Friday, September 15, 2017

John Frame: “I signed the Nashville Statement because it is a true statement of biblical teaching”

I signed the Nashville Statement because it is a true statement of biblical teaching on a set of topics of great importance today.

According to Scripture, marriage is the fundamental building block of society, and it symbolizes the covenantal union between ourselves and our Creator. God established marriage before our Fall into sin, in Genesis 2:22–24, so it is an essential part of our life on earth. And the Genesis account of marriage immediately follows and presupposes God’s miraculous division of Adam into two sexes (Gen. 2:10–23). When Scripture uses marriage as a symbol of our relationship to God, as in Ephesians 5:22–33, sexual differentiation is again at the forefront. Husbands have one set of roles, wives another. Our relation to Christ is that of his bride, not his bridegroom.

Today, many question this biblical concept of marriage. Indeed, many consider it bigoted to hold such a view. Many think that it is harmful, that it disparages and condemns others. Indeed, it does present a position that seems wrong to many. But if our society were to embrace this position, together with the worldview it presupposes, the results would be joyful and delightful. So it would be wrong for Christians to withhold these blessings from others in our society by failing to proclaim them. And it is wrong for anyone to ignore, deny, or distort this wonderful truth.

It would have been better if this message had been set forth by the church, rather than by a group of individual Christians. The church is the people of God, and it should be unmistakably setting forth all of God’s truth. But the failure of the church does not excuse individual Christians from their task of proclaiming the good news. That the Nashville group set forth this statement was an excellent thing, one that all Christians should be cheering.

Of course, there is much more to the gospel than the biblical view of marriage. The gospel, the good news, is that God sent forth his only Son to live our life, die for sinners, and rise again, receiving from his Father all authority in heaven and on earth. But the biblical vision of marriage is part of the gospel world view, the gospel promise. The gospel is not only a promise of heaven, it is a promise of blessed life here and now. And part of that blessed life is a renewal of earthly marriage as the anticipation of heavenly marriage.

John M. Frame
Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology and Philosophy
Reformed Theological Seminary



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