Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Idolatry

'The principle crime of the human race, the highest guilt charged upon the world, the whole procuring cause of judgement, is idolatry.'

Tertullian, On Idolatry

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.


Thursday, 10 January 2013

Lazy Atheists

I'm tired of lazy atheists who dismiss the claims of the Christian faith.

It's those who make comments like 'I stopped believing in Santa, fairies and god when I was a child', or 'I can't prove there isn't an invisible unicorn/golden teapot/giant floating above the earth, but that doesn't mean I should believe there is one.'

These kind of comments and positions display a complete lack of integrity and serious engagement with the Christian faith.

If you're going to dismiss the person of Jesus and those who follow Him then you actually need to know what you're dismissing rather than rejecting a stereotype or, and this is more usual, a false idol of something you've perceived to be Christianity but is anything other than it.

Faith in the Trinitarian God - the God who has revealed Himself through the people of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who's Story is seen through the people of Israel and spoken through woman and men of faith, revealed Himself ultimately through Jesus Christ, was crucified in darkness absorbing and destroying the darkness of all sin and brokenness through his death and resurrection, called people to be his disciples and go into the world declaring his love, working for justice, calling people to know God and be transformed by Him, witnessing to His glory and worshipping him, looking for signs of His Kingdom to be made present here on earth and living in the hope that one day all will be well - faith in this God is nothing like believing in fairies and invisible unicorns.

Faith in this God is affirmed through the history and stories of the people of God and the Church.

Following Jesus is to be truthful to how you have seen and heard God speaking and acting in human history.

The worship of the Trinity is something of the heart, responding to the God who has worked, is working and will work in the world and cosmos.

And while faith is a thing of the heart, it is also a thing of the mind.  So intellectually the worship and love for this God is right.  Through science and philosophy and art and literature you see how amazing and wonderful God is and these things enhance faith in, love of and worship of Father, Son and Spirit.

I am not a grown man with my fingers in my ears, eyes closed and shouting faith loudly over lazy atheists in the hope that they'll go away and leave me in my ignorance!  Rather, I am listening, looking, thinking, feeling and believing that to be truthful is to worship God.

Throughout church history there have been serious thinkers, theologians and writers, artists and philosophers, scientists and mathematicians, workers of peace, justice and relief who have declared Jesus to be Lord and God of all.  And that is as true today as ever.

If you don't actually engage with their thoughts and actions then you've got little to say against the Christian faith.