Problems with the Nashville Statement

The Nashville Statement is troublingly ambiguous on the sinfulness of same sex attraction:

“Article 8. WE AFFIRM that people who experience sexual attraction for the same sex may live a rich and fruitful life pleasing to God through faith in Jesus Christ, as they, like all Christians, walk in purity of life.”

Is this Christian’s purity of life attained by repenting and mortifying the sinful “sexual attraction for the same sex”, or are these desires somehow compatible with such purity? It seems they mean the latter, which is unbiblical, and a heretical denial of the sinfulness of sinful lusts.  The authors of the statement had no trouble being crystal clear on the sinfulness of many sins.  Why the lack of clarity here, on one of the most confronting issues of our time?  I take it as a denial that same sex erotic attraction is sinful, which is a huge mistake because:

1. It seems to deny that some sins are more heinous than others.  

One area where Christians need to be taught better, is the degree of heinousness of sins.

Westminster Larger Catechism Q. 150. Are all transgressions of the law of God equally heinous in themselves, and in the sight of God?
All transgressions of the law of God are not equally heinous; but some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.

All sins are heinous, but some are more heinous than others due to several aggravating factors. One of the aggravating factors that the Larger Catechism lists in Answer 151 is that a sin is more heinous if it be against the “light of nature.” For this reason, in this respect, same sex attraction is more heinous even than lust for the opposite sex, which is not, essentially, against nature. Same sex attraction is not the moral equivalent of opposite sex attraction, which God gave us for the purpose of procreation.  The recent confusion among the Reformed and Evangelicals over the sinfulness of same sex attraction shows this deficiency.
2. It denies the Christian doctrine of original sin. 

The statement that a Christian can live a pure life despite experiencing erotic desires toward persons of the same sex, suggests that such proneness and proclivity to enter into temptation are not sin unless they are acted upon.  But this flies in the face of Scripture and the traditional Augustinian teaching on original sin.  “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” James 1:14 Temptation arises from our sinful nature, which is itself sin, and calls down God’s wrath upon us. By grace, those whom God has regenerated, get the victory eventually over their indwelling sin, by mortifying it daily. This teaching is sorely lacking in the church today. It is being said that our sinful nature, and the temptations that arise from it, are not sin, as if to raise up Pelagius from the grave.  If the Church ceases to maintain the historic, orthodox, definition of Original Sin, she will fall utterly.

I am concerned that the Nashville Statement adds to the confusion and false teaching on sin rampant in the Church today.

Categories: Current Events | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Problems with the Nashville Statement

  1. tellmemor

    If Jesus was tempted at all points like we are, yet without sin, how can temptation arise only from a sinful nature? And how can it necessarily entail sin?

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment. As you so well illustrated, not all temptation is sin. Temptation can arise from many quarters, even from the suggestions of Satan! And we know that our Lord Jesus, who was tempted like us, did not sin. Yet I do not think that the phrase “sexual attraction for the same sex” as used in the Nashville Statement equals the general concept of temptation. Note that above I said that “proclivity to enter into temptation” is sin. The concept of attraction indicates, (or, at least it seems to indicate. I do wish that the framers of the Nashville statement had defined specifically what they meant by “sexual attraction for the same sex”, a vague phrase borrowed from popular culture,) that there is an inherent, abiding, leaning or readiness for erotic activity with the same sex. It is one thing to experience temptation. It is quite another to enter into temptation, to concur with it in ones sinful nature. This proclivity isn’t merely the general idea of temptation, but refers to a human whose sinful condition inclines and makes him ready to “enter into” the particular temptation of committing erotic acts with persons of the same sex. This condition, this proclivity, readiness, and tendency to sin, i. e. to enter into temptation to commit erotic acts with the same sex, even if not acted upon, is of the nature of sin, since it is a part of the sinful nature for some. And we know, as the Bible teaches (Psalm 51), that the sinful nature itself is sin.

  2. The challenge that people with homosexual inclinations have is not all that different from that which many straight people has. The best thing is to marry ONE person of the opposite sex (not the same as “reprogramming ” to heterosexual lust, and easier) and remain faithful.

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