By Robin Gericke, Executive Editor
I believe that practicing homosexuality is a sin. I believe that acting on same-sex attraction or trying to change your gender because you believe you were born in the wrong body goes against God’s design for mankind.
However, I still cannot support the Nashville Statement. I affirm many of the articles, including “that God has designed marriage to be a… 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” (Article 1), “that divinely ordained differences between male and female reflect God’s original design” (Article 4) and that “people who experience sexual attraction for the same sex may live a rich and fruitful life pleasing to God” (Article 8).
Yet the general message that this statement proclaims and the call of Article 10 stop me from supporting the Statement.
As we sang in chapel on Monday, “they will know we are Christians by our love.” Love does not mean accepting a sin, but it does mean doing good to all people, even those who practice the sin most heavily condemned by the church today. As Christians, we will be known by how we love, not by who we love or choose not to love. It is easy to love and accept the people with ‘excusable’ sins that don’t make us uncomfortable. Liars, drunks and adulterers can be chastised that they are committing a sin and then welcomed in with open arms to the fold of the church. Yet those who have a different sexual orientation are given a statement with 14 articles condemning their sin. How can we expect these same people to accept the saving love of Christ when we won’t even let them get close enough to hear about it? And how can these people hear this message when Christians are now told that the “approval of homosexual immorality or transgenderism” is also sinful and that “such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness and witness”? What constitutes approval? Will people in the church who are friends with those that practice homosexuality now be condemned also?
I can stand behind the individual articles, but the overall message of this statement enters into a blurry area of what it means to love someone and what it means to condemn the same person Christ is offering redemption. The LGBT community has been oppressed and rejected by the church, but it is sin that is to be put to death, not the people who practice it. Jesus spoke truth, and I believe that at their core these articles are truthful. However, Jesus also acted and He also loved. He ate with sinners and loved all people.
The primary reason I cannot support the Nashville Statement is because, to me, it is does not promote the love Christ calls us to, despite the truth it contains. It isolates and closes out a community that desperately needs Christ. Instead of condemning in a written statement, we should be loving all people well. Truth is best spoken in love, and love is shown in relationship, community and inclusiveness. Creating shame and fear in not only being homosexual but being around those who are does not foster this community.
How can I stand behind a statement that denies that “the Lord’s arm is too short to save or that any sinner is beyond his reach” (Article 14) when the church that supports this statement isn’t willing to make that reach?