I don’t know much about Matthew Lee Anderson apart from a few things I read every now and then in which he is defending traditional marriage. I was thus was surprised to learn that he refused to sign the Nashville Statement on human sexuality.
Yesterday he published a critical piece on the Nashville Statement titled “Evangelical’s ‘Flight 93’ Moment: Reflections on the Nashville Statement.” The piece is useful because it has a lot of links to articles and posts written by defenders and critics of the Statement. It is good to have these links all in one place.
I was disappointed, however, that Anderson ignored Bethel University historian Chris Gehrz‘s critique of the Nashville Statement at The Pietist Schoolman. It is the best evangelical critique of the Statement that I have read.
Anderson and Gerhz seem to be in agreement that the Nashville Statement reflects what we (and now many others) have been calling “The Age of Trump.”
Here is a taste:
The Nashville Statement is the Flight 93 statement. It is striking how similar its defenses have been to arguments that evangelicals should vote for Trump. The sense of crisis the preamble announces is so pervasive that it justifies not just any statement, but this one. Anything else makes the perfect the enemy of the good. One signer told me Article 10 alone should impel me to sign, because the urgency of the hour demands it. ‘Choose ye this day’, the statement announces, and voting third party is clearly a waste. The impulse to close ranks and reassert evangelicalism’s identity publicly and the eagerness to indulge in the rhetorical excess of the statement’s importance have the same roots in the despair that governs our politics. Those Nashville pastorswere right to detect an elusive commonality between evangelical support for Trump and the dynamics surrounding this statement, even if the vast majority of its signers were strong and faithful critics of Trump’s campaign.
Only time will tell, but I fear the Nashville Statement will be no more a win for conservative evangelicals than the election of Donald Trump. While it has exposed the silliness of progressive foes, it has also galvanized them and dangerously inflated our confidence in our own rightness and strength. The statement draws some of the right boundaries, but in the wrong way. And at least one boundary ought not to be drawn, or needs to be clarified. It comes to many right conclusions, but reflects principles and ideas that have born bad fruit within evangelicalism.
Read the entire piece here.