The Christian Right just rolled out a document called the Nashville Statement which includes fourteen articles of affirmation and denial that refer to human sexuality. The people who signed it are far right evangelicals which include John Piper and Wayne Grudem whose names are familiar to me because they are proponents of the false doctrine of male headship which some fringe groups have tried to bring into the church I grew up in. According to Gerry Chudleigh in his book, “A Short History of the Headship Doctrine in the Seventh Day Adventist Church:”
“In 1987 the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, cofounded by Grudem and Piper, drafted what remains today the defining document of the headship movement, the Danvers Statement. The CBMW published the Danvers Statement rather quietly in November 1988, but in January 1989 they attracted much wider attention for the Danvers Statement when they published it as a center spread in Christianity Today.”
Today we have the Nashville Statement by the same organization which promotes the false doctrine of male headship. The Nashville Statement has fourteen articles which include an affirmation and a denial about human sexuality. Probably the most disturbing is the tenth article which states:
“WE AFFIRM that it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism and that such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness and witness.
“WE DENY that the approval of homosexual immorality or transgenderism is a matter of moral indifference about which otherwise faithful Christians should agree to disagree.”
Such extra-biblical mandates gives permission for a witch hunt–-not only for the LGBTQIA+ community, but for those who love and support them. Instead of allowing each person to decide between themselves and God what is right and allowing people to follow their own consciences, they’ve mandated what beliefs are approved without allowing those who have compassion to agree to disagree with them. Not only will this give room for scapegoating LGBTQIA+ people, but it will also condemn those who support them.
By creating the Nashville Statement, the council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is making a bid to do our thinking for us because they want us to exclude anyone who does not agree with them. They offer these man-made rules in the name of the Lord, but there is no such command in the Bible. Jesus gave us one rule and that was to love each other. Mature Christians surely must be wiser than this.
At least five members who signed the Nashville Statement are also are members of President Trump’s evangelical advisory board—they include James Dobson, Ronnie Floyd, Jack Graham, Richard Land and James Robison.
The implications of creating the Nashville Statement is that these male headship proponents are farther from representing Jesus to the masses than ever before. Their choices to elect and support a racist president, their insensitivity to the racial unrest in Charlottesville and the plight of victims in the wake of Hurricane Harvey–only to unveil such a divisive statement to the world shows a sad lack of compassion and is a sorry statement of what really matters to them.
Such a statement will never change one heart, but it will provide permission to abuse anyone who is different. Meanwhile these men have plenty of sins of their own. Where is the statement for men who have affairs or divorce their wives or abuse their wives because they believe in male headship and think they have a right to abuse their wives?
Friends, this is what I am talking about when I write about Religious Narcia–white, cis-gender males who are determined to force everyone out of the church who do not look or behave like them. Where the rules they make up are to serve themselves and make themselve look good, while the rules they ignore are the actual ten commandments. Honestly, I’m not sure there is anything more narcissistic than forcing others to believe and think like you do–unless it’s imagining God approves of you more than those sinners.
Like Anne Lamott says, “You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”
The good news is these pious, white males don’t have any more access to God’s throne than the people they wish to shut out. Jesus knocks on the door of every heart and he doesn’t have any specific gender requirements, he just promises to come inside when anyone opens the door.
And meanwhile, there are still some compassionate people in the world. Some in the city of Nashville were appalled to have their city’s name on such a deplorable document, so they wrote The Accurate Nashville Statement which states:
“Nashville sees everyone as beautiful,
loved and full of inherent worth.
Regardless of gender or sexual orientation.”
As the people of the United States and Christian churches become more and more polarized, we each have a choice to follow Jesus or those who take his name in vain by excluding and shutting people out. Yes, there are storm clouds on the horizon, but for the true among us who wish to serve with compassion there will always be a light to lead the way–and that light is Jesus Himself.
Here at Little Red Survivor, we accept and affirm LGBTQIA+ folks as loved by God. We don’t count their identities or relationships as sin. We believe they are beloved children of God.