The Christian community has been left shocked and surprised following a call by one of the UK’s leading evangelicals for the Church to re re-examine its attitude towards homosexuals, and be more accepting of same-sex relationships.
In a lengthy article written for the February edition of ‘Christianity’ Magazine, Baptist Minister Rev Steve Chalke argues that the Bible paints a picture that is accepting and supportive of permanent, faithful, stable homosexual relationships.
He wrote, “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?”
Rev Chalke, who has spoken at major Christian events like Spring Harvest, and shared platforms with prominent leaders such as Billy Graham, says his views have come from intense Bible study and prayerful reflection.
Rev Steven Clifford, leader of The Evangelical Alliance, the representative body for 1million Christians, has expressed regret at Rev Chalke’s comments. In a written response, he stated, “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 from 2,000 years of biblical interpretation.”
Rev David Shosanya, the Regional Missions Director for the London Baptist Association and Keep The Faith columnist, states that whilst the Black Christian community will be shocked by Rev Chalke’s statement, they should stick to their unique interpretation of Scripture on this issue. “Black Christians hold a traditional evangelical position, which has been the default position of the Church since its inception. Because it’s a position that’s being challenged in today’s culture, it doesn’t mean that the Church or Black Church should embrace the changes being called for. However, it’s necessary that we continue to engage in the debate, so that it continues to include perspectives unique to the Black community.”