Prominent UK Baptist minister, Steve Chalke, has declared his support for committed and devoted same-sex partnerships, according to The Guardian. This is adversely the belief to predominantly conservative evangelicals.
Chalke, who founded the Christian charity, Oasis, says it is time that the church displays its compassion in terms of inclusivity. According to The Independent, Chalke addressed his support in a heartfelt plea to the church in his theological reasoning for letting go of opposition to homosexual relationships on his charity’s website.
“When we refuse to make room for gay people to live in loving, stable relationships, we consign them to lives of loneliness, secrecy and fear,” Chalke writes. “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?”
In his declaration, Chalke draws from his own ministry to demonstrate on how he has become increasingly aware of the suffering of homosexuals within the church.
“Rather than condemn and exclude," he says, "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?"
Simon Barrow, co-director of the Christian think tank Ekklesia, is critical of Chalke’s declaration. According to The Independent, Barrow commented that, “Chalke's position cuts across the standard stereotype within both the media and many sections of the church: namely that sexuality is a straightforward liberal-versus-conservative theological issue. Instead, his theological plea to the churches is solidly biblical in its assumptions and focused on the person of Christ, but the outcomes he reaches on this basis are relational and inclusive.”
American evangelical pastor Tony Campolo conceded that he is willing to have dialogue with those who have a more open mind to loving those in same-sex relationships.
“Steve’s public declaration in support of Civil Partnerships will cause reverberations far and wide. His statement represents the first time that a major evangelist and leader in the Evangelical community has come out in support of same-sex relationships,” Compolo said.
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