BBC Interviews Steve Chalke and I regarding Steve coming out in favor of committed, same-sex relationships

Steve Chalke BBC Interview

Last week Steve Chalke, the “Billy Graham of the UK,” and my close friend, came out in support of committed, faithful, same-sex relationships. I wrote about my reaction to Steve’s announcement as soon as the news broke and many others around the world have registered their opinions since.

During the past week the BBC reached out to Steve and I separately and each of us appeared on BBC radio. With the BBC’s permission below you will find Steve’s interview as it ran on the air and my interview in its entirety before it was edited down:

BBC Interview with Steve Chalke

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My Interview with the BBC (Full Version before editing)

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Tony Campolo

Tony CampoloTony Campolo is 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 →

  • otrotierra

    Thanks for sharing such a thoughtful exploration, Tony Campolo and Steve Chalke!

    On a directly related note: because physical acts of “sodomy” are not synonymous with homosexual subjectivity, the toeva (taboos) of ancient Jewish civic life are not helpful for contemporary debate. This is even more true for people who dare to follow Jesus rather than a set of ancient Levitical laws.

    • AntiOtroTierra

      You support incest then? (Dang Levitical laws)

      • bluecenterlight

        Do you support stoning?

        • AntiOtroTierra

          Intellectual fail – not only is that not in Leviticus 18, but it does not negate my point. Try again.

          • bluecenterlight

            Leviticus 20:2
            “Say to the Israelites: ‘Any Israelite or any foreigner residing in Israel who sacrifices any of his children to Molek is to be put to death. The members of the community are to stone him.

            Leviticus 20:27
            “‘A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.’

            Leviticus 24:16
            anyone who blasphemes the name of the Lord is to be put to death. The entire assembly must stone them. Whether foreigner or native-born, when they blaspheme the Name they are to be put to death.

            Leviticus 20:13
            13 “‘If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

            Ouch, it sucks to fail intellectually :) I do find it interesting that you can “diddle” your 12 year old niece under Levitical law and it is simply frowned upon and other seemly lesser crimes call for the death penalty. Definitely a question I have for God. But I think you missed my point. If you are going to choose to live under Levitical law you must live it in totality. You don’t get to pick and choose. So again I ask, do you believe in stoning? Or I should rephrase, Do you believe in capital punishment for sins? Stoning is a little barbaric 😉

          • AntiOtroTierra

            You must support incest then, by your own logic. Another epic fail.

          • bluecenterlight

            I’m not sure how you concluded that from what I said, but let me come out officially as profoundly anti incest :) So now are you going to answer my question?

        • Stoning is part of the civil law. The prohibition against sexual immorality is moral law. Homosexuality can never be good because it was not part of creation. (Genesis 1-2). Furthermore, the Ten Commandments or Decalogue says, Thou shalt not commit adultery. That is a general apodeictic term meaning ANY sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriage. Jesus raised the standard even higher. He said that serial marriages are adultery!

          • bluecenterlight

            He even went further, he said that if you even look at woman with lust in your heart you are an adulterer. I guess that means we are all in the same boat, we all fall short of Gods perfect standard. I guess it’s a good thing he shows us mercy.

    • You are reading into the Scriptures what is not there. Besides, the moral law does not change with time. It is always the same. The ceremonial and sacrificial laws were fulfilled when Christ was crucified. The civil laws of Israel passed away with that Old Testament nation. But the moral law is forever binding on every man, Christian or not. It will be the law that condemns you as a sinner. Surrender to the coming King before it is too late.

  • John Allman

    I chose not to be gay. It must have been what Campolo calls a “miracle”. But it didn’t look like a miracle to me. It wasn’t sudden and dramatic like the parting of the Red Sea. It took seven years to change.

    • Frank

      Your faithfulness is inspiring!

      • No. My faithfulness is abysmal. It is GOD’s faithfulness that is inspiring.

        • Frank

          Fair enough but we do choose to trust God or not and I think your trust of God is inspiring!

    • Benjamin

      I guess I’m another one of Tony’s “miracles,” because I’m a young person who doesn’t fit into Tony’s stereotypical image of a person faithfully following modern academia against orthodox Christianity.

      • 22044

        I smiled at your comment. In a good way.

        • 22044

          By the way, I like getting voted down. At least people are reading.

    • Benjamin

      Tony seems to have a habit of lumping “gays” and “young people” all into his side on every issue.

  • Jason Rokotui

    I am young Christian and am still learning regarding this diificult yet interesting issue in the Church. The two interviews are rather interesting. What I got from Tony Campolo’s words, you can be GL with no erotic behavior! What do committed GL Christians say about this if there are some of you out there, as Steve Chalke alluded to. It seems from Chalke’s words, though he did not explicitly said it, erotic behaviour with faithful GL partners aren’t sinful, that’s why he came out deciding to bless GL same sex marriage. Again, what do faithful GL Christians say about this? Most GL people I know admittedly say they aren’t very religious, meaning that don’t really professed to be evangelical Christians, though they loved to go to mass or some church function on ocassionally. I would like hear and learn more from those of you who are GL. Thank you! JR

  • al

    Tony, could you point us to the original BBC interview with Steve? It cuts out early…

  • csmkgtr

    “BBC Interviews Steve Chalke and I” It’s Steve Chalke and ME. “the BBC reached out to Steve and I” No, they reached out ot Steve and ME. Subject/Object; it’s not that hard.

  • 22044

    I listened to the interview with Steve Chalke. If it is truly representative of what he now believes about “committed homosexual relationships”, with regrets, I must say, “Farewell Steve Chalke”.

    • Luckily, neither you or I, have the authority to make that call.

      • 22044

        Actually Jimmy, we do when we have the counsel of Scripture to guide us, and when many people struggle with same-sex attraction want to follow Jesus, at God’s people we have that obligation.
        I would need to study this story further, (which I probably can’t since I have too many other things going on as the moment), to make that judgment.
        Additionally, you risk violating your own counsel when you disagree with me, for its own sake.

        • Frank


  • Kathie

    I wish the whole of Steve’s interview was on there. It cut off in the middle of a discussion.

  • As one who has lived in a committed same-sex relationship for 45 years I have discovered two things: One cannot pray-the-gay-away. But churches can chase the gays away, and they have. I am pleased to at least see Steve and Tony discussing this subject in a thoughtful way. I say one thing to the evangelical community: “God does not heal those who are not sick.”

    • Benjamin

      You can pray almost anything away if God fulfills your prayers.

      God is omnipotent. God could choose; to take away my arms, to make me grow to the size of a giant, to give me another leg, or anything else he wishes. As for how you are using the word
      “gay,” I’m not sure.

  • So, Tony Campolo has been appointed by the oh-so “neutral” BBC, as the spokesman for those within evangelicalism who *disagree* with Steve Chalke, has he? Witnessing where Campolo’s Hegelian antithesis has been pitched, alongside Chalke’s thesis, it is not hard to predict that the die-hard “bigots” who reject the planned synthesis, the Continuity Evangelicals and the Real Evangelicals, are going to be quite numerous.
    Campolo duly mentioned in passing some disagreement or other he had with Chalke, over some minor detail of what Chalke had said. He disagreed with Chalke just enough for people to remember for whom he was allegedly speaking – for those who *disagree* with Chalke. With enemies like Campolo, Chalke won’t need any friends, so-to-speak.
    The majority of Campolo’s time was taken up with expressing his *agreement* with Chalke. Campolo heaped praise upon Steve Chalke. He had made so valid a point, at such an excellent time in history to have made it. How grateful we should be that he had raised this important issue!
    Campolo also heaped opprobrium upon evangelicals, that the devil himself, the accuser of the brethren, could have been proud of his efforts to do his work. For what were evangelicals to blame? Why, for centuries of atrocities (mainly verbal) against so-called homosexual people, fo course. Throughout all the centuries prior to the twentieth, during which the modern, but still controversial, idea that PEOPLE could be “homosexual” (the way that they might have blue eyes, or be left-handed), as opposed to certain deeds being homosexual, was simply unheard-of, let alone believed.

    Campolo’s role in the “opposition” to Chalke, to which the BBC has kindly appointed Campolo, reminds me of a remark attributed to Vladimir Ilvich Lenin: “The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.”

    • 22044

      Interesting perspective. Thanks for sharing it.

  • jsboegl

    In as much as gay advocacy supports human rights issues for gay, lesbian, transgender and bi-sexual (GLBT) persons, what’s your & Chalke’s theological take and counsel re: someone who specifically claims bisexual orientation?

  • It also took me about 7 – 8 years to experience change in my attractions to the point that I became consistently attracted to men. It wasn’t one choice, but thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands to follow Christ in this area of my life. In a sense, it wasn’t a “miracle” but many, as the Lord empowers each of us every day to make choices to follow Him, to put Him first in my life. I agree, John Allman, it’s His faithfulness that is inspiring in this issue, as well as any other people want to put into His hands.

  • Daithi Duly

    Whoa, when someone calls the atonement denying Steve Chalke “Brother” alarm bells should ring.

    Chalke writing about the cross said

    “The fact is that the cross isn’t a form of cosmic child abuse—a vengeful father, punishing his son for an offence he has not even committed. Understandably, both people inside and outside of the church have found this twisted version of events morally dubious and a huge barrier to faith. Deeper than that, however, is that such a construct stands in total contradiction to the statement “God is love.” If the cross is a personal act of violence perpetrated by God towards humankind but borne by his son, then it makes a mockery of Jesus’ own teaching to love your enemies and refuse to repay evil with evil. The truth is the cross is a symbol of love. It is a demonstration of just how far God as Father and Jesus as his son are prepared to go to prove that love. The cross is a vivid statement of the powerlessness of love.”

    Isaiah said

    But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

    As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! Gal 1 vs 9

    So if Tony and Shane call Steve a brother, then to me they show they have a different gospel.

  • Steve Cornell

    It may be true that gay marriage is favored more by the younger generation but this usually doesn’t remain constant as they get older. Further, this group has been subjected more than any other to a relentless media barrage aimed at demonizing anyone who dares to oppose homosexuality. Those who disagree with gay marriage are now denigrated and mocked as Neanderthal and Medieval.

    The hateful name-calling and scornful ad hominem is a violation of the kind of civil and rational debate we should follow in democratic process. It’s also manipulation of the worst kind. If you oppose gay marriage you’re told that you have irrational phobias; you’re a hate-monger, a bigot, and guilty of discrimination. Why do people allow this kind of school yard bullying to push them into acquiescing to a militant agenda forcing a sexual lifestyle on others?

    We must see through the vicious rhetoric and have the courage to hold to our convictions about marriage as a sacred union between a man and a woman. This isn’t about the rights of consenting adults to do what they wish sexually. They have those rights. This is about an arrogant insistence that the entire nation change its definition of the institution of marriage to conform to the sexual choices of 2 percent of the people.

    It’s a false comparison to make the sexual choices of those who want gay marriage a civil-rights issue comparable to race and gender. Choosing to be gay is not based on an unalterable condition of birth. There is simply no conclusive evidence that supports this comparison. If we legalize gay marriage as a civil right, it will open a social and legal Pandora’s box. Citizens will not be permitted to morally oppose homosexual behavior without risking accusations of discrimination and racism. Just look north to the debacle Canada has created.

    Teaching people to treat each other with respect is a much better alternative to forced affirmation. Tolerance is about treating others with respect when you disagree with them. Telling people they’re not permitted to disagree is coercion, not tolerance.

    It’s ironic how the intolerance and bigotry that was once wrongly shown toward people who chose a gay lifestyle is now aimed at anyone who dares to oppose homosexual behavior.

  • I once thought Tony Campolo was an Evangelical Christian. It has become increasingly obvious that the man is an agent of satan, an opponent of what the Scriptures plainly teach, and a total apostate from the Christian faith. Anyone who thinks any sin is a blessing from God is deluded and his mind has been darkened by the Lord’s sovereign judgment.

  • Jeff

    Appreciate listening to two men I really respect and admire not just for their thoughtfulness and prophetic voices but also seeing their lives and actions that so vividly represent the way of Jesus. And though I side with Chalke and am grateful for his needed articulation I do respect those gay Christians who have tried to change after being convinced it was god’s will.

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