chalke turns the grace of God into licence

Steve Chalke recently, ‘conducted a dedication and blessing service following the Civil Partnership of two wonderful gay Christians.’  Why?  He wanted,

‘to extend to these people what I would do to others: the love and support of our local church. Too often, those who seek to enter an exclusive, same-sex relationship have found themselves stigmatised and excluded by the Church. I have come to believe this is an injustice and out of step with God’s character as seen through Christ.’  

That a Civil Partnership is not a marriage does not appear to concern him, to say nothing of the plain condemnation of homosexual practice in Scripture.  The overriding concern for him is simply: ‘the Church has a God-given responsibility to include those who have for so long found themselves excluded.

Inclusion is all, repentance and conversion (changes of belief and behaviour) and the plain commands of Scripture don’t seem to matter.   Chalke has decided homosexual relationships within a Civil Partnership are acceptable to God and should be celebrated –  everything must bow to this absolute.   Further, he wants to convince us this is so.  How does he go about it?  Read his article for yourself.  It will help you to see first-hand the manipulative sleight-of-hand to which people like Chalke resort.

He attempts to undermine our confidence in two thousand years of uniform interpretation (as, of course, he must).

‘Traditionally, it is argued that the injunctions of both the Old and New Testaments against homosexual activity are irrefutable, and therefore any attempt to interpret them in new ways betrays the Bible. Things, however, may not be as we thought.’ 

Genesis does not after all, it appears, provide a universal creational model, homosexuals for one are excluded. We have misinterpreted some passages that appear to condemn homosexuality and others are the subject of scholarly debate and so we cannot be certain (is any text that says something unwelcome free of scholarly debate).  Readings which understand texts to condemn homosexuality are minority views (though they are not so historically, nor among most Conservative Evangelicals, Orthodox, and Roman Catholics are they so presently).  The church has got it badly wrong in the past (solar system and slavery trotted out as usual examples) and minority views triumphed (his previous argument suggested accepting homosexuality was not a minority view while this one assumes it is). And his trump card, the Bible plainly and uncompromisingly forbids women teaching and in leadership yet we ignore what it says so why do we insist on obeying its commands on homosexuality?

This last argument seems to me to be particularly disingenuous.  I wonder if Chalke has always argued the texts teaching patriarchy are so uncompromisingly plain? Somehow, I doubt it.  However, it suits him now to concede the patency and cogency of these texts for he can charge with inconsistency those who ‘reinterpret’ these yet don’t treat the homosexuality texts with the same favour.  Better, he can insist that the hermeneutic (a ‘wider hermeneutic’ and presumably more sophisticated one than ‘simple exegesis’) that guided the acceptance of women in leadership despite prima facie evidence to the contrary ought to be employed in the texts that forbid homosexuality.  As he says, Here is my question: shouldn’t we take the same principle that we readily apply to the role of women, slavery, and numerous other issues, and apply it to our understanding of permanent, faithful, homosexual relationships? Wouldn’t it be inconsistent not to?

For Chalke, this ‘principle’ or ‘wider hermeneutic’ is a ‘trajectory hermeneutic’.  The Bible, it appears does not speak with ‘one voice’.  Although God’s self-revelation is fully revealed in Jesus, apparently what is revealed is not necessarily complete or accurate for a ‘trajectory’ hermeneutic will help us to arrive at the truth that is appropriate to this point in history.   Paul, a Christ-appointed messenger, was clearly mistaken to see homosexual behaviour as ‘against nature’ and place those who lived an unrepentant homosexual lifestyle outside of the kingdom.  He was clearly not inclusive enough.  Presumably, the problem was that his heart was not as compassionate as that of Chalke.  Though, perhaps he can be excused for his misguided and cruel exclusions since he did not have Chalke’s light; he did not live as far along the trajectory of evolving truth.   Jude was clearly mistaken when he spoke of ‘the faith once and for all delivered to the saints’.

The hubris is breathtaking.  The evil is palpable; it is insinuating, coiling, and serpentine.

Let me be clear.  Chalke, in avowing this (considered) libertine position, is not a brother in Christ who is simply a little misguided who should be welcomed and not judged.  He should be judged.  He is fully aware what he promotes and its implications.  He is wolverine, a false teacher, a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ twisting the Scripture to his own destruction.  He ‘turns the grace of God into sexual licence and so deny’s our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ’ (Jude 4).   Chalke’s actions towards homosexual people are not loving and gracious they are anything but so. It is not loving to declare pure what God finds abominable and to bless what God curses. To say ‘peace’ when there is ‘no peace’ is the most cruel of all lies and the hallmark of a false prophet.  Such false prophets have rejected the word of the Lord and there is no wisdom in them (Jer 8:8,9).  From such we must ‘turn away’ (2 Tim 3:5).  

These are strong words, I know.  Some will find them hard to stomach.  I do not ask you to judge whether they are politically correct but whether they faithfully echo the voice of the Lord as found in Scripture.


4 Responses to “chalke turns the grace of God into licence”

  1. 1 Don Chiechi
    January 16, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    That abominations abound one need not wonder. We know in our own crucified hearts we have harbored quite a few. For, before our own conversion did we not all hear, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.”

    And in regard to his truth, which you rightly here defend–for the good of the sinner–I do commend. For it is the only hope we have; to muddy it now is to throw excrement in the salve. And let the reader know and understand that in regard of Steve’s heart and our own before the divine judge, we all shall stand. In the mean time, by his own words we read the following:

    “Some will think that I have strayed from scripture – that I am no longer an evangelical. I have formed my view, however, not out of any disregard for the Bible’s authority, but by way of grappling with it and, through prayerful reflection, seeking to take it seriously.

    Promiscuity is always damaging and dehumanising. Casual and self-centred expressions of sexuality – homosexual or heterosexual – never reflect God’s faithfulness, grace and self-giving love. Only a permanent and stable relationship, in which respect and faithfulness are given and received, can offer the security in which well-being and love can thrive.”

    The wrestling he speaks of, speaks well indeed. However to gain in such a match as Jacob did (who received a new name) we must not let go too early, though this means the risk of a limp to ourselves. For while Steve’s concern that follows regarding promiscuity is real, it is not at the crux here, and as such rather than crushing the serpent’s head with the truth, he bites at the Lord’s heel.

    The mystery that surrounds the heart of the matter (in regard to the sin of homosexuality) may be found in 1 Corinthians 11:7. It has to do with the God’s order of things, you see. For a man to have a woman as his crown of glory is ordained and good. However, for a man to have another man as his crown of glory is taking what is God’s and making it his own. Likewise, for a woman to have another woman as her crown is taking what is man’s and making it her own. For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head (and not a crown of her own) and a man ought to submit himself to God and “play the man”, being the image, the glory, the crown of God.

    Thank you.

  2. January 17, 2013 at 1:59 am

    $ ‘the Church has a God-given responsibility to include those who have for so long found themselves excluded.‘

    i believe steve was talking about the world’s church. and not the real bride of Christ.

    i have no problem with the world inter-marrying-same-sex, however it becomes a problem when they
    want to shove it to my throat. that i cannot stomach.

    i can very accept the worst sinner save by Jesus, the worst sinner define as a homosexual married to the same sex.
    it is our greatest desire to see them save.

    but i will very well reject anyone jumping the “Grace bandwagon”, attempts to preach grace and turn it into
    licenciousness. people who have no revelation of grace, will just mess up.

    “For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.”
    – Jude 1:4

  3. 3 Susanne Schuberth (Germany)
    January 17, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    Hi John,

    Regarding this article and the previous one you wrote, I really do understand the earnestness and the emphasis you put on truthful biblical teaching. Right on!!

    Every time I am confronted with questions about homosexuality (or bi-, or trans-), adultery, divorce, abortion, and many others, by dear people around me, I recall the apostle Paul in Athens.

    “Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols.” (Acts 17:16)

    Luther even wrote that Paul became furious/angry [in German: “ergrimmte im Geist”, Luther 1984] as he was forced to look at something God hates (this sinful city). It is as sure as death that it was the Holy Spirit in him who rose up against idolatry.
    However, in marked contrast to Jesus, our Lord and rightful judge, who cleansed the temple by making mincemeat out of the merchants and money-changers 🙂 [I really love this passage revealing Jesus’ awe-inspiring divinity], Paul himself calmed down in order to convince some men listening to him on the Athenian Areopagus. Though knowing that they were idolaters, he didn’t reproach them but even displayed insight and sympathy for their behaviour, by saying,

    “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious.” (Acts 17:22)

    If necessary, Paul could be a sagacious diplomat. In all fairness it must be said that there is a difference between talking to theologians/teachers/leaders who should know biblical truth (Gal 1:8-9), and to talk with non-believers or insecure believers who tend to be “tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” (Eph 4:14). The latter group must be carefully protected, since due to their insecurity they will rather believe someone who speaks “the truth in love” (Eph 4:15), “with gentleness and respect” (1 Pt 3:15), than someone unleashing a full attack on them. Those attacks are suitable only for hard-boiled believers, living in Scotland, Bavaria, or elsewhere across the pond 🙂

    @ Don
    Your exegesis of 1 Cor 11:7 – I never heard it this way before; and it was perfect!

  4. January 17, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    Thanks for comments folks. I think you are right Susanne, we must distinguish between those who lead and those who are led. Don, you too are right – we judge what a man says and act accordingly but the final judgement of the heart we must leave to God. And, ‘Saved by Grace’ you too are right to say that we must be inclusive in our love for all men but exclusive in terms of those we welcome as Christians.

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The Cave promotes the Christian Gospel by interacting with Christian faith and practice from a conservative evangelical perspective.


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