Huge Announcement by Famous UK Pastor Steve Chalke

Huge Announcement by Famous UK Pastor Steve Chalke January 15, 2013

For my US readers who don’t know who Steve Chalke is, he is the most prominent evangelical pastor and personality in the United Kingdom. Steve is the founder of Oasis UK – a megachurch in London, charter schools around the country and an anti-human trafficking organization, of which Steve is a Special Advisor to the United Nations. To give some other background about Steve, he has been awarded the highest distinction of a British citizen by the Queen herself, and has been the last two Prime Ministers’ spiritual advisor. I met Steve a few years ago while speaking in the UK, and we have stayed close ever since. He has greatly assisted me in navigating my interactions with the United Nations, and I have been a sounding board for him for a variety of LGBT and ecclesial intersections.

A few weeks ago Steve called me to let me know that he, in a very public way, is going to make the announcement that he believes in the Scriptural integrity and inclusion of committed same-sex relationships and marriage. (for my US readers, picture Rick Warren making such an announcement)

I know the prayer, research and relationships that have led Steve to this decision. It will not come without great cost, but something that Steve understands must happen in order for him to live in his convictions about his LGBT brothers and sisters. Steve is wholistically working to not only be transparent with his journey, but also provide support to anyone that needs it.

First, here are both the academic article and the article that will appear in Christianity Magazine (like the US’s Christianity Today), which you can download to read about Steve’s theological, ecclesial, etc justifications for his announcement. I was able to read both in advance, and I can tell you that they are not the same regurgitated “activist” messaging you here on a regular basis.

Second, you can watch an extended 18 minute video of Steve explaining his journey and conclusions here.

Third, Oasis will be providing ongoing Church Resources, Pastoral Support and LGBT support through a helpline phone number and email. You can find all of those details here.

Steve has also let me know that in the coming months he and Oasis will be publishing a frequently asked Q&A video, information graphic video with stats and figures, life stories videos, and an extended Bible study guide including resource for church leaders.

I genuinely love and respect Steve and will be praying for him moving forward. I know from personal experience how overwhelming it can be when intentionally entering into such intense theological, political and cultural spaces. Regardless if you agree or disagree with Steve, your prayers are very much appreciated.

Much love.

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  • This is brave & exciting stuff from Steve, but his Church couldn’t be described in any way a “megachurch” 🙂

    • Andrew Marin

      Johnny – I mean for the average-size UK church, I would qualify his as a mega 🙂

    • Brian Greenaway

      Yes – I would agree – Steve is not one of the most prominent leaders in the UK. His views are not and never have been respresentative of the UK church. he has led his charity Oasis in doing some excellent work in the community, making an impact that has been a model for others to follow. He has done some wonderful practical work, but theologian/Bible teacher he certianly is not. It’s a lesson for people to stay safe inside their gifting.

  • That’s really, really great that he has decided to make this move. I hope that he can persuade other evangelicals on this.

    • Andrew Marin

      Yvonne – I can’t say for certain if Steve is actively trying to persuade others to join him. But I do know that he clearly understands his influence and how his voice carries a lot of weight for evangelicalism.

  • DJ

    Yay, Steve Chalke! I am inspired by his courage. As someone who’s church has gone through a bit of a “divorce” over this issue, I know how difficult the journey ahead will be for him…

    • Andrew Marin

      DJ – It will indeed be difficult. But as any leader must do, they must lead in the direction they feel the Lord is taking them – regardless if that is moving in one direction or the next, or working as a bridge builder between differing views. Each is a very difficult spot that does not come without those antagonistic only wanting “agreement.” I know he appreciates your prayers.

  • Michael Bussee

    This is good news. Do you support Marriage Equality, Mr. Marin?

    • Andrew Marin

      Hi Michael – Thanks for writing. I’ll be doing a series on gay marriage coming soon. Be on the lookout. Much love.

      • Michael Bussee

        I look forward to reading it. I hope that you will support full equality under law for LGBT people — including the right to marry the person they love.

  • Riley

    I pray that other evangelicals who disagree with him can be civil, cordial, and gracious.

    • Andrew Marin

      Riley – Let us pray that, indeed. Steve is no stranger to controversy. But as many of us from all different perspectives involved in the LGBT-conservative disconnect know, when it comes to the intersection of LGBTs and ecclesial and political issues, it’s on a whole other level.

  • Sharlee

    Either you only have readers that agree with what you write, or more ppl are in favor of gay marriage than against. Exciting to see brave voices being heard in the church.

    • Andrew Marin

      Sharlee – I don’t have any proof for what I’m about to say, but I feel that a lot of the readers of this blog come here because they are tired of the back-and-forth nature that permeates such a public and visceral disconnect. They are looking for a new medium of engagement, something that I hope to provide through my daily experiences building bridges between opposing worldviews in my neighborhood. This post was not so much focused on that, but most others are. I hope the readers find what they see here as worthwhile and practical. I also believe it is somewhat self-selecting for those who comment… I know that on my FB page (, for whatever reason, many more conservatives feel more comfortable speaking up in favor of heterosexual marriage.

      • Michael Bussee

        I think it should be said that supporting full equality under civil law for LGBT people (including the right to marry) is not in any way speaking AGAINST heterosexual marriage. It’s a mistake (or a deliberate mis-representation) to suggest that it is.

        As a gay Christian, I “speak up in favor of heterosexual marriage” on a regular basis. For example, my parents were married heterosexuals. Speaking up for Marriage Equality in no way undermines the value of marriage — for staight or gay people. It’s a voice FOR something, not AGAINST something.

      • Geoffrey M.

        Andrew: “I know that on my FB page (, for whatever reason, many more conservatives feel more comfortable speaking up in favor of heterosexual marriage.”

        Does that mean that gay-affirming people are not in favor of heterosexual marriage?

        • Andrew Marin

          It means that more conservative people who are not in favor of gay marriage feel, for whatever reason, more comfortable talking about their “not being in favor of gay marriage” on my FB page, rather than on the blog.

          • Geoffrey M

            Ok. Thanks. That’s not what you said. The language you used is the same as has been used to perpetuate the idea of a sinister “gay agenda” to destroy the marriages of straight people. I hope you can appreciate why that language is offensive.

            • Andrew Marin

              Geoffrey – Sorry for that miscommunication. I do very much appreciate language.

  • Liz

    I am encouraged with the news about Steve Chalke. As a heterosexual Christian woman who affirms and supports healthy, loving same sex relationships and same sex marriage I have often been accused of disregarding scripture when that is absolutely not the case. I am so glad that Steve Chalke is pointing out the same thing.

    BTW Andrew, do you affirm and support healthy, loving same sex relationships and marriage?

    • Andrew Marin

      Hi Liz – Thanks for writing. I’ll be doing a series on gay marriage coming soon. Be on the lookout. Much love.

  • Sam

    Now That’s a church I’d like to check out if it were closer! Steve presents a very well thought out , a very well reasoned approach.
    Ya’ know, we might as well get used to it, for it is becoming the law of the land. I’m not referring to the end of slavery. That already happened, despite the protestations of those who were certain the Bible taught otherwise. I’m referring to the ending of the ban on gay marriage. Wonder what will happen when SCOTUS rules on it’s Prop 8 and DOMA cases in June?

    • Andrew Marin

      Sam – It will be extremely interesting what happens if/when SCOTUS rules in favor of gay marriage. Definitely will be a defining moment in either direction. If they rule for, that opens the floodgates for each individual State to freely pass a gay marriage amendment. If against, it’s like the gay rights movement is starting from square one – as the traditional marriage folks have more leverage at that point to overturn what has already been passed.

  • andy osmond

    I would not liken Steve Chalke to Rick Warren. Steve’s theology has been shifting for some years now away from orthodoxy

    • Andrew Marin

      Differences in theology aside, I was just trying to communicate to my US audience who might have no idea who Steve Chalke is, some semblance of the reach and impact his voice has thought the UK and beyond.

  • andy osmond

    Your readers should also be encouraged to read Greg Downe’s article in the same issue of Christianity magazine which presents a contrasting view to Steve’s

    • Andrew Marin

      Andy – Do you have a link to that article you could post? Thanks!

  • Andrew Marin

    If anyone is interested, another British friend of mine Dr. Steve Holmes, Senior Lecturer at University of St. Andrews Divinity School and head of public policy for the Evangelical Alliance, was asked to write a response to Steve Chalke. It is less of a “response” and more of a continuation in theological dialogue. You can read it here

    • Richard C

      I really appreciate this section from Steve Holmes. It is almost Hauerwasian (i.e. the idolatory of the family) and in my view very important:
      “One of the reasons same-sex relationships have become such an issue for modern Western cultures is we have located the answer to loneliness and the source of intimacy solely in our families (this is very unusual in historical terms). The person who, for reasons of sexual orientation, is denied the opportunity to form a family (and, as Steve notes, is possibly disowned by his/her birth family) is thus cast into an astonishingly tragic, indeed impossible, situation. But one glance at divorce statistics, or one month of pastoral experience, will tell us that our cultural solution does not work; and it is certainly unbiblical. People do not find adequate intimacy in forming couples, even if the relationship is blessed. I would like to gently challenge Steve that the first answer to the terrible pastoral issues he raises is for local ministers like him to give themselves to creating radically biblical and inclusive church communities where everyone who comes will truly find a hundred brothers and sisters and mothers…”

      • Richard C

        What I think Holmes is saying is that our framework for creating inclusive churches (and our beliefs about behavior etc.) must first critique how we view “family”, “church” and “society” relating in a Western consumerist context. He challenges Chalke, in a context of respectful dialogue, to place his views of LGBT inclusivity alongside an ecclesiology that rejects the idea that church family must always play second string to home family and that marriage, whether same-sex or not, is the default choice for Christians. To achieve this there also needs to be a rigorous theology of celibacy that goes beyond the idea that it can be reduced to the thing that LGBT Christians must do to behave themselves.

  • Abraxas

    I am a gay man who is happy to be so and out for many years. I do not support gay marriage. I have several reasons, but the one I will mention here is that under the rubric of ” LGBT inclusivity”, –and the whole bizarre “LGBT” construct I also reject–we have one more triumph of…feminism. Whose goal is to erase the meaning of the male-female difference, in service of female dominance. Same-sex marriage actually makes marriage sex-less, that is, gender-less. And that is another cultural, civilizational and legal wound to the natural differences between men and women. And when the weeping Muslims show up with multiple wives, asking for “inclusivity”, there will be no leg to stand on. Once the sex of spouses has been rendered meaningless, something so culturally biases as numbers of spouses cannot stand.

    One thing that the “LGBT” crowd never asks itself –and it shares this myopia with other victim/minority identity groups– is: If I get what I want, will that serve or damage the common good of the whole?

    • As a married gay man, I can attest that our marriages actually contain genders. We might not have a female gender in this particular marriage, but there is a male gender within this particular marriage. So it’s not gender-less.

      I didn’t get married because I view myself as a victim. But… “If I get what I want, will that serve or damage the common good of the whole?”: I would contest the notion that my family damages the common good of the whole. We’re home owners. We’re employed. We’re tax payers. We’re leaders within our church. We are helping to raise the next generation. We clean up after our dogs. We’re doing just the same as a married gay male couple as pretty much anyone else on our street towards the collective good.

  • I just read your recent post about being uninvited to speak at the UN. I’m sorry to hear that. It’s a very important conversation to have.

    You stated in there that we are free to ask any question and that you would answer it. Twice on this post alone, people have asked your opinion about gay marriage and support for healthy same-sex relationships, and twice you dodged the question.

    Was just wondering … will you be making your own huge announcement soon?

    Note – this is not an attack on you, Andrew. And this won’t change my thoughts about you (being a good brother in Christ). Just curious when your announcement will be coming 🙂

    • Andrew Marin

      Shawn – I haven’t dodged the question, I have twice stated that I am writing an upcoming series on gay marriage in which I can fully communicate my beliefs in a much better and more thorough way than a comment section. I’m writing that series right now, and have been since before this current post. I will post it when I feel comfortable with the wording.