Transgenderism, LGBTQ, self-identifying as something other than what is biologically true; these are among the most current and pressing concerns of the political left in American culture today. Until very recently (circa the 1970’s), medical experts, and the American culture at large, considered all of these categories and conditions to largely be the result of psychopathologies; or, in layman’s terms, mental illnesses (many of them still are labeled as such). But now, due in large part to popular opinion, these views are changing.
American society has an unfortunate proclivity toward viewing issues in the light of two opposing extremes — making us unusually susceptible to false dilemmas. Either you love AND AFFIRM the individuals who engage in these minority sexual behaviors and identities, or YOU HATE THEM. That is the way the choice is being framed by the political left in the largely post-Christian West. And, let’s be honest, there are elements within the church that are absolutely biting on this. “Of course we don’t hate anyone,” some of them might say. The choice therefore being very obvious: “We must love AND AFFIRM them and their behavior.” This sentiment can be seen in the thinking of once popular Christian musician Michael Gungor.
The choice is of course a false binary. You do not need to affirm behavior in order to show love and compassion for another. Jesus did not ever affirm the behavior of sinners (which we ALL are), but he still loved us, taught us, and provided mercy to us.
Here is the bottom line: Christians follow Jesus; and Jesus clearly believed that God created us to be male and female. In Matthew, chapter 19, beginning in verse 4 we read:
“Haven’t you read,” [Jesus] replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
There is a difference between loving someone despite their sin (like God has done for us); and actually affirming sin as righteousness or goodness. The prophet Isaiah warned us about this very thing:
Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight … Who justify the wicked for a bribe … – Isaiah 5:20-23
Thankfully, there is an element within the church willing to push back a little bit on the idea that there are only two choices: Affirmation (which equals love), or disagreement (which equals hate). And that element is being expressed in the very Nashville Statement that Michael Gungor (and other leftists) are so strongly condemning on social media today. Here is the preamble to that document, which has been signed by some of the most notable leaders in the contemporary evangelical church; including figures like James Dobson, Francis Chan, JP Moreland, John Piper, Kenneth Keathley, Albert Mohler, and many others. You can view the full statement by clicking here.
Evangelical Christians at the dawn of the twenty-first century find themselves living in a period of historic transition. As Western culture has become increasingly post-Christian, it has embarked upon a massive revision of what it means to be a human being. By and large the spirit of our age no longer discerns or delights in the beauty of God’s design for human life. Many deny that God created human beings for his glory, and that his good purposes for us include our personal and physical design as male and female. It is common to think that human identity as male and female is not part of God’s beautiful plan, but is, rather, an expression of an individual’s autonomous preferences. The pathway to full and lasting joy through God’s good design for his creatures is thus replaced by the path of shortsighted alternatives that, sooner or later, ruin human life and dishonor God.
This secular spirit of our age presents a great challenge to the Christian church. Will the church of the Lord Jesus Christ lose her biblical conviction, clarity, and courage, and blend into the spirit of the age? Or will she hold fast to the word of life, draw courage from Jesus, and unashamedly proclaim his way as the way of life? Will she maintain her clear, counter-cultural witness to a world that seems bent on ruin?
We are persuaded that faithfulness in our generation means declaring once again the true story of the world and of our place in it—particularly as male and female. Christian Scripture teaches that there is but one God who alone is Creator and Lord of all. To him alone, every person owes glad-hearted thanksgiving, heart-felt praise, and total allegiance. This is the path not only of glorifying God, but of knowing ourselves. To forget our Creator is to forget who we are, for he made us for himself. And we cannot know ourselves truly without truly knowing him who made us. We did not make ourselves. We are not our own. Our true identity, as male and female persons, is given by God. It is not only foolish, but hopeless, to try to make ourselves what God did not create us to be.
We believe that God’s design for his creation and his way of salvation serve to bring him the greatest glory and bring us the greatest good. God’s good plan provides us with the greatest freedom. Jesus said he came that we might have life and have it in overflowing measure. He is for us and not against us. Therefore, in the hope of serving Christ’s church and witnessing publicly to the good purposes of God for human sexuality revealed in Christian Scripture, we offer the following affirmations and denials.
“Know that the LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves…” -Psalm 100:3
What do you think? Do you agree with the tenants of the Nashville Statement? Is the left trying to malign the church of Jesus Christ by offering a false binary to the general population on these issues? Is Michael Gungor right about the church being a “power system of bigotry and oppression?” Let us know on Facebook or in the comments below.