By John Richardson
[...] Yet such sentiments led to my epiphany, which was the realization that whereas I regard supporters of the ordination and consecration of women as largely mistaken, they regard me, and those who share my views, as immoral.
And immorality in the Church is something which cannot be tolerated.
This is why we must also be so cautious when someone like Steve Chalke (and there are many
like Steve Chalke) suggests that his views in favour of accepting same-sex practice and the position of those who are opposed can both coexist. In his own words, which I have quoted here
, he says that,
Amongst the hallmarks of any and every healthy community must be the ability for reasoned and gracious debate, a willingness to listen to others, an openness to change and a respect for diversity. I write this paper in that spirit, recognising that various friends and leaders whom I respect have views which differ from mine.
So here we have a ‘Rodney King
’ approach, with a plea for us all to ‘get along’ despite our differences. And would that we could!
But elsewhere Chalke is quoted saying that the result of the traditionalist view is that “those who seek to enter an exclusive, same-sex relationship have found themselves stigmatised and excluded by the Church”, adding that “this is an injustice and out of step with God’s character as seen through Christ.”
And here is the problem, for injustice, like immorality, cannot be tolerated – or at least, not if we can do anything about it. And Chalke has concluded that we can – indeed public legislation is already ahead of him – in affirming and blessing sexually active same-sex relationships.
Unfortunately, however, this means that despite his expressed desire that diversity should be respected, this cannot be something which ultimately he can either intend or tolerate. For surely he does not mean that there should continue to be some churches where the person in a sexually active same-sex relationship is ‘stigmatised and excluded’ in any sense? He surely does not intend that this version of Christianity should flourish alongside that which he now affirms as truly ‘in line with God’s character’?
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