The ongoing dispute over the shape and meaning of “evangelicalism’s” understanding of sexual ethics took a sharper, more institutionally focused form yesterday. The CBMW convened what they are calling a “Coalition for Biblical Sexuality,” and released a series of affirmations and denials regarding the Bible’s teaching on both sexual desire and “transgenderism.” The list of signers is a “who’s who” of the Reformed evangelical world, with what I would describe as a generous smattering of individuals from other backgrounds. The statement is meant, as John Piper puts it, to “clarify Christian convictions.”

While I am generally ‘statement-averse,’ it seems reasonable to want a succinct depiction of the theological boundaries on these issues. If nothing else, such statements are efficient: they remove much of the work of retelling all of our convictions on a certain matter by giving us a public document to point to. It’s a lot easier to find all the people who are on board with a certain vision of the home, for instance, by asking what they make of the Danvers Statement.

Yet this virtue is also a vice: by creating a public context in which all the people who affirm certain doctrines or ideas are identified under the same banner, statements tacitly shift the playing field, such that to not sign is to signal disagreement. The only way to counteract this effect is through public criticism, and the subsequent formation of alternate communities. Hence, progressive evangelicals have already written their own counterstatement.

And here I am. My name will remain off the list of signers, for reasons that I think are serious enough to make public. It is a predictable role for me to fill. But I simply cannot lend my endorsement or my support to this statement, even though it has been eagerly affirmed by many people whom I admire and count as friends.

These are my reasons.

Problems with the Nashville Statement

The preamble to the statement announces that we are in a “period of historic transition.” The crisis it proclaims is grave: the “secular spirit of our age” stands against us, threatening the integrity, clarity, and conviction of the churches that proclaim the Gospel. There are two options here: either we recognize the “beauty of God’s design for human life,” or we embrace a sexual ethic and understanding of maleness and femaleness grounded in an “individual’s autonomous preferences.” Either our witness is counter-cultural, or it is not biblical.

It is not this contrast that worries me. Rather, I think on some level the crisis is a real one: beneath the arguments and debates over the appropriate shape of sexual desire lies the possibility that we would denude and diminish the church’s witness by being co-opted by a set of dispositions, attitudes, and practices that are deeply and inescapably antagonistic to the Gospel. I suspect, though do not know, that such an anxiety betrays the middle-class orientation of the document’s drafters. In any suburban evangelical church one is far more likely to encounter people for whom the whole set of issues under consideration simply don’t matter theologically than one is to meet, well, someone like me. By announcing the crisis up front, the drafters leave no question about the nature of their aims; they intend to caution as much as proclaim.  

The conflict with the “spirit of our age” sets up the series of affirmation and denials, where we discover a very narrow ethical focus on same-sex sexual desires and questions of transgender identity. While Article 1, for instance, offers a broad affirmation of the nature and theological significance of marriage, the denial aims only at gay and polygamous marriages. A narrow, minimalist focus for a statement of this sort is understandable. Such questions are the controversies of our day; it is undoubtedly the case that the signers of the statement would say more, not less, if asked about related subjects. But I take it that such a narrow focus is not simply a rhetorical problem: it represents a failure to bring the statement up to the minimum standards for biblical, ecclesiastically centered judgment of those who are wrong.

In the first place, it is easy to see how the dichotomy the statement opens with maps on to the sociological realities which surround the statement. The statement draws its power and effect from its institutional location: if nobody who signed it ran churches or parachurches, nobody would care. While it is reasonable, and even likely, that those who frame the statement would want to resist collapsing those who adopt the “spirit of our age” into them, those who are outside the evangelical churches, such an effect is inevitable. In the same way, those who sign the statement are the people who denounce the “spirit of the age,” and do so against those who wish to affirm the licitness of gay desires and sex-transitions. The narrow focus of the boundary-setting that this statement  aims at thus turns evangelicalism’s attention outward, toward its outer edges and toward those who lie beyond them. 

Even if the statement draws the boundary in the right place, then, it inherently and intentionally obscures the fact that whether evangelicals embrace the “spirit of our age” is not a decision before us: It is a decision that has been already made. A “secular spirit” manifests every time an evangelical pastor remarries someone who was divorced without cause. It comes to the surface every time an evangelical couple pursues in vitro fertilization, and so undoes the “God-ordained link” between the reproductive organs and the union of the couple’s love. Every time an evangelical couple “feels the Lord calling” them to surrogacy, there the “spirit of our age” appears. And yes, it happens every time an evangelical utters the damnable phrase, “Well, I’m an evangelical, which means I’m okay with contraception”—as though that were somehow a mark of evangelical identity. (I’ve run out of fingers trying to count the number of times I’ve heard that, from pastors and from laypeople.)

To point out such realities is to introduce matters on which good evangelicals can “agree to disagree.” But doing so also discloses how the strategy being deployed by progressives on sexual ethics was originally used by evangelicals for purposes more comfortable and convenient to our heterosexual and child-idolizing circles. An anthropology that affirms the theological significance of bodily life will weigh equally against a whole host of procreative practices that do not come up in this statement. Such practices are as deep and fundamental rejections of our bodily and sexual life as gay sex and transgender surgery are. That there is internal disagreement among evangelicals is no justification for the narrow scope of judgments and denials; such disagreement, after all, is the position that progressive Christians are seeking to gain.

I have long argued that we should understand our current crisis about sexuality through two principles. First, the spectacles and obvious disputes this statement responds to are the sideshow, not the main action. Those obvious manifestations of the “spirit of our age” are not the ones we should worry about; it is those that are not obvious, the subtle temptations that lure us in without us realizing their deadly force. Such arenas are more difficult to detect; but they are even harder to root out, as we are most inclined to willingly compromise ourselves ethically when we want what a practice promises us. Such a principle means the difference between affirming gay marriage and allowing IVF or any of the other practices which are part and parcel of the same ideology is irrelevant. The Church of Jesus Christ does not get a pass on its standards of holiness.

The second principle follows on the first: the spectacles of obvious disagreement happen precisely because we have not been more focused on ordering our own houses. I suggested above this statement fails to meet a minimal, biblical standard for expressing judgment. Jesus’s demand that those who seek to correct others examine the planks in their own eye is framed in an interpersonal context, to be sure. But the same principle is given ecclesiastical form when Peter suggests that “judgment begins at the house of God.” The latter verse is interesting because Peter frames such introspective judgment as a response to suffering. This statement, though, meets the possibility of ‘martyrdom’ that the “spirit of our age” presents with silence about our churches’ failures. Such silence is no more sanctified than the silence that evangelical pastors retreat to when asked about gay marriage. It is a silence that would be the equivalent of failing to acknowledge the many and diverse ways a church allowed or affirmed racism in a statement denouncing the KKK.

The failure to acknowledge the depth of evangelicalism’s complicity in the “spirit of our age” is interdependent with the statement’s description of the norms to which we are all held. Article 2 affirms that “God’s revealed will for all people is chastity outside marriage and fidelity within marriage.” The denial makes it clear that the statement is focused on who one’s sexual desires and actions are ordered toward, namely, one’s spouse or non-spouse.

Yet God’s revealed will is for chastity within marriage as well. There are more forms of wrongdoing in the sphere of sexuality than directing one’s sexual desire toward a third party. It is possible to reduce a spouse to an instrument of one’s pleasure, or to engage in intrinsically wrong acts together. If the narrow scope of the document’s denials were accompanied by a robust affirmation of the possibility of such wrongdoing within marriage itself, I’d be more sympathetic to it. But it does not. Such an oversight could be justified by appealing to the document’s minimalist approach. But even if that mitigates the problem, the statement still only offers a truncated, narrow form of the virtues in the realm of sex and marriage to which all Christians are called. 

At the same time, the document’s narrow focus also includes an unfortunate (at best) narrowing of the community who the drafters think can claim the name “evangelical.” While the gang at Spiritual Friendship are capable of defending themselves, I take it that the denial of Article 7 is explicitly aimed at ruling out the subversive retrieval of “gay” they have been working on the past few years. While I am more than happy to accept many of the other boundary lines, I do think it a prudential failure in the face of the crisis this document outlines to pre-emptively winnow our ranks of those individuals who agree with our conclusions about the integrity of marriage and the morality of same-sex sexual behavior, but disagree about the meaning and significance of a “gay identity.” Paradoxically, while the minimalist approach is (presumably) aimed at generating consensus from the largest number of people, it does so only by cutting out from our midst some of conservative Christianity’s most eloquent and informed defenders.

The failure of this document, then, is (again) not merely rhetorical. The omissions are as significant as what it explicitly includes. Nor do I think those omissions are merely a matter of differing prudential judgment about what our times require: I have described the statement as failing to meet the minimum conditions for public judgment, because I think there are actual Bible verses that indicate as much. While evangelicals practice self-loathing more than they ought, a statement from churchmen that asserts that a particular view of sexuality is essential to the faith must acknowledge our own complicity and entanglement in the very spirit that is being denounced. Otherwise, it fails to bear the authority of the Gospel it proclaims, an authority which stems from the confession of our sins and the proclamation of Christ’s saving work. Such a dual announcement is the necessary and indispensable precondition for our judgment of the world. The absence of such a confession leaves the affirmations and proclamations withering on the vine, without the grace and life of humility which allows us to see that we, the evangelical churches, have helped make this world as well. If the confidence and courage that the statement enjoins sound forced or hollow, this is why.


With the signers and the drafters of the Nashville Statement, I am persuaded that the current controversies over sex, gender, and marriage are of maximal importance. With those individuals, I agree that there are matters here essential to the truthful, beautiful articulation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. With those individuals, I agree that the crisis in the evangelical church is real, and that those seeking to alter our institutions so that they affirm gay marriage undermine and distort the faith that all Christians, in all places and times have affirmed.

But issues of maximal importance deserve maximal responses. It is possible to say too little, as it is possible to say too much. If I have sometimes erred toward the latter vice in my exposition and defense of a traditional account of sex and gender, I have done so only because the deflationary and minimalist approach to such questions is itself an intrinsic part of the intellectual atmosphere which has left the orthodox Christian view unintelligible to so many.

But my frustration with the statement goes even deeper than its minimalism. The addition of such confessions would not have materially changed most of the document. It is just because they are so easy to include that this statement disappoints me so much. Little would have been lost, and much gained, through the acknowledgment that our own communities are central repositories of the problems this statement identifies.

If the difference between Christianity and what is on offer in our world is genuinely one of anthropology, then it can only be met and countered appropriately by demonstrating the difference in its fullness, in the places where those differences affect not just those who are gay or identify as trans but those of us who are happily married and have kids. The moral status of gay desires and transgender identity bottom out (at least in part) in what we make of our bodiliness, and of the womb, and of the social forms such material realities generate. Yet those are realities which implicate us all. Caitlyn Jenner could only become a phenomenon in a world formed from countless choices by ordinary, faithful, well-intentioned people who failed to see that the body has for them the same malleability and plasticity in other areas that Caitlyn Jenner expressed about it in the realm of sex and gender.

Six years ago, in a (justly) forgotten book, I argued that evangelicalism had tacitly adopted secular practices and habits through inattentiveness to our bodily life. It is not our explicit affirmations and denials that matter, I suggested, but what happens beneath the surfaces and outside the edges of our view. But that means the way to recover a community and a society of people who value the goodness of bodily life in its fullness is not through reducing the chief expressions of our public witness to the last, thin thread of sexual ethics that we can all still agree on. Rather, we must set about rediscovering and reviving the broad and beautiful backdrop of the goodness of mortal flesh, a goodness we have each denied in a thousand different ways. We cannot authentically or authoritatively name and resist the “spirit of our age” until we recognize that before the world made Caitlyn Jenner, we made it.  

Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.

  • Hello Matt,

    Thank you so much for putting such valuable time and thought into this response to the Nashville Statement. And thank you for making this public statement of your own, calling on faithful evangelicals to take the plank out of our own eye and see how we have not been so faithful but have had a hand in making the culture against which we are now fighting for our spiritual lives.

    Many Blessings,

  • rogerwmbennett

    I, Orthodox, held back from signing the Statement, though some are rushing to treat it as an ecumenical rallying point. Your powerful essay puts the finger on part of what I had felt, and adds much, much more under the rubric of “saying too little.” Thank you.

  • Mr. M

    “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

    • Ken Abbott

      “I like you, sir, but your wife’s a whore.”

      • Richard Mohr

        You just reminded me of a funny and true story.

        My father would go elk hunting in the fall with a couple or three other men. In order to cut down on complaints about the food, they made a rule. They would take turns cooking. Anyone that complained about a meal would have to cook the rest of the meals.

        One night during dinner, the dentist in their group, a man that spent time at Manzanar when he was a boy, said, “This food tastes like s— – but it sure is good!” They all laughed and agreed that he hadn’t broken the rule.

        Your quote made me wonder just now: what if someone said, “You are a whore, ma’am, but I like your husband.” What do we make of that?

    • Richard Mohr

      Well, we ought to agree that we are not like Christ. That’s what repentance is for. Theosis is the process of becoming more like God. If we were Christ-like, we wouldn’t need theosis.

      What if someone had said to Gandhi, “I like your gods (Ganesha especially) but I don’t like your Hindus. Your Hindus are so unlike your gods (Ganesha especially).”

      How many Christians would say that the statement in my second paragraph is unloving and therefore wrong? They would be sympathetic with what Gandhi said but would criticize my unloving statement. They wouldn’t think to suggest that Gandhi take the beam out of his eye, would they?

      If Scripture and Holy Tradition say we shouldn’t do something, we should take that seriously. What if a bunch of evangelicals (I’m Eastern Orthodox) were to organize a big conference to discuss crooked business practices? Would those that don’t care for the process that came up with the Nashville Statement support such a conference? Of course. How honest business people might feel would be far from their minds. After all, the Prophet Amos didn’t seem to worry about honest business people when he pointed out what the crooked business people were doing.

      So perhaps we have a divide here between those of liberal inclinations and those of conservative?

  • Matthew Miller

    Matt: I cosign your statement. ;-)

  • Steven Draper

    Would Matthew Lee Anderson sign off on John the Baptist’s statements to Herod? Matthew 14:4 – “John had been telling Herod, ‘It is against God’s law for you to marry her.”

    • wakeband

      There’s a big difference between personal admonition and signing onto a ‘statement.’ This is a false comparison and poor way to make a point.

      • Steven Draper

        So personal admonitions, even ones that were probably public like the admonition of Herod are okay. Restatements of what the Bible says on a subject are bad. Got it.

        • Steven Draper

          Now that I know the difference, I will only share the Nashville statement as I name those who fall short.

  • “But doing so also discloses how the
    strategy being deployed by progressives on sexual ethics was originally
    used by evangelicals for purposes more comfortable and convenient to our
    heterosexual and child-idolizing circles.”

    I would perhaps argue that we don’t have a child-idolizing culture per se, but rather a pregnancy-idolizing culture. If it were only the child being idolized, I’d imagine adoption would be through the roof. In your argument, I see the idolatry exposing itself in the way people seek medical science to ease the suffering of childlessness rather than a robustly biblical alternative like adoption.

  • Anon

    Hate to be that person (how do I even know these things?)…but it’s *Caitlyn* Jenner. With a “y.”

    • Joe S

      Either way, I doubt Bruce reads Mere O

  • Statistics Palin

    Trinitarian Christianity has always been as wrong about homosexuality as the Klan is wrong about race. Trinitarian Christianity began by forcing homosexuals to register with bishops and burning sexually active homosexuals to death, In short, you behaved like Nazis. You concern for our well being is bullshit.

    • northernobserver

      It always amazes me how the queer community took the Christian idea of the innocence of victims and turned it against the living Church, so much so that the theology of mainline Protestantism in American today has been completely re-imagined to accommodate queerness. Christianity teaches compassion for the marginal and the outcast, but it doesn’t ask us to put the marginal on a pedestal and worship them like gods. And yet nothing less than worship and submission to all demands is what our new Queer Supremacists demand. The re-engineering of education to indoctrinate youth into rainbow positivity. Social shaming and unemployment for anyone who refuses to mouth the new pieties. The full weight of the state forcing social conformity with corporations following along to keep the dollars flowing. It’s queer revanchism pure and simple.

      Wrong is such an interesting word when it has no object. Wrong how? Wrong why? What is the context? The theology is straightforward. What is lacking is informed discussion of the possible reasons. For millennia the only safety any society had for its future was its numbers, the size of the army it could field and the size of the upcoming generation. To neglect this was to court death eternal. Jesus took this idea and turned it on its head by postulating a future filled with Christian progeny (the meek shall inherit the earth) but here’s the key, the kids need to keep coming, otherwise there are outside tribes and nations that are all too happy to destroy you. Can we look at Europe today with clear eyes, with a 1.4 replacement rate and unlimited inbound Muslim immigration and simply laugh at the Old Book’s lessons? How arrogant and presumptuous are we? Apparently pretty damn presumptuous. We think our modern ideology and science will save us. Well good luck with that. All this to say that in the meta story, no matter how important you think you are, you just aren’t that important. You and your queer feelings and tragedies don’t amount to a hill of beans, they are narcissistic illusions. Now don’t feel bad, most peoples lives are exactly like that, so you are not alone. What matters is that the Church as a whole promotes a healthy fecund sexuality of the body that renews the Church and Gods promise generation after generation. A healty queer community would be supportive of heteronormativity all the while remaining the other – the jester who tells us what we can’t tell ourselves and keeps us grounded. Oscar Wilde is the last model of a gay man I can endorse, it’s been downhill from there.

      • BWF

        Christianity teaches compassion for the marginal and the outcast, but it doesn’t ask us to put the marginal on a pedestal and worship them like gods.

        I do agree with you on this. Compassion and due respect for people are the ideal.

        And yet nothing less than worship and submission to all demands is what our new Queer Supremacists demand.

        This is far from what I have seen. Even with your abstract examples that come after this in your post, I don’t even have a good frame of reference to know what you speak of.

        but here’s the key, the kids need to keep coming, otherwise there are
        outside tribes and nations that are all too happy to destroy you.

        So it all comes down to this; vilifying the stranger and the outsider. I can’t support you in this. It is immoral.

        • Justin Jurek

          And yet he is not wrong. There is an organized movmwnt of queers to rengineer society and crush any who oppose them. Just ask any baker hounded out of business by queer activists because they wouldn’t bake a cake for their pretend wedding. Pointing out this is not “villifying”.

          • BWF

            “organized movement”… please. I actually know gay people, and they don’t care about reinventing society or what some chef across the nation is doing. They just want to get by in life, just as I and other people do.

          • Maybe you need to look a little further than those you know. The organized movements are real too.

      • Statistics Palin

        Shove your lit tiki torch where the light doesn’t shine, Jethro.

  • I think the true elephant in the room is white supremacy. “Family values” occurs historically as a backlash against the civil rights movement. Sexuality has functioned for centuries in the US church as a means of contrasting white purity with black promiscuity. Purity culture has never been an innocent zeal about being temples of the Holy Spirit. Until white evangelicalism repents of its cultural formation in white supremacy, it will continue to have a half-cocked articulation of a theology of the body. Right now, we have a theology of the pure white/straight body and the dirty brown/queer body. There’s a lot of disentangling that needs to be done.

    • northernobserver

      That’s a very american interpretation of the problem and in the context of America could certainly be true. But it seems to me that the right response is not to condemn Christian theology of the body as inherently flawed but to simply desegregate the Churches. Desegregate the Churches. However, when you focus on the problem like this it becomes apparent that certain minority churches are just as enamored of the “chosen people” identity as white supremacists are and will not desegregate.
      There is only one chosen people, the Jews, Christians always get into trouble when they try to usurp that role. In fact it is the continued choseness of the Jews that allows any Christian community to remain Christian and stay free from heresy. But that is a long theological discussion that has only really been fully flushed out and accepted by the Catholic Church since Vatican II.

    • W-h-a-t??

    • Joe S

      That’s quite funny actually. Well done.

    • Bonhoeffer1945

      What about my Nigerian brothers and sisters who find your sexual ethic abhorrent and patronizing? What must they repent of?

    • CPT

      Poe’s Law?

    • Alastair J Roberts

      Oh dear, this is such a white, Western, and US-centric argument. Very problematic.

      • Patrick M

        Alastair- As a signer of the Statement, can we anticipate a rejoinder? :-)

    • hoosier_bob

      This may be a bit overstated, but it may not be as far off as it seems. After all, the notion of “heterosexuality” grew out of the same 19th-century junk science that gave us the eugenics movement. I don’t think that Russell Moore is so coy as to promote compulsory heterosexuality as an indirect means of furthering white supremacy. Even so, that may be its resulting impact.

  • Statistics Palin
  • Marie

    Why do you call your book “(justly) forgotten”? Do you think it isn’t as good as you used to think it was? Are you trying to discourage us from reading it? Because if you think it’s worth reading, I will consider reading it.

  • John Paton

    That earlier book is not forgotten, whether justly or not: it just needs a new edition ☺

    • Came here to say that very thing. That book was written for this moment.

  • Ken

    Ah! The precious parsing of the careful…So when YHWH gives us ten words, He was being minimalist – he could have said so much more! But of course He has/did in preceding and subsequent texts. Just like Paul forbids sexual immorality in I Corinthians 5 but doesn’t give the Christian understanding of marriage until Ephesians…separate letters to separate groups dealing with separate issues, but combinable into a consistent orthodoxy. Many of the men who signed the document have spoken at length about many of your concerns, and this document wasn’t meant to be a six-volume “Nashville Compendium of Evangelical Musings on the Theology of the Body.” Its a simple statement about where the Church is being attacked right now. By all means, lets have a deeper discussion, but this statement will help us identify those we want participating therein. I can hear Paul now, “…Let him who has done this be removed from among you…but only after you acknowledge, you rascally dualistic Corinthians, that you helped create this culture which you now find so abhorrent. Perhaps you would be so good as to write ad nauseam about the details and foundational principles as to why having one’s father’s wife is so disordered? After which could you send a copy to the Ephesians…I never got around to giving them all the details behind my brief description of what Christian marriage looks like…”

    • Joe S

      Why have so many evangelicals divorced and remarried then?

      • mike

        Marriage is the most difficult of human relationships. Because it take three to make a good marriage. When one of the three turns away because of sin the marriage easily falls into ruins. But when the two weak ones in the marriage both seek the strong One, He who is jealous about marriage causes their marriage to work.

        • Joe S

          I won’t comment on any individual marriage but the evangelical divorce rate over the last century tracks “the spirit of the age”.

  • “Yet this virtue is also a vice: by creating a public context in which all the people who affirm certain doctrines or ideas are identified under the same banner, statements tacitly shift the playing field, such that to not sign is to signal disagreement. The only way to counteract this effect is through public criticism, and the subsequent formation of alternate communities. Hence, progressive evangelicals have already written their own counterstatement.”

    The very SAME accusation could be made of the Holy Bible itself! And hence, “progressive Christianity” as you call it had countered the Scriptures well before the Nashville Statement, with evil heresies like “gay Christian.”

  • I ain’t smart enough to follow your reasoning. I think there is a lot of context for your thought that is found elsewhere, and is wired into the walls of your construct. I’m glad you have a deeply held, deeply considered position… but I can’t tell what it is by reading this. I’ll hang back for a few years and will continue reading your posts and your books.

  • Matthew Aarøn Stanley

    “Christianity has always been more interested in the history of its beliefs than the history of its practices.” – Michel Foucault, “Technologies of the Self” pg 17. Just like the Israelites who confess with their mouths but worship at the Ashtaroth poles in the heights, we are so focused on what we confess publicly that we haven’t noticed we don’t truly live differently from the world at all.

  • I co-sign Matt’s brief retort here as well.

    I had a friend, and co-signer of this statement, challenge my lightly held (what I think) biblical egalitarianism regarding office-holding a few years ago. He challenged me by saying that in the existing and intensifying sexual revolution, it would only be rigorous complementarians that would be able to speak with clarity and force against the “spirit of the age.”

    I do not intend to create a comment about female roles in the church here. Rather, I simply came to say that this interaction a few years ago, combined with Matt’s observations about listening to thoughtful defenders of orthodoxy (who might own the nomenclature of “gay Christian”), makes me question my friend’s rhetorical wisdom. Such rhetorical posturing, I suppose, ends with Matt’s most damning critique: there is no ownership of our own complicity in the sin of the “spirit of the age” in the Nashville Statement. Christ Jesus came to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. We need Law and Gospel. Gospel and Law.

    In other words, the worst people to put forward a document such as this, if the purpose was to influence, is the CBMW. Can Wesley Hill write the Pittsburgh Statement now?

    • Brian Roden

      I have found the complementarian claim that egalitarianism will inevitably lead to acceptance of homosexuality to be weak. My denomination (Assemblies of God) supports and ordains women in all levels of ministry, and is one of the strongest supporters of biblical marriage and opponents of the LGTBQ agenda (officiating a same-sex “wedding” is grounds for losing credentials).

      • John Hutchinson

        The thought undergirding egalitarianism (feminism) rejects the verity that there are ontological and natural psychological distinctions between the sexes, which are not merely socially constructed. It is a very short hop from that assertion to the notion that there is no ontological and psychological difference between opposite-sex and same-sex erotic relationships (eros as in the broadest sense of the word).

        If, for instance, Paul teaches that women are not to teach men, it is largely because males learn differently from females. (The Text does not say that women cannot have authority, as long as it is authority that is delegated – a Greek term is used other the exousian. Our public schools and the deleterious consequences to generations of modern male students from having an overwhelming representation of female teachers ought to provide the empirical proof validity of Paul’s assertion.

        • BWF

          And yet, as Brian Roden already mentioned, the example of the Assemblies of God (and some other churches, like the Foursquare Gospel church) throws a big wrench in your theory.

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  • Steven Draper

    I think statements like this could be better crafted if they allowed for a public review period like 90 days before making a proposed statement into a final statement.

  • hoosier_bob

    Well said.

    Then, again, I’m not sure how one would address the church’s complicity in this alleged crisis and still arrive at the same proffered conclusions. These are the types of people who would rather be clear than be right. If acknowledging the truth means that you have to develop a more nuanced conclusion, they’ll just dispense with the truth. And that’s what happened here.

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  • Cody James Duke Crowder


    I completely and sincerely resonate with your thinking and stance on this matter. I truly believe your reflections are revolutionary. One thing I think you should consider is from the passage 1 Corinthians 8. You need to think about your audience too. I am learning that for myself. I do not wish for your thoughts to disappear. In love, brother

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  • buddyglass23

    Curious about the objection to IVF. Can it be done in a way that’s careless of life? Sure. Need it be? Not necessarily, so far as I can tell.

    • Mike

      The only way I can see IVF being practiced in a manner that poses no risk of harm to human embryos is to avoid putting them in deep freeze. This means each procedure would only create one or two embryos at a time and immediately transfer them to the womb. I believe there are safety risks involved in trying to implant multiple embryos at once.

      Having said that, I’m curious about Anderson’s objection to contraception. I would agree that potentially abortifacient methods (like the IUD) are sinful, and that motives for using contraception (like viewing children as a lifestyle burden) can be sinful, but I don’t see any biblical basis for condemning contraception as inherently sinful.

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  • Richard Mohr

    So, is it all right for me to say that homosexual behavior is bad?

  • Richard Mohr

    Should we have conferences that make statements about other sins then to avoid the appearance of our only being concerned about same-sex behavior?

    For example, there could be a statement about stealing or otherwise cheat people out of their money. Would that be an acceptable topic or should we worry about off-putting those that steal or cheat people out of their money?

    How about a statement about spousal or child abuse? Would that be an acceptable topic or should we worry about those that might be critical of our specifically advising against what they are doing or have done, for example – inmates doing time for committing such acts?

    How about a statement speaking against racism? Should we avoid that sort of statement out of fear that some will be offended or because we need to take the beams out of our own eyes? I remember when there were the protests in 1957 against the integration of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. How many of those folks protesting went to church on Sunday morning?

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  • Thank you for this thoughtful response to the Nashville Statement. I enjoyed it so much that I linked to it in my own response: Finding Center.

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  • Mark

    Preach the word, in season and out of season. Jesus said that the world, “hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil.” Sometimes Jesus wasn’t very nuanced or pastoral. Gosh, the world is gonna hate us. Stand for truth, love the sinner, preach the law and the gospel. Let the chips fall. Be faithful to Jesus and expose sin as well as offer the hope of forgiveness for those who repent. I’m just tired of this kind of “let’s be careful, people might get upset” BS.

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