Sandwiched in between Hurricane Harvey and Labor Day Weekend, Desiring God founder and teacher John Piper released his commentary on the Nashville Statement, authored and approved recently by many leading evangelicals “in the hope of providing a biblically faithful standard in our day” in regards to the “new ethical landscape” of sexual ethics.
TogetherLA.net published some of Piper’s piece, including links to the full commentary and statement, not necessarily as a point of editorial agreement, but to provide a platform for conversation. As stated in that post, we strive to be a platform that encourages unity, especially within the Church.
In tracking the subsequent wave of reaction I found a Facebook Live post, “My Thoughts on the Nashville Statement,” by Perry Noble, founder of The Growth Company and author of Unleash! Noble said he views the Nashville Statement as a wall builder, not representative of the Christian faith, and delivered an apology to the gay community as someone from the evangelical community.
“Let me say just for the record and right up front that I am a solid believer in Christian marriage, a man and a woman,” he said. “I believe that with all my heart, however, I believe that the Nashville Statement actually did more harm in regards to Christianity. I believe it did more harm than good because it was a demonstration of how Christians are interested in building walls and not bridges.”
After describing how a gay friend said to him after the Nashville Statement was released that he appreciated Noble’s stance on the issue of sexual ethics, but also appreciates that Noble speaks out “on behalf of people like me.”
“And he went on to say, ‘I’m thankful for guys like you who are way [more] interested in preserving a relationship over winning the argument,’” Noble explained. “I think that’s one of the problems in Christianity today is that we are way too obsessed with being right and in our obsession with being right we have isolated ourselves from a group of people that we were not called to condemn but rather have a conversation with.
“I believe we will reach way more people today if we enter into a conversation rather than condemnation.”
Noble said the subject is one that definitely should be talked about in the Church, but it should be preached in compassion, grace, and love “rather than condemning people and saying, ‘You’re evil and shouldn’t be doing that.’”
“Why in the world should we be drawing a line in the sand when we should be having a conversation,” he said. “Because, guess what, if someone is gay or someone is transgender they have a story and instead of trying to tell them our story, what if we actually sat down at a table and were willing to listen to theirs?”
Addressing people that are gay or transgender, he said, “I want to offer you an apology on behalf of an evangelical Christian (points to himself), who does not believe what those people… I do not adhere to what they said for the most part. I do adhere to Christian marriage, marriage between a man and a woman, but you know what, if you don’t agree with that I can still be your friend. I can still see eye-to-eye with you … I can still sit down and have a conversation with you. You know why? Because Jesus said, ‘Let the one who is without sin cast the first stone’ and I don’t have any rocks in my pocket.
“I want to tell you that I am sorry for the way you were treated, but I wanted to tell you that I truly do believe that the gospel is Jesus Christ, crucified on a cross, buried, [and] rose from the dead. That’s the gospel. Period.”