Steve Chalke Drops the Bomb in Support of Committed, Faithful, Same-Sex Relationships

Steve Chalke

If you haven’t already picked up the news via the internet, let me tell you that Steve Chalke, one of the most prominent preachers in the United Kingdom, and an icon among Evangelicals, has published a definitive statement in support of committed, faithful, same-sex relationships.  It is published in the United Kingdom in next month’s edition of the magazine, Christianity.  The British version of the U.S. magazine, Christianity Today, Christianity is a conservative, Evangelical publication.  Steve’s statement has also received significant attention from the UK’s mainstream press and media.

Steve called close to midnight, his time, to tell me of his decision to stand up publicly in favor of faithful, same-sex relationships.  He wanted me to know what he was doing prior to the news breaking in the popular media.  Steve and I are old friends and he didn’t want me to be blindsided by the news.  He was well aware that his announcement would be a bombshell, not only on the British scene, but would have ramifications for Evangelicals around the world.  For somebody with Steve’s high profile to stand up in favor of lesbian and gay partnerships is indeed shocking news.  While it will be welcomed by a significant proportion of the Evangelical community, there will be extensive negative repercussions from others who are adamantly opposed to Civil Partnerships or the idea of gay marriage.

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The significance of what Steve – a Baptist Minister – has done cannot be overstated.  Last fall he conducted a dedication and blessing service following the Civil Partnership of two gay members of his church. (Under present UK law gay marriage is not possible, although the UK Government is currently exploring the possibility of new legislation to change that. Therefore, at the moment, same-sex couples seek a ‘Civil Partnership’, which until now no churches have recognized).

“I did this” Steve explains, “to extend to these people what I would do to others – the love and support of our local church. Too often, those who seek to enter an exclusive, same-sex relationship have found themselves stigmatised and excluded by the Church. I have come to believe this is an injustice and out of step with God’s character as seen through Christ.”

Steve’s public declaration in support of Civil Partnerships will cause reverberations far and wide.  His statement represents the first time that a major evangelist and leader in the Evangelical community has come out in support of same-sex relationships.  Discussions about what he has done will reverberate from churches, youth groups, seminaries, Bible schools and denominations.  Both those who support same-sex partnerships and gay marriage as well as those who oppose such developments will look upon Steve’s declaration as a watershed.  It is one more evidence that a major shift is taking place on this controversial subject, not only within mainline Christianity, but among Evangelicals.

Related: It is time for the American Christian Church to Surrender the Gay Marriage Fight, Apologize, and Share Love by Ian Ebright

When Steve talked to me on the phone, he told me that he felt both compelled and afraid to make his stand. Compelled because, in his understanding, the principles of justice, reconciliation and inclusion sit at the very heart of Jesus’ message. Afraid because he recognises the Bible is understood by many to teach that the practice of homosexuality, in any circumstance, is ‘a grotesque and sinful subversion.’

He knows that some will think that he has strayed from Scripture. However, he says, he has formed his view, not out of any disregard for the Bible’s authority, but by way of grappling with it and, through prayerful reflection, seeking to take it seriously.

He claims that “one tragic outworking of the Church’s historical rejection of faithful gay relationships is our failure to provide homosexual people with any model of how to cope with their sexuality, except for those who have the gift of, or capacity for, celibacy. In this way we have left people vulnerable and isolated. When we refuse to make room for gay people to live in loving, stable relationships, we consign them to lives of loneliness, secrecy, fear and even of deceit.  It’s one thing to be critical of a promiscuous lifestyle – but shouldn’t the Church consider nurturing positive models for permanent and monogamous homosexual relationships?”

“Promiscuity”, he says, “is always damaging and dehumanising. Casual and self-centered expressions of sexuality – homosexual or heterosexual – never reflect God’s faithfulness, grace and self-giving love. Only a permanent and stable relationship, in which respect and faithfulness are given and received, can offer the security in which well-being and love can thrive.”


Steve’s paper “A MATTER OF INTEGRITY: The Church, sexuality, inclusion and an open conversation” (which is available on-line at www.oasisuk.org/inclusionresources as well as in the form of a Kindle book from Amazon) also explores thoroughly the theology of both the Old and New Testament passages which are traditionally held to teach that anything other than celibacy for homosexual people is unacceptable. He claims that it is the task of all those worldwide who take the Bible’s text seriously and authoritatively to grapple constantly with its interpretation. He claims that the huge advances in the field of biblical studies over the last decades – as the result of significant archaeological finds and advances in historical, cultural and linguistic understanding – have brought with them new insights and perspectives into the meaning of the scriptural text.

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Steve, whose organization Oasis runs many schools in the UK, says he is also passionate about this issue because young people’s health and safety as well as their lives are at stake. Numerous studies both in the UK and the USA show that suicide rates among gay people, especially young people, are comparatively high.  He claims that although Church leaders sometimes use this data to argue that homosexuality is unhealthy, tragically it’s anti-gay stigma, propped up by Church attitudes, which, all too often, drives these statistics.

“I believe that when we treat homosexual people as pariahs and push them outside our communities and churches; when we blame them for who they are; when we deny them our blessing on their commitment to lifelong, faithful relationships, we make them doubt whether they are children of God, made in his image.”

Join the Movement

Here in the United States, the growing movement of Red Letter Christians seeks to concentrate on the values and justice principles that Jesus did articulate.  In many Bibles these words of Jesus are highlighted in red letters.  For example, Red Letter Christians believe that Jesus clearly communicates that those who would follow Him must be committed to nonviolent resistance, raising questions about the ways in which mainline churches, and especially Evangelicals, embrace war, then try to defend their support of war with rationalizations that come close to intellectual gymnastics.  The ways in which Evangelicals in the United States support capital punishment also must be called into question in light of the teachings of Jesus, who taught us in the Beatitudes to be merciful, and that even those who commit capital crimes should not receive capital punishment.  Jesus clearly rejects the old justice that demanded “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.”  To a Church that far too often offers a prosperity theology promising financial success and the benefits of a consumeristic culture, we find Jesus saying that it is not possible to serve God and mammon at the same time.

Related: Sexual Orientation – It’s Not a Sin by Kathy Vestal

Young people increasingly are calling the Church to be faithful to Jesus.  Strange as it may seem, there is little doubt that when you read the radical things that Jesus asks us to do and the countercultural persons that Jesus calls us to be, we have strayed far from the teachings of Jesus.  Steve Chalke’s declaration should remind us that we have attempted to be prophetic by making clear our condemnation of same-sex partnerships  even as we have, as Jesus once said, “omitted the weightier matters of the law.”

Whenever the discussion concerning same-sex partnerships takes place in the university classrooms where I teach, there always seems to be a student who reminds me that while Jesus speaks specifically against the remarriage of divorced persons, the Church has learned to accept divorced and remarried people into its membership, and has even willingly allowed people who are divorced and remarried to occupy its pulpits.  Young people are asking how the Church can be accepting of couples who are in relationships that Jesus specifically condemns, and yet be so harsh toward couples who are in relationships that Jesus never even mentions.  I always remind students that we can’t just take the teachings of Jesus and let them stand as the totality of divine revelation.  The Epistles of Paul are also part of Scripture and in Romans 1, Paul speaks directly to the matter of same-gender erotic behavior.  In Steve Chalke’s recent declaration, he endeavors to address the interpretation of what Paul writes about this matter, giving an interpretation of Scripture that he contends justifies a faithful, loving, monogamous relationship between same gender persons who are willing to make a lifetime loving commitment to each other.

Those of us who will have to deal with what Steve Chalke has said need not necessarily agree with his theology or biblical hermeneutic to affirm the truth that he boldly declares, which is that the Church cannot afford to go on alienating the youth of the nation by the way it treats gay people.

For my own part, I remain conservative on the issue, but I agree with Steve that the attitudes of many churches are homophobic and cruel.  Whether or not we change our positions on accepting same-sex relationships or even gay marriage, we Evangelicals have to face the reality that the time has come for many of us to change our attitudes towards gay people, and show something of the love and grace of God in the name of His Son Jesus.




Red Letter Christians is a corrective to an overemphasis by Christians on doctrine without an equal emphasis on lifestyle. Can you invest in our voice as we spread this message?





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About the Author

Tony Campolo

Tony CampoloTony Campolo is the Founder and President of EAPE and Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Eastern University. Look for Tony in your area and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.View all posts by Tony Campolo →

  • jsboegl

    “Watch out that no one misleads you.” – Jesus (Matthew 24:4)

    • Ellis

      “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” – Proverbs 16:18

      • Anthony Badami

        There’s no pride here. Its called humbleness. What a stand. Reminds me of John the Baptist and Stephen who was martyred for a witness of Jesus’ love. If you are a believer in Christ why are you judging someone’s insight lead by the Holy Spirit

        • Ellis

          Anthony,

          I don’t know jsboegl, so I have no idea where his insight comes from. I’d be interested to know how you are so certain it is of the Holy Spirit when this is an internet message board, or perhaps, in all seriousness, you feel the presence of the spirit in his words. I’m not you. I also don’t presume to know that he is prideful, but I will say that to pluck a line of scripture from the Bible and act like that suffices as conversational dialogue about this very serious and painful issue for many, many people does not remind me of the actions and love of Jesus Christ, but of someone attempting to assert their prideful authority.

          How does he know he’s not the one misleading people? Christ did say, many will have said Lord, Lord, but in the end, he would not know them. I am not sorry to say that I don’t believe it is jsboegl’s assertion of scriptural authority by spitting a line from the Bible that will win people to the Kingdom of God, but Christ’s love, and as Paul says, “God’s kindness that leads to repentance.”

          If we want reconciliation with the gay community. We can do better than a line of scripture unexplained, out of context, masquerading as an easy answer.

      • jsboegl

        A haughty spirit comes in many forms – yes? I suppose Shadrach, Meshach & Abed-nego looked haughty standing while others bowed…?
        “Let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” Daniel 3:18

  • Frank

    Never heard of the guy. How sad that he has succumbed to popular culture though. Won’t change the truth of scripture.

    • Anthony Badami

      Talk about culture. Are you married once or on your second wife? Jesus said, oh I know you already know this but you are in a new era. So is the Word.

      • Frank

        Yes we are in a new era but God truth is timeless, including Gods truth about sexuality and marriage. Nothing is going to change that no matter how many people give in to culture. It’s a losing battle.

        • Anthony Badami

          Did you ever read Galatians 3: 28. God doesn’t look at the Jew or Gentile, The slave or the free, and whether you are a male or a female. God Looks AT the HEART STRINGS of a person. That is why David, who was an adulterer and a murderer was chosen by God because God looks at the heart of people not the sex or condition outwardly. It was David who’s heart was after God. His flesh ruined some things. But God saw his heart and still loved him. Why can’t we be like God. That is being Holy as He is Holy. Let’s become one and love God and man. Let us let God make up His own mind on who and what we do or don’t do. Love you in Christ, and I don’t even know you.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003507967305 Neal Lindberg

            Salvation is available for all people, including people of the homosexual orientation. God’s grace is amazing and His unconditional love reaches to the heavens. Praise God for that. God doesn’t require us to be perfect to serve Him because He knows we can never be perfect in this lifetime and His grace covers our sins. Still, Paul says in the Romans that grace is no excuse to sin because in Christ, we are no longer slaves to sin. We are then to work out our salvation (not FOR it) in our new life as a child of God and leaves sin behind in a life of continual, ongoing repentance.

            It’s not that God overlooks David’s sins—He punished him for the Bathsheba affair and David also got in trouble for the census that he did, and David repented each time. He also disciplines those He loves. Contrast that to Saul, once a loyal and anointed king of Israel that strayed from God because of continual sin and disobedience. David’s heart is after God, he loved Him and Jesus said in the gospel that if you love Him you will obey his commandments (John 14:23). If God commands that homosexual practice is sin, we are to obey that to express our love for Him. When we obey partially we violate commandment to love God with all of our hearts, mind, and soul. This is not to say that it is the biggest or the most defining sin, or that other non-gay people are less sinful, or that you are not sincere in your worship of God, by the way.

            I am in agreement with Tony Campolo on homosexuality that it is a sin in practice, not orientation. I see we disagree, but the reason of my disagreement is that after looking at both sides of the debate, the pro-gay arguments are unconvincing, it’s not because there is no love.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003507967305 Neal Lindberg

            Salvation is available for all people, including people of the homosexual orientation. God’s grace is amazing and His unconditional love reaches to the heavens. Praise God for that. God doesn’t require us to be perfect to serve Him because He knows we can never be perfect in this lifetime and His grace covers our sins. Still, Paul says in the Romans that grace is no excuse to sin because in Christ, we are no longer slaves to sin. We are then to work out our salvation (not FOR it) in our new life as a child of God and leaves sin behind in a life of continual, ongoing repentance.

            It’s not that God overlooks David’s sins—He punished him for the Bathsheba affair and David also got in trouble for the census that he did, and David repented each time. He also disciplines those He loves. Contrast that to Saul, once a loyal and anointed king of Israel that strayed from God because of continual sin and disobedience. David’s heart is after God, he loved Him and Jesus said in the gospel that if you love Him you will obey his commandments (John 14:23). If God commands that homosexual practice is sin, we are to obey that to express our love for Him. When we obey partially we violate commandment to love God with all of our hearts, mind, and soul. This is not to say that it is the biggest or the most defining sin, or that other non-gay people are less sinful, or that you are not sincere in your worship of God, by the way.

            I am in agreement with Tony Campolo on homosexuality that it is a sin in practice, not orientation. I see we disagree, but the reason of my disagreement is that after looking at both sides of the debate, the pro-gay arguments are unconvincing, it’s not because there is no love.

  • Matt

    Three comments and nothing but ignorance. Please stop pulling scripture out of context because you’re afraid of homosexuality. Love Is Love people, There is ABSOLUTELY no difference between a male and a female having a deeply committed, God-centered marriage, and two men or two women doing the same.

    • Gr8whiteN

      It’s pull a verse out of your butt day

      • Anthony Badami

        Why is your brain in yours.

    • Mhssu

      You mean, no differences besides the obvious. “Deeply committed, god-centered” homosexual “marriage,” is as absurd a contradiction in terms as self-sacrificial, God-centered temple prostitution.

      The issue is about the moral permissibility of homosexual relations, qua homosexual relations, not whether the participants may be “deeply committed,” or whether they can feel that their relationship is “God-centered.” A partnership dedicated to God and deeply committed to, if built around an intrinsic evil, is far worse, I should think, than a half-hearted and self-centered partnership of the same nature. At least the latter do not invoke the Lord God to bless their evil, nor are they particularly committed to any particular instance of such evils. Thus, if homosexual relations are evil or perverse, then the fact that they are committed and dedicated to God makes them worse sins, not lesser ones. These terms are simply red herrings, distractions from the issue that simply promote lazy thinking, for who can disagree with “commitment” and “God-centeredness” without feeling like a right old sourpuss, or worse, a Pharisee? We cannot afford fuzzy thinking on this issue, however, precisely because it is so contentious, and the enemies of the truth are so close to securing a victory. The issue, in fact, is precisely whether homosexual relations are intrinsic evils, and it is how this issue is decided that determines whether “commitment” and “God-centeredness” are perfections of a legitimate good, or aggravating factors in a situation of wickedness.

      Strip away the contemptible subversion of Christian jargon, and what we find is that there is very little to the case of the revisionist, in religious terms or, indeed, in philosophical terms. The traditionalist has nothing to fear from the Bible placed in context. Outside of our revisionist times, and contrary to the very recent zeitgeist of decay in the comprehension of sexual morality, scholarship and tradition have uniformly interpreted Scripture as condemning homosexual relations. Hermeneutics, however, are not likely to convince the revisionist, precisely because the background philosophy or background moral intuitions are so hopelessly corrupt. Rather than take the Scriptural condemnation of homosexual relations as such seriously, they will make those condemnations “really about” paganism, “exploitation,” or any number of absurd conjectures. They have lost sight of the goods that the sexual nature aims at, insofar as it is sexual at all, and therefore the idea that homosexual behaviour could actually be wrong for mankind has, prima facie, the lowest likelihood of truth. The cure, then, even if it is to a disease that was unknowingly contracted through cultural osmosis, must, in my view, be philosophical.

      The sexual act has been, in the unreflective intuitions of the culture, divorced from its reproductive meaning, such that sexuality as such is little more than a hobby, or at best an obsolete biological relic good only for the good feelings and sociability it produces. The revisionist, if he is still something of a confused Christian, may feel that there are therapeutic, essentially subjective and preference-dependent reasons for preferring exclusive two-person partnerships, and cannot see how homosexuality hinders the achievement of such preferences, which, other than in doing so he is simply missing the point.

      There is something of a false duality here between the subject and the subject’s body. In the mind of the revisionist humans are not really created “male and female,” at all, but are rather something like sexless, bodiless blobs of ectoplasm squeezed into a male- or female-model flesh-suit. Thus, it doesn’t matter what the bodies of the members of a sexual union are like, so long as their mental states can be brought into a sufficiently close resemblance to what we would call, in heterosexual couples, “marriage.” That the mental equivalence, such as it is, is not matched with a similar bodily harmony around the same bodily ends doesn’t occur to our proto-Gnostic revisionist as a reason to deny equivalence of nature. Such a conception of human nature is utterly powerless to grapple with sexual morality, which deals with the norms and duties that govern an innately embodied good, in effect reducing it to a kind of special friendship, which happens to enjoy a certain social privilege.

      The sexual act aims at a particular, distinctive end, insofar as it is “sex” at all. We call this distinctive end a “good,” since in achieving it, the human being attains something appropriate to his nature, and achieves a thing that is good for him. That good, in the case of sex, is reproduction, and the formation of the biological family. Certainly, this good has elements of pleasure and companionship, but it is also distinct from mere pleasurable and enduring companionship in virtue of its procreative nature.

      Now, unions and acts of a procreative nature may not always achieve their respective goods- procreation is a long process that does not begin or end with sexual union. In the case of elderly or infertile couples, for example, though an act or relationship may be procreative in nature, defects in certain other organs may not be able to bring these things to their proper fruition.

      However, sexual relations and acts attain their nature as sexual acts and relations precisely insofar as they exist between reproductively complimentary people and are functionally oriented toward reproduction. In human beings, this functioning involves our wills, which entails that sex involves also involves relationship, the perfection of which is the permanence and depth of marriage. As marriage’s status as a human good is derived from its being the fulfillment of the human sexual nature, it is easy to see why traditionalists insist that homosexual marriages are really no sorts of marriages at all, for marriage, if it is to be distinguished from a mere exclusive friendship, must have an intrinsically sexual, or reproductive, dimension, whether it come to fruition or not. With this standard of function in view, it is no surprise that homosexual behaviour should be regarded as, at the very least, intrinsically disordered, or distortions of sexual behaviour. Precisely insofar as the participants in such a union are not of reproductively complimentary sex, they pervert sexual love and relation from its own nature, thereby acting contrary to their own good as embodied human beings. Insofar as they actively will such distortion in themselves, their will is, in the area of sexual action, disordered. Such an active disorder of the will, is an objectively bad will, and thus, is immoral by the light of natural reason. This deliverance of reason, as it finds support in Scripture, tradition and even the better pagans, is confirmed in every source that may be of profit to the Christian.

      By all means, let us show love to our fellow-man, active homosexual or not, for we have all sinned. Knowing the right, and holding fast to it, does not oblige one to be a Pharisee. Let our love be Christian love, Agape- Concern for the good of the other. This involves being committed to their actual good, not merely what society has wrongly decided is their good, and not merely what they have been fooled into thinking is their good. Let us welcome them, as the Church welcomes all sinners, but let us not betray them to their own sins.

      • Questioning

        “Strip away the contemptible subversion of Christian jargon, and what we find is that there is very little to the case of the revisionist, in religious terms or, indeed, in philosophical terms. The traditionalist has nothing to fear from the Bible placed in context.”

        If this is true then what’s the point of further study of the Scripture? Rewind to the year oh 1500 or so. Who were the traditionalists and who were the revisionists? Frankly, I’m too ignorant to figure out the rest of your points, other than it might appear you are saying people should mostly have sex just to procreate. Two things: it’s easy to assume what people should or should not do and point it out when you’ve never had to experience it and really have no knowledge of it. I am admittedly making an assumption here. Secondly, sexual orientation does not define a person. It is just a characteristic of who they are. If you think this is intrinsically evil and makes a gay Christian guilty somehow of a “worse” sin then you do not understand the nature of sin. There is no hierarchy of sin. Plus it would also hold true for any committed Christian who sins.

        In practical terms, how do you see this statement playing out?
        “Let our love be Christian love, Agape- Concern for the good of the other. This involves being committed to their actual good, not merely what society has wrongly decided is their good”

        Apparently this is not happening today so where is the change?

        You also wrote…
        “There is something of a false duality here between the subject and the subject’s body. In the mind of the revisionist humans are not really created “male and female,” at all, but are rather something like sexless, bodiless blobs of ectoplasm squeezed into a male- or female-model flesh-suit. Thus, it doesn’t matter what the bodies of the members of a sexual union are like, so long as their mental states can be brought into a sufficiently close resemblance to what we would call, in heterosexual couples, “marriage.” That the mental equivalence, such as it is, is not matched with a similar bodily harmony around the same bodily ends doesn’t occur to our proto-Gnostic revisionist as a reason to deny equivalence of nature. Such a conception of human nature is utterly powerless to grapple with sexual morality, which deals with the norms and duties that govern an innately embodied good, in effect reducing it to a kind of special friendship, which happens to enjoy a certain social privilege.”
        So how does the traditionalists mind conceive of homosexuality. Remember it has been around since the time Christ and before. Not to mention a monogamous homosexual is utterly powerless to deal with sexual morality? Ridiculous…. I suppose the traditionalist would have us put all homos back in the closet and pretend they either do not exist or do not deserve to live.

        There’s a lot more I could say, but I told myself, in future, I would stay out of this ridiculous bickering. In that I have failed, but your lofty, haughty, and yes Pharisaical, meanderings struck a nerve.

      • Questioning

        “Strip away the contemptible subversion of Christian jargon, and what we find is that there is very little to the case of the revisionist, in religious terms or, indeed, in philosophical terms. The traditionalist has nothing to fear from the Bible placed in context.”

        If this is true then what’s the point of further study of the Scripture? Rewind to the year oh 1500 or so. Who were the traditionalists and who were the revisionists? Frankly, I’m too ignorant to figure out the rest of your points, other than it might appear you are saying people should mostly have sex just to procreate. Two things: it’s easy to assume what people should or should not do and point it out when you’ve never had to experience it and really have no knowledge of it. I am admittedly making an assumption here. Secondly, sexual orientation does not define a person. It is just a characteristic of who they are. If you think this is intrinsically evil and makes a gay Christian guilty somehow of a “worse” sin then you do not understand the nature of sin. There is no hierarchy of sin. Plus it would also hold true for any committed Christian who sins.

        In practical terms, how do you see this statement playing out?
        “Let our love be Christian love, Agape- Concern for the good of the other. This involves being committed to their actual good, not merely what society has wrongly decided is their good”

        Apparently this is not happening today so where is the change?

        You also wrote…
        “There is something of a false duality here between the subject and the subject’s body. In the mind of the revisionist humans are not really created “male and female,” at all, but are rather something like sexless, bodiless blobs of ectoplasm squeezed into a male- or female-model flesh-suit. Thus, it doesn’t matter what the bodies of the members of a sexual union are like, so long as their mental states can be brought into a sufficiently close resemblance to what we would call, in heterosexual couples, “marriage.” That the mental equivalence, such as it is, is not matched with a similar bodily harmony around the same bodily ends doesn’t occur to our proto-Gnostic revisionist as a reason to deny equivalence of nature. Such a conception of human nature is utterly powerless to grapple with sexual morality, which deals with the norms and duties that govern an innately embodied good, in effect reducing it to a kind of special friendship, which happens to enjoy a certain social privilege.”
        So how does the traditionalists mind conceive of homosexuality. Remember it has been around since the time Christ and before. Not to mention a monogamous homosexual is utterly powerless to deal with sexual morality? Ridiculous…. I suppose the traditionalist would have us put all homos back in the closet and pretend they either do not exist or do not deserve to live.

        There’s a lot more I could say, but I told myself, in future, I would stay out of this ridiculous bickering. In that I have failed, but your lofty, haughty, and yes Pharisaical, meanderings struck a nerve.

      • Frank

        Very well said, except to those that wish things were different, that the truth were different.

      • Hans Bayer

        Amen. Well said.

    • Frank

      Your post truly shows the ignorance, not of others but your ignorance.

      People will go to great lengths to live they way they choose to, including lying and deceiving.

  • http://www.facebook.com/emily.selby.16 Emily Selby

    Thanks so much for this article, Tony. I really appreciate your ability to look at both sides of this issue, learn from it, and maintain your conviction. The Church would, I believe, be a much more loving place if all of us could do that.

  • http://twitter.com/POMOSantosh Santosh Ninan

    I have known of Steve for years – have several friends connected with his ministry. I almost took a position with him years ago. I ordered his book to study. I suspect he will be using all the traditional arguments defending same sex marriage.

    I think that in the pursuit of justice and equity, some evangelicals have found it hard to reconcile what their heart feels and what traditional conservative Christian theology has taught about human sexuality. It will be interesting to see what the repercussions will be. Chalke and Oasis will probably endure some fall out from conservative groups and churches who will draw the line on this issue. Their loss, since Oasis and Chalke have been doing some of the greatest work in justice and compassion issues, globally.

    • Frank

      Unfortunately any credibility they may have had is gone and it will only detract from any of their good works. That’s sad but true.

      • http://twitter.com/POMOSantosh Santosh Ninan

        Frank – not sure if I can see how this detracts from their good works – an inner city kid being mentored is still a good work – despite Chalke’s views.

        • Frank

          Well when someone reinvents scripture every position is called into question. If he is wrong on this what else is he wrong on? I guess it doesn’t completely invalidate the good works but he loses scriptural credibility so his good works seem more man inspired than God inspired.

          Bottom line it does not help to know that he has succumbed to culture and other process sacrificed a truth of God.

  • Anthony Badami

    I do believe that Christ is still HIS church. With or without those who have all the answers and not looking at the very words of The Lord Himself. Did Jesus ever condemn gay living? No, He didn’t. And we place our beliefs on what a follower of Christ wrote. For my eternal life I will have to believe in Jesus’ Word or no words on the subject. Let God (Jesus) be true and everyman a liar. I don’t know the man in UK but his knowledge is increasing in these last days. Revival is coming and it will leave the conservative behind and fighting against the revival instead of being a part of it. Jesus is STILL LORD. Trust Him and His words and you will begin to love and show the fruit of the Spirit in a positive way. Thanks for the write up. I am encouraged. By the way I am not gay and I am called by God to preach the WORD. His name is Jesus. Tony B.

    • John

      The only source you have for knowing the words of Jesus are what his followers wrote. Which puts you in a bit of pickle. Romans 1: “25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.”

      • willhouk

        The only source you have for knowing the words of Jesus are the words of Jesus.

        • Frank

          As recorded by His followers which means we either trust what they wrote or we don’t. Picking in choosing is what gets us into trouble. All of it or none of it.

      • willhouk

        The only source you have for knowing the words of Jesus are the words of Jesus.

      • Anthony Badami

        You are right in saying what you are saying. But in the interpretation of the Word you must read in context. Read the before and after of this scripture and you will see, if you want to see, that this is pagan worship. Not committed Christians who may be gay or straight. Matter of fact the “turn over” is from heterosexual to homosexual acts. Thats the problem in reading the word. You read the translation instead of the interpretation from the greek. God loves ALL HIS CREATION.

        • Frank

          God does love all his children but not everyone is a child of God. Only those who know, accept and follow Jesus become Gods children. That being said it is not possible to simply dismiss the homosexual behavior Paul refers to as simply temple idolatry. Paul knew what he was talking about and so does anyone who reads all of Pauls words and takes Paul seriously. Plus add in Gods created order, Jesus’ affirmation of that order, no mention of any homosexual behavior that was not sinful and the clear definition of preferred marriage and we have a clear cut case that any homosexual behavior is against Gods intentions and will and therefore is sinful. Like any other sin it can be forgiven but it will never be something that God could ever bless or that we should accept as being ok. Nor should we judge this sin more harshly than any other.

          • Anthony Badami

            You are correct in some statements but not all. We weren’t living in the Bible days before Christ, nor at the time of Paul. That is why research is needed to bring to light the closes interpretation of the Word. Many, Many scholars have written books on this issue of Eunuchs and homosexuality. They are not all gay writers either. Maybe you should do some research and read some books on this subject. Also go and ask with politeness, a homosexual and see if they really had a choice to be who they are and if they can love God. Maybe God does create Homosexuals.
            If you are really interested in finding truth read some of these books: David Helminiak, What the bible says about Homosexuality, John Boswell, “Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality” Peter Gomes, “The Good Book., Reading the Bible with mind and heart.” Some good books written by seminary people and scholars.

          • Frank

            I have read every pro gay theological position and none are compelling or have any weight to them. It’s all eisegesis. I wish it were different, it would make this time of questioning easier, but its not.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003507967305 Neal Lindberg

            . agree

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003507967305 Neal Lindberg

            There are scholars on the traditionalist view as well and they also consider history, culture, context, & original languages of the manuscripts in their interpretations.

            Anthony, I also recommend some resources for you: “The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics” (Robert Gagnon) and “The Same Sex Debate: Defending and Clarifying the Bible’s Message About Homosexuality” by James White and Jeffrey Niell.

            Peace and Thanks

      • bluecenterlight

        Romans 2:1 You, therefore, ( because of everything Paul just said in Romans 1) have no excuse, you who pass judgement on someone else, for whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgement do the same things.

  • Jason

    Steve Chalke ONCE AGAIN drops a ‘bomb… Once again, Steve has rethought ‘truth’ so that it can fit his own interpretation of what Jesus meant by ‘love one another’. A person who seeks to live in a homosexual relationship as if they are ‘married’ needs to know that God has a DIFFERENT plan for their lives – The ‘red letters’ in Matthew 19:4-6 and Matthew 19:9-12 show that Jesus says ‘marriage’ is for male and female, but not for everyone! A non-married person can easily fall in love with a married person but we know that such ‘love’ is not the deciding factor of truth. It is the same in a homosexual relationship. If people live by truth they will live their lives as God intends and find his path guides them. It is by pointing people to the life God intends for them that we truly show our love for them and God’s love for them – We cannot demostrate love by being a stumbling block to truth.

    • Grace Found

      I agree. See my comments

      • willhouk

        A myopic narrative of Jesus will always leave one desiring more.

      • willhouk

        A myopic narrative of Jesus will always leave one desiring more.

    • Casey

      “Steve has rethought
      ‘truth’ so that it can fit his own interpretation”, NOT. I guess you
      didn’t read his statement. Allow me to reiterate…

      “He knows that some
      will think that he has strayed from Scripture. However, he says, he has formed
      his view, not out of any disregard
      for the Bible’s authority, but by way of grappling with it and, through
      prayerful reflection, seeking to take it seriously.”

      Chalk states he takes the “Bible’s text seriously and
      authoritatively to grapple constantly with its
      (not his) interpretation. He claims that
      the huge advances in the field of biblical studies over the last decades – as
      the result of significant archaeological finds and advances in historical,
      cultural and linguistic understanding – have brought with them new insights and
      perspectives into the meaning of the scriptural text

      • Frank

        And he is incorrect. Its the height of hubris to think that finally after thousands of years this generation has finally interpreted the bible correctly. Plus given that scripture is very pointed about homosexual behavior affirms that Steve has succumbed to culture and has lessened the value of scripture.

        • Casey

          I beg to differ with you, Frank.
          Steve did NOT succumb to this culture nor has he lessened the value of scripture by giving his opinion.
          What he did do was study the culture at the time the scripture was written, and did not ignore it. He was focused on the culture and social perceptions at the time of the writing, NOT today’s. See below quote.
          “Exegesis and hermeneutics are two essential tools for understanding the Bible. But, while exegesis analyses the actual structure and meaning of the text itself and looks at the nuances of the linguistics, hermeneutics digs deeper to unearth what’s behind it, as it explores the cultural and social perceptions of the writer and their hearers.”

          • Frank

            What Steve did was succumb to eisegesis. A common but fatal mistake.

          • casey

            How’s that a “fatal mistake”?

          • Frank

            Is this an honest question? You do not see the inherent danger in bringing a preconceived bias to scriptural interpretation? I am talking about eisegesis not exegesis.

            Eisegesis’ fatal results are no clearer than from those that believed that racial slavery was biblical and ok.

            Chalke has lost all credibility when it comes to biblical interpretation,.

          • Questioning

            Nothing is said in the article that would lead us to believe that Mr. Chalke had any kind of “preconceived bias” to scriptural interpretation. On the contrary, it would seem that he reached this decision in fear and trembling and only after much prayerful reflection. I have no problem with folks having other viewpoints, I once did myself, but we need to stay away from our own preconceived biases about how folks come to their own view points.

      • Jason

        Since Steve Chalke’s ‘bomb’ was dropped, Christian leader friends of his have written to state that they are still friends with Steve but they disagree with his views. Do you think that they have not studied the same ‘advances in… understanding’? Steve admits that none of his interpretations are really new. He knows plenty of leaders and scholars who stand by the traditional conclusions on this subject. To presume that none of those around him had ever considered the pro-homosexual work-arounds, which have been plastered all over the internet for years, would be to do those leaders and scholars a great injustice. Steve is not more ‘advanced’ than the vast majority of evangelical leaders who know him, hear him, but disagree with him. He has not simply adopted an alternative interpretation but he has moved away from ‘truth’ on this subject.

        • casey

          “Do you think that they have not studied the same ‘advances’ in..understanding’?

          Not as thoroughly as Chalk and D. Barnes and a few others. I happen to think whoever “they” are with regard to those you are referring, or “Christian leader friends”, you mention in your question needs to be made clear, more specific. “They” could mean anyone and so it’s difficult to answer the question you pose to me.

          I don’t see where Chalk made any claim that his opinions were “new”. If so please show me where he said that. I have not seen that anywhere in his statements.

          I don’t really believe there is any such thing as “traditional conclusions” with the subject relating to interpretation. Should I presume that you believe, “traditional conclusions” is a precursory to truth? If so, than, yes, I do question that.

          Yes, I do believe that Chalk is more advanced in this subject.

          I believe he has moved closer, not further away from ‘truth’. I don’t see truth as being ‘alternative’. I happen to agree with Chalk’s interpretation.

          • Jason

            I am thinking particularly of Steve Clifford and Malcolm Duncan. I think you would be doing them a great injustice suggesting that they had not considered these rather old-hat arguments. I have studied the arguments myself – long before Chalke adopted them. I cannot go into detail about each re-interpretation on here – I don’t really have time for this replay as it is! :-) But the key problem with the arguments is that each provides a new ‘context’ against which a certain passage should be read. They seem to work against the supplied context, but it is not difficult to make a text ‘work for you’ like this. In his “lost message of Jesus” book, Steve did the same thing to his re-interpretation of Jesus’ interpretation of ‘eye for an eye’. He supplied historical situations against which Jesus’ teaching on the other cheek, the second robe and the extra mile looked very different! But it is not good scholarship to do this without explaining why the new context is better than the what the narrative itself suggests.

            Steve did not say that his arguments were ‘new’ – that is the point: They have been around for enough time to allow them to be rightly considered.

            By ‘traditional conclusions’ I simply meant the ones which the vast majority of the established church has held for many centuries. The reason for my wording is that mdern scholars who hold to ‘traditional conclusions’ may do so without having only encountered or considered ‘traditional interpretations’. It is an error to presume that because the conclusions have not changed, there has been no re-evaluation. I think that you may be falling into this trap seeing as you state a belief that Steve Chalke is ‘more advanced in this subject’.

  • Questioning

    Let me add my thanks Tony…. as the parent of a gay Christian child I cannot adequately express what the stand, people like Steve Chalke are taking, means to me…..

  • ‘tim Olowe

    Our Lord and Saviour Jesus called and commanded us to love at all cost. God’s kind of love will not condemn but will love a person or a people through whatsoever they might be facing or going through so that they can be all that God created them to be. Because i feel a certain way towards a person or a thing doesn’t mean that my feelings is “The truth”. The word of God will forever be the standard!!! We can never improve on “The truth”, it will always remain to be what it is. I ask and pray for God to heal our land! People, know and continue to know God for who He is!! God first! “FearNoEvil.”

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

    Good on Chalke and Oasis. How much longer will we have to wait for RLC? Thank God for the likes of Jay Bakker and John Shore. It is so like God to use shepherds and carpenters, rather than established leaders, to lead us out of this hate.

    • Frank

      The blind leading the blind sadly.

  • http://twitter.com/ConCarroll1 Con Carroll

    first of all Happy new year. greetings from Dublin Ireland
    first of all can we all take a deep breath and thank Steve
    we who say we believe in the Socialist side of Jesus Gospel. need to let go off our fears. our homophobia. the Gospels of Jesus was about becoming inclusive and open welcoming.
    there are many within our Churches, Synagogues Temples and Mosques. who have moved on from this issue. it is those who want control power and respectability. who are afraid of letting go
    last Saturday 12January, 2013 English Daily Telegraph 15,00 members of the Clergy, signed a letter opposing gay marraige
    January 3 2013. English Gurardian. Catholic Archbishop of Westminister London. from pressure from Catholic conservatives, including the ex editor of Catholic Herald/Standard. along with editor of the Daily telegraph. put a stop to Catholic Eucharist in which women, men. gays/lesbians attended in Soho Lonon. see the Tablet, English Catholic magazine. Saturday 12 Januar. therecan be no place for homophobia in Christianity. ask yourself what would you do. if your Son/daughter came home and told you that they were gay lesbian
    I see no clonflict in been Marxist and been A Christian. do we want to follow the Gospels of Golden Saachs. Wall Street the lifestyle of lambraginihs
    do we follow the Gospels of political solidarity with people who are political alienated. against Capitalism
    I have no apologise to make to anyone for been a gay man. inspired by the Spirituality of Francis of Assisi.
    please don’t tell me that those who were invited to dine, meet with Jesus. were white hetrosexual. men/women. whom one would find on latest fashion magazine

  • Meron

    It is unbelievable how people look at their culture and their family (who may have gay children) and interpret the bible accordingly. The truth is we change to fit the bible not the other way around. This is nothing to do with hate nor being afraid of homosexuality it is however to do with what the whole of bible say in this matter not pick and chose to suit you. I personally would love to be a friend to a homosexual, but that does not mean I accept the practice. Gay can be a christian as long as they don’t practice it. Just like any other sins they may feel the temptation yet they may not act on it. If I would like to get married to more than one woman and I quot verses to justify the act by saying David and others done it, yet it does not mean it is permissible. It is clear God’s best and his will is a marriage between man and woman. You can take it or leave it.

    • Andy

      The Bible is a testimony, not a rule book. Let scripture point you to the living God, who gives you guidance and instruction and relationship in the world today. Adherence to a moral code for the sake of morality is anti-Christ.

      • Frank

        Dismissing the truth of scripture is a rejection of God and Christ.

        • Brian

          what about the part of scripture that tells married men to marry a woman who loses her husband (Gen. 38:6-10), therefore making him a polygamist? It’s in there — it’s the “truth” of Scripture you’re talking about — should I marry my sister-in-law (who lost her husband) even though I’m already married? Before you talk about others dismissing scripture please take a look at the ones you, and millions of others, dismiss every day (and mostly for good reason).

          • Frank

            Deflecting is not a good strategy for an argument. I am happy to discuss the other issues in scripture but it does not invalidate the truth about Gods design for sexuality and marriage.

  • Grace Found

    I think that I might have some right to comment upon this matter. About 30 years ago I sought gay relationships because my sexual urge led me that way. I had also confessed Jesus as my Lord. In a short while I turned my back upon a homosexual lifestyle because I believe it to be contrary to scriptural teaching. I have now been happily married for 26 years with children and I would not change that. We know that God gives grace and while I still find some urges have not entirely gone away I am nonetheless fulfilled in my marriage. We should be supportive and not condemning of gay people, but nonetheless we should not try to ‘tamper’ with scripture. The answer lies with God’s grace. For the sake of my children I will preserve my anonymity but would not mind anyone using the example.

    • Frank

      God bless you and your faithfulness!

    • Guest

      I would like to hear more voices from the sexually re-oriented speaking their testimonies. I have met a few who have ‘come out’ of a gay lifestyle and claim to have received significant healing within themselves from deep childhood wounds that were fueling their same-sex attraction. I agree with previous comments highlighting our changed acceptance of divorce, the hyprocisy that could be revealed here, and the ‘ick’ factor. If the church is outspoken about any sin but has no panacea, insight or love to minister healing into people – particularly the deepest parts of us, our sexuality, I think that that is cruel and as steve chalke says incongruent with the heart of Jesus. We must be loving and accepting in all we do and say, especially when speaking difficult truths, offering REAL hope of freedom. So unless people know how to minister healing into ALL sexual brokeness it is better that they stop telling people they are wrong.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003507967305 Neal Lindberg

        I’m truly happy for Grace Found, but I think his testimony is powerful, seriously. I’m afraid that it will be MISused by SOME Conservative Christians that God WILL ALWAYS promises heterosexual marriage and major sexual re-orientation to ALL gays and lesbians who come to Jesus and leave their “lifestyle” behind 100% of the time. I’m not saying this because I doubt Grace Found or God’s power, but to guard against the hurtfully damaging rhetorics of “praying away the gay” and “you gays don’t have enough faith if you’re still gay, look, Grace Found is now ‘straight’.”

        All I’m saying is we should be mindful that shift in the sexual orientation does NOT always happen (and when it does, it happens to varying degrees) and sometimes people feel the calling that lifelong celibacy is the way to go b/c they cannot feel attracted ENOUGH to the opposite sex, but still does not want to be in the “gay lifestyle.” I cordially and respectfully disagree with Chalke’s conclusion on monogamous, loving same-sex relationship, but I agree with him that our pastoral care of lifelong gay celibate leaves A LOT to be desired, that it leaves them isolated and vulnerable. Unlike straight people, these “side A gay Christians” (gays and lesbians who basically don’t want to “indulge” their same sex attraction), are faced with the possibility of having to live their entire life without a romantic partner consistent with their orientation. At least straight people can entertain the possibility of dating and marriage even when they end up being “forever alone”, but these side A people don’t believe they can have a shot at it at all. It’s one thing if they can handle celibacy, but it’s another thing if they struggle mightily with it….we need the best pastoral and spiritual care possible for these “conservative” gay and lesbian Christians who choose to be celibate…they deserve it.

        • D

          I know nothing of your experience Neal in these areas, and maybe you are right? Perhaps God can not realign everyone into their gender identity? For some/many the journey must be formidable!
          However as I said earlier, I do know people who have much experience and with God given authority have become powerful agents of healing as Christ has plumbed the depths of their own brokeness.

          I myself have received significant healing involving my sexuality, insight it’s brokeness and the corresponding childhood wounds, although I am not gay, the abuse I suffered from teachers coupled with some parental wounds left me in need of a fair amount of healing/deliverance .. the revelation in this process has been profound.
          I know there are many many people who have really powerful testimonies of God’s grace in these areas and I pray now that they have the courage, voice and platform to share their stories so the world can hear some much needed hope.
          Personally I believe God can do anything. I confess I do get pissed off (frustrated) with the lack of power and healing that I don’t see, but I have witnessed enough of God’s power to still believe and hope that we will see more breakthrough in the coming days. PLEASE GOD!

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003507967305 Neal Lindberg

            Thank you for kindly sharing your experience and I am happy that you’ve found a fair amount of healing and deliverance. I hope you continue to grow in Christ and your walk with Him. =)

            It’s not a matter of God’s ability to change sexual orientation…this is not about doubting God’s power, or questioning His omnipotence. As a sort of IMPERFECT analogy, God can regrow limbs in humans, but have we ever seen it happening? Biologically, it seems that He CHOSE not to give the human body the capacity to regrow parts like certain animal species (i.e., that was how he chose to program them), it does NOT mean that He does not have the power to do it. Recall also what Paul talks about regarding his thorn in the flesh in the Scripture, he said God chose NOT to remove it b/c He wanted to show Paul that His grace is sufficient, right?

            I believe that the homosexual orientation, spiritually speaking, exists because of the Fall. I also believe in science and the consensus is that homosexual orientation is caused by a mix of biological and environmental factors. It’s not nature VS nurture, but nature + nurture. The moral framework of the Fall does not contradict scientific research results. There is some evidence that the female sexuality is somewhat more fluid compared to male sexuality in their orientation shift. I’m just showing what science has discovered SO FAR…not trying to speculate on the extent of God’s power or anything like that.

            I believe that healing does not require a change towards the heterosexual orientation, or heterosexual marriage 100% of the time. Hetero marriage is fantastic, but celibacy is not as bad as people often paint it to be although it can be very hard like in the case of gay christians who do not experience a major change in their orientation, enough to pursue a heterosexual relationship. Marriage is also hard, so I’d like to compare marriage and celibacy to apples and oranges, rather than low VS good quality apples, but sometimes people like apples more than oranges.

            The goal of the healing process is holiness, not heterosexuality. We don’t want men to go from “naturally lusting” after men to “naturally lusting” after women if you know what I mean. It’s about putting to death your sins in the sanctification process as we work OUT (not FOR) our salvation so the unwanted attraction and its associated temptations no longer have power over your life, Jesus does.

            What I’m telling you from my previous comment is not that God does not change your orientation/identity to conform with your biological sex type AT ALL. It’s true that there are Christians who experience major shift in their same-sex attraction after coming to Christ and live satisfying marriages although they OFTEN do not become “100% straight” and still struggle with homosexual urges from time to time. There are also plenty of people with such struggles that do not experience a significant “Kinsey scale shift,” to borrow scientific terms. What often happens in 2nd case is that other ignorant straight Christians tell them, “You don’t have enough faith, you don’t pray hard enough, you don’t put enough effort into your counselling bla bla bla.” OR, they blame themselves unfairly (“I’ve failed”). I will say that in His wisdom and love, God has chosen for SOME to not remove the thorn in the flesh to show that His grace is sufficient. If it is the will of God for some to be lifelong celibate, I’m sure God will give the strength and love to help them, not only to go through the struggle, but soar above it…it does not mean that God is being unjust or that He loves you any less than the people who experience significant orientation changes. Just be open for both outcomes and trust God that no matter what happens, it’s about becoming more and more Christ-like, not more and more heterosexual. God will equip you for whatever future He has in store for you. Trust His promises to give you an abundant life and prosper you!

            Peace and love, friend.

    • Guest

      I would like to hear more voices from the sexually re-oriented speaking their testimonies. I have met a few who have ‘come out’ of a gay lifestyle and claim to have received significant healing within themselves from deep childhood wounds that were fueling their same-sex attraction. I agree with previous comments highlighting our changed acceptance of divorce, the hyprocisy that could be revealed here, and the ‘ick’ factor. If the church is outspoken about any sin but has no panacea, insight or love to minister healing into people – particularly the deepest parts of us, our sexuality, I think that that is cruel and as steve chalke says incongruent with the heart of Jesus. We must be loving and accepting in all we do and say, especially when speaking difficult truths, offering REAL hope of freedom. So unless people know how to minister healing into ALL sexual brokeness it is better that they stop telling people they are wrong.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003507967305 Neal Lindberg

      Grace Found,
      Praise God that you are in a much, much better place where you find healing and some congruence between your sexuality and faith. It is indeed by God’s kindness and grace that you’ve come to this place.

    • jsboegl

      Abounding grace and more grace to you brother. Thank you for sharing your empowering story!

  • Andy

    The church today has so little to do with Christ. Who cares what their leaders think anyway?

  • matisse68

    I still don’t get the hypocracy, the hatred even posted here. Many of you still rail against gay and lesbian people as you sit next to the divorced couple in church, listening to the remarried pastor speak–while you all look the other way. You can “get to the gay people” in a moment. How about railing on the divorced folks first? Yeah, see, that wont happen because in today’s “evangelical” church this bias is firmly in place and unmovable. This is about the “ick factor” above all, and nothing else. And let’s be honest…divorce isn’t all that icky, even if Jesus said it was. This isn’t about me or anyone else trying to justify anything…it is about loving your neighbor while simultaneously keeping your mouth shut. Because you can’t say anything or pull out any verse (and potentially mangle it, I’m quite sure) that someone hasn’t heard or has been beaten up with–simply so you can put in your two cents worth in regard to how you feel about this “icky” topic. That’s right–we know what you think about “anything gay” so how about stop talking and just start loving peoplethe way Jesus not only modeled, but also commanded? Or is this icky too?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003507967305 Neal Lindberg

      I think that there is a difference between theological belief on the practice of homosexuality itself (no one is culpable for the sexual orientation…no argument there) and how we’re supposed to engage the lgbt community, Christians and non-Christians. It is shameful and sad that the church cannot minister to the lgbt people with equal amount of love, grace, and kindness that they give to other sinners when they find the practice of homosexuality to be sinful. Jesus did not condone the sins of the sinners that he had dined and associated Himself with in the gospel, still they flocked to Him. I’m sure they know that Jesus disagreed with their sins too since He was a rabbi and all, yet it didn’t stop them from coming to Him. The same thing does not happen with the contemporary Christian churches in the USA. Hmm…I wonder why. The church fails to speak the truth in love when it comes to the practice of homosexuality.

      On top of finding the practice of homosexuality ickier, I think that some evangelical churches have sold out to the game of right wing politics. Like Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias said, when you politicize religion, you politicize morality. No church is gonna get a kick out of rallying against legal no-fault divorce and no political party will raise their funds to make a policy like that because no one will vote for them. If you want to truly protect the sanctity of marriage, be consistent, start legislating against no-fault divorce, adultery, and the legal right to remarry after divorce—things that clearly makes a toy out of the holy matrimony, arrogantly separate what God has joined together, and hurt children. Don’t scapegoat legal gay marriage, even if you find it theologically wrong. Either ban or legalize all of them. I’m not saying churches support adultery, no-fault divorce, and remarriage. I’m saying that the discrimination by which churches deal with anti-marital sanctity sins (legal ban on one and not with others) point to a greater problem: they’ve unjustly created a hierarchy of sins.

      • bluecenterlight

        Well said :)

      • Hans Bayer

        If Christians should even be involved in politics, this would be a more Biblical focus If Christians did as you say here, at least we wouldn’t be so hypocritical.

    • jsboegl

      “God’s answer to religion and legalism is not lawlessness, but the cross.” – Ryan Couch

    • Digger

      Is your argument that homosexuality is ok with God because divorce is ok with God, or that not only is homosexuality wrong, but divorce is wrong also?
      Reading your post, I’m almost inclined to believe that you are claiming that divorce is wrong, and homosexuality is not.

  • I. E.

    Tony, I am right there with you: “For my own part, I remain conservative on the issue, but I agree with Steve that the attitudes of many churches are homophobic and cruel.” The Church should welcome gays in, but let them know it’s stance: homosexuality is a sin according to the Bible. (Just like the Bible mentions other sins). Having done this, gays should be left alone for the Holy Spirit to convict their hearts and Christ to change them. We should strive to love them just like Christ loved us. We can love them without condoning their life style. It doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive.

    • Frank

      I agree but ask any Christian who has identified themselves as gay if that’s good enough for them?

      • I. E.

        Frank, I see your point, however, it is not up to me since I did not write the Bible verses that say Homosexuality is sin. Gays will have to take this up with God. My job is to love them, and not judge them.

        • Frank

          I agree but my point is that many gay Christians want the church to rewrite the bible to say what they are doing is perfectly ok and not sinful. They would not accept what you propose.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003507967305 Neal Lindberg

            Have faith and pray to God for Holy Spirit to convict their hearts, Frank, because God can persuade the human heart better than even the best arguments out there.

            Don’t worry, though,Frank, the evangelicals have made it extremely loud and clear that homosexuality is sinful. We’ve done an overly excellent job of getting this stance out there (though many times legalistically and cruelly), now it’s time to do it with love.

          • Frank

            I don’t know why you single out the evangelicals The majority of Christians believe that homosexual behavior is a sin rightfully so.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003507967305 Neal Lindberg

            Haha sorry I tend to use various terms interchangeably. But since you’ve brought it up you make me realize that evangelicals are a very dominant religious force in the US, huge political influence, and it’s one I’m most familiar with. I also find their approach to the TREATMENT towards homosexuals (I said treatment, Frank, not the theological stance on homosexuality) to be the most unkind.

            I personally find, for example, the Roman Catholic Church to be gentler in their approach and ministry. Like evangelicals, they also object to the practice of homosexuality and vote against gay marriage. To my knowledge, they’ve never created the assortments of lies and half truths that people choose the homosexual orientation, that they can pray away the gay, and if they don’t, they don’t have enough faith and thus condemned to the depths of hell. One of the greatest Catholic theologians of our age, the late Father Henri Nouwen, was a priest who struggled with UNWANTED same-sex attraction. His homosexuality struggle was not known to the public when he was alive, only to those in his private circles. No evidence was present that he ever broke his celibacy vow. Some of his close priest colleagues and higher-ups probably knew of his struggle, but , he was never told to step down because of the homosexual struggle. Had this been a Protestant evangelical pastor, oh dear, I will feel sorry for him because the elder board and other associate pastors will see that he struggles with a more despicable sin and is not fit to be a pastor, even when he doesn’t live the gay lifestyle. I mean, being a pastor doesn’t mean you are free of sin struggles, right? It’s also a fact that the Roman Catholic Church was a leading AIDS care provider back then before they even understood the disease, while most of evangelicals were busy telling the gays they deserve it in the most pharisaic manner possible. I don’t hate evangelicals, Frank, just their sin. It will be unloving of me to tolerate and accept the evangelicals and other Christian denominations out there that speak the truth legalistically WITHOUT LOVE. Once again, Frank, the sins is not in speaking the truth, but doing it without love.

            I’m not a Roman Catholic, I’m just saying we can take a cue and learn from them on how to engage the lgbt people better.

          • bluecenterlight

            I think what is lacking is Christians ability to be honest about our own sexual sins. You are right, we should not compromise on what sin is, but when we go to churches where no one confesses their sins to each other, I don’t think that is what real church should look like. I remember reading ” confessing your sin to one another that you may be healed” and thinking I don’t think I could ever do that. But now I know it’s not only important, it is essential. When homosexuals can walk into a church and feel like they are in a group of equally broken people trying to grow towards Christ, then we will be the church.

            “He who is alone with his sins is utterly alone. It may be that Christians, not withstanding corporate worship, common prayer, and all their fellowship in service, may still be left to their own loneliness. The final breakthrough to fellowship does not occur because, though they have fellowship with one another as believers and as devout people, they do not have fellowship as the undevout, as sinners. The pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner. So everyone must conceal his sin from himself and from their fellowship. We dare not be sinners. Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is discovered among the righteous. So when we remain alone in our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy The fact is we are sinners!”

            Dietrich Bonhoeffer

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003507967305 Neal Lindberg

        First of all, Frank, I.E. suggests that church needs to make it clear their stance on homosexuality to gays and lesbians who are interested in coming to the church. I understand that perhaps if in the long-term the gay/lesbian person chooses to “embrace the gay lifestyle,” the church leadership or other members need to make it clear that Scripture makes it impossible for the congregation to support the conduct. Christians who think monogamous gay relationship is OK will probably end up picking a gay-affirmative church anyway, where they can have their union acknowledged and blessed. Why would they put up with a church leadership and congregation that call their relationship sinful?

        Still, I don’t believe that they necessarily have to COMPLETELY leave their lifestyle behind first as a prerequisite to be welcomed in the beginning. It’s like how you invite your non-Christian friends to introduce them to Jesus in the church…you don’t tell them, “Oh, believe Jesus first, realize what a wretched sinner you are NOW, or I will un-invite you!” Nowhere does it say in the Bible that Jesus waited for the gluttons and the drunkards to get rid of their sinful lifestyles before He started dining with them.

        Repentance is a growth process, so I think prayerful discernment and patience are needed here. Each person’s situation can be unique and must be dealt with in a case-by-case basis…don’t overgeneralize. If they are still in the gay lifestyle for some time at first, I don’t think it’s wise to immediately kick them out b/c that means we give up too easily on them. Until it’s 100% clear that they won’t change their mind and insist that God is fine with their homosexuality practice, then they should still be welcomed.

        • Frank

          I agree with this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DeepNarcosis William J. Green

    Is God a “process God?” In other words, has God changed and evolved in that behaviors He once declared to be sin and thus opposed He’s now for and has rendered sinless; and conceivably things He was once for He now opposes?

    If God is NOT a process God then what amount of hubris and arrogance does it take for 21st-century Christians to think that more than 4,000 years after Abraham and 2,000 years after Jesus we’re suddenly “lighting upon” a new Truth of God that He deliberately kept hidden from us for more than 4,000 years? Isn’t this a form of modern day Gnosticism? Do we really think 6,000 years of God’s faithful disciples, many of whom were martyred for their faith, were that wrong?

    Wouldn’t it be wiser to to point out that what God said about divorce and remarriage, except perhaps in the instance of the other partner’s marital infidelity, STILL STANDS TRUE today and that we neither use the sin of so many to denude it of sinfulness nor use it to justify solemnized sodomy by marriage that was instituted by God decidedly between Adam and Eve, and neither between Adam and Steve nor Eve and Evangeline.

    The justification seems to be that if enough people engage in a sin and live in it “peaceably” for years, not chronically committing one or more other sins, then that sin becomes sin no more and is justified because so many do it without also blowing up a police precinct and coveting their neighbor’s ass.

    To tell you the truth my vestigial carnality “likes” this philosophy because it basically states that virtually any behavior or philosophy the historical Church has understood to be sin from Scripture can, with enough people “peaceably” engaging in it and still wanting to be regarded as disciples, become denuded of sinfulness over time by 1) confessing its popularity and growing ubiquity, 2) believing God loves sinners enough to declare their sin “sin no more” if that erstwhile sin becomes not only regularly engaged in but approved of by those youngins who do not, and 3) stipulating that these yesteryear sinners ought not be considered contemporary sinners any more because, after all, what they regularly engage in “doesn’t harm anyone” and hey, “they’re not raping and killing their mothers.”

    If I’ve been celibate for a long, long time as penance for previous sexual indiscretions, have never been married, divorced nor remarried, and am feeling lonely, may I then count upon you to assure me and God that if I decide to shack up with a “good Christian girl” in a monogamous relationship outside of marriage I won’t live in sin and God will NOT expunge my name from the Book of Life?

    Why doesn’t this sit well with me?

  • http://www.facebook.com/DeepNarcosis William J. Green

    BTW, “homophobic” means “FEAR of homosexuals” or “FEAR of homosexual behavior.” I’ve never met a Christian who loves God and hates sin as God does and also FEAR homosexuals or their behavior. I have known them to regard their sin as sinful like all other sins including their own but I’ve never seen anyone retreat in fear and horror when a known practicing homosexual entered the room.

    By your logic the world would be filled with “Thieveophobics,” “Liarophobics,” “Idolophobics,” “Adulterophobics,” “Cheatophobics,” etc., and I’ve never met any.

    This term is inherently specious and does NOT convey the regard authentic Christians have for sin.

  • DrewTwo

    I’m not sure why I keep returning to these sorts of sites and getting myself tied up in knots again but here I am listening to the same “love the sinner but hate the sin” mantra. What seems lost on those who repeat it ad nauseum, in one one form another, is that the have the “hate the sin” part down pat. Oddly, it seems their best efforts at “loving the sinner” are letting him/her know that they “hate the sin.” Huh? I guess that’s because “loving the sinner” takes time, effort, discomfort, perhaps even a little sacrifice. Costs almost nothing to let people know where you stand.

    • Frank

      What does “loving the sinner’ mean to you? How does that express itself? Is it love to lie? Is it love to allow someone to remain in sin? Is it love to accept and normalize sinful behavior?

      • DrewTwo

        For a split second there, I thought maybe you really wanted to know…but you almost immediately felt the need to “love” me by reiterating your position and reminding me of my “sin “

        • Frank

          I don’t know you so I have no idea what your sins may be. I was seriously asking the question. Would you like to answer?

          • DrewTwo

            I think I probably would though to be honest with you I find this kind of exercise exhausting. I’m a gay man (celibate to date) who has, in effect, left the church behind. I’m not a young man and I’m not one who bailed following a brief period of teenage angst. So, you see, all of this isn’t just an intellectual exercise for me. It’s real life. I’ll try provide you with an honest answer, after pulling my thoughts together and re-filling my emotional tank.

          • Frank

            Thanks DrewTwo. I am sorry that you probably experienced some ugliness in church over this. I find it unconscionable that anyone walk away from a church feeling hated because of the words and actions of others (to clarify I do not find simply believing homosexual behavior to be sinful as hateful). There are indeed some hateful churches and Christians but they are dying out fast.

          • bluecenterlight

            I too left the church ( over pacifism, and nationalism) I watched the church wrap itself in the flag and march off to war. I became horrified that this is what the church had become and gave up. But the truth is my friend, we are not allowed to give up. We have to stand up for what is right, we are responsible if the Church is allowed to look like anything other than Christ, because we allowed it. I am reengaging because I think God will hold me responsible for my silence. You are exhausted because you feel alone, me too, but I’m starting to see there are a lot of us out there. We need to draw strength from God, and each other.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003507967305 Neal Lindberg

        It is not love to tell a lie, but love does not stop with telling the truth.

        • Frank

          I agree but all too often people equate love with tolerance or acceptance.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003507967305 Neal Lindberg

            It’s not love to call what is wrong to be right and in the Bible, God very firmly judge people who call evil good and good evil. Still, DrewTwo is also right , that it’s wrong when we think that the BEST part of loving a person is to hate their sin…that is why Jesus got into a lot of arguments with the Pharisees. The Christian church has failed SO miserably when it comes to speaking the truth in love. If that were the case, all sorts of sinners, including homosexuals will come to the church the way the prostitutes, tax collectors, gluttons, and drunkards were so drawn to Jesus (keep in mind they knew Jesus was a rabbi, how could he have condoned what they did?). We’re great at speaking the truth, but NOT in love, which is why it deserves a greater priority to repent from.

          • 22044

            Well said. My theology/worldview would line up with yours & Frank’s, but I agree with your point that people with same-sex attraction often heard/experienced one part of the message too much and it’s out of proportion to the whole message that God has for them. When RLC posts something about homosexuality, I usually prefer to read instead of comment; it’s hard to communicate the love of God on a message board sometimes.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003507967305 Neal Lindberg

            Thank you for your kind words =)

    • Frank

      What does “loving the sinner’ mean to you? How does that express itself? Is it love to lie? Is it love to allow someone to remain in sin? Is it love to accept and normalize sinful behavior?

  • DrewTwo

    I’m not sure why I keep returning to these sorts of sites and getting myself tied up in knots again but here I am listening to the same “love the sinner but hate the sin” mantra. What seems lost on those who repeat it ad nauseum, in one one form another, is that the have the “hate the sin” part down pat. Oddly, it seems their best efforts at “loving the sinner” are letting him/her know that they “hate the sin.” Huh? I guess that’s because “loving the sinner” takes time, effort, discomfort, perhaps even a little sacrifice. Costs almost nothing to let people know where you stand.

  • Tervurenlady

    Jesus appeared to have far more condemnation for rich and
    educated people than for gay ones. In fact, he didn’t mention gay people once,
    which is odd given how much he had to say on other subjects. He reserved
    special criticism for the evangelicals of his day, so perhaps he had them in
    mind for leading any apostasy. See John 5:39

    It’s a complex issue and one that hinges on a few verses with
    Greek words that we don’t entirely understand. It may be (as my gay friend
    Simon once said) that “God hates poofs”, but I’m not entirely
    convinced. I’m an experienced enough theologian these days to be very wary
    about making blanket assertions, especially when the NT evidence is so thin.
    Just as with women bishops, it’s far from clear what the NT actually says and good
    cases can be made on both sides. We continually have to interpret the NT based
    upon modern scholarship, rather than relying upon hackneyed stereotypes. Few
    people are aware that “malakoi” in 1 Corinthians 6:9 just means
    “soft” and Plato used it to refer to those of weak intellect. It
    wasn’t translated as “homosexual” until 1958 and I rather suspect
    that gay people existed before that. However, this is a complicated debate, so
    there’s no point in trying to repeat it by email. I quite understand those who
    hold to a traditional view and I also appreciate their arguments. I’m simply
    saying that appealing to slogans and over-simplification will produce more heat
    than light. The sky will not fall if we have a gay bishop in the Church of England, any more
    than it did when we had many gay Popes in the past, or when we had women
    apostles.

    • Questioning

      well said… in my humble opinion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dcrousu Don Rousu

    Two things always trouble me about this discussion:

    1. People say that homosexuality is a sin without ever distinguishing between homosexual identity and homosexual activity. From a biblical point of view, only the activity is condemned. Many people struggle with their gender identity without engaging in homosexual activity.

    2. There is little to nothing said about healing for acute gender identity confusion. To even suggest that such a thing is not possible is to hold the power of the gospel in contempt. In First Corinthians 6, after naming different kinds of unrighteous people, including people given to three types of sexual aberration, Paul says, “And such were some of you. Not “are” — “were”. But you were washed, you were sanctified . . .” Sanctified means to be separated from that kind of life, and set apart for glorifying service to God. All I hear from scripture is redemption and glorious transformation. “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation!” All I am hearing from church leaders is “We must accept people as they are, ignore their brokenness, and bless them, and all they do.” I know healing for gender identity issues is real and possible. I have participated in it for more than 30 years.

    • Jan Groff

      1. It is inhuman to expect humans not to be sexual. Also, you seem to confuse gender identity with homosexuality. Lesbians do not think should have been born male. Gay men do not want to be women.

      2. There is no such thing as “acute gender identity confusion”. Assuming you are speaking about transsexuals, there is nothing acute about it. In fact, the clinical diagnosis no longer is Gender Identity Disorder – sorry to disappoint you. It is now a dysphoria only for those who are distressed by their gender incongruity. Also, such a diagnosis requires “long standing” identification with another gender, thus the nix on the acute part. Healing is probably not needed for those born this way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=502215266 John Gordon

    Strange. Should people who are MR or have Downs syndrome try to pray it away? Or live in denial of it? Did God make them that way? Does God WANT them to remain handicapped? Does anyone see what I’m getting at?

    • bluecenterlight

      I think a more apt comparison is intersex people. 1 in 1500 children are born with both or confused genitalia. That is not an insignificant number of people. What is sin for them? It’s Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve, but what if you are Adam and Eve? The bible doesn’t speak to it directly, but if we use our oversimplified arguments, we could argue if they make the wrong choice in picking a spouse, they could go to hell. I don’t think anyone believes that. After many failed attempts by doctors to lop it off, throw on a dress, give you some pills, and call you a girl, which has ruined many peoples lives ( and I think was driven by a false biblical view that God doesn’t make mistakes, and if He does we can “fix it”). I think we need to realize human sexuality is a complicated issue.

  • Jim M

    Given that his church’s website already said this, it’s hardly a bombshell. Sounds more like Campolo’s spin. From their website:
    1. Serving and respecting all people regardless of their gender, marital status, race, ethnic origin, religion, age, sexual orientation or physical and mental capability.

  • MargHerder

    Thank you Tony, for the kindness you exhibit in your reporting on this issue. Many, many Christians fail to acknowledge the pain and anguish caused by their attitudes and actions toward LGBTQ people. Many of those who do acknowledge that they are intentionally hurting people justify this by blaming their victims for this violence of spirit. “I would love you, and welcome you into true fellowship, if only you made better choices.”

    Jesus calls us, by His example, to humility and loving kindness toward all people.

  • bluecenterlight

    I think we are taking two very distinct issues and bundling them into one. Whether or not the church agrees with homosexual marriage, and whether or not society as a whole should protect the rights of minorities. One of the beautiful things about this country is that you don’t have to live as a born again Christian to enjoy the rights afforded all citizens. In fact you are allowed to believe pretty much whatever you want, kind of a cool concept. We need to separate the two. C.S. Lewis in “Mere Christianity” proposed a church sanctioned marriage and a state sanctioned marriage. His point was that we do not live up to what we profess to believe, so we do not have the right to force our beliefs on the rest of society. When you suppress the rights of others, is is one day closer to your rights being taken. The church can and should continue to have the debate about homosexuality, but we do not get to define marriage for everyone else.

    • Jan Groff

      I realize that 19 days later I am blathering to myself… Your comment reminds me of my wonderment that many Christians approve of atheists marrying. Obviously there is a realization of a marital religious rite separate from government recognition that can allow non-believers (however one defines them) to form families in society. Therefore, the concept a same-sex union between consenting adults sanctioned by the State should be acceptable. Churches can go about blessing (or not) whatever unions they chose without interference from government – just as they do about most other theological and philosophical constructs.

      • bluecenterlight

        I don’t think Christians have the right to approve of anyone’s marriage. What else should we be in charge of approving? TV viewing habits? Manner of dress? Language? Maybe we could but people who break the rules in stocks and throw rotten fruit at them ;) Wait, we’ve already done that. The concept of marriage predates Christianity. People married for political reasons, as with monarchy’s, or it was viewed as a simple exchange of property, seeing as how the idea of woman being equal with men is a modern invention. The concept of America provides a safe, free place to worship God as we see fit, it has not always been that way, there have been a lot of growing pains. I recommend a PBS program called “God in America”. It is amazing to see how Christianity has evolved just in the last 200 years. There was a time in our history when you could go to jail for being Baptist. It is important, it we want to continue to enjoy the freedoms we have, to support the freedoms of others, even if we do not agree with them. The day you take a man’s freedom away is one day closer to yours being taken away. You can’t assume Christians will always be in power. We can, and I think will, be on the other side looking in. I think we will regret our arrogance.C.S. Lewis was an amazing man, he has made me blather a few times as well, lol.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cowshill Jim Bowen

    I would suggest that each of us read Matthew 23 – carefully — several times. Now, if this chapter is seen be you as being simply Jesus’ condemnation of the hypocrisy of the Jewish leaders of his day, a hypocrisy which would be replaced by the truth of Christianity, then you might as well stop reading my comment now as we will never understand one another nor find much of any common ground. If, however, like me, you find this chapter to be, perhaps, scripture’s most searing indictment of our own sinfulness then do read on.

    For I am certain that, if God hates fags, then God hates divorcees, God hates supporters of war, God hates supporters of state-approved murder (capital punishment), God hates lovers of fine food (gluttons), God hates those who do not work tirelessly for the Kingdom (the slothful), God hates those who are not kind to strangers (by which He meant immigrants), God hates those who neglect widows, God hates those who neglect orphans, God hates those who do not sell all they have and give it to the poor, God hates the rich (and every one of us posting here is undoubtedly rich in terms of global poverty). Heterosexual that I am, I have not the slightest doubt that if God hates fags then God hates me. And I am equally convinced that, since I know by faith that God loves me, then God loves my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.

    Yes, yes, I know, you do not hate the sinner, you just hate the sin. And are you just as adamant and public on hating all the other sins? If I ask to join your church will you make it clear to me that my conspicuous wealth, my periodic dining in good restaurants, my owning of numerous coats as I walk past the shivering homeless man on the street corner, my lack of devoting all my energies to the preaching of the kingdom are sins which God hates? The earth is filled with pain, misery and death as a result of our sin. Very, very little of that is caused by someone placing a penis where scripture has said it should not be. Why is there such a huge focus on this one issue? First cast out the beam in your own eye. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees,hypocrites!”

    • Frank

      God hates all sin. The problem is when people try and suggest something that scripture calls a sin, is not a sin. That why we are having this discussion. If everyone would just be honest and admit homosexual behavior is sinful then we can move on and worry about the more important things.

      • http://www.facebook.com/cowshill Jim Bowen

        If there are more important things, why is it essential to agree on the sinfulness of homosexuality before moving on to them? This attitude would seem to be exactly what Matthew 23:23 is addressing. Whether or not you believe homosexuality is a sin, I repeat my question why is there such a huge focus on this one issue? Surely the nearly universal belief (and practice) of our culture that it is good to amass material wealth and possessions while almost totally ignoring the suffering of the poor of the world must grieve God far more than do two men who choose to live together in a relationship of life-long love. Sorry for taking up your time. I realize I’m trying to communicate with a brick wall.

        • Frank

          There is only a focus on this issue because of the campaign to redefine Gods word over sexual sins. When deceivers stop saying homosexual behavior is not sinful there will be no more need to focus on this issue. Until then….

    • bluecenterlight

      :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/cowshill Jim Bowen

    And may I also pose the question: If the perfect word of scripture may never be interpreted in the light of contemporary moral understanding, then ought we not to embrace human slavery as being eternally ordained by the will of our all-loving God?

    • Frank

      Racial slavery and the bond servitude of scripture are two very different things. This is why people do need to understand scripture first before posting. Next we will be hearing about shellfish and fabrics….

      • http://www.facebook.com/cowshill Jim Bowen

        Frank, thank you for responding to my post with an unexplained and meaningless statement followed by an extraordinarily supercilious put-down followed by a jaw-dropping non-sequitur. Apparently in some circles this passes for theological discussion.

        • Frank

          When you have a cogent and supported theological position I will happily take you seriously and have a discussion but when you start off in ignorance I will respond accordingly.

          • http://www.facebook.com/cowshill Jim Bowen

            As I said in my other post, sorry for taking up your time…

    • Frank

      The first time you posted this it shows your ignorance of scripture. The second time cemented it. Well done!

  • Dean

    Not strong enough Tony! Take a stand for Justice!

  • Susan

    Jesus told the adulterous woman “Go now and leave your life of sin.” He didn’t say “I love you. Keep living in sin.”

  • bluecenterlight

    I would like to pose a question. Martin Luther King Jr. has long been rumored to have been an adulterer. Lets assume that is true. Meaning when he was shot, he died as an adulterer. Does he spend an eternity separated from God? Or does he spend an eternity with the Lord? I know this seems like a diversion from the article, but I think this gets at the heart of the matter. What if a Christian dies sexually immoral? You love Jesus, and try to follow him with all your heart, but one thing trips you up. A besetting sin, and it doesn’t have to be sexual, sin is sin in God’s eyes. What if their are things in your life you refuse to give up? Do we all have those things? Do they disqualify us from salvation? I’m just curious what you think.

    • Frank

      We cannot know the condition of someones heart before they died. If he asked for and received forgiveness then he is no longer an adulterer. I would imagine that all of us will die with some unrepentant sin in our lives. I trust Gods grace to work it all out.

  • Tears of a Clown

    As an evangelical Anglican in the UK I can definitely say that a very large part of the evangelical constituency here do not recognise Steve Chalke as a fellow evangelical. This is just the icing on the cake of his theology that firmly places in him as a liberal.

    • 22044

      Thanks for the report from your side of the pond. :)

  • Hans Bayer

    When you say that young people question why the Church accepted divorce and remarriage but not homosexual relationship, I think that is an excellent point. Mainstream Christianity has disregarded Christ’s commands concerning remarriage and have largely lost their witness because of it. You say we need to focus on loving our fellow men but those words are hollow if you teach that divorces are allowable. If Christ does not give us the grace to remain faithful to one spouse for life, then why would He give us grace to love strangers? We do not need to compromise our obedience to God’s commands to be able to express his love.
    Very little is clearer in the Bible than Jesus’ words about divorce–even if there are ways around His words, it is clear He does not approve of divorce and it is against His will. Christians have very successfully ignore these commands so it is no surprise that they are beginning to ignore what the Bible says about homosexuality. The God who said what is recorded in the Bible is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and His words will never pass away.
    The reactions of mainstream Christians to homosexuality are unacceptable. They do not show God’s love to the world. But, we need to be beware of allowing our desire to not be judgmental “fundamentalists” to cloud the clear words of Scripture. Christians have suffered and died for centuries for not tolerating the deeds of the fallen world. We are called out to be separate Not because we sin less but because Jesus and His words come first–whatever the cost.
    Who does not agree that God wants the very best for us? Who does not agree that stable, life-long heterosexual relationships are the best way and what the Bible clearly encourages. (Challenge that last statement if you wish, but I encourage you to research the statistics for children raised in different types of families.) It is not enough to stand against homosexuality.
    If we claim to be disciples of Christ, we must also teach against remarriage and refuse to give it our silent assent. I’d say we’re safe in condemning the things that God has condemned as well. A disciple does not try to find ways around his Master’s words; he tries to find the best way to obey his Master. Jesus said that we love Him IF we obey His words. And we must love God before we can successfully love our fellow man. It is not love to sweep someones sin under the rug so every feels better. We are Christian primarily so God can fix us, not to make ourselves feel better about our sins.
    So lets purify ourselves and return to being a pure bride for Christ. The Church should be made up of those who have, or are willing to, give up everything in their pursuit of God. If we are unwilling to discipline our sexual appetites, then we are unwilling to be Christians.
    P.S. Please respond if what I wrote stuck a chord, good or bad.

    • Peter

      It amazes me how people interpret Jesus ‘teaching’ on divorce. If you call it a ‘teaching’. Wasn’t it more of a commentary to a particular question put to Him about divorce for any and every reason? If the OT was also ‘God’s Word’ how could Jesus undermine what was previously permitted if that’s what people say he intended in his response? He could certainly add to, or explain further, qualify or correct a misunderstanding of, but not change what was previously written. He could also be answering ‘fasciously’ or ‘tongue in cheek’ could he not?. Or did he have a wafer thin intellect, and cardboard personality? I can think of multiple ways of understanding what he said, including whether the references to ‘in the beggining’ are illustrative or causative. Then there is the context where this is written where he is going ‘over the top’ for illustrative purposes about cutting hands off and gouging out eyes. I won’t claim to know which way of reading it is ‘the correct’ way – but this is what most people seem to me to be doing in the christian church.
      If the matter was so ‘crystal clear’ then we would not would be arguing about it 2000 years later. It is too easy to just relegate differences in interpretation to someone being ‘liberal’ or twisting scripture to their own ends (although this does occur) rather than a serious attempt to understand what the scriptures as a whole teaches in light of their original meaning as intended by the author to the specific people written to, in context of the historic, social and political situation of the day. Considering this then what does it mean to us today, and how can we be sure of that.? And this avoidance of really getting to grips with this bigger question (because people cant be trusted to see the Bible as little more than a promise book or dictated rule book) is the bigger problem within Christendom. So much weight is given to a few words out of context, and a whole doctrine and tradition built on a particular ‘reading’ of scripture. It is then assumed that the dominant view is the correct one simply because it has been around a long time, or agreed to by the most people. That seems hardly an appropriate way to determine what ‘truth’ the Bible teaches.

      Until we can all agree on ‘How do we approach and understand- how and why the Bible was written, and how to correctly understand it” that we will always disagree. It would have been easier if we were given a divine Bible about the Bible… i.e. an inspired instruction manual on how to read the Bible :)

  • Daniel

    The basic question is still the same, the same Bible but opposite interpretations. Who has the authority on the truth? 1 Timothy 3:15 says it is the Church who is the “pillar and foundation of truth”. Well which church? Every church claims it models after the Early Church yet they look very different from each other. I would say go back to the writings of Church Fathers in the first two centuries and see how the early church functioned. How did the early Christians worship? Did the church have Bishops or overseers? Was the Church liturgical or centered on commentary(preaching)? Moral teachings and doctrines should never change over time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andy.mitchell Andy Mitchell

    Although, like Tony, I “remain conservative on this issue,” in another 30 years we’ll look just as closed-minded as people from my parents’ generation who thought biracial couples were living in sin.

    • Frank

      I would think not as biracial marriage is not a sin. Wasn’t a sin then nor is it a sin now. Homosexual behavior has always been a sin, yesterday, today and tomorrow. Something that really is a sin cannot be declassified as a sin because we wish it or because popular culture wishes it or the church abandons the truth of it. It will still be a sin.

  • http://www.facebook.com/anthony.brennan.35 Anthony Brennan

    As a ex homosexual, yes that’s right EX! I had struggled with homosexuality from childhood, and most of my adult life, wanting to be ‘normal’ if you like, but always going back, broke all my realationships up, and over many years feeling that there was no way out, I was told that I was born that way, depression soon became a part of my life, so drugs helped for about 10years until that back fired and nearly sent me mad, when I was 27 years old I became a christian, but it didn’t end there, and I didn’t know why, why wouldn’t he help me? Surely it was what he wanted?(God that is) Anyway, I went to Charis Bible college in Walsall England in 2005, in 2006 I met a girl at the college who I liked but I was still a homosexual and I knew it, so I talked her out of it,dating that is,I was never happy being homosexual, I could see that I was made for a woman, but couldn’t escape these desires, and actions towards other men. 2008 my last year at bible college,this is really a long story but I’m keeping real short believe me! The bible college directors wife spoke to me one morning and had a word for me as she was praying for me the night before, when she had spoken,she took me to the college director he husband, told him to pray for me which he did(they never knew about my problem,remember thats how I saw it at the time a problem) and at that moment which I might add took 5mins max, I was set free, that was on a friday, the following Tuesday I asked my wife to get married, which we did 9 and a bit weeks later, and we have been married just over 4 years now, and have two children together,as well as her two children, God answers prayers based on this ingredient Fear not believe only, when you believe that he is in love with you faith works Galatians 5:6, people do not have to stay homosexuals, just because most of us haven’t seen God’s power at work in this way doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, and will continue to happen as people pray believing, Mark 11:24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe
    that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. You don’t have to stay ill, or trapped, like my wife once was with drugs, everyone has a word, but he is the word, believe him only.

  • Geoff Bairsto

    Thank you Tony, The Bible is clear cut on this and every other issue mankind has to deal with, I hope Steve is not deceived into thinking once saved always saved when our eternal security according to scripture is in our obedient walk of faith in Jesus Christ

  • sheeperkeeper

    If the characteristics Steve chooses to determine a legitimate and acceptable lifestyle are “loving, stable, permanent and monogamous”, can we now apply them to an incestuous relationship (if both familial partners are committed to each other) or how about allowing pedophiles (who are “born that way”) the same right to establish a relationship with a minor, (if the minor is in agreement)? And is adultery acceptable if the individuals involved have been “sneaking around” for more than 3 months, or is it 6 months that determines real commitment? This issue makes a mockery of God’s Grace.

  • Joe

    It seems quite queer that this particular topic has generated so many heated posts by the self-named “christians” who bile up in hate over anything gay related. ive not found a single other topic area on this site that has generated the number of comments let alone the venom. I must ask: why no comment on any of the larger critiques of your Evangelical chrisitianity? do you not care that the site is saying youre all a bunch of hypocrites about abortion because youve invested so much in protesting and politics that you forgot to give alternatives to the majority of women who seek abortion due to economic worries? the comments by the typical gay-fetish evangelical just reinforce the points expressed on this site that the right wing evangelicalism today is nothing more than a bunch of seething hypocrital, narrow-minded, idle worshipers. I don’t say that to be mean-spirited, but, instead, to underline my point about some of the “radical” (from an conservative, republican (usually) evangelical perspective) articles on this site. What’s funny is that the views expressed on this site from an evangelical perspective (and in refreshing frank manner) are the main stream views of every major religion when they are at their best in grappling with the modern world and our place in it. This whole debate reminds me of how reformed Judaism got its start and how at a big banquet the head rabbi had all the guests eat shellfish, meat with cream, etc…his point being – in for the goose, in for the gander I am Delighted to have found this site despite some of the comments in this particular section.

  • Bob

    As an evangelical believer I am still struggling with this issue. Long ago I quit bashing gays when I turned my life over to Christ. He lives in me, and as a result I am able to love everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation. Still struggling with this issue not because I see it as a monstrous sin as some do, nevertheless, I still see it as sin. Some will say that this means I have not made the required shift in my thinking. The problem is that the bible calls it sin. Therefore, it is sin. But it is not a greater sin than my own divorce many years ago, or the fact that I stole things when it was convenient and no one was watching, or the adultery I committed. I don’t believe in such a thing as degrees of sin. One sin is simply as bad as another. None of us is sinless but we are all loved unconditionally by God and we are sanctified by the blood of Jesus Christ. Therefore, I leave the issue at that. I simply love all, as Christ commanded us to do. I let him resolve those issues which I can not.

  • jsboegl

    In as much as gay advocacy supports human rights issues concerning gay, lesbian, transgender and bi-sexual (GLBT) persons, what’s Chalke’s perspective on someone who claims bisexual orientation?

  • http://twitter.com/archerpt archerpt

    Tony, I appreciate your generosity in stating Mr. Chalke’s views here, and I take it as a sign of your respect for him and your friendship. It’s been a rather bizarre experience for me to grow up afraid of what my own same-sex attractions might mean in regards to my faith in Christ. Then, finding a safe place at Harvest USA in Philly to wrestle with these desires before the Lord. Years followed where I
    learned to relate to women differently, and learned a great deal about myself. Attractions for men came eventually, followed by a decade as a single woman, then finding the man I have now married.

    Throughout this time I’ve seen the church (as a whole) really screw up over the AIDs crisis. And many churches created an atmosphere where it was very difficult for me to even think about mentioning what I was struggling with. (Although I’d also found a few where it was no big deal to be real with people.) Yet now I’m witnessing a movement in the church where it is seen as a progressive step to just ignore what the Lord has outlined for us in living out our erotic desires when it comes to same-gender attractions. To try to put Jesus’ stamp of approval on something that He’s died and risen again for.

    Somehow we’ve skipped over redemption. We’ve not taken the time to understand what it is like to struggle with sin and tried to cover over it…to make ourselves feel better somehow? I would have loved to have skipped over struggling and embrace my sin…it would have been an easy thing to do,
    to just give up. Except I couldn’t live out a lie…knowing what Jesus had done for me, what the Lord has given us in His word.

    I’m very thankful that I’ve had people around me who have taken the time to listen though the years, who were supportive through the ups-and-downs, even though they couldn’t exactly understand what I was feeling. Their prayers, encouragement in sharing Scripture and generosity in learning and taking time to identify with me as a person meant so much. It’s so strange to think that was rare in the past due to people blowing this particular area of sin out of proportion; yet now it’s rare again because people don’t believe that Jesus can change a person’s life…

    Those of us choosing to seek change need the support of other believers. Please don’t give up on Jesus and the amazing things He can do for all of us who seek to overcome whatever sins we are having to wrestle with.

  • Sarah

    I have a long question and since there have been no postings for 18 days, I presume it will go unanswered. I will start by saying that I enjoyed this article and my heart is full of emotions that the church is going to have to look at their treatment of the homosexual community. I am disgusted with some of these venomous posts on either side of the issue. So to my question to the abyss…..Since Gay marriage is still illegal in most states to be involved in a homosexual relationship (active) is to be in promiscuity or possibly adultery. How do we reconcile this? If heterosexual couple are living together I consider that to be a sin, they should marry. Paul told slaves to be obedient to their masters. We believe slavery to wrong, no argument on that, yet they were still to obey their authorities. Wrong or right, gay marriage is illegal and as a Christian I follow the laws of the land as unto the Lord. I AM NOT making a stand against the gay community in any way. I am proposing a question of what to do with this biblical situation at hand. To support faithful gay relationships, to me, is to support sin in a promiscuous life. I haven’t done that for the heterosexual couple living the same life style. Does this make sense? I’m sure this will enrage some. I am simply asking a question of biblical morality based on the laws of the land. The laws will change, it’s going to happen, so until then can the christian, homosexual refrain from sexual relationships outside of marriage? I expect the heterosexual to do so……..

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=760945612 Graham Ward

    It’s not true to say that no churches recognise Civil Partnerships; both the Quakers and Unitarians do (and have already stated that they will conduct same sex marriage services once the legislation is passed). Civil Partnerships are recognised less formally in many churches of other denominations, and blessings are not uncommon.

  • The End Game

    Steve Chalk is right. He is a man. He studies a lot. He has friends (and money) in Very high places.

    Gods word is wrong. He is God. Jesus is OK with sin. hey its 2013 so don’t worry man.

    It’s all OK. Be conformed, politically, spiritually…Just rip out the bits the Word Of God you don’t like?

    No thanks. I don’t need any man to say what I believe is wrong…This is Not for me thanks.

    This is Truth, Without any action based on Jesus Love, what are we doing?

    One of my best friends confessed his sin in homosexual activity, has been on a long road to healing is know married with son…but knows he has “this thorn” in the side so continuously reaches out daily in relationship with Jesus through the holy spirit. I love him dearly and my actions to help are based on Gods Truth in His word.

    Love God Hate Evil.

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