« Steve Chalke's 'A Matter of Integrity' and its responses | Main | A reading list on theology and homosexuality »

January 22, 2013


Annie Weatherly-Barton

Whatever Steve Chalke has said in terms of being Biblical or not, he is right on one score: the church has, in the main, rejected gay people and some have pushed some to the limits with their judgemental attitudes. I have had the privilege of preventing one person who was on the bring of committing suicide kill due to judgemental and fierce attitude of Christians - so called - in this matter.

Quite frankly, I am not in the camp of deciding whether Steve Chalke is right or wrong, Biblical or not. I am in the business of caring and looking after people who have been judged, punished, outcast, and treated in the most disgraceful and unloving ways.

I am always astounded by the judgemental attitudes towards gay people backed up by Biblical verses and yet other "sins" are ignored as are the biblical verses! Unbelievable really. I have witnessed and experienced the judgement of ministers/pastors who themselves have: treated their wives like doormats, beaten their wives and their children; indulged in internet pornography. I have known of ministers who have committed adultery and rape and their sins "covered up". I've seen and heard Christians "cover up" for paedophiles before now on the basis that God has "cleansed" them.

Will we ever be people who love first and be willing to look at ourselves and ask what is wrong with us before we judge others? I think not. After all whilst we are aiming all the darts at those who often struggle with their life styles, it takes our minds away from examining ourselves!!!

Stuart Pascall

As a non Baptist (tho still Christian!) I just wanted to say thanks to Andy for his article and to Annie for her comment! Both, unusually in the current climate, generate much more light than heat around the issues raised by Stevie C. In my experience many, if not most, of the reactions to Steve have generated a heat and anger that would make hell envious!
What we need is reasoned debate and discussion, not personal attacks on Steve's integrity (which he has in bucket loads!) and a demeaning and mocking of his reasoning and conclusions. I may or may not agree with Steve in his hermeneutics and conclusions, but I do defend his right to live 'on the edge' and to continue to challenge, out of his reasoned and growing convictions, the church to begin to think seriously about the real issues of the day!
Tony Campolo has posted a really helpful (to me anyway) interview that the BBC did with him around Steve's statements. It's on the 'Red Letter Christians' Web site, but I'm sure you've seen it!

Annie Weatherly-Barton

Well said Stuart. Well said. And thank you very much. I want to love people and accept them and as a very dear and wonderful man and pastor, Fr Ken Leech ('The Eye of the Storm') said: he just continued "walking through people's hell with them..." I spoke to him at length about this and was so privileged to have that time with such a wonderful pastor and a man with so much humanity - he emanates love and commitment for the long term and has been such a inspiration to so many, including moi! I told him what I had been doing: opening my home to those who were utterly broken, damaged, and felt they were nothing and their lives were meaningless. There was no judgement in my home: I sat and listened, helped them to get all that pain out of their heads so that folk came to a place where they had enough courage to make their own decisions in their lives whether I agreed with it or not! As I said to Ken: "I do just that: 'walk through people's hell with them'." It is relational. Nothing like getting up close and personal with those who have suffered greatly to see and understand that quick fire answers to life long torture achieves a big fat zero!

John Matthews

It seems to me that one of the difficulties is that the Bible says nothing about same-sex relationships, and I do mean relationships. There are a small number of texts that refer to same-sex sexual activity - one of which says that if two men lie together they should be stoned! Why is this one never quoted? But I can find no texts that mention same-sex relationships. This does not mean that such relationships are right or wrong but it does mean that there are no relevant biblical passages which can be used as proof-texts. I admire Steve Chalke's courage in writing what he has and in blessing a civil partnership, and I sincerely hope that he will not be disciplined for this. Just as we live with a diversity of views in BUGB on a whole range of issues why can we not live with diversity on this one? It is strange but true that whilst individual churches can decide whether or not to host such blessings, accredited ministers of BUGB are warned that they face disciplinary action if they conduct them.

Mike Lowe

At times I'm a classically pragmatic Baptist and just want to get on with building the Kingdom and get issues like this sorted quickly to move back to Kingdom building. We're all wasting valuable heart beats talking and talking. If the clause is hard to remove, fine keep it in but don't excommunicate me if I bless a same sex union at the request of my church. Job done let's move on.

Ron Day

I disagree with the comment that 'the church has, in the main, rejected gay people.' The church accepts all people regardless of where they come from, but it calls for them to leave their sins, whatever they are and however much they are cherished, at the door, not bring them in to be blessed. Maybe that's why the door is narrow (Lk13:24)

Stuart Pascall

Annie - thanks for that - and God give you great grace as you set a 'high bar' servant example for us to follow! Thanks for inspiring us! \0/

Annie Weatherly-Barton

Oh Thank you Stuart. Last time I saw you was at Paul Stanley's wedding and I sang and you were complimentary. How wonderful of you to be so gracious. I really appreciate it. My husband and I are of one mind and we work to support people no matter what. We will continue to do what we can and as best we can. Ken Leech's words constantly ringing in my ears!!! Bless you Stuart and your family in all you do.

Ali Griffiths

'Ministers are expected not to advocate homosexual or lesbian gential relationships as acceptable alternatives to male/female partnership in marriage.'
This is the clause that a minister accepts when he or she becomes an accredited Baptist minister. Whether it is right or wrong, this is what they have agreed to. I would hope that Baptist ministers will take seriously the commitment that they have made to the Baptist community in the BU and wait for this clause to be removed before going ahead and breaking their promise because they no longer agree with it. Any accredited Baptist minister who does not agree with it is free to ask to be taken off the accredited list in the meantime.

Brian Davison

If it dates as reported from 1990 or so, with the current version from 2001 then there are a very significant number of Accredited ministers who did not sign it and who joined when there was no such ruling, and the BU declaration of principle was assumed to apply to ministers as well as churches. Steve Chalke is among that number. It could be argued that he accepted them by remaining accredited, but how widely was the change publicized or discussed? It's not fair to say the he knew the score when he accepted accreditation though.

Michael Docker

I've come a little late to this - as one of a group of ministers (including Brian Haymes) who signed a letter to the Union in the early 2000s asking that the ministerial rule (as quoted by Andy) be suspended for a period while a debate takes place. There was a negative response and then a fairly rapid disappearance of the issue, partly because the original group was quite disparate and unable to give the time that would have been required to take the matter further.

But the issue remains - the rule, whatever its exact provenance (it appears to have been adopted in something of a hurry in the 80s without much consultation) to the minds of many goes against Baptist principles - there is no other restriction on what can and cannot be said by a Baptist minister.

Annie Weatherly-Barton

How interesting Michael. So then who made this decision and adopted it. Is this what the Baptist Union call consultation? Not unlike their "consultation" about the future. Most of the ministers in our area never heard of it happening and were never consulted. Hey ho. I am sure there were many good folk involved in both of these issues. However a consultation it was not.

These issues will not go away by rushing in proposals and someone rubber stamping them behind closed doors in Didcot. These issues need to be talked through.

After all is the BU a Union of Baptists or is it a small, select, chosen elite who make decisions for everyone whether they agree or not?

Seems to me to be a difference between God's Chosen people and God's Frozen Out people!!!

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad