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Topics: Nashville Statement and LGBT issues, The Nashville Statement

Symposium: Speaking the Truth in Love in The Nashville Statement (Ligon Duncan)

August 29, 2018

[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.]

CBMW is thirty-one years old, and I’ve been a part of the organization for about 26 of those 31 years. The Council originally came into being to affirm complementarianism: that is, that God has created male and female in his image, and thus has designed men and women, as his image-bearers, to be both equal in their essential dignity and human personhood, and different from and complementary to one another, with all Christian husbands called to lead their homes in self-denying, sacrificial love, and qualified male pastor-teacher-elders called to lead the church.

CBMW’s Danvers Statement (1987) was written to articulate and affirm this. As John Piper, one of the original authors and signatories explains: “The Danvers Statement unfolded and commended complementarianism over against egalitarianism. The focus was on the meaning of manhood and womanhood as expressed in the marriage relationship and in church leadership. The main point was that God has called men to be the Christlike leaders in their marriages (Ephesians 5:23, 25), and to be those who bear the special responsibility of authoritative teaching and leadership in the church (1 Timothy 2:12–13).”

The Nashville Statement is a complement to Danvers by speaking into issues not directly covered by that earlier statement. Danvers addresses the respective roles of men and women in the home and church. Nashville articulates the Bible’s teaching on important and disputed aspects of human sexuality.

I signed the Nashville Statement because it aims to help Christians, pastors and churches lovingly, faithfully, carefully, clearly, and persuasively articulate what the Bible teaches, and what historic Christianity has always believed, about sexuality in a time when the biblical conception of what it means to be human in under cultural duress. In our day truth is being forsaken in this arena in the name of love, but we cannot be truly loving without the truth, because “love does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6).

The Nashville Statement is about truth in love, for the sake of true love. As a confessional Protestant, I affirmed this faithful articulation of biblical teaching last year with my signature, and I affirm it again today with these words.

I hope that you will read The Nashville Statement. Ponder it. And commit yourself to the way of truth in love reflected in it.

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