(Via WND.com) – When a prevailing worldview set against the knowledge of God takes root in culture, faithless believers seek to reconcile with it, while faithful believers simply restate, reaffirm and reapply God’s unchanging truth.
Yet sometimes the stakes are so high and the influence so corrupting that believers must actually codify into words the clear teaching of Christ with the release of a unified statement.
This is what happened in Nashville last week, with the release of the Nashville Statement.
It’s important to note statements like this are nothing new in church history.
In the 1st century, the Jerusalem Council released a statement dealing with the heresy that salvation included circumcision (Acts 15).
In 325 AD, the Council of Nicea released a statement defeating Arianism, a heresy that taught Jesus was not fully God.
In 381 AD, the Council of Constantinople delivered a statement clarifying the biblical understanding of the Holy Trinity.
In 451 AD, the Council of Chalcedon issued a statement reaffirming the divine nature of Christ.
In 1517, Martin Luther nailed the 95 Thesis to the Church door, exposing the corruption of his day and affirming salvation by faith alone.
In each of these cases, the truth of the Gospel was at stake, and faithful believers, recognizing the severity of their moment, gathered to deliver a statement of biblical clarity in the midst of confusion.
Nashville is no different – because the truth of the Gospel is at stake.
Southern Baptist leader Russell Moore said the statement would, “help anchor churches and Christians to the gospel of Jesus Christ for years to come.”
Our moment in history called for a statement from the church, as its preamble makes clear: “Evangelical Christians at the dawn of the twenty-first century find themselves living in a period of historic transition. As Western culture has become increasingly post-Christian, it has embarked upon a massive revision of what it means to be a human being.”
There is a prevailing worldview today – brought about by the sexual revolution – that not only denies the existence of God but also seeks to redefine the image of God when it comes to gender, marriage and sex. It has literally undermined human dignity – and its influence has crept into the church.
So the Nashville Statement brings much-needed clarity, not from those who wrote it, but from God’s unchanging Word. Unfortunately, we feel the timing was bit off, as it was two years late and also released in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, but the statement itself was excellently written and provides a much needed course correction against the influence of the sexual revolution.
Al Moheler said, “(The statement) speaks with clarity to what God has very clearly revealed in his Word concerning not only his original design for human beings made in his image male and female, but for the exercise of the sexual gift entirely, as Scripture says, within the context of marriage defined.”
John Piper summed it up best, when he said, “It speaks with forthright clarity, biblical conviction, gospel compassion, cultural relevance, and practical helpfulness. … It is built on the persuasion that the Christian Scriptures speak with clarity and authority for the good of humankind. It is permeated by the awareness that we are all sinners in need of divine grace through Jesus Christ. It affirms with joy that no form of sexual sin is beyond forgiveness and healing. It touches the most fundamental and urgent questions of the hour.”
We read the statement and could not agree more. It was incredibly simple – containing 14 affirmations and denials – and it contained nothing new that deviated from biblical orthodoxy of over two millennia of Christian teaching. Ben Shapiro nailed this point when he tweeted, “Did I miss the part of the #NashvilleStatement where any serious Christian doctrine changed in the slightest?”
Yet, despite aligning with more than 2,000 years of faithful teaching and its overwhelmingly compassionate tone, the Nashville Statement and its signors have become public enemies No. 1. (Well, maybe No. 2 since Trump is in office.)
HBO’s Silicon Valley star Kumail Nanjiani, tweeted to his 1.7 million followers: “F— the #NashvilleStatement. F— the evil s— that people justify using religion.”
The Huffington Post ran a headline, declaring, “Woe To You, Signers of the Nashville Statement.”
The mayor of Nashville rebuked it, saying, “The Nashville Statement is poorly named and does not reflect the inclusive values of the city and people of Nashville.”
Black Lives Matter leader Deray Mckesson wrote, “The God I know does not support the #NashvilleStatement.”
Even some group called Christians United wasn’t happy and delivered an anti-Nashville statement of its own.
At the end of the day, the Nashville Statement simply restated, reaffirmed and reapplied God’s truth to a corrupting worldview that is dead set against God’s best for human flourishing.
It reminds us of what faithful believers did back in Malachi’s time: “Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who esteem His name. ‘They will be Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.’ So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him” (Malachi 3:16-18).