In 1987, a very important statement was formed to provide clarity on human sexuality titled, The Danvers Statement. The statement provided some helpful language on some difficult cultural matters back in 1987. Over these 30 years, many cultural complications have arisen on the issues of biblical sexuality necessitating another statement. The recent release of the Nashville Statement has provided quite a bit of cultural commentary and religious conversation. Should pastors and church members sign this statement or is it merely a document that will do more harm than good?
Over the past week, I have been extremely busy preaching out of state in a conference along with the typical ministerial responsibilities at our church on Sunday which prevented me from reading all of the articles in full until early Monday morning. After reading them and thinking through each affirmation and denial, I signed the statement. Not only did I sign it, but I think you should too.
Clarity in a Culture of Confusion
Anytime throughout history when Christians publish creeds, confessions, and statements of faith—it’s always done with a desire to provide clarity on important doctrinal issues. When the Nicene Creed was written, it was in response to the confusion provided by the false teachings of Arius. The same thing is true of the doctrines that we know as Calvinism. They were put into a systematic 5-point format in response to the false teachings of Jacobus Arminius and his followers.
Our culture today is swimming in a pool of depraved confusion regarding human sexuality. In the wake of the Obergefell v. Hodgesdecision, the United States is sill very much divided on the issue of homosexuality—and the rest of the world is watching. Our nation is headed down a dangerous road where other radical groups will soon press the law even further to see if they can have their way with other forms of vile sexual sin. In this present sexual revolution—the world needs more clarity, more light, and more truth rather than gray areas and confusion on what is acceptable in the eyes of God.
Affirming Truth Is a Loving Thing to Do
Anytime a person or a group of people draw a line in the sand, progressive postmodern and postChristian sinners will protest. The Nashville Statement has produced its fair share of protest, but should it be viewed as demeaning and hateful document? The truth is not always an easy thing to receive, especially when the truth hurts. In this case, the truth does offend people who have chosen to redefine marriage and reconfigure themselves sexually.
The Nashville Statement was formed out of love for the culture rather than hate. The hateful thing to do for a culture that’s confused about human sexuality would be to allow people to continue down a broken road without warning anyone The world needs to know that all humans are image bearers, and that marriage is one way in which God illustrates the gospel through human relationships. One of the greatest ways to hate a culture is to allow people to muddy the waters on gender specificity and continue to rewrite the dictionary on human sexuality to the point that male and female are stripped of their masculine and feminine characteristics. This is not God’s plan for humanity—and our culture needs to know the truth.
Affirmations and Denials Are Biblically Sound
The language of the Nashville Statement is founded upon the clear biblical texts regarding human sexuality, marriage, reproduction, gender distinctions, and the facts surrounding imago Dei within the whole of humanity. What the protesters fail to consider is that the statement is far more than a group of Christians getting together to craft their opinion and put it on paper. The words and sentences that form the affirmations and denials are built upon the foundation of God’s Word. Far more important than a group of Christians sharing their opinion is a group of Christians sharing God’s Word. That is what the statement intends to communicate clearly to a confused culture.
There Is Always Room for Improvement
No matter how strong the creed or how biblically saturated the confession, there is always room for improvement when it comes to human vocabulary. We are limited when it comes to articulating truth with language. Choices have to be made regarding terms, sentence structures, and specific vocabulary that make up each affirmation and denial. The goal is clarity, but not every sentence will always accomplish this goal—including the Nashville Statement.
One way to improve the statement would be to include biblical citations in the text (or at least at the bottom) so that as people read the affirmation and denials the text of Scripture can be clearly tied to the vocabulary choices that are used in the statement. It would also be helpful to provide a good dictionary of terms so that everyone can operate from the same source during the cultural conversation as opposed to using conflicting dictionaries.
Furthermore, the statement could have been written sooner. When the nation was going through the debate on same sex marriage and churches were drafting statements to amend their constitution and governing documents—the Nashville Statement would have served a good purpose to stand in open opposition to the cultural trends on same sex marriage before the ruling and would have provided assistance to pastors and churches in the process.
Don’t refuse to sign the statement based on superficial reasons. The statement is good, helpful, loving, and needed in our day. Take time to read through the statement and add your name to the list. Consider downloading it and e-mailing it to your church in order that believers in local churches can be kept up to speed with this important conversation and so that the church can be further discipled on these important doctrinal distinctives.
God has designed sex and human reproduction for His glory. When the marriage bed is held in honor, it brings glory to God. However, from the very beginning the devil has attacked marriage, the family, and human sexuality. Today’s sexual politics are fueled by the sexual revolution that comes in the wake of a long feminist movement that has changed the way we as Americans (and the world) views sex. Therefore, it’s essential for your child to learn about sex and human reproduction from a proper lens. That means, your child needs to learn these important lessons before arriving in that special science class.
Teaching Human Sexuality at Home
God has designed a classroom for sex education and it’s the home (Deut. 6; Prov. 6; Gen. 1-3). Parents should properly instruct their children on these important subjects long before they arrive in a classroom at the local school. Those who homeschool have a distinct advantage here because there will never be a deviation in the worldview that’s being taught. Those families who have their children in the public school settings will need to work overtime to make sure that a proper worldview on human sexuality is being taught and reinforced in the home—from a biblical foundation.
In 2016, California became the first state to add the LGBT agenda into the public school curriculum. After the new law passed and the new framework was adopted into the school system, it was highly praised by the California Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson who called it “a big win.” He stated the following:
This document will improve the teaching and learning of history and social science. It will give our students access to the latest historical research and help them learn about the diversity of our state and the contributions of people and groups who may not have received the appropriate recognition in the past. 
This change of public school teaching policy and curriculum revision means that children as early as eight years of age will be taught that some families have two moms or two dads. In the fourth grade, students will learn about Harvey Milk, “a New Yorker who was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977 as California’s first openly gay public official.” In the new framework of the California public schools, Chapter 5, “People Who Make a Difference,” states:
In Standard 2.1, students develop a beginning sense of history through the study of the family, a topic that is understandable and interesting to them…Through studying the stories of a very diverse collection of families, such as immigrant families, families with lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender parents and their children, families of color, step- and blended families, families headed by single parents, extended families…families with disabled members, families from different religious traditions, and adoptive families, students can both locate themselves and their own families in history and learn about the lives and historical struggles of their peers. In developing these activities, teachers should not assume any particular family structure and ask questions in a way that will easily include children from diverse family backgrounds. They need be sensitive to family diversity and privacy, and to protect the wishes of students and parents who prefer not to participate. 
While the California public school system recognizes the fact that second grade students have a worldview that’s being shaped, it’s their agenda to shape their worldview to paint a normal understanding of LGBT marriage—on the same level as an adoptive family structure. You can be sure that all other states will follow in the footsteps of California in their public school curriculum policies in the near future.
As I was reviewing the current sex education policies in my own hometown recently, I discovered that they begin introducing the subject of homosexuality and bisexual practices as early as the 5th grade and then reinforce it in the following years. The ancient agenda of the devil is to normalize sin and then once the society has bought the lie, the agenda increases with rapid intensity. That happened with abortion, divorce, and now it’s happening with perversions and social experiments with human sexuality. Parents must be faithfully teaching their children at home.
Teaching Human Sexuality in the Church
If the full counsel of God is being taught in the local church, human sexuality and reproduction will be expounded in the preaching. From the very beginning of the Scriptures, we find the command of God to Adam and Eve to, “Be fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:28). If the pastor is not preaching through an allegorical interpretative lens, when he preaches through Song of Solomon, he will need to explain the botanical metaphor of the lily of the valley in Song of Solomon 2:1—and we can be sure that it’s not a reference to Jesus’ love for the church.
All through the Bible, we see references to sexual immorality, sexual sin, and perversion of God’s design for human sexuality (1 Cor. 6:9; 1 Tim. 1:10; 2 Cor. 12:21; Eph. 5:3; Gal. 5:19; Heb. 13:4; 1 Cor. 6:9; Matt. 5:28; Mark 7:22; 1 Thess. 4:3-5; 1 Cor. 6:13-20; Heb. 11:31; Prov. 6:20-35; Lev. 19:29; Judges 16:1; and many more). How many times have you heard teachers skirt around the seventh commandment when teaching children about adultery? The point is, teaching and preaching on human sexuality in the presence of children can be intimidating for a pastor, but it’s the calling of a faithful pastor to preach the truth of God’s Word.
What better place to hear about human sexuality and God’s design for reproduction than from an open Bible in the pulpit of the local church? The moment that the science classroom transcends the pulpit, the devil wins another battle in this war on human sexuality. The worldview of the science classroom will be different than the worldview of the pulpit of the local church—or at least it should be.
Make sure you’re actively and faithfully developing your child’s biblical worldview in the home on the subject of human sexuality.
Make sure you have your family in a faithful Bible preaching church where the subject of human sexuality will be faithfully preached on a regular basis from God’s sufficient Word.
“California’s students will soon learn more LGBT history in schools” of the Los Angles Times, published on July 14<span style=”font-size: 11.6667px;”>th</span>, 2016.
See the 2016 History-Social Science Framework of the State Board of Education of California adopted on July 14, 2016—Chapter 5, “People Who Make a Difference.” – http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/hs/cf/sbedrafthssfw.asp [accessed 4-13-17].
Sex is More AND Less Important Than You Think – Trevin Wax points out the cultural problems with sex and rightly describes what God expects from His church. He writes, “The Church must not only say that sex is serious, but also show this to be the case. To ‘put sex in its place’ means that Christians will need to take sexual sin more seriously than our culture does.”
Target to Move Away From Gender-Based Signs – Denny Burk points to a recent news story that reveals the cultural agenda to move away from gender distinctions. He writes, “We’ve gone from traditional gender distinctions being outmoded to being “harmful”? Is it really “harmful” for the Barbies to be in a different section from the G.I. Joes?”
We live in a sex saturated culture. We must admit that we’ve become a pornographic society. Pornography appears in magazines and commercials each day, and we’ve become completely desensitized to the images. Marketing companies use sex to sell their products, and it works. Sex was created by God and should be considered good – along with the rest of His creation. However, God has a specific design and purpose for sex that must be understood. Premarital sex is a perversion of God’s design for sex and in this article I want to trace three specific reasons why God is displeased with sex outside of marriage.
Premarital Sex Violates God’s Plan Established at Creation
Although God’s plan spans back before creation, it was established at creation when He brought it to pass. When God created the world, He created humans and designed our bodies – including our sexual organs. This was all in step with God’s original plan, and it was good. What wasn’t good was for man to be alone, so He created a woman and presented her to her husband Adam (Gen. 2:18-25).
Genesis 2:24-25 – Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.  And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
In this passage, we see that marriage and sex are both rooted in God’s original creation. God’s plan for one man and one woman is grounded in the creation order, and it’s precisely in God’s original plan where we find sex. To abuse God’s original plan by reversing the order of sex and then marriage is to tamper with God’s design for sex. History is replete with examples of what can happen when people abuse the good gift of sex. The abuse of sex leads to broken relationships, disease, single parent homes, and the list goes on. Sex should always be respected and kept within the confines of marriage.
Premarital Sex is Immoral
There is no specific word in the Bible for premarital sex. However, if you read the words of Paul to the church at Corinth, you can see that it was always a known fact – sex outside of marriage is not permissible.
1 Corinthians 7:2 – But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.
Paul’s counsel to the church at Corinth was for every man to have his own wife and each woman to have her own husband. The point is clear, they were struggling with sexual temptations and sexual sin. In order to avoid the disaster, Paul encouraged them to marry! Once again, this points back to God’s original plan for marriage and sex. It was to be a package deal – not separated from one another. Sex goes with marriage and only inside of the confines of marriage.
God’s Word addresses sexual immorality approximately 25 times. In 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, we see these words:
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality;  that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor,  not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;”
The words in English, “sexual immorality” consist of one Greek word – (πορνεία) porneia in the original text. The idea here is sex outside of God’s original plan and intent. We see this same word used in several places in the Scriptures, and it’s always condemned by God (Gal. 5:19; Rom. 1:29; Eph. 5:3; Col. 3:5; Rev. 2:21). Paul made it abundantly clear in his letter to the church at Thessalonica that such sexual practices were not God’s will for His people. In fact, Paul said to abstain from such practices. In other words, to practice porneia (sexual immorality) is to dishonor your own body.
Premarital Sex Turns God’s Gift Into an Idol
God has made it clear from the beginning that He is a jealous God and that He disapproves of all types of idols (Ex. 20:3). To worship the creation rather than the Creator is a direct violation of God (Rom. 1:25). To be engaged in sexual immorality is to elevate sex to a form of idolatry. Rather than viewing it as a gift for the marriage bed, the sexually immoral man not only violates the marriage bed but he violates God.
In 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul’s warning about sexual immorality also contained a warning about violating God. In 1 Thessalonians 4:7-8, we read, “For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.  Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.” Premarital sex dishonors your own body (1 Cor. 6:18), dishonors the person you’re having sex with, and tragically it dishonors God.
God will judge the sexually immoral. That’s clear from Hebrews 13:4, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” To play around with the sacred gift of sex is a dangerous thing. Before you enter the bed with someone you aren’t married to, remember the promise of God’s judgment. God always keeps His promises. Remember that sex is designed to be used within the marriage that He designed – not a cheap repleca. No matter who seeks to rewrite God’s definition of marriage, it will not be marriage in the end, and all sex outside of God’s original design for marriage is immoral and it dishonors God.
Sex is a beautiful gift given to the husband and his wife. It should not be a shameful thing. Shame is only connected to sex when it’s abused and used in a way that dishonors God. Be on guard in our sexual culture. Be wise and avoid the traps of sexual immorality. God’s gift of sex is cheapened and abused in our pornographic culture. Be on guard.
John MacArthur writes, “The first characteristic of sexual sin is deceit. It never delivers what it promises. It offers great satisfaction but gives great disappointment. It claims to be real living but is really the way to death.”1
The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, 1 Corinthians, Moody, 1984, p. 147.