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EA responds on Steve Chalke on homosexuality

The Evangelical Alliance (UK) has issued a statement in response to an article on homosexuality written by Steve Chalk in Christianity magazine.

statement by Steve Clifford
Gen. Dir. EA

Steve Clifford EASteve Chalke is a friend of mine. We go back many years. I am convinced that when the history of the Church in the UK is written, Steve's contribution over the last 25 years will be recognised as profoundly significant. So with this as a backdrop I am writing my response to Steve's article in Christianity magazine. 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.

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. Last year, the Evangelical Alliance produced a resource for leaders entitled Biblical and Pastoral Responses to Homosexuality put together by a commission of eight and peer reviewed by 40. I trust this resource reflects a considered, gracious and mature response. It follows on from the highly respected Faith, Hope and Homosexuality book produced some 14 years ago, combining a clear and succinct statement of biblical teaching on marriage and sexuality. 

It expressed regret for the Church's past and present failure in relation to the lesbian and gay community. Realistically and honestly, it engages with real-life scenarios to help Christians, and especially pastors and others in Christian ministry, discern how we can speak and live the truth in love. It can be downloaded online here and hard copies can be purchased for £7 via our website.

Generations of Christians have faced the challenge of making the gospel relevant within their cultural settings. The danger we all face, and I fear Steve has succumbed to, is that we produce 'a god' in our own likeness or in the likeness of the culture in which we find ourselves. 

Steve's approach to biblical interpretation allows for a god in the likeness of 21st century Western-European mindsets. His call for "Christ-like inclusion" is not radical enough in its inclusiveness. We all come to the gospel in our brokenness, with an attachment to things, self-centeredness, addictions, fears and pride. We all need a saviour in every area of our lives, including our sexuality. We all live with pain. The radical inclusiveness of the gospel means we are all welcomed. In a wonderful grace-filled process we find repentance and forgiveness and Christ commits himself through the work of the Holy Spirit to bring transformation to our lives - a life-long process. 

This is the radical inclusiveness I believe the gospel offers to all of us. God doesn't leave us on our own, He promises to work in us, to bring us into our ultimate goal which is His likeness.

Inevitably Steve's article will open again the conversation on human sexuality. But as we have this discussion let's remember that Jesus requires us to disagree without being disagreeable. We must listen honestly and carefully to one another, being courteous and generous. In 1846, our Evangelical Relationships Commitment was created to guide us in our relationships with other Christians – especially those we disagree with.

I have also written a more detailed reflection on this issue, and I would also encourage you to read this article on biblical interpretation by Steve Holmes, an Evangelical Alliance Board member who heads up our Theology and Public Policy Advisory Commission (TAPPAC).


The Evangelical Alliance seeks to represent the evangelical church community in the UK by being a 'voice' and as an encouragement to Christians within their churches and organisations.
Steve Clifford was appointed in 2009 as General Director taking over the position from his predecessor Joel Edwards.

Steve Chalke is a British Baptist minister, author and programme presenter. In 2001 he founded Faithworks, a movement engaged in Christian social action. In 2003 he provoked considerable controversy in the evangelical world as co-author of The Lost Message of Jesus in which he described the doctrine of sacrificial atonement as 'cosmic child abuse'.
Read Steve Chalke's Christianity magazine article in full.

Steve Clifford / Evangelical Alliance, 15/01/2013

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John Miller 17/01/2013 15:11
God knows if Steve Chalke is a born again child of God. His pronouncements on various issues facing the Christian faith in the world today and his theological stance do not suggest that he is.

Furthemore his public profile and eagerness to feature in the media, particularly in debates on subjects where the teaching of the Holy Bible is under attack do not serve the cause of faithfulness to Jesus Christ. He gives comfort to those who despise the message of the cross.
Editor 17/01/2013 17:55
What all this confirms - if nothing else - is that the term 'evangelical' is now bankrupt.

See -

John Miller 17/01/2013 19:13
Steve Chalke has said publicly that Hell in the biblical meaning dies not exist. This can only reflect a belief that Jesus was a liar.

How can he continue as a Baptist minister/pastor? He is taking money under false pretences.
Seumas, Tobermory (Guest) 17/01/2013 19:27
A huge number of so called "evangelical" pastors dont believe in hell either. If they did they would talk about it more. They dont. Considering the awfulness of it, you would think that trying to prevent people from going there would be a crushing priority.

Instead they just ignore it, or if they DO mention it, then they will talk about "eternal separation from God" rather than "eternal conscious torment"

There is a MASSIVE difference between those two ideas.

Evangelicals are just as guilty of "pick n mix" as the liberals they despise so much.

"Evangelicalism" is a totally elastic term that belongs in Alice in Wonderland:

"When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less."

"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master— that's all."

RF (Guest) 17/01/2013 19:38
I doubt that most western atheists despise the message of the cross:rather they disbelieve it.
Rather than Jesus being a liar it is more likely that he was seriously misreported.
Anon (Guest) 17/01/2013 19:53
In your article you say “But as we have this discussion let's remember that Jesus requires us to disagree without being disagreeable. We must listen honestly and carefully to one another, being courteous and generous. In 1846, our Evangelical Relationships Commitment was created to guide us in our relationships with other Christians – especially those we disagree with”. Should we therefore still be referring to the pope as the antichrist?
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