[Editor’s note: This post is part of a symposium on the one-year anniversary of the Nashville Statement, which was released by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood on August 25, 2017 after a meeting in Nashville hosted by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.]
In a culture nearly defined by sexual confusion and brokenness, the church of Jesus Christ has to proclaim with one voice the message of God’s good design for gender, marriage, and sexuality. That is what the Nashville Statement is about and what faithfulness in Christian ministry must forever include.
Looking back, what should be surprising is that the Nashville Statement generated any attention whatsoever in the outside world. After all, articles along the lines of “Baptists affirm need for baptism,” or “Evangelicals insist on faith in Jesus Christ,” are hardly the kinds of headlines that tend to go viral. And yet, the Nashville Statement is merely an affirmation of what every single corner of the Christian church has believed — always and without exception. That some thought such an affirmation of orthodoxy was newsworthy says less about the church and more about the world.
For years, some have insisted that modern people will not hear us if we question the assumptions of the sexual revolution. We’ve heard this before, though. In fact, we’ve heard it in every generation. In years past, the argument was that if the church was to reach people “where they are,” they can’t insist on virgin births and empty tombs and second comings. And yet, to have adjusted our message then (or to do so now) would have made Christianity something altogether different — something not Christian. Simply stated: to jettison or to minimize a Christian sexual ethic is to abandon the message Jesus handed to us, and we have no authority to do this. Not only that, but to do so would be to abandon our love for our neighbors. The church of Jesus Christ cannot exempt from God’s judgment those sins we fear are too fashionable to address.
The sexual revolution cannot keep its promises, and the church must stand ready to receive with compassion the many who are in need of a better hope. This Nashville Statement is part of that mission, and my prayer is that it will help anchor churches and Christians to the gospel of Jesus Christ for years to come.
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