This morning on The Briefing, Al Mohler proposed that people’s responses to the Nashville Statement would fall into one of at least four categories:
- Those certain of its rightness, who would be committed to outspokenly supporting it.
- Those reticent about its rightness, who would be uncomfortable saying it.
- Those uncertain about its rightness, without yet knowing why, who would be uncomfortable saying it.
- Those certain of its wrongness, who would be determined to repudiate it.
I’d like to humbly propose adding a 5th, one that might change the way we consider the other 4:
- Those concerned that its rightness in some aspects, is so overshadowed by its wrongness in others, that it’s impossible to support, in its current form.
This is the group in which I find myself.
It’s important to note the variety of points of disagreement people in this group have raised, as well as the their number:
- The perception of cognitive dissonance with an organization and some of its signers who are comfortable drawing dotted lines around the doctrine of the Trinity in pencil, now drawing bold ones around matters of anthropology in permanent marker
- The perception of cognitive dissonance in a statement affirming biblical orthodoxy in sexuality, coming from the same leaders whose endorsement of a serial adulterer and abuser of women swept him into the Presidency
- The narrowness of the statement’s focus
- The rigidity of its approach
- And its timing, in a season of so much immediate and intense physical suffering, nationally and internationally, not to mention protracted civil unrest.
It’s also important to note how many of the people in the group offering up some, or all, of these points of concern, agree with the statement’s basic assertions about sexuality and marriage,and most essentially, with the affirmation and proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ with which the statement ends. (No one that I know of in this group is offering up anything about Article 14 other than “Amen and Maranatha”.)
In other word, this group is not comprised of the usual suspects who drag their soapboxes out anytime the letters LGBTQ start trending on Twitter (although, yes, they’ve shown up this time as well).
These are faithful brothers and sisters of the household of God, whose collective public work, and personal testimonies, make their concerns worthy of consideration.
The preamble of the Nashville Statement asserts that Western culture is in a season of “massive revision of what it means to be a human being.” On this point, almost everyone, from the statement’s ardent supporters, to its angriest critics, are potentially agreed.
A statement that began there, then proceeded from it, could do much clarifying good.
But in its current form, the Nashville Statement seems to be the equivalent of a brick path that’s been unevenly laid down. When so many committed, thoughtful Christians are stumbling over it, it would be judicious to examine the way the bricks were placed, not just assume the only problem is that people aren’t looking where they’re going.
9 thoughts on “On Stumbling Over Statements”
Spot on. I’m in exactly the same place as you, Rachael.
This needs to be said. I find it worth noticing that the early church, though it was surrounded by an even greater amount of chaotic sexual expression than currently exists in the West, did not think it necessary to issue unanimous statements on the chaos. What they did make statements on was what one need to believe about the Trinity. One excellent reason for this is the fact that when one truly believes in God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one’s life will reflect that belief. Sooner or later, the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying work will prune the things in one’s lifestyle which do not reflect the life of obedience in love that Christians are called to live. Perhaps the real reason that many sections of the Church seem to be faltering in the West is because they no longer understand Who it is they are worshiping. The ‘culture wars’ are in many ways a distraction – like Peter, the Church has started looking at the waves around them rather than at the face of Jesus.
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This ^^^^^ is truly the best thing I’ve read all day. THANK YOU!
I liked your original article, too, Rachel. 🙂 🙂
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LOLing at below – I’m with you! 🙂
Bingo! — well said, roscuro. 🙂
Goodness, yes and amen!
Roscuro – And because we’ve forgotten who we are worshipping, we think He needs our help.
Rachael, this is one very uneven brick – what culture is being fought for? Has the line gotten blurred between majority evangelical American culture and the gospel such that we think we are defending the latter when it is really the former? There are issues outside of the dominant evangelical bubble that impact our brothers and sisters day in and day out. Just because we’ve been sheltered from them doesn’t mean that others aren’t left out in the cold. To say those are minor or only spring from negative cultural influence reveals its own cultural bias.
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