Over the weekend, more than 150 Christian leaders from across America signed the Nashville Statement.
This is a good document reaffirming 2,000 years of biblical teaching about God’s design for biological sex and marriage and denying transgenderism, homosexuality, and other forms of sexual immorality.
The Nashville Statement opens,
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. By and large the spirit of our age no longer discerns or delights in the beauty of God’s design for human life . . . It is common to think that human identity as male and female is not part of God’s beautiful plan, but is, rather, an expression of an individual’s autonomous preferences.
It goes on to say,
WE AFFIRM that God has designed marriage to be a covenantal, sexual, procreative, lifelong union of one man and one woman, as husband and wife, and is meant to signify the covenant love between Christ and his bride the church.
WE DENY that God has designed marriage to be a homosexual, polygamous, or polyamorous relationship. We also deny that marriage is a mere human contract rather than a covenant made before God.
Article 10 of the statement reads,
WE AFFIRM that it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism and that such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness and witness.
WE DENY that the approval of homosexual immorality or transgenderism is a matter of moral indifference about which otherwise faithful Christians should agree to disagree.
Those who have signed the statement so far include Dr. James Dobson; Russell Moore; Dr. Albert Mohler; John Piper; Tony Perkins of Family Research Council; Dennis Rainey of FamilyLife; and many others.
Backlash Against the Statement and Its Signers
The statement has met with backlash. NBC news called it a “sexuality manifesto,” and said,
Two of the groups represented on the list — the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Family Research Council — are listed as anti-LGBTQ “hate groups” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate activity across the U.S.
Keep in mind that the Southern Poverty Law Center has been heavily criticized for labeling Alliance Defending Freedom and Family Research Council as “hate groups.”
You may recall in 2012 a gunman attacked Family Research Council’s headquarters after finding them on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of hate groups, and in 2014 the FBI stopped using the SPLC as a resource for tracking dangerous organizations.
Nashville’s mayor also criticized the Nashville Statement, saying the statement “does not represent the inclusive values of the city & people of Nashville.” It’s deeply troubling that an elected official would openly oppose a statement of belief from a broad coalition of Christians.
Reaffirming the Truth
Christian leaders down through the centuries have routinely gathered together to reaffirm the truth of scripture in the face of cultural changes. The Nashville Statement simply reiterates basic biblical teaching.
In that regard, there is nothing new here.
What is new is the need to articulate the Bible’s teaching on sex and marriage — and the backlash Christians are receiving for believing things that Christians have believed for two millennia.
It’s only in the past few years that anyone has seriously called into question the Bible’s teaching on biological sex, homosexuality, and marriage. Appropriately, last week John Stonestreet with the Colson Center for Christian Worldview wrote,
[T]he very first council in church history, the Jerusalem Council recorded in Acts 15, did take up the issue of sexuality. Gentile Christians were told to “abstain from sexual immorality,” which for the Jewish apostles would mean the list of practices condemned in Leviticus 18, including homosexual behavior. . . . .
I’d suggest it’s quite telling that sex and marriage were never considered “up in the air” for the Church since the Jerusalem Council until now.
Last year Pulaski County Circuit Judge Timothy Fox issued a ruling that forced the State of Arkansas to put the names of three married, same-sex couples on children’s birth certificates. Yesterday the Arkansas Supreme Court overturned Judge Fox’s ruling.
Each same-sex couple has been legally married since the U.S. Supreme Court redefined marriage in 2015, and each has a child conceived via an anonymous sperm donor.
In each of these three cases, only one spouse—the woman who actually gave birth to the child—is a biological parent of the child. According to the Department of Health, only the biological mother of the child may be listed on the child’s birth certificate; you cannot list the name of a second, unrelated “mother” on the certificate.
The three couples sued the state, and Judge Fox ruled in their favor last year, saying the the birth certificates can be amended to list a second “mother.”
Yesterday the Arkansas Supreme Court overturned Judge Fox’s ruling, saying it is entirely appropriate for a child’s birth certificate to list his or her biological parents. In particular, the court noted,
“In the situation involving the female spouse of a biological mother, the female spouse does not have the same biological nexus to the child that the biological mother or the biological father has. It does not violate equal protection to acknowledge basic biological truths.”
We are glad the Arkansas Supreme Court chose to uphold state law on this issue. As we have said before, birth certificates exist to record that a child was born and who the child’s parents are—not who happens to be married to one of the child’s biological parents. Birth certificates are not simply pieces of paper. They are vital records that need to be accurate and deserve respect. We should be careful not to let them become mere political ploys.
Photo Credit: By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
The company initially indicated it would not include content of this nature in its magazines in order to let parents discuss homosexuality with their children on their own terms, but reversed course after taking flak from homosexual activists.
You can’t make this stuff up. What’s next? Are people going to insist “Waldo” start wearing a red-and-white striped dress to be more gender-inclusive?
This simply further proves what we have said for years: Homosexual activists want to use children as pawns in their campaign to gain full acceptance of their lifestyles.
Photo Credit: Highlights for Children by Fuzzy Gerdes.