By Luke Phillips
On Aug. 29 the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood released a fourteen article long document entitled the “Nashville Statement.” As described by signer Albert Mohler this document “seeks to summarize, clarify, and affirm what Holy Scripture reveals.” It speaks specifically to the subjects of human sexuality, sexual immorality and to the biblical definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman united into one flesh under the covenant of marriage in reflection of Christ’s union with his Bride the Church (Ephesians 5:31-32). The “Nashville Statement” is a declaration that any sexual practice, whether heterosexual or homosexual, outside of Gods original design for marriage and sexuality is a sin, and “that God’s revealed will for all people is chastity outside of marriage and fidelity within marriage.” (Article 2)
It is at this that the abundance of controversy and debate has arisen. Brandan Robertson, an LGBT+ pastor and activist attempting to change evangelical doctrine on marriage and human sexuality, stated that he was infuriated upon reading the document shortly after is publication. Robertson says, “They’re infuriating because they so clearly perpetuate false information that will be used to abuse and exclude LGBT+ youth from churches, schools and families.” He goes on to speak on the immorality revealed in actions carried out by President Trump, claiming the Statement accepts and enables immoral behavior. He also denies lay people’s ability to thoughtfully, logically and prayerfully read and digest a doctrinal statement and effectively communicate it to their congregations.
The Statement is not a document that either abuses or oppresses the LGBT+ community. Article 8 says this, “We affirm that people who experience sexual attraction for the same sex may live a rich and fruitful life pleasing to God through faith in Jesus Christ, as they, like all Christians, walk in purity of life.” It says this while maintaining its position on the biblical definition of marriage, stating, “We deny that sexual attraction for the same sex is part of the natural goodness of God’s original creation, or that it puts a person outside the hope of the Gospel.” This is not a message of damnation, but an invitation into holy obedience to the Word of God.
The beliefs found in the Statement are for the Church. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5:12 that “It is not my responsibility to judge outsiders…” It is not the responsibility of Christians to hold those outside the body of believers accountable to the standards set for believers in Scripture, but, Paul goes on to say this, “…but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning.” The “Nashville Statement” has set out to do what I believe many churches have neglected and forgotten, to bring to light the biblical definition of sin and to call for repentance from it. We have grown far too comfortable in our sin, whether it be sexual immorality, gossip, hate, or idolatry. There must be a call to repentance, and a call to holy obedience to God’s Word.