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Posts Tagged ‘Oasis Church’

Steve Chalke, often called the “Billy Graham of the UK,” on January 15 came out in favor of committed, faithful, same-sex relationships, and posted the following video that explained how, as a long-time evangelical Christian and Baptist pastor of a network of Oasis churches in England, he came to this controversial decision about same-sex relationships and the church:

After the video was published, the BBC interviewed Chalke, and followed up with an interview with American conservative Baptist preacher-educator-sociologist Tony Campolo about his reaction to Chalke’s announcement. Campolo posted the following excerpts of these interviews on his website, Red-Letter Christians:

Click photo of Tony Campolo to listen to radio interviews

Click photo of Tony Campolo to listen to radio interviews

I bring these interviews and video to your attention because, as Campolo writes in a supplemental post on his website:

Steve’s public declaration . . . represents the first time that a major evangelist and leader in the Evangelical community has come out in support of same-sex relationships.  Discussions about what he has done will reverberate from churches, youth groups, seminaries, Bible schools and denominations.  Both those who support same-sex partnerships and gay marriage as well as those who oppose such developments will look upon Steve’s declaration as a watershed.  It is one more evidence that a major shift is taking place on this controversial subject, not only within mainline Christianity, but among Evangelicals.

Indeed, same-sex issues that are upfront in our society, in the voting booth, in the military, and on television shows are also confronting us in our families and in our mainline and evangelical churches.

Last year I had to face this issue as a church leader who was part of a committee that was commissioned to explore and recommend the direction that our congregation should take in response to our denomination’s decision to approve the ordination of gay clergy—a decision that had already resulted in some congregations choosing to leave the denomination.

While our 3,000-plus-member congregation eventually voted not to support our denomination on the ordination issue, we chose to stay within the denomination and be “salt and light” (Matthew 5:13-16) to our denomination and mirror the grace and love of Jesus to gays within our families, churches, and our society.

In a similar vein, Campolo ends his post with:

For my own part, I remain conservative on the issue, but I agree with Steve that the attitudes of many churches are homophobic and cruel.  Whether or not we change our positions on accepting same-sex relationships or even gay marriage, we Evangelicals have to face the reality that the time has come for many of us to change our attitudes towards gay people, and show something of the love and grace of God in the name of His Son Jesus.

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