The Nashville Statement
This week as I have seen and heard many different responses to the Nashville Statement, I feel compelled to write about the document that was released earlier this week. The responses have been wide and varying, seeming to come from every part of "Christianity" and the secular. There have been those who have praised the statement, and those who have denounced it. In reading these responses and seeing the ways that people are responding to the statement, you can see two paths being taken.
The first path, which is the loudest - due mainly to their methodology and manner, is that taken by those who are opposed to the statement. These range from those who don't like the name, because they do not understand the historical traditions of the church - whereby creeds and statements have been named after the place they were written for thousands of years, all the way to people who hate God to begin with and therefore are understandably opposed to the document.
In this first path there seems to be an immense amount of hate and malice towards anyone who supports the document and it's theological statements. All while not understanding that the document reflects the beliefs and doctrines of the Church since the beginning, namely since creation. They refuse to take passages of Scripture for what they are, namely, the very Word of God. (Examples include: Hebrews 13, Romans 1, Jude 1, I Timothy 1, Genesis 1, Mark 10, I Corinthians 7, I Corinthians 6, Leviticus 18, Leviticus 20, etc.)
Because the people taking the first path refuse to acknowledge the design that God put in place for men and women, they are refusing to acknowledge Him as creator. This is very dangerous ground, especially for those who claim to know Him. By refusing to acknowledge Him as creator they are in fact declaring that they do not know Him, or at the very least they are extremely confused as to who God is.
The people on the second path, those who have affirmed/signed the statement, have for the most part done nothing to specifically target individuals, but having simply attached their name to beliefs that have been held by the church since its very foundation. For their efforts they have been maligned and hated by many of their fellow community members. For affirming statements that are by-in-large found directly within the pages of Scripture, they have been called horrible things and have had to deal with the hate, disrespect, and slander of those taking the first path.
When a doctor calls to tell a patient that they have received the results of their cancer screening and lets them know that they do or do not have cancer, this is loving. So, in the same way, if Scripture tells us that something is sin or that someone is living in sin, we must relay that message to them. This is loving. To remain silent on this issue, or on an issue that deals with another sin, would be to disregard the direct commands of God, namely to spread the Gospel throughout the entire earth.
Those who have chosen to sign/support/affirm the statement have not done so because they hate those involved in sexual sin, but rather they have done so because they love them and desire to see them come to a knowledge of their sin through repentance, thereby turning from their sin to the saving work of Jesus Christ. To support truth cannot be unloving. To remain silent and allow someone to remain in ignorance is neither loving nor caring. When a teacher corrects the work of a student, they do not do so because they hate the student, but rather because they want the student to develop and grow into a well rounded individual who is able to think for themselves in a manner that correctly reflects the situation that they find themselves.
There are so many example that can be drawn from different situations in life that reflect the same thing as the doctor and teacher analogies do. Yet, there are those who will refuse to listen, those who will refuse to acknowledge truth. This is because they refuse to hold to God's Word as the foundation upon which all truth must be built. Scripture must interpret all things that we believe. If what we believe is not based upon what Scripture tells us, then we either are not Christians, or are very confused and need to change what we believe.
May we all interact with those that we come in contact with to discuss this issue, as well as others like it, with love, mercy, and grace. May we refrain from responding to hate with hate or disdain. May we all take the love that we have been shown by Christ and allow it to shine through us to others.