NASHVILLE, Tenn. — More than 150 evangelical pastors, seminary and college professors, ministry leaders and others have signed a declaration known as the “Nashville Statement,” which affirms God’s design and intent regarding sexuality, marriage and gender identity.
The Nashville Statement, which is an initiative of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, was released on Tuesday and features 14 short proclamations, or articles, arranged in constitutional form.
The statement, while pertaining to homosexuality and transgenderism, also speaks universally in regard to God’s desire that all mankind remain sexually pure until marriage and notes that the Creator distinctively designed the woman to complement the man and bear the couple’s children. It additionally addresses the requirement for faithfulness within the marital covenant, which is to mirror Christ and His bride, the Church.
“We affirm that God’s revealed will for all people is chastity outside of marriage and fidelity within marriage,” Article 2 reads. “We deny that any affections, desires or commitments ever justify sexual intercourse before or outside marriage, nor do they justify any form of sexual immorality.”
It also notes that man’s inherent sin nature draws men to thoughts and desires that are antithetical to God’s expressed will.
“We affirm that sin distorts sexual desires by directing them away from the marriage covenant and toward sexual immorality—a distortion that includes both heterosexual and homosexual immorality,” Article 9 outlines.
“We affirm that God has designed marriage to be a covenantal, sexual, procreative, life-long 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,” Article 1 declares.
The Nashville statement further attests that God made man and woman “distinct as male and female,” and that the “divinely ordained differences between male and female reflect God’s original creation design and are meant for human good and human flourishing.”
“We deny that physical anomalies or psychological conditions nullify the God-appointed link between biological sex and self-conception as male and female,” Article 5 reads, adding in Article 7, “We deny that adopting a homosexual or transgender self-conception is consistent with God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption.”
The statement also affirms that it is the Christian’s responsibility to speak the truth in love, as Christ is able to save and transform every man and woman who will repent and trust in Him.
“We affirm that the grace of God in Christ gives both merciful pardon and transforming power, and that this pardon and power enable a follower of Jesus to put to death sinful desires and to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord,” Article 12 proclaims.
“We affirm that Christ Jesus has come into the world to save sinners, and that through Christ’s death and resurrection, forgiveness of sins and eternal life are available to every person who repents of sin and trusts in Christ alone as Savior, Lord and supreme treasure,” Article 14 continues. “We deny that the Lord’s arm is too short to save or that any sinner is beyond his reach.”
Signees of the Nashville Statement include Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Paige Patterson, president of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; Paul Nyquist, president of Moody Bible Institute; Kevin Ezell, president of the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board; John MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church in California and president of The Master’s Seminary and College; J. D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in North Carolina; James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family; Bob Vander Plaats, president of The Family Leader; Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and Joseph Backholm, president of the Family Policy Institute of Washington.
“The spirit of our age does not delight in God’s good design of male and female. Consequently, confusion reigns over some of the most basic questions of our humanity,” Denny Burk, the president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, said in a statement. “The aim of The Nashville Statement is to shine a light into the darkness—to declare the goodness of God’s design in our sexuality and in creating us as male and female.”
While the Nashville Statement has been met with some criticism, including from Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, who remarked in a tweet that the declaration “does not represent the inclusive values of the city and people of Nashville,” others have noted that to reject the doctrines outlined in the statement is to essentially reject the Bible and Christ Himself.
“Anyone who persistently rejects God’s revelation about sexual holiness and virtue is rejecting Christianity altogether, even if they claim otherwise,” Burk explained. “Or as the apostle Paul puts it, ‘For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality … Consequently, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you’ (1 Thess. 4:3-8).”