My Austin, Texas friend Kevin Lance Lawhon is a celibate believer who lives with persistent SSA, is a PCA member, and SUPPORTS the Nashville Statement.
Kevin commented on one of my Nashville Statment articles and I asked for and received his permission to post his comments as an addendum to the blogs I’d written already. I especially appreciate his remarks on identity – something those here who know of the talks on Clarity and Charity that I’m preparing will have heard me say many times. PLEASE read his excellent contribution to this discussion.
Thank you! And ‘Thanks’ especially to Kevin!
David, thank you for both of your blog articles. I appreciate your insight and pastors heart.
Let me start by saying I’m a celibate believer who lives with persistent SSA. It’s been a rough road. I’m a member of a PCA church in Austin (Jay Simmons was my pastor) and have taught on the subject of SSA and the Gospel.
I read the Nashville Statement and found it a breath of fresh air. Why? Because it marks a clear boundary against the world’s teaching and acts as a dam against the onslaught of heresy (such as that of Matthew Vines which you correctly pointed out).
Sure, our standards are strong. But this meant a lot to me because at least for this season I can know that my denomination will not stray from the truth of biblical sexuality. It is a comfort to know that we aren’t falling away into heresy like several other denominations.
Like Greg Johnson, the road I walk is a difficult one. I need to know my church will be the ark to carry me over the waves of the world’s temptations. I listened to Greg’s impassioned call to not endorse the Nashville Statement. I heard the passion in his heart but I don’t agree. There should never be a modifier before the identity of Christian. Yes, our deceptive hearts might not change. Yes, it’s a terribly awful road that we walk (what is wrong with his congregation that no one will invite him over for Christmas?). But that doesn’t mean that he or I must be labeled with the term homosexual as our identity.
All of us as believers must put aside the lies of sexual “identity.” Greg even introduced himself that way. He said he was a Christian with SSA. I’m the same way. When we stray into stating we are “gay Christians,” then we are missing the point of who we truly are. Christ is our foundation, our true identity. I recommend Janell Williams Paris’ book “The End of Sexual Identity.”
So I agree with the Nashville Statement. It explicitly states that people with my struggles are loved and a welcome part of Christ’s family. That’s fantastic! It hasn’t always been the case. Certainly not in the 80s when I was coming of age and scared. Should Nashville have contained a note of repentance? Maybe. But I’m not going to get worked up over it. It fulfilled its telos.
In terms of ministering to folks like me, this isn’t the document to use, anyway. This is a formal declaration a la Church Council, not a pastoral document. There are plenty of other amazing resources to employ. I’d be happy to recommend some.
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