Nashville Statement Fortified

I’m sure most of the blog’s readers are familiar with the Nashville Statement that was published on the website of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood back on August 29, 2017. If you haven’t yet read it, though, I would encourage you to do so and also to consider signing it. Here is the preamble which describes the purpose of the statement:

“Know that the LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves…” Psalm 100:3

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.

The statement then goes on to list fourteen sets of affirmations and denials which seek to clearly set forth a Biblical response to the current cultural attack upon God’s design for man as both male and female. However, as good as the statement is, there are ways in which it could be made a bit better, such as some of the ways suggested by the Nashville Statement Fortified, which was drafted by Brian Bailey, Joseph Bayly, Tim Bayly , Andrew Dionne, Alex McNeilly, Jacob Mentzel, Jürgen von Hagen, and Doug Wilson. Here is the preface to that statement, in which the authors give their reasons for offering a revised version of the statement:

This is a critical revision of the Nashville Statement presented by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood on August 29, 2017. (The original statement in PDF form can be found here, and our fortified version is available for download as well.) As far as possible, we have maintained the style and grammar of the original statement, wanting to focus on the substance of the content itself. For explanations of changes to the original text, please see the notes included below.

Our purpose is to correct the statement only in ways absolutely necessary to bring it into conformity with the Bible’s teaching on sexuality. In many places, we have left the statement unaltered, believing it to be in accordance with God’s Word. Our corrections focus in areas where evangelical Christians have sought to avoid, soften, revise, or deny Scripture’s doctrine of sexuality.

Our revision is not intended to be an exhaustive confession on biblical sexuality. It is only intended to correct and sharpen the Nashville Statement in the areas it already addresses. There are a number of biblical truths concerning sexuality which were absent from the original statement, which we have also left unaddressed or unexplained in our revision. One such absence is the biblical command of marriage to those who “burn” (1 Corinthians 7:9). Another area not addressed is how Christians should respond to this very public rebellion against God’s order. We know the drafters of the original statement cannot say everything every time, nor can we. Still, we believe these additions helpful and necessary.

We offer this revision with the prayer that it may serve the church well in calling all men to repent of sexual sin and return to the blessed union of husband and wife that God ordained in the state of perfection in the Garden of Eden when God presented Eve to Adam and he sang out in joy: “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

Scripture adds this blessed postscript:

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. (Genesis 2:23–25)

This revision was published online back on September 7, 2017. I think this it offers some good suggestions, and I would encourage the blog’s readers to consider them. I am glad that such a discussion has been taking place, and it is my hope that this post will encourage even more of my Reformed Baptist brethren to take part in it.

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