Outrage erupted this week when a group of Evangelical leaders released what is being called the Nashville Statement.
The statement, published by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, simply affirms fundamental Christian teaching on the subject of gender and sexuality. It says that God ordained marriage as a covenant between men and women, that our status as men and women cannot be changed according to our whims, that we are called to be chaste before marriage, that marriage is monogamous, etc.
I am thrilled that this was published and I applaud the Christian leaders who signed it. However, I do have one slight qualm. As Ryan Anderson points out, it calls for "chastity" outside of marriage and "fidelity" within. Obviously I agree that chastity is necessary outside of marriage and fidelity within, but chastity is also important within marriage. Chastity is a virtue that applies to all people, married or not. Being chaste is not the same as being celibate. My suspicion is that the writers and signers of the declaration equate chastity and celibacy, as many Christians in our culture tend to do, which led to the omission. It's a mistake, but there's no reason to harp on it.
That aside, the basic principles espoused are right, good, and fundamental. They're rooted in Scripture and consistent with what Christianity has taught for 2,000 years. Nothing new was decreed. It's all been said before: first by God in Genesis, then expanded upon throughout the Old Testament, then affirmed by Christ, then preached by the Apostles, then taught by the Church and generally accepted by all Christians, even after it broke apart during the Reformation, until the modern age.
The Nashville Statement is, in a word, redundant. But its redundancy by no means renders it unnecessary. To the contrary, though these concepts are as old as time and well known to any half-serious Christian, we live in a society where they must be shouted from the rooftop again and again and again. Every Christian leader, if he is to consider himself a Christian leader, must be clear and unequivocal. Nobody should have to guess whether he believes in the sanctity of marriage or the indissoluble nature of the gender God has assigned to us. Many Christians could not tell you how their own pastors feel about this subject, because they've never once heard it addressed (I have attended many such churches). This is a shame and a scandal, and it explains why many of those same Christians eventually come to the conclusion that matters of sexual morality are unimportant, and a Christian is free to decide for himself what is acceptable and what is not.
St. Paul proclaimed that he is "not ashamed of the Gospel because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes," yet a significant number of pastors, priests, and Christian scholars have revealed themselves to be profoundly ashamed of it. Their teachings and their sermons linger around the edges of the truth without ever venturing too deeply into it. They are afraid of it and embarrassed by it. Our culture is full of people -- many of them Christian -- who do not know what Christianity is, what it professes, what it requires of us, because those tasked with telling them have refused to do so. That is what necessitates the Nashville Statement. The fact that people were surprised by it only proves how much it was needed.
So, as the throngs of unbelievers lash out at the signers, calling them bigots who've twisted the Bible in pursuit of hateful and intolerant ends, we must realize that their ignorance is mostly the fault of the preponderance of Christians who know that it contains many truths yet have shied away from these truths, or even denied them outright, for fear of the world's rebuke. Of course, these Christians will not admit that they are motivated by fear and cowardice. They claim that it is "love" that drives them to hide in a corner, curled up in the fetal position, while the culture war rages around them. After the Nashville Statement became public, these "progressive" Christians peeked out of their hiding places to admonish those who wrote it and those who agree with it for their lack of "love." They sensed another opportunity to score points with the world by condemning Biblical truths as "unloving," and they took it, like they always do.
As just one example, an alleged priest named Father James Martin responded with some sweet and sappy declarations of his own, meant to counteract the terrible and bigoted Nashville Statement. He proclaimed that "LGBT people are some of the holiest people I know" and that "God loves LGBT people," etc. Yes, obviously it's true that God loves LGBT people, but the clear insinuation is that one cannot believe God loves LGBT people and also affirm Biblical teachings on sexual morality. He sets up a false choice between love and truth. This is the game that Satan plays in our culture, and men like James Martin are more than happy to be his pawns in it.
Indeed, the Martins of the world are far more dangerous than blatant heretics. To my knowledge, Martin has never flat out said that the Bible is wrong in its teachings on sexual morality. Rather, he shouts down any conversation about sexual morality by insisting that God loves gay people, as if anyone has disagreed with that notion. This is the most common method employed by the "Christian leaders" who wish to pervert and destroy Christianity from within. Instead of publicly contradicting Christian teachings about sexuality and gender, they simply refuse to discuss the subject except to proclaim that God loves everyone regardless of what they do in the bedroom. This is supposed to be the "loving" approach.
It's the coward's approach. The traitorous approach. The selfish approach. The most efficient approach for ensuring that as many people as possible remain in their sin as they slide gleefully into Hell. I won't call it hateful. It's worse than hateful. It's indifferent. What most defines "progressive" Christianity is its utter indifference to the fate of human souls. It abandons sinners to their sin. It leaves them in their confusion and intentionally feeds into the lies they tell themselves.
It is perhaps the worst thing that has happened on Earth since the Fall, because it has packed Hell so full that I wouldn't be surprised if there's a waiting list to get in the door. The greatest things become the worst when they are corrupted. Satan was the highest angel in Heaven before he became the ruler of Hell. Christianity -- stripped of its truth, refashioned to encourage the very sins Christ died to free us from -- turns into a kind of elevator transporting souls quickly and directly into the eternal fire. Loving? This sort of "love" will be little comfort down there.
The Nashville Statement is truly loving because it is truly Christian. It is a thousand times more loving than any pointless, crowd pleasing sermon about tolerance and inclusivity. In relaying a few fundamental truths in a plain and uncompromising way, it loves by shedding light into the darkness. That, after all, is what love ought to do. There is no other kind of love.
To see more from Matt Walsh, visit his channel on TheBlaze.