The Nashville Statement (A Plain Language Translation)

This week over 150 Evangelical pastors and Conservative Christian leaders released a joint manifesto on sexuality and marriage entitled the Nashville Statement. The Tennessee city’s name was attached to the document, due to the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission’s annual conference in Nashville where the document was ratified.

The statement is steeped in churchy language and dusty religious-speak regarding marriage, creation, gender identity, and sexual orientation, which may be difficult for the average ear to decipher, especially if not raised to crack the code of such theological buzzwords.

Below is a Plain Language Translation so you can hear what’s actually being said here beneath the sanctified verbiage:

Evangelical Christians are at the precipice of extinction—and we know it. We are a profoundly endangered species coming to grips with the urgency of the moment, of our impending disappearance, of the whole thing going sideways here in the Bible Belt—and we’re in a bit of a panic. 

We are leaking people from our churches, watching multitudes walk away in disgust, and losing market share in the religious landscape, as well as the vice-like stranglehold we’ve had on American politics for the past 241 years—and we are rightly terrified.

Yes, we made our bed with this President, which a few months ago seemed like a victory, but we now realize we are inextricably tethered to an absolute monster, and have no choice but to deny Jesus daily and double down on him, lest we lose every ally. However, we forgot that people aren’t stupid, and they see the disconnect between the President and the Jesus we’re trying to simultaneously claiming allegiance to—and we desperately need a distraction to muddy the waters; we need an easy battle to regain the credibility we’ve forfeited as we’ve sold off our souls and built our personal empires.

We know that the only hope we have in regaining a foothold in the culture (as onion skin thin as that hope is), is to stoke the passion fires of our remaining base, who are rapidly dwindling to now include only those most susceptible to fear of the other; those who are most easily aroused by talk of other people’s bedrooms and body parts and marriages. We’re preaching hard to what’s left of our hateful choir.

And so right now, in the middle of an unprecedented humanitarian disaster, in one of the most divisive years in our nation’s history, in a time when we are terribly fractured—we’ve chosen to gather as Christian leaders:
not to condemn the White Supremacy and racism our President has refused to,
or to decry this Administration’s ties to Russia,

or to state unequivocally that Black Lives Matter,
or to offer support for Muslim-Americans,

or to stand in solidarity with the tens of millions who may lose the ability to be cared for,
or to leverage our influence to rescue people under water in Houston.

No, we’ve chosen this moment to launch an unprovoked attack on an easy target.
We’ve chosen to perpetuate and sanction discrimination, violence, and bullying against an already marginalized community.
We’ve chosen to do damage and create conflict, in a time when the world is so starved for healing and so immersed in discord.
We’ve chosen to use our sacred text; not to bring comfort or create unity or engender hope—but to beat the hell out of people who spend much of their days already walking through hell because of the cruelty of our disciples.
We’ve chosen to wage cheap war on innocent and vulnerable people in order to feel mighty again.

We’ve done this because regardless of all our lip service about love and Grace and compassion—we really just like to pick fights that give us that intoxicating rush of superiority and a small dose of the control that we’ve grown addicted to. We really want to hold the kind of power that we’ve become accustomed to (and are rapidly losing.)

And so we’ve once more trotted out every dangerous, Science-denying stereotype, every tired religious platitude about Adam and Eve, “God’s design”, and “ordained differences between men and women”—because that’s all we have left.

We’ve tossed out all but a handful of quite debatable verses from the expansive library of Scripture, and once again chosen to go back to the well of injecting ourselves in someone else’s personal business one more time—in the hopes that maybe it will be like it was in the old days, when people didn’t realize how twisted we’d gotten it and just how little Jesus we were actually emulating, and believing this kind of harassment is redemptive.

We’ve made this “statement”, because those still listening to our message, aren’t interested in loving their neighbors as themselves, or caring for the least, or being the merciful Samaritan, or welcoming the outsider or washing people’s feet (or any of that annoying Jesus stuff). They just want an enemy to wage war with.

And so despite him never once condemning or criticizing anyone for their gender identity or sexual orientation in the totality of his life and ministry—we’ve put these words in his mouth and stood on a social media mountaintop and in our bully pulpits and shouted them to the world in one last gasp for survival.

And we hope that no one sees just how terrified we are of our own extinction.

This is a dissenting opinion, from those of us without fear, who want to lead with love.

 

 

 

317 thoughts on “The Nashville Statement (A Plain Language Translation)

  1. Once again, John, you are spot on. With all the difficulties we face in this country, the fight they once again choose is one that divides and harms. There is no Christ in their Christianity. Thank you.

    • They have, in their own language, made a pact with Satan. The pact included the denial of Universal Law. Lies can never (at least , not for very long) stand up to the Truth. Darkness can never (at least, not for very long) stand up to Light. They are coming undone, after not having contributed anything of Substance to Light or to Truth. Evil is intelligent, but it misguided. They won’ t go without a struggle, a terrific struggle. Be prepared, when you go out to confront these forces of evil to take 2 buckets of water with you. The 2nd bucket is in case you get overly excited & miss the first time.

  2. It is sad that they honestly do not quite understand sexual orientation and the biology of being born physically male and female. Their is also an internal wiring that goes on inside each and every single one of us as far as our orientation, it is not chosen, it is assigned. There are also folks born with physical male and female body parts and the medical community has to get involved in that with the parents to try and decide, age appropriate surgeries and how the internal wiring of orientation went for that child. It can be quite complicated and then not so complicated.

    • Exactly, Heide. I am a former elementary school counselor and I truly have too many stories to type here. Ignorance almost always leads to hatred. Fear and anger are very close relatives😩

        • No, Bruce Jenner was born with physical male body parts and the internal hard wiring of a female. I guess his kids could call her mom now, it all depends on how they look at her. 🙂 🙂 I know, it is a lot to think about.
          If you want me to get very specific, I can. In these surgeries that take place, they surgically remove the male parts and give certain female body parts and add in hormones. How ever, they do not implant a uterus and ovaries, thus Bruce will not be able to get pregnant and carry a fetus to full term. Bruce was the biological, physical sperm donor, but now physically a female to match her hard, internal wiring that began in utero.

          It goes back to the womb for us all and the Hormones Testosterone, Androgen, and Estrogen. Testosterone is the deciding factor.
          trans·gen·der
          transˈjendər,tranzˈjendər/Submit
          adjective
          denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex.
          You can also research Sexual orientation in the human brain, Epigenetics. This all falls under the specialty of Endocrinology.
          One example : http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091302211000252

          Our physical formation and brain sexual orientation begin in utero and are hard wired from the beginning of conception and at birth and fully come to fruition in puberty.
          Chromosomes XX and XY make us physically male and female, but our hard wiring goes to other genes, hormones, and chromosomes that happen also in utero.
          ( noted above)

          Thus when some babies are born with both a vagina and a penis, the parents have to work with the medical community to wait and decide how the baby is internally wired, attracted to males or females. ( many times they have to be followed up through puberty to see who that child is attracted to, and then the physical surgery can be done to match the internal sexual orientation. )
          https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003269.htm
          pseudohermaphrodites
          This can be very complicated for some families.
          Some times it is not so crystal clear.
          A lot of education is needed.
          I think we all need to give a little Grace here. 🙂

            • It is okay, don’t ask the folks who are so blinded by being right they will never see the light. Walk away from them. Follow Jesus if that is what you are inclined to do, focus strictly on HIM. There are a lot of folks who understand all of this and a lot more churches that do as well. Ignorance is blinding. People are so much more then their sexuality.

            • Oh Lord, they are all adults and understand every thing that has occurred. 🙂 🙂 Please go do some research and reading so you too may understand. A lot of these decisions are individual and they work with the medical community……which is where it needs to stay.
              By the people that comment on here we can all see where education levels are and where many have no understanding of the medical community and what all goes on.
              Some times I try and explain or lead to more education and many times it is better to just walk away. Hugs to all.

            • You underestimate the wisdom and resilience of children. Children need a person or people who are clearly devoted to their well-being to be able to thrive. The number and the gender of the person or people have no bearing.

              Which do you think would be the better parent? A person who is limited and oppressed by society into living a life that is a complete sham, leading to anger, anxiety, depression, and often suicide. Or a person who lives fully into the truth of who they are gaining peace, acceptance and wholeness, and allowing them to parent the child according to who the child really is.

        • You are 100% correct with those observations JC. However, that’s as far as it goes. You cannot dispute her that she is a female in her head and that is what counts.

    • When most people think about gender, they consider only structures in the genital region that a physician views to fill out a newborn’s birth certificate. But gender can also be defined by a person’s sex chromosomes which are usually either XX (female) or XY (male). Finally, there is a third definition which is most important because it causes the person to identify as female, male, neither, or both genders. There are recently discovered structures in a person’s brain that come either in male or female sizes and neuron density. Transgender individuals are accurate when most say they have a female brain in a male body or vice-versa. See http://www.religioustolerance.org/transsexu.htm

    • CAN our account gf the high rates the tate for suicide taking place in this particular group of people? Sexual confusion is real but I don’t think going under the knife is the answer.

      • Suicide rates among transgender people are much higher among those who have not or cannot transition. Those who have successfully transitioned report a dramatic improvement in the quality of life.

      • The problem is that most societies don’t give transgender people a real choice. A male in the United States are not allowed to totally fill the female role and vice versa, simply because our society conflates genitals with gender roles, which are slightly more flexible now but I think people should have a choice because simple body parts don’t define who they are.

      • Suffering years of fear and abuse scars people like me (I am trans) and inflicts life-long depression and anxiety. We know this, perversely, because in studies (you can google them; I’m stuck on my tablet without my ‘reference’ bookmarks) of trans kids raised in affirming, supportive households, the kids show normal levels of mental illness, particularly anxiety, depression, and suicidality.

      • Many transgender people choose not to have confirmation surgery, at least “bottom surgery,” below the waist. They live happily in their true gender identity without altering the incorrect physical genitals.

    • This mule has been kicking hard for the past 30 years here and even 2x4s haven’t gotten its attention yet. Until the business world decides to ostracize the powerful and moneyed Evangelical Fundamentalist Christian churches this mule will kick everyone to death.

  3. John, perhaps I should publish my address and a screenshot of Maps for my exact location.

    Well done, The Nashville Statement authors and signers… Swing wider the door to hatred.

    They can come and take me.

    Though I’d be just one more name; added to the long list of precious others. Brutalized and murdered for being.

    But let my gay self die with the word of God in my hand and the love for others and Christ in my heart; His name on my lips. I’ll have nothing less.

    Martyrdom wasn’t particularly on my agenda, but today sounds like a good day for it.

    • You are only SICK NOT GAY! That part is an etiquette someone put on you, same with Christianity. Look what broke you before you broke others, ups, that is too late now for you anyway. Or if you allow yourself to say you are a Christian and Gay, you are just waiting to die… Why? Sodoma and Gomora. How DO YOU PROCREATE LIFE? Your life was given unto you by WHOM? By a GAY?

      • My natural life was given to me by a loving mother and father; blessed by God. My salvation was graced to me by the loving act of atonement and justification on the cross by my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I have the indwelling Holy Spirit.

        And no, I do not procreate.

        Do you have any other questions?

      • You’re a mess, Cosmic Sound, and ignorant of scripture. Sodom and Gomorrah had nothing to do with homosexuality at all. That’s a lie found in the Quran, taught to Christians in the early middle ages… Christians whose only Bibles were in Latin, a language they couldn’t read, and copies were only available to clergy anyway. So they bought the lie. And centuries later when they made vernacular translations of the Bible, they incorporated the lie and expounded on it.
        God NEVER condemned homosexuality. It exists throughout His creation, created by Him. http://hoperemainsonline.com

      • And you are an uneducated douchebag. We need to start laughing people like you out of the public forum like the ridiculous nimrods you are. You are so stuck in the Stone Age you probably still believe the earth is flat and snakes talk and Genesis is literal. We really need to stop taking people like you seriously. Laughter is the best medicine for the sickness you have.

      • Lots of people have had life given to them “by a GAY”. Being gay does not reduce your fertility. Did you skip health classes at school?

        • Patricia Brush wrote, “Lots of people have had life given to them “by a GAY”. Being gay does not reduce your fertility. ”

          I think “by a GAY” has been confused with pesticides, proven to reduce male fertility.

  4. We should affirm the willingness of the authors and supporters of the Nashville Statement to come out of the closet, show their true selves in public, and expose themselves to secular and biblical correction. Hopefully, they will avail themselves of the necessary and freely available conversion therapy. I hope they understand that we hate only the sin, not the sinner.

  5. You just did a great job of saying it plainly. I am so disillusioned by what I thought I was part of all those years. More than anything, the timing of this “proclamation” is deeply disturbing. Of all the threats that are imminent–the Houston hurricane, nuclear war, collaboration between the White House and Russia–THIS is what seems pressing to the leaders that I used to sit under for guidance. It will take me awhile to recover from this disillusionment.

  6. I didn’t like Obama’s policies, but my life wasn’t based in thinking about him and hating him. How horrible it must be to be obsessed with Donald Trump and to think that others who support him are equally obsessed and see him as part of their faith.

    At any rate, Progressive Christians ought to see this reaffirmation of marriage as good for business. They are the ones who have sold out morality and the inconvenient unborn lives for their “anything goes” (except being a Republican) version of Christianity.

    I don’t see why progressive pastors who tell people what they want to hear should complain about a statement that works to their benefit.

    • Yawn! Yet another abortion meme, Joe Catholic? Is there nothing else swirling in your mind 24/7? FYI, many of us who loathe and despise donald trump do so not because of politics, but because he threatens virtually everything we value. He is fomenting hate in this country by encouraging those who are already prone to hatred to act out their aggression. He encourages disdain for the unfortunate. He demeans those who disagree with him and insults anyone who catches his notice, including other heads of state. He demonstrates no personal moral code. He disrespects our court system. He blatantly enriches himself in jaw-dropping conflicts of interest. I could go on, but why bother? Although he sometimes pays lip service to worthwhile ideals, I would be hard pressed to think of a single one he embodies.

    • I know several Republicans who are part of my progressive church in Phoenix. My church welcomes you as you are, wherever you are on life’s journey. That includes young, old, LGBTQ, Republican, Democrat, and any other ability, as long as you are willing to love God with your, heart, mind and soul and your neighbor as yourself.

    • I find it interesting that someone who is not wasting time hating someone else nevertheless leads with thoughts about that person in order to justify their affirmation of prejudice. Of course, when one has the ability to arbitrate “morality,” I guess anything is on the table.

      Still, that must be a terrible burden. I’m thankful that God didn’t lay that upon me.

    • The so called Christains I see, only seem to care about the un-born, and once born you’re on your own. This new prosperty gospel they preach basically shames poor people, so if you are born to a single mother struggling to care for the child, they point fingers and shame you for the poor choices you made. John has it right when he says it’s way for them to just feel superior to someone else. I’m sick of what I see being offered up these days as being Christain. Pathetic group of self rightous, fearful, control freak, A HOLES , is all I see.

    • Joe, your life didn’t NEED to be “based in thinking about [Obama] and hating him” because, despite shrill conservative hysteria to the contrary, he wasn’t trying to deny you & yours any of your basic civil rights. The Current Occupant* on the other hand, is doing his level best to allow you & yours to continue in your comfortable feelings of superiority by making sure that the “others” in this country have to fight ever harder for the rights you take for granted.

      It must be sad that the only way you can feel better about yourself is for others to have it worse…

    • Hey Joe, All knowing Jesus certainly knew that abortion and infanticide were going on all around him and he chose not to speak of it. Why do you?

      • You don’t know that he didn’t speak about it. Certainly you could agree that infanticide is murder, can’t you? Or does the fact that Jesus didn’t talk about it mean that He approved of it? At any rate, the Bible says that Jesus did and said many things that are not recorded, so it’s possible he would have spoken out against the injustice of killing humans in the womb. Certainly the Church which he founded makes it very clear.

        • The main conflict over abortion is being caused by a lack of agreement about human personhood. Scientists have decided on a seven point statement that defines whether something is alive. There is a concensus that a zygote — a newly fertilized ovum — is a form of human life. There is a near concensus that a newborn baby is both a form of human life and a human person. But there is no agreement about when a human life also becomes a human person. Some say it happens at conception, or when the heart starts beating, or when the higher brain functions first turn on, or at birth, etc. If we could agree on that then the abortion controversy would fade. See http://www.religioustolerance.org/abo_when.htm

          • Some are so hardened in their hearts against the unborn that they will even concede that they are persons, but that they have no rights impose on their mother, and therefore may be evicted for any reason.

            If we were looking at a man lying beside the road, we might disagree whether he was alive or dead. Wouldn’t the wisest and most compassionate approach be to presume he is alive and be ready to administer aid instead of calling for the undertaker?

            There is plenty to support the idea that the unborn at all stages have a moral worth and deserve to be protected, but the argument that there is a “disagreement” as to when that time comes for the unborn, doesn’t mean we should presume they are mindless blobs of flesh? Wouldn’t it make more sense and be more compassionate to err on the side of life, especially since abortions stop beating hearts? Think about a doctor intentionally stopping a beating heart!

            Many many times more women regret their abortions than women who regret allowing their unborn baby to mature and be born.

            The most ugly and dishonest argument of the heartless abortion rights crowd is that pro-lifers don’t care about “the born.” That lie even if it were true in no way justifies the injustice and horror they support and encourage.

        • Joe, if you’re going to start claiming that Christ preached about important things that never made it into The Bible, then you’ve lost the argument. Here’s why:

          Christ said unto the faithful, “In the fullness of God’s time, there will be an egregious sinner who preaches false claims in God’s name. You will know him by the name he uses. He will call himself Joe Catholic, and much of what he says will be outright blasphemy. He will be forgiven, but that will not undo the harm he caused by spreading his sinful lies. Beware of this man and of men like him, who seek to pervert God’s will in my name.”

          That passage never made it into The Bible, but you can’t reasonably argue that he never said it, if you’re going to go introducing things that aren’t in The Bible as part of God’s will.

          You also probably can’t explain why something so important as God’s position on abortion would be left out of The Bible. Is it because God didn’t know it would be an issue? Is it because God didn’t have a strong opinion and figured we’d be ok on that point without divine meddling? Is it because God really wanted a lot of obnoxious hate-mongers to have the leeway to poison his church by preaching intolerance and hatred?

          • How can I argue with someone who thinks it’s “hateful” to oppose the intentional killing of unborn babies?

            But to answer your question in the general sense–the Bible was never intended to be the be-all and end-all. God gave us the Bible and the Church. Sadly there are many denominations and sects which have wrenched the Bible out of its proper home and from its rightful interpreter, and they interpret it as best they can, and some as worst they can, as they are looking to excuse their sins and injustices (like killing babies in the womb who interfere with their pleasures and comfort).

        • The only thing he made clear was about Divorce. Get out of politics, ban divorce and abortion for Catholics. You can have your religion, just keep that crap out of America as the Bible is no way to run a country and a terrible prospect for a “religion” but it is America. You can be a dumb as you “think” god wants you to be.

    • Maybe, just maybe, your life wasn’t about Obama at the time. However, it’s clear to see that you’re all about your image management as a Catholic. Really, you gotta lead with your label, and not perhaps your actions?

    • Excerpted from “Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America” © 2006 by Randall Balmer:

      In the 1980s, in order to solidify their shift from divorce to abortion, the Religious Right constructed an abortion myth, one accepted by most Americans as true. Simply put, the abortion myth is this: Leaders of the Religious Right would have us believe that their movement began in direct response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Politically conservative evangelical leaders were so morally outraged by the ruling that they instantly shed their apolitical stupor in order to mobilize politically in defense of the sanctity of life. Most of these leaders did so reluctantly and at great personal sacrifice, risking the obloquy of their congregants and the contempt of liberals and “secular humanists,” who were trying their best to ruin America. But these selfless, courageous leaders of the Religious Right, inspired by the opponents of slavery in the nineteenth century, trudged dutifully into battle in order to defend those innocent unborn children, newly endangered by the Supreme Court’s misguided Roe decision.

      It’s a compelling story, no question about it. Except for one thing: It isn’t true.

      Although various Roman Catholic groups denounced the ruling, and Christianity Today complained that the Roe decision “runs counter to the moral teachings of Christianity through the ages but also to the moral sense of the American people,” the vast majority of evangelical leaders said virtually nothing about it; many of those who did comment actually applauded the decision. W. Barry Garrett of Baptist Press wrote, “Religious liberty, human equality and justice are advanced by the Supreme Court abortion decision.” Indeed, even before the Roe decision, the messengers (delegates) to the 1971 Southern Baptist Convention gathering in St. Louis, Missouri, adopted a resolution that stated, “we call upon Southern Baptists to work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother.” W.A. Criswell, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, expressed his satisfaction with the Roe v. Wade ruling. “I have always felt that it was only after a child was born and had a life separate from its mother that it became an individual person,” the redoubtable fundamentalist declared, “and it has always, therefore, seemed to me that what is best for the mother and for the future should be allowed.”

      The Religious Right’s self-portrayal as mobilizing in response to the Roe decision was so pervasive among evangelicals that few questioned it. But my attendance at an unusual gathering in Washington, D.C., finally alerted me to the abortion myth. In November 1990, for reasons that I still don’t entirely understand, I was invited to attend a conference in Washington sponsored by the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a Religious Right organization (though I didn’t realize it at the time). I soon found myself in a conference room with a couple of dozen people, including Ralph Reed, then head of the Christian Coalition; Carl F. H. Henry, an evangelical theologian; Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family; Donald Wildmon, head of the American Family Association; Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention; and Edward G. Dobson, pastor of an evangelical church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and formerly one of Jerry Falwell’s acolytes at Moral Majority. Paul M. Weyrich, a longtime conservative activist, head of what is now called the Free Congress Foundation, and one of the architects of the Religious Right in the late 1970s, was also there.

      In the course of one of the sessions, Weyrich tried to make a point to his Religious Right brethren (no women attended the conference, as I recall). Let’s remember, he said animatedly, that the Religious Right did not come together in response to the Roe decision. No, Weyrich insisted, what got us going as a political movement was the attempt on the part of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to rescind the tax-exempt status of Bob Jones University because of its racially discriminatory policies.

      Bob Jones University was one target of a broader attempt by the federal government to enforce the provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Several agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, had sought to penalize schools for failure to abide by antisegregation provisions. A court case in 1972, Green v. Connally, produced a ruling that any institution that practiced segregation was not, by definition, a charitable institution and, therefore, no longer qualified for tax-exempt standing.

      The IRS sought to revoke the tax-exempt status of Bob Jones University in 1975 because the school’s regulations forbade interracial dating; African Americans, in fact, had been denied admission altogether until 1971, and it took another four years before unmarried African Americans were allowed to enroll. The university filed suit to retain its tax-exempt status, although that suit would not reach the Supreme Court until 1983 (at which time, the Reagan administration argued in favor of Bob Jones University).

      Initially, I found Weyrich’s admission jarring. He declared, in effect, that the origins of the Religious Right lay in Green v. Connally rather than Roe v. Wade. I quickly concluded, however, that his story made a great deal of sense. When I was growing up within the evangelical subculture, there was an unmistakably defensive cast to evangelicalism. I recall many presidents of colleges or Bible institutes coming through our churches to recruit students and to raise money. One of their recurrent themes was,We don’t accept federal money, so the government can’t tell us how to run our shop—whom to hire or fire or what kind of rules to live by. The IRS attempt to deny tax-exempt status to segregated private schools, then, represented an assault on the evangelical subculture, something that raised an alarm among many evangelical leaders, who mobilized against it.

      For his part, Weyrich saw the evangelical discontent over the Bob Jones case as the opening he was looking for to start a new conservative movement using evangelicals as foot soldiers. Although both the Green decision of 1972 and the IRS action against Bob Jones University in 1975 predated Jimmy Carter’s presidency, Weyrich succeeded in blaming Carter for efforts to revoke the taxexempt status of segregated Christian schools. He recruited James Dobson and Jerry Falwell to the cause, the latter of whom complained, “In some states it’s easier to open a massage parlor than to open a Christian school.”

      Weyrich, whose conservative activism dates at least as far back as the Barry Goldwater campaign in 1964, had been trying for years to energize evangelical voters over school prayer, abortion, or the proposed equal rights amendment to the Constitution. “I was trying to get those people interested in those issues and I utterly failed,” he recalled in an interview in the early 1990s. “What changed their mind was Jimmy Carter’s intervention against the Christian schools, trying to deny them tax-exempt status on the basis of so-called de facto segregation.”

      During the meeting in Washington, D.C., Weyrich went on to characterize the leaders of the Religious Right as reluctant to take up the abortion cause even close to a decade after the Roe ruling. “I had discussions with all the leading lights of the movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s, post–Roe v. Wade,” he said, “and they were all arguing that that decision was one more reason why Christians had to isolate themselves from the rest of the world.”

      “What caused the movement to surface,” Weyrich reiterated,”was the federal government’s moves against Christian schools.” The IRS threat against segregated schools, he said, “enraged the Christian community.” That, not abortion, according to Weyrich, was what galvanized politically conservative evangelicals into the Religious Right and goaded them into action. “It was not the other things,” he said.

      Ed Dobson, Falwell’s erstwhile associate, corroborated Weyrich’s account during the ensuing discussion. “The Religious New Right did not start because of a concern about abortion,” Dobson said. “I sat in the non-smoke-filled back room with the Moral Majority, and I frankly do not remember abortion ever being mentioned as a reason why we ought to do something.”

      During the following break in the conference proceedings, I cornered Weyrich to make sure I had heard him correctly. He was adamant that, yes, the 1975 action by the IRS against Bob Jones University was responsible for the genesis of the Religious Right in

      the late 1970s. What about abortion? After mobilizing to defend Bob Jones University and its racially discriminatory policies, Weyrich said, these evangelical leaders held a conference call to discuss strategy. He recalled that someone suggested that they had the makings of a broader political movement—something that Weyrich had been pushing for all along—and asked what other issues they might address. Several callers made suggestions, and then, according to Weyrich, a voice on the end of one of the lines said, “How about abortion?” And that is how abortion was cobbled into the political agenda of the Religious Right.

      The abortion myth serves as a convenient fiction because it suggests noble and altruistic motives behind the formation of the Religious Right. But it is highly disingenuous and renders absurd the argument of the leaders of Religious Right that, in defending the rights of the unborn, they are the “new abolitionists.” The Religious Right arose as a political movement for the purpose, effectively, of defending racial discrimination at Bob Jones University and at other segregated schools. Whereas evangelical abolitionists of the nineteenth century sought freedom for African Americans, the Religious Right of the late twentieth century organized to perpetuate racial discrimination. Sadly, the Religious Right has no legitimate claim to the mantle of the abolitionist crusaders of the nineteenth century. White evangelicals were conspicuous by their absence in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Where were Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell and Billy Graham on August 28, 1963, during the March on Washington or on Sunday, March 7, 1965, when Martin Luther King Jr. and religious leaders from other traditions linked arms on the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, to stare down the ugly face of racism?

      Falwell and others who eventually became leaders of the Religious Right, in fact, explicitly condemned the civil rights movement. “Believing the Bible as I do,” Falwell proclaimed in 1965, “I would find it impossible to stop preaching the pure saving gospel

      of Jesus Christ, and begin doing anything else—including fighting Communism, or participating in civil-rights reforms.” This makes all the more outrageous the occasional attempts by leaders of the Religious Right to portray themselves as the “new abolitionists” in an effort to link their campaign against abortion to the nineteenth century crusade against slavery.

      • Reverend Randy Balmer is a man of outstanding Christian character who is one of the principal opponents of Christian fundamentalism, conservative evangelicalism, and the Religious Right—one of their worst nightmares actually. Randy was raised from birth as a die-hard Christian fundamentalist, attended the Oregon Extension, and figured out how screwed up much of his religious upbringing was. He left Christian fundamentalism, kept his faith in Jesus, became a preaching minister of the gospel and a college professor at Barnard College in New York City, and is now—if a recall correctly–an Episcopalian.

        Randy knows well the evil underbelly of the Christian fundamentalist monster, all its soft spots, and how it deviates so much from the Jesus Christ of the New Testament.

    • Ya know, Joe, if the church (and you) want to keep marriage as a “sacred union between a man and a woman”, they should keep it in the church and get the government out of the business. However, if you want the legal protections for YOUR marriage, then those same protections have to be open to all. That’s the thing about “equal protection under the law.” You don’t get to pick and choose who gets that EQUAL protection.

    • It is a terribly sad day for this so- called pastor to refute the very Word of God and to behave, instead, like he is God. Sorry Pastor. You are not serving the One True God. You are serving yourself and Satan in all your bloviating self-righteousness.

      • God did not say that His followers had to be mindless automatons who did what they were programmed to do and never thought for themselves. God gave us working brains, and He expected us to use them. There are many ways to serve God; yours seems to be to your “bloviating self-righteousness.” Because you may not agree with John does not mean that he is not “serving the one True God.” It just means that you have a difference of opinion. Wow.

  7. My stomach is churning after reading this. Sadly, it is so true. We can blame it all on Satan and “dark forces”, or we can take accountability for our own actions as Christians. Thank you for this.

    • The enemies of a person are threefold: The flesh, the world, and Satan. If people are promoting discord, then the second is true in that case.

  8. Thank you, John, for this translation. Evangelicals and fundamentalists do use a lot of code words. One time I was in book group discussion about a book written by a former pro-football player also former heroin addict turned self-proclaimed pastor and founder of a megachurch in the city in which I live.

    All but one of us in the group were Episcopalians well the other person was a member of this megachurch. Some of the Episcopalians didn’t understand certain things and the megachurch member and I would translate.

    I suppose every group of people have their own unique code words. The Episcopal Church has some and they are plastered on signs all over the country, “The Episcopal Church Welcomes You.” Please allow me to translate. By “welcome” we mean, “please come in just as you are, we love to have you.” By “you” we mean every person in the world for exactly who they are, exactly as it delighted God to create them.

    • Beautiful comment. The very definition of “Christianity.” Jesus does not hate, he does not discriminate. Jesus is love and he is peace. It amazes me – sadly – how many so-called “Christians” today have perverted His name to be related to the very opposite of His teachings. So many “Christians” have lost their Way. Let’s hope that we can help them find their way back.

      • Greg wrote, ” Let’s hope that we can help them find their way back.”

        We have to do more than hope, Greg. We have to love.

    • Thankfully the Episcopalian Church hasn’t sold out the unborn and speaks out against the horrific injustice of killing them. Sadly, some of her members don’t have the same compassionate attitude.

      • Umm. You do realize that under Obama. Abortion rates dropped to the lowest rate since 1973. Matter of fact abortion rates dropped under all Democratic Presidents. Sadly you don’t even know about your #1 issue. Conclusion you are a Republican troll and puts party over faith.

      • And are you willing to help love, support financially and medically, clothe, feed, and educate a child born from a woman who cannot? Are the others willing who think as you do?

        • There is help for any woman who wants to keep her baby.

          Are you willing to outlaw abortions for those women who do not have such problems?

        • Marj, he doesn’t care about the child once born, nor the civil rights of others, nor the right of bodily integrity, nor will he acknowledge that sometimes the rights of the mother and the right of the unborn child are in conflict, nor does he care that making abortion illegal will not stop it, nor will he acknowledge that women will be traumatised and possibly die from a fatal pregnancy. He is a one-trick pony.

      • Officially, the Episcopal Church is pro-choice. The Church believes that it is a personal issue best decided by a woman and her doctor(s).

  9. I am sad that the evangelicals have condemned a minority group, a vulnerable group. It is easy when you have millions of people, when you have had the power over others, to pick on a minority group that has been attacked and vilified over who they are and who they love. Once again, John, you have hit the nail on the head and shone the light on the wrong and the damage that the evangelical leaders are doing.

  10. Just a look at the Rogues’ Gallery of signatories is enough to put me off. I have to admit I skipped to that part. I felt physically sick after Article 10 that states it is ‘sinful’ to approve of homosexual relationships AND furthermore doesn’t even let me agree to differ. What a set of absolute twats.

    • Tony. I read an article earlier today about the Nashville Statement, and the author made a point about it that I liked. With regard to all those people who signed off on the statement at the end of it, and are still signing off on it on-line, he expressed his gratitude to them for voluntarily starting the first American National Registry of Bigots.

      • Charles wrote, “he expressed his gratitude to them for voluntarily starting the first American National Registry of Bigots.”

        Wondering what we would discover if we cross-referenced that list with the membership list of the KKK, other white nationalists/supremacists groups, anti-Semitic groups etc?

        “Thousands of Christians Respond to Nashville Statement with Emphatic ‘No’”

        “On Tuesday, a group of 150 evangelical leaders representing the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood released a document called the “Nashville Statement,” which delineates their conservative theological position on human sexuality and gender. The statement not only condemns those who are bisexual, lesbian, gay, and transgender, but also anyone who supports them — claiming that agreeing to disagree on human sexuality is sinful in itself.

        “Though little in the document is new, the response from countless other Christians — ranging from evangelicals to progressives — has been swift and emphatic. A number of statements have been drafted in response. One such statement, called “Christians United,” was organized by LGBTQ activist and theologian Brandan Robertson, and gained more than 1,000 signatures from around the world within its first 24 hours of being circulated.

        “That document contains a preamble and 10 articles of its own, which affirm the full spectrum of genders and sexual identities with statements such as, “WE AFFIRM that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God and that the great diversity expressed in humanity through our wide spectrum of unique sexualities and gender identities is a perfect reflection of the magnitude of God’s creative work.” Moreover, in direct contradiction to the Nashville Statement, Christians United’s document also denies that “teachings on the Biblical interpretation of sexuality and gender identity constitute a matter of orthodoxy and should be a cause for division among Christians.”

        More may be read here. There are also links to other statements and petitions.

        https://sojo.net/articles/thousands-christians-respond-nashville-statement-emphatic-no

    • Tony, I found that appalling too. It is apparently not enough that the drafters of the Nashville Statement condemn me and other LGBTQ people, they openly condemn non-LGBTQ Christians who support us! I just cannot fathom how they can think this. Sadly, stuff like this is driving people away from church, and likely away from a relationship with God. “Hmm.. I’m straight, but if I love and support my friend, *I* am living in sin? What kind of twisted logic is that?!? So long and good riddance, you spiteful group of holier-than-thou hypocrites!”

      • Perhaps, if someone were to say, it is a sin to be friends with a person of another faith, you might understand. How would it be if God had said, “Hey, I don’t want my followers to interact with Catholics because they are – you know – different. If any of my followers do interact with Catholics, I shall consider it to be a sin.” Or perhaps if God had said, “I don’t want you to befriend anyone who is [insert your own label, such as bald, male over 50 years of age, women under 30 years of age, etc.]. If anyone does befriend someone like that, I shall consider it to be a sin.” Better yet, perhaps you should just get your head out of your nether regions and stop criticizing and start loving. It’s so easy to do, and it is exactly what Jesus asked us to do.

  11. Dear John,

    I was hoping that you would provide a link to this declaration. I firmly believe that LGBT issues are the only lifeline of the fundamental Christian Church. I understand their fear. Research strongly suggests that fundamentalism and the varying shades of fundamentalism is an immature theology that, if one does not grow and develop, becomes imbedded in their theology. Their theology is a well developed immature theology that is self-reinforced and passed down to others-sometimes in coercive ways.

  12. It’s difficult to prescribe to a higher power to solve racial and gender tensions when it’s apparent that those who claim to serve that higher power are the ones who are causing those tensions.

  13. Brilliant exposition of the true intent of their statement.

    NOTE: You’re an excellent writer. This piece was obviously written in an impassioned flow of outraged compassion – so, you may be forgiven for the copyediting lapses. Still, I recommend you make another round of copyediting.

  14. John, you’ve done it again. You have spoken so well what is in my own mind and heart. As a gay man who was a gay boy sitting in a conservative church Sunday after Sunday after damn Sunday I somehow made it though. I fear for the lives of any kids having to sit through and listen to this bullshit. Thank you for loving. Thank you for speaking.

  15. Spot on, John! Except that I don’t think the battle they have chosen will be all that easy–too many people, even conservative Christians, have discovered that LGBT people are less like bogeymen they have been taught to fear, and more like themselves, now that all those “abominations” have come out of the closet and are trying to live their lives like everybody else. Perhaps a church that promotes fear and hatred deserves to become extinct.

  16. I’ve known for decades that living my life as an out gay male- in an environment where religion perpetually brainwashed its followers in fear and hatred of the “unknown other”- would never be easy. We were all surprised by the pace and scope of the change- and we hoped it would hold. And since the change paralleled the presidency of a non/white person- we could see the back-story unfolding- yet we still hoped the shift would hold. Here’s the push-back. And these folks hope they can wield success and hold onto their power-base while their followers have become their deserters. It’d be almost funny- if so much of it weren’t so horrific- so destructive- and so filled with hate and abuse.

    Ancient Chinese Proverb: May you live in interesting times…

  17. John:
    Again, a powerful response to an ungodly statement from Godless people. The Nashville Statement is all they have and hopefully as you say the New Generation of people who love and follow Jesus will will see the hatefulness of these so called Christians and leave their churches in droves and thus they will be gone forever..I pray..
    This type of hate is so against everything that Jesus stands for and why we follow him..I do not like to dislike anyone, but I must follow the teachings of Jesus..We must reach out even further to those who are being marginalized and hated by these groups, we need Holy Spirit to rain down his power and bring love to this world. We need to replace the haters with lovers..Thank you John once again for bringing hope to all.

    • I wonder how many of you have read both the old and New Testament. If you accept the Bible as the word of God and that Jesus is the physical manifestation of God on earth then you would know that several times in the Old Testament homosexuality and cross dressing was listed as a sin, so Jesus didn’t have to talk about it directly when he talked about sin in general terms since it was widely known what sin was. So why are you condemning people who are standing up for what they believe in and attack them personally when what they have said IS backed up by scripture as they have said (I can most assuredly tell you that it is). The choice to believe what they believe or not is a personal one. But if you choose to believe in the Bible and it’s teachings then this statement is consistent with that. I’d also like to point out that as a father I have had to tell my son to avoid certain things (power sockets when he was young or trying to get into chemicals that were locked up) not because I was “mean” but because I knew that it was harmful to him. He thought I was just being mean by saying no to him but it was done out of love for his wellbeing. In a similar way, the words that the Bible conveys on the nature of sin is that all sin is harmful to us, whether in the moment or long term and God doesn’t want us to do things that will harm us or others. You may not agree with homosexuality being listed as a sin, and that is your choice. It doesn’t mean that it isn’t a sin because you don’t want it to be, nor does it mean that the Bible by itself makes it a sin. It’s acknowledgement of your acceptance of the Bible being Gods word or not that determines this. I find that most people who have not read the entire Bible and dissected it and kept an open mind are usually the ones to say that it’s a hate filled book. I most confidently will affirm that it is not. People try to view it through the lens of being a work of solely human hands and designed to proport patriarchal domination and then they miss the point. If you look at it from the perspective of a father who loves his children and how mankind is like a young child that slowly matures through time, as it was intended to be read as, then you will see a very different message.

      • I’ve read both Testaments… in the original languages. Those texts never directly mention homosexuality, and therefore, do not suggest that it is a sin.
        As for cross-dressing, not only is it not condemned in the Bible, it wasn’t even possible at the time. Both sexes wore exactly the same garment, called a simlah (שמלה). A simlah was a full-length robe. It would be worn with a belt around the waist that made it more form fitting and shortened it slightly for ease of movement.
        There was absolutely no difference between a man’s simlah and a woman’s. A possible exception might be the simlah of a wealthy woman who could afford extra ornamentation or color. But most people wore identical homespun robes.
        Deuteronomy 22:5 is frequently translated as a prohibition of cross-dressing. But the translation is a mess. The Hebrew text of the verse forbids a woman to wear (strap on) a weapon that belongs to a warrior, and forbids a warrior to wear a simlah that belongs to a woman.
        Our Bibles don’t reflect God’s thinking in regard to sexuality, but medieval prejudice that has been amplified by modern translators.

      • Thank you Bill Carey for your reply to Damien. I would like to add that those who think cross dressing is not a sin are woefully misinformed about transgender identity. A person who is transgender is not cross dressing. They are dressing appropriately for their true gender. Gender is not defined by a person’s genitals, but by who they are at their core, in their soul. Our souls do not reside in our reproductive organs.

        And as an aside – someone quite famous was tried and martyred for cross dressing – remember St. Joan of Arc? Would you condemn her?

  18. I officially asked a Southern Baptist church, in writing, to remove my name from its rolls twenty years ago. I stated that my beliefs were no longer congruent with those of the SBC. I’d like to say that I left and never looked back, but that is not true. I’ve looked back in shame that I was ever a part of that denomination.

    • I’ve done exactly the same thing. I’m ashamed that I was ever a part of that toxic, inhumane bunch of vipers. The SBC is simply a home for hate, and I’m so glad I left it behind years ago.

  19. Thank you for always speaking the truth. It is sad in today’s Christian world how little regard is actually given to Christ and his teachings. Thank you for always calling them on their lack of compassion, lack of understanding and lack of humility.

  20. Thank you, John. I want to hold this up to every Evangelical I know (which is a lot of ’em). I want to make them read this. I want them to see how the world views their lost cause. I want them to finally come to grips with the fact that politics will always subsume religion -it never works the other way around.

    But I won’t. I’ll spread this around and hope that a few of them read it. The last time I crossed one of them and invoked one of your columns about BLM, I was told that he would no longer read your work because you were so incredibly racist. People like that are simply beyond reach at this point. I can hope that at some point, something will happen to open his eyes.

    Please don’t ever stop what you’re doing. You and I disagree on a great many things, but not on the things that matter.

  21. https://nakedpastor.com/2017/08/the-triple-tragedy-of-the-nashville-statement/

    The Triple Tragedy of the Nashville Statement

    1. The Theological Tragedy: The American Evangelical leaders’ explicit exclusion of LGBT+ people and implicitly their advocates from the Church, Christianity, and Christ, and their condemnation of the same, exposes their statement as prejudiced, judgmental, and inhumane.

    2. The Pastoral Tragedy: The timing of the release of this statement in the middle of a national crisis betrays the lack of pastoral care of its authors, also demonstrated in the statement itself.

    3. The Prophetic Tragedy: If the authors attempted to model their statement after the Barmen Declaration, also with its affirmations and denials, that was written to challenge the German church’s collaboration with the Nazi state, they in fact did the exact opposite by failing to address the American evangelical church’s silence and even collusion in the rise of fascism, hate, and discrimination in the United State

    • Hi Gloriamarie. I hope all is going well with you. The thing that amazed me about the Nashville Statement was their declaration that if you accept or affirm LGBTQ people, then you cannot possibly be a Christian and have denied the faith—in effect. So, does this mean that if I invite an LGBTQ person over to my house for dinner or to watch a University of Tennessee football game, then I have denied the faith?

      Who do these people think they are to make declarations like that? Are they now sitting on God’s throne in his place?

      • Charles wrote, “Hi Gloriamarie. I hope all is going well with you. ” Thank you for asking, Charles. I am in a great deal of physical pain, actually.

        I hope you are well.

        “Who do these people think they are to make declarations like that? Are they now sitting on God’s throne in his place?”

        Here’s what I know. Jesus tells me to love my neighbor as myself as God first loves me. Jesus did not footnote this statement. He does not include a list of exceptions nor are there any appendices forbidding us to love anyone.

        Jesus also tells us to mind our own business and cease to look for sin in someone else.

        Jesus also tells us to repent of our sins and a whole buncha people need to repent of their abuse, bullying, cruelty, and hatred of LGBT because that is failing to obey Jesus’ commandment to love.

      • Denise Dianaty wrote, “I agree completely with all your points. But, your third point is especially pointed and the most damning.”

        Thank you for agreeing but please allow me to eschew any responsibility for writing it. It was written by the Naked Pastor, David Heyward.

  22. John, after reading the Nashville statement, I have to say that I agree with the letter and the spirit of the document. In this day and age, the world needs to hear a clear and irrefutable word from the Lord on sexual behavior and ethic, as well as the clear understanding of family and what comprises a family. To not do so is to leave people confused and lost, and will have to lean on the views and values of the secularists. While I disagree with your take on the document, I do respect your opinion and right to disagree.

    Thanks, John!

    • 13 of 14 articles emphasized ‘sex behavior and ethics’. Because, this reflected the emphasis of Jesus’ own words – over 90% of the ‘Gospel text’ is about sex, sexual behavior, and rejecting other people.

      Not.

      The “world” needs to hear the salvation message. That has not changed for 2,000 years. “For God sent his Son to save the world, and not to condemn it.”

      Perhaps you meant, “The Evangelical believers need to hear [the Nashville Statement] because their sexual lives are a disaster.” But the “world” needs Jesus, not this stuff.

      • Here’s a relevant extract from C. S. Lewis’s ‘Mere Christianity’:
        “Finally, though I have had to speak at some length about sex, I want to make it as clear as I possibly can that the centre of Christian morality is not here. If anyone thinks that Christians regard unchastity as the supreme vice, he is quite wrong. The sins of the flesh are bad, but they are the least bad of all sins. All the worst pleasures are purely spiritual: the pleasure of putting other people in the wrong, of bossing and patronising and spoiling sport, and back-biting, the pleasures of power, of hatred. For there are two things inside me, competing with the human self I must try to become. They are the Animal self and the Diabolical self. The Diabolical self is the worse of the two. That is why a cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute. But, of course, it is better to be neither.”

    • I know I’m repeating myself here, BUT…

      The church is welcome to its opinion, but it’s NOT the policymaker of this country. If the church wants to keep marriage as a “sacred union between a man and a woman”, they should keep it in the church and get the government out of the business. However, if they want to keep the legal protections marriage, then those same protections have to be open to all. That’s the thing about “equal protection under the law.” You don’t get to pick and choose who gets that equal protection.

      So, the church needs to “butt out” of the marriage question for this country. It’s not theirs to make the policies of a secular government. We aren’t a theocracy.

  23. Pingback: The Nashville Statement (A Plain Language Translation) – A DARING EXISTENCE

      • Well then Steven. With that vast economic mind of yours, you should also be aware that if the general population is running from Jesus and the church in ever greater numbers—then that is making a big cut into fundie market share. Where did you get you get your economics degree—Sears Roebuck and Company?

    • You can be growing and still die. Just ask any kid—or church—that has cancer. Fundie churches are a malignant tumor growing on the Universal Body of Christ. Surgery is required to save the patient.

    • Adam. yes, i agree. Mainline Liberal/Progressive denominations have been hemorrhaging members for 30+ years (even though the US population has doubled) . They (Episcopal, Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian) now have exactly 1/2 the members they once had — [Today the average Episcopal Church has 64 members. ]

      This steep decline in membership coincides with their abandonment of biblical orthodoxy. Each of these churches has undergone upheavals which have caused pain, confusion, sorrow & wasted resources.

      It makes sense, because it’s God’s Word & the narrow path that held disparate people together. The World is only too happy to fill the void now. [btw, the faithful have joined conservative branches of their faith, or non-denominational churches & have stayed there. ]

      That said, I don’t think the ‘numbers’ are important. We already know that God’s people will never perish, and that is heartening to us & to God. 🙂

      • If your growth is based on how well you bash the sinners du jour (I’m old enough to remember when people who drank alcohol and divorcees were terrible, heinous sinners, shamed regularly from the pulpit), then you’ve completely misunderstood what Jesus is about.

        From a secular standpoint, the “Nashville Statement” gives high-minded cover to Evangelicals looking for ways to bash and harass LGBT persons and their allies. Article 10 makes this perfectly clear, as it reads out LGBT persons and those of us who support them from the church. (Not that I particularly care, I’m already outside the charmed circle of the household of faith.) I wouldn’t care if this was merely an internal argument. However, these things have external influence. Every time a city introduces an ordinance to include LGBT persons in civil rights protections in housing and employment, guess who shows up to speak against it? Why, that would be Evangelicals. Every.single.time. And it’s because they’re influenced by the bigotry of the “Nashville Statement.” It doesn’t seem to have occurred to them that helping people to be able to earn money to live and have shelter might be a basic thing that Jesus said Christians should be about in Matthew 25:31-46. No, instead they have to show their purity by signing the “Nashville Statement” and proclaiming the same on Twitter. Good, we know who they are.

        I find it highly ironic that my evil, too big to fail employer has better interpersonal ethics than the Nashville Statement. But I’m not surprised. I’m in the process of doing a statistical study of the 194 signers of the Nashville Statement and all but two of the signers work in seminaries, churches or parachurch organizations. In other words, they’re in a self-reinforcing bubble where men are superior to women and people of color barely exist. If these guys (and they’re mostly white guys at 80 percent) had to come out and work with the rest of us, they’d learn real quickly that their words and behavior towards other human beings are unacceptable and not conducive to the smooth conduct of business.

        And to be perfectly honest, I’d rather go to hell than worship the god of the “Nashville Statement.” Thankfully that god doesn’t exist.

        • Also, they’re mostly Calvinists, a subsect of Christianity involving belief in Limited Atonement, i.e. that Christ died only for the pre-chosen Elect, and that everyone else is predestined to damnation.

      • Numbers do not reflect truth. You should know that Leslie. Wide is the gate and broad is the way—and when every American is howling away in a fundie Megachurch in vast numbers—that is when you worry because people will seek in vast numbers the churches that are against Christ and supportive of their worst sins and prejudices. People a leaving the mainline churches because they hate Jesus and his love—and want no part of it—because really following Jesus and taking all his words seriously are really hard to do—and we live in a soft culture where people run from anything hard to do. If you hate black people, you are going to naturally gravitate away from The United Methodist Church and run toward a Southern Baptist Church so you can be with people who think and hate just like you do—and love money and material things—and get it all blessed as “the obvious favor of God on all that you are.”

      • Leslie Marshall, according to the research and polling organizations, including the conservative Barna Group, state that ALL churches are hemorrhaging numbers/members. Yes, some more than others, but ALL are affected by those voting with their feet.

        The Southern Baptist Convention is so worried that it is taking steps to seek ways to retain folks. For fundamentalist/conservative/evangelical churches the issue is that those most inclined to abandon the churches are the youth. And the reason that they do is the hate and discrimination they and their friends experience. Youth don’t have the issues with their LGBTQ siblings & friends the way their parents do. So they are leaving and not likely coming back.

  24. So eminently stated, John. You’re the bestest, my friend. Am forwarding this to a couple of ex-pat Canadians who signed that Nashville Noise = Don Carson and Mary Kassian.

  25. Dear John Pavlovitz and Friends:

    Before John Pavlovitz wrote his main blog piece about the so-called “Nashville Statement,” I wrote up and posted my own main blog article about this manifesto. You may read it at the following safe link:

    https://faith17983.wordpress.com/

    By all means—spread the John P. post and my post to all of your friends and neighbors here in the United States and around the world, including to your fundie and nonfundie pastors. I want the whole world to read what John P and I have to say about this so-called “Nashville Statement.” I plan to slightly edit for typos and post the complete John P. post on my own blog so his work can have the benefit of my extra readers. I plan to send copies of my post and his to the Editors of the major metropolitan newspapers in Tennessee, and you can feel free to send copies to your newspaper editors if you wish. All of you LGBTQ folks who visit this blog—the Nashville Statement was aimed at you and at turning Christians and the American public against you in the name of Jesus. I would not sit still and let this just pass. Bigotry against LGBTQ people—and LGBTQ Christians—needs to be publicly addressed, opposed, and resisted just to keep you safe from harm.

    • I agree with about .5% of what JP says, but it seems very pathetic that you use his name and his work to promote yourself and beg for blog readers.

      I’ll never read your blog until you allow for comments to be made.

      • Well, I will comment on Charles’ blog post here…

        …Charles is a better Christian than every person that signed the Nashville Statement, combined…

        …and I would trust Charles with my life, and John Pavlovitz as well…

        …but I wouldn’t trust you, Mr. Catholic Joe, or anyone who agrees with the Nashville Statement, with used chewing gum.

        Catholic Joe, bless your heart!

  26. I find this document lacking in many ways. I cannot agree with a document whose self-admitted view of scripture is “We’ve tossed out all but a handful of quite debatable verses from the expansive library of Scripture.” That sentence has so many problems. Which verses? Why are they debatable? Perhaps they are the very texts that need to be examined most closely. And there, that dispenses with scripture. We have Jesus, but where is the Old Testament, the Prophets, the Sovereignty of God. What new translation is this? Translation of what? This is document of well meaning people, who are attempting to reach the lowest common denominator.

    • Lady, if you don’t know your Bible any better than that, then maybe you should consider the very real possibility that YOU are the lowest common denominator.

    • Mrs. Roberts, Mr. Pavlovitz’s “plain language translation” of the Nashvillle Statement was typed out of contempt with the possible aim of throwing shade at the drafters of the document and doesn’t really resemble the original. You can read it at their own website, at https://cbmw.org > nashville-statement

  27. Never Fear Man or what man has set up
    Fear God and His judgement for he can destroy for eternity.
    Obey God and Keep His commandments for he is the Final Authority
    Just Get Ready for the rapture of the True Believers in Jesus Christ
    YOU can do anything you want , but God will Judge Your heart.
    Their will be no escape of judgement for those who have disobeyed unto death and no repented of their sin.
    Don’t Fear Religious or Pious leaders with arrogant religious fever . but fear God who holds the keys to eternity.

  28. I look forward to your posts. I am tired of people questioning my Christianity because I could never support this vile evil man. Nor can I support ANY religion that condones, ignores, excuses all the blatant lies Trump says. I’ve been told by other Christians “I thought you were smart?” I can’t believe the hyprocracy.

  29. I am a PROUD progressive UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST who is pleased to read this statement.
    I applaud your open heart and willingness to change your views that have been a part of you for many years.
    May we all begin conversations across the wide chasm which isnAmerica today.

    • The way things are going and the way progressives sell out to gain favor with the world or to find comfort in their own sins, some day they will be calling us “hateful” or “bigots” for being opposed to orgies.

  30. John I disagree with many of your ideas but I cannot in honesty disagree with what you have written here. I wish all our brothers and sisters would seriously consider the truth of your words but to paraphrase Upton Sinclair “It is hard for a person to consider the truth when their pay check is dependent on believing a lie”

  31. I often feel like non-Christians or less “churched” people have a better understanding of what it means to love people in an agape manner (not that they always do, mind you), because they haven’t been given all these handy little euphemisms for hatred, bullying, and excluding our fellow humans (e.g. “spiritual discernment,” “chosen people,” “predestined for God,” “saved” vs. “unsaved,” just to name a few). With this toolbox of biblical words and phrases, Christians can ease their conscience, and justify the most horrific attitudes and behaviors.

    Truly loving other people the way God loves us, is a well-nigh impossible, but many branches of the Christian church have had a knack for making it EVEN harder to see what that Love looks like.

  32. Thank you, John, for once again telling it like it is. Of course, Baptists aren’t the only ones by a long shot, but they are very, very vocal and very, very sanctimonious. I grew up in the Baptist Church and can vividly remember being a terrified child desperately afraid I was going to do something that would send me straight to Hell. It was a real place of eternal torment by fire the story went, and one had to be careful or a loving God would banish the unworthy sinner there for all time. The child Joyce was never allowed to question; all of this “thou shalt not” stuff was immutable, and every word of the Bible was literally true no matter how much contradiction there was in that document. As I grew intellectually, I began both to question and to disbelieve. Not out loud. That would have had terrible consequences, the worst of which would have been the endless preaching by my parents and others around me. So I doubted in silence, continued to go to church, and learned to disengage quite effectively. Most of the time, I couldn’t have told you the subject of the sermon ten minutes after it was finished.

    My parents were stricter than most about the things that were forbidden, so I didn’t have a normal childhood–not by my lights, anyway. Movies were sinful. So was dancing. No shorts. No swimming pool or “mixed bathing” as coed swimming was called. In short, if it was fun, it was sinful and not to be tolerated. It is only as I have started to type this that I realize that I still resent my dreary childhood. We were poor, so I don’t resent not having things that I know my parents couldn’t afford, but I sure as heck resent not having what most kids take for granted because some beastly god would punish me for it.

    I stopped going to church decades ago, and I don’t miss it. That doesn’t mean I have no spiritual life. It means that I have made my peace with a benevolent God who I don’t want to disappoint by my thoughts and behavior. It means I strive to be accepting, compassionate, and loving. By no means do I always succeed, but I no longer fear the fires of some future hell. On the contrary, there is quite enough hell on this earth, and I thank God that I have escaped as much as I have.

    • Joyce, you echoed my childhood and I appreciate that. It made me think again why I left the “church” to walk a more spiritual life. Peace.

  33. Evangelicals may call the Nashville Statement “Godspeak,” but I call it for what it is – hatespeak. Hidden in the flowery words and the “biblical” passages is nothing but fear and hate. And Jesus wept.

    • Well, it is kind of like my Uncle Malcolm said, I guess. He was a flaming racist. In my teens, he told me that all black people hate white people for all the evil we have done to them for generations. He said that they wanted to kill us all—and that they would be fully righteous to do it because we white people deserved it. He said that if white people had been the slaves and black people had been their masters, he would have felt the same way. Therefore, it was necessary to keep the black man oppressed for no other reason but to save white lives—to save all white people from the destruction that they rightly deserve.

      I wonder what will happen when the Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals wake up one morning, like Uncle Malcolm, and take full stock of the mean-spirited ways they have mistreated LGBTQ people? The Bible says that you reap what you sow. Fundie Christians have sowed vast fields with seeds of hatred for LGBTQ people. I wonder when and how the Jesus principle of sowing and reaping will come home to roost upon them.

  34. From: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2017/08/29/on-the-nashville-statement/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_campaign=Best+of+Patheos&utm_content=57

    On the “Nashville Statement”
    AUGUST 29, 2017 BY FRED CLARK

    Loudly prominent anti-gay white evangelicals are anti-gay. That’s hardly big news, but there was apparently a press release or something about it to remind us all of that today. The group that voluntarily chose to call itself the “Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood” released a manifesto/declaration reiterating their belief that we must all listen to them and defer to them and bend the knee to them as the sole right and true arbiters of morality.

    They would also like to remind everyone that they are inerrant and infallible and directly inspired by God as authoritative. This is what they refer to as a “high view.” They also claim to have a “high view of scripture,” but it’s not nearly as high a view as they have of themselves as it’s exclusive and authoritative interpreters.

    Those are always the major themes of everything these folks declare or pronounce or manifest in their pompous public “statements.” The minor, subordinate matters addressed in such statements varies. In today’s case — something they call the “Nashville Statement,” Google it yourself — that lesser theme is that these anti-gay self-appointed arbiters of morality and biblical interpretation are, in case anyone was wondering, anti-gay.

    Stop the presses.

    For those keeping score, this is a group of white evangelicals tripling down on the precise theology that utterly failed them in the past. Twice.

    It is a theological mistake, twice repudiated by history and in the process of being repudiated a third time.
    This theological mistake of “biblical literalism” somehow still manages to frame itself as a “conservative” approach to the Bible and to theology. My contention is that there is nothing “conservative” about it. This was not the hermeneutics of the apostles, of the early church, of the Ante-Nicene fathers, of Augustine, or of the Reformers. It did not gain a foothold anywhere in the church until it arose among white Protestants in America as a defense of slavery.

    This clumsy, proof-texting literalism is able to pose today as “conservative” because it has lingered here in America for centuries and theological mistakes — like politicians, ugly buildings, and prostitutes — “get respectable if they last long enough.” But just look at its record over the past 200 years of its ascendance among white American Protestants. It has been consistently, repeatedly, disastrously wrong.

    We know this. We’ve seen this before and we’re seeing it again.

    One, two, three strikes you’re out.
    It is bewildering to think that anyone would turn to such awful creatures for moral guidance. It is far more bewildering that these silly, silly men expect us all to do so.

  35. I learned to speak Evangelicalesse (the language of Mordor) for sheer survival for 3 years at the world’s “most unusual university” in Greenville, SC. Your translation is elegant and I congratulate you on it.

    Although I suppose I should appreciate being multilingual, I really wish I had never had to speak that hypocritical, unchristian language. I do not speak it unless my life depends on it and then I ask the Lord to forgive me!

  36. Apparently, you think that this statement was thrown together over the weekend.

    And your ignorance of both how to read English as it is actually written and your knowledge of biblical interpretation and of church history is blazingly obvious.

    This is a rational statement. If you don’t agree with it, write a cogent refutation instead of blathering.

    • Fred. Even a blind person could read the “Nashville Statement” and understand what it was saying. The John Pavlovitz translation of it from the language known as “Fundie Bullshit” to modern English was PERFECT— except for some typos and verb problems. You must be one of those fundie Anglicans in Canada or Australia. Quit masquerading as an honest Anglican when you really belong in an Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) church in Homer Hollow Kentucky: Here are your people and here is the spirit that created the “Nashville Statement”:

      • You also have the intelligence and the following to write a good refutation. I mean, you perceive the Statement as hateful, right? But here you say that the beliefs of the drafters are a dying cause. Don’t both statements echo each other in this respect? Why and how is the Statement hateful, according to you. I understand, but this was what Mr. John was getting at.

        • False equivalence. Hateful and dying cause are not opposites. Neither are a dying cause and having power and money. The Fundamentalist Evangelical Christians have amassed power and treasure to wage the “culture war” they started in the 80s. The Nashville Statement is nothing short but a declaration of war upon the LGBTQ community and their allies. We will see them spend every ounce of “godly” obtained political power and treasure on that goal.

      • Glory in the house tonight! Brother Charles must be endowed with the Holy Spirit because he miraculously received visions of Brother Fred’s life without ever truly knowing him. Look at with how much conviction Brother Charles spouts these truths and how he puts Brother Fred down and therefore contributing to the “angry with God atheist” stereotype who finds it necessary to demean other people for their beliefs. Hallelujah in how he overlooks the problems that Brother Fred may be experiencing home; Brother Charles is a true Good Samaritan, Amen!

        • A think you need to read up on Anglicans. The things Fred said ARE NOT coherent with central Anglican belief today. They reflect only a very small corner of the Anglican church where a few people have decided to become as bad or worse than IFB baptists—or as they call themselves “Babtists.”

          • Another sad example of the fallout from the tragedy of the “reformation.” Give a man or a woman a bible and he or she can be their own pope or start their own church, and without all that stuff they find challenging or uncomfortable.

            You’re in the same boat with them, but more screwed up than they are. Much more. Your Jesus blesses the killing of millions of inconvenient lives. It doesn’t get much more perverted than that.

        • There is no glory here. Only water of those we must rescue from Lake Houston and later this month, the promised destruction from Irma. I might return home by Columbus Day, if I am lucky. I don’t know the day of the week anymore nor do I care. There is no glory here.

    • The purpose of John’s article was not to refute, but to translate. The Nashville statement was written in a style intended to sound godly. But if one reads between the lines, translates what they are saying into plain English, as John has done, there is nothing godly about it.
      And once it has been translated, and can be plainly understood for what it is, refuting it would be superfluous. Its lack of Christian character is apparent on its own.

  37. The line reading in part: ‘We are … losing market share in the religious landscape’ makes it clear how morally bankrupt these people are.

  38. Absolute right & on target with their horrific lack of love, loving-kindness, caring or concern for others! This descriotion is exactly what not to follow or emulate!

    Thank you for your interpretation! And, the ‘Rest of us’ will continue to recognize how little power & recognition they have in our world…

  39. Well said. I just hope that fellow Christians will look at the “Nashville Statement” as a “get off the fence and chose a side” moment. Unfortunately many Christians will chose to be for the “Nashville Statement”, but then again, many will not.

  40. Call me stupid, but I don’t read love in this blog. Oh, the word is certainly invoked, but that is cheap and easy. But lots of irony here! Amazingly judgmental, and that by itself makes this ironic. I can’t help but think that Jesus himself (whom you apparently wish to “rescue” from certain religious folk) is disappointed in how this was presented. You may see Jesus spending his three earthly years in ministry as a “rebel” or a “social justice warrior” but my reading of scripture indicates that he had much bigger fish to fry. The apostles did too. There was no placard carrying contingent of Christians decrying child sacrifice, nor infanticide, nor Roman brutality. But we Christians think that we must be political activists, and “fighting the power” etc. , and it goes both ways….. Christians against same sex marriage, and Christians that are for it. Christians against abortion, and Christians that wish to allow it. Christians that love Trump and Christians that hate him. We are obsessed with society and government, and our own survival! How sad!! Don’t we have bigger fish to fry than that as well? Christ did. I think that we should actually follow Him….

    • The old “you’re being intolerant of my intolerance” trope is so tired. It’s not hateful to decry hatred. It’s not judgemental to call out others’ bigotry. I find a lot more love in John’s defense of the attacked minority than I do in these charlatans’ need to continually attack a group that just wants to live their lives and be happy.

    • Thank you for that. You took the thoughts right out of my mind as I force myself to read this post in its entirety out of respect for those whose beliefs clash with mine. I shall now head over to Google and find the document this one is slamming.

    • Gerald, I became aware of the expression “social justice warrior” as a negative label only recently. If I’d heard it before, I must have simply assumed the person was mentioning something good. What reasonable person could possibly be opposed to justice in society? But recently I heard it used in such a sneering tone I couldn’t avoid the realization that the person somehow believed justice was a bad thing. Ironic? It would seem to fit your definition, at least.

      • Hello Marvin,

        Justice is always important, but changing society is not what Jesus was trying to do. He was working to change the eternal futures of individuals in this world. What Caesar or the government was doing was not his concern. His recommendation regarding injustice was to give your cloak as well as the demanded coat to the soldier, and to go the second mile if you were conscripted to travel one mile. Turning the cheek was another suggestion. If we find ourselves sarcastically condemning anyone, or their methods, or their beliefs, we will have very little success in winning them over. We often write people off, but we don’t find Jesus in that enterprise. I just think His methods are the ones we should follow, even if we find other people distasteful, Christian or not.

      • Fundies think of “Justice” only as the punishment one gets for doing evil because they are oriented toward legalism (a first century Christian heresy the apostles and disciples had to deal with). However, if you read your Bible closely, particularly the words of Jesus, you will find that “Justice” is defined to include other things Jesus is more concerned with—like whether people are being treated mercifully, lovingly, and fairly in their daily lives. You did not get anything wrong Marvin.

        The fundies think the world is going to end tomorrow at 2:00 p.m., so they do not have to worry about whether a child is starving to death. They just got to get his soul saved before time runs out at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow—and otherwise—just screw him.

    • Jesus assimilated people to fields of sowing. You can’t plant a seed in a field where the earth is hard-packed- a majority of this country. People who are dying due to radical Islam, people lacking food and/or water, refugees without a home, etc. These are the “bigger fish to fry” so to speak, I believe Mr. Gerald. Christianity is often called the religion of the battered people, usually in a demeaning way, finding shelter in “their imaginary friend” or “old man in the sky”. But sometimes it takes a battered person, a homeless person, a poor person, to truly comprehend and appreciate the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross and all that He stood for and all that He hoped for every single beautiful children of His.

  41. Thank you from a “progressive’ mainline protestant pastor who felt that he had lost so many colleagues in witness of the Good News from a different Christian faith tradition than my own, and yet, carried the same mantle in service of Jesus the Christ. I support and pray for your ministries and the people you serve in Christ’s name.
    Rev. John S. Andrews,
    Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

  42. I’m sorry, but I wouldn’t call this a translation, or plain text. Those of us looking for actual plain text explanations, whether expository or refuting or endorsing or analyzing, etc, will come to this post and find only your rant on the current state of the church.
    Maybe change the title of the post? “A commentary on the Nashville Statement through the gaze of the current Evangelical Fundamentalist movement”, perhaps?
    Just a note for clarity’s sake.

  43. Dear Pastor Pavlovitz,

    Greetings to you, brother, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    I’ve read your column today with interest. You are correct that the evangelical influence in American society is waning. Also, the coalition that produced the Nashville Statement holds a complementarian position on marriage and family, meaning that – however they qualify their position – wives end up being treated as inferior to men. As a person who strives to fully enfranchise women in all forms of ministry (lay and ordained), I find that biblically and practically unacceptable, and I suspect that you do as well.

    But the tone of your current post responding to the Nashville Statement, unfortunately, is dismissive and unhelpful. That’s ironic since you and your congregation place an emphasis upon love. Do you have any gracious, loving words for conservative brothers and sisters in Christ who you think have gotten the LGBT issue wrong yet are still doing their best to follow Jesus? Like you, they have broad and seasoned ministries that have have produced much fruit for the Kingdom. Do you have any words of affirmation for them?

    It’s not possible in a single post for you to cover everything, but you owe it to your readers to at least link a couple of resources that dig into the biblical and theological questions in-play around homosexuality and same-sex marriage. A link, for example, to Justin Lee’s TORN or more recently Greg Coles’ SINGLE, GAY, CHRISTIAN would present diverse conclusions from committed gay followers of Christ. For those willing to go deeper in their study of Scripture, Robert Gagnon’s work in comparison with that of James Brownson is also helpful.

    The Nashville Statment mentions several times the requirement of limiting sexual expression to marriage, ruling out pre-marital sex. So their comments regarding homosexuality are nested in a larger (and longstanding) Christian sexual ethic. To his credit, Justin Lee has attempted to bring that same historic ethic into play, but tweaking it. He calls for gay Christians to reserve sex for their same-gender spouse. His position promoting faithfulness within marriage – whether opposite sex or same-sex – has clear ramifications for diminishing the spread of HIV-AIDS in the LGBT community, for which I give him credit. On the other hand, if there is an alternative sexual ethic that gay and straight Christians both can follow, something different than the traditional one the Nashville Statement advances and that Lee attempts to adapt, then tell us about that – but again – with a gracious tone toward all.

    I’ve read some good things on your blog, Pastor. I appreciate that you’re willing to take positions on various issues that make me think, stretch me, and send me back to the Bible for more reflection.

    May God bless your ministry.

    A fellow Jesus follower,

    Gregory Crofford
    Nairobi, Kenya

    • Finally a rational, intellectual response. Its obvious John that you threw in a lot more jabs in this “interpretation” than was called for. How are you bridging the gap between the Church and the LGBT community? It seems to me you are making it wider.

      • Since you are not a victim of stochastic terrorism of fundamentalists, as quite a few of us here are, you have the privilege of reading the statement that way. The statement was timed exactly to tell Houston that “God’s wrath was upon them” for daring to elected a gay mayor. The statement was made to focus the “faithful” into open spiritual warfare with the LGBTQ community and their allies. The Fundamentalists started the “culture war” in the 80’s and lost so they have decided to take this “war” to the individual churches and communities. I fully expect these followers of the Nashville Statement to use their power and treasure, which is considerable, to try to rip away the rights of the LGBTQ community one hate law after another.

    • “Do you have any gracious, loving words for conservative brothers and sisters in Christ who you think have gotten the LGBT issue wrong yet are still doing their best to follow Jesus?”

      Yes. They could quit talking and start listening. They could quit pretending that Jesus never said or did half of the things He said and did in the New Testament. They could remember that Christianity is about LOVE, JUSTICE, AND MERCY—-and not about LAWS AND MORALISM. They could remember that Jesus ripped the Temple curtain in half and abolished the Old Testament covenant in favor of a NEW COVENANT. They could fall on their knees, rip their garments, and cry out to God:

      “Forgive us for being the sorry, hateful bastards that we have been for the past 100 years.”

      That would all be a refreshing and positive start.

  44. Brilliant analysis, John. And for those who call you judgemental for a witty retort slightly longers than the ‘brood of vipers’ or ‘whitewashed tombs’ that Jesus used about the Pharisees – THINK! Jesus didn’t judge anyone… except the Pharisees. Why? Because they used people for money and power and oppressed the most vulnerable, just like the unholy bunch of a-holes (although ‘brood of vipers’ does sound classier) who wrote the Nashville Statement. They are being judged now by those who stand in the Truth… and they will be judged again come the day… This is love too – the protective love of the Mother, scolding the big brother for bullying his kid sister. In truth, a love that does not protect the weak and vulnerable is not love at all.

  45. Sounds like these people need reminding of the contents of their Bibles: and specifically, Proverbs 6: 12-19. There they will find the true target they should be aiming at.

  46. The LGBTQ+ community may have turned their backs to God for fear of the Church’s persecution. But God has NOT turned his back to them; contrary to the Church’s interpretation.

    His Gracious invitation STILL stands. While the Church wallows in their muddy waters and trampled pastures.

    Today, I celebrate! I’m still here for one thing and one thing only… To tell anyone who is persecuted, outcast, forgotten, feeling lost, feeling broken, feeling burdened, or just plain undone that Jesus Christ is your answer. Bypass, no just flat out ignore, this collective Nashville arrogance, these voices and proclamations and turn around and see Who really loves you, whose always loved you.

    If these gifted five years, from this day, are all that I’m given… If today should be my last day… I (standing on my head) implore, beg, and plead you to meet Him, exactly where you are, in your so beautifully broken, hurting, angry, persecuted, disillusioned state and He will say “welcome, welcome”, with open arms, to you.

    And no, you don’t have to be perfect or approved of or acceptable in their eyes. He will silence them. You don’t have to be anything but who you are at this very moment.

    Please, please… Please. He makes such a beautiful, hopeful difference; in living and dying. There is no more fear.

    I know this to be true. Please.

    • Susan wrote, “And no, you don’t have to be perfect or approved of or acceptable in their eyes. He will silence them. You don’t have to be anything but who you are at this very moment.”

      AMEN!!

    • I believe everyone of the pastors who signed this statement would be in full agreeement with what you said. Why is it that when the church tries to stand behind truth, the people think that grace has been thrown out altogether? Jesus was the perfect embodiment of truth and grace. You cant choose just one or the other and still be a follower of Jesus. There must be a tension between the two.

      • Because “truth” is what is spoken into the seeking heart of a created being by the Spirit of Christ, sir.

        The well-meaning, arrogant church doesn’t get to play ventriloquist for Christ. And stomp all over a precious, seeking someone’s relationship with the Refiner. That’s why.

        As Christians, our job is to hold the door… No really, it’s to break it down. So that the weary stagger forward and Grace pours in to meet them. But far too many Christians throw up turnstiles and legalistic customs stations that bar people from entering.

        And it’s pitiful… This vile ventriloquist’s act we are doing.

        God All Mighty in Heaven…

          • Hi Charles, how are you? Ha! I know under all your angst you know the real problem in all this; what’s really going on here. And the One will not let me be silent about it. Personally I’d rather just be quiet. It seems I’m having this utterance more than I humanly care for lately. But He thinks it urgent.

            I can no more tell a person what to repent of than I can dictate their favorite color or what to name their child. I cannot know in another what keeps a person at a distance from Him. Sanctification is not a public effort. It isn’t written in proclamations and statements. It’s a very personal process between Him and the beloved person. And yet, we just have to get in there and meddle. I guess to deflect attention from our own sin and shortcomings.

            My self-reliance, self-centeredness, bitterness, and pride have caused me greater separation from God than “gayness” ever has; and He knows it. And these are things I ask His help with every day. However, other meddlers think those things aren’t spiritually fatal. Maybe they’re just too fake to name and own up to their own sin.

            He knows me. And by His grace, I know Him. And He holds me tightly while I try and tell others the treasure I’ve found. Their treasure is waiting there too.

            I wonder what these folks think will happen when they stand before Him and say ‘Yes Lord, I know I’m a sinner but not as bad as that gay guy (pointing). And oh!… I took the time to warn him, named his sin for him, but he didn’t listen so I hated him real good, in your Name!’ I wonder what the Lord of All Grace, Mercy, and Justice will say next. Hmm.

        • The crazy thing is that almost 100% of those who support same-sex marriage and call people meanies and bigots for saying it’s a sin, are perfectly fine with killing millions of babies in the womb and would call others misogynists for wanting to protect them from the abortionist. And this sadly includes those “progressives” who call themselves Christians. That’s not very consistent, it it?

  47. Laying down ‘positions’ and ‘rules’ defeats the object, anyway. The power of sin is the Law. Making up more rules,codifying Laws etc. just makes ‘sin’ worse. Like fighting fire with gasoline.

  48. It’s a measure of Mr. Pavlovitz’ cluelessness that he seems to think this statement was drafted overnight, just in time for the Houston flood. Of course, it has nothing to do with that event at all. Neither does it relate to homicides in Chicago, the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange or today’s Dodgers-Diamondbacks game, all of which will go on, flood or no flood.

    No, this comes from a group of pastors and religious leaders who have been working on it for some time and saw no reason to delay its release. Come to think of it, neither can I. The ideas contained therein are nothing more than a restatement of classical Christian theology. That’s it. Nothing more. The church is indeed embattled, but your assertion that “Evangelical Christians are at the precipice of extinction” is frankly nutty. Nobody with an understanding of history could ever believe such a thing. The Christian church has survived and even thrived for two millennia, often under conditions of extraordinary persecution. In America, it’s mostly under fire from clueless entertainers, spiteful academics and craven politicians. Against that array of opponents, I’ll bet on Jesus.

    • It feels quite similar to the way the people reacted to Paul when he first proclaimed the gospel of Jesus in Corinth, Thesalonica, Iconium, Lystra, Macedonia, etc., where the Church was first beginning to expand and He received persecution and severe lashback from the people and officials.

  49. Pingback: A New Definition Of Hate – Kingdom Pastor

  50. “It is not only foolish, but hopeless, to try to make ourselves what God did not create us
    to be.”

    Their words. Yet they, in their foolishness, they try to make others the way God did not create them to be. It is shameful.

    I’m always reminded of Matthew 12: 33 – 37 when I read statements like this.

  51. Wonderful!

    (Note: An edit is needed: “the Jesus we’re trying to simultaneously claiming allegiance to” needs to lose the “ing” at the end of “claim.” Can’t help myself. I want to contribute to this fabulous piece of writing, and my eye caught the goof.)

    • And it only feeds the anger and disharmony with those that disagree. This is not creating a conversation about the issue at hand but only widening the gap of the discord.

  52. It still all comes down to money. When you look at the names of the individuals who signed this document, how would most of them earn a living if they weren’t promoting fear and hate of the LGBTQ community?

    Their “morality” is wrapped in green and not swaddling clothes.

    • I see them as “pandering to a base” in a political system. Recently on some blog, a pastor at a highly conservative church wrote a comment saying that he no longer believes in a lot of the stuff conservative Christians do—but he and other conservative pastors are already in so deep with unChrist-like things—that their congregations would fire them if they were to preach the whole truth of Jesus in the New Testament and show them how wrong all these things are that the Religious Right has poisoned them with. He dared not preach the truth because he needed his paycheck.

  53. Brilliant, just brilliant. Insightful translation and right on the money. Your authenticity speaks volumes and gives voice to those who need it. Thanks for putting this out in the universe.

  54. I believe this is what the Nashville Statement is pushing towards, but just being shy of it:

    Stochastic terrorism is the use of media such as television “to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable”. The speaker, whether intentionally or not, incites those with a combination of personality traits that leads them to violence. Since the speaker only focuses animus towards the victim instead of directly participating, they escape culpability and the perpetrator is labeled a lone wolf by law enforcement. The term originates in academic studies of international terrorism, but has also been applied by journalists to domestic American incidents of violence.

    • You’re over analyzing. It’s about taking a stand and not allowing themselves to be defined by our immoral culture and to be considered mean and bigoted for calling a spade a spade and a sin a sin.

  55. Pingback: “The Nashville Statement” | In A Spacious Place

  56. I have often wondered the outcome of having an actual conversation with those we disagree with. Too many times we talk at each other, via Twitter, blogs, what have you. Rarely, if ever, does anyone have an honest, meaningful conversation with someone on the opposite spectrum. In fact, I think our spectrums are probably closer than we realize. I have met many on both sides that don’t fit into the box of ideology we’ve constructed. We are not polar opposites with those we disagree with.

  57. Please consider editing to change the word ‘vice’ to ‘vise’, which is what it should be.
    Admittedly, this is a pet peeve of mine, but in this context the change is really pertinent.

  58. Pingback: Message of Hate | Lyle's Lacuna - Welcome to My World

  59. John, you aced this. I am proud of you and admire you greatly. I am proud to be who I am, and married to my husband. We have been together for 46 years. We have no need to become martyrs. I tell my friends, I am now legally wed, and have no angst left in me. I will be who I am, and I testify that I do more for society than any evangelical has ever done. I am a healer, and they bring me their sick to help them heal and recover. I do it and do it well, without fees or judgement. Let them step on me, and I will push back hard. We should watchfully ignore their religion, being wise and aware, and we should condemn hatred and prejudice, and this is my right and I will hold fast to it.

  60. I dont understand why you turned this into a political issue? Was this Nashville Statement nothing more than a statement of affirmations and rejections of a group of church leaders’ beliefs about marriage and sexuality? I didnt experience anything hateful or condemning. In fact, it put the rest of us broken people in the same boat. We are all in need of saving grace that Jesus provides that saves us from our own human tendency to bring ruin to our lives.

    • The Nashville Statement is political…because those who support this want to impose their so-called “Christianity” on everyone in the world, including those who reject the state imposition of their religion on everyone.

      I don’t want to be a martyr today…but anyone who doesn’t like my opposing and condemning the Nashville Statement in the name of Jesus Christ, they can lynch me, right now, and I’ll forgive them (will God do so, or not, that’s up to Him, but I won’t object to His forgiving my murderers).

  61. It is really good that you are pointing out the hatred in this statement. The next time you knock on someones door uninvited to share your “good news” and they tell you to get lost, think about this article, and how you actually appear quite hateful to people who you don’t even think you oppress. You have a lot of power in this country, and you misuse it every day.

    • What’s the matter Nick? Afraid a little truth might soak into the millions of cracks in the America Fundie Monolith and frost-heave it into rubble? Already happening baby—and their is nothing you can do to stop it. John Pavlovitz is not the problem. He merely comments on it. Your pastors and church members are their own worst enemies. They have met the enema, and he is them.”

  62. This statement was released in the time and manner it was as a judgment on Houston, Texas and blaming God for the natural disaster – if you read between the lines.
    This was a judgment on a southern city by the SBC.
    Houston had a gay mayor and these deep south city was now just condemned by these heretics as being rightly punished for it.
    This is how fundis operate – but you all know that.
    We’ve known it for years – those who’ve left the petri-dish of their insulated little worlds.
    See, I don’t think God’s that mean. I mean, think about it, The GOP are the biggest dicks in the world. The irony, although they pretend to cling to The Old Rugged Cross, they’re so much more in need of God’s mercy than anything a gay person could ever require. Behold, this was the sin of your sister Sodom, she was fat, lazy, and didn’t help the poor. All through my life, I’ve yet to have a couple of gay guys knocking on my front door wanting to share the good news of Elton John (Crocodile Rock is some pretty good news). And yet, here we are – we’re denying the stranger in our land, we’re cutting off people’s lifeline to basic necessities like food and clean water (Flint), we’re practicing jingoism in place of patriotism, and then there’s Trump someone a poet prophesied was on it’s way, “…what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches toward Bethlehem to be born.” Then there is Ann Coulter. A false prophet. Brietbart – the real fake news intended only to misdirect, obfuscate, and enrage with made up stories with a dose of truth in it to make it plausible. That’s why the regular media cant fight it off or swipe it away or dispel it, you’d have to be the jackass whisperer. My daddy was a preacher and he used to, along with his colleagues, would say these tag line stuff like, “We need to put Christ back in Christmas’ and ‘Prayer in public schools need to be put back” and my personal favorite, “If God doesn’t destroy America, he’ll have to resurrect Sodom and Gomorrah and apologize to it.” I think we need to worry about put Christ back in Christian, acknowledge that as long as teachers hand out test, there will be prayer, and if God does do to America what he did to Sodom it won’t be because of gay marriage, it will be because of the abject failure of American Christendom to do what it was Christ ordered people to do in the Beatitudes. Feed the poor, clothe the naked, and take care of the weakest among you. Our only salvation right now, in my eyes, are the people standing up to their putrid grave skulking agenda as well as the coming together to save people’s lives in Texas. Christianity is verb, not only a noun.

    • I agree. Someone needs to “Put Jesus Christ back into American Christianity.” Let it begin in the Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical churches because those are the churches that have strayed the farthest from his words, deeds, and New Testament commands. They may be “saving souls” in his name—but outside of that—I cannot tell that they give one warm sh*t about him or anything He ever said or did. Someone needs to evangelize the members of Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical churches—starting with their money-hungry and fame hungry preachers who have sold out to the worst, most vile, most unJesus-like people in American politics. Maybe one day our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ will reveal to us the exact calendar day when these two-bit buzzard preachers quietly said to themselves:

      “Screw this Jesus sh*t. I want my piece of the American pie—A REALLY BIG PIECE like everyone else is getting.”

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  64. I am sad that these leaders, especially someone like John Piper, who I followed closely when I was in my 20s, have published this document. A lot of it is consistent with Christian fundamentalism and it’s not surprising. (Article 10 is a knife in my heart.)
    However, I just wanted to say that this particular branch of conservative evangelicals are not especially Trump supporters (that would be way too mainstream evangelical for them) these are way right wing conservative fundamentalist evangelicals who have their own bubble of culture. As someone who left that culture it is my opinion that you misrepresented them in your article and that right now, when this is a bleeding gaping wound, this kind of thing is generally unhelpful. Disagree all day and all night, speak as loudly as you can that this is not a true representation of your faith, or Jesus, but affirm light and love- don’t throw mud.

    • Faith. I visited your blog. Feel free to visit mine any time at the following safe link:

      https://faith17983.wordpress.com/

      Your Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical friends have thrown mud for the past 100 years. In the beginning in 1999, I threw love and light at them. The more love and light I threw at them, the more mud they threw at me until I was covered in a mountain of it and just plain sick. If you dislike me or my blog, just be aware that I am “their creation.” If your fundie friends had not been throwing so much mud at the people they hate over the past 100 years, my blog would never have existed. And you know what? They are creating millions more of me with every day that passes—and one day they will all reap what they have sown—when the massive, 1,000-ft. tsunami of a mudslide comes—and it is coming their way. I will be dead by that time. However, it is coming their way, because like Jesus said, they will reap the mud-slinging they have sown.

  65. One thing I wish was added to this piece. “The church” does not have one voice. Churches in America have been in discernment on this issue for decades. Many — like the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America — have reached VERY different conclusions and welcome ALL PEOPLE. This is a great resource for examining the positions of a variety of faith traditions: http://www.hrc.org/resources/faith-positions

  66. John,

    This is a deeply dishonest response to the Nashville Statement. It describes a motivation that has no basis in fact. Among the original signatories, Russell Moore, Albert Mohler and John Piper have been outspoken critics of Donald Trump.

    You engage in a cheap tactic of demeaning the very language of the Statement: “churchy language and dusty religious-speak.” Of course, that isn’t your actual gripe with the Statement but it serves as a convenient stepping stone for your sarcastic and uncharitable characterization of what the authors “really mean.” While claiming to stand for the real meaning and love of Christ, you unlovingly and ungraciously attack the Statement’s authors.

    Tellingly, you don’t substantively engage Scripture and its clear teaching on God’s plan for marriage (see e.g. Genesis 2, Matthew 19, Ephesians 5) or its prohibitions on homosexuality and other sexual immorality (see e.g. Leviticus 18, Romans 1, 1 Corinthians 6).

    Nor do you address the necessity of one being convicted of their sin. It is only by recognizing our sin that we see our need for a savior – for Jesus Christ. It is only in feeling the weight of our sin that we can experience the weight of God’s love. It is only in realizing the offensiveness of our rebellion against God that we can see the beauty of Jesus’s atoning death on the cross. It is only in seeing our own spiritual death that we can have hope in the resurrection’s victory over death.

    Your concept of love would leave many in the darkness of their sin and rebellion against their Creator. Your concept of love would grant them momentary respite from guilt while condemning them to all eternity separated from a good and loving Father.

    Your response to the Statement doesn’t exemplify Christ’s love or the grace of the Gospel. It is contrary to both. Indeed, your response is far more damning of you than it is of the object of your attack.

  67. An excerpt from Nashville Statement
    August 31, 2017 by Episcopal Cafe’s Managing Editor, Jon M. White
    https://www.episcopalcafe.com/nashville-statement/

    “Of all the inheritances of the Protestant Reformation, it’s belief that the Bible offers unambiguous and uncontradicted guidance on all aspects of human life is surely the most troublesome. Belief in Biblical inerrancy has not led to a deeper understanding of God’s mission or a flowering of love and mercy consonant with Jesus’ own life and example. Instead, those who profess such beliefs have retreated to an ever more intolerant and exclusive position that denies the wondrous complexity of God’s creation and the central gospel imperative to love one another.

    “The modern Anglican/Episcopal formulation of authority as the balance of scripture, tradition, and reason has led most Episcopalians to follow the example of Newton, who saw mathematics and the sciences as windows into the mind of God. We have encountered the diversity of God’s creation, sought to understand it’s place in the created order, and begun (at last!) to celebrate that diversity within the life of the church.

    “The authors of the Nashville statement write that “By and large the spirit of our age no longer discerns or delights in the beauty of God’s design for human life.” On the contrary, we see more clearly than ever the beauty of God’s creation and delight in and celebrate it in its entirety. They write “we cannot know ourselves truly without truly knowing him who made us. We did not make ourselves.” We agree with this (though I would quibble with the “him”). We did not create the diversity of human sexuality, God did. And we repent of the prejudice we allowed to close our eyes this reality and which empowered our repression of our fellow children of God.”

    • That was not worth reading Kristi. You need to decide whether you worship the Bible or Jesus. Right now, you are little more than a two-bit loser sold out to the fundie heresy of Biblical legalism and Bible idolatry.

  68. You are spot-on John! preach it, Preach It, PREACH IT!!! Truth to power… and also cue the apologists who will offer up their deflections and circular, nonsensical arguments with a heaping of playing the “victim card!”

    This “Pretender-in-Chief” was just what they wanted; however, he’s a con-man, an immature, ignorant, low-brow, functionally illiterate, man-child at best and incapable of leading our nation!

  69. I’d never heard of you until this week, John, until I saw your ‘Open Letter to Joel Osteen’ shared on a Facebook post. Out of curiosity, I thought I’d search for you on the internet and see if you had a website with blog postings – and this one on ‘The Nashville Statement’ was the next one I saw.

    What a hateful screed. Very reminiscent of the nonsense I grew up with as a member of the United Church of Christ until the age of 20 when I began to think for myself on the issues of the day.

    I’ve read all I’ve needed to know. I won’t be wasting my time any longer on your website.

    Take care.

  70. The Nashville Statement needs no translation. It IS in plain language. And, as a copywriter, I must say—it’s fairly well written. Now that you’ve read John’s translation/rant of/ABOUT it, you may want to read IT. https://cbmw.org/nashville-statement/

    If what you read makes you fighting mad, your fight is with scriptural authority not with the people John’s demonizing. When he attacks theologians, teachers and pastors who are merely standing with scripture and its position on human sexuality, he does so with an anger that makes genuine critique impossible. And yet he claims he has “translated” it for us—as if you and I need his opining about it to process and form our own opinions OF it.

    John routinely mistakes passion for purity when it comes to the cogency of his arguments concerning human sexuality. He has formed his positions about it by leaning on his tottering (and humanly faulty) understanding and on our current and ever-changing spirit of the age rather than on something greater than himself.

    And rather than respecting the religious liberty of those who voice a differing position—as have the people who created and signed the Nashville Statement—he resorts to venting his outrage with distortions, name calling, label flinging, unfounded accusations, and a red-hot conviction that he’s always in the right.

    Tell me, John, regarding your blog and FB posts, do you ever admit when you’re wrong? I ask this because after being busted by multiple thoughtful people for propagating a debunked false narrative about a certain megachurch pastor in Houston, you have yet to issue an update or clarification for your mistake.

    It’s like you’re so wrapped up in your crusade and self-righteousness that you can’t or won’t own up and man up when you screw up. Instead you fling what you apparently think is a zinger about accountability. I still think/hope you’re better than this.

      • Like I mentioned to someone else on this site… It seems to me that you are on a quest to be the self-appointed Dean of American Ecclesiastical Admonishment via Sarcasm.
        I would sooner have you replace the word “sarcasm” in your title, with the word “love.” Only then would you actually have a Christian ministry.
        It’s not too late….

      • Wow. I feel like I’m debating a teenager. Now you’re “translating” MY statement about writing quality to defend your faulty post premise. No matter.

        Hateful? Let’s talk hateful statements, shall we?

        But first, as we did with accountability and shade, let’s TRY to get on the same page with our terms.

        Hateful: (adjective) full of or expressing hate; malignant; malevolent: a hateful denunciatory speech [or blog post]

        John, statements of belief are NOT hateful just because you vehemently disagree with them. You’re mistaking your passion for moral high ground again.

        A statement of belief is also not hateful just because it doesn’t validate all mutually exclusive viewpoints.

        Now I get it; the Statement triggers you—but this also doesn’t make it hateful.

        Now here is where I’m going to admit I’m wrong about the Nashville Statement:

        After re-reading the preamble in an attempt to see it as you do—in some small way, I must now say that, at certain points, it lacks sophistication and tact. In fact, I sense a skosh of high-minded frustration and a bit of stick-it-to-’em…ness with certain implications regarding the phrase, “beauty of God’s design” and “God’s beautiful plan” that I find unfortunate and unnecessary—and poorly written.

        That said, the Nashville Statement is far from hateful. Again, your vehement disagreement does not make it so.

        Your post, on the other hand, is brimming with hateful (and untrue) statements. To save space, I’ve reduced them to phrases followed by conclusions:

        First graph—Your contention that the signers did so because they’re desperate to save their beliefs from extinction is so incredibly silly that your impetus to write and believe it can only be credited to blind hatred.

        “…we are rightly terrified.” John, did you read Rosaria Butterfield’s explanation of why she signed? If you do, you’ll see that she, as a former lesbian, is not in the least bit terrified for the future of her time-tested—and personally affirmed—biblical beliefs regarding sexuality.

        Rather, she shows manifold more courage in her defense than do you in your post. She, like the other signers, is swimming upstream while taking fire from both sides.

        You are simply riding the crest of the current cultural wave and repeating talking points with which some WANT to agree.

        But in your defense, you do have the balls to approve and publish opposing blog comments. Even devastating ones.

        Continuing:
        “Yes, we made our bed with this President” [president should be lower case in this context, by the way.]

        We? As one of your blog commenters, Matthew, rightly pointed out, “Out of the 187 initial signers of the Nashville Statement, only 10 publicly supported Trump.”

        Quite true … and decidedly inconvenient for you. But then again you routinely sacrifice accuracy for the cause. The truth is that you’re simply repeating the tired talking point that evangelical Christian pastors, theologians and writers (in Rosaria’s case) are in bed with Trump. Why persist in this?

        Oh, yes, I forgot—you know intimately all hearts and minds based on your fruit watching, which seems virtually impossible in your case because all you seem to see is red.

        Whew! Exposing your hateful hypocrisy is tiring and takes way too much time, which explains why most thoughtful and fair-minded people don’t bother. (Why do I?)

        I’ll now be much faster and use less energy.

        The following is a non-exhaustive, but exhausting list of your post’s hateful (and caricatured to the point of meaninglessness) statements in phrase form:

        -absolute monster
        -deny Jesus daily
        -we’ve sold off our souls
        -our hateful choir
        -unprovoked attack on an easy target
        -We’ve chosen to perpetuate and sanction discrimination, violence, and bullying
        -We’ve chosen to use our sacred text; not to bring comfort or create unity or engender hope—but to beat the hell out of people
        -the cruelty of our disciples
        -We’ve chosen to wage cheap war on innocent and vulnerable people in order to feel mighty again.
        -intoxicating rush of superiority
        -tired religious platitude about Adam and Eve
        -They [Christians who disagree with John] just want an enemy to wage war with.
        -we hope that no one sees just how terrified we are of our own extinction

        These phrases speak for themselves and effectively expose the illogic and irrationality of your angry caricature and hateful character assassination.

        Initially, when I read your reply to my comment, I was profoundly disappointed. I’ve actually defended you with phrases like, “John’s got a good heart; he simply allows his anger and passion to power his words (and temporarily render him a raving hack.)”

        But based on our recent exchanges, your childish level of snark and the thoughtlessness of your gotcha replies have caused me to rethink my assessment of your character.

        You, a leader who’s willing to malign others using rabidly partisan and patently untrue political points—in the name of Jesus and his love—of which you seem to think you have a monopoly, deserve scorn, not defense.

    • How about you, Patrick: Can you admit when you are wrong?
      What the Nashville Manifesto defends isn’t the scripture position on sexuality and marriage. In fact, our English-language Bibles don’t even represent that. On the contrary, they represent medieval prejudice, universally repeated, and frequently amplified, by more recent translators. God’s view is clearly stated in the Hebrew and Greek texts, and those texts do NOT condemn homosexuality. In fact, they don’t even directly mention it. It is indirectly mentioned, in the form of the record of two same-sex marriages in the Old Testament. Neither of those was condemned, and in fact, God put one of the couples together. http://hoperemainsonline.com/Same-Sex-Marriage/
      It might interest you to know that, as far as marriage, by far the most common form recorded in the Bible was polygynous marriage, that is, one man with more than one woman. That form was only forbidden to select groups of people, NEVER the entire population. In the New Testament, only bishops and deacons were specifically told they must be monogamous. In fact, there were even times when the Law of Moses would have required a man to have more than one wife: If a man died without having children, his brother was required to marry the widow to raise up children. It did not matter if the surviving brother already had a wife.
      Without polygyny, the 12 tribes of Israel would not have existed, and even if they had, the messianic lineage would have ended with King David: His first wife had no children. If he had not taken a second wife, he would have died without children.
      Worldwide, marriage has always existed in four basic forms, all four of which can be found somewhere on earth today:
      heterosexual monogamy
      homosexual monogamy
      polygyny
      polyandry
      Of those, only polyandry isn’t mentioned in the Bible, and of those, only homosexual monogamy disappeared for several centuries as a result of human prejudice. Prior to European colonization (read: invasion) it was found in much of the world.

      • Hi, Bill

        As an ancient language scholar, I trust you’re familiar with the word “arsenokoitēs,” which does not appear anywhere in Greek literature prior to Paul the Apostle’s use of it in I Corinthians 6:9-11:

        “… neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men [Strong’s Greek: 733. ἀρσενοκοίτης (arsenokoitēs)] who have sex with men … will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

        Arsenokoitēs is a Greek rendering for “one who lies with a male” [as with a woman]. Despite recent challenges to this interpretation, the meaning is confirmed by evidence in the Sibylline Oracles.

        In his Corinthians letter, Paul repeats the standard Jewish condemnation of homosexual conduct found in the OT. For example, in the first book of the Hebrew Torah, Genesis, the word, “yada” is translated in English to mean: “to know.”
        Like so:

        Adam knew [yada] his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain… Cain knew [yada] his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch… Adam knew [yada] his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth… (Genesis 4:1, 17, 25)

        Yada, yada, yada. But not in Seinfeldian terms. Nor in the sense of a thrice-uttered expletive. In Genesis and in Hebrew, the word is used to indicate a very intimate kind of knowledge, a carnal knowledge, some might say, and definitively sexual.

        Paul uses Arsenokoitēs to condemn the practice of men “knowing” one another sexually in the same way Moses (or the writer of Genesis, if you prefer) uses it when he writes of the patriarch, his progeny and their wives knowing each other sexually in Genesis 4. And later when the writer uses the word to describe Lot’s resistance to the men of Sodom wanting to yada (in this case, to know sexually) Lot’s angelic guests.

        But you ARE technically correct. The English words homosexual and homosexuality do not have DIRECT “loan words” from Hebrew or Greek words in the Bible. But this does not mean that homosexuality is not addressed in scripture.

        Quite the opposite is true.

        Both words have INDIRECT Hebrew and Greek “loan words” (Yada and Arsenokoitēs) that effectively address their meanings and are reliable translations.

        Back to Sodom, so to speak:

        There are some who use the biblical account of Sodom and Gomorrah in an attempt to make the argument you’re making. Specifically, they claim that the men of Sodom merely wanted to know or to become acquainted with Lot’s angelic visitors.

        If this was so, why would Lot be so adamantly against new friendships? Wouldn’t he be a friendly host and invite them in to shake hands? Why would he offer his VIRGIN daughters to “yada” them instead. Why would the men of the Sodom be so hot to make their acquaintances? Wouldn’t they have the manners to accept that neither the angels nor Lot wanted such an introduction?

        The truth is that in this context, they longed to know Lot’s guests—in every sense of this particular meaning of yada—intimately and sexually.

        I see from your previous comments that you’re into this subject and feel strongly about your position. Language and scripture scholars who are more knowledgeable than we are have repeatedly debunked your claims.

        It seems to me that your position is light on linguistic substance and veracity and heavy on unprovable and unsubstantiated pseudo-history regarding who inserted what into which text and canon and a blanket statement about medieval prejudice … yada yada.

        I wonder if your Old and New Testament language studies are powered by a desire to prove—or in this case, disprove—accepted and reliable biblical positions on homosexuality.

        You tell me. (And by the way, I did admit I was wrong in my second to the last reply to John.) Your turn.

        • Hey Patrick, if you want to follow the letter of the 1st Century Christianity without the sociological, psychological, and scientific understanding of things in the 21st Century be my guest. I refuse to.
          Remember that if you never had TB or Cholera you can thank modern science for that. Your argument is Iron Age thinking in the modern world.

          • Mason ‘The Line’ Dixon: It’s already over.
            Rocky Balboa: There aint nothin’ over till it’s over.
            Mason ‘The Line’ Dixon: Where’s that from, the 80’s?
            Rocky Balboa: That’s probably the 70’s.

        • I’d be happy to admit I was wrong… if I was. But I’m not. Sorry, Patrick, but I have 40 years of personal research in this, and I taught Hebrew and Greek, so I do know what I am talking about.
          Are you aware that “know” in Hebrew is an infrequently used, mild euphemism for sex? It was used only when the speaker/writer was trying to be delicate. “Infrequently used” means about ten times total, out of HUNDREDS of uses of forms of ידע yada. And in EVERY case, immediate context makes it clear that sex is meant. You think the crowd outside Lot’s house wanted to force the men inside to have sex? When was the last time a gang intent on raping someone politely asked permission to do so, using a mild euphemism for sex? (The form of yada they used was a polite request, not a demand.) You should also be aware that legitimate Bible scholars long ago stopped trying to link Sodom to homosexuality. Only those people who have not seriously studied the matter still do that. (The Mishnah, pre-Christian Bible commentary, goes into great detail regarding the sins of Sodom that led to its demise. A great many abominable things were going on there. Homosexuality was not mentioned.) (There’s also no such word as sodomite in the Hebrew and Greek texts, despite the fact that it appears in most English Bibles in one or both Testaments.)

          Your understanding of ἀρσενοκοῖται is also incorrect. “Arsenokoitēs is a Greek rendering for “one who lies with a male” [as with a woman]. ” No, it isn’t. Not even close.

          I would recommend you consult http://hoperemainsonline.com
          All of this is covered there in great detail.

          • Bill,

            What is YOUR understanding of ἀρσενοκοίτης (arsenokoitēs)? What do YOU say it means or can be translated reliably to mean?

            I’m curious. You say you taught Hebrew and Greek—where did you teach? Is your 40 years experience on this subject mainly from personal research? Are you self taught in both languages? Do you have a resume or CV available online? I went to the site you recommended, but will reserve my comments, for now. But I must ask—are you Rev. C.? If so, at what Bible college did you teach? And who is “Israeli instructor B.K.”?

            So many questions, so mysterious ….

            I looked you up under Bill Carey and William Carey and didn’t find anything on you. But I did find a language and literature university and an old dead guy. Is Bill Carey a pseudonym? And is that you in the photo or Stephen King?

            Thanks

        • Great word, Patrick! I can assure you that Bill is looking for material to copy and paste in an attempt to refute what you’ve written.

          Thanks again!

    • Hey Patrick. Can you write one of these two-bit fundie diatribes about my blog posts over on my blog. I would like to frame it and hang it on my wall as a major award—and show it off to all my friends at church. Have you ever met any nonfundie Christian that you do not hate?

  71. Bearing false witness doesn’t seem to be a sin progressive “christians” are concerned… considering their desire to tie SBC leadership to Trump. Out of the 187 initial signers of the Nashville Statement, only 10 publicly supported Trump. However, for your own justification, you promote the lie that all are in support of his presidency… while people such as Russell Moore and John Piper were clearly against his Presidency. Perhaps you should take a week off of your blog and meditate on the writings of J.I. Packer… a Canadian.. and also a signer of the Nashville Statement. Or better yet, develop an understanding that a Christian’s identity belongs in Christ alone rather than the idolatrous worship of our sexual desires.

    • Yes, and Russell almost lost his position with the SBC because of his opposition to Trump. Following the election, he saw where his bread was buttered and began towing the line.
      Why is this even being discussed here? Trump is not the issue; the Nashville Statement is the issue.

    • Mathew:

      You said:”Or better yet, develop an understanding that a Christian’s identity belongs in Christ alone rather than the idolatrous worship of our sexual desires.”

      Seems to me the signers of the Nashville Statement are awake night and day wondering about other people’s sexual desires. Just my 1/2 cents worth.

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  73. Did anyone here actually read the Nashville Statement, or just this article? It’s really not long; it takes about 5 minutes to read, and it is written in easy to understand English. It doesn’t take a college degree to read.

    You can read it at https://cbmw.org/nashville-statement/

    There’s a whole lot of misguided information being thrown around here. Please read it for yourself. As for the claim of going extinct… Followers of Christ certainly are dying out, there’s no question about that. It really is tragic but it’s not exactly shocking and it’s not something to run from or hide from. Jesus himself said “The gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” -Matthew 7:13-14.

    Jesus told us this would happen long ago.

    Timothy wrote: “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” -2 Timothy 4:3

    Timothy called this long ago too.

    I don’t understand. What is going on here? How are all of these people so misguided? The doctrine in the Nashville Statement has been unanimously affirmed by all Christians since the death of Christ. Only in this “progressive” culture has it changed. Can we seriously not look back 5, 10, or 50 years in the past and see this?

    • You forgot to sign off by saying: “Praise blonde-haired, blue-eyed, white-skinned, gun-toting Jesus.” You fundies have got your own-train load of itching ears and all too many sold-out fundie preachers willing to scratch them.

  74. John Pavlovitz is mentally deficient, and so are any of his supporters. You are the ones written about in scripture:

    Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[g] in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

    24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

    26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

    28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

    I wonder how well you will be able to twist God’s word when you face His judgment?

    • Matt; You come across as a mighty judgmental person IMO, We will all face our judgment including you. What will you say when you face His judgment?

  75. Dear John Pavlovitz:

    Uncritically acceptance of the ‘Russian’ election narrative is unwise.

    If you’re going to peddle the Russian thing, I want to know who in the intelligence community has indicated where, by whom or on what authority this election interference operation was initiated, what is its nature, the means used, how it was conducted, etc.

    The German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reports that the US Congress has taken the first steps toward Washington’s annulling of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

    Signed by Gorbachev and Regan, that treaty lead to a significant reduction in US nuclear arms in Europe. The danger now is that new missile systems will be constructed and deployed in Europe.

    The Pentagon has deployed seven US F-15C fighter planes to a base in Lithuania along with an additional 600 US airborne troops to the Baltics in advance of the war games. This comes at a time when Russia and the US are expelling diplomats.

    With Washington’s preparation for war in Europe, including the likelihood of nuclear war, already in advanced preparation, it is all the more imperative to demand truth in this matter.

    Jesus blessed the peacemakers. The Russian election offensive narrative is not the way of peace and not the way of Jesus.

    Blessings!

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  77. I could almost believe in this religion you preach. I almost said again, but you do not teach the toxic cult like thing I called Christianity. If I could believe in jesus again, I’d have you as my leader.

  78. Utica Statement on Theological Statements; An unofficial response to the Nashville Statement on Dirty, Filthy, Sex. ( I only have Six Articles instead of 14 because I am lazy and my writing partner can’t write or type or speak English).
    Let me know what you think or if you would like to become part of the “we”.
    Article I
    We (right now we is just me and my dog Scooter who is lying next to my chair while I write this) affirm that Jesus’ most damning public statements about sin were to the religious leaders and not the poor or marginalized.
    We deny that God desires to further marginalize already hurting people through publicly shaming them.
    Article II
    We affirm that Jesus demonstrated that true spiritual leadership is understanding that to be first is to be last and to live is to give up your life for others.
    We deny that spiritual leadership is best practiced through legislating morality from afar.
    Article III
    We affirm that spiritual leadership is best mediated through becoming all things to all people.
    We deny that spiritual leadership is making all people become you.
    Article IV
    We affirm that God loves everybody even self important gas bags grasping for relevance by burdening the afflicted.
    We deny Evangelical Christians, of which I am one, but not Scooter,(he is Anglican— smells and bells), are the ultimate arbiters of God’s opinions (even though we act like we do and actually believe we do).
    Article V
    We affirm that the love of God is best expressed through authentic relationship.
    We deny that it can be effectively shared transactionally, i.e. a broad damning generalized proclamation like this statement or the Nashville Statement on Dirty, Filthy Sex.
    Article VI
    We affirm that the timing of an announcement shaming the LGBT community so close to a natural disaster is incredibly insensitive given all of the past attacks by evangelicals blaming natural disasters on acceptance of the LGBT community.
    We deny any association with such flagrant douchebaggery although Scooter is kind of an a-hole but not that kind of a-hole.

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  80. Every one of the signatories of this so-called “statement” should be forcefully reminded of the words of Jesus in Mt. 18:6, Mk.9:42, and Lk. 17:2 (all in RED in my Bible!) of the penalty of causing OFFENSE to the children … aka, true Christians … causing them to fall away from the true Gospel message of LOVE and COMPASSION! Tie a heavy MILLSTONE about their necks and cast them into the depths of the sea!!! They are all DOMINIONISTS demanding that all believe as they do … and support their so-called president as he establishes their longed-for theocracy in America.

    • We also need to get the truth out: that Dominionists are against civil rights and against the Constitution. They want to create “The Republic of Gideon” as described by Atwood’s book “The Handmaid’s Tale”. This is what they want for America.

  81. “…We’ve tossed out all but a handful of quite debatable verses from the expansive library of Scripture…”

    What (besides personal preference) makes one verse more debatable than another?

    If it aligns with current social norms that the masses follow, does the instantly make it a little more shaky than the other ideologies of Scripture?

    Thankfully, the one that says “Judge and not be judged” is for a currently unknown reason on a much more firm and less debatable foundation.

  82. As it is in the struggle to maintain life, the beast in the last gasps of breath will act the most savagely to survive. This is what we are seeing today with these extremist views. They are in their final expression. It is a very dangerous time, but we must amass our strength to make sure the true teachings of tolerance, understanding and compassion are saved for all humanity.

  83. I can, with great confidence, list a few things Christ hates.

    He hates sin – which is defined in Scripture.

    He has and will condemn those who offer another “gospel” that is free from repentance.

    He will hold to account those who misuse His words…especially those who claim to be teachers.

    Christ is the head of His Church…comments here may claim it’s full of hate, is dying, is irrelevant, but those words are just the anthem the lost sing as they march down the broad way. Place yourself under Christ’s authority. For that, you need to go elsewhere than this blog.

  84. Pavlovitz is making a false judgment (how he loves to judge it seems) and bearing false witness. . . “We’ve made this “statement”, because those still listening to our message, aren’t interested in loving their neighbors as themselves, or caring for the least, or being the merciful Samaritan, or welcoming the outsider or washing people’s feet (or any of that annoying Jesus stuff). They just want an enemy to wage war with.”

    No, not really Mr. Pavlovitz. They are simply affirming what the scriptures teach and what believers have held to for 2,000 years. You clearly love the world and want to be loved by the world. That’s your choice.

    1 Tim 6:3-4
    3 If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 he is conceited and understands nothing.
    NIV

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  89. From someone who has always identified as a conservative evangelical, thank you and Amen. When I read that the NS had been published, I was astounded! I thought, “Really? We needed another one? We haven’t said these things enough?” The evangelical church has truly become a resounding gong and a clanging cymbal. So very sad with this entire past year.

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  91. ‘Christian America’ Dwindling, Including White Evangelicals, Study Shows
    By Kimberly Winston, Religion News Service 9-06-2017

    The future of religion in America is young, non-Christian, and technicolor.

    Almost every Christian denomination in the U.S. shows signs of growing diversity as white Christians, once the majority in most mainline Protestant and Catholic denominations, give way to younger members, who tend to be of different races, according to a study released Sept. 6 by the Public Religion Research Institute.

    And American evangelicals — once seemingly immune to the decline experienced by their Catholic and mainline Protestant neighbors — are losing numbers and losing them quickly.

    Americans are also continuing to move away from organized religion altogether, as atheists, agnostics, and those who say they do not identify with any particular religion — the group known as the “nones” — hold steady at about one-quarter [24 percent] of the population.

    The study, “America’s Changing Religious Identity,” contacted 101,000 Americans in 50 states. And while the survey spotlights transformations afoot in many religious groups, it also shows a seismic shift for a long-standing American religious powerhouse: white evangelicals.

    “This report provides solid evidence of a new, second wave of white Christian decline that is occurring among white evangelical Protestants just over the last decade in the U.S.,” said Robert P. Jones, PRRI’s CEO and author of “The End of White Christian America.”

    “Prior to 2008, white evangelical Protestants seemed to be exempt from the waves of demographic change and disaffiliation that were eroding the membership bases of white mainline Protestants and white Catholics,” he said.

    “We now see that these waves simply crested later for white evangelical Protestants.”

    Among the survey’s chief findings:

    · White Christians, 81 percent of the population in 1976, now account for less than half the public — 43 percent of Americans identify as white Christians, and 30 percent as white Protestants.

    More findings may be read here:

    https://sojo.net/articles/christian-america-dwindling-including-white-evangelicals-study-shows

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