Evangelical leaders issue Nashville Statement, a 'Christian manifesto' on human sexuality

A national coalition of more than 150 evangelical leaders signed a new statement affirming their beliefs on human sexuality, including that marriage is between one man and one woman and approval of "homosexual immorality" is sinful.

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood released the list of 14 beliefs, referred to as the Nashville Statement, on Tuesday morning. The statement says the evangelical coalition who signed it are responding to an increasingly post-Christian, Western culture that thinks they can change God's design for humans.

"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," the statement reads.

More: Southern Baptists talk sex, LGBT issues at parenting conference

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood convened a meeting of evangelical leaders, pastors and scholars on Friday at the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission's annual conference in Nashville. The coalition discussed and endorsed the Nashville Statement.

John Piper, the co-founder of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, called the Nashville Statement, in a news release, a "Christian manifesto" on human sexuality.

"It speaks with forthright clarity, biblical conviction, gospel compassion, cultural relevance, and practical helpfulness," Piper said. "It will prove to be, I believe, enormously helpful for thousands of pastors and leaders hoping to give wise, biblical, and gracious guidance to their people."

Each of the Nashville Statement's 14 beliefs include one sentiment the signers affirm and one they deny. They cover a range of topics from a prohibition on sex outside of marriage to the connection between biological sex and gender identity.

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, who as a Metro councilwoman officiated some of the city's first same-sex marriages when it became legal in Tennessee, took issue with the statement's moniker. She called it "poorly named" in a Tuesday morning Tweet and said it "does not represent the inclusive values of the city (and) people of Nashville."

Its name is derived from where the meeting was held. The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood's founding document — the Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood — was signed about 30 years ago during a summit held at a resort in Danvers, Mass.

Based in Louisville, Ky. and founded in 1987, the council's website says it has helped several religious groups, including the Nashville-based Southern Baptist Convention, promote "gospel-driven gender roles."

Some of the members of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention that hosted the coalition last week, signed the Nashville Statement.

In the news release, ERLC President Russell Moore said it is "urgently needed."

"The Sexual Revolution cannot keep its promises, and the church must stand ready to receive with compassion the many who are in need of a better hope," Moore said. "The Nashville Statement is part of that mission, and my prayer is that it will help anchor churches and Christians to the gospel of Jesus Christ for years to come."

The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission's annual conference focused on parenting this year and addressed a number of topics, including how to talk to your kids about their biblical view of sex, same-sex attraction and gender identity.