In my new book God and Donald Trump (which releases Nov. 7), I make the point that there was a time in America not too long ago when there was a common understanding of what was right and wrong, and we didn't have a large percentage of the population, including the elites, trying to say the things that were once wrong were right and things that were right are now wrong.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the changing mores on human sexuality. Even if people weren't following biblical standards years ago, there was a general understanding that they should be—that marriage was between one man and one woman for life, that babies should be born in wedlock and even that young people should wait until marriage to have sex.
In the last couple of decades, the gay agenda has come to the forefront, culminating in the Supreme Court ruling in 2015 that same-sex couples could "get married." Now it seems as if there is a drumbeat of opposition to anyone who puts forward a biblical standard and says any of this behavior is wrong.
Thankfully, a group of 170 Christian leaders earlier this week issued the Nashville Statement, which affirms in 14 articles what the Bible says about human sexuality. It was initiated by some leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention, including Dr. Denny Burk, who is the president of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.
Then they invited other Christian leaders, including me, to sign it, which I was happy to do after reading their very clear statement.
Now you can participate too, by signing this statement online. Since Tuesday, 8,000 have done so, and I hope we can get many thousands more.
Below, I have printed the statement in its entirety and given a link where you can sign it as well as read the names of the 170 leaders who originally signed the statement. A group met in Nashville to deal with how to affirm the biblical standard as a part of the national debate about what is right and wrong regarding sexuality, so that's why they called it the Nashville Statement.
However, on Tuesday, the mayor of Nashville, Megan Barry, tweeted, "The @CBMWorg's so-called "Nashville Statement" is poorly named and does not represent the inclusive values of the city & people of Nashville." Her tweet was picked up by media all over the country and gave the Nashville Statement much more visibility than it would have gained otherwise, according to Dr. Burk, whom I interviewed about the statement on a podcast, which you can listen to below.
Please take time to read the statement, sign your name and encourage others to do the same. Sadly, there are those in the church who are beginning to "evolve" on what they believe is right and wrong, and in an attempt to be "inclusive," are no longer saying homosexuality is a sin. But that's a topic for another newsletter.
And be sure to listen to my powerful podcast with Dr. Denny Burk of the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood by clicking here.
Read the entire text of the Nashville Statement below, and remember to sign it and see the names of the original 170 leaders who signed it) at this link.
"Know that the LORD Himself is God;t is He who has made us, and not we ourselves..." –Psalm 100:3
Evangelical Christians at the dawn of the twenty-first century find themselves living in a period of historic transition. As Western culture has become increasingly post-Christian, it has embarked upon a massive revision of what it means to be a human being. By and large the spirit of our age no longer discerns or delights in the beauty of God's design for human life. Many deny that God created human beings for his glory, and that his good purposes for us include our personal and physical design as male and female. It is common to think that human identity as male and female is not part of God's beautiful plan, but is, rather, an expression of an individual's autonomous preferences. The pathway to full and lasting joy through God's good design for his creatures is thus replaced by the path of shortsighted alternatives that, sooner or later, ruin human life and dishonor God.
This secular spirit of our age presents a great challenge to the Christian church. Will the church of the Lord Jesus Christ lose her biblical conviction, clarity and courage, and blend into the spirit of the age? Or will she hold fast to the word of life, draw courage from Jesus and unashamedly proclaim his way as the way of life? Will she maintain her clear, counter-cultural witness to a world that seems bent on ruin?
We are persuaded that faithfulness in our generation means declaring once again the true story of the world and of our place in it—particularly as male and female. Christian Scripture teaches that there is but one God who alone is Creator and Lord of all. To him alone, every person owes glad-hearted thanksgiving, heart-felt praise and total allegiance. This is the path not only of glorifying God, but of knowing ourselves. To forget our Creator is to forget who we are, for he made us for himself. And we cannot know ourselves truly without truly knowing him who made us. We did not make ourselves. We are not our own. Our true identity, as male and female persons, is given by God. It is not only foolish, but hopeless, to try to make ourselves what God did not create us to be.
We believe that God's design for his creation and his way of salvation serve to bring him the greatest glory and bring us the greatest good. God's good plan provides us with the greatest freedom. Jesus said he came that we might have life and have it in overflowing measure. He is for us and not against us. Therefore, in the hope of serving Christ's church and witnessing publicly to the good purposes of God for human sexuality revealed in Christian Scripture, we offer the following affirmations and denials.
WE AFFIRM that God has designed marriage to be a covenantal, sexual, procreative, lifelong union of one man and one woman, as husband and wife, and is meant to signify the covenant love between Christ and his bride the church.
WE DENY that God has designed marriage to be a homosexual, polygamous or polyamorous relationship. We also deny that marriage is a mere human contract rather than a covenant made before God.
WE AFFIRM that God's revealed will for all people is chastity outside of marriage and fidelity within marriage.
WE DENY that any affections, desires, or commitments ever justify sexual intercourse before or outside marriage; nor do they justify any form of sexual immorality.
WE AFFIRM that God created Adam and Eve, the first human beings, in his own image, equal before God as persons, and distinct as male and female.
WE DENY that the divinely ordained differences between male and female render them unequal in dignity or worth.
WE AFFIRM that divinely ordained differences between male and female reflect God's original creation design and are meant for human good and human flourishing.
WE DENY that such differences are a result of the Fall or are a tragedy to be overcome.
WE AFFIRM that the differences between male and female reproductive structures are integral to God's design for self-conception as male or female.
WE DENY that physical anomalies or psychological conditions nullify the God-appointed link between biological sex and self-conception as male or female.
WE AFFIRM that those born with a physical disorder of sex development are created in the image of God and have dignity and worth equal to all other image-bearers. They are acknowledged by our Lord Jesus in his words about "eunuchs who were born that way from their mother's womb." With all others they are welcome as faithful followers of Jesus Christ and should embrace their biological sex insofar as it may be known.
WE DENY that ambiguities related to a person's biological sex render one incapable of living a fruitful life in joyful obedience to Christ.
WE AFFIRM that self-conception as male or female should be defined by God's holy purposes in creation and redemption as revealed in Scripture.
WE DENY that adopting a homosexual or transgender self-conception is consistent with God's holy purposes in creation and redemption.
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.
WE DENY that sexual attraction for the same sex is part of the natural goodness of God's original creation, or that it puts a person outside the hope of the gospel.
WE AFFIRM that sin distorts sexual desires by directing them away from the marriage covenant and toward sexual immorality—a distortion that includes both heterosexual and homosexual immorality.
WE DENY that an enduring pattern of desire for sexual immorality justifies sexually immoral behavior.
WE AFFIRM that it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism and that such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness and witness.
WE DENY that the approval of homosexual immorality or transgenderism is a matter of moral indifference about which otherwise faithful Christians should agree to disagree.
WE AFFIRM our duty to speak the truth in love at all times, including when we speak to or about one another as male or female.
WE DENY any obligation to speak in such ways that dishonor God's design of his imagebearers as male and female.
WE AFFIRM that the grace of God in Christ gives both merciful pardon and transforming power, and that this pardon and power enable a follower of Jesus to put to death sinful desires and to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.
WE DENY that the grace of God in Christ is insufficient to forgive all sexual sins and to give power for holiness to every believer who feels drawn into sexual sin.
WE AFFIRM that the grace of God in Christ enables sinners to forsake transgender self-conceptions and by divine forbearance to accept the God-ordained link between one's biological sex and one's self-conception as male or female.
WE DENY that the grace of God in Christ sanctions self-conceptions that are at odds with God's revealed will.
WE AFFIRM that Christ Jesus has come into the world to save sinners and that through Christ's death and resurrection forgiveness of sins and eternal life are available to every person who repents of sin and trusts in Christ alone as Savior, Lord and supreme treasure. WE DENY that the Lord's arm is too short to save or that any sinner is beyond his reach.
Remember to sign the Nashville Statement (and see the names of the original 170 leaders who signed it) at this link.
Steve Strang is the founder of Charisma Media and President of Christian Life Missions. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Click here to subscribe to the Strang Report podcast, and here to sign up for the Strang Report newsletter.