This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, September 5, 2017:
Michael Brown, one of the 150 signers of the Nashville Statement released last week, expressed surprise at all the attacks the statement was getting from those whom he supposed would be expected to support it:
If a group of astronomers issued a major document stating that the earth revolves around the sun and the moon revolves around the earth, it would be greeted with a shrug of the shoulders. Who didn’t know that?
It is because these other “Christian” leaders have rejected the authority of the Word of God.
Brown, the founder and president of the FIRE School of Ministry and author of 20 books on the Christian faith, noted satire by the Babylon Bee of the Nashville Statement with which he actually agreed. The Bee noted:
[The Nashville Statement] says some really controversial stuff for Bible-believing Christians, like that God made Adam and Eve as (trigger warning!) male and female, that marriage was created by God to be the union between one man and one woman, that He loves people with gender dysphoria [gender identity disorder] and same-sex attraction even if He doesn’t approve of all their actions, and that He offers His grace and mercy to sinners of all stripes.
The Bee’s irony was not lost on Brown as he agreed with it, which unintentionally “reaffirm[ed] what the Church (and Synagogue) have believed about marriage and sexuality for two millennia and offering grace and mercy to all. That why, when I was asked to be one of the initial signatories, I signed on without hesitation. What was there [in the statement] to disagree with?”
Plenty, as Brown was soon to find out. Among the first was a counter-statement issued by some LGBT leaders that they called the Nazareth Statement:
Our wide spectrum of unique sexualities and gender identities is a perfect reflection of the magnitude of God’s creative work [and that it is wrong to limit God’s creative intent] to a gender binary or that God’s desire for human romantic relationships is only to be expressed in heterosexual relationships between one man and one woman.
The Nazareth Statement added that it is wrong to force “individuals to embrace a gender identity that matches the cultural assumptions based on their biology.”
The Bee excoriated the long and impressive list of signers, including Brown, declaring them to be a “whole mob of fringe, hate-filled bigots with zero credibility, such as John Piper [founder of Bethlehem Seminary and College], J.I. Packer [professor of theology at Regent College], Mark Dever [pastor of the Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.], R.C. Sproul [founder and current chairman of Ligonier Ministries], John MacArthur [pastor of Grace Community Church and president of The Master’s Seminary and College], Al Mohler [president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary], Russell Moore [president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religion Commission], Francis Chan [author and pastor of the We Are Church movement], and Matt Chandler [pastor of The Village Church, one of the most quickly growing churches in the country]. Just look at that list of theological lightweights — couldn’t they have at least have gotten some … people who’ve proven themselves as faithful witnesses of Christ?”
But they can’t, according to the Bee, because “they are homophobic, neo-Nazi white supremacists who worship Donald Trump — which makes sense, as long as you don’t think about it for longer than about three seconds.”
Others guilty of piling on included Jesuit priest James Martin, who twittered: “I affirm: That God loves all LGBT people. I deny: That Jesus wants us to insult, judge or further marginalize them.” And former Hillary Clinton advisor Peter Daou, who tweeted: “When I see the Nashville Statement, the GOP’s regressive policies, rampant sexism and racism, I feel the 19th century is invading the 21st.” The pro-homosexual Human Rights Campaign tweeted: “Faith should be welcoming and accepting, not used as a tool to discriminate against LGBTQ people.”
Perhaps leading the parade of naysayers and critics of the Nashville Statement is Eliel Cruz, who calls himself a “leading bisexual activist” and “a queer Christian.” Writing in the always open and tolerant New York Times, Cruz said that the statement “doubled down on intolerance” and represents “a renewed commitment to open bigotry.” He blamed the views expressed in it as somehow responsible for the high rates of suicide among LGBT young people, as well as homelessness resulting from their families kicking them out of the house, with “some parents prefer[ing] their LGBT children sleep on the streets instead of in their homes.” Cruz claimed further that the statement’s support of “reparative therapy … brought harm and death” to those afflicted, and the statement’s theology is causing a “denial of goods and services to same-sex couples.”
Michael Brown saw through all of this as the result of a single theological error:
The problem is not with the Nashville Statement. It is with the Bible, since the statement only reaffirms what the Bible clearly teaches, namely that:
God made humans male and female;
Marriage, as intended by God, is the lifelong union of a man and a woman;
Homosexual practice is always sinful in God’s sight;
God offers forgiveness for all human beings through the cross of Jesus; and
Those who struggle with same-sex attraction or gender identity confusion can be welcomed into the Body of Christ like any other struggling individual, as long as they do not celebrate or affirm that which is wrong.
Then there’s just the blatant hypocrisy in the attacks: The pro-homosexual authors denigrate believing Christians, calling them the vilest of names, because the homosexual advocates believe that the Christians’ beliefs are incorrect. Meanwhile the Christians who are being vilified expressed acceptance and love for those they disagree with.