Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Why I Will Not Sign the Nashville Statement

The Nashville Statement is a statement drafted by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) and the Southern Baptist Convention. Both organizations, although they promote biblical morals and Christian living, have people in their leadership who reject that faith in Christ alone for salvation is the sole means of justification. Upon looking at the list of signers, I saw 4 individuals on the first few lines who are prominent authors and pastors who teach a works based salvation that rejects the grace of God.

Nonetheless, I proceeded to read through the Nashville Statement. It was very short and straight to the point. It is a very well written and loving statement about the biblical view of sex. 
To hear opponents of it talk, one would assume it was an attack on people who are attracted to those of the same sex or people who suffer from Gender Dysphoria. I found it to be the exact opposite. It holds no hateful rhetoric or words, it encourages no violence or ill will towards anyone. It speaks of no condemnation. It is about showing love to everyone, regardless of what sin someone is involved with. It encourages Christians to treat everyone with the compassion and love of Christ. 

  • As someone who is an advocate for sexual purity before marriage, I love that that is included in the statement. So many people, Christians and non-Christians, forget that sex before marriage is no different that sex with someone of the same sex. Both are sexual sins that not only affect the individual committing them, but the other person. Both are sins that damage humans at their deepest possible level. Many Christians forget this. Many Christians view sex with someone of the same sex as worse than sex outside of marriage. This leads to awful and hateful treatment towards certain individuals. To someone who knows scripture, the forgetting of these things is seen as hypocrisy and foolishness. I am very glad that the Nashville Statement addresses that sex outside of marriage is no different than sex with someone of the same sex. They are the same sin and are both paid for by Christ on the Cross. 
  • I also love that it talks about how people should treat others in a loving way if they struggle with any sin, sexual or otherwise. 
  • I love that it talks about how God's grace is sufficient to help people overcome sins. I've seen this first hand with friends who have struggled with sexual sins, drugs, alcohol, and many other types of sin. No type of sin, no matter how big their consequence, is big enough for the power of Christ to overcome or forgive. That is the beauty of God's amazing grace.
  • I love how it talks about how marriage isn't a human contract, but a covenant made before God. Marriage is a sacred bond created by God for one man and one woman for life that is a symbol of Christ and the church. Our culture has made marriage into a legal and social contract between two people who love each other. That, I suppose, is why non-Christians get married. Our culture has turned a sacred and beautiful bond and symbol created by God into another legal and social concept. 

Overall, the Nashville Statement is a loving statement reaffirming the love of Christ for His church, reminding Christians how they should treat everyone with love and kindness. 

The ONE point I disagree with it on is in Article XIV where it states that believing in Christ alone is not sufficient for salvation and that good works are required. Instead of saying that eternal life is given freely to those who simply believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior (John 3:16, Acts 16:30-31, Eph. 2:8-9), the Nashville Statement adds to that. It states that in addition to believing in Christ alone, one must "repent of sin". Not once in scripture is it stated that repenting of sin is a condition for justification. In fact, it is impossible for an unbeliever or even a believer to repent of all sins. We know that, as humans, we are fallen and tainted with a sin nature. We will keep on sinning until the day we die. Sure, as believers, the Holy Spirit enables us with power over sin, the power to not sin, but that is something we must be willing to do. It is an effort on our part. Most of the time we fail, but that is where grace comes in. 

By stating that eternal life is received by believing AND repenting of sins, the Nashville Statement is essentially saying that what Christ did on the cross was not sufficient for salvation, and that we must do something to gain eternal life. By saying that, it also contradicts scripture where over 100 times (approximately 70 times in the book of John alone) it is stated that the sole means by which one is justified before God (saved) is by simply believing that Jesus is the Christ and that He died for our sins and rose again. 

Sadly, in attempts to redirect a misguided Christian culture towards biblical truth (which it does beautifully in regards to biblical sexuality) the Nashville Statement misdirects a Christian culture and a non-Christian world in regards to eternal salvation. Although I agree with 99% of what it says, that sole reason in Article XIV is why I am not signing the Nashville Statement.