Editor’s note: The following essay appears in the Fall 2022 issue of Eikon.
First Corinthians 15:58 states, “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
This verse comes just after a discussion of the victory we have in Jesus Christ. As leaders of Christian institutions, the Bible never instructs us to seek the approval of man or to lead by popular opinion. We must remain committed to the authority and sufficiency of Scripture. We do not edit God’s Word. We faithfully deliver God’s Word to the next generation. Documents like the Nashville Statement help institutions address the problems of our time in at least two ways.
First, the Nashville Statement provides clarity. Leaders and institutions must clearly articulate doctrinal positions and future vision. It is difficult to address complex theological issues with precision in a vision statement, mission statement, core values, or even in an overall doctrinal statement. Documents such as the Nashville Statement identify theological boundaries that provide institutional clarity for future direction. This clarity allows faculty and staff to know exactly where a university like Cedarville stands on these issues presently and what it desires to be in the future. The Chicago Statement clarifies a conservative evangelical position on Scripture. The Danvers Statement clarifies a conservative evangelical position on the complementarity of gender roles. The Nashville Statement clarifies a conservative evangelical position on human sexuality. With human sexuality arguably standing as the primary issue of modern cultural confusion, the clarity of the Nashville Statement is most welcome. This is the reason Cedarville University has adopted Chicago, Danvers, and Nashville as clarifying documents for our University. We want faculty, staff, and students who come to our University to know exactly where we stand. Such documents help us provide truth in advertising to students and an opportunity to join others in boldly standing for Christ.
Second, the Nashville Statement provides precision. To address every issue would require a book of significant length, but in relatively few words the Nashville Statement addresses the essential topics, providing precision on the conservative evangelical stance on human sexuality. Most presidents of Christian institutions do not have PhDs in theology, and some institutions do not have theologians capable of articulating precision on complex controversial topics in a succinct statement that constituents can process.
Written and affirmed by many theological experts and signed by over 24,000 people, the Nashville Statement provides much needed clarity and precision for Christian institutions like Cedarville. I am thankful to have been a small part of the process and to serve at a Christian university that has adopted the Nashville Statement as a clarifying document.
Thomas White is President of Cedarville University and serves as a member of the CBMW board and council.
You, too, can help support the ministry of CBMW. We are a non-profit organization that is fully-funded by individual gifts and ministry partnerships. Your contribution will go directly toward the production of more gospel-centered, church-equipping resources.