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Misleading and heretical...
on 20 April 2014
In one matter at least Steve Chalke is to be commended - his desire to be inclusive, and to affirm equality.
However, his understanding of how inclusivity and equality are to be interpreted is distorted. He seeks to 'import' modernist and liberal assumptions into his readings of biblical texts, thereby attempting to justify his acceptance of what is essentially a secular humanist definition of sexual morality.
His exegesis of Scripture is weak and patchy. For example, he misses the main point of the biblical definition of marriage in Genesis Chapter 2. Verse 24 says that marriage is a one flesh union. Why? Because a man and a woman in a mutually exclusive, lifelong covenant of love have sexual complementarity. A man and a man, or a woman and a woman, cannot have this sexual complementarity. Hence a gay or lesbian relationship is not capable of becoming a one flesh union. Steve Chalke says nothing about the 'one flesh' union. His failure to explore this issue reveals basically poor exegesis.
Neither does Steve Chalke understand the catholicity of the Church. We need to consider what most Christians have taught, all over the world, throughout the centuries of Church History. The idea that marriage is essentially heterosexual, between one man and one woman, is a truth which has been affirmed, and continues to be affirmed, by most Christians. How or why is it, according to Steve Chalke, that most christians seem to have got their teaching wrong, in rejecting the idea of gay marriage, and of sexual relationships between persons of the same gender.
I don't think, as Steve suggests, that the New Testament's condemnations of homosexuality can be restricted just to references about promiscuous or casual sex. He seems not to understand,or want to clarify, the Jewish culture of Jesus' day. In Jewish society of that time, monogamous, faithful gay or lesbian relationships were simply not countenanced. Had Jesus thought this was a violation of justice and equality, he would have said so. On the contrary, in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus affirms the truth that marriage is a one flesh union, i.e. heterosexual in nature.
One warning about this book: Steve Chalke's views do not represent the traditional, biblical and normative definition of Christianity. From the perspective of 'orthodox' Christianity, his belief that gay marriage, and gay relationships, can be legitimated, and approved by God, is heretical. In doing so He is not arguing for God but rather against Him.