Evangelical Steve Chalke Comes Out For Gay Marriage
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Steve Chalke, a popular Baptist minister in Britain who is often referred to as "the Billy Graham of the U.K.," wrote an article yesterday titled A Matter of Integrity: The Church, sexuality, inclusion and an open conversation. Published in Christianity Magazine, an evangelical publication in the U.K., the article indicts the traditional Christian Church for its ill treatment of gay people, and for its inconsistent interpretation of Scripture to justify such treatment. Chalke then goes on to call for full inclusion of gay people and their marriages, arguing persuasively that it is a Christian duty necessitated by the second of the Greatest Commandments, "Love your neighbor as yourself."
I'm worried that the noise of the arguments around gay marriage will cloud and confuse the real question for the Church, which is about the nature of inclusion. I am convinced that it is only as the Christian community grapples with this that we will find wise answers, not only regarding gay marriage, but also to related questions around the Church's wider attitude to gay people. . . .
When we refuse to make room for gay people to live in loving, stable relationships, we consign them to lives of loneness, secrecy and fear. It's one thing to be critical of a promiscuous lifestyle -- but shouldn't the Church consider nurturing positive models for permanent and monogamous homosexual relationships? . . .
Here is my question. Shouldn't we take the same principle that we readily apply to the role of women, slavery, and numerous other issues, and apply it our understanding of permanent, faithful, homosexual relationships? Wouldn't it be inconsistent not to? . . .
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?
Tolerance is not the same as Christ-like love. Christ-like love calls us to go beyond tolerance to want for the other the same respect, freedom, and equality one wants for oneself.
(Hat tip: Brian McLaren)