In light of Steve Chalke's statement on the evangelical response to homosexuality I am struck by a few thoughts regarding the reaction offered by some commentators. The following are three of the observations that I trust will be of use in the conversation.
1) I am concerned that some of those who oppose Steve Chalke's position wish to all too quickly suggest he can no longer be considered an Evangelical. This behaviour only serves to silence the conversation it does remove the need for it. It is a lazy form of debate to use this tactic.
2) I have noticed that some have suggested that Chalke's motives are questionable. I always find this a concern as no-one can really know what moves another person to act in the way that they do. It also serves to distract us from the discussion at hand. Take this tweet from Andrew Evans (@andysstudy)
RT @andysstudy: New on the blog: Steve Chalke's selective reading of Scripture lacks compassion and seeks to make himself God
I appreciate that Andy has a valid opinion but I am somewhat bemused that he would state that Steve 'seeks to make himself God'. There is nothing in Steve's original essay that suggests he is motivated by wanting to be God. In fact I see a certain humility in his writing as he looks for the very compassion that Andrew says he lacks.
3) In offering a defence some have tried to suggest that many evangelical churches are infact inclusive even if they don't share Steve's acceptance of homosexuality in a committed relationship. The difficulty here is that as soon as weight is placed on acceptance of the usual evangelical position it makes it almost impossible for people to have an open discussion about the subject. The fear that one may be perceived as unorthodox is likely to silence anyone who wants to ask deeper questions. This in itself raises questions about the type of inclusion that some are suggesting is already present.
In areas that have the potential to be controversial it is all too easy to speak to our own constituency. Steve expresses that this pressure was one reason he has struggled to speak out before. If we fear being rejected by other leaders, our denominations, and our congregations we will be less likely to engage in the level of honesty that such subjects warrant.
Where others have viewed Steve as foolish I have considered him brave. Where some have suggested he has been unbiblical I feel he has expressed a Christ-like compassion.