Steve Chalke has done great work in bringing young people to know and love Jesus. In the eighties, I took my two youngest children to numerous events organised by Oasis and they both belonged to a group led by an Oasis trained youth pastor. Sadly, I think that moving amongst young people who have been exposed to a secularist agenda at school has resulted in him taking up a position that is in opposition to a foundational (note that I don’t say basis or fundamental) Christian belief.
At the time I was taking my children to Christian events, i belonged to a group that was barely accepted in church. One married Christian friend told my that she wouldn’t invite my to lunch and the minister at another local church invited my children without me. I am a divorcee. Things have changed and I, and others in the same position, are not only welcome in church but are part of the leadership team. So why do I regret Steve Chalke’s article and why am I not sympathetic to equal partnership?
I must say first of all, that I do regret the treatment of lesbian and gay people, some, but not all of whom, are inclined that way from birth. I believe that we live in a broken world, one that does not conform to the maker’s original design. Broken relationships, including my own, are the result of sin. Since I was baptised, I have tried, and often failed, to lead a new life in Christ. The reason I disagree with Steve Chalke and agree with the Evangelical Alliance, is that I believe that in continuing in a same sex relationship and performing the homoerotic sex act lesbians and gay men are making no attempt to lead a new life.
My own church included homosexuality in a series of ethical talks we had last year in conjunction with other local churches. The speaker was an evangelical gay man who struggled with his inclinations but did not support gay marriage. If we support equal partnership we are jumping on the bandwagon of secularism which says that we should do whatever feels good. We all struggle with a range of issues that arise from our brokenness. I have not overtly used the bible in my argument but my understanding of it is the same as Steve Holmes of the Evangelical Alliance who wrote:
“The Bible tells a narrative of the marring of God’s perfect creation by human sin, and of God’s response to that, motivated by His determination never to let go of that which He has formed and loved, and centred in Christ. This story is sometimes summed up as ‘Creation; Fall, Redemption; Consummation’.”
Yes, we should welcome all, including lesbians and gay men, divorcees, those with mental health problems and all kinds of disabilities. Jesus would have done so but he also told people to go and sin no more. In affirming equal partnerships we are affirming the values of our society not the values of God.