Evan, we hardly knew ye…

 

I became a Christian (“got saved” as we called it back then when it was an OK phrase), because someone went off and left a Bible open, and I found it and read it, and called out to God for forgiveness and salvation. It was not because some group of people somewhere sent me a list of the social, political, and cultural or even theological opinions I had to have to be a real Christian.

What Do I Mean?

 

A few days ago, in August 2017, the Nashville Statement was released by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood[1]. It presents itself as an affirmation of a Biblical view of sexuality. However, many of us see several traps within it, along with some narrow and abusive judgments of what it takes to be in the Will of God.

Long ago, the word “evangelical” was a good word. This is where the article title comes from. “Evan”, short for Evangelical, we hardly knew ye (you). There was a time when evangelical simply meant that we enjoyed, experienced, and told the good news for all to hear. But, many younger and middle-aged adults of today have not been able to see Evangelical Christianity without a social and political agenda, stitched on poorly, with the coarsest of threads. Secondly, as has been a problem since the early church, Moralism is still being substituted for the Gospel. The idea that we have got to get people to behave in certain ways is Pharisee-ism, not the Gospel. Let’s let the indwelling Christ within the believer be the true “hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27)

I was converted in my teen years, and had a church around me and welcoming me in wonderful ways. Little did I know then that this church was one of the best, and not all churches or religious leaders would be so kind, and Christ-like. It was not a church in the Reformed Tradition (another term popularized these days), but rather was a church (denomination) with a history of autonomy, with a high view of scripture, with a strong belief that each believer has a relationship with Christ in which they are discipled primarily by the Jesus who lives within us[2]. Wow!

Every now and then we would hear that things like the Apostle’s Creed, or the Nicene Creed, did have some good things to say, but we were reminded that these were not inspired scripture, and we had developed as a denomination without “official creeds”. With the 20th century arising and tightening of Fundamentalism it seems that more and more groups want to add to the definition of Christian. This is one of several reasons why I am troubled by, and why I reject the Nashville Statement.

Let me say it like this… I became a Christian (“got saved” as we called it back then when it was an OK phrase), because someone went off and left a Bible open, and I found it and read it, and called out to God for forgiveness and salvation. It was not because some group of people somewhere sent me a list of the social, political, and cultural or even theological opinions I had to have to be a real Christian.

The Nashville Statement has some truth within it, but the presence of truth doesn’t guarantee accuracy throughout, nor does it guarantee that this truth is spoken in love, or spoken with a good motive in mind. There are many places within the statement where no scriptural reference is made, none at all.

What is stated in those spots is a religious label or concept, which may have come out of someone’s well meaning interpretation at some time in the past. These general phrases have become popular in many circles, but, but, but they have not become scripture. I speak of phrases such as… divinely ordained differences, creation order, creation design, God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption,

When people use these phrases, it is often assumed that there is a scriptural definition of what they mean, and that there is a scriptural list of qualifiers which define what they mean. An honest and unbiased look at the scripture shows that these assumptions are just not so. There is no such thing in scripture as a “creation order” which links certain roles to males or females. Nowhere in scripture is anyone ever called the “priest of the family”.

Yet, people often use these phrases to keep people, especially women, “in their place”. (A goal of both racism and sexism.) While the Nashville Statement on the surface is about LGBT issues, between the lines there is traditional sexism.

I particularly noted one review of the Statement, which points out a problem at the core of both sexism and the role rigidity of the anti-feminist agenda. Retha Faurie, a writer in South Africa (where she has seen lots of social change), and a person I consider to be a good theologian, says this about the problem[3]

“Some feminists argue…  We should stop expecting of men/ women/ boys/ girls to fit into certain looks-and-behavior boxes. This would help youth who are not fitting the boxes to still accept their own biology, while embracing their non-gender-stereotypical personalities.”

The suggestion here is that “role rigidity” is in fact forcing some people into developing a third, or fourth, sexual group. …not the only factor behind the numerous LGBT issues, but it may certainly be one of them.

May I also suggest a blog article by Tim Fall,  “The “Nashville Statement” Fails to Understand God’s Plan for Women and Men[4]. Look for this article at timfall.wordpress.com There are many other great articles on his delightful blog… “Just One Train Wreck After Another.

 

 

One Last Statement

I Cor. 15: 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

This is the only “statement” I need.

 

 

 

[1] CBMW was founded in 1987, largely in opposition to the organization, Christians for Biblical Equality, which had arisen in the 1980’s. CBE states that rightly interpreted, the Bible teaches the basic equality of male and female, in church, society, and marriage. See http://www.cbeinternational.org

[2] We heard terms like Priesthood of the Believer, and Soul Competency, and learned to grow in grace and the knowledge of Christ, as individuals as well as within the fellowship of other believers…

[3] Biblicalpersonhood.wordpress.com

[4] timfall.wordpress.com

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About geraldfordcounsel

I encourage people for a living.... By that I mean I am a Minister, a Licensed Professional Counselor, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and a Writer, with a private practice in Sugar Land, Texas. My Office Phone is 281-277-8811
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One Response to Evan, we hardly knew ye…

  1. Tim says:

    Thanks for the shout-out, Gerald. And I am totally with you on looking to scripture words like 1 Corinthians 15:3 as the only gauge for whether I belong to Jesus.

    Like

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