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This is an historic moment for evangelical Christians in America.
A group of Christian leaders met recently in Nashville, Tennessee, to ratify a statement regarding biblical sexuality. More than 150 leaders signed the document, now known as the “Nashville Statement.” The group’s organizer stated, “It was our aim to say nothing new, but to bear witness to something very ancient.”
I have read the document carefully and can testify that they accomplished their goal. The Nashville Statement simply describes in clear language what the Christian faith has believed for twenty centuries about men, women, and sexuality.
But our culture is convinced that truth is subjective, sexuality is our choice, and any religion that disagrees is dangerous. That’s why the New York Times lambasts the Nashville Statement as “an attack on L.G.B.T. Christians.” It’s why New Republic describes it as “the death rattle of a movement that has disgraced itself.” It’s why an LGBTQ advocate calls it “deadly theology.”
Repudiating biblical teaching on sexuality is not limited to the secular culture. A group calling itself “Christians United” immediately produced their own document rebutting the Nashville Statement. In it they “deny that homosexuality, bisexuality, queer sexuality, trans identity, asexuality, or any other queer identity is sinful, distorted, or outside of God’s created intent.”
This controversy has reached a tipping point. The culture’s condemnation of those who uphold biblical sexuality is more hostile and derogatory than at any time in American history. How should evangelical Christians respond?
We can choose silence, seeking to avoid the cultural onslaught.
Albert Mohler, one of the Nashville Statement signers, later noted: “It would be much easier to be quiet, to let the moral revolution proceed unanswered, and to seek some kind of refuge in silence or ambiguity.”
But our silence deprives our culture—including LGBTQ people—of truth they desperately need to hear. Mohler agrees: “For the sake of same-sex attracted people and others, we did not believe we could remain silent—or unclear—and be faithful.” In fact, the more our society rejects God’s word, the more they need to hear it.
We can choose condemnation, rejecting LGBTQ people and their advocates.
But we are all sinners (Romans 3:23) saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8–9). The Nashville signers affirmed “our duty to speak the truth in love at all times” (Article 11). So should we.
Or we can choose courage, declaring the word of God in the Spirit of Christ, no matter the cost to ourselves.
Jude, the half-brother of Jesus, wrote the New Testament letter bearing his name. The Christian movement was facing “ungodly people” who “pervert the grace of our God into sensuality” (v. 4) by “following their own ungodly passions” (v. 18) and causing “divisions” in the body of Christ (v. 19).
How did Jude respond?
“I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (v. 3). “Contend” translates epagonizomai, meaning to “make a strenuous effort on behalf of,” to “fight for.” Jude chose to stand courageously for the truth of God.
Now it’s our turn.
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