Last weeks big news in theology was the publication of the Nashville Statement on Biblical Sexuality. You can find it at the website of the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. The responses to the Nashville Statement have been many and varied. Here is a smattering:
- From Eliel Cruz, a LGBTQ activist and founder of the Faithfully LGBT project (a progressive activist group that seek to publish the stories of people’s journeys through faith and the LGBT lifestyle), comes a New York Times op-ed “The Nashville Statement Is an Attack on LGBT Christians“. Cruz states that the statement represents “a renewed commitment to open bigotry” and declares that “the statement sent a particularly dangerous message to the approximately half of L.G.B.T. people who, according to the Pew Research Center, identify as Christian: You don’t belong in our religion. And anyone who so much as accepts you isn’t Christian either.” Cruz concludes by calling for the theology of the statement to be condemned as “spiritual malpractice.”
- From Dan Savage, openly gay host of the popular “Savage Lovecast” and nationally syndicated author of the “Savage Love” column, during a guest appearance on “the Gist” summarized the statement as “You can only be gay if you give up love and happiness.”
- From Evangelical blogger Matthew Lee Anderson came a blog post on his reasons for not signing the Nashville Statement. By my reading Anderson’s reasons can be boiled down to the following: (1) the crisis moment emphasis poorly frames the discussion, (2) the focus on LGBT sexuality is too narrow to really grapple with the tension between the evangelical church and the spirit of the age, (3) and the odd exclusion of any discussion about chastity in marriage. A particularly important aspect of Anderson’s critique is the line “Caitlyn Jenner could only become a phenomenon in a world formed from countless choices by ordinary, faithful, well-intentioned people who failed to see that the body has for them the same malleability and plasticity in other areas that Caitlyn Jenner expressed about it in the realm of sex and gender.” Here Anderson is relating that the spirit of the age has been adopted and unchallenged by evangelicals in countless other fields (IVF is mentioned by name in one part of the article), so our repudiation cannot be limited to sexuality and gender and still be honest about claiming a desire for submission to Christ and the scriptures.
- Peter Heck over at “the Resurgent” posted an article on ‘The Worst “Christian” Responses to the Nashville Statement’. Heck highlights Rachel Held Evans, Jen Hatmaker, and Brian McLaren. A trifecta most frequently associated with the question, ‘wait, why do they consider themselves evangelicals?’ Hatmaker (which is a, I am totally serious, great last name) has been regularly in the press since she came out in favor of same-sex marriage about a year ago. Evans, your friendly neighborhood pro-evolution Christian feminist is used to challenging the status quo, she tweeted out after what seems to be a complete misunderstanding of one of the articles in the Statement. Heck’s article basically points out how absurd he believes their knee-jerk reactions to be.
- Dr. Michael Brown also penned an article directed at Jen Hatmaker’s “Irrational Response to a ‘Christian Manifesto’ on Sexuality“. Brown’s contention is two-fold: (1) Jen has drunk the leftist/progressivist punch and (2) Jen irrationally connects The Nashville Statement with evangelicals supporting Donald Trump. At the heart of Brown’s blog is this statement:
This, again, is a typical, LGBT-related response that buys into the lie that the biblical teaching on homosexuality and trangenderism is destructive and harmful. In reality, the gospel brings deliverance from shame, self-harm, and suicide, bringing families and churches together, and it is the rejection of God’s lifegiving ways that leads to depression and hopelessness and destruction. For Hatmaker, however, the reverse is true, as she tweeted, “The fruit of the ‘Nashville Statement’ is suffering, rejection, shame, and despair,” adding, “The timing is callous beyond words.”
- From Rod Dreher, author of the controversial Benedict Option and contributor to The American Conservative, comes a defense of the Nashville Statement and a copy of the full text.
Other links abound, including a number of blogs and articles from various signers as to why they signed and several point by point refutations of the Nashville Statement by progressive groups. Take your pick.