On Not Signing the Nashville Statement
Just as we predicted on the podcast, signing the Nashville Statement has become a measure of one’s commitment to biblical sexual ethics and gender distinctions. These sorts of things are inevitable. One group drafts a statement and opens it up to signatures with all the right people and influencers signing gladly. Suddenly those who do not sign are immediately suspected of going all squishy on the truth. And almost like a reflex action the very thing has happened on social media regarding the Nashville Statement.
The whole thing reminds me of a scene from Seinfeld:
I suppose I understand why many Baptists believe in the necessity of such statements since they have not taken vows to uphold an historic confession of faith (excepting our Reformed Baptist friends). But Presbyterians should know better. We are supposed to take seriously the admonition against binding another’s conscience. Presbyterians also ought to understand why a fellow Presbyterian would not feel comfortable signing a non-ecclesiastical document such as the Nashville Statement. Bottom line: there are a whole host of reasons why someone who affirms the substance of the Nashville Statement would choose not to sign. And to call into question someone’s commitment to the truth because they did not sign is rather detestable.
There are three primary reasons why I am not comfortable adding my signature to the Nashville Statement:
1. It is a product of CBMW.
Why would I sign a document produced by an organization which has embraced Trinitarian error (the eternal subordination of the Son)?
2. It is not particularly useful.
I agree with the theses of the Nashville Statement. But because it is devoid of any substantive development of those theses wherein they are grounded in the biblical doctrines of creation and humanity I don’t see how it can be useful except for those who already believe. In other words, I could not give that statement to any of the university students in my community and expect it to actually assist them if they are skeptics. For the purposes of actually instructing, a document like that produced by the RPCNA is much more useful.
3. It is not necessary.
My views on biblical sexual ethics and gender are quite clear. I have a long paper trail and my sermons and podcasts are easily accessed online. Plus I have taken sacred vows to believe and teach according to the Westminster Standards. Given my first two issues the third naturally follows.