(Photo: Online Bible/Biblica)
(CNSNews.com) -- Reaffirming basic biblical teachings and the natural law, more than 150 evangelical leaders from across the nation signed a statement that affirms marriage as being the "lifelong union of one man and one woman" and denies homosexual relationships and a "transgender self-conception" as being "consistent with God's holy purposes" for the world and individual salvation.
"WE AFFIRM that God has designed marriage to be a covennatal, 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," reads Article 1, among 14 articles, in the "Nashville Statement," which was signed on Aug. 25 at a meeting of evangelical leaders in Nashville, Tenn.
Article 1 then states, "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."
The "Nashville Statement, A Coalition for Biblical Sexuality," was crafted by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, headed by Denny Burk. Some of the initial signers of the statement include Focus on the Family Founder James Dobson, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, Ligonier Ministries Chairman R.C. Sproul, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Dean Gregory Wills, and the dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism & Ministry, Adam Greenway.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.
(Family Research Council.)
Part of the Preamble to the Nashville Statement reads, "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," reads the preamble. "The pathway to full and lasting joy through God’s good design for his creatures is thus replaced by the path of shortsighted alternatives that, sooner or later, ruin human life and dishonor God."
"We are persuaded that faithfulness in our generation means declaring once again the true story of the world and of our place in it—particularly as male and female," states the preamble. "Christian Scripture teaches that there is but one God who alone is Creator and Lord of all.... We did not make ourselves. We are not our own. Our true identity, as male and female persons, is given by God. It is not only foolish, but hopeless, to try to make ourselves what God did not create us to be."
Clarifying further what the Bible and natural law prescribe for marriage and the two sexes male and female, Article 2 of the statement reads, "WE AFFIRM that God’s revealed will for all people is chastity outside of marriage and fidelity within marriage. 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."
Part of Article 3 states, "WE AFFIRM that God created Adam and Eve, the first human beings, in his own image, equal before God as persons, and distinct as male and female," and Article 4 affirms that "divinely ordained differences between male and female reflect God's original creation design and are meant for human good and human flourishing."
In Article 7, the evangelical Christians "deny that adopting a homosexual or transgender self-conception is consistent with God's holy purposes in creation and redemption." Further, Article 8 states, "WE DENY that sexual attraction for the same sex is part of the natural goodness of God's original creation, or that it puts a person outside the hope of the gospel."
In addition, Article 10 states, "WE AFFIRM that it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism and that such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfullness and witness."
Illustration of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. (Public Domain)
However, despite homosexual immorality, the statement affirms 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." The statement concludes by noting that no sinner is beyond the reach of Christ.
The statement was criticized and applauded by many people on social media. For instance, Jesuit priest James Martin, an apologist for homosexuality in the Catholic church, said on Twitter: "I affirm: That God loves all LGBT people. I deny: That Jesus wants us to insult, judge or further marginalize them."
Dr. Eugene Gu tweeted, "As a Nashville resident, I am ashamed of all the country music stars, universities, and celebs who are staying silent."
(Photo: Catholic Diocese of Armidale.)
Former Hillary Clinton adviser Peter Daou tweeted, "When I see the #NashvilleStatement, the GOP's regressive policies, rampant sexism and racism, I feel the 19th century is invading the 21st."
The pro-homosexual Human Rights Campaign tweeted, "Faith should be welcoming and accepting, not used as a tool to discriminate against LGBTQ people."
Conservative Ben Shapiro tweeted, "Did I miss the part of the #NashvilleStatement where any serious Christian doctrine changed in the slightest?"
MSNBC's left-wing Joy Reid tweeted, "Just catching up on the #NashvilleStatement and wondering if someone might please tell me what year this is. Or what century. Thanks."
Homosexual and anti-Christian writer Dan Savage wrote a column, "The Nashville Statement: Surprise! Evangelical Leaders Are Still Trying to Knock That D--k Out of Your Mouth!"