This week, a group of theologians in conjunction with the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, released something called “The Nashville Statement.” This statement is a succinct statement of Christian belief on sexuality, gender and marriage. There was no new doctrine espoused in the document. It simply reiterated what the Christian church has taught on those issues for millennia.
So why was the document needed?
Throughout history when false teaching and heresy have threatened the church, Christians have periodically codified the church’s belief on particular issues. In the fourth century, the key issue for the church was the deity of Christ. A pastor named Arius began teaching that Jesus Christ was not God but a created being. In response to this, a group of Christian bishops met and crafted the Nicene Creed affirming Jesus’ divinity. This, again, did not espouse new doctrine but merely codified what the church already believed and what the scriptures already taught.
In our day, the issues the Enemy is using more than any other to attack the church are those related to sexuality and gender. The push to legitimize homosexuality in the culture has made its way inside the church with many high profile leaders who claim the name of Christ pushing the idea that one can be a faithful follower of Jesus Christ while living as an unrepentant homosexual or that a godly marriage can be between two people of the same gender. Having received significant push-back from others in the church, the recent tactic has been to claim this is a disputable issue. In other words, to say that well-meaning Christians can agree to disagree on these things the way we do over end times issues or mode of baptism, while remaining in fellowship with one another.
It is primarily because of this second push that I believe the statement was necessary.
The statement lays out the biblical position on gender, marriage and sexuality. It also makes clear that this is not an issue on which Christians can agree to disagree. To call homosexuality good and holy and/or to claim that a marriage between two people of the same sex has God’s blessing is to place oneself outside the faith because it calls good that which God calls evil and denies His design and created order. In short, it replaces the God of the Bible with an idol. This statement draws that line but it is those who pushed this issue who created the need to draw it. Always remember it is false teachers who cause dissension and division, not those who call them to repent.
I’d encourage you to read the statement for yourselves. It consists of a preamble and fourteen short articles. It strikes a balance between calling sin, sin and affirming that no sin, even homosexuality or transgenderism, places someone beyond the reach of the gospel. It also affirms that many Christian men and women in the church today have repented from those sins and are faithful followers of Christ.