Courageous words from Steve Chalke
The same day Kentucky sage Wendell Berry went public with a strongly worded statement about gay people and the Christian faith, my friend Steve Chalke went public with a similar statement in the UK. It was carried in Christianity Magazine (like Christianity Today in the US, an Evangelical publication). You can read the abridged version here:
and the unabridged version here:
For all of these reasons, I face a hard choice; a choice between the current dominant view of what Scripture tells us about this issue and the one I honestly think it points us to. This is why I seek to speak and write openly and, I hope, graciously, to encourage a compassionate, respectful and honest conversation that might lead to our churches becoming beacons of inclusion.
None of this is to point the finger at others. I have remained silent, for fear of damaging important relationships. Even in this I realise my self-centredness, for no rejection I might suffer is anything compared to what so many homosexual people endure all their lives.
I understand that there are many who will take other views to me. I respect their right to differ with me graciously, just as I try to do the same with them. However, I believe that as the leader of a local church, a charity and many thousands of young people in schools and staff around the country and the world, I am called to offer support, protection, and blessing in the name of Christ, the definition of justice, reconciliation, and inclusion, who beckons each one of us out of isolation into the joy of faithful relationship.
Many people refer to Steve as "the Billy Graham of the UK." I would compare his statement in support of gay inclusion to Billy Graham's 1953 support of racial inclusion when he made the then-bold decision to take down the ropes that were being used to segregate seating areas in his Chattanooga, TN, crusade.