Did you ever play Mortal Kombat on Nintendo or Super Nintendo?
I realize this may be a dumb question for most of you. You are probably sitting there saying: “What are you serious? Of course, I played Mortal Kombat when I was a kid. It is only one of, if not the greatest game ever made! What are you crazy?”
I wouldn’t blame you if this were your reaction because I agree with you. It is definitely one of the greatest games ever made. I remember many days and nights when I would sit around and play this wonderful game for hours on end. Everyone would jockey to get their favorite fighter and give it all they got to make sure they lasted in the eternal struggle that is fictional universe fighting. Each person would try to find that magic combination of kicks and punches that would render their opponent wobbling to and fro, unable to fight back, and it was at that moment that you would hear those glorious words in a wonderfully deep voice:
If you have listened to our podcast or read my previous blog posts, you are probably aware of my struggle with Evangelicalism. My eyes were opened to this struggle during the last election cycle. The rhetoric I was hearing out of this group was concerning to me, but at that point, I thought maybe I was just misunderstanding what was going on. Then the election happened and 80% of white evangelicals chose to elect a man that claimed that sexual assault and misogyny was perfectly acceptable. It was “locker room talk.” Not to mention he feels that anyone who crosses the border from Mexico are “rapists” and “drug dealers”. All of this turned into a great combination of punches and kicks that first made me stumble, and then got me to sway.
And then came the Nashville Statement, and that booming voice came over the speakers as I stood staggering saying, “Finish Him.” If this seems a little dramatic, understand that this was simply the final straw of many that had been falling into place. I could go into the topic of gender binaries and what many have called the “Biblical” way of looking at those, but I am not enough of an expert and have not read enough about this to make an intelligent statement about those. I disagree with a lot of language in all of those articles about gender binaries, but again don’t have enough knowledge to really speak on those.
The part that I found most heart breaking was Article 10:
WE AFFIRM that it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism and that such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness and witness.
WE DENY that the approval of homosexual immorality or transgenderism is a matter of moral indifference about which otherwise faithful Christians should agree to disagree.
With this statement, not only do they believe that a LGBT person cannot be a follower of Christ, but they also state, that anyone who loves on and affirms a LBGT person cannot be a follower of Christ either. This particularly hits home with me as they are calling me out with this statement. You might be thinking you don’t see that in the statement posted above, and that’s fair because it isn’t. It came the next day when they sought to clarify what they meant with the initial statement. You can find where they are doubling down here.
Instead of throwing stones at the people who wrote and signed the Nashville Statement, I want to take a second to explain why I feel this is downright hateful towards the LGBT community and anyone who supports this community. For starters, I believe this in no way reflects Jesus and his teachings. If we want to get into sexual immorality, the Nashville Statement would also need to address the staggering number of pastors who are addicted to porn and/or have affairs. Conveniently, that was left out here. Instead a group of Christian leaders decided to go after a community that has been hated on for decades.
The biggest problem I have with all of this is people tend to forget how they were when they discovered Jesus. When I walked down the aisle to the front where I prayed the prayer of salvation, I don’t remember hearing the voice of Jesus saying, “Thanks for coming, I will gladly accept you, but first I am going to need you to change your behavior before I will save you from burning in the pits of hell.” No! I distinctly remember the song Come as You Are playing in the background, and the pastor opening up his arms and giving me a big hug. The best part was, I felt the arms of Jesus wrap around me as if to say, “you are mine.” The audacity of this group of people to say Jesus didn’t mean that for the LGBT community or its supporters is interesting to say the least. The level of self-righteousness in this statement makes we wonder if they have even read about Jesus, let alone studied who he was.
For more information about gender binaries, I encourage you to check this blog post by Rachel Held Evans. She wrote this some time ago, but it applies to this as well.
Also, Here is a Link to the Nashville Statement and the statement defending Article 10:
Please let us know what your thoughts are on this topic! There have already been some amazing discussion about this on Facebook and Twitter and we would love to hear your thoughts!