When we at Evangelium21 heard about the release of the Nashville Statement, we very quickly decided that this important statement should be made available in a German translation. This year, many in Germany commemorate the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing the 95 theses to the castle-church door in Wittenberg. But there is no agreement about what lessons should be learned from the work of Martin Luther and, more broadly, from the Reformation. Some, like Evangelium21, emphasize the lasting truth of the five “solas” and their significance for the church in all times. Others celebrate Luther as a progressive and are calling the church to continue down this path to adopt new lessons for a new time.
This might help to explain the role of many leading figures of the Lutheran church in Germany at one of the more decisive events this year. In late June, the German parliament approved gay marriage. Sadly, many in the Lutheran church in Germany called for this and rejoiced in this decision. Instead of being reformed by the word of God, the church in this case conformed to the pattern of this world, as has far too often generally been the case. While gay marriage only affects a rather small number of people, the general understanding of marriage has changed significantly. At one time, it was widely accepted as a lifelong union between one man and one woman. And it was accepted as the boundary in which sexuality should be kept. Today, we are seeing a complete redefinition of marriage and sex. While marriage has been redefined and its significance has decreased, sex has become one of the most important idols of our time. Many seek fulfillment in illicit sexual relations. But this will never work, since this was never God’s intention for human sexuality. He alone can bring us true fulfillment. The gospel is the message that people need to hear and believe to be saved and to find abundant life. God created us in his image as men and women to complement each other. And he created sexual union as a gift that should be kept in the safe realm of a life-long commitment in marriage between one man and one woman. Marriage itself was given to be a picture and a pointer to the gospel. It speaks of Christ’s love for his church and the church’s adoration of her Lord.
As we seek to see the gospel proclaimed in German-speaking Europe, we need to recover strong gospel witnesses, and we need to identify idols. The Nashville Statement does both as it affirms God’s good design for human sexuality and marriage as pointers to the gospel, and as it confirms through its denials the unbiblical expressions of sexuality as manifestations of idolatry.
We affirm and promote the Nashville Statement in German-speaking Europe because it honors God by upholding what his word teaches and because it serves humanity as it clarifies how we can live the lives our Creator has intended for us.
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