LONDON, January 18, 2013, (LifeSiteNews.com) – A leading Evangelical pastor has implied that Christian opposition to homosexual acts, and to same-sex “marriage,” is based on an erroneous interpretation of the Bible. Instead what is needed is a broad acceptance of homosexuality itself, but a rejection of promiscuity.
In an article published on his church’s website and in Christianity magazine, Rev. Steve Chalke has said the solution for the crisis is for Christians to “consider nurturing positive models for permanent and monogamous homosexual relationships.”
Christians who use the Bible to support opposition to homosexual acts are forgetting that the Bible accepts slavery and other practices and ideas that are universally condemned in our time, he said.
Chalke is a popular left-wing pastor who makes regular appearances in the media. In 2004 he was appointed a Member of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for his “services to social inclusion.” He also serves as a Special Adviser to the UN on human trafficking.
“How has the whole Church found itself believing something about slavery which is so at odds with the Bible?” Chalke wrote.
“William Wilberforce and friends were condemned by huge swathes of the Church as they fought for abolition. They were dismissed as liberal and unbiblical for their 'deliberate abandonment of the authority of Scripture'. But, on the basis of a straightforward biblical exegesis of the Bible's text, their critics were right,” he stated.
“Too often, those who seek to enter an exclusive, same-sex relationship have found themselves stigmatised and excluded by the Church,” Chalke said. He decried this situation as an “injustice” out of keeping with the will of God.
And he has put his money where his mouth is, saying that last year he “conducted a dedication and blessing service following the Civil Partnership of two wonderful gay Christians.”
“Promiscuity is always damaging and dehumanizing. Casual and self-centred expressions of sexuality – homosexual or heterosexual – never reflect God’s faithfulness, grace and self-giving love,” he wrote.
“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.”
He described it as “tragic” that the Christian community had failed “to provide homosexual people with any model of how to cope with their sexuality”.
“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.”
Chalke restates the common arguments of theological “liberals” who have reinterpreted the passages of the New and Old Testaments to justify homosexual activity. He cites “a growing number of evangelical scholars” who assert that the New Testament contains no genuine proscriptions of homosexual activity, and that it has all been merely a matter of cultural interpretation.
He admits that “nowhere does the Bible actually affirm same-sex relationships,” but says it is about“how to interpret it [the Bible] properly.”
Indeed, that is the crucial issue, agrees one member of the evangelical community who has worked to help homosexuals themselves to overcome same-sex attraction.
Chalke, and Christian leaders who take a similar line, she said, are doing great harm to those who struggle to live with and control same-sex attraction.
Chalke’s problem, she said, comes from a fundamental theological error, namely that he rejects the Christian notion of sin and redemption. Chalke has in the past described the Christian doctrine of Christ’s redemption of sin on the Cross as “cosmic child abuse.”
Properly speaking, she said, this rejection of foundational Christian doctrine ultimately empties all of his ideas of any real meaning.
Rejection of the very notion of orthodoxy, she said, leads to incoherent theology. “His theology becomes liberal, even though he still calls himself an evangelical, and then the consequence is that he becomes a liberal in his views of homosexuality.”
Ultimately, his ideas are creating nothing but confusion and harm to some “very vulnerable people.”
While the secular media has presented Chalke as part of the mainstream of evangelical orthodoxy, and his ideas as a step forward, Pilkington clarified that this is a media-generated misdirection.
In Britain, she said, “there is a very broad spectrum” and the term “evangelical” is far from synonymous with Christian orthodoxy. Such distinctions within the Protestant community, she said, have in recent years become highly “nuanced” and are often difficult for outsiders to decipher.
“Steve Chalke,” she said, “would perhaps see himself as evangelical. But a lot of us would say he isn’t. A lot of us would say he’s just plain ‘liberal.’ Because he’s moved away from the doctrine of atonement for sin.”
Although the secular media will never admit it, Pilkington observed, denying so foundational a doctrine as the redemption of sin, means that Steve Chalke is not strictly speaking a Christian at all.
“The correct term for those who deny the atonement for sin is ‘apostate,'” she said. “That is the perilous state we are in here in the UK in large measure and probably America.”
“And it’s people like Steve Chalk who are in fact dangerous,” she said. “He sounds so plausible and indeed likable and his motives are ‘good’ and he has done a lot of good ‘works’ but that is the deception.”
This deception is ultimately harmful, causing confusion among “very vulnerable people.”
“He doesn’t love them. By leading them into this complete deception, he hates them,” she said. “He may have good intentions, but he’s leading them in the wrong direction.”
“Of course we have to include the LGBT community and love them,” Pilkington said, “but lead them away from sin.”