Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Steve Chalke Support of Committed Same-Sex Relationships

Steve Chalke, the founder of Oasis and one of the most prominent speakers within the evangelical movement in the UK has declared that he wholly supports committed and faithful same-sex relationships.

In an article called 'A Matter of Integrity' he outlines his position in detail drawing from the biblical, the theological and his own experiences dealing with people who are gay.

Late last year Steve performed a blessing and dedication for a gay couple who belong to his church.

The article is on the Oasis website and  an abridged version will appear in Christianity, which is an evangelical Christian magazine, although it is already on their website. The Editor explains her reasons for allowing Steve to write about this and why they believe it important that his views are shared;

'As you will read, Steve Chalke has changed his opinion on the subject. He argues that permanent, faithful, stable homosexual relationships aren’t sinful, according to his understanding of the Bible. We have given him space in the magazine to explain how he has reached this conclusion. Many of you will not agree with him. Some will criticise us for giving him the oxygen of publicity, for publishing heresy, or for unhelpfully confusing people who may be struggling with this issue on a personal level.

There are two main reasons why we’ve done it. Firstly, Steve has been a contributor for a long time, as well as a prominent evangelical. He spoke at Spring Harvest for many years and appeared with Billy Graham at Mission England. We wanted to let him have his say, rather than for rumour and hearsay to dictate the conversation.
Secondly, opening up the issues is what this magazine does. We’re evangelical in conviction, but our approach has never been to suppress what others think, whether within or outside of evangelicalism.'

I think this is a massive thing.

Steve is very well known within the evangelical church community and beyond.  He has a significant platform of influence.  This article will be read by many and there are going to heated discussions on either side of the argument within the evangelical community.

Tony Campolo has written a response to Steve's article here.

Steve Holmes has responded here

Be interested to hear people's own views about the article.

You can read it here.


Carl said...

Mate - you already know my thoughts on this one. Brave move by Steve to stick his neck on the block. Given previous discussions in our NAM's group about the trajectory of scripture and hermeneutics, my biggest concern is that constructive debate will get lost in a cloud of misunderstanding. Sad to say but my impression is that your average evangelical in the pew has not been taught how to handle scripture in the way Steve talks about and therefore has a tendency towards justifying her/his position purely by proof-texting - "but Romans 1 says...". He faced the same issue with his penal substitution comments a few years back - the vast majority of evangelical church-goers have no clue there are other models of the atonement and therefore no 'points of reference' with which to engage in constructive debate.

It seems to me that Steve is not just asking people to think outside their box but to actually crush the box (maybe Christ-like... Jesus didn't go easy in the Pharisees!). I fear it might be too much of an ask for many people and so they'll simply retreat to their familiar 'knowns' rather than face a brave but very unfamiliar new world.

Lets pray I'm wrong. Lets pray for an educated, grace-filled debate marked by love and respect for each other.

Bless you matey - hope to catch up soon.

Joe Haward said...

Bless you too matey. Good to hear what you're saying on this.
I think that whatever people believe on this, one thing is sure, and that is how poor the church has been in welcoming and loving the gay community. Whether you agree or disagree with Steve the fact remains that the church needs to powerfully and radically love the gay community. I hope this debate gets the UK church to think, pray and practice this in better ways.

Harriet Shaw said...

With his current stature, I commend him for supporting such delicate issue. I know that he wants happiness to everyone. I just don't get the point on why are many people file protest against same sex marriage. Their reasons are irrational for me.

Joe Haward said...

Hi Harriet
Thanks for this. I think Steve is very brave for what he has said and it is clear that he is seeking to help the church become a place that welcomes all people with open arms.
Good to hear what you're thinking.

Joe Richards said...

I have nothing against same sex marriage. It is their own choice. Just like any couple who do have extramarital affair with other couple.