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Topics: Homosexuality, The Nashville Statement

PCA Committee Releases Human Sexuality Report, Signals Agreement with Nashville

May 28, 2020

Last year in Dallas, amidst an ongoing controversy surrounding Side-B “Gay Christianity” and the Revoice conference, the Presbyterian Church in America’s (PCA) General Assembly voted to commend CBMW’s Nashville Statement as a “biblically faithful declaration.” The General Assembly also voted to form a study committee that would “study the topic of human sexuality with particular attention to the issues of homosexuality, same-sex attraction, and transgenderism and prepare a report.”

While the PCA was not able to assemble this year due to COVID-19, today the study committee released their report on human sexuality for denominational consideration. This PCA report represents a significant development in the ongoing debate about Side-B “Gay Christianity.” You can expect the report to be debated both within and without the PCA over the next year ahead of the 2021 General Assembly.

Having read the report, I want to commend it to you as a biblically faithful declaration. What I find most striking about the report is its substantial agreement with CBMW’s Nashville Statement and significant disagreement with the many problematic positions taken by Side-B “Gay Christianity,” especially on gay identity, the morality of same-sex attraction, celibate partnerships, concupiscence, and temptation.

The PCA report on human sexuality includes Twelve Statements that comprise the heart of the committee’s consensus, which can be read starting on page six in this document. Below I highlight the most significant points of agreement with CBMW’s position in the Nashville Statement, which I believe to be the biblical position; these points also signal a noteworthy disagreement with much of the Side-B position.

The PCA report on human sexuality:

  • Declares same-sex attraction to be morally culpable: “The experience of same-sex attraction is not morally neutral; the attraction is an expression of original or indwelling sin that must be repented of and put to death” (Statement 4).
  • Rejects “gay Christian” identity: “[W]e name our sins, but are not named by them.” (Statement 9). “We affirm that those in our churches would be wise to avoid the term ‘gay Christian'” (Statement 10).
  • Affirms all desire for sin is sin, including unconscious and unwanted desire (concupiscence): “We affirm that impure thoughts and desires arising in us prior to and apart from a conscious act of the will are still sin. We reject the Roman Catholic understanding of concupiscence whereby disordered desires that afflict us due to the Fall do not become sin without a consenting act of the will. These desires within us are not mere weaknesses or inclinations to sin but are themselves idolatrous and sinful” (Statement 5).
  • States internal temptations to same-sex desire are sinful: “When temptations come from without, the temptation itself is not sin, unless we enter into the temptation. But when the temptation arises from within, it is our own act and is rightly called sin” (Statement 6).
  • Rejects celibate same-sex partnerships and romantic relationships: “We do not support the formation of exclusive, contractual marriage-like friendships, nor do we support same-sex romantic behavior or the assumption that certain sensibilities and interests are necessarily aspects of a gay identity. We do not consider same sex attraction a gift in itself, nor do we think this sin struggle, or any sin struggle, should be celebrated in the church” (Statement 11).

Those who have been paying close attention to this conversation over the years will recognize in these statements a rejection of much of the Spiritual Friendships paradigm and several points embraced by those involved with Revoice, which I believe vindicates CBMW’s years-long disagreement with both organiztions.

I am thankful for the considerable labors of these brothers in the PCA, and I am praying this report will be part of what God uses to continue to lead evangelical Christians into all faithfulness on human sexuality.

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