The Great Divide of Nashville (Hint: It’s Not the Nashville Statement)

The release of the Nashville Statement was greeted with as much controversy as you would expect in a culture that finds itself immensely separated over gender and sexual proclivity. Unsurprisingly, the statement revealed a vast separate between by the secular realm and the Christian realm as evidenced by Nashville’s mayor’s denunciation of the statement. In the same way, it’s not surprising to see the division emerge between professing Christians as well. We are at a point in which definitions, words, and identities are being cultivated, transformed, and invented faster than any one person can manage to keep up with. Therefore, when a group of well-respected and leading Christians came together and formally released the Nashville statement this week, consisting of 14 articles that contained affirmations and denials regarding biblical definitions of sexuality, the backlash and quick separation by some from it, was anticipated. However, the statement itself is not controversial at all.
Since the statement was officially released on Tuesday, August 29th, the comments, confrontations, and denunciations have been forthcoming quite quickly. From politicians to prominent (and supposedly biblically-oriented) Christian leaders, many have been quick to jump aboard the train to cultural conformation for the sake of unity. Primarily, those denying the validity of the statement do so with the following arguments:
  • Divides the Christian Witnesses: The very fact that such a statement is released supposedly creates divisions between professing Christians. Although unspoken, most of the statements along these lines often convey the notion that the division over this issue is unnecessary and therefore the statement is inciting hurt and harm amongst believers.
  • Diminishes the Christian Witness: Because it creates division, some say, it automatically impacts the ability to be a faithful and loving witness for Christ.
  • Delineates the Christian Witness: Finally, there are some who have suggested that they would not sign such a statement because they see it as a litmus test for salvation.
Make note, these are not points that unbelievers are making, as there is no need to defend against them because we know they disagree with a biblical worldview on anything. These are made by people who proclaim God’s Word, Christ’s work, and the Holy Spirit’s conviction as sufficient.
An intentional examination into the Nashville Statement reveals each of these statements to be based upon false dichotomies, false dictations, and false deductions. First, the statement does not bring about the division as some proclaim. That division already existed regardless, something that has been proven repeatedly as more and more professing Christians cave to cultural cadence on this issue. Second, the statement actually enhances our Christian witness because it proves faithfulness to God and God’s truth by demonstrating both a hatred for sin, yet a love for people by wanting to see them rescued from that sin. Finally, in no way have the signers indicated that this statement is a litmus test for who is saved and who is not saved. That statement is simply a false assertion.
While there are some things I wish were clarified and wordings that I would have preferred in the Nashville Statement, it’s solid and Biblical, and therefore, I find it’s importance to be immense. However, this is not meant to be a defense of every article in the statement. Instead, I find it important to highlight the overarching integrity and purpose of the document. It is a document that:
  • Brings Clarity (to the debate)
  • Brings Confirmation (to the integrity of  God’s Word)
  • Brings Conviction (to the people)
As a result, it’s a statement that should be reviewed and considered in light of Scripture with the hopes of providing the greatest glory to God.

Ultimately, the statement is not divisive. Instead, it’s Scripture that is divisive. However, it’s not divisive because some people think it is wrong and others think it is true. The Word of God is divisive because it brings truth and forces people to acknowledge that which they don’t want to admit: we are all sinners in need of a Savior. The Nashville Statement, being built upon Scripture, is simply bringing light that exposes sin to a people who do not want to give up their sin.

If you would like to read more about the Nashville Statement, you can read more at the following links: