Rod Dreher on The Nashville Statement


Dreher, the noted conservative blogger, author of The Benedict Option, and an editor at The American Conservative, has a lot to say about the Nashville Statement.

Read it here.

At the end of his post, he discusses a recent meeting he had with a group of conservative evangelicals:

I just returned from a lunch meeting with a group of conservative Evangelicals, including a few pastors. We talked about the Benedict Option for most of the lunch, but at the end, I asked them what they thought of the Nashville Statement. I was not prepared for the vehement pushback. The ones who spoke up emphatically called it a pastoral disaster. Among the criticisms:

  • The fact that it focused so narrowly on homosexuality and transgenderism, and including nothing about divorce and other faults of heterosexual Christians, makes it look like the signers are plucking the speck out of LGBT eyes while ignoring the log in the church’s own eye
  • Objection to what they view as rejecting the Spiritual Friendship way of being a chaste Christian living with same-sex attraction (Article 7)
  • Objection to what they view as Article 10’s telling Christians who affirm LGBT that they have left Christian orthodoxy
  • The conviction that fair or not, the Nashville Statement looks like more culture-war red meat, especially to younger Christians
  • The Trump factor: so many white Evangelicals voted overwhelmingly for Trump that they surrendered the ability to speak with moral credibility on anything having to do with sexuality

That last one — the Trump factor — deserves some commentary. A couple of people in college ministry were at the table. They said that it is impossible to overstate how alienating the enthusiastic support their parents gave to Donald Trump was to their students. A number of college students have left the church entirely over it.

“How is that possible?” I asked one of the campus ministers. “How do you decide to leave Christianity altogether over who your parents voted for? That makes no sense to me.”

He said that in Evangelical circles, it’s common for college students to be skeptical at best of their parents’ theological views. For a lot of them, their parents’ backing of Donald Trump made everything they had been taught as kids about Christianity a lie. Their parents were the primary face of Evangelical Christianity to them, and to see this happen was shattering. They concluded that Christianity must be all about the economy, or tribalism, and so forth. One pastor said that a young man he ministers to in college posted a criticism of Trump on Facebook, and was cut off financially by his parents because of it.

Listening to these pastors and laypeople talking about the Trump effect on younger Christians was quite sobering to me. An older pastor said that it is impossible to separate the Nashville Statement from the massive support white Evangelicals gave to Trump. Impossible to separate, I mean, in the mind of the young.

Read the entire post here.  Dreher says that these youth workers told him that young evangelicals don’t care that Russell Moore and other anti-Trumpers signed the statement.

3 thoughts on “Rod Dreher on The Nashville Statement

  1. Here’s what evangelical college students have their parents don’t: gay friends. And once they realize those gay friends have similar hopes and dreams, and may even share their same faith, nothing John Piper or Russell Moore says is going to matter to them. Moreover, those evangelical campus workers who would rather just not talk about the matter — they’re going to be pushed to answer questions. The evangelical world just bought itself a new name: Religious People Who Don’t Like Gay People.


  2. Question: Why are so many religious people obsessed with other peoples sexual orientation, lives and gender? I have seen this question asked on social media and most of the replies consist of quotes from the Bible or quotes from a Biblical authority figure.

    Perhaps these religious folks should stop hiding behind scripture and examine their own innermost selves for an answer. Or would that be too frightening for them to do?


  3. I don’t think Dreher fully gets it. The Nashville statement is what I said it was earlier. It is nothing but a cultural war statement that was meant to rally the evangelicals. It is failing and actually causing that exact opposite effect over what it was intended to do. These evangelical leaders have so many flaws in their attempts to control what people believe, yet they ignore the flaws and focus on small things in an effort to hold onto power. They have devolved into an Us vs. Them mentality which is not at all in keeping with Christian values.

    The signers of the Nashville Statement have destroyed their own churches. They are driving away the very people they need to secure the future of those churches. Religion has to adapt to the needs of the people it serves. If a faith does not do that, then that faith will lose support from its followers and they will go elsewhere. I keep reading where these evangelical leaders and supporters complain about people wanting change and saying that the church has not changed in 2000 years. Those people do not know the history of Christianity or their own churches. They do not even know the recent history of their churches here in the US over the last 250 years. They fail to see the changes in their own faiths.

    Really, it’s the same thing for religion as it is general history. People cling to beliefs and reject anything which challenges those beliefs. All they have to do is look at history to see how change occurs over time in everything. I am not surprised to see them cling to beliefs or to Trump. They don’t want change. They fear change. They are doing everything they can to prevent change. Yet, ultimately they will fail to stop change from taking place. Conservatism loses the culture wars every time.

    What’s the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. I think the evangelical leaders who created and signed the Nashville Statement have proven they don’t understand history at all.


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