition of Evangelicals Releases ‘Nashville Statement’ on Human Sexuality, Identity by Brandon Showalter, Christian Post

Why The Nashville Statement Is Needed by Rod Dreher, The American Conservative



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