Editor’s note: The following essay appears in the Fall 2022 issue of Eikon.
Five years ago this Fall, a group of evangelical leaders met in a conference room in Nashville to give a particular response to a particular moment. The sexual revolution had given birth to the LGBT revolution, and even in its nascency it was clear this movement was a new challenge not yet faced in the church’s history.
World-renowned historian William Manchester had observed 30 years earlier that “the erasure of the distinctions between the sexes is not only the most striking issue of our time, it may be the most profound the race has ever confronted.” His commentary on this trend toward male-female interchangeability grew out of an observation of the societal effects of second-wave feminism. But how much more apt — and prescient — are his words in light of what the LGBT revolution has wrought: challenging the human race in feigned conjugal interchangeability (LGB) and inter-personal interchangeability (T).
I was among those gathered in Nashville, and we were there with a particular burden in mind, as reflected in this paragraph from the statement’s preface:
[The] secular spirit of our age presents a great challenge to the Christian church. Will the church of the Lord Jesus Christ lose her biblical conviction, clarity, and courage, and blend into the spirit of the age? Or will she hold fast to the word of life, draw courage from Jesus, and unashamedly proclaim his way as the way of life? Will she maintain her clear, counter-cultural witness to a world that seems bent on ruin?
We wanted to meet our moment with the truth of God’s Word, to restate and recommit to what the church has always taught and believed about marriage, gender, and sexuality. We did so not only for the sake of our children, but also for the sake of our children’s children, and their children — the generations who, if the Lord tarries, will read in the history books about this particular time and this particular challenge to the faith once for all delivered to the saints. Were there any faithful when the world claimed marriage is something other than a union between a man and a woman? Were there any faithful when the world said gender exists on a spectrum as a mere cultural reality, and not male and female as God made us from the beginning? Were there any faithful when the world asserted that a man could become a woman by self-declaratory fiat, in the face of his Maker, and the surgeons fell in line to confirm the lie? And all of it being sold down the river to our children?
We wanted to stand up, stand firm, and say, “We dissent, because we can do no other.” And we wanted to do so primarily for the sake of the church, to help her stand firm in these trying days, to tell her to trust her Lord and his Word, that it is still good, true, and beautiful, as it will always be.
These past five years have only served to confirm the need for the Nashville Statement, as LGBT ideology has become more entrenched and more brazen. Not even a year had gone by before another movement, Revoice, was formed as a direct challenge to the Nashville Statement, especially Articles 7 and 10 with their errant notion of so-called “Gay Christianity.” The intervening years have seen more churches and even whole denominations affirm homosexuality and transgenderism as good. And then there are the children. Several studies have noted a radical uptick in the number of trans-identifying youth in recent years, in some cases topping a 4000% increase. Adolescent girls are getting double mastectomies, young boys are being castrated, and thousands — perhaps millions — are being put on hormones and chemicals in an attempt to mimic the opposite sex, only to lead to certain infertility and lifelong unhappiness.
What is the church to do in such times? We are to recommit to the truth, and continue to make disciples of all nations, teaching them all that Jesus commanded — the whole counsel of God’s Word. That is the aim of the Nashville Statement, and that is the aim of this issue of Eikon. To that end, we pray that we all would “Know that the LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves” (Ps. 100:3).
Colin J. Smothers
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