A Response to the Liturgists Statement

On Tuesday, August 29th 2017, the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood released a statement (“The Nashville Statement)” on marriage, sex, and gender that reflects positions the church has held without question until recently. This caused quite a stir, needless to say.

The Liturgists, an LGBT affirming group, put together a statement of their own in response. It is extremely liberal in the types of behaviors it permits as God-honoring, like incest, adultery, polygamy, etc. It also claims to know what is holy before God and honoring to him, but doesn’t even attempt to cite scripture for support of their historically novel view (For the record, the Nashville statement doesn’t currently include scriptural support either). Michael Gungor and Mike McHargue (Liturgist founders) seem to believe readers will just accept their assertions on God’s behalf as God’s own word without evidence. We are not told why we should believe their positions.

What follows is a brief, biblical refutation of the Liturgist statement. Quotes are given and then response is offered.

We believe that people of all sexual orientations and gender identities are holy before God, as they are.

God says “There is no one righteous, not even one.” So, no, people are not “all holy before God.” Only those who have trusted in Christ, who have put on Christ and his righteousness, are seen as holy. And if you are in Christ you will make “no provision for the flesh to arouse its desires.”

Passages: Romans 3, Romans 13:14

We believe all people have full autonomy over their bodies, sexual orientations, and gender identities, and the diversity of identities reflects the creative power of a loving God.

Far from having autonomy over one’s body, the Christian has been “bought with a price” and should “glorify God with [their] body.” This is the opposite of autonomy (self-law); it is submitting to the law of God. God even says that “you are not your own.” An ethic of personal autonomy is opposed to God’s revelation in scripture.

Passages: 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

We believe that God is love, and God is honored in any consenting relationship between adults, be they married or unmarried. Therefore, all such relationships deserve honor and recognition by the Church.

Paul, in 1 Corinthians 5 condemns a “consenting relationship between adults” by saying “It is actually reported that sexual immorality exists among you, the kind of immorality that is not permitted even among the Gentiles, so that someone is cohabiting with his father’s wife.“ A sexual ethic based on adult consent is arbitrary, lacking biblical foundation, and has no objective standard by which to oppose polygamy, polyandry, adultery, etc.

Jesus, in Matthew 15, says that people are defiled (sinful) because of their consenting relationships in the form of adultery. “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things defile a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil ideas, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are the things that defile a person.”

Something tells me Gungor/McHargue wouldn’t consider it holy if their spouses had an affair (and I hope they don’t). And if you find yourself wanting others to behave differently than what you say is holy, then your position has a problem.

(Update: McHargue commented to say his ethic of autonomy excludes adultry. Please see his comment and my reply below.)

Summary: God’s word says that God is not honored by merely “consenting relationships.”

Passages: Matthew 19 (Jesus on divorce), 1 Corinthians 5-6 (Paul on sexual immorality, adults, homosexuality, and other consenting relationships), Matthew 15 (Adultery).

We believe that same-sex relationships and marriages are as holy before God as heterosexual marriages.

Jesus, in Matthew 19, says “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and will be united with his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?”

The blueprint from God was based on creating people distinct as male or female, and that those complementary sexes (and only complementary sexes) would come together in a monogamous, sexual relationship.

Paul in 1 Corinthians 6, 1 Timothy 1, and Romans 1 excludes same-sex sexual relationships as biblical valid.

Passages: 1 Corinthians 5-6 , Matthew 19, 1 Timothy 1, Romans 1

We don't believe LGBTQ folks need our approval or affirmation–they are affirmed first and foremost by God. This statement acts as a concreted record of solidarity.

Sadly, all people—straight or otherwise—who refuse to submit to the law of God, will experience God’s wrath, not affirmation. “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God.“

Far from preaching life to people, the Liturgists preach a false gospel that leads people to experience God’s wrath, not affirmation.

BUT, there is hope for all, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or other sin of choice—LGBT persons are no more sinful than other persons. Paul’s next verse brings gospel hope for all who find themselves in sin without the righteousness of Christ: “Some of you once lived this way. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

Paul says that some used to do these things, but God washed them of those sinful actions. As John says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness.“

The Liturgist statement assumes it’s loving to affirm LGBT relationships, but based on scripture, nothing could be further from the truth. God’s love is expressed in salvation, obtained through repentance and faith, leading to self-denial, not the exertion of self-autonomy.