Article 9 of the Nashville Statement

This is a difficult Article to argue wth because on its face it seems to be saying something Biblically sound.

Whether you are heterosexual or homosexual in your attraction there are guidelines for holiness that are presented to you in Scripture.  In fact, in Biblical times sex was the action that “sealed” the marriage, if you will.  Even today if you have not consummated a marriage you can pursue legal annulment – if you don’t have sex the government can say you were never really married.  Not all sex indicated marriage – especially not sex that didn’t fit the boundaries of marriage (I.e. you weren’t married to a prostitute, or anyone you had a contractual agreement to engage in sex and not have it mean marriage) but it did mean marriage in every other context.  That’s why when Isaac married Rachel he didn’t go to the church and have a big ceremony with public vows . . . A marriage contract had been negotiated outlining the promises he would be making to her and protecting her rights in the marriage and then he took her into his mother’s tent and they had sex.  They were married.

We live in a very different day and age and yet God challenges us in the Word to reject a life of promiscuity and “anything goes” sex that would bring pain and destruction into our lives.  Thee are many things in life that seem to be “good” to us but are not good and put us at risk.  Often the world and the culture around us will present us with options that it argues are morally neutral and yet many who have embraced these options are able to speak to the damage that they experienced because of them.

The idea that there are consequences that come from sexual choices that we make is one that causes many to bristle.  This is usually because “consequences” too often signal “punishments” or carry a negative connotation.  If we can take away that connotation and consider that consequences are merely things that are connected directly to actions we can see that there are consequences for sexual choices.

God doesn’t punish young girls with pregnancy and babies because they had sex.

Babies are one of the very real potential outcomes of having sex.

So are diseases and infections that are primarily spread through sexual contact.  So are emotional injuries that are only possible from someone with whom you are sexually involved.

If you are sexually attracted to someone who is married then the option to pursue a sexual relationship carries the very real potential consequence of damaging the marriage and everyone involved.

Our choices have consequences. When we make a choice we need to be prepared to face and engage with any consequence that might come from it.

This is where my frustration with this Article fits.

What they are trying to say in this Article is that being gay is sexually immoral and it doesn’t matter how long you go feeling those gay feelings you have to know that acting on them is never going to be okay.

I do not agree with them about this issue.  I am also frustrated that by using these seemingly reasonable words to express their idea they have completely missed the opportunity to challenge young people – gay and straight – about the need to be intentional and responsible and avoid sexual immorality for their own benefit.

Having sex as a young person doesn’t make you out of God’s reach. It doesn’t make you horrible. It doesn’t make you unredeemable.

What it does do is potentially open up so many things you wouldn’t otherwise need to be dealing with.  What it does is create greater opportunity for things to happen that can change and/or set the course of your life on a path that you may not be ready to understand or choose for yourself. There is no reason to run headlong into your sexuality – whatever it is – just because our society presents you with so many options to do just that and suggests it’s all morally neutral.

This doesn’t just apply to young people either.

There are instructions about our sexuality that are presented to us in the Bible and I’m a big believer in encouraging everyone to study and wrestle with those instructions in their own lives.  Too many people live with sexual regrets that came about because of choices they made actively or passively when they were too immature or intoxicated or pressured or whatever descriptor you want to put into that sentence.

When people look to the church to address issues of sexuality we should, as this Article would seem to suggest, challenge everyone in the area of the choices they make about sexual activity to make the best choices.  We should be ready to step in and validate that sexuality is an important part of your life and who you are and it’s okay to not be ready. It’s okay to say no.

We should be the ones shouting from the rooftops that CONSENT MATTERS!  That sex without consent is rape and just because a girl said yes a week ago, or yesterday, or before she passed out, that doesn’t mean it’s okay to have sex with her NOW.

When a girl is raped we should be the ones providing a safe place for her to run and be validated and protected!  When a boy is raped by other boys or girls we need to be just as safe for them to come to as we are for girls.  We should be holding rapists accountable even if they are the pastor’s son, or a young man with a lot of potential and a bright future. Whether the person who was raped is gay or straight the act of being raped is NEVER invited and it is always the fault of the rapist. No one should ever be blamed for being raped.

We should be the ones saying that underage young people need to be protected in this area and that we need to educate young people about everything related to sex – from the names of every body part to the ability to say NO to *anyone* attempting to touch them where they don’t want to be touched. We should be the ones insisting it’s wrong to sexualize children and young adults who just need to be safe being kids.

In the world of Biblical Israel sex was the right of the woman . . . Not the man.  Modern Western Patriarchy has destroyed this concept and now men, in and out of the church, walk around thinking they deserve sex.  They think that it’s a right or something they are owed if they pay for dinner. This needs to stop!

A woman or man should not be shamed for any consensual sexual choices that she makes – whether this means engaging in sex or NOT engaging in sex. This is the same whether these men and women are straight or gay. Ultimately it is not our business and as hard as it may be for some to hear, they didn’t ask you. We don’t have the right to speak into everyone’s bedroom.

If we can get down the basic truth that we do not get to dictate the reality of anyone’s sexuality or the choices that they make for expressing their sexuality then maybe we can make some difference in challenging the cultural message that “anything goes” is a perfectly fine way to live.  We won’t influence change in the area of sexuality if we keep confusing what, exactly, we’re allowed to talk about and what we aren’t.

You are who you are. You are attracted to who you are attracted to. You love who you love.

Consent matters!

There are potential consequences for all choices we make – including choices pertaining to sex.

God cares about your sexuality because God cares about you and making choices that reflect God’s desire for your best will mean avoiding a lot of potential consequences and living with less regrets.  If that’s something you desire then it’s time to dig into the Word of God and see what it says about sexual choices and not let people who spend too much time spreading hate keep you away from the Word of God by making you think it says things it doesn’t.