Dr. Richard Land an Initial Signatory on Nashville Statement Affirming Biblical Sexuality
Evangelical Leader and Southern Evangelical Seminary President Hopes Statement Addressing Same-Sex Relationships and Transgenderism Will Help Churches, Families and Schools Consider Cultural Topics Biblically
CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Evangelical leader and president of Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES, www.ses.edu) Dr. Richard Land was an initial signatory to the “Nashville Statement” on biblical sexuality, which was driven by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and supported by allies and friends.
Land was part of the drafting and approval process and said he hopes the statement will be used by churches, Bible study groups, families, schools and other Christian organizations to understand how to address biblically the issues of same-sex relationships and transgenderism.
“The Nashville Statement is a statement by Christian scholars of many different Christian traditions who have come together with a set of affirmations and denials, affirming a biblical sexuality,” Land said. “And it is all about the question, ‘who and what is a human being?’—the mega ethical issue of our age. The challenge of how to biblically address transgenderism is different from same-sex relationships, in that same-sex relationships are addressed directly in Scripture in ways transgenderism is not. This statement is an attempt to help Christians respond to the transgender challenge biblically and Christianly.”
The statement includes 14 articles (three examples below) that explicitly state the signers’ view of the godly design for marriage and sexuality:
WE AFFIRM that God has designed marriage to be a covenantal, sexual, procreative, lifelong union of one man and one woman, as husband and wife, and is meant to signify the covenant love between Christ and his bride the church.
WE DENY that God has designed marriage to be a homosexual, polygamous, or polyamorous relationship. We also deny that marriage is a mere human contract rather than a covenant made before God.
WE AFFIRM that self-conception as male or female should be defined by God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption as revealed in Scripture.
WE DENY that adopting a homosexual or transgender self-conception is consistent with God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption.
WE AFFIRM that 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.
Land also recorded his daily radio feature, “Bringing Every Thought Captive,” on the topic.
“I believe this is a powerful statement and will have tremendous impact on the Church,” he said. “As the preamble says, Western culture has become increasingly post-Christian, and as such, has embarked on a massive revision of what it means to be a human being. It is now common to think that human identity as male and female is not part of God’s beautiful plan, but is, rather, an expression of an individual’s autonomous preferences. We are persuaded that faithfulness in our generation means declaring once again the true story of the world and our place in it—particularly as male and female.
“The preamble affirms,” he continued, “that Christian Scripture teaches that there is but one God who alone is Creator and Lord of all. To forget our Creator is to forget who we are. We did not make ourselves, and we cannot know ourselves without knowing Him. We are not our own. Our true identity, as male and female persons, is given by God. It is not only foolish, but hopeless, to try to make ourselves what God did not create us to be.”
Land further commented that the Nashville Statement affirms Christians’ responsibility of proclaiming that no one is beyond God’s redemptive grace and mercy. Consequently, the statement ends with the following affirmation and denial:
WE AFFIRM that Christ Jesus has come into the world to save sinners and that through Christ’s death and resurrection forgiveness of sins and eternal life are available to every person who repents of sin and trusts in Christ alone as Savior, Lord, and supreme treasure.
WE DENY that the Lord’s arm is too short to save or that any sinner is beyond his reach.
“Seldom, if ever, has there been a time when our culture has more needed Christians to speak the truth in love with unmistakable clarity,” Land concluded. “The Nashville Statement emphasizes and seeks to meet that responsibility.”
Besides Land, other initial signatories include John Piper, founder, teacher and Desiring God Chancellor of Bethlehem Seminary and College; James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family; Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission; R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council; John MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church and president of The Master’s Seminary and College; R. C. Sproul, founder and chairman of Ligonier Ministries; Marvin Olasky, editor in chief of World Magazine; Alistair Begg, reverend of Parkside Church; Jerry A. Johnson, president and CEO of National Religious Broadcasters; Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church; Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; Stephen Strang, founder and CEO of Charisma Media; and Michael L. Brown, president of the FIRE School of Ministry, among many others.
The full statement may be viewed a www.CBMW.org/nashville-statement. The web page also includes a download link, the list of original signers and a link for others to sign on as well.
Land will use the Nashville Statement as background for his address titled “Who and What Is a Human Being?” at SES’s 24th annual National Conference on Christian Apologetics this fall. One of the largest events of its kind, the two-day conference will welcome the nation’s top apologists, scholars and thinkers, who will delve into headline-making topics on Oct. 13-14 at Calvary Church in Charlotte, N.C. For 25 years, SES has been educating Christians about how to best defend their beliefs.