Christianity Today have helpfully placed on line a series of recent articles that, to me, seem to sum up the debate about how we can see the bible’s (and therefore glimpse God’s) perspective on homosexuality.
The first thing that alerted me to their post was when I read the comment by Steve Clifford in one of the regular EA bulletins I receive.
It was entitled: A response to Steve Chalke’s article in Christianity magazine. Statement from Steve Clifford, general director, Evangelical Alliance. If you want to look at these articles I think his comments are a good place to start as it will give an idea of the turbulence Stave Chalke’s article has caused, not only because of the content of it but because of who it is that has said these things.
Clifford sees Steve Chalke having “distanced himself from the vast majority of the evangelical community here in the UK, but indeed from the Church across the world and 2,000 years of biblical interpretation”.
Clifford went on to say:
Steve has raised issues which touch on deep areas of human identity. At a Soul Survivor seminar last summer, a Baptist minister who lives with same-sex attraction introduced his talk to a marquee full of young people by indicating that he would love to find a theology in the Bible which would support a sexually-active gay life. But, he said: “I’ve come to the conclusion that it is not there and I don’t want to live in rebellion to the one that I love.” This pastor is just one of tens of thousands of Christians who have come to the conclusion that sex was designed by God to be expressed within a committed relationship for life between a man and a woman – we call this marriage – and have chosen to live a celibate life.
Steve Chalke’s challenge to historic biblical interpretation is in danger of undermining such courageous lifestyle decisions.
As I say, Chalke has created some turbulence!
Steve Chalke’s article seems to be in two version, a shorter and an extended one. I assume someone seriously wanting to weight these views and wanting to give a full hearing to Chalke will want to read the extended article. I did.
It seems to me that Steve Chalke is able to come to his surprising conclusions as a result of the strange view he has of what the bible is. Also, instead of grappling with the topic biblical interpretation on the topic he list matters that the universal church has changed it’s mind about over the centuries and claims the matter of homosexual practice to be the same sort of thing. Just because the church has treated women badly, in spite of them being treated with equality in the early days of the church, is in no way equivalent to the matter of homosexuality.
What I thought was an excellent response to Steve Chalke on the EA site, is by Steve Holmes. This, perhaps, raises another question: Why are they all called Steve? Is it only people called Steve that are interested in this or do we have to change our name to Steve once we are interested in the subject?
They are not all called Steve after all, the response on the Christianity Today site is by Greg Downes.
The Christianity Today articles, including Steve Chalke’s can be found here.