SUPPORT: Minister urges support for same sex marriages
ONE OF the leading figures in the UK’s evangelical movement has come out in support of same sex relationships and called on the church to re-examine its attitude towards gays and lesbians.
Writing in the latest edition of Christianity magazine Steve Chalke, an ordained Baptist minister, shared how he came to his conclusion - intense Bible study and prayer - and states that the Bible paints a more inclusive picture than many acknowledge and that permanent, faithful, stable homosexual relationships are not sinful.
He asked: “Rather than condemn and exclude, can we dare to create an environment for homosexual people where issues of self-esteem and wellbeing can be talked about; where the virtues of loyalty, respect, interdependence and faithfulness can be nurtured, and where exclusive and permanent same-sex relationships can be supported?”
And Rev. Chalke, who has spoken at Spring Harvest for many years and appeared alongside Billy Graham at Mission England, declared that he was compelled but at the same time afraid to pen the Christianity magazine article.
“Some will think that I have strayed from scripture – that I am no longer an evangelical,” he said. “However, I have formed my view not out of disregard for the Bible’s authority, but by way of grappling with it and, through prayerful reflection, seeking to take it seriously.”
There has been a mixed reaction to Rev. Chalke’s comments. Steve Clifford, head of the Evangelical Alliance said: “While I understand and respect Steve's pastoral motivations, I believe the conclusions he has come to on same-sex relationships are wrong. It is with both sadness and disappointment that I reflect on how Steve has not only 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.”
On Twitter and Facebook, there have been comments made in support of his stance.
Some have called it ‘brave and important’ whilst others said they were ‘saddened’ that a prominent Christian leader should adopt such a position.