Oh my gosh! The protestants have made James Martin, SJ come unglued! To our “separated brethren,” a good deal of Catholics thank you! There’s a thing here or there I might have changed but I’m not going to quibble on those since that has nothing to do with Fr. James Martin, SJ’s twitter rant, which of course, was kind of giant red-herring because it had little or nothing to do with the “Nashville Statement.”
So, let’s look at the statement:
Evangelical Christians at the dawn of the twenty-first century find themselves living in a period of historic transition. As Western culture has become increasingly post-Christian, it has embarked upon a massive revision of what it means to be a human being. By and large the spirit of our age no longer discerns or delights in the beauty of God’s design for human life. Many deny that God created human beings for his glory, and that his good purposes for us include our personal and physical design as male and female. It is common to think that human identity as male and female is not part of God’s beautiful plan, but is, rather, an expression of an individual’s autonomous preferences. The pathway to full and lasting joy through God’s good design for his creatures is thus replaced by the path of shortsighted alternatives that, sooner or later, ruin human life and dishonor God.
This secular spirit of our age presents a great challenge to the Christian church. Will the church of the Lord Jesus Christ lose her biblical conviction, clarity, and courage, and blend into the spirit of the age? Or will she hold fast to the word of life, draw courage from Jesus, and unashamedly proclaim his way as the way of life? Will she maintain her clear, counter-cultural witness to a world that seems bent on ruin?
We are persuaded that faithfulness in our generation means declaring once again the true story of the world and of our place in it—particularly as male and female. Christian Scripture teaches that there is but one God who alone is Creator and Lord of all. To him alone, every person owes gladhearted thanksgiving, heart-felt praise, and total allegiance. This is the path not only of glorifying God, but of knowing ourselves. To forget our Creator is to forget who we are, for he made us for himself. And we cannot know ourselves truly without truly knowing him who made us. We did not make ourselves. We are not our own. Our true identity, as male and female persons, is given by God. It is not only foolish, but hopeless, to try to make ourselves what God did not create us to be.
We believe that God’s design for his creation and his way of salvation serve to bring him the greatest glory and bring us the greatest good. God’s good plan provides us with the greatest freedom. Jesus said he came that we might have life and have it in overflowing measure. He is for us and not against us. Therefore, in the hope of serving Christ’s church and witnessing publicly to the good purposes of God for human sexuality revealed in Christian Scripture, we offer the following affirmations and denials.
WE AFFIRM that God has designed marriage to be a covenantal, sexual, procreative, lifelong union of one man and one woman, as husband and wife, and is meant to signify the covenant love between Christ and his bride the church.
WE DENY that God has designed marriage to be a homosexual, polygamous, or polyamorous relationship. We also deny that marriage is a mere human contract rather than a covenant made before God.
WE AFFIRM that God’s revealed will for all people is chastity outside of marriage and fidelity within marriage.
WE DENY that any affections, desires, or commitments ever justify sexual intercourse before or outside marriage; nor do they justify any form of sexual immorality.
WE AFFIRM that God created Adam and Eve, the first human beings, in his own image, equal before God as persons, and distinct as male and female.
WE DENY that the divinely ordained differences between male and female render them unequal in dignity or worth.
WE AFFIRM that divinely ordained differences between male and female reflect God’s original creation design and are meant for human good and human flourishing.
WE DENY that such differences are a result of the Fall or are a tragedy to be overcome.
WE AFFIRM that the differences between male and female reproductive structures are integral to God’s design for self-conception as male or female.
WE DENY that physical anomalies or psychological conditions nullify the God-appointed link between biological sex and self-conception as male or female.
WE AFFIRM that those born with a physical disorder of sex development are created in the image of God and have dignity and worth equal to all other image-bearers. They are acknowledged by our Lord Jesus in his words about “eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb.” With all others they are welcome as faithful followers of Jesus Christ and should embrace their biological sex insofar as it may be known.
WE DENY that ambiguities related to a person’s biological sex render one incapable of living a fruitful life in joyful obedience to Christ.
WE AFFIRM that self-conception as male or female should be defined by God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption as revealed in Scripture.
WE DENY that adopting a homosexual or transgender self-conception is consistent with God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption.
WE AFFIRM that people who experience sexual attraction for the same sex may live a rich and fruitful life pleasing to God through faith in Jesus Christ, as they, like all Christians, walk in purity of life.
WE DENY that sexual attraction for the same sex is part of the natural goodness of God’s original creation, or that it puts a person outside the hope of the gospel.
WE AFFIRM that sin distorts sexual desires by directing them away from the marriage covenant and toward sexual immorality— a distortion that includes both heterosexual and homosexual immorality.
WE DENY that an enduring pattern of desire for sexual immorality justifies sexually immoral behavior.
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.
WE AFFIRM our duty to speak the truth in love at all times, including when we speak to or about one another as male or female.
WE DENY any obligation to speak in such ways that dishonor God’s design of his imagebearers as male and female.
WE AFFIRM that the grace of God in Christ gives both merciful pardon and transforming power, and that this pardon and power enable a follower of Jesus to put to death sinful desires and to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.
WE DENY that the grace of God in Christ is insufficient to forgive all sexual sins and to give power for holiness to every believer who feels drawn into sexual sin.
WE AFFIRM that the grace of God in Christ enables sinners to forsake transgender selfconceptions and by divine forbearance to accept the God-ordained link between one’s biological sex and one’s self-conception as male or female.
WE DENY that the grace of God in Christ sanctions self-conceptions that are at odds with God’s revealed will.
WE AFFIRM that Christ Jesus has come into the world to save sinners and that through Christ’s death and resurrection forgiveness of sins and eternal life are available to every person who repents of sin and trusts in Christ alone as Savior, Lord, and supreme treasure.
WE DENY that the Lord’s arm is too short to save or that any sinner is beyond his reach.
Before I move on, Fr. Martin. What above do YOU disagree with? Let’s be specific and stop all your usual ambiguity, shall we? Come on. Pick it apart! We know you can’t which is why you take to twitter with the ridiculous responses.
And now let’s look at the twitter rant of Fr. James Martin, SJ (Clearly he’s feeling the 140 character limit. I’m not even going to try to screen capture this one since it’s SEVERAL tweets long.) My comments inserted in bold:
Re #Nashville Statement: I affirm: That God loves all LGBT people. I deny: That Jesus wants us to insult, judge or further marginalize them. Nice red-herring, Fr. Martin. Can you point to the part of the statement that was anything but loving?
I affirm: That all of us are in need of conversion. I deny: That LGBT people should be in any way singled out as the chief or only sinners. Well, you single them out at the group that needs special privileges and acceptances. If you don’t want them singled out, stop doing it.
I affirm: That when Jesus encountered people on the margins he led with welcome not condemnation. I deny: That Jesus wants any more judging. I’ll link in a minute to a nice mic drop on your muddling of Jesus’ teachings but, for now, who is condemning?
I affirm: That LGBT people are, by virtue of baptism, full members of the church. I deny: That God wants them to feel that they don’t belong Poppycock. It has nothing to do with people not feeling welcome and everything to do with you wanting their sin accepted as moral. Can we stop with the charade?
I affirm: That LGBT people have been made to feel like dirt by many churches. Well that’s what you keep telling them. How about you point out where that’s happened in the Nashville Statement? I deny: That Jesus wants us to add to their immense suffering. Christ wants them to take up their cross and follow him. You want everyone get a pass in this life with no thought to the immense and EVERLASTING suffering of sinners who don’t repent. Thank God the Church calls ALL to repentance. That’s a little fact you’d like to overlook in your little “I’m OK, you’re OK!” scenario.
I affirm: That LGBT people are some of the holiest people I know. OK, let’s make some distinctions. I actually know a few who have embraced the heavy cross and who are amazing and I know some who have embraced sodomy and are not. I’ll happily make the distinction. Will you? I deny: That Jesus wants us to judge others, when he clearly forbade it. Stop the stupidity, Fr. Martin. You and I both know that there is quite a bit of difference between judging someone’s immortal soul and judging sinful actions. Where did Christ ever condemn the latter? Like I said, mic drop coming. You know the answer very well. You just prefer to confound and confuse. I will say again with no regret that you are a predator of souls. Your “come into my parlor said the spider to the fly” methods are disgusting.
I affirm that the Father loves LGBT people, the Son calls them and the Holy Spirit guides them. I deny nothing about God’s love for them. At this point I have to ask if you actually read the Nashville statement. I posted it above. Give it a looksie.
Really – did you expect him to actually address the statement? Of course not, he simply takes the tactics he always takes. Let’s just tell people what was said and hope they believe it. Facts? Irrelevant!
Now for the very eloquent tongue lashing. It’s incredibly sad that the Presbyterian grasps more of Catholicism than you do, Fr. Martin:
It is not surprising that Francis’s communication adviser, James Martin, has decided to attack the Nashville Statement, and even less surprising that the WashPost has published his tweets about it. Beware of doing the bidding of the WashPost. Martin’s tweets confirm the by-now widely held perception, reinforced repeatedly by Martin himself, that his raison d’etre involves undermining the Catholic Church’s upholding of Jesus’ teaching on a male-female foundation for sexual ethics, upon which Jesus’ teaching about the binary character of marriage is based. Martin is more brazen than ever.
Contrary to Martin’s repeated claims, the Nashville Statement (NS) does not deny God’s love for persons who gratify sinful same-sex desires or sinful denials of one’s birth sex. Rather, consistent with the witness of Jesus and Scripture generally, it manifests love by calling such persons away from intrinsically self-dishonoring and God-abhorring desires to an authentic self in keeping with their creation in God’s image.
Contrary to Martin’s claims, Jesus’ statement about not judging was never intended by Jesus to be a denial of all judgment, particularly since 40-50% of all of Jesus’ sayings are accompanied by some motif of warning about a coming judgment. Martin himself makes a judgment of those who signed off on the NS, though he appears to be unaware of the inconsistency. Presumably even Martin holds the line on some moral standards, which means that he himself doesn’t construe Jesus “don’t judge” statement absolutely.
Indeed, in the context of Jesus’ ministry “don’t judge” has to do with not majoring in minors, with not being introspective about one’s own sins, and not reaching out in love to reclaim the lost by leading them gently out of sin. According to both Luke 17:3-4 and Matthew 18 Jesus urged rebuke of those engaged in egregious sin, with communal discipline of those who fail to repent. The warning about cutting off offending members that could get one thrown into hell appears in Matthew 5 in the midst of warnings about the importance of sexual purity.
Jesus clearly based his view of marital monogamy and longevity on God’s creation of two and only two complementary sexes, “male and female,” as established in Gen 1:27; reiterated in Gen 2:24 as the foundation for marital joining of two halves into a single sexual whole. This is a “judgement” made by our own Lord: an inviolate standard that the Church must hold at all costs.
Like many who seek to promote homosexual unions and gender identity confusion, Martin wants to make the “don’t judge” statement a canon within the canon, falsely treating it as an absolute injunction while applying it selectively.
Jesus did challenge those he encountered who were engaged in egregious sin. When Jesus encountered the woman caught in adultery he did tell her to “no longer be sinning” with the inference that otherwise something worse would happen to her, not merely a capital sentence in this life but loss of eternal life.
Yes, we are all in need of conversion but Martin doesn’t want to convert people out of a homosexual or transgender life. He wants the Church to affirm the sin or to cease to take a stand against it.
The issue all along is the attempt in the broader culture and in sectors of the church from people like Martin to promote acceptance of behavior abhorrent to God and self-dishonoring to the people who practice it. It is people like Martin who are singling out homosexual and transgender behavior for exemption from the commands of God. He is not truly welcoming the sinner but rather affirming the sin. He wants the lost son to remain lost in the deepest sense, for one is “found” only when one returns in repentance.
Moreover, Scripture does treat homosexual practice as a particularly grave sexual offense precisely because of its intrinsically unnatural character and violation of God’s starting point for marriage as a union between “male and female” or “man” being “joined” to a “woman.” It is not the “chief” of sins but it is a grave sexual offense nonetheless.
Infant baptism does not innoculate an individual against the judgment of God for failing to lead a transformed life. There is no sin transfer to Christ without self-transfer; no living without dying to self and denying oneself. Paul’s warning of the Corinthian community’s tolerance of an adult-consensual union between a man and his stepmother is a case in point. Is it not those inside the church that you are to judge, Paul asked rhetorically. The answer to that question is not “no” (as Martin seems to think) but “yes.”
The Nashville Statement does not claim that persons who engage in homosexual practice are complete moral werewolves. We all compartmentalize our lives. But the areas we are good in do not validate the areas we are bad in.
Bottom line: Martin is using his office to undermine what for Jesus was a foundational standard for sexual ethics. He has to go.
BOOM! Sir, we assuredly have our differences but our abhorrence of Fr. Martin’s dastardly deeds is not one of them. I’ve said the same thing on many occasion but I thank you for the extremely eloquent echo of those sentiments.
Anyone else think many of the signers will embrace the teachings of the Church in their fullness long before Fr. Martin? Yeah, me too.