Nashville Statement sparks controversy in Christian Circles

Written By:

Nathan Ecarma, Editor-in-Chief

A recent survey showed 62% of Americans support same-sex marriage and another showed 54% of Christians support same-sex marriage. 

Responding, a host of evangelical leaders coalesced in Nashville on August 29 to draft and sign a statement about current gender and sexuality trends holding to the historical orthodox Christian stance.

They met during the Southern Baptist Convention’s yearly Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission at Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville to sign the Nashville Statement.

Russell Moore, Jackie Hill-Perry, Sam Allberry, Rosaria Butterfield and Christopher Yuan discuss on a panel. Image: ERLC

The Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) released the statement and 161 prominent Evangelicals initially signed it: J.I. Packer, R. Albert Mohler Jr., John Piper, H.B. Charles Jr., D.A. Carson, and R.C. Sproul.

Those who led homosexual lifestyles before their conversion or experience same-sex attractions supported the statement: Rosaria Butterfield, Sam Allberry and Christopher Yuan. Many others have signed, including Bryan College’s own, Drs. Judson Davis and Stephen Livesay.

Signing is open to the public on CBMW’s website.

The preamble of the statement stated, “in the hope of serving Christ’s church and witnessing publicly to the good purposes of God for human sexuality revealed in Christian Scripture, we offer the following affirmations and denials.” The statement follows the usual form of a manifesto with both affirmations and denials.

Article 1

WE AFFIRM that God has designed marriage to be a covenantal, sexual, procreative, lifelong union of one man and one woman, as husband and wife, and is meant to signify the covenant love between Christ and his bride the church.

WE DENY that God has designed marriage to be a homosexual, polygamous, or polyamorous relationship. We also deny that marriage is a mere human contract rather than a covenant made before God.

Without even entering the secular sphere, the community has met the statement with opposition and disgust.

Rachel Held Evans is a notable alumna of Bryan College. Her recent book is Searching for Sunday.

Bryan’s alumna Rachel Held Evans shared her feelings of the statement on Twitter:


Evans co-signed one of the many oppositional statements.

The Liturgists, a group founded by Mike McHargue, drafted it to support LGBTQ ideals. Several other groups have drafted their own statements in opposition to the Nashville statements: Christians United, Chicago and Nazareth. Kate Shellnutt of Christianity Today wrote, “America’s top complementarian leaders have shifted their focus from gender roles to gender identity.”

In an article for CBMW, Butterfield wrote, “I signed the Nashville Statement because the wolves are prowling, and the lions are

Rosaria Butterfield speaks and writes advocating for Historic orthodox values. Image:

roaring, and because they are bold and proud of their heresy, and because you must be warned. By God through the merit and power of Jesus Christ, here I stand.”

President Livesay signed the document because he believes Christian leaders must take opportunities to affirm the teaching of Scripture, especially when culture contradicts clear teaching of Scripture.

Livesay explained the timeliness of the document: “There is much public discussion on the question of sexuality and the discussion is very prevalent within the church; hence a response is warranted.”

Livesay continued, Canadian officials declared that parents cannot teach their children about their sexuality, if they do not comply, they will suffer penalties at the government’s hands.

Carl Trueman, Westminster Theological Seminary professor of church history, did not sign it and critiqued the statement for being a document only for those who already believe in its theses.

R. Albert Mohler Jr. has a daily podcast called the Briefing where he does cultural commentary. He devoted an entire episode to the Nashville Statement.

Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological seminary said, “we in fact are acting out of love and concern for people who are increasingly confused about what God has clarified in Holy Scripture.” 

Mohler believes the statement is an act of love, as it clarifies the Christian position on confusing LGBTQ issues.

Current trends in sexuality and gender force Christians to make a choice: stand with the historical church or walk beyond it.


Nathan Ecarma studies Bible, journalism and language. He serves on the Worldview Initiative and as a Editor-in-Chief of the Triangle.