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.
This past weekend I was sitting in my living room watching a football game that I wasn’t interested in because there wasn’t a baseball game on, a marathon (or any foot race) to watch, or a better football game to choose from. While sitting there, a commercial came on that grabbed my attention and elevated my pulse far more than the boring football game. The commercial was in form of a short video by the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association). The advertisement contains an agenda that transcends collegiate sports. Near the end of the advertisement, two female athletes make the following statement, “Genders don’t play sports, athletes do.” As the commercial ends, a statement appears on the screen: Creating equal opportunities for college athletes.
What Is Gender?
The gender of a person is part of the fabric of the individual’s identity. Male and female are the two possible genders as God designed His creation in the beginning (Gen. 1:27) when He created Adam and Eve as the progenitors of the human race. In short, there are no other options available. However, in recent months our progressive culture has sought to craft new boundaries, new options, even no options at all in the gender debate.
Today, it’s possible to have a man with all of the signs and indications of masculinity using the restroom designated for women because he “self identifies” as a woman. This has caused great tension in the public gender debate and in the wake of the landmark decision of the Supreme Court of the United States to legalize homosexual marriage in in all fifty states.
According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, the word gender as it pertains to humans is “the state of being male or female (chiefly in cultural or social contexts).”  Although much change has occurred in recent years on this very subject and the boundaries are continually being pushed, to exist as a human being involves being either male or female. This is visibly evident in the physical traits of a person, including the body parts of each individual person.
Why the “Gender Bender” Agenda is Harmful
You might have heard the rumbling story of Nattaphon “Ice” Wangyot who made history at Alaska’s state track meet, becoming the first transgender student-athlete to compete individually for a high school state championship back in the 2016 track season. Wangyot, a Thai native who was born male and identifies as female, qualified and competed in the Class 3A girls’ sprints at the state meet, capturing third place in the 200-meter dash (27.3) and fifth in the 100 (13.36). 
Is Wangyot really that good? When you examine his times, if he had been forced to run against the male students in the men’s race, he wouldn’t have made the finals in the 100-meter. In fact, he wouldn’t have made it to the state meet. The slowest runner in the 100-meter race was Jacob Rogers from Holy Rosary Academy who ran a 12.47. His time was the 17th fastest in the preliminary races, and he didn’t make the finals. Rogers’ time is much faster than Wangyot, but he was able to capture the 5th fastest time in the women’s state meet because he self identifies as a female.
In the end, the gender bender policy of the NCAA is killing competition in women’s sports. Male athletes who would otherwise not rise to the top are able to do so by competing in women’s events. This is not only true in high school but in collegiate events as well. This will harm true competition for women athletes. In a world that demands equality for women, this gender bender identity policy by the NCAA will do just the opposite. The very organization that prides itself in “Creating equal opportunities for college athletes” is pushing an agenda that refuses reat women as women.
Why Have Boundaries in Sports?
If you’ve ever played a sport, or watched one on television, you know about boundaries. In football, there are sidelines that border the field. If a wide receiver catches a pass from the quarterback outside of those boundaries, the pass is considered incomplete. In golf, if your ball lands in the water hazard, you will be penalized for it. In basketball, the playing surface has boundaries around the court in order to contain the playing area within those specified boundaries. If a play is made beyond those lines, it results in a turnover in possession. If football field sidelines, water hazards, and basketball court boundaries are treated as absolutes, why should gender be treated with such relativism by the NCAA?
As the debate continues to grow in our culture, are we prepared for the man who self identifies as a dog to be allowed to compete in The National Dog Show? We’re living in strange times where common sense, logic, and absolutes are completely ignored and rejected. The problem with that type of world is that it doesn’t exist. The very minute that we treat the laws of nature with a relativistic attitude, we will certainly do bodily harm to ourselves and people around us. The real world is full of absolutes, and that includes the subject of gender. If gender is merely a social construct, why can’t we treat boundaries in athletics in the same manner? Do rules and boundaries really mean anything?
The NCAA may not see it this way, but they have entered the perverse revolt against God. We are living in a sexual and moral revolution that is twisting and spiraling out of control into the abyss of human depravity. The NCAA can’t remain socially consistent in their positions. While running advertisements on national television stating, “Genders don’t play sports, athletes do”—the very website of the NCAA makes a clear distinction between men’s and women’s sports. The inconsistency is striking.
The NCAA will never be able to bypass God in the gender conversation. Just as the NCAA is accustomed to reading rule books and operating by the set boundaries of various sporting events, it would do them well to read the boundaries instituted and crafted by God regarding human gender and sexuality. When pronouns are replaced with abstract neuter forms to bypass masculinity and femininity, God doesn’t lose—we do. We all do. Our children do. So will the world of athletics. You can make a word neuter, but you can’t make an athlete neuter. An athlete will always be male or female. Athletes are human. John Piper provides helpful wisdom on this subject in an article titled, “Male and Female, Created in God’s Image” found at CBMW.org. He writes:
The tendency today is to stress the equality of men and women by minimizing the unique significance of our maleness or femaleness. But this depreciation of male and female personhood is a great loss. It is taking a tremendous toll on generations of young men and women who do not know what it means to be a man or a woman. Confusion over the meaning of sexual personhood today is epidemic. The consequence of this confusion is not a free and happy harmony among gender-free persons relating on the basis of abstract competencies. The consequence rather is more divorce, more homosexuality, more sexual abuse, more promiscuity, more social awkwardness, and more emotional distress and suicide that come with the loss of God-given identity. 
Catherine Soanes and Angus Stevenson, eds., Concise Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).