Same-sex Marriage and Transgender Rights: “The Nashville Statement”
A headlined article from the Washington Post this past Wednesday (August 30, 2017) read, “A coalition of evangelical leaders released a ‘Christian manifesto’ Tuesday asserting their belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman, and condemning the acceptance of “homosexual immorality or transgenderism.” This is now being called the “Nashville Statement”. By the next day social media was abuzz about the statement.
The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood released this statement and offered it as guidance to churches on how to address issues of sexuality. It was initially endorsed by more than 150 leaders. The “manifesto,” which is composed of 14 beliefs, rejects the idea that “otherwise faithful Christians should agree to disagree” on gay, lesbian and transgender issues. The leaders refer to this mentality as “moral indifference.”
The manifesto reads, “The spirit of our age does not delight in God’s good design of male and female. Consequently, confusion reigns over some of the most basic questions of our humanity,” Denny Burk, president of the council, said in a statement. “The aim of The Nashville Statement is to shine a light into the darkness — to declare the goodness of God’s design in our sexuality and in creating us as male and female.”
The first point, for example, reiterates the mainstream Christian position that marriage is between a man and a woman: “We affirm that God has designed marriage to be 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,” while adding that the group is against same-sex marriage.
“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.” The manifesto also takes a swing at transgender rights, claiming in the fifth point that “the differences between male and female reproductive structures are integral to God’s design for self-conception as male or female.”
As one can imagine, the Nashville Statement was met with fierce criticism on social media. Among those who rebuked the declaration was Nashville’s mayor, Megan Barry, who tweeted, “the so-called ‘Nashville statement’ is poorly named and does not represent the inclusive values of the city and people of Nashville.” Black Lives Matter leader, Deray Mckesson, tweeted “The God I know does not support the #NashvilleStatement.”
Nonetheless, the statement is simply an affirmation of what the Bible teaches about men, women and marriage. The statement affirms traditional Judeo-Christian values and should not really be a surprise to anyone. We can be thankful for leaders willing to take a stand on such important issues in our day. Cultures literally rise and fall based on these very matters.
The entire statement can be found at nashvillestatement.com. There you will also see a list of the original signatories. These include: John Piper, John MacArthur, Francis Chan, J.I. Packer, D.A. Carson, James Dobson, James MacDonald, and Al Mohler, among others. Strangely missing are men such as Bill Hybels, Dave Ferguson and Rick Warren. Not sure why!?
by Jay Childs, Senior Pastor