A Conversation or Authoritative Word?

Last week Steve Chalke a British Evangelical came out in favour of giving God’s blessing to homosexual relationships.

There were a few problems with his arguments….

1. He referred to his pastoral concerns being a guiding influence. I understand these concerns, but the reality is that this amounts to nothing more than deciding what’s right or wrong by the way you feel over an issue and is an extremely dangerous approach to ministry (interestingly Brian McLaren has moved in the same direction). The problem is that our feelings however strong are the wrong place to decide what is right and what is wrong, whoever you are, whatever your desires might be. Feelings are very subjective, not only that, they can fluctuate. What I feel is right and wrong you may not. These things need to be governed by something or someone higher than ourselves. For the Christian that means they must be submitted to and governed by the Word of God. The abandonment of the Christian values found in the Word of God by the world has led to relative moralism, sadly, it’s now entering the church.

2. Steve Chalke referred to the Bible as a conversation between God and man that is still in progress, and as time goes by we are learning what’s right and wrong for our generation, adapting and changing as our understanding progresses. Now this is not what Christians and churches have believed down through the centuries. For the majority the Bible has been the God breathed, authoritative word, totally sufficient for faith and conduct, something that we submit our minds to, rather than stand over it in judgement.

3. His so-called thorough examination of what scripture teaches was anything but, it was more a dance around some scriptures, drawing in anything that he could lay his hands on that might be used to bolster his argument, rather than looking at the subject in detail. In many ways it is reminiscent of cult teaching where we keep moving to maintain the argument, but don’t stop to examine the subject in detail.

These are serious things, perhaps it’s part of a wider problem, where we speak of the scriptures as the Bible rather than the Holy Bible; where the Word is not read and listened to as God’s Word. Where it is no longer preached and expounded as the authoritative Word of God but a place of good ideas.

Studying scripture recently I was amazed at how much the Word played in the revivals/renewals of the Old Testament, not by making them feel good and right about themselves, but how they had sinned and fallen short of God’s standard.

Brothers and sisters, have we become so ‘free’ that we’ve forgotten what it is for the word of God to search us and convict us?

Have we forgotten what it is to ‘tremble at the Word’? (Isaiah 66:5)

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2 thoughts on “A Conversation or Authoritative Word?

  1. Hello. I am queer, so I have an interest here, and-

    What are your sins? Seriously. Do you have any that you struggle with? Do you have any that you do not see in yourself, do you think?

    My request is that we worship together, seeing each others as sinners if we really must, but also as people. Welcome the gay couple to your church as you would welcome the couple, one of whom has divorced and not for adultery. Worship alongside them, and speak to them. Know that they are a child of God. Discuss doctrine with them, and discuss the specific matter of homosexuality with them if they raise it.

    You have the advantage of me. I have a specific thing, and the Bible may be read in such a way as to condemn it, and some people do indeed read the Bible in that way, though some disagree. And- if you are sinless, go off to the perfect church, and I will be unable to follow.

    See me as a child of God too.

    Can we worship together? Can we recognise what we have in common- belief in God and God’s son- as more important than this doctrine?

    Alternatively, start a campaign against adultery. Remember that Mark does not have Matthew’s qualification, any remarried divorcee is an adulterer. Adultery is as serious a sexual sin as homosexual love, so- expel the adulterers from the churches, and especially from church leadership.

    Now, if I start using strong words like Hypocrite about that adultery issue, you might get upset- but then, tell me how you wriggle out of Jesus’ plain words in two gospels, and how you can bear divorcees in your church but not gay couples.

    1. Hi Clare,

      Sorry for the late response… life has been rather busy.

      You ask me about my sins, and my answer is yes I know them, that’s why I am a Christian, because I need saving from them, and the power to live differently – I’m not perfect and as time goes by I find God frequently convicting me of different sins and by his grace I trust I am being transformed.

      As I said in the post, I wonder whether this is an overlooked aspect of our approach to the Word, that we are no longer allowing that Word to search and test our hearts, attitudes and actions, but rather sitting ourselves in judgement on it, with the result that as is sometimes pointed out many Christians are really not that much different from rest of the world.

      Re adultery, yes, Jesus does talk about it, and it still needs to be taken seriously – in fact in a few weeks time I will be with a group of leaders who are wanting to look at the subject of divorce and remarriage.

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