I really want to agree with what this Article sounds like it’s trying to say.
Unfortunately this entire Statement that was meant to condemn women and homosexuals is continuing to oppress in this Article. This is where they are convinced they are delivering Good News but what they actually deliver is a whitewashed tomb.
This is the Article that is used to justify and support the ideas behind Conversion Therapy and the camps where parents send their children to get them to stop being gay. If you really have Jesus, they argue, then you will stop being gay!
What they really believe is that, whether you are attracted to someone of the same sex or not, if you really love Jesus then you will CHOOSE not to ever be with someone of the same sex and you will be “transformed” into someone who has attraction to and sex with someone of the opposite sex. They mean that if you really love Jesus you will choose to put to death desires they believe are sinful as part of walking in a manner “worthy” of the Lord.
And that is where the Bad News really is — whether the issue is homosexuliaty or anything, really. Salvation does not invite us into a fake it ‘til you make it relationship with God!
They are operating from a belief that in response to what the Bible says is a free gift of grace we must somehow prove our worth. Let me translate their affirmation/denial for you:
When you have really received the grace of God through Christ you will receive forgiveness you don’t deserve and you will be given the power to change yourself. Because you didn’t deserve the forgiveness you are expected to use this power to change to put to death everything we will tell you is sinful (or, really, anything you desire because that desire is sinful) and you will be expected to only make choices and live a life that proves to everyone looking that God didn’t invest in you poorly. You have to make God look good. You have to become worthy of what he’s given you if you want us to believe you have it. This power to change yourself means that you will be expected to make changes in your sexuality and if you are really saved you will be able to stop yourself from being gay or having gay sex.
This is not the Gospel!
Christianity is not about walking through life white knuckling not doing all the things you will still want to do because you’re human. Christianity is about being redeemed from the power of sin and death so that we can have a relationship with our Creator! At least that’s what I’ve always read in the Bible and always understood to be the Gospel.
Every time I read something like this Nashville Statement I’m reminded that for far too many people Christianity is about struggling to not be who they are, want what they want, or do what they are inclined to do.
Every time I read something like this Nashville Statement I am even more aware of the politicians who run on the Family Values ticket who are caught in hotel rooms or office romances with same sex prostitutes or interns.
Every time I read something like this Nashville Statement I am even more aware of the pastors who leave their wives for their lovers – gay or straight.
Every time I read something like this Nashville Statement I am convinced that it is evidence of the failure of too many in the Church to understand the real Gospel!
If you are saved through Bad News then that is all you will be able to share with people. Bad News starts with the idea that if you don’t want to suffer and be punished eternally in hell you have to believe in Jesus and ends with you doing all the work to try and be “worthy” of not being tormented eternally. Bad News wants to make sure everyone is suffering by not doing the things they want to do that you’ve been told the Bible says you can’t. This is just misery loving company. This is NOT the Bible’s message!
If you are saved through Good News that that is what you will be compelled to share with people because when you have experienced God’s love you want everyone to experience it! Good News starts with the idea that God has redeemed you and you did nothing to earn it and don’t have to do anything to be worthy of it. Good News wants you to change not to find someone’s approval or fit some list of rules but into the best person you can be. Good News will change you from the inside out and yet it will help you to become the person you were created to be. The changes you experience will affect every area of your life – including the sexual choices you make – but there will be no threat, no fear, and because you aren’t being changed into a different you, but the real you God intended, if there are things about you that are not choices then they are not going to change.
Gay people who embrace the Lord have as many different experiences as straight people who embrace the Lord. Just like there is no one gift that is required to identify you as someone who has been saved, there is no one experience that will prove it either.
Scripture does not say they will know we are Christians by our heterosexual orientation and choices in sexual partners.
Scripture says they will know we are Christians by our love.
If we try to add on to that we have rejected the Gospel and our message is not to be trusted.
This isn’t a post about the times I’ve been harassed, molested, assaulted or raped. I could write far too many of those posts, but that isn’t my goal.
This isn’t a post about what I think should happen to the men who have victimized women – though I have very strong opinions about that as well.
This is a post about a bizarre and unbiblical doctrine that has bubbled to the surface in a few different ways thanks to #MeToo that I believe needs to be called out and exposed.
When a friend first saw this meme and we discussed it on the Thomas Talks Facebook page I was asked to write something about it. I could not figure out how to approach the issue in a way that would make sense to the average reader. I certainly hadn’t encountered this idea.
Everything in the Gospels makes clear two important things:
1) Mary was a virgin
2) God sent an angel to approach Mary with the opportunity to be the mother of the savior and she willingly consented.
Whether you believe the story or not is one thing, but this meme seemed to contradict that story and suggest that Mary was a victim.
We did discuss the reality that in Jewish culture they were not marrying off child brides and forcing sex on children they ay some teach. According to Rabbinic commentary I’ve read even if there was a reason to send a “child” off with a family into which she would be marrying it was required that they raise her and care for her and only when she was ready to be married and have children would the very long betrothal move forward to a consummated marriage.
We discussed the fact that various things about modern life have caused girls to start their menstruation and be capable of having children much younger than at previous times in history. There has been much written about the hormones in food and milk and the toxicity of the chemicals and estrogen producing products we have around us every day. Some blame diet, others credit other things. It wasn’t too long about that the average age for a young women to start menstruating was 17. No matter when a betrothal, she would not have been able to consummate a marriage until after this time. Seventeen is a young bride, but not a child.
Then the Roy Moore story broke and we learned what law enforcement and everyone involved in leadership in the areas where he lived and worked already knew . . . Roy Moore likes ‘em young. I’ve often wondered why the age of consent in Alabama and a few other states was so young and now it all makes sense. The ones making the laws wanted to claim that their victims were consenting. They wanted to imagine that when a 30 year old man has sex with a 16 year old girl it’s because she really wants them and finds them desireable. If you change the laws, you change the context. If you change the context, you didn’t just rape a child . . . Well, not legally.
Except Roy Moore’s youngest-to-come-forth victim was 14 at the time he assaulted her. That’s even below the legal age of consent in his own state.
As Roy began launching his defense I saw the way this #MeToo of Mary was relevant and I understood why it was made. Churches like the ones Roy Moore is part of teach that Mary was young. Very young. They think she was 13 or 14. If Mary consented to carry the savior at 14 then she was capable of consent and that means 14 year olds can consent!
Then his brother spoke up in an interview with the Washington Examiner.
“He’s clean as a hound’s tooth,” Ziegler claimed, before relying on Scripture to defend Moore.
“Take the Bible. Zachariah and Elizabeth for instance. Zachariah was extremely old to marry Elizabeth and they became the parents of John the Baptist,” Ziegler said choosing his words carefully before invoking Christ. “Also take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus.”
Joseph, according to Jewish custom at the time, was probably 19 or 20. We don’t know for sure his age, but nothing except people like Ziegler and Moore and their crew suggest he was an old man. We don’t know Mary’s age, but according to custom she would have been 15 or older and already menstruating at a time that the average age for that was 17. Mary and Joseph were not a creepy inappropriate couple. They were just a couple that was an appropriate age to marry throughout most of history but today in the West we would say was “young.”
I realized through all of this that the very teaching that Mary was a young teenager probably 13 or 14 was the result of Patriarchy that wants to sexualize young girls. This teaching about Mary that says she was able to consent to God which means this little girl in front of you can consent to whatever you want to do to her is sick and twisted. This teaching that Joseph was in his 30’s and married a child bride is the disgusting result of a sick male fantasy.
This entire picture of Mary is pedophillic and has nothing to do with Scripture!
The Biblical Mary doesn’t have a #MeToo story to post – at least not from what we’re told in Scripture.
The Historical Mary . . . The woman whose story has been twisted and used as justification for everyone who has been assaulted based on this false teaching about her . . . She definitely has a place in the #MeToo Revolution!
This Article becomes easier to address than some of the others because they finally come out and say what they were working towards all along.
If being homosexual is not an issue of immorality then this Articles is utterly irrelevant except as hate speech and making sure they know what they personally think of gay people.
Gay people can be Christians. Many already are! Many who aren’t have rejected faith because they were told God hated them or was going to send them to hell. That’s hardly a rejection of the true God of Scripture! That is only a rejection of the hateful god of Evangelical Fundamentlaists. I reject that god too.
Gay people can have an amazing witness! Many already do! Many would love to if they believed that God loves them and that makes the ONLY good news to tell them that he does! Because HE DOES!
As was addressed in a previous response, the Bible makes one command about not being an anal penetrator. Some understand that to mean no anal sex at all. Some understand that to mean not to be aggresive in your sexuality at the expense of others (as it distinctly had become in Rome by the time of Paul). The amazing thing about the Bible is that it invites the reader to wrestle with what is in it and with God and to work out daily what a faithful life looks like.
The reality is that eating pork is described in the same language as anal penetration and is also called an abomination to God. I would be surprised if anyone who signed the Nashville Statement wasn’t a regular pork eater. If asked my guess would be they believe Jesus died to do away with the Old Testament rules. This begs the question WHY do they want to keep the one about anal penetration?
I’m familiar with all of the arguments about why gay people are still wrong and eating pork is fine and none of them – on either issue – holds up to sound Biblical study. Certainly a rejection of one and not the other falls far short of the literal reading most who want to condemn gay people hold.
At the end of the day there are two issues:
The first is what Scripture tells me as a reader to do and not do in my own life. This is where we each must wrestle with God for ourselves.
The second is what Scripture tells me as a reader to do and not do about anyone else’s life. I am told to pray for others, whether for their provision or their sin or anything that needs to be lifted to the Lord. I am told to caution them if I know they are planning to engage in a sin that is stated by God. I am told I cannot bring charges alone to the court that does not oversee actions anywhere except within the Land of Israel. According to the rules of that court I am told that in order for there to be a trial there needs to be another witness to what I heard as the plotting and there need to be two separate witnesses to the act being committed. I am told that none of us can be disqualified for our own sin. I am told many things that mean what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their own bedroom is none of my business.
This Article is unnecessary. This Article is specifically designed to make sure gay people know how disgusting those who sign this Statement think they are. How hateful and NOT from God!
To my gay brothers and sisters I declare this, because it is the message of Scripture:
God loves you! Jesus died for you! You are saved and redeemed! The Holy Spirit will work out change in every area of your life to bring you into holiness and you do not need to fear the Holy Spirit! Some wrestling will be exhausting and many things will not involve wrestling at all. The Bible is not telling us a story of great people God did good things with. It’s a story of human and flawed individuals whom God redeems and does great things FOR! You are part of this story!