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.