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.