Reclaiming my title

Rev. Napoleon Harris

Rev. Napoleon Harris

A few days ago, a group of professed Christian leaders released ‘The Nashville Statement,’ a meticulously worded theological document clearly stating their position on human sexuality. The claim of this group of homologous Christians was that their document embodied the biblical and divine view of God, as it pertains to all matters of human sexuality and marriage. For all of the dissident views littered across the Internet, the Nashville Statement does have its merits, including: its attempt to end with a resounding crescendo of grace available to all, and it’s trumpeting of equality between sexes (limited only to male and female).

Sadly, even with its merits, when The Statement “would do good, evil was ever present,” such as the noticeable lack of women, minorities, and same sex loving people who signed off on The Statement. For all of their biblical referencing (proof-texting), the authors failed to remember and hold to God’s disdain for haughty eyes. Moreover, Jesus defines God’s love as action, not agreement, or even acceptance when He described it as “rain on both just and unjust.” That is to say God’s love does not withhold the essentials for life and flourishing from anyone.

How they reconcile their theological based activity of separation and suppression with God’s active, all-inclusive love quite frankly is beyond me. But then again, so is the title ‘Evangelical,’ or more specifically how they got the title in the first place!

The term itself derives from a Greek term that means to spread good news. This document is certainly not good news. Especially when placed against the current issues of the day. One of our largest cities is underwater, drug use is epidemic, people are under employed, the cost of taxes, prescriptions, and healthcare are astronomical, and don’t get me started on race—lest we all forget Charlottesville. There’s no mention of good news for these issues that impact our lives at every intersection?

I reject that vehemently. I reject your theology, and narrow view of the world, its God and inhabitants. I reject your immature (at best) or perverted at worst version of a god who amidst so much human suffering is only concerned with sex. In fact, I reject your God. Is certainly not the God of Hebrew biblical lore who said “let Justice roll down like rivers of water,” nor the Jesus of Christian canon who said to let the “wheat and the tare grow up together.”

You people don’t have a dissident viewpoint, you have a different God. As such, you don’t get to be evangelicals! I’m reclaiming my title.

(Rev. Napoleon Harris is pastor of First Baptist Church, South Inglewood—where God’s gospel is preached weekly and people are loved deeply).