Union University President Samuel W. “Dub” Oliver and three other Union faculty members were initial signers of the Nashville Statement released Aug. 29.
The statement, released by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, affirms traditional biblical teaching on issues related to sexuality and gender. It contains 14 beliefs, referred to as articles. Each article consists of an affirmation and denial on a variety of topics, such as sex outside of marriage, homosexuality and gender identity.
More than 150 conservative evangelists initially signed the statement, including John Piper, R. Albert Mohler, Jr., Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth and Francis Chan.
“The Nashville Statement provides biblical clarity and compassion about these issues in a time when it is needed most,” Oliver said. “At Union, we always want to speak the truth in love.
“When many want to avoid issues of biblical marriage, sexuality and gender (or try to claim there is some third way), we want to conform our lives to God’s Word. In doing so Union hopes to bring true life and light to a world that desperately needs it.”
Other initial signers from Union were Nathan Finn, dean of Union’s School of Theology and Missions; C. Ben Mitchell, the Graves Professor of Moral Philosophy; and Hunter Baker, associate professor of political science.
In protest, a group of Union alumni composed an online letter, expressing disappointment in the university leaders for signing as well as opposition to the statement.
“Dear President Oliver,” the letter reads. “Your signature, followed by the words ‘President, Union University,’ casts a pall on all of us that we felt called to speak out against…we, graduates of Union University, do not agree with the hurtful statements that have been endorsed with our names.”
At time of publication, almost 350 alumni had signed the letter.