Modern Christianity is in a crisis. The main cause of that crisis is that man has made a god of his own desires. This has manifested itself, in my opinion (this is theology after all), in two major ways. We are embracing euthanasia, abortion, three-parent babies, surrogate childbearing, IVF, DNA editing of embryos and all manner of other “scientific” processes that undercut natural law in favor of the laboratory. Going hand in hand with this is our divorcing of human sexuality from any context beyond sexual gratification of the self. We have no-fault divorces, out of wedlock childbearing is becoming the norm, adultery is glorified, and traditional covenant marriage was first degraded and then frontally attacked. If you are a secular person, you should be appalled by the direct assault on life and on the fundamental building block of every culture in the world: the family. If you are a Christian, you should be concerned about those things but also about living in a society which denies the very idea of absolute Truth.
An evangelical group working together as The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) has released as statement on human sexuality called The Nashville Statement. It has been signed by many prominent members of evangelical Protestantism, mainline Protestants, and Catholics (maybe Orthodox but I may have missed them) It is an important statement, but it is also a very sad one because we are at a point where merely quoting Jesus Christ on the subject of marriage gets you labeled as a hater.
It has fourteen sections. Each section contains an affirmation and a denial.
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.
It may be an evangelical document but it could easily have been found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Philadelphia’s Archbishop Charles Chaput (a total rock star of orthodoxy) is a signatory.
Unsurprisingly, it hasn’t been received all that well by the left who see the Gospels as an exercise in “I’m-OK-you’re-OK.”
The fruit of the "Nashville Statement" is suffering, rejection, shame, and despair. The timing is callous beyond words.
— JenHatmaker (@JenHatmaker) August 29, 2017
They are literally saying that disavowing yourself from SSM & LGBT people is required for salvation (see article 10). #nashvillestatement
— Brett Trapp (@BrettTrapp) August 29, 2017
I cannot think of something more tone-deaf, hurtful, and callous than releasing the Nashville Statement in the throes of Harvey.
— Nish Weiseth (@NishWeiseth) August 29, 2017
Not only does the @CBMWorg "Nashville statement" condemn all LGBT people, it condemns as non-Christians those who love & support them.
— Rachel Held Evans (@rachelheldevans) August 29, 2017
The #NashvilleStatement is a vile, hateful, and deeply unchristian piece of trash.
— Marieke Nijkamp (@mariekeyn) August 29, 2017
And on and on. Erick Erickson, who also signed the Statement notes:
An atheist is attacking the Nashville Statement because it…wait for it…wait for it…takes the Bible seriously. https://t.co/SVz1dh24ik
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) August 29, 2017
There is nothing in this statement that is anti anybody. It affirms a biological fact: there are two sexes, male and female. It affirms two thousand years of Christian teaching on human sexuality. It says humans do not have the right to decide God has made a mistake in either their gender or their sexual attraction. It affirms that letting someone wallow in sin rather than offend them by correcting them is not love or charity but craven cowardice and indifference. It affirms that the homosexual desire or transgender fantasy is not sinful, but acting upon the impulse is.
Forty years ago, nothing here would have caused anyone to blink because it was part of Christianity across denominations.
We are an unchurched land. Christians are vastly outnumbered by neo-pagans. That is not a big deal, in fact, that has been the norm though much of the history of Christianity. What is different is the neo-pagans, these latter day Baal and Moloch cultists, believe that they are Christian.
The CBMW did a great job on this and I hope to hear more from them.