The Westminster Standards and a Nashville Statement

NOTE: The object next expresses a views of a sold named as a author and does not indispensably simulate a position of a WRF as a whole.

 

The Westminster Standards and a Nashville Statement
by

WRF Member Cameron Shaffer
cam.shaffer@gmail.com

 

The initial installment in this array will inspect a harmony of a Nashville Statement on Human Sexuality with a Westminster Confession and Catechisms. One of a criticisms of a Nashville Statement was a prolongation by a parachurch classification rather than a church. However, with a publicity of a Nashville Statement this past summer by a PCA this critique has been rendered moot. While we am not a member of a PCA, my possess EPC shares with it a same confessional standards. So, it was with good seductiveness that we watched a Reformed and Westminsterian sister-church announce a Nashville Statement to be biblically faithful. Both a PCA and EPC need that their officers vouch that they “sincerely accept and adopt a Confession of Faith and Catechisms of this Church as containing a complement of doctrine found in a scripture.” The Westminster Confession and Catechisms are not a final word on scripture’s teaching, nor are they a final word on a theme matter to that they specifically speak. However, what can be unspoken from this vouch is that for any additional devout matter to be deliberate biblically loyal it contingency be concordant with a Westminster Confession and Catechisms. The PCA reporting that a Nashville Statement is biblically loyal is not a same thing as a Nashville Statement indeed being biblically faithful, and a best apparatus to discern a biblical fealty is a harmony with a Westminster Confession and Catechisms.

It is my conclusion, that while a Nashville Statement agrees with a Westminster Confession and Catechisms on many points, it contradicts them in element and word almost adequate that a explain that they are concordant is incorrect, and therefore, a explain that a Nashville Statement is a biblically loyal request ought to be rejected. The are 3 vital incompatibilities between Nashville and Westminster: a inlet of sin, expectations for impiety and a trust in a life of a Christian, and a essential characteristics of a church.

NASHVILLE ON SELF-CONCEPTION AND SEXUAL IMMORALITY

The linchpin in evaluating a Nashville Statement is a tenure “self-conception.” This tenure is used around a Nashville Statement to imply people who brand and consider of themselves in gender terms or desires that deviating from God’s pattern in creation. Self-conception is how someone thinks of or perceives themselves. For instance, Article 7 reads,

WE AFFIRM that self-conception as masculine or womanlike should be tangible by God’s holy functions in origination and emancipation as suggested in Scripture.

WE DENY that adopting a homosexual or transgender self-conception is unchanging with God’s holy functions in origination and redemption.

A homosexual self-conception is not a same thing as homosexual activity, yet a proceed in that a chairman thinks of themselves. A homosexual self-conception is also not a same thing as homosexual desires, that Article 8 addresses separately, saying that people who trust same-sex desires “may live a abounding and cultivatable life appreciative to God by faith in Jesus Christ, as they, like all Christians, travel in virginity of life.” Adopting a homosexual self-conception, that might not indispensably embody homosexual desires, lusts, or activities, is unsuitable with God’s functions in redemption, while someone experiencing homosexual desires might live in virginity of life.

The Nashville Statement never specifically states that adopting a homosexual self-conception is outrageous or intimately immoral, yet it is an unavoidable and required finish of a teaching. Articles 9-10 use a denunciation of “sexual immorality” to report passionate activities outmost a finish of God’s approval. Article 13 states that God’s beauty in Christ (the redemptive energy of God, suggested in scripture; cf. Article 7) does not assent “self-conceptions that are during contingency with God’s suggested will.” If God in emancipation does not assent (i.e. assent or approve) self-conceptions that are during contingency with his suggested will, and if his will suggested in scripture teaches that adopting a homosexual self-conception is unsuitable with his will in redemption, adopting a homosexual self-conception is outrageous and intimately immoral.

The import of Article 7 is that “adopting” a homosexual self-conception is a choice, yet Article 13’s rejection possesses a broader range in that all self-conceptions discordant to God’s redemptive purposes, selected or otherwise, are sinful. The central Dutch and Mandarin translations of Article 7, respectively, bear this out as well:1

WE DENY that it is unchanging with these dedicated intentions when people wish to consciously see themselves and position themselves as persons with a homosexual or transgender identity.

We repudiate that someone noticing or noticing of themselves as homosexual or transsexual is in line with God’s dedicated purpose in origination and redemption.

Nashville’s justification is that it is outrageous to detect of oneself as homosexual, possibly or not homosexual desires are resisted or a chairman participates in homosexual lusts or actions. The reason for this is given Nashville asserts that such a self-conception is not usually discordant to God’s pattern in creation, yet discordant to a emancipation that he is courteously operative now in a life of a Christian. Therefore, a homosexual self-conception is passionate immorality, that is, sin. And this is accurately how a Nashville Statement has been understood, by its authors, signatories, supporters, critics, and several PCA presbyteries.  See https://www.reformation21.org/blogs/four-cheers-for-pca-approval-o.php  and  https://www.theaquilareport.com/two-pca-presbyteries-request-missouri-presbytery-to-investigate-greg-johnson-questioning-his-side-b-views/

THE WESTMINSTER STANDARDS ON SIN

The Westminster Confession and Catechisms pronounce of impiety in dual ways: a clarification of what impiety is and a outrageous condition of humanity. Sin is misdemeanour and miss of consent to God’s law (WCF 6.6, WLC 24, WSC 14). Actual transgressions of God’s law ensue from a shame of Adam’s initial impiety imputed to amiability (WCF 6.3-4, 6, “From this bizarre corruption… do ensue all actual transgressions. Every sin, both bizarre and actual, being a transgression of a dignified law of God…”; WLC 25, “The sinfulness of that estate whereinto male fell, consisteth in a shame of Adam’s initial sin…which is ordinarily called bizarre sin, and from that do ensue all actual transgressions…”; WSC 18). While a tenure “immorality” does not seem in a Standards, they benefaction “moral” as an verb of actions taken (e.g. WCF 19.1-5, 21.7; WLC 93-97). Immorality in a Nashville Statement corresponds to this clarification of impiety in a Westminster Standards.

 

The condition incurred on amiability as shame for this impiety are a estates of impiety and wretchedness (WLC 23, 25, 27; WSC 17-19). Humanity’s state of sinfulness is a shame of sin, miss of bizarre righteousness, crime of their nature, and being unconditionally conflicting to good and prone to evil. This crime of inlet is sinful, and all motions move from a crime are themselves impiety (WCF 6.5). This crime of inlet is what is historically called concupiscence [See https://reformed.org/documents/shaw/index.html?mainframe=/documents/shaw/shaw_06.html] and note #2 below].    This outrageous inlet is sin, in a clarity that it is outrageous in impression and from it deduction inclinations to tangible transgressions of God’s law.

Humanity’s state of wretchedness includes detriment of communion with God yet gaining his exasperation and curse, so that we are properly probable to all punishments for impiety in a world, including a miseries of this life. WLC 28 states that a punishments and miseries enclosed in this life for impiety are,

…either inward, as blindness of mind, a reprobate sense, clever delusions, softness of heart, fear of conscience, and vile affections; or outward, as a abuse of God on a creatures for a sakes, and all other evils that succeed us in a bodies, names, estates, relations, and employments; together with genocide itself.

Sin is violating God’s law. The estates of impiety and wretchedness inflict suffering, temptation, and some-more impiety on transgressors of God’s law. Not all that is inflicted is impiety itself, yet includes a consequences for being a sinner and vital in a sinfully damaged creation. This detriment is outrageous in a clarity that it lacks consent to God’s pattern and is a condition of a depressed world, yet is not impiety in a clarity of being tangible transgressions of God’s law. Some of this detriment is a outrageous crime of tellurian nature, disposing us to filth (the estate of sin). But some of this detriment encompasses a sufferings of this life that succeed us, possibly inwardly as a detriment of a communion with God, or presumably in a trust of a outrageous universe (the estate of misery).

This horizon can be seen in a Standards’ carnival of a 10 Commandments. WLC 138-139 states that a 7th Commandment (Thou shall not dedicate adultery) requires virginity in a affections and forbids “all soiled imaginations, thoughts, purposes, and affections.” Compare to WSC 71-72 on a 7th Commandment, that states that it forbids “unchaste thoughts, difference and actions.” The affections of WLC 139 tumble into a difficulty of actions mentioned in WSC 72, clarification that affections here are volitional, that is, conscious or intentionally cultivated. Likewise, WLC 147-148 on a 10th Commandment (Thou shall not covet) teaches that a commandment requires that “all a central motions and affections [touching a neighbor] tend unto, and offer all that good that is his” and forbids all “inordinate motions and affections to anything that is his.” (cf. WSC 81). Here affections are something not volitional, yet are impulses that contingency be volitionally cultivated and systematic towards a neighbor’s good.

Intentionally indecent affections are sin, that is, tangible transgressions of God’s law. Unprompted soiled imaginations or affections can arise from a crime of a nature, and paint a sinfulness of a state and a central aspect of a estate of misery. Once cultivated or embraced, rather than mortified, these affections turn tangible transgressions. Bodily evils that succeed us arise from a crime of a universe and paint a outmost estate of misery. They are outrageous in that sense, yet are not tangible transgressions. They can be sources of attractiveness (e.g. a damaged leg can frustrate, and therefore lure to impatience or undue annoy towards a people around us), and permitting lavish motions and adore outset from this attractiveness to tangible transgressions is sin.

This is transparent in a fall. Adam and Eve were not sinners, nor did they live in a estates of impiety or misery. Yet, by trait of dishonesty and immaturity, they authorised their central motions and affections (the tree was good for food and a pleasure to a eyes) to turn inordinate, and afterwards indeed transgressed God’s law. The central motions and affections for a tree were not bad: Adam and Eve sinned in eating a fruit, not in admiring it (WCF 6.1, WLC 21, WSC 15), and they did not possess a hurtful nature. The enterprise for a fruit was not outrageous given it was not a defilement of God’s law, and a enterprise did not ensue from impiety given a initial relatives did not possess a hurtful nature.

This is done clearer in comparing a tumble with Christ’s attractiveness in a wilderness. Jesus did not have a hurtful nature, nor was a estate of wretchedness an central existence wherein his communion with God was severed. Yet vital in a sinfully damaged universe he gifted a estate of wretchedness presumably (WCF 8.3-4, WLC 48, WSC 27). It was this outmost filth that befell Christ’s physique that Satan attempted to precedence in a temptation. Christ’s 40-day quick in a forest not usually wild a normal, tellurian trust of hunger, yet a craving heedfulness were miserable evils befalling him in his body. His insurgency to Satan was a scold grouping of his central motions, aggravated yet they were by a sinfulness of a estate of misery. The enterprise for food is good, yet an lavish enterprise for food, exacerbated by a corporeal afflictions that come with fasting, is bad if not controlled.

To summarize, impiety is violating God’s law. The crime of tellurian inlet is a outrageous condition and inclines humans towards sin. The estate of wretchedness inwardly hardens a sinner’s heart, and presumably inflicts all humans with evil. Desires and temptations to impiety can arise from a hurtful nature, from a blindness of a heart, or from a softness of this life appealing to a normal, central motions and affections that have been inflicted with a postlapsarian fragility.

Several examples can assistance illustrate this. Alcoholism is an unstinting bent in anticipating and regulating alcohol. Being an alcoholic does not make one a drunk, usually as removing dipsomaniac does not obligate being an alcoholic. Alcoholism could branch from a outrageous inlet (the estate of sin) or from environmental factors, such as family history, genetics, trauma, corporeal infirmities, etc.… (the estate of misery). Desire for ethanol is a good thing (WLC 135), and a central motions and affections for it contingency be cultivated for a good of a neighbor. However, a estates of impiety and wretchedness can levy an march to alcoholism on someone yet them ever indulging in alcohol; partaking of ethanol could simply exhibit a infliction. In a box of a outmost aspect of a estate of misery, alcoholism is not outrageous or deriving from a hurtful nature, yet an detriment of a besetting attractiveness that exploits tellurian fragility.

Anxiety occupies a identical position. Someone might be a determined fretter, never calm and obsessively worrying, not guileless in God’s provision. This is an tangible misdemeanour of God’s law. Predisposition to stress is not a same thing as being anxious, and being prone or oriented to stress is not indispensably outrageous or stemming from a outrageous nature. The start indicate of this determined march towards stress could be a person’s hurtful inlet or a resources besetting them, that could embody an stress disorder. There is a anticipation to being obliged and thoughtfully holding batch of one’s conditions in life, or being endangered for a people one loves. These central motions or affections are good (WLC 126-130, 138-139; WSC 64-65, 74-75) yet due to a estate of wretchedness can yield an entrance indicate for attractiveness to anxiety.

Sexual enterprise follows a same course. God’s pattern is for a man’s passionate desires to be oriented towards women. But a cultivation of that central adore matters: a married male should not intimately enterprise anyone other than his wife, even yet he is intimately oriented towards women as a class. In God’s pattern men’s passionate desires are oriented towards women, yet a good pattern of this enterprise contingency be cultivated towards a good of his neighbor. A married male who describes himself as “opposite-sex attracted” or conceives of himself as heterosexual is not sinning by describing a class-orientation of his passionate desires in this proceed instead of describing his passionate march being destined exclusively towards his wife. The “default” march of his central motions and affections are towards women, and he contingency favour those central motions in marital chastity. Lust and adultery are failures to do this and are tangible transgressions of God’s law. These sins ensue from a sinfully hurtful nature, yet a enterprise or march towards heterosexual desires is not outrageous in itself. The attractiveness to unchastity can find a start indicate possibly in a outrageous crime of male or in a besetting of wretchedness on man.

In a context of homosexuality and a Nashville Statement, a doubt is afterwards into that difficulty of impiety a homosexual march or homosexual self-conception falls. Is a male sinning given his desires are homosexually oriented? By conceiving of himself in terms of those desires? Homosexual movement is sinful; is a march towards homosexual desires sinful?

Homosexual lust or sex is an tangible misdemeanour of God’s law, and not facing homosexual lusts is also an tangible misdemeanour of God’s law. Orientation towards homosexual desires can branch from possibly a estate of impiety or a estate of misery, a latter of that includes outmost sin, i.e. filth besetting a chairman in their environmental (including bodily) condition in a world’s postlapsarian state. For homosexual march to branch from a outmost aspect of a estate of wretchedness would need that a person’s normal and good central motions and affections, in their enervated condition, are being tempted to an lavish and soiled expression.

Homosexual enterprise can be lavish central motions of what is good, origination a suit or adore evil. It is here that one of a points lifted by proponents of pristine homosexual self-conception should be considered: homosexual desires can be a outrageous demonstration of desire, while the object of a enterprise stays good [see https://spiritualfriendship.org/2018/06/14/a-happy-convergence/]. The central adore for a chairman of a same sex is a good thing. Desiring cognisance and adore for a chairman of a same sex is a good thing. Allowing that central adore to turn lavish and expressing itself as a homosexual enterprise or lust is bad. Desire for food is good, yet it is outrageous to enterprise food if it belongs to someone else (coveting) or if a enterprise would lead to idolatry, as in Christ’s temptation. However, enterprise for idolatry is always wrong, given idolatry is always wrong. A lady carrying adore for a male besides her father is good given amatory your neighbor is good, yet that adore becomes sinfully lavish when it expresses as lust or adultery. A male carrying adore towards another male is good, given amatory your neighbor is good. Affection for another male is bad if a countenance of that adore is homosexual lust or sex.

Adam and Eve were right to have adore for a tree of a trust of good and evil. Along with a rest of a origination God had done it good, and a appearance was a delight. Their central adore reached an lavish perfection in sin, yet a enterprise itself was not sinful, nor did it ensue from sin. The impiety of Adam and Eve, along with a temptations of Christ, give justification that temptations to impiety (i.e., transgressing God’s law, with a implicitly impolite result) can interest to desires that are not sinful, while a inordinate, jumbled countenance of those desires would be. Christ in his amiability was tempted to impiety yet sinning, or carrying a outrageous inlet or marred communion with God. Yet, Christ could have still been tempted to do something that is inherently outrageous yet being theme to a estate of impiety around an exploitation of his environmental infirmities in a estate of misery. In other words, Christ could have been faced with homosexual temptations by his trust of loneliness or good enterprise for intimacy. The temptations would have unsuccessful given Christ ideally systematic all his central motions and affections, yet a attractiveness to something that disregarded God’s law did not need Christ possessing a hurtful nature, something missed in a discuss over Christ’s impeccability. [See https://calvinistinternational.com/2019/10/18/tempted-without-sin-reformed-christology/]

Temptation to impiety appeals to tellurian desire, enterprise that possibly sinfully deduction from a outrageous inlet (the estate of impiety and a central aspect of a estate of misery) or good desires enervated in a damaged condition (the outmost aspect of a estate of misery). It is improper to suggest that march to homosexual enterprise can only proceed from a estate of sin rather than a estate of wretchedness [see https://mereorthodoxy.com/critical-review-spiritual-friendship/]. Inward adore for what is good, apropos lavish as a outcome of besetting environmental filth (the estate of misery) can impact someone’s orientation; someone’s passionate march can be jumbled due to outmost impiety steadfastly inflicted on them rather than a outrageous crime of their nature. By a besetting evils on a body, a brokenness of origination can hit someone’s march out of fixing yet that chairman indulging in sin. The estate of impiety does hold each aspect of a tellurian chairman so that all a being is now totally outrageous (WCF 6.4-5, 13.2; WLC 25, 78; WSC 18), and attempting to heed a source of someone’s damaged march is an unfit task, a theme to that we will lapse in a second partial of this series.

Sexual orientations can afterwards arise possibly from God’s design, from a crime of tellurian inlet (the estate of sin), or a determined detriment of corporeal pang that lure someone’s good desires to an lavish finish (the estate of misery). The Westminster Standards learn that a march towards outrageous desires ensue from a latter dual categories, with a probability that a march derives possibly from outrageous crime or outmost infirmities. A homosexual self-conception, rather than homosexual activity, can afterwards be something that is not an embracing of impiety or oneness with it, yet an honest fulfilment of a march of one’s desires as a outcome of possibly a estate of impiety or a estate of misery.

INCOMPATABILITES BETWEEN WESTMINSTER AND NASHVILLE

This presents the first problem area: impiety (immorality) is a defilement of God’s law, and someone who acknowledges their state of enterprise is not indeed transgressing God’s law in that acknowledgment. In other words, adopting a homosexual self-conception yet practicing homosexuality (either in a physique or a imagination) is not sin. Even a estate of impiety is not an tangible transgression: if someone’s hurtful inlet is a source of their enterprise towards homosexuality, while that inlet is sinful, a chairman has not sinned until they act. This becomes even some-more transparent if a attractiveness to homosexual affections finds a source not in a individual’s hurtful nature, yet a estate of misery. Someone who identifies as a happy Christian might do so as an acknowledgment possibly of a phenomenon of a crime of impiety in their lives (the estate of sin) or as an acknowledgment of a filth that has befallen them in their bodies by attractiveness (the estate of misery) and still live a pristine life. A homosexual self-conception does not obligate action; acknowledging that one’s affections are prone towards same-sex captivate or that one is steadfastly tempted towards homosexuality does not obligate homosexual activity any some-more than indeed practicing homosexuality necessitates one to consciously detect of themselves as same-sex attracted. Since a homosexual self-conception is not alone connected to homosexual activity, yet can be an confirmation of a estates of impiety and wretchedness in a life of a Christian, it can be something that is not so most “adopted” as it is famous or grasped. Sin is miss of consent to God’s law and conceiving of oneself as oriented in certain areas towards violation God’s law is not outrageous movement if God’s law is not being broken. Paul was not sinning in conceiving of himself as a arch of sinners and would not have been sinning if he had left on to delineate a specific sins to that he was oriented. This self-conception is not identification with sin, yet identification of sin and a effects.3

Since a Nashville Statement places homosexual self-conception in a difficulty of passionate filth (i.e. tangible transgressions of God’s law), it flattens a distinctions between sin, a estate of sin, and a estate of misery, that is essentially exclusive with a Westminster Confession and Catechisms.

This provides a segue into the second problem: Nashville Article 12 claims that God courteously provides energy to all believers for piety who “feel drawn into passionate sin” and enables them to “put to genocide outrageous desires.” Since carrying a homosexual self-conception is presented in Nashville as an tangible misdemeanour of God’s law, feeling drawn into passionate impiety and putting to genocide outrageous desires indispensably includes a enterprise to detect of oneself as same-sex captivated or gay. Article 12 does not merely ring mortifying a hurtful inlet or fighting temptation, yet also includes carrying a homosexual self-conception; adopting or carrying a homosexual self-conception is one of Nashville’s passionate sins, and therefore God empowers all believers to not detect of themselves as homosexual.

But a ruins of impiety continue to reside in each partial of a believer, clarification that a estate of impiety is never eradicated in this life (WCF 6.5, 13.2-3, WLC 78). That does not forgive sin, nor does it bonus that God courteously empowers believers to debase sin, yet does meant that there is no pledge that a source of outrageous affections will be remedied in this life. Likewise, a estate of wretchedness and a liabilities of impiety in this life are not guaranteed dismissal on metamorphosis (WLC 28, 81). If a homosexual self-conception is an confirmation of a brokenness of a world, including a filth of homosexual temptations besetting a person, there is no pledge of that determined wretchedness vacating in this life. Since a homosexual self-conception can get from acknowledging possibly of a outrageous condition of chairman or a pang inflicted on a person, God enabling a follower for holy vital does not meant that this sold indwelling attractiveness or outmost disadvantage to attractiveness will go away.

The Nashville Statement teaches that tractability to God final rejecting a homosexual self-conception, and that God provides his people with a energy to do usually that. Certainly, a Nashville Statement acknowledges that temptations to homosexual desires can continue around a Christian life (Articles 8-9), yet it differentiates attractiveness and enterprise from conceiving of oneself as oriented towards those desires. Personal windfall in Nashville’s horizon includes overcoming a homosexual self-conception: as someone becomes some-more consecrated in this life they ought to indispensably detect of themselves reduction and reduction as homosexual. On a other hand, a Westminster Standards learn that there is no pledge that a crime of impiety and pain of this universe will be removed, nor does God pledge to yield his people energy to overcome these estates in this life; given a homosexual self-conception can be a capitulation of these conditions there is no pledge that God will yield a energy to overcome it.

The differences in focus are stark: underneath Nashville’s horizon anyone who continues to detect of themselves as homosexual is indispensably rejecting a God-provided energy for holiness, while underneath a Westminster Standards such a self-conception can be an acknowledgment of a estate of impiety and misery. In a latter horizon someone with a homosexual self-conception can be vital purely yet an expectancy or vigour for that self-conception to change in this life, while in a former a Christian’s self-conception remaining homosexual contingency be accepted as stemming from their active rebellion conflicting God.

This is since so many people who brand as happy Christians and establish to sojourn innocent do so. Their passionate desires are oriented to a same sex, possibly or not that march stems from a estate of impiety or a estate of misery. But this passionate enterprise is not a same as a passionate enterprise that ought to lead to marriage, namely a passionate enterprise that is oriented to people of a conflicting sex. Since there is no pledge that a conditions that prompt a homosexual self-conception will be remedied in this life, a suitable march of movement for those with such a self-conception is a joining to chastity, that includes celibacy. The fact that people with a homosexual self-conception possess a passionate march does not meant they are sinning by disappearing to pursue a biblical marriage; a miss of a passionate march for members of a conflicting sex is itself justification of a benefaction of caution and does not consecrate an “undue check of marriage” as WLC 138-139 teaches on a 7th commandment  [see  https://www.reformation21.org/blogs/the-westminster-statement-on-b.php].

The third area of vital incompatibility arises from Nashville Statement Article 10, that reads,

WE AFFIRM that it is outrageous to approve of homosexual filth or transgenderism and that such capitulation constitutes an essential depart from Christian fidelity and witness.

WE DENY that a capitulation of homosexual filth or transgenderism is a matter of dignified insusceptibility about that differently loyal Christians should establish to disagree.

It is a denunciation of “essential departure” and a rejection that “faithful Christians” can remonstrate on this emanate that is a problem. WCF 25.4 lists 3 specifying outlines of a pristine church: a doctrine of a gospel taught and received, a administration of a ordinances, and a worship. The essential virginity of a church does not embody homosexuality. To be clear: this does not meant a Westminster Standards are wordless on homosexual use (cf. WCF 24.1, WLC 139). Confessional churches should be transparent in a training and use on homosexuality’s acceptability. However, no outrageous practices during all are enclosed by WCF in a clarification of a pristine church. That does not meant that impiety is to be tolerated in a church, usually that a essential virginity of a church is tied to a aforementioned categories rather than outrageous practices.

Now, it could be argued that a “doctrine of a gospel taught and received” includes a need to grieve from sin, and that granting homosexuality is granting sin, and therefore churches that endure homosexuality in training and use are not truly priesthood or receiving a biblical doctrine of a gospel. Denny Burk of CBMW makes this justification in invulnerability of Article 10 [see https://cbmw.org/the-nashville-statement/why-the-nashville-statement-now-and-what-about-article-10/]. Under such a extended clarification of “gospel,” any impiety taught or used by a church would consecrate an essential depart from a Christian faith, digest any symbol of a pristine church other than “don’t learn or use sin” unnecessary. This appears to be a organic perspective held by CBMW in light of Article 10 [see https://cbmw.org/topics/homosexuality/christian-sexual-ethics-is-a-gospel-issue]. This is frequency a vigilant of a Westminster Standards. we would be repelled if this extended clarification would accept concept focus in a PCA; Are they going to state that self-denial benediction from infants (a grave sin and maladministration of one of God’s ordinances; cf. WCF 28.5, WLC 109) constitutes an essential depart from Christian faithfulness? Or that including images of Christ in open ceremony (worshiping God in terms other than what he established; cf. WCF 21.1, WLC 109) is not an emanate that differently loyal Christians can establish to disagree? Under a proof of WLC 151, would homosexuality or Sabbath violation be deliberate a some-more iniquitous impiety in a eyes of God? The indicate here is not whataboutism, yet that homosexuality as impiety does not merit a special difficulty by that a essential fidelity of a church is measured, and that a PCA’s stream use and ecumenical family bears this out.

It is probable to appreciate “essential departure” as a anxiety not to a outlines of a pristine church, yet a customary for church discipline. But this interpretation raises a problem of a conflicting nature: Article 10 does not contend that practicing homosexuality constitutes an essential depart from Christian faithfulness, but approval of homosexual filth does. If something constitutes an essential depart from Christian fidelity it is drift for ostracism from a church. It hurdles credulity to consider that any Westminsterian church would use capitulation of homosexuality as a litmus exam for possibly access to, or upkeep of, church membership.

The manifest church is constituted by those who “profess a loyal religion” with their children (WCF 25.2). “True religion” is a anxiety to Christianity in ubiquitous and does not meant “Christian doctrine yet error” as even a purest churches still keep some blunder (WCF 25.5). Error in doctrine alone is not a basement for ostracism from a manifest church. Indeed, WCF 30.3 states that church censures (i.e. church discipline) are for offending brethren, that is, church members who used impiety (which might embody propagation of fake teaching). One of a functions of fortify is to deter others from identical offenses; it seems doubtful that excommunicating someone for secretly commendatory of homosexuality would be an effective means of convincing other Christians to change their opinion. WCF 30.4 teaches that proscription should usually be employed after deliberation a inlet of a offense and control of a church member, and WLC 151 would routinely offer as a useful beam in evaluating those criteria, and it emphasizes conduct, not belief. Privately holding a (sinful) opinion is not an offense in a clarity benefaction in WCF 30 or WLC 151.

But if Nashville is correct, and if Article 10 is referencing church discipline, afterwards Nashville teaches that desiring that homosexual filth is acceptable, possibly or not a chairman holding that opinion is pity it, is a impiety so disgusting as to merit excommunication.4 Yes, capitulation of impiety is sin, as is holding improper doctrine, that is what capitulation of homosexual filth is. The emanate with a elementary customary of “approval of impiety is drift for excommunication” is a same problem as a issues discussed above about a outlines of a church: once any improper doctrine or inapt capitulation is deliberate drift for proscription given it is wrong, any wrong faith contingency be deliberate drift for excommunication. The weight is on Nashville to denote that capitulation of homosexuality constitutes an essential depart from Christianity as damnable heresy, and is not usually improper doctrine [see https://cbmw.org/topics/homosexuality/the-nashville-statement-confronts-heresy-and-thats-why-we-needed-it].

While a Westminster Standards concede for church fortify for opinions hold rather than usually for opinions shared, a doing of church fortify for holding opinions is for outrageous impiety (e.g., a reflection to “notoriously wicked” in WCF 24.3; a conflicting of “true religion” in WCF 25.2; a profaning of a “holy contention of a gospel” in WCF 30.3; and a “found ignorant” in WLC 173), not an improper doctrine. This bequest can be seen in a membership vows taken in confessional Presbyterian churches, including both a PCA and EPC. Members are asked to attest a hint of a gospel by saying their faith in Christ, and afterwards vouch to say a assent and virginity of a church. Damnable impiety is released in a confirmation of faith, and sinfully descent movement is deserted by a latter vow.

Approval of homosexual filth alone is not drift for ostracism from a manifest church.

This emanate is magnified when it is deliberate that a Nashville Statement includes homosexual self-conceptions underneath a powerful of homosexual immorality. If someone were to approve of their crony last to live purely while identifying as a happy Christian, their capitulation would accommodate Nashville’s criteria for “essential departure” from Christian faithfulness. The Nashville Statement asserts that this is not an area where differently loyal Christians can establish to disagree. This is hugely problematic, as during best it suggests that churches should not endure their members commendatory of homosexual immorality, and during misfortune is reporting that capitulation of a non-sinful confirmation of impiety and wretchedness on a person’s passionate march constitutes a depart from essential Christian faithfulness. If instead a Nashville Statement is addressing a outlines of a pristine church, it is reporting that capitulation of someone conceiving of themselves as homosexual constitutes a depart from a loyal church.

In short, a WCF lists 3 outlines of a pristine church, and capitulation of homosexuality is not among them. Granting that homosexual use is outrageous does not pill this incompatibility: no impiety is enclosed in a WCF’s outlines of a pristine church. The WCF does not yield a special difficulty for homosexual impiety graphic from other sin, most reduction capitulation of homosexuality, so a Nashville Statement adding a difficulty of impiety to establish a virginity of a church is not concordant with a Westminster Standards. The Westminster Standards do not need church censures for secretly hold opinions outmost of outrageous heresy, and so a Nashville Statement is exclusive with a Westminster Standards by going too distant in perfectionist excommunication. But a Nashville Statement final this diagnosis for Christians who approve of those who are pristine and detect of themselves as homosexual. This goes proceed over a finish of a Westminster Standards, and a incompatibilities are highlighted by Nashville’s absolutist conclusion: differently loyal Christians might not remonstrate on this. It is, in Denny Burk’s words, a line in a sand, and Nashville stands on a conflicting side from Westminster.

There are several other smaller contradictions between Nashville and Westminster that do not rise, in my view, to a turn of elemental disfavour due to their marginal attribute to a categorical topic, yet are still value recognizing. The Nashville Statement seems to proportion virginity with celibacy, while a Westminster Standards learn that virginity ought to continue within matrimony (WLC 137, WSC 71-72). This has been addressed good – [see https://purelypresbyterian.com/2017/09/02/thoughts-on-the-nashville-statement/ and https://mereorthodoxy.com/nashville-statement/. As also remarkable in a initial link, “[Nashville] Article 14 states, ‘Forgiveness of sins and almighty life are available to each chairman who repents of impiety and trusts in Christ alone.’ The tenure ‘available’ here is strange. Repenting of impiety and guileless in Christ alone is a really means by that a sinner avails himself of a redemption of sins and almighty life. This essay would be most improved if settled like this: ‘Forgiveness of sins and almighty life are given to each chairman who repents of impiety and trusts in Christ alone’ (emphasis original).” The phrasing betrays a broadly evangelical, Arminian proceed to a Nashville Statement.

In light of these observations it contingency be resolved that a Nashville Statement is not concordant with a Westminster Standards; therefore it is during contingency with a complement of doctrine found in a scriptures, and is not a biblically loyal statement.

NOTES

1. we will acknowledge to regulating several conflicting interpretation tools, yet trust that these accurately promulgate in English what was in a bizarre Dutch and Mandarin. 

2. Steven Wedgeworth’s essay during The Calvinist International provides a good relapse on concupiscence in propinquity to homosexual orientation, yet fails to take into comment a estate of misery.  See https://calvinistinternational.com/2018/06/28/concupiscence-sin-gay-christianity-desire-orientation/

3. Contra this essay on Reformed Forum – https://reformedforum.org/the-gospel-and-self-conception-a-defense-of-article-7-of-the-nashville-statement/

4. The Dutch interpretation of Article 10’s rejection reads, “WE CONFIRM that it is outrageous to approve homosexual impurity or transgenderism. Whoever does approve of this essentially deviates from a determination that might be approaching of Christians and from a testimony to that they are called.” This is stronger than a English, and indicates that capitulation of homosexual filth constitutes a depart from a “true religion” and is a basement for ostracism from a church.

 

Article source: http://wrfnet.org/articles/2020/01/westminster-standards-and-nashville-statement

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