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Unread 08-31-2017, 09:43 PM   #1
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The Nashville Statement

For those who aren't familiar (like I was, ten minutes ago), the Nashville Statement is a new document from a coalition of evangelical leaders, outlining fourteen "articles" that list their views on LGBT issues, including the condemnation of same-sex marriage as well as the idea that Christians can “agree to disagree” on issues around sexuality.

You can read it here.

We're all sensible people here, right? Let's talk about this.

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Unread 09-01-2017, 06:29 AM   #2
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I am just now hearing about this and I've only been awake for about an hour. After a "quick" reading of it there's nothing in there that I am offended by or opposed to. Robin and I are having a very short vacation this weekend so I don't know how much I'll be up here. I'll read through it more thoroughly later and comment.in here when I get the chance.
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Unread 09-01-2017, 06:59 AM   #3
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I believe scripturally Paul is very clear, our foundation is Christ and Him crucified. We should never allow other things to drive a wedge further between believers. Disagreement is going to happen, and that has to be okay if we are going to stand united on the Gospel. We cheapen the gospel when we attempt to make some sins worse then others, and the belief of those sins as important to our faith as the Gospel of Christ.
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Unread 09-01-2017, 07:14 AM   #4
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In a sense, this is kinda 'not my circus, not my monkeys', since I do not identify as an Evangelical (at least not with a big-E).

Nevertheless, some thoughts

Art. I:

Marriage reflects not only the relationship between Christ and the Church, but in some sense, the relationship between the Persons of the Holy Trinity Himself.

I don't know how well-developed this idea is in typical big-E Evangelical theology, but it's certainly present for us in the Orthodox Church.

Art. II: could have used a further discussion of consecrated virginity (monasticism), but this ties into one of my many criticisms of Protestantism and of Evangelicalism in particular - an idolization of the married life to the point where people who cannot marry or do not wish to, for whatever reason, are made to feel like second-class citizens of the Kingdom of God. This was my experience in Evangelicalism for exactly this reason. Classical Christianity, on the other hand, actually has a church-blessed way for a person to formally consecrate their virginity to God.

Art. V: Here's where I start to ask for a bit of nuance. What is meant by 'God's design for self-conception as male and female'? Are there specific traits and behaviors which are expected within such self-conceptions? If so, what are they? And why must a given trait be possessed by one gender and not the other?

Art. VI. Cool, an acknowledgement of intersex people. I'm a little hesitant about the language about 'acknowledging one's biological sex insofar as it may be known', though, since we know so little, as yet, about how the brain itself is sexually dimorphic and thus part of biological sex. So if you've got a person who's intersex, but seems more male than female, but still identifies as female... what? I think erring on the side of mercy when so little is known about other factors might be a good idea.

Art. VII. Same question as V

Art. VIII. I can basically agree with this one, as written.

Art. IX. Ditto

Art. X. Basically agree here. I'm just not sure I'd agree with these folks about what the implications are. Should I go around calling my trans friends by their 'deadnames', if known, or calling them by their birth gender, if known? Because that's a good way to... no longer have trans friends. I never did anything of the sort and I still lost a trans friend for reasons related to this (questioning the related 'bazillion genders theory', as I call it).

Art. XI. Bit iffy about this one as well. In some situations I think this attitude can end up unnecessarily offending someone who is not ready to hear the truth you're laying down, and who might be served by more subtlety.

Art. XII. Also a bit iffy on this one. It sounds as though they're implicitly saying it's possible to 'pray away the gay' (or the gender dysphoria). The experience of quite a number of celibate and/or suffering gender-dysphoric but faithful Christians (I know at least two severely gender dysphoric people, both faithful Orthodox Christians, one of whom used to live and identify as the opposite gender (i.e. an ex-transwoman) who to this day still wakes up wishing he were a woman, although he knows this is not in accordance with the Gospel) says otherwise.

Art. XIII. 'forsake transgender self-conceptions'. Sure, but again, you can forsake the self-conception as trans without the underlying gender dysphoria going away.

I do not feel that this document acknowledges this, and in doing so fails to honour the struggle of people like the ex-trans fellow I know, whose mental life is sometimes exceptionally difficult because of his gender dysphoria.

Art. XIV.

In toto: substantially agree, though I'd add a bit more nuance in a few places, and I'd change some of the language, since some of it is a bit weird from an Orthodox perspective, but that's to be expected from a big-E Evangelical statement.

So says your resident theologically-conservative-with-a-small-bent-in-the-other-direction Orthodox Christian.
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Unread 09-01-2017, 07:28 AM   #5
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I've read through it once. I don't see much that I would disagree with, but most of the authors and signers are in my vein of thinking.
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Unread 09-01-2017, 09:11 AM   #6
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As you may have guessed from me starting the thread, I have significant reservations about a few of these articles. My main question is this: when we issue statements like this, what message are we sending to individual LGBT people who may be searching for hope and answers in this world? How do statements like this make them feel about whether or not they would be welcome in the church?
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Unread 09-01-2017, 10:05 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtlmouth View Post
As you may have guessed from me starting the thread, I have significant reservations about a few of these articles. My main question is this: when we issue statements like this, what message are we sending to individual LGBT people who may be searching for hope and answers in this world? How do statements like this make them feel about whether or not they would be welcome in the church?
I think it sends the statement that they're standing for biblical truth. I see nothing that says they hate those who are sexually immoral. Can you really offer hope without teaching that one needs to come out of that lifestyle? To do so is to give false hope.



That's just me though.
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Unread 09-01-2017, 10:11 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Leboman View Post
I think it sends the statement that they're standing for biblical truth. I see nothing that says they hate those who are sexually immoral. Can you really offer hope without teaching that one needs to come out of that lifestyle? To do so is to give false hope.



That's just me though.
As I mentioned in my critique, the statement leaves a few things lacking that could lead it to be interpreted as a very hopeless statement, or at least one that fails to acknowledge the seriousness of the struggle for LGBT Christians trying to live according to the commandments of God.

Most troublingly, there is the implication (unless I'm seriously misreading something) that you can 'pray away the gay' or the gender dysphoria.

Taylor, did you read it that way as well?
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Unread 09-01-2017, 10:24 AM   #9
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My browser ate my first post. That's what I get for using Quick Reply.

The first I saw of this was on Twitter a few days ago, and it consisted mostly of angry people talking about how evil Evangelicals are and how the statement is anti-Christian and anti-Jesus and that kind of stuff. So, I was expecting something really controversial, and then when I read it, I was like "Oh, yep. That's what we've believed for forever."

I agree with Ryan that I think it could have used some more nuance in some places, but overall I pretty solidly agree with the statement.

I think something that isn't being considered by a lot of its opponents is the purpose of the statement; what it is and isn't intended to be. Maybe my understanding is flawed, but everything I have seen indicates that this is meant to be a clarifying statement of belief and an encouragement to churches to maintain a biblical worldview. It doesn't replace scripture, it's meant to clarify what the authors and signers believe scripture says. I wouldn't expect it to have the same nuance that I may have when talking to a gay friend, or that I may want my pastor to have when preaching a sermon on the issue. The way I read it, there is still room for those nuances and for each of us to work out how we think we should interact with the world in light of these beliefs. I don't think the statement is intended to be a full and complete picture of what we believe about sexual immorality and how to deal with it and how to interact with others who are outside of it.

I appreciate that, while it does emphasize LGBTQ persuasions, the statement does address all sexual immorality, including adultery and sex before marriage. (Article II) I have seen a lot of people suggest that the statement indicates that homosexuality/transgenderism are worse than any other kind of sin, but to me I don't really read it that way. Honestly we have way more controversy in the Church over LGBTQ issues than we do adultery or sex outside of marriage, and yes, pastors and other believers fall into those sins at times, but at least from where I sit, very few congregations go so far as to affirm those sins. As someone who has struggled with sexual sin in the past, I find this convicting for me and hope that other straight Christians see it that way as well. The implications are as strong for those struggling with heterosexual sin as those with struggling with homosexuality or gender dysphoria.

One thing I do wish is that the preamble would have addressed, even briefly, is the mistreatement of the LGBT community by Christians. I think the Evangelical Church is making a lot of progress in that area, but for a lot of people outside of that community they may not have seen or experienced that. To add to that, there are Christians who will misuse this statement and who will use it to shame and bully others. For those who agree with this statement, I think we need to be really careful that we speak out against those who use this as a way to bully or ridicule. There is always a balance to be struck between grace and truth. I hope this opens up conversations that can address some of the things the statement lacked, like exactly how the gospel is hope for those caught up in their sin, and how to love those who need that hope rather than marginalize them. This would be a great opportunity for some of the leaders who signed this statement to put out some articles or blogs or videos or whatever speaking to some of the questions and concerns that are coming up.

Obviously none of my ramblings are very theological, and I am probably being overly idealistic, but that's just some stuff that has been floating around in my brain as I've digested the whole thing and read some other articles and whatnot. I'm sure it's imperfect, so bear with me.
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Unread 09-01-2017, 10:39 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by IsaactheSyrian View Post
As I mentioned in my critique, the statement leaves a few things lacking that could lead it to be interpreted as a very hopeless statement, or at least one that fails to acknowledge the seriousness of the struggle for LGBT Christians trying to live according to the commandments of God.

Most troublingly, there is the implication (unless I'm seriously misreading something) that you can 'pray away the gay' or the gender dysphoria.

Taylor, did you read it that way as well?
Assuming you're referring to Article XII, I don't read it as suggesting that. To me it reads as an affirmation of Colossians 3, which does say to put to death your worldly nature, including sexual immorality but also greed, lust, and evil desires, and delves further into how we should seek to live as a result of our new life that we've been given.
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Unread 09-01-2017, 12:30 PM   #11
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It's interesting how they've weaved in language regarding eternal subordination of the Son into this statement. If one is not a complimentarian, it makes for an uneasy alliance.
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Unread 09-01-2017, 12:49 PM   #12
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Interesting share. Will give it a read
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Unread 09-01-2017, 12:51 PM   #13
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It's interesting how they've weaved in language regarding eternal subordination of the Son into this statement. If one is not a complimentarian, it makes for an uneasy alliance.
I think I know what you're getting at here, but any chance you could expand on that for those of us with less theology background?
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Unread 09-01-2017, 03:57 PM   #14
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I had a response all typed up to Taylor's question, but then suddenly realized I don't quite know what Tony is talking about - where do you see subordinationist language used in the Nashville statement?
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Unread 09-01-2017, 04:22 PM   #15
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I had a response all typed up to Taylor's question, but then suddenly realized I don't quite know what Tony is talking about - where do you see subordinationist language used in the Nashville statement?
Articles 1, 3, and 4 refer to an order of roles prior to the fall. Equal in dignity, but unequal in position. The endorsers of this statement would say the same about the Trinity, that Jesus will be eternally subordinate to the the Father. And because Jesus is always under the Father, woman will always be under man, even after this age.
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