The Nashville Statement is a document published online and authored by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood that clarifies the orthodox Christian faith position on human sexuality. Over 150 predominate orthodox Christian teachers from around the world have signed the statement. Of course it is not without controversy given our day and age and with some rejecting Christians. Regardless, much like in the days of The councils of past, it addresses and clarifies the orthodox Christian faith in this specific matter. But is it biblical? Read the statement here: http://ift.tt/2x2IXp9
First and foremost, it is critical to understand that God’s truth is not contingent on the feelings of man. Secondly, speaking truth in a clear way, is being loving; even if the world doesn’t want to see it that way. How do we know that this statement reflects God and his truth? Quite simply, we test it against holy scripture. What does Holy Scripture reveal about the sexuality of humanity?
The Old Testament lays the foundation for marriage and anything that is outside of the God ordained covenant marriage.
- Humanity was created as Male and Female (Gen. 1:26–28). This does NOT say both at the same time, or fluid depending on their feelings. The Male and Females were commanded to multiply and fill the earth. Thus, procreation was a blessing within the God created Male and Female dynamic.
- Man needed an equally valuable helper to co-exist equally in fulfilling God’s command to procreate and bless the earth. When Woman was created, she was ordained to be a wife to man. They come together and create a God ordained family unit (Gen. 2:15-25)
- When sin entered the world, it was through the temptation to be like God and to decide for themselves what they want and desire- a part from God. When accountable to God, neither, male or female, owned up to their disobedience but instead justified it by blaming someone else (Gen. 3:1-24)
- The Law of God makes clear that sexual activity outside of the covenant of marriage of a male and female is adultery and is explicitly forbidden (Exod. 20:14). That even to “covet” another mans wife is equally forbidden. Covet means to yearn to possess or have (Exod. 20:17; Deut. 5:18, 5:21). As God reveals more, we see that homosexuality is also forbidden as they face the same death due to sin (Lev. 18:22, 20:13). Levitical Law called for the physical death which is no longer required sense Jesus freed us from it in his mercy and forgiveness; but the spiritual death remains unless there is a changed heart and faith in what Christ has done for this sin.
- In Judges 19:22-26 we see that homosexual desires are far more dangerous to someone’s spirit than rape. Though rape is explicitly morally wrong and corrupts everyone involved, homosexuality was far greater in its moral corruptible potential because it is less obvious in its corruption and immoral nature with its vast ability to spread. Something only God can see and something the world would not understand.
- Then we see the forbidding of transgenderism in Deut. 22:5. Clothing isn’t the issue of the heart, it was the desire to be the other gender. Gender confusion and transgenderism was not in God’s Will for mankind as this verse makes clear.
- The desire of coveting another persons spouse and adultery grows into other horrible acts (Job 31:1, 7-15). We see this in David’s adultery with Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11:1-12:15. Even though David confessed his sins and was forgiven, he still faced the consequences of his sin (2 Samuel 12:13-14). Those with unwanted desires can seek the Lord in faith and he will save (Isaiah 59:1)
- These sinful sexual desires can naturally come from birth (Psalm 51:5) BUT there is always hope in the Lord for restoration from natural sinful sexual desires (Psalm 51:1-19). These sins may feel right and naturally tempting but lead to spiritual death (Proverbs 5:3-6). These sins are to be avoided, fought, resisted (Proverbs 5:8-14).
- Covenant marriage between the God ordained man and women is truly satisfying. Having self discipline and being devoted to what God has ordained keeps man from a forbidden pleasure that leads to spiritual death (Proverbs 5:15-23, 6:20-35, 7:1-27). Fully knowing that God sees all, even our hearts. He knows when we step outside of the covenant of marriage (Malachi 2:14).
What does Jesus say about the issue of human sexuality?
- Not only does Jesus support what is stated in the Old Testament, as he quotes from it as his authority, but also he expands on it in the sense that it is a problem of the heart, which manifests in actions. When simply looking at another women lustfully, that is the same as committing the act of adultery. Lust is having a sexual desire for someone. If this is the case, he then follows up with how important it is to remove yourself from it. It is far better to struggle than to be spiritually dead (Matthew 5:27-30). This would obviously include viewing pornography.
- Jesus validates the truth and authority of Gen 1:27, 2:24, 5:2 which he reiterates that God made humanity as Male and Female for covenant marriage.
- Divorce was permitted BUT not out of God’s Will but because of “the hardness of your hearts”. In the beginning, before sin entered the world, there was no divorce. But because as the hearts of mankind became sinful, it was permitted for the sake of the lives of the wives of the husbands who would marry other women and kick them to the street, or in some cases, have them killed just so they could remarry (Matthew 19:8-9).
- Jesus recognizes persons who are unable to have sexual relations either by birth, by choice, or my punishments of that culture as persons who are still accepted by Christ for God’s Glory. This applies to those who are born in which ever way that prevents them from desiring or acting sexually (Matthew 19:12).
What does The Holy Spirit reveal about the issue of human sexuality?
- Acts 15:20, 29 tell us to encourage those who claim to be in the body of Christ to abstain from sexual immorality. What is the sexual immorality being spoken of here? Everything revealed in the OT and by Jesus. 1 Thess 4:3-8 declares it is God’s Will that we abstain from sexual immorality and control our bodies and lustful desires. Ultimately, rejecting this truth about sexuality is rejecting God (1 Thess 4:3-8). The law of God is for the rebellious, ungodly, and sinful. 1 Tim 1:9-10 explicitly states sexual immorality and homosexuality is rebellion against God. The law reveals our sinful hearts and points us to our need for Christ. Everyone is tempted, just as Jesus was, but unlike Jesus, some are then drawn away from God’s truths about human sexuality and enticed by their own sexual desires which leads to sin and spiritual death (James 1:14-15). The fact is that our fleshly desires are Waring against us, Christians are empowered by The Holy Spirit to abstain while others give in and accept them and even embrace them (1 Peter 2:11).
- Those who reject God’s word and willingly pursue their own sexual desires and passions are then granted that by God and allowed to pursue them because that is what they ultimately desire more than God. Paul’s example is explicitly homosexuality (Romans 1:26-27). Pursuing their sinful sexual immoralities, they then openly support, encourage, and applaud others who pursue them too (Romans 1:32). Christians are called to “put to death” the worldly natures of sexual immorality, impurity, and lust (Colossians 3:5). An undefiled marriage is one that in accordance of God’s ordained covenant marriage. All others, are judged as outside of what God desires (Hebrews 13:4).
- Sexually immoral people will not inherit God’s Kingdom (eternal life). But Paul reminds them that some of them “used to be like this” but have sense been “washed” and “sanctified” by “the Spirit of our God”. Freedom from these sinful sexual desires is possible for all those who seek Christ Jesus (1 Cor 6:9-11). In Christ, we are made NEW. Our old ways are gone and we can live a life that is pleasing to the Lord (2 Cor 5:17). In the truth of WHY Jesus died on the cross (sacrifice for sexual immorality) we can “take off [our] former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires” and be renewed in our minds by how we see our sexuality in Christ through purity and truth (Eph 4:20-24).
- We are commanded to “run from sexual immorality”. The sin is not against someone else but against their own body. We are created by God and our “body is not [our] own” (1 Cor 6:18-20). Thus the idea of sexual freedom to love who we want to love goes completely against what God has made known. Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its [selfish] passions and [sinful] desires (Gal 5:24). God’s grace leads us to deny worldly lusts and sexual immorality (Titus 2:11-12).
- Sexuality is GOOD, within the covenant of God’s ordained marriage. Marriage between a man and woman is even encouraged and highly recommended (though no commanded) to help resisting the temptation of sexual immorality (1 Cor 7:1-7).
- We must speak the truth about human sexuality. But with speaking truth, it must be done in a loving kind way because there is hope and peace that comes with forsaking the sinful sexual desires (Eph 4:15). This truth also means that we are all sinners, just as much as the sexually immoral BUT those who trust and believe in God’s truth about sexuality are in Christ and recognize their sinful sexual desires as something unwanted (1 Tim 1:15).
- Gen 2:24 is also illustrated by how Christ is with the Church (Eph 5:31-32). A holy covenant marriage in which there is no adultery in the sense that there are not allowed 3rd parties outside of the bride (the church) and the bridegroom (Christ).
In light of what Holy Scripture reveals about human sexuality, we can then test the totality of scripture against what is stated in each article of the Nashville Statement. When we do this, we see that it does not conflict with Holy Scripture but expresses what Holy Scripture declares in a modern language.
Through early church history we see that the disciples of the Apostles and their disciples understood what scripture clearly declares about human sexuality. The Didache written around A.D. 80 – 130, Justin Martyr, c. A.D. 155, Theophilus of Antioch, A.D. 168, Aristides of Athens in the A.D. 140s and Clement of Alexandria (Egypt) in the 190s explicitly agree with what is declared in the Old Testament and by the Apostles. Some are even more specific in describing forbidden sexual acts such as Polycarp in early second-century, Irenaeus in France in the 180s, and Origen. There has never been a time among God’s people that human sexuality outside of a covenant Marriage of a Man and Woman was morally right or justified.
According to Holy Scripture, it is the position of true orthodox Christianity that the Nashville Statement is true in its expression of biblical human sexuality. The authors and signers of this statement are in line with the teachers of the early church, The Apostles, Jesus, and The Prophets of the Old Testament. Thus this statement unifies the church and clarifies biblical truth for the present generation and after. Given the weight, relevance, and need for such a statement, and the unity of different teachers from different church backgrounds; this statement will be included to this site as an important historical authored document. This statement proclaims truth and ALSO hope for all those afflicted by sexual sin.
Please read and understand the Statement here: http://ift.tt/2wPkg0b
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