Living by the Book

The Opposite of Going beyond What Is Written!

I have signed the Nashville statement, because I believe it accurately and succinctly states what I believe the Bible teaches about human sexuality.  Some have thought that because it has been named the “Nashville” statement, it somehow reflects what Nashville believes. It is not really about Nashville at all (except for the fact that those who constructed the statement were meeting in Nashville). It is about historic Christianity: what the Christian church has always taught and believed about these issues.

It is no secret that many within and without the church do not hold to these historic orthodox views on human sexuality; nor do they hold to the historic Christian faith in many other areas as well.  For someone to state them boldly and hold to them strongly makes these others uncomfortable. So, in response, a group of three neighbors came up with another statement which they feel more accurately represents what Nashville citizens believe.

The new statement — called the “Accurate Nashville Statement” — says “god loves you just the way you are” no matter if you identify as LGBT or not.

Of course, this doesn’t come from those with “theology degrees and white men.”  That should seal the deal.  Make a statement.  Call the opposition names.  Game over.  And charges of abuse and bigotry on the part of the learned theologians follow.  This further solidifies the charges.

The group further counters: “Let’s be clear: Any time a few humans make another feel miserable in their own skin because they think their small worldview has the monopoly on who/what God is – thats abusive and horrific behavior.”

SO, let me be clear. When people seek to establish their beliefs based on what they think, or what others will think about them, THEY HAVE GONE BEYOND WHAT IS WRITTEN!

When religious ideas and views become the established view concerning these issues because they are the most popular, WE HAVE GONE BEYOND WHAT IS WRITTEN!

When we refuse to speak out against SIN because it makes people feel uncomfortable, WE HAVE GONE BEYOND WHAT IS WRITTEN!

When we in our pride decide to speak for God with no more authority than “this is how I feel about it,” WE HAVE GONE BEYOND WHAT IS WRITTEN!

Let’s be clearer still: Christianity is a whole system, a whole body of Truth. We cannot simply take and believe what want and then reject or neglect the rest. This system of Truth is based upon what God has revealed about Himself, ourselves, our world and our destiny in the Bible. The theologians who gathered and presented the Nashville Statement, found here, worked meticulously to state with simplicity and clarity what the Bible teaches about human sexuality. It wasn’t about how they felt, or what they wanted to believe, or how people would feel about their work. It was about what God says to us concerning our sexuality.

So sure that the issue is settled in favor of the “Accurate Nashville Statement,” some are calling the Nashville Statement “the religious right’s death rattle.” Others say that when the Bible “contradicts” what “science and nature” reveals, another interpretation of the Bible must be sought. So, we must now make the Bible say what we want it to, no matter how distorted the outcome.

My response must be similar to that of the Apostles Peter and John, when they were hauled before the Sanhedrin for “gasp” healing and preaching in the name of Jesus. They were ordered not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.

But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

In my ministry, I do not seek to put down or belittle people. I do not seek to make them feel unnecessarily uncomfortable.  I do not seek to force my beliefs on others. But I must stand firm in the Truth of God’s Word, no matter the consequences. When I tell someone caught in a particular sin that God’s Word says it is wrong and that God is displeased, it is not to shame them or to belittle them. It is to help them understand that God offers grace and forgiveness to ALL of us sinners. I must be faithful to the God who has revealed Himself in His Word. I must be honest and truthful about what He says.

It is true that God loves all of us sinners. But as Leighton Ford has said, “He loves us too much to leave that way.”

The Apostle Paul’s instruction still stands: “We must learn not to go beyond what is written,” if we want to please God. In the past, when people presented ideas that were unbiblical, they were called “heretics.” In the past, when people sought to worship a god, holding ideas about him that were inaccurate or unworthy of Him, they were called “idolaters.”

It is true: “The spirit of our age does not delight in God’s good design of male and female. Consequently, confusion reigns over some of the most basic questions of our humanity,” said Denny Burk, president of CBMW. “The aim of The Nashville Statement is to shine a light into the darkness – to declare the goodness of God’s design in our sexuality and in creating us as male and female.”

CBMW’s co-founder John Piper said, “The Nashville Statement is a Christian manifesto concerning issues of human sexuality. It speaks with forthright clarity, biblical conviction, gospel compassion, cultural relevance, and practical helpfulness. It will prove to be, I believe, enormously helpful for thousands of pastors and leaders hoping to give wise, biblical, and gracious guidance to their people.”

 

So, we are presented with a choice: Will we live by the Book, or will we go beyond what is written? The choice is ours and choices have consequences.

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One Response to Living by the Book

  1. Linda Tunks says:

    Thank you for these words. As you know, because we have discussed this, I struggle with this i.e.
    whether or not people are born gay or they choose the lifestyle. I just find it difficult to believe that
    everyone chooses this way of living (there are always going to be some that will try anything). But as adultery exists between men and women, they must choose to act or not to act on desires.

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