Once again same-sex marriage has come into the news this week, with the recent release of The Nashville Statement. This statement has been put together in the states, with some very-well known names backing it as signatories. Names like John Piper, D.A. Carson, Darrell Bock, J.I. Packer, Vaughn Roberts, Sam Allberry, and much more. This document is an important to look at, as it gives a bit of insight to what many prominent evangelical church leaders make of this issue. Needless to say, this document is a highly important one to look at.
In this article, we will cover the various articles included in the statement. We will investigate each of the 14 articles, and see whether they line up with scripture or not.
N.B. Can I encourage everyone who reads this article to read the statement and their preamble.
The Fourteen Articles
As noted there are 14 articles in all in this declaration. Each of the articles affirms one thing denies another and those two things are linked.
The first article centers around marriage. Stating that God has designed to be between one man and one woman. The next article focuses on sex before marriage, stating that God’s will is for sex to only occur within the marriage bed. The third article focuses on a view of marriage known as complementarianism, stating that God created Adam and Eve as equal in the eyes of the Lord, but different in role and purpose. Up next is the third article, which continues along the thread started in article two. This third article states that Adam and Eve were created equal in value in God’s eyes, but different in roles and purpose. The fourth article is next which continues the theme of the third article, stating that these divinely ordered differences were God’s intention from the dawn of creation.
We then move on to the fifth and sixth article, which starts to look at sexual identity. The fifth article says that the group who put this statement together believe that the physical is a key part of God’s plan for our lives. Article seven states that if you happen to be born with a physical disorder of sex development you are still welcome to love and serve the Lord.
Next, we move on to a section of articles focusing on sexual identity and attraction. Article seven states that our sexual self-conception (another way of sexual identity), should be defined in God and how He has made us. Adopting a self-conception that runs contrary to this is not Godly. The eighth article says that those who experience same-sex attraction can still live rich Godly lives, but that same-sex attraction is not part of God’s design or plan for one’s life. Article nine is an article which says that sin distorts sexual desires by directing them away from marriage covenant (one man and one woman), and instead leads them to sexual immorality. This distortion is true for anyone they say, heterosexual and homosexual. The article does also say that an enduring pattern of desire for sexual immorality justifies acting upon it.
Article ten then leads us into a section about how we as Christians should respond when confronted with this issue. The tenth article starts it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism, and affirming such immoral sexual desires is a major departure from true Christian faithfulness and witness. The article also says that the approval of sexual immorality is not just a difference of opinion. The eleventh article that our duty as Christians is to speak the truth in love at all times, including when we speak to each other as male and female. Article twelve states very openly that God gives the mercy and the power that can lead a follower of the Lord to put to death sinful desires and to walk in a manner that is worthy of the Lord. Article twelve denies that the grace of God is insufficient to forgive all sexual sins. Article thirteen really caps off this section well by saying that the grace of God is powerful enough to allow people to forsake their transgender self-conceptions and to come to accept the God ordained link between one’s biological self, and their self-conception as male and female.
The fourteen articles then conclude with the article that states that Jesus Christ came into the world to save the world the world through His death and resurrection and to forgive our sins. The article also clearly says that salvation is available to everyone who repents of their sin in Christ alone as their Lord and Saviour.
My Thoughts on the Fourteen Articles
I have to be honest here, I agree wholeheartedly with everything that has been stated in these fourteen articles in the Nashville statement. They are grounded well in Biblical truth and are upfront and honest about the issue at hand. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the Bible is clear about this subject. So much so that even Jesus Christ states that homosexuality is immoral. The Jesus side of this can be complex, so I won’t go into that in this article, but I will put it together in an article and release that some point soon.
This subject is a very sticky subject and is one that needs to be handled with grace and truth. Notice the two go hand in hand. God calls us to love our brothers and sisters in Christ. And the question will always be one to raise, what’s more loving, to not tell someone that what they are doing is dishonouring to God, or to tell them? I can’t turn around and say it’s the former, it’s most definitely the latter. If I’m about to drink alcohol (I use this illustration because I can’t), I’d want those who are around me at the time to tell me not to, why? Because the results for me if I do are not worth doing it for. The same principle applies for sin in our lives that we willfully commit. There is a big difference between making a mistake which is sinful and choosing to act in a way that is.
So I have to say, honestly, I agree 100% with this statement, and the articles included. But what about you, what do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts.