From Tony Campolo:
What a federal government determines to be law is one thing; what the church blesses it endorses; what it endorses must be demonstrated from Scripture. It appears to me Steve Chalke thinks a local church is a right for all. Tony Campolo’s view remains conservative (as is mine) and he urges evangelicals to a renewed thinking about how to love others well.
If you haven’t already picked up the news via the internet, let me tell you that Steve Chalke, one of the most prominent preachers in the United Kingdom, and an icon among Evangelicals in, has published a definitive statement in support of committed, faithful, same-sex relationships. It is published in the United Kingdom in next month’s edition of the magazine, Christianity. The British version of the U.S. magazine, Christianity Today, Christianity is a conservative, Evangelical publication. Steve’s statement has also received significant attention from the UK’s mainstream press and media.
Steve called close to midnight, his time, to tell me of his decision to stand up publically in favor of faithful, same-sex relationships. . He wanted me to know what he was doing prior to the news breaking in the popular media. Steve and I are old friends and he didn’t want me to be blindsided by the news. He was well aware that his announcement would be a bombshell, not only on the British scene, but would have ramifications for Evangelicals around the world. For somebody with Steve’s high profile to stand up in favor of lesbian and gay partnerships is indeed shocking news. While it will be welcomed by a significant proportion of the Evangelical community, there will be extensive negative repercussions from others who are adamantly opposed to Civil Partnerships or the idea of gay marriage.
The significance of what Steve – a Baptist Minister – has done cannot be overstated. Last fall he conducted a dedication and blessing service following the Civil Partnership of two gay members of his church. (Under present UK law gay marriage is not possible, although the UK Government is currently exploring the possibility of new legislation to change that. Therefore, at the moment, same-sex couples seek a ‘Civil Partnership’, which until now no churches have recognized).
“I did this” Steve explains, “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.”