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.

13 thoughts on “A Response to the Liturgists Statement

  1. This is an awesome article and I enjoyed reading it. It is the explanation of what the true Goapel is and how false teachings are leading people astray. Alex

  2. Thank you for this articel. It helped me to remain focused on what Scripture says and not be lead astray by what man say.

  3. Consent doesn’t leave room for adultery. By entering into a marriage, you are consenting to a monogamous commitment to your spouse. This isn’t rocket science.

    As for the rest of your piece, I am truly saddened by your persistence in propping up a hermeneutic that leads to oppression, bigotry, and a dysfunctional fundamentalism.

    I pray for you often, Brian.

    1. Hi Mike,

      I’ll add a note clarifying your view here. Though, I still find it inconsistent: if, as you affirm, people have "full autonomy" over their bodies, they should be able to consent to other relationships in the future. Further, does a non-married couple who commits to fidelity without an end date require them to never have sex with others? And if not, why only for some agreements and not others?

      Lastly, you used to be a moral relativist, if I remember correctly, so where are you getting the moral "ought" here, that people have to behalf a certain way or it’s morally wrong? By what objective standard is breaking a monogamous commitment wrong?

      The hermeneutic that leads to a male-female binary is the same that leads me to affirm monogamy, and the same that leads to the deity of Christ and the Trinity.

      My hermeneutic begins with the principle that the Bible is the word of God, which was a view Jesus held; your’s does not. We will almost necessarily reach different conclusions.

      I believe you mean well, in spite of what I view as condemnable results from your views and teaching. I hope you still believe that I mean well too. We’re both trying to help people based on our understanding of truth and revelation, but they are mutually exclusive views to be sure.

      I hope you all are settling in well in Cali.


  4. 2 Peter 2:1,2
    2 Timothy 4:3

    It may seem loving to claim that God affirms LBGTQ relationships or sexual relationships outside of marriage, but if the Bible’s statements are timeless and eternally true, this affirmation is one of the most unloving things that people who call themselves Christians can do.

    What I find odd is how people want to have their cake and eat it, too. "I want to live life the way I see fit, and I’m going to force God into my mold in order to be at peace with Him in the end." What seems very illogical to me is how people want to insist that Christ would approve of such things. Why say that you’re following Him at all, then? Why twist His words? Wouldn’t it be much easier (and much more honest) to follow a different religion or no religion at all?

  5. While this response has some merit, it cannot fully claim the power of Christ until it is clear that marriage is one man and one woman for life. I sincerely believe that the reason most LGBTQ affirming do not see the power of the Holy Spirit behind a manifesto like the Nashville Statement is due to the fact that conservative evangelicals have long since capitulated on the definition of marriage as one man and one woman for life.

    The truth is men tried to redefine marriage after the Reformation and evangelicals believed they handed over marriage to civil authorities, believing a one-flesh covenant marriage can end in divorce. This is due to the erroneous teaching on Matthew’s "exception clause" (Mt 5:32;19:9) and the Pauline Privilege (1 Cor 7:15) which believes a marriage can end in adultery or abandonment. The truth is the early church taught that the marriage can only end in death, becasue both Paul and the Lord taught that marriage can only end in death.

    If evangelicals want to speak life into the "death" of affirming sexual immorality, they need to repent on what they teach and preach about divorce and remarriage. I am fully convinced that what we see today (This rise in sexual immorality) is the result of the evangelicals decision some 500 years ago to hand marriage over to civil authorities and expecting different results.

    The truth is marriage was NEVER handed over to man and will always be one man and one woman for life…and those who believe otherwise are on the outside looking in. Therefore, it would make all the difference for eternity if men would repent of divorce and remarriage adultery. In doing so would give the LGBTQ affirming crowd no reason to cry hypocrisy or better yet, have a reason to believe their position would ever glorify the Lord.

    In Christ’s love,


    1. Hi Neil,

      Thank you for your post! I was attempting to be clear on marriage here, "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." That could certainly have been more clear, though. 🙂

      Thanks again,

  6. Brave! I would also point people truly seeking to get to the bottom of these vital questions to someone who speaks on the front line in these matters, whose “gentleness” is “evident to all” .. that person is Sam Alberry.

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