The Nashville Statement and the Protestant Crisis of Authority

News: Commentary
Print Friendly and PDF
by Trey Elmore  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  September 4, 2017   

Statement binds no one, doesn't touch birth control, divorce and remarriage

You are not signed in as a Premium user; we rely on Premium users to support our news reporting. Sign in or Sign up today!

The Nashville Statement was published online on Tuesday, August 29 and was authored by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, which is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.

As Church Militant reported on Thursday, the Nashville Statement consists of 14 very brief articles, each of which "affirm" or "deny" various propositions related to homosexuality, marriage and transgenderism. Homosexualist Jesuit Fr. James Martin sent out a tweet storm in response to the declaration.

Free clip from CHURCH MILITANT Premium

WATCH MORE LIKE THIS


The Nashville Statement isn't the first publication of its kind. In 2009, the Manhattan Declaration, a document that spoke out against so-called same sex marriage, was cosigned by a group of Protestant, Catholic and Eastern Orthodox leaders. Protestantism in its early historical manifestations generated many "confessions of faith." Among these were the Augsburg, the Westminster, the London Baptist, the Geneva and the Thirty Nine Articles.  

Among the beliefs, which separated the Protestant revolutionaries from the Catholic Church, was that the Bible was clear enough to be interpreted without the aid or authority of a pope or a council or the commentaries of saints. This element of the Protestant Sola Scriptura doctrine came to be called the perspicuity of Scripture.

Protestant authors Norman Geisler and Ralph MacKenzie in their book, Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences, define the perspicuity of Scripture this way, "The perspicuity of Scripture does not mean that everything in the Bible is perfectly clear but rather the essential teachings are. Popularly put, in the Bible the main things are the plain things and the plain things are the main things."

The question begged by this Protestant teaching, especially as the Nashville Statement occupies headlines, is this: If the Scriptures are clear and interpret themselves, what need has anyone for statements and declarations? Is Scripture explicit enough? If so, all this press is over what amounts to a viral Facebook post? If not, Protestants are tacitly admitting the fatal flaw that has shattered Christianity in the West and sent thousands of souls to Hell.

Who are the homosexualist evangelicals who are now going to change their mind because a group of conservative leaders tacked their names onto a list of claims on the internet? It appears, in fact, they figured out they're as capable of generating a statement as the conservatives are. Counter statements include the Denver Statement, the Accurate Nashville Statement, the Christians United Statement and Fr. Martin's tweet storm.  

The reason Protestant homosexualists such as Matthew Vines, Troy Perry, Gene Robinson and Nadia Bolz-Weber aren't changing their minds, is that in Protestantism, their opinions are as valid as those of the Nashville signatories, counter statement or not. That is all the Nashville Statement can claim to be — a list of strongly held opinions about what the Scriptures mean. The Nashville Statement does not claim to speak with the authority of Jesus Christ, which He gave to His apostles before His ascension. If it did, the word anathema may have occurred somewhere in it.

Only the Catholic Church possesses the authority of Jesus Christ and has the capability of issuing statements which carry that authority. The Nashville Statement is an attempt by a group of Protestants to look, walk and quack like a magisterial authority without actually being one. They are soon to learn that what is good for the fundamentalist goose is good for the liberal gander.

Many a Protestant have swallowed that same red pill and converted to the One True Faith. Catholics should pray for these souls to receive this same grace.

As Br. Andre Marie pointed out on his website, the Nashville Statement admits the premises that have led to the very homosexualism and transgenderism that it seeks to combat by failing to condemn as unbiblical and un-Christian the practices of birth control, as well as divorce and remarriage:

When contraception is allowed, the marital act between husband and wife becomes lowered in its dignity to a mere erotic pastime. The contraceptive mentality, which essentially divorces the primary purpose of the marital act from sensual pleasure, is hedonism. There is little that separates that hedonism from that most perfectly contraceptive hedonism the Statement is meant to oppose: homosexuality.

Brother Andre goes on to ask:

If marriage is 'covenantal' and 'lifelong,' why do the signatories of the Nashville Statement not oppose divorce and remarriage as does the Catholic Church? Probably because, as I mentioned in my first point, above, they do not value marriage as a Christian sacrament. They are still, to this extent, attempting to live in the Old Testament dispensation.

 

Have a news tip? Submit news to our tip line.


We rely on you to support our news reporting. Please donate today.
Trey Elmore

Trey Elmore is a production assistant on the News Team.