More than 250 pastors and church leaders in the Netherlands have signed a Dutch translation of the Nashville Statement, drawing widespread criticism in response.
The translation, the signers of which come from conservative Protestant churches in the Netherlands, comes almost a year and a half after the Nashville Statement was originally released in August 2017, when a coalition of evangelical pastors, scholars, and other leaders sought to articulate a biblical view of human sexuality.
The issues that led to the original statement are not unique to English-speaking contexts, however. The group that produced the translation explain their motivation for the statement in a set of questions and answers on their website. “In this time, the biblical view of marriage is strongly opposed,” they write. “That is why we want to be in the gap. We are deeply convinced that life according to [God’s] order is beneficial for man and society.”
They observe that the content of the statement “has always been the general point of view,” but that many churches in Western Europe have recently adapted to the culture. “We are convinced, however,” they write, “that the Bible also has a message that applies to everyone.”
The translation has received significant pushback in the Netherlands, as churches in Amsterdam and other cities have flown pro-LGBT rainbow flags in protest. The response has not been limited to churches. The Hague, known as the International City of Peace and Justice for the role it has played in international diplomacy, has also raised a flag in response to the translation. In addition, the country’s public prosecution service is “examining the statement to see if there [is] any basis for a criminal investigation,” according to a Dutch news site. The report goes on to cite Article 1 of the Dutch constitution as possible grounds for the investigation, which states that “discrimination on the grounds of religion, belief, political opinion, race or sex or on any other grounds whatsoever shall not be permitted.”
Denny Burk, president of CBMW, was interviewed about the origins of the statement by Nieuwsuur, the leading news program on current affairs in the Netherlands.
“Christianity has something to say about sexuality, about what it means to be a man and a woman,” Burk said in the interview. “That’s what the statement is about. It was addressed to Christians –– to churches and ministries –– who are looking for clarity in the face of lots of challenges coming in from the current culture.”
Burk continued, “It’s no surprise to me or anyone else that secular people wouldn’t agree with this. The document was intended to provide guidance for churches and ministries. It’s simply a Christian confession.”
R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary and an original signer of the Nashville Statement, spoke in agreement with the Dutch pastors and with Burk: “The Nashville Statement is simply an affirmation of what Christians have for centuries believed and taught. These truths would have been affirmed without question by all Christian churches and denominations until some of those churches have more recently decided to abandon the Scriptures and join the sexual revolution. These pastors in the Netherlands have affirmed traditional Christianity. The pushback to these pastors reveals opposition to historic Christianity. Sadly, I fear that this is a sign of things to come.”
The Dutch translation is one of many such translations of the Nashville Statement. Since August 2017, the statement has also been translated into German, Chinese, and Spanish.
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