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The Nashville Statement is a vision of Christian salvation, Trump-style

Article 10 of the Nashville Statement. Screenshot

(RNS) — When the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and the evangelical Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood released their joint “Nashville Statement” on Tuesday (Aug. 29), they tipped their theological hand.

The statement aims to clarify conservative evangelical positions on same-sex relationships and transgender identity. These positions are not new, nor are they particularly clarifying. They simply restate, perhaps in a more concise form, the condemnations that conservative evangelicals already express in faith statements and denominational policies.

But there is something fresh happening in the Nashville Statement that caught my, and many others’, attention. An underlying theological principle that was perhaps somewhat covert or subtle previously is now being openly pressed. And this principle, I believe, is a key reason for the magnitude of the outrage that has occurred in the hours and days since the statement’s release. It strikes at the very heart of American Christianity’s current cultural transition.

Article 10 of the statement makes this principle plain:

WE AFFIRM that it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism and that such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness and witness.

WE DENY that the approval of homosexual immorality or transgenderism is a matter of moral indifference about which otherwise faithful Christians should agree to disagree.

The affirmation that approving of same-sex relationships or transgender identity is sinful and an essential departure from the faith is stunning, precisely because the cultural transition in which many Christians find themselves has them opening up to different perspectives on these issues.

In other words, this article stridently widens the swath of those now targeted by conservative gatekeepers.

The word “essential” is key here, referring to the long-standing evangelical principle: “In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in all things, charity.” To deny an essential aspect of Christian faith is, from an evangelical perspective, a total parting of spiritual ways. It is an occasion for the famed theological “farewell,” an automatic excommunication by doctrinal departure. It is, actually, damnable — the kind of thing that will get you an eternal life sentence in hell. One strains to see the charity in such a perspective, but I digress.

Two granddaughters of anti-gay preacher Fred Phelps protest in front of a Lutheran church in Topeka, Kan. RNS file photo by Chris Knight

The denial is, perhaps, even more remarkable in how it circles back to remove all doubt about this sin of approval. It is, the drafters say, impossible for faithful Christians to hold differing positions on this matter; they cannot agree to disagree. As I observed more and more left-leaning Christian voices reacting to Article 10 on social media, I wondered if the drafters or signers would try to soften this statement or backpedal a bit. But Denny Burk, president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and key architect of the statement, doubled down Wednesday afternoon:

“Readers who perceive Article 10 as a line in the sand have rightly perceived what this declaration is about. Anyone who persistently rejects God’s revelation about sexual holiness and virtue is rejecting Christianity altogether, even if they claim otherwise. Or as the apostle Paul puts it, ‘For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality. … Consequently, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you’ (1 Thess. 4:3-8). The stakes are higher than the revisionists want you to believe, and The Nashville Statement aims to clarify that. … The Nashville Statement leaves no room for such revisions nor does it leave ambiguity on the question.”

The unambiguous high stakes trumpeted by Burk and the statement effectively threaten LGBTQ people and their supporters with the ultimate consequence: hell. What does it say about conservative evangelicalism in this country if disagreement on this one matter eliminates the possibility of redemption? As many others have highlighted in the last two days, there has been no statement drawing a line in the sand about Christians who tacitly support President Trump’s sexually immoral comments and lifestyle choices. Nor have there been any statements excommunicating Christians who take Trump’s xenophobic positions on immigration and refugee resettlement. And where, we might ask, was the Charlottesville Statement clarifying the damnable status of conservative Christians who flirt with white supremacy?

Why should such Christians reside in a decidedly ambiguous, and entirely safe, gray area while, for the targets of the Nashville Statement, there is no ambiguity? It is black and white. And that is revealing.

The Trump era thus far has been revealing for conservative evangelicals in precisely that sense. And if the Nashville Statement doesn’t clarify much about evangelical positions on sexuality and gender issues, it certainly reveals much about the theological heartbeat that currently animates the American evangelical movement. A Christian salvation available only to those who agree in condemning and excluding LGBTQ people is in keeping with a commander in chief who demands the exclusion of transgender troops, refugees, immigrants. It is a strikingly Trumpian brand of redemption that saves by statements of division.

Sure, our country might be embroiled in a racial crisis and reeling from a natural disaster. But if the deep-seated theological agenda is exclusion, then the Nashville Statement is perfectly timed. What we desperately need in our nation is healing. What we will keep on getting from evangelicals, I fear, is a deeper wound, and a line in the sand that cuts like a knife.

(Zach Hoag is the author of “The Light Is Winning: Why Religion Just Might Bring Us Back to Life.” Find him writing at zhoag.com and follow him on Twitter @zhoag. The views expressed in this opinion piece do not necessarily reflect those of Religion News Service)

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Zach Hoag

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  • The Nashville Statement has nothing to do with “Trump style”. It just repeats with clarity Christian doctrine which has been held by the Church during all the 2000 years of her existence. One cannot embrace Christianity partially. True repentance of sins and faith in Christ is an all-compassing deal, as Cardinal Sarah succinctly put it, it is “God or nothing”. Remember that it is this Gospel doctrine for which Christians faced persecution in the Roman Empire. They were called haters, as they are called haters now. But if one carefully reads the Nashville Statement, it is abundantly clear that there is in fact a truly compassionate and loving statement of the biblical standards on sexual morality. It is even broader, the position taken by the Bible and Jewish tradition since times immemorial, and which unites Orthodox Jews, Catholics and Protestants. The modern rejection of these moral standards leads to paganism.

  • This is just pathetic. One day we are going to wake up to breaking news of Dobson and Perkins having been discovered in some flea bag hotel after a long night of smoking crack and smelling of man on man sex.

  • And what did 2000 years of Christian doctrine have to say about the automobile, the internet, and the cellphone? It is called evolution.

  • The Church once excommunicated people for saying the earth revolved around the sun (a clear contradiction to the Bible and the church’s teaching). It was a line in the sand that could get a person killed. If 100% agreement on everything the Church teaches or has taught for 2,000 years was a requirement for acceptance by God as one of his beloved children, there is likely no one alive who would be a quality. The supporters of this statement better pray God is not as picky as they are.

  • According to evangelicals now, what defines a True Christian (TM) is exactly how anti Lgbt they can be.

    Forget the resurrection. Forget salvation, forget sacrifice, forget anything Jesus had to say.

    I think their fists must get sore from punching themselves in the face. But maybe not.

  • “as Cardinal Sarah succinctly put it, it is ‘God or nothing’.”
    This would be the same Cardinal Sarah who announced that gluten has sacerdotal value?

  • The same thing was true about Jew hatred.1900 years of officially sanctioned antisemitism led to the murder of 6 million.

    Sometimes, people just grow up, and put away their childish things.

    Sometimes they never grow up.

  • Disappointed that the ability to disagree has been closed down. Don’t ask questions or argue otherwise seems to me an easy way to increase the number of hypocrites in the pews or to clear some of the pews. However, there is nothing wrong (unfortunately) with a church community deciding to make such a ruling – in or out on a single issue. Hopefully, those that become disenchanted will find their way to another denomination where doubt and questioning are part of one’s spiritual journey.

  • If one Christian says John 3:16 is true, and another Christian says John 3:16 is false, then the problem can’t be solved by saying, “Let’s agree to disagree.” Band-Aids AIN’T gonna work.

    The Christian who is denying John 3:16 is wrong. Denying the word of God, and opposing the salvation that God offers through Jesus Christ. No sugarcoating that sin, Linda. But we wouldn’t look down on him or stress out. We’d try to dialogue, find out why he’s denying John 3:16. Try to caringly, prayerfully identify and replace his skeptizoid reasons, with some Scriptural, rational, empathetic reasons to accept the factuality and accuracy of John 3:16.

    But if such efforts fail, he likely won’t be comfortable attending a John 3:16 church. And he won’t be teaching or preaching at OUR church. He will probably, like you said, move to a more liberal denomination — like maybe the Methodists, who are currently split up & bleeding to death.

  • Don’t see anyone denying John 3:16. Seems to me that when the closest people to Jesus including Peter (the rock of the church to come) and Thomas who denied and doubted repectively, that there is something non-biblical about closing the door. And contrary, at least in my mind, to 1 John 4 – and I am not even going to narrow it down.

  • 1st heard of NS over at Sojourners with brother Jim Wallis getting irked by it. Downloaded NS and quick-read it this afternoon train ride. Can’t comment yet. Just this. Brother floydlee’s right about Mohler & Burke, key editors of NS. Then I saw DA Carson & Russell Moore’s names too. This is serious “statement” stuff. Wallis even called it a “manifesto”; one to know, he is. Used to release a bunch of those himself back in the day, proto-social justice warriors’ manifestoes.

    Point is you all better read NS word for word. Doing it tomorrow.

    Thanks floydlee for believing there’s hope for me yet 🙂

  • We Methodists are doing quite well, thank you. We have a noisy caucus of right-wing extremists who are well-organized, but so does the United States, and the nation isn’t falling anytime soon.

  • You overstate its precedents. Sure, there was Torquemada, Calvin, and Cotton Mather, but by and large extremism in the Christian religion while influential, is a distinct minority, just like the Taliban is to Islam, and for the exact same reason.

  • Pretty much any sane and moral person would. It’s telling how they have to coerce and blackmail people into support for the malice and bigotry it expresses.

    So what is the typical conservative refrain? “You are only calling me immoral just because we disagree.”
    🙂

  • Trying to blackmail people into accepting a morally repugnant agenda fits both Trump and the Nashville Manifesto.

    There is nothing moral or compassionate about threatening damnation if one fails to embrace hate as both do.

  • This is another example of consistent behavior and belief. It took the Southern Baptists how many decades to acknowledge their racism? So why should anyone be surprised that they’re still being evil and anti-Christian when it comes to LGBT folks.

  • And don’t forget that sometimes they deny (usually, by ignoring entirely) what they’ve believed and done in the past.

  • Sorry, that’s not correct. Read, for example, James Carroll’s great book Constantine’s Sword, which details the history of structural (and other) Jew hatred by “Christians”.

  • No. You Methodists are NOT doing well — and I would say this even if I supported gay marriage & gay clergy.

    You folks are in an unprecedented crisis — the biggest crisis of your lives. I’ve tried to read every article & opinion piece from all sides, ever since the last big convention. This situation is as amazing as it is horrific.

    You’ve got lots of good people there, and I’ve met a few. But THIS time you’re up against Godzilla On Steroids. He’s winning.

    The 2019 Commission Gig will NOT save your people, unless the bishops all 100% go back to the Bible, and take the painful step of enforcing church discipline.

  • Okay , so with John 3:16, we seem to halfway agree that you can’t have one Christian saying it’s true and another Christian saying it’s false. No middle ground. Jesus’s role in John 3:16, is literally indispensable to salvation.

    But what if there are OTHER Bible verses in which Jesus’s role is indispensable to salvation?

    You see the picture now. A Christian who denies such a text, is just like a Christian who denies John 3:16. (And remember, Jesus kindly gave Thomas evidence to remove his doubts, but He also spoke directly against the doubts: “Don’t be faithless, but believing.”)

    So look at 1 Cor. 6:9-11. Just like John 3:16, it doesn’t just single out one group, but catches all of humanity in its net. And it clearly shows Jesus is indispensable to salvation, by what He does. So when pro-gay-marriage Christians say that 1 Cor. 6:9-11 is false, can you see how their denial undercuts the Gospel …?

  • Well, at least you apparently read my post, so I can’t revile & slander you for that.

    But don’t you worry, I’m working on some new R & S material that will cheese your burgers! (Just gotta make sure they’re cooking properly!)

  • Well thank you too HpO, for you kind words. Hope is such a powerful thing. God may do a free miracle or blessing for you at ANY time, ANY day, wherever you are in life (yes, this even applies to gays and atheists too), just from the overwhelming power of the hope He gives.

    If one person, just one person, says “I was sick & dying but God healed me and doctor is stumped” or “I was jobless and almost out of food but then God sent food money and then they hired me next day,” you can feel a tiny sliver of hope rising up in your belly. “Maybe God will help ME somehow,” you say. “Maybe He will help MY loved one, even though I do not believe in Him and am sick of those fundies,” you whisper. God gives you hope, even if previous prayers “didn’t work.”

    Hey, I know I do a lot of debating & brawling HpO, but I always want you to know that, regardless of any disagreements, I see God creating big shocking blessings and solutions to whatever things you call on Him for, (or even dream about but you’re too scared to tell Him.) He works things out.

    I ain’t no “prosperity preacher”, but I have been given a lot of hope to pass around to anybody & everybody.

  • I’m sure you are, can, and will. But at least you are admitting what you are doing. Unfortunately, you don’t really believe you are, or that it will be OK with Jesus, because Jesus always forgives every sinner, always.

  • Christian doctrine also spoke with clarity about slavery–it was perfectly OK and God had rules for it. I guess all the abolitionists were just haters who wanted to get rid of God’s Perfect Word which allowed for the ownership of human beings.

  • “What does [Nashville Statement] say about conservative evangelicalism in this country …?” That’s my only segue to my comment below, brother Zach Hoag; sorry. Summed up, it’s my fellow born-again brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus’ Conspiracy to Silence about their own dirty laundry or launderers: Evangelical Porn-Addicts and Adulterers. If that’s my conclusion, then here’s my thought-experiment behind it:

    Q: Who is The Coalition for Biblical Sexuality in their Nashville Statement attacking, and who are they covering up, and how do we know this?

    A: Let’s count their target groups one by one, repeated ones included. This way the listing in the order given of the frequency the groups being mentioned, serves to prove whom they’re picking on, bullying even, and whom they’re looking the other way from, condoning even. Here’s my inventory:

    (1) HOMOSEXUALS are 6 times singled out and implicated in Articles 1, 2a, 2b, 7, 9 and 10.

    (2) TRANSGENDERS are 6 times singled out and implicated in Articles 2a, 2b, 7, 9, 10 and 13.

    (3) POLYGAMISTS are 4 times singled out and implicated in Articles 1, 2a, 2b and 9.

    (4) POLYAMOURS are 4 times singled out and implicated in Articles 1, 2a, 2b and 9.

    (5) UNSPECIED OTHERS are 3 times singled out and implicated in Articles 2a, 2b and 9.

    (6) BORN-AGAIN CHRISTIAN PORN-ADDICTS AND ADULTERERS are 0 times singled out and implicated in all 14 Articles of the Nashville Statement – even after 3 years since Charisma News broke this news in the article, “Shocker: Study Shows Most Christian Men Are Into Porn” dating October 7, 2014: “A new national survey of Christian men reveals shocking statistics pertaining to high rates of pornography use and addiction, plus rampant sexual infidelity among married Christian men. … These alarming statistics are not limited to those who nominally consider themselves Christian. Those who identify themselves as born-again Christians have similar struggles with pornography and affairs”!

  • Nothing’s changed in what I said sincerely last night, after a speed-reading of Nashville Statement. What they said is truly manifesto-stuff and I would recommend it HIGHLY to Bible Christians struggling/experimenting with LGTBQ ideas and practices. It’s what they didn’t spell out about themselves that now troubles me deeply about those in America who call upon the name of the crucified, buried and resurrected Savior Christ Jesus.

  • Hey, I support unfettered anal intercourse as much as the next guy but you know these people may have a point. Let’s go to the Bible and see.

  • Hopefully your reply was a clarification and not a defence of the church. No they didn’t – Galileo recanted and likely others were afraid to voice their views. Bruno was burned at the stake. Apologists will point to his other heresies as the primary reason but his views on astronomy were enough to have him killed.

  • Funny that they weren’t enough to get Copernicus himself killed, since he was the guy who started the whole thing. His work was published and in circulation and causing no problem whatsoever for a full sixty years before the Galileo fiasco ever materialized (that’s kinda like from the 1950s to the present — :-p). In fact, his work was used by the Church itself when they threw out the Julian calendar to replace it with the Gregorian.

  • Unfortunately, while you acknowledge that there is a broad group of humanity included in the passage, there is a problem with meaning/interpretation and a spin-off focus focus on gays .

    Article 10 not only ramps up the issue as an essential belief and simply shuts the door on a question that many Christian scholars have asked as to why Paul simply did not use the Greek word paiiderasste? Unfortunately, Paul did not write in English(and resulting in several different versions of the passage which also generally preclude lesbians which I also see as a problem in terms of understanding intended meaning) but we do know that he advocated for celibacy as to best spiritually commit ones self. Gay marriage is a different issue that I don’t see addressed by Corinthians.

  • The ability to disagree has not been closed down. But some evangelicals are going to have to grow a spine and say so. Does John Piper, Trump supporter, get to “farewell” everybody he doesn’t agree with? Only if the other evangelicals let him. But this is going to be tough for them — they are going to have to stand in front of the 20-somethings who will demand an answer and say what they think.

  • All the people that say that Christians never hated gays and it just started happening just recently need to take a history lesson. Christianity has always hated gays to the point of punishment,discrimination,and even death.. Stop painting Christianity and Christians like it they have been great to gays at some point. They have been consistently horrible to gays across time and Trump represents the religion perfectly…

  • Or better still, let’s stop going to anal intercourse before you go anywhere else, and then let’s stop using words like “unfettered”.

  • Crisis equals opportunity. If we can jettison the right-wing nuts in our midst we’ll succeed in our mission.

  • As a United Methodist myself, albeit of a still scripture-studying congregation, you are unfortunately correct. Indeed the Wesleys, heroes of the faith that they were, would be grieved at the apostasy and deception and spiritual deadness that is spreading among their nominal heirs.

  • “why Paul simply did not use the Greek word paiiderasste?” Because paiiderasste is limited in meaning. If he used that, then no doubt people would argue that he only meant to prohibit sex with boys (pais = child, boy). “Arsenokoite” covers it all, for arsenos = male.

  • Copernicus’ book wasn’t published until his death so he didn’t have to worry. Galileo made things bad for himself with the Dialogue insulting the pope. But the church labeled it heresy in 1615.

  • Even if Copernicus’ work in its final form was not published until shortly before his death, his theories were certainly no secret in Europe during his lifetime. They were the subject of a number of lectures and essays by noted astronomers of his day and drew the interest of Pope Clement VII. No executions, hardly even a ripple. These pop myths need to go.

    What the church mainly objected to was the teaching of heliocentrism as fact and not theory — and indeed the necessary proof of it did not come along until much later. Some of Galileo’s arguments for it, in particular, were patently absurd.

  • 15 decades to be precise. From the time the SBC was founded, based on the fact that they wanted to call a slaveowner as a missionary, to 1995 when they finally admitted their racism.

  • Paul seems to be very clear on this subject in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. He even covers it in Romans 1:26-27 where lesbianism is not precluded. Additionally, in 1 Corinthians 7, he consistently speaks of marriage as being a union between a man and a woman, which would imply that a marriage consisting of anything else would not be recognized by God. If a union between a man and a man or a woman and a woman is not recognized by God, we go back to the same issue presented in chapter 6. These unions would be considered as falling in the list that appears in verses 9-11. How are we able to get around these Scriptures? I am not a Trump supported in the slightest bit. I also do not identify with “American evangelical Christians.” However, the Scriptures speak for themselves and support many of the affirmations made in the Nashville Statement. We understand that Jesus forgives all sins, but he also expects us to turn away from them. Many are conflating forgiveness with acceptance. He does not accept sin. His love is not offered at the expense of his truth and righteousness.

  • Was slavery intended to be permanent? Was there a commandment for having slaves or was God regulating the treatment of slaves if a person owned them? How were the Jews supposed to treat slaves? Was the treatment in any way similar to the treatment of slaves in the Americas? Was slavery motivated by the idea of a superiority of race in ancient times? I ask these questions because God’s word is indeed perfect, and God is perfect and righteous. So if I see that slavery was permissible to a certain degree by God, then I have to believe that there was something different about slavery in the mind of God than what we have seen being carried out by humankind during our age or that he overlooked slavery for a time without punishment (i.e., forbearance). Your comment seems to indicate that God was okay with something that was wrong until we decided that we should stop practicing it. I don’t believe that is the case. I also don’t believe that the case of slavery can be made equivalent to that of same-sex acts and unions.

  • Damnable heresies have always been condemned as they popped up to infect Christianity. It’s just that the so called “Christian Homosexual” movement is the latest one.

  • These fourteen points laid out in this statement are so incredibly basic. There is absolutely nothing controversial or sensational about it. These are fundamental biblical teachings that Christians in every part of the globe have held to for literally thousands of years. There is not one bible believing regenerated Christian who disagrees with these statements. They are not in anyway hateful or bigoted. The fact that there is so much backlash is evidence of just how far Christians have been swayed from Gods word. This statement is full of clear lines and redemption for sinners. For example adultery is a sin according to Gods word let’s say in twenty years there is an enormous movement that declares not only is it not a sin but God himself affirms it, that doesn’t change the fact that it is a sin it is destructive and contrary to what God wants for us. Furthermore if I had a brother who was cheating his wife I would tell him it’s sinful not because I hate him but because I love him. True followers of Jesus don’t hate sinners we love them enough to tell them the truth of what God clearly says no matter how unpopular that becomes and we will continue to do so. Let me say for all my Christian brothers and sisters we love homosexuals and denounce hatred of all sorts, give your heart to Jesus turn away from sin confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is Lord and you will be saved, and you will be changed forever in this life and the life to come God bless you and keep you.
    Sincerely Arman Kaymakcian

  • “…lgbt…lgbt…lg…oh! SQUIRREL!…two words!
    Southern Baptist Church…”

    Ummm…that’s actually three words…

    “YOU BIGOT!!!”

    Lol.

  • More than likely in a few years the liberal mainline denominations will merge. The UMC is in complete fellowship with ECUSA, ELCA, UCC, and UP. It’s just a matter of formalizing it once we jettison our dead weight.

  • Yeah, the dead weight is what is causing any growth at all in your church. And I think you all should join in complete fellowship too. That way you can all go out together – like on the Titanic.

  • How come evangelicals and fundamentalists are not trying to get adultery and some of the other Ten Commandments encoded in state and federal laws as illegal? Are they any less of sins? Not according to Paul. Homosexuality didn’t even make the cut into the commandments yet that and same-sex marriage are the core components of Christian sharia.

  • Sorry, Ben. Let’s split the difference. Let’s stick with the reference to “anal intercourse” -arguably a definitive act, you can look it up- and substitute “unbridled” for “unfettered.”

  • Looks like the right-wing churches are facing precipitous decline too. Joel Osteen just damaged his brand terribly. Look at polling concerning people born after 1982 – your lot is doing worse than we are. It’s all about numbers to those with mercenary motives.

  • No need to apologize. Unless you’re into S&M or sex with horses, unfettered or unbridled are simply products of your over fervid imagination. But whatever you need to think.

  • You start from the place where the bible (as you understand it) is incontestable and try to fit people around that position.

    I start from what I see as the reality of people’s existences and therefore cannot but find the concepts you value to be inhumane and morally corrupt.

    At least one of us is wrong.

  • Don’t stop – I’ve just got back and laid in the popcorn!

    Haters hate don’t they – and religious haters have to hate each other when the rational ones are away!

  • The Nashville Statement is not about getting anything “encoded as illegal.” It is about clarifying doctrine. There is no need to clarify doctrine about the wrongness of adultery. Nobody is asking the church to celebrate it.

  • You sure you’re in the right thread? They do have threads for people like you…I hear they come with free tin-foil hats.

  • Well, if we take the Bible as all truth, we will accommodate our lives to the Bible, not accommodate the Bible to our lives. If we were meant to do the latter, we would determine our own method of salvation (which is what is done in this world) instead of following the plan that God lays out. What is the use of the Bible if we are not using it to guide our lives? The Scriptures are the way God speaks to us in order for us to know how to regulate our lives. There is a way that seems right to a man but its end is the way to death. It is not in man who walks to direct his steps. We must rely on the word of God to conduct our lives. This doesn’t mean that we live perfect lives, but we don’t just sin and expect God to accept it.

  • From my perspective it is the signers of Nashville who have abandoned John 3.16 since they are saying that anyone who is gay, intersex or trans is beyond redemption (unless they lie about their circumstances).

    It ruins the message of John 3.16 by making straight, cis-genderedness, or the appearance of it a pre-requisite for salvation, whereas the classic evangelical message is that salvation requires faith alone.

  • Feel free to wait. Sorry I couldn’t set up your canned argument.

    I can’t help it if the typical conservative refrain here is a bit half-baked as arguments go. 🙂

  • That’s a good question. However, I don’t think anyone can truly answer it. A question that can be answered and that is relevant to this conversation is why do we exist. Ecclesiastes 12:13 says, “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” We do not follow our own commandments. We don’t live according to our own guidelines. We are to fear and respect God and to do what he says. Many times we want to appeal to our own logic and experience, but the Scriptures tell us that the wisdom of God is much greater than the wisdom of man. He knows what he is doing and the reason why he is doing it. I know it’s hard because we all struggle with things. I don’t deny that. I’m just making an appeal to return to what the Scriptures say. If we indeed believe that the Bible is the inerrant, infallible, inspired word of God, it must be our starting point.

  • If you don’t know why you think there is a god surely the sensible thing is to look for a reason – either valid evidence or an indisputable need. I can’t find either.

    Quoting the Bible simply means that you are investing the words with a value they can only have if there is a god – something you presumably believe despite not knowing why you believe it. Can you see that, to an unbeliever, this is not rational thinking?

    To a seeker, as opposed to a convinced but unjustified believer, your approach is unreasonable.
    Why should we believe the Scriptures, I’m assuming you mean (a particular version of?) the Bible, be the word of God, inerrant or otherwise, if we don’t know why we suspect there is a god to have a word?
    Why should we start with a return to scripture, and why to that particular scripture, unless we have some way of knowing why we do so?

  • I understood your question as why do you think God exists (i.e., why is there a God?), and not why do you believe in God? I also didn’t realize that you were an unbeliever, which changes the whole converstaion. My concern is LGBTQ Christians, not unbelievers.

  • OK – My words were imprecise.

    You wrote – “I ask these questions because God’s word is indeed perfect, and God is perfect and righteous. ”

    1 – What makes you think that there is a god?
    2 – What makes you think that there is a god who is perfect and righteous?
    3 – What makes you think that the Bible (any version) is “God’s word”?

    I’ll readily grant that if you can demonstrate 2 and 3, and that they refer to the same “God”, the Bible must be perfect (and therefore righteous?). Otherwise the statement you made is nothing more than an opinion, no doubt sincerely held, but an opinion nonetheless and no more valid than any dissenting opinion. And if you can’t demonstrate the requisite knowledge then surely your statement should read “I ask these questions because, in my opinion, God’s word is indeed perfect, and God is perfect and righteous. “

  • God explicitly accepted homosexuality with David and Jonathan’s loving and more than platonic relationship, and the centurion’s sexual relationship with his pais. Gay marriage was also celebrated in the early church with such martyrs as Sergius and Barcchus, who are explicitly refered to as lovers.

  • Dear Chris, if you in fact believe that God created men and women to be homosexuals rather the heterosexuals, and if you’ve searched the scriptures prayerfully and find that God is indeed affirming same sex marriage that is your decision to make according to how you understand it further more I don’t believe that factual evidence will be enough to change your mind and more importantly your heart I am not interested in convincing you otherwise. I leave that between you and God. I believe that you are actually fully aware of the truth of Gods word and I believe that your merely suppressing the truth because it doesn’t coincide with the homosexual life style you’ve chosen to live in direct defiance and rebellion to God. I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide you in all truth according to Gods Holy Word. May he richly bless you and chasten you as a Father chastened his son he knows your deepest thoughts and feelings and he loves you and longs for a broken and contrite heart God bless you

  • Actually I did, have and continue to search the scriptures, history and cultural evidence, mixed with scientific facts of intersex births and the Biblical affirmation of Born Eunuchs (which I see as intersex), and Roman law affirmation of Married Eunuchs (meaning eunuch where not all celibate) combined with the history of Sergius and Barcchus, I’d say I’m in good hands. Combined with Jonathan and David’s not so subtle chemistry and covenant, and how men are part of the bride of Christ.

    If you are curious about Sergius and Bacchus, I’ll link you this history lesson; http://christianity-revealed.com/cr/files/whensamesexmarriagewasachristianrite.html

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