The Nashville Statement affirming belief in traditional Christian sexual ethics is under investigation by prosecutors in the Netherlands after more than 250 Dutch Christian leaders signed the statement of faith. The manifesto was initially unveiled in August 2017 and has been signed by over 22,000 Christian leaders in the United States. The Nashville Statement stresses that marriage is the “covenantal, sexual, procreative, lifelong union of one man and one woman.” The statement, which is spearheaded by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, adds that “it is sinful to approve of homosexual impurity or transgenderism.”
Although the statement was unveiled 18 months ago, hundreds of Dutch Christian leaders and politicians signed the statement after the document was translated into Dutch. The Dutch signatories are all men and come from either the Restored Reformed Church, the Reformed Congregations or the Protestant Church in the Netherlands. Two of the most notable signatories include SGP leader and parliament member Kees van der Staaij and SGP senator Diederik van Dijk. As Dutch LGBT activists have spoken out against the Nashville Statement, the Public Prosecution Service is reportedly reviewing the statement to see if it breaks Dutch law in any way.
Pro-LGBT opera singer Francis van Broekhuizen has filed a formal police complaint claiming the Nashville Statement is a “call for discriminating against LGBT people.” The Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage in 2001. But as Dutch News points out, the Netherlands also has a large community of fundamentalist Christians who oppose same-sex marriage. The pro-LGBT group COC Netherlands called on both the SGP and the Christian Union party to distance themselves from the statement. While the head of the Christian Union has distanced himself from the statement, the SGP head has reaffirmed his support for the statement.
“The Nashville statement reflects the classic Christian position on relationships and sexuality. The position expressed is shared across many churches and countries,” van der Staaij said in responding to critics. “The SGP has never made a secret of the biblical notions about marriage, family and sexuality. Therefore I have indicated that I can agree with the Nashville declaration.” Van der Staaij continued by stating “It rightly emphasizes the great responsibility for careful handling with people who have probing questions about their sexual orientation and gender,” he explained.
Gert-Jan Segers, party leader of the Christian Union, explained in a Facebook post why he couldn’t sign the declaration. “I did not sign the Nashville statement because the conversation about faith and homosexuality has not been served with this statement,” he wrote. “The discussion is important, it touches people and therefore should be respectful and open. Jesus’ first message for this world is not a list of do’s and DON’TS, but a cordial invitation that makes it clear that everyone is welcome to Him,” Segers added. “Whoever you are I hope that as Christians in our society we do not first show a lifted finger, but above all a listening ear and a helping hand” Seger said.
In the U.S., the Nashville Statement was signed by many prominent conservative evangelical pastors. In August 2018, a number of signatories reaffirmed their support on the first anniversary of the initial signing. The Nashville Statement was drafted in response to a perceived erosion of evangelical integrity on issues of sexual morality. But not all U.S. pastors were on board with the statement. Some argued that while they agreed with the biblical view of sexuality and gender, they disagreed with the approach, arguing that it lacked pastoral wisdom and further alienated LGBT persons.
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