A senior Vatican advisor has responded to the evangelical 'Nashville Statement' condemning LGBT relationships by tweeting a series of rebuttals affirming gay people as loved by God.
Rev James Martin, a Catholic priest and advisor to the Vatican on communications, rebuked the 150-plus conservative evangelicals who signed the manifesto and mirrored their 'affirmations' and 'denials' as he replied on social media.
In a series of tweets he wrote: Re #Nashville Statement: I affirm: That God loves all LGBT people. I deny: That Jesus wants us to insult, judge or further marginalize them.
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.
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 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
I affirm: That LGBT people have been made to feel like dirt by many churches. I deny: That Jesus wants us to add to their immense suffering.
I affirm: That LGBT people are some of the holiest people I know. I deny: That Jesus wants us to judge others, when he clearly forbade it.
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.
It comes as fellow-evangelicals as well as more liberal Christians and other church leaders are lining up to criticise the hardline statement because of its tone and timing amid devastating floods in Texas.
Coming out of the Southern Baptist Convention's Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, the Nashville Statement is signed by evangelical heavyweights such as Steve Gaines, president of The Southern Baptist Convention, Russell Moore, president of the SBC's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, alongside John Piper, J.I. Packer, Francis Chan, James Dobson and Wayne Grudem.
But there are now several counter-statements with hundreds adding their names to explain their reasons for opposing the statement.
One, titled Christians United, affirms 'every human being is created in the image and likeness of God and that the great diversity expressed in humanity through our wide spectrum of unique sexualities and gender identities is a perfect reflection of the magnitude of God's creative work.'