Arsenal on Nashville Statement

For those who don’t know, the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood recently put forth a statement on biblical marriage called the Nashville Statement. Many are treating this like an act of the church, on par with the Westminster Confession of Faith, or the Apostles’ Creed. But there are many problems with this. Tony Arsenal points out that the main problem is that CBMW is not the church, and does not have the authority to speak for the church.

As I also remarked in my comments on the Christology Statement. A parachurch organization is not a Church. It does not speak with the authority of the Church, and it cannot fulfill the obligations of the Church. The same is true when speaking of a non-ecclesiastical coalition of Christians, even Christians who are leaders in the Church. To put it bluntly, CBMW isn’t a Church, and the more than 150 signatories are not a Church.

The prescribed vehicle for the Church to speak is the pulpit. The prescribed time for the Church to speak is the Lord’s Day. The prescribed representative to speak on behalf of the Church is the ordained Elders who are tasked with speaking from the pulpit on the Lord’s Day. This may seem pedantic, but the fact of the matter is that the only time that the Church speaks prophetically (that is, when she speaks the words of God, on behalf of God, in the presence of God, and with God’s authority), is when the Scriptures are exposited and preached in the gathering of God’s people. To issue a statement like the Nashville Statement in such a way is not only not to speak as the Church, but in point of fact undercuts the authoritative speech of the Church on such subjects.

Arsenal also goes on to make it clear that the Nashville Statement is unnecessary and redundant:

The Church has already Clearly Said Everything the Nashville Statement Says

Nothing that is said in the Nashville Statement is new. The Church has been teaching the same thing on the same subjects for millennia. There is not a single signatory who would deny that statement. Why are we reinventing the wheel and allowing nonauthoritative, nonecclesiastical, and piecemeal collection of Christians (many of whom we would disagree with on significant theological subjects) determine and pronounce what the Christian Church believes… when we already have authoritative confessional documents which more clearly say the same thing.

Personally, I’ve been hesitant to jump on the Nashville-Statement bandwagon. Most of you know, I’m hesitant to jump on any bandwagon, but a bandwagon from an organization that is not the church, especially so. I developed a hesitancy of supporting para-church organizations many years ago because so many of them try to usurp the authority and place of the church and fail to be in submission to the church. CBMW and The Nashville Statement are clear example of this usurpation on the part of a para-church organization.  I’m grateful to Tony for pointing that out to us. Along with the two above reasons, and the Nashville Statements lack of biblical support, I won’t be signing it. I have taken a vow to uphold the Westminster Confession of Faith. I think that is enough.

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4 thoughts on “Arsenal on Nashville Statement

  1. Just asking, Timothy. You refer to “the Nashville Statement’s lack of biblical support.” Are you saying that the positions they took in the statement are not biblical, or are you simply setting it aside because they didn’t include the biblical references in their statement? Are you actually opposed to the positions, or are you opposed to groups taking positions when those groups are parachurch groups, not actual church groups?

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    1. I should have been more clear. Opposed because they didn’t offer biblical references for support. Leaving out the references is sloppy and opens them up to the charge of it being mere opinion.

      I’m not opposed to the positions taken, but opposed to a para-church group taking it.

      Also, it’s redundant because our confessions spell out our positions well enough.

      Hope that helps.

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      1. One would like to think that “our confession spells it out well enough” would be sufficient. It would be shortsighted, however. Even biblically shortsighted. After all, how many times did God command, for instance, that we love Him and love our neighbors? Wasn’t once enough? (And what does the Confession say about transgender? That insanity is too new.)

        This is why the Nashville Statement is so important. Yes these truths have been affirmed and stated over and over for a long time in already existing documents such as the Westminster Confession and more. Yes the Bible is essentially clear on these positions. Yes the question shouldn’t even exist as to the correctness of the position. And still loud “Christian” voices complain that “these same American Evangelicals who wrote and signed the Nashville Statement have not produced similar statements in the past to condemn white supremacy, favoritism to the rich, discrimination against women, divorce, immorality, and other social ethical issues,” that the statement is “divisive”, and urge all believers everywhere to “rethink those verses, and discuss with witness of the Holy Scriptures, and say No to the Nashville Statement.” In other words, the Bible is clear, the Confession is clear, all of Church history on the subject is consistent, orthodoxy demands it, and, yet, the most public voices in American Christendom are shouting down the Bible (and any other historical support) in favor of “rethinking” it. “Did God really say …” is the question of the day from those who claim to be followers of Christ. You believe it is unnecessary because it has already been addressed. I think that if they’re willing to rewrite Scripture, relying on the Westminster Confession to solve the issue is not going to be sufficient. Not needed? I think a perfectly clear, clearly biblical, unequivocal statement on this currently hot and devisive topic in the church is critical. (I do wish they had included their biblical references. Someone else will have to do that, I suppose.)

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      2. Hi Stan, problem is that it’s not the church that is making the statement and it’s our job to point them back to the confession and the Bible. Let the louder voices shout forth against Scripture. We are to be obedient in stating what Scripture says. Since they didn’t use Scripture as there support, that is a real problem. It’s like they didn’t feel it was sufficient enough. the Scripture is sufficient. But alas, they choose to ignore it.

        Not sure I want to try and address the other issues you brought up.

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