Letter to the Editor: Why I Signed the Nashville Statement
I am glad to be a signer of the Nashville Statement, and I would sign it again tomorrow without hesitation. The purpose of the Nashville Statement reaffirms the position of the church on key points of contemporary contention regarding human sexuality and the nature of the human person. Such questions were settled for centuries but are now openly debated in our culture and even our churches. Therefore, it remains timely and important for evangelicals to clarify the biblical view of human sexuality, and to affirm the authority of Scripture and the historic teachings of the church. A variety of notable figures—Rosaria Butterfield, Francis Chan, Sam Allberry and John Piper—signed this statement to edify the church and clarify biblical authority. Contrary to some critics, it is not meant to be a pastoral counseling document, rather the statement provides theological clarification.
Biola’s theological distinctive—which states, “Biblical marriage consists only of a faithful, heterosexual union between one genetic male and one genetic female, and biblical marriage is the only legitimate and acceptable context for a sexual relationship”—reflects the broad outlines of the Nashville Statement. Accordingly, I view signing as affirming publicly what I affirm privately every year when I sign the Biola doctrinal statement—a along with every other Biola faculty member. Is the Nashville Statement perfect? Perhaps not. Is it a good statement? I believe so. We shouldn’t let the “perfect” become the enemy of the “good.”
I signed this statement as an act of love and kindness for my students who increasingly receive subversive or vague messages on human sexuality. The Bible affirms that we all have eternal importance, which far outshines and outweighs any limited identity we may construct for ourselves. As image-bearers of God, we are more than our sexual desires and impulses. None of us need to be trapped or held captive to our appetites. This is a message of hope and freedom. True freedom comes when we discipline ourselves, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to obey the teachings of God’s Word. Then we can finally feel the joy and peace of an ordered soul and God’s purpose in our lives.
Jesus said in Matthew 16:25, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Thus, self-denial, and not just the sexual realm, is key to a life of freedom lived under Christ’s Lordship. Let us be clear: it is not “unloving” to affirm biblical truth, because such truth directly seeks the highest good for all of us. When the church misunderstands doctrine, moral confusion ravages our soul and saps our ability to flourish as God’s beloved.
Perhaps the Nashville Statement will play some part in rallying the broader church to stand for biblical truth on marriage and human sexuality. I pray it will. Either way, I am thankful to teach at Biola where I can freely proclaim the truth of God’s Word without fear and, most importantly, with love.
Darren Patrick Guerra
Associate Professor of Political Science