The Nashville Statement

Every so often a short, succinct and vigorously reasonable and readable public statement is needed to deal with some of the vital issues of the day. There have been a number of these of late. Here in Australia some of us put out the Canberra Declaration seven years ago to deal with the crucial issues of marriage and family, the sanctity of life, and religious freedom

Others important documents would include the Manhattan Declaration of 2009. These international statements help to clarify, reassert and reaffirm basic truths; offer a standard around which we can rally; and point a way forward as things grow darker and foggier in the surrounding culture.

A brand new declaration has just been released in the US, and it is well worth being aware of, signing and sharing. Put out by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, it reaffirms the biblical and biological case for two sexes, for God’s intentions for human sexuality, and for the purposes of marriage.

A number of America’s leading evangelicals have helped to put this together and promote it, and the timing could not be better, given the many fierce battles now raging on such matters. The 14-point document deals with the biblical understanding of sex and sexuality.

John Piper called it “a Christian manifesto concerning issues of human sexuality.” With all the confusion about sexuality – even in Christian circles – especially with the homosexual and transgender war on God’s design and purposes, such a statement is vitally needed.

Some of the initial signatories have included:

R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council
D. A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
John MacArthur, Pastor, Grace Community Church; President, The Master’s Seminary & College
John Piper, Founder & Teacher, Desiring God; Chancellor, Bethlehem College & Seminary
James Dobson, Founder, Focus on the Family
Russell Moore, President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
J. I. Packer, Professor of Theology, Regent College
Wayne Grudem, Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies, Phoenix Seminary
Sam Allberry, Speaker & Apologist, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries
R. C. Sproul, Founder & Chairman, Ligonier Ministries
Francis Chan, Author & Pastor, We Are Church
Marvin Olasky, Editor in Chief, World Magazine
Ligon Duncan, Chancellor & CEO, Reformed Theological Seminary
Christopher Yuan, Speaker & Author, Moody Bible Institute

But enough from me. Let me here offer the 14 points. Also worth reading (see the link below) is the preamble to the statement, along with other documents. Here then is the Nashville Statement:

WE AFFIRM that God has designed marriage to be a 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.
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.

WE AFFIRM that God’s revealed will for all people is chastity outside of marriage and fidelity within marriage.
WE DENY that any affections, desires, or commitments ever justify sexual intercourse before or outside marriage; nor do they justify any form of sexual immorality.

WE AFFIRM that God created Adam and Eve, the first human beings, in his own image, equal before God as persons, and distinct as male and female.
WE DENY that the divinely ordained differences between male and female render them unequal in dignity or worth.

WE AFFIRM that divinely ordained differences between male and female reflect God’s original creation design and are meant for human good and human flourishing.
WE DENY that such differences are a result of the Fall or are a tragedy to be overcome.

WE AFFIRM that the differences between male and female reproductive structures are integral to God’s design for self-conception as male or female.
WE DENY that physical anomalies or psychological conditions nullify the God-appointed link between biological sex and self-conception as male or female.

WE AFFIRM that those born with a physical disorder of sex development are created in the image of God and have dignity and worth equal to all other image-bearers. They are acknowledged by our Lord Jesus in his words about “eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb.” With all others they are welcome as faithful followers of Jesus Christ and should embrace their biological sex insofar as it may be known.
WE DENY that ambiguities related to a person’s biological sex render one incapable of living a fruitful life in joyful obedience to Christ.

WE AFFIRM that self-conception as male or female should be defined by God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption as revealed in Scripture.
WE DENY that adopting a homosexual or transgender self-conception is consistent with God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption.

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.
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.

WE AFFIRM that sin distorts sexual desires by directing them away from the marriage covenant and toward sexual immorality — a distortion that includes both heterosexual and homosexual immorality.
WE DENY that an enduring pattern of desire for sexual immorality justifies sexually immoral behavior.

WE AFFIRM that it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism and that such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness and witness.
WE DENY that the approval of homosexual immorality or transgenderism is a matter of moral indifference about which otherwise faithful Christians should agree to disagree.

WE AFFIRM our duty to speak the truth in love at all times, including when we speak to or about one another as male or female.
WE DENY any obligation to speak in such ways that dishonor God’s design of his image-bearers as male and female.

WE AFFIRM that the grace of God in Christ gives both merciful pardon and transforming power, and that this pardon and power enable a follower of Jesus to put to death sinful desires and to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.
WE DENY that the grace of God in Christ is insufficient to forgive all sexual sins and to give power for holiness to every believer who feels drawn into sexual sin.

WE AFFIRM that the grace of God in Christ enables sinners to forsake transgender self-conceptions and by divine forbearance to accept the God-ordained link between one’s biological sex and one’s self-conception as male or female.
WE DENY that the grace of God in Christ sanctions self-conceptions that are at odds with God’s revealed will.

WE AFFIRM that Christ Jesus has come into the world to save sinners and that through Christ’s death and resurrection, forgiveness of sins and eternal life are available to every person who repents of sin and trusts in Christ alone as Savior, Lord, and supreme treasure.
WE DENY that the Lord’s arm is too short to save or that any sinner is beyond his reach.

Overall this is a terrific restatement of some of the core biblical teachings on these issues, and it is well worth sharing far and wide. While it is of course not perfect, and other things might have been added, it is a very good start indeed. Many thanks to all those responsible for putting it together.

[1294 words]

11 Replies to “The Nashville Statement”

  1. Great article Bill and thanks for sharing it with us. One small point in article 8 might do with a little extra clarification for Christians that might waver on having attractions to same sex people that the sin is allowing the attractions to proceed to the physical sphere. As Christians we should strive to bring out very thoughts under control to Christ. I had a dear Christian friend who was a deacon in our Church who had same sex attractions but he never allowed them to become physical.

  2. Thanks George. Yes, as I noted, it is not a perfect document (none of these can be), and I and others might well have worded things somewhat differently in places. And in my writings on this issue I have spoken about how not just the actions but the desires or cravings are things which Christ came to deal with, and is able to transform. It may not be easy, and it may take a long process, but this too is possible.

    Having said that, I know a number of ex-homosexuals personally. Some have found freedom from same-sex attraction, while others may still struggle somewhat with the attractions. Different people may well have different experiences here. But we want to offer all of them freedom and healing in Christ, which while never perfect and complete in a fallen world, can nevertheless be substantial indeed.

  3. Bill, I don’t know whether others are having any trouble signing the Nashville Statement.
    I’ve tried a number of times, but it doesn’t send the email to confirm.

  4. A courageous and well-formulated statement, given the state of Rainbow Flag politics in North America.

  5. This Nashville statement will hopefully stiffen the spines of those wishy-washy cowards that infest the Church. However I doubt the ‘average Joe’ will have the time or inclination to read it, plus it is full of christianese which only Christians can interpret. How about short written ‘sound bites’ eg.
    ‘Jesus said, ‘marriage is between one man and one woman’. End of story. Goodbye.’
    ‘To all who think sodomy and sodomite ‘marriage’ is God approved.’
    ‘Best wishes and good luck explaining things, at the Great White Throne Judgement’.
    Harsh – but Jesus was harsh when called for: “nest of vipers’, ‘you are of your father the devil,’ ‘wicked and adulterous generation,’ and more.

  6. Yes, this is a keeper. I do agree with George Grieg and I would have liked the phrase “bringing every thought into subjection” or something similar added to the waking in purity of life bit in Article 8.

  7. “WE AFFIRM that it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism and that such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness and witness.”

    I agree with Gerald. We must stand even against our church leaders who say they support full civil rights for sodomites in all areas of law other than marriage and adoption.

    We all know who they are. Some are our leaders in the fake marriage debate, and while maybe we should unite behind them until the vote is completed, after that we must not shy away from denouncing their error in recognising sodomites as worthy of any rights whatsoever in this beautiful Judeo-Christian nation of ours.

  8. Yes, Great! Needed! pretty succinct…….I love the 8 or 10 pg. Manhattan Declaration….not much for sound bites….I found M.D. eloquent, through, inspired….this too but short.

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