With the Nashville Statement the Church is finally taking a stand.
In my decade of research into all this, what I have found is that the culture of nihilism (birthed some 80 years ago or so) has reached a stage of growth that it is now dominating the cultural narrative and increasingly the powers that be. The culture moved away from objective meaning into the paradigm of “make your own individual meaning”. This is unprecedented in the scope of human history as far as I can tell. The West is on the verge of legitimizing whether someone wants to even define/identify themselves as a human or not. There are actually some young people who believe they are cats and they meow to each other. This is nihilsm running its full course. All meaning is subjective and changeable and dependent on internal feeling or desire.
The Church is split fundamentally on this principle. Many progressive Christian types simply do not want to hear many passages of the Bible in their objective sense BECAUSE—and this is key—of their FEELINGS. In the culture of nihilism nothing is real except feelings and emotions. I am still trying to figure out how feelings became so elevated as to be the only thing that’s real for people. But one thing I know, Christianity and the Church can never be built upon emotionalism or feelings because that equates with sand and not the immovable, objective ROCK. I for one am relieved that our leaders have released the Nashville statement. It is a ROCK upon which a fumbling Church can STAND. And the Church is commanded to take a stand over and over in the New Testament. It’s easy for many to see this as compromising our witness but that is because it isn’t taking account of *feelings*, whether theirs or others. I’m not sure why so many Christians are under the notion that making people feel good will lead them to repentance. There is nothing about being under the wrath of God that should feel good. It is a devastating and absolutely miserable feeling. Those who become Christians simply because they saw how nice other Christians were being end up at a church like Joel Osteen’s with no knowledge of their wretchedness. When I read “God’s kindness leads us to repentance” what I recognize is that God was kind to us by being incredibly “unkind” to his own Son by laying on him what was due to us. God’s fierce wrath is the inevitable wage for all sin. The culture must be made aware of the wrath of God that they store up for themselves. Man, it is so incredibly cruel and unloving to mislead them in this!!
I also think the Nashville statement was necessary, perhaps moreso, for the Church itself which has been slipping into confusion and floating around on shifting sands for half a century. The common Christian is simply unaware of fundamental, objective truths which are given to us to keep us from busting apart at the seams. Our families, communities, relationships, and marriages are blowing up because that’s what our emotions, unchecked and unbridled by the Word of Truth, do to us. Our emotions and feelings are like nasty little buggers. Do they ever work for us and not seemingly always against us? (cf. Romans 7) Oh wretched man that I am, a body of death! I often think about how the assortment of shish kabob emotions that run through my soul are nothing like the fruit of the Spirit. The fruits of the Spirit are qualities and feelings that, in my mind, correlate directly with something that is solid, immovable, and unchangeable. I don’t believe the Spirit is some kind of hippy trippy cloud of feeling and emotion. That’s not what joy, or peace, or patience, or humility is like… The Spirit is a guy who is collected, together, and rock-freaking solid.