Equality Sex and sexuality the Church Theology

Steve Chalke and the Threat to Prosecute Evangelical Churches – CT

This weeks Christian Today article – you can read the original here. 
Former evangelical leader Rev Steve Chalke has become an outspoken advocate for LGBT people and same-sex relationships.

Steve Chalke has given us a straw in the wind about what will be coming next in the ongoing campaign to change church doctrine and practice in line with the current cultural zeitgeist.He tweeted: “When I began to welcome LGBT into my church, the Evangelicals threw the charity I founded out of their alliance. But I believe what amounts to the abuse of LGBT people by churches is likely to soon see a crop of high-profile prosecutions.”

He referenced a Guardian article which gives a great deal more information about this campaign.  Earlier in the month, Steve put out a press release warning churches that it was psychological abuse to express pastoral concern or pray for people with unwanted same-sex attraction. He also declared that teaching the biblical view of sexuality could result in prosecution. Before that, the Ozanne foundation had issued a letter asking the Prime Minister to ban all forms of ‘conversion therapy’ including outlawing calls for sexual abstinence and preventing trans people who want to detransition from getting help.

Elton John not Jesus Christ

In a message to the Creating Sanctuary Conference this weekend, Sir Elton John praised Steve and the other participants for their work, and attacked churches for failing to welcome, accept and include LGBTQ+ people. Sir Elton is an atheist who in the past argued that Jesus was gay and would have supported gay marriage. The endorsement of Elton appears to be more important than the endorsement of Jesus.

Let’s be clear: this carefully orchestrated campaign is designed to intimidate and bully evangelicals into silence. Steve Chalke is warning his former evangelical colleagues that they are likely to be prosecuted for holding to the traditional, biblical Christian teaching on sex and sexuality.

He has for many years been on a trajectory that is leading him further and further away from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In 2014, Steve and his organisation Oasis were removed from the Evangelical Alliance, and since then Steve has continued to attack and undermine the evangelical witness in the UK.

His recent statement dishonestly claims that he was thrown out of the EA because he “welcomed” LGBT people into his church. Why is that dishonest? Because evangelicals do welcome LGBT people into our churches. We welcome LGBT people in the same way we welcome anyone else – as sinners in need of a Saviour, broken people who need healing, and burdened and weary people who need to know Christ. There are no exceptions and no discrimination. All are called to repentance, faith and conversion to a new life. In Christ we are a new creation.

A Different Gospel

But Steve and his colleagues have a different perspective. They have changed the Gospel. Christ did not come to convert, but to affirm. In this new religion, it is sinful to be told that your desires are sinful. The Good News has been changed from ‘you must be born again’, to ‘God accepts you just as you are…no change necessary’!

Steve Chalke was removed from the EA not because he welcomed LGBT people, but because he turned away from the teaching of Christ and taught a false Gospel – which is no Gospel at all.

A New Threat

This is not new. But what is new is that Steve and his allies have now moved from dialogue to conflict, and in doing so have really upped the ante. A few years ago, Steve held a conference which he said was about ‘having dialogue’ with people who had different perspectives on same-sex marriage. Now he holds a conference where those who disagree with his theology are threatened with prosecution. So much for respectful dialogue!

If you teach the biblical position, you are to be treated as though you are a child abuser. The Guardian article cites several of the conference attendees who directly equate not accepting Steve and Elton’s sexual philosophy with child abuse. Thus, the ground is set for the demand that the full force of the law needs to be brought to bear. It is incredibly sad that former evangelicals such as Steve Chalke and Jayne Ozanne, having failed to convince their former colleagues of the arguments for their case, are now threatening to use the force of the State to compel us to follow their doctrines.

The Real Harm

We don’t accept that teaching what Jesus taught is responsible for suicides and abuse. In fact, we would go precisely the opposite route. It is the failure to teach what Christ taught which leads to hopelessness and despair. Confusing the message of the Lord Jesus with the message of Sir Elton is what causes so much harm in so many ways. It is demeaning to those LGBT people who have already found hope in Christ, and seek to live, along with the rest of their brothers and sisters, in faithfulness to him. It also harms those who do need radical conversion (all of us!). But it is worse than that. Now that Steve is threatening us with the law, and encouraging the civil authoritities to prosecute us, he is causing great harm to the church he once belonged to, and the Lord he once professed to serve.

We are being pushed towards a point where the State, egged on by apostate clergy, are going to ask us to choose between following Christ and his word, or following the philosophy of those who despise Christ’s teachings. Much as I like the music of ‘rocketman’, there is no possibility of me following Sir Elton. Some of us have to be a candle in the wind. We have to have the grace to hold ourselves, while those around us fall. What gives us the strength to do this is knowing that Christ’s candle will never burn out.

Steve Chalke and the Cross of Christ

The Anti-Christ Message of Steve Chalke

The crime of spiritual abuse: One of the most dangerous ideas in decades

77 comments

  1. Well said, much needed. Good see that you have not lost your head by repeatedly poking it above the parapet.
    A large part of their strategy is to not respond, not discuss.

  2. Seems like that is also coming in Canada in the form of C-6 and I have no doubt that the Democratic Party in the USA has something similar in mind in the form of the Equality Act should they gain enough power.

  3. “Now that Steve is threatening us with the law, and encouraging the civil authoritities to prosecute us”
    David is it a threat or is it a warning? Please give us the evidence for Chalke’s intention.

    1. It’s a threat. And its naive in the extreme for anyone who knows Steve’s history to think otherwise. He is not warning his fellow evangelicals. He is saying (with his conference of 400 like minded people) that churches SHOULD be prosecuted. I know that you have for some reason to come on here and find fault with most things I say – but it does get wearysome – and I don’t have time to waste on people who have no idea, and don’t want to know, what is going on…

      1. David, believe it or not what I am trying to do is to get YOU to THINK about how and what YOU are communicating. For instance, you are saying that your readers HAVE TO KNOW “Steve’s history” in order to know that what he said is a threat. So, how are they to know that? Do all your readers have magical access to what you believe you know about Steve Chalke? And also HOW does THAT knowledge make THIS statement (whatever it was, and it’s difficult to know what it was from your article) a threat? You seem to be saying that anyone who does not share your assumptions is extremely naive, and yet your readers have no overt indication of the assumptions you are using. These are left COMPLETELY to their prior understanding, that is, left for your readers to infer.
        Please ‘take the time’ to write so that your readers are given enough context to understand your assumptions.

      2. If you can’t be bothered reading and admit your ignorance please don’t bother to write making accusations. I have written a considerable about Chalke and his trajectory. I have no intention of re-writing it for those who don’t have the ability to search or read….Chalke and Ozanne are in the process of lobbying the government to get them to make ‘spiritual abuse’ illegal – and guess who they want to police it? Their own supporters. As I said I really don’t have time to deal with this nit picking. It’s not helpful and your position is naive. Feel free to express it on your own blog…you’re done here.

      3. No surprise here. Are Christians not promised that they will share in forms of persecution and trial? (2Tim 2:3) So I believe that Steve is right: In light of the acceptance of the gay lifestyle being sanctified as right and good in the eyes of the world, the church SHOULD be persecuted. What else is there to expect? The church represents a 100% foreign set of ideologies from the world. And if it gets pooed on by the world, may we love them back with joyfilled proclamation of a gospel that saves all who believe in and to a Great God who offers an infinite measure of time beyond this blip on the radar of life in the world today.

        And speaking of 2Tim chapter 2, Paul has great advise there about how to handle such topics. It is such profound wisdom from one of Christ’s chosen apostles that helps convince me of the validity of our faith in a real living God through Jesus our Lord and King. And it would again serve as great advise about such discussions.

    2. Bruce S,
      Your contributions come across, as captious and pedantic, unable to grasp the gist of the article and with little intention of reading around the topic or the trajectory of Chalke’s history in this matter. Just a touch of effort would see you following a link to the Christian today site, which contains not only David’s article but the one in relation to Chalke, to which David is responding. David is not the only one to comment, Colin Hart of the Christian Institute is another.

      1. Geoff I guess you could call it “pedantic”. David, I think your post here has a number of good examples of how language can be used indirectly in a discussion to persuade readers to a desired viewpoint without actually interacting with what an “opponent” said. Can I have your permission to use it in class or pragmatics research?

      2. YOu can use whatever I write….or, as I suspect, misuse….but that’s your choice…there is nothing I can do about it…I’m afraid that you should perhaps use your own posts as the example. You did not interact with what I said, assumed the worst and just had a go…

      3. Well David to take one straightforward example.
        You wrote: “In a message to the Creating Sanctuary Conference this weekend, Sir Elton John praised Steve and the other participants for their work, and …”
        I would ask linguistics students “According to what the writer says, was Elton John at the Conference? Yes, or no? What language has the writer used for readers to infer he was/wasn’t there?
        How would that be misusing what you wrote?

      4. It would be an excellent example of how to misread articles and read into them what was there. I did not infer that EJ was there….nor is it even remotely relevant. He gave a message to the conference – that was the only point. I’m not quite sure what obscure point you are trying to make!

      5. A “straightforward example” of *what*? Ambiguity?

        I don’t suppose that *anybody* was “at” the conference. I expect it took place online. There’s another ambiguity for you to ask linguistics students about!

      6. John, I guess I could ask them that — if I wanted them to think about an incredibly naive view of language and communication!

      1. “Conversion Therapy” usually refers to the practice of offering some form of “therapy” which claims to be able to make same sex attracted people attracted to the opposite sex.

        In living memory it has included things like electroshock treatment and water boarding, but more typically now it is just “talking”.

        The basic idea is to induce extra anxiety in the same sex attracted person around the idea of sex and attraction in the hopes that this will somehow make them attracted to the opposite sex. It doesn’t work and lots of people who have been through it claim it has caused them long term mental or even physical health problems

      2. John

        There is at least one organization that claims to offer therapy to make gay people attracted to the opposite sex, but I’m afraid I cannot remember the name.

        If it doesn’t happen then a bill to ban it would have no impact. If it does then a bill would potentially protect vulnerable adults and children from harmful and fraudulent practices

        I dont think it’s likely to happen in any case – the Government has promised to ban it for five years, but have done absolutely nothing about it as far as I can see!

      3. “There is at least one organization that claims to offer therapy to make gay people attracted to the opposite sex”

        If you manage to remember the name of it, you will be the first to rise to my challenge to cite an example of conversion therapy being practised in the UK. I think its a hoax, the purpose of which is to contrive a pretext for interfering in the affairs of the church in a way in which the state ought not to interfere.

    1. Frederick – perhaps you should look into some of David’s previous posts on this topic, you might find them enlightening …

  4. It concerning to learn that S Chalke and J Ozanne have become enemies of the Cross of Christ and Body of Christ according to Phillipians 3 v 18.

    1. Some while back Ozanne was in debate with Robert Gagnon on Unbelievable….It was the first time I became aware of the woman.She had no answer to Gagnons scriptural arguments and resorted to subjective responses…..She re interpreted Adam and Eve to include any type of relationship….and veered into a Charistmatic direction by claiming to have performed healings and when Gagnon pinned her down with sound exegesis she failed to respond by using the “I am not a theologian ” excuse. She also failed to quote sources that she had read.

  5. I think a practical thing for churches worried about their stance on this issue is to consider how they treat remarried divorcees and treat gay people in a similar way.

      1. I’m not sure why you think that wouldn’t help? Is the goal to ensure that gay people are treated well or to please Steve Chalke?! Steve Chalke is not God or even the Prime Minister.

        I think this would be a simple thing to do and something that every church could do to improve the situation (where it needs improving) and that doesn’t involve changing teaching or introducing controversial theology. It would just be ensuring some kind of consistency and rule of thumb as to how to treat any gay people for churches which don’t feel well equipped to deal with them.

        For instance

        If someone comes out as gay do you allow them on the missions trip? Well would you allow a divorced and remarried person on the missions trip?

        If a gay couple wants to marry in the church, think about if you would allow a couple who had each been previously married to marry in the church.

        When do you intervene to protect the gay person from negative behavior from other church members? Well when would you intervene to protect a divorced, remarried person from negative behavior from other members.

        Etc

        I think it is quite a good rule of thumb and a useful rule of thumb.

      2. Its not the issue at all and you are a completely confusing thing. It’s not analogous at all – and many gay people would find your depiction of them as insulting. It’s a confused and dreadful rule of thumb – comparing apples with oranges. You are completely missing Chalkes point.

      3. Could you please explain how my comment is insulting to gay people? It was not my intent to be insulting – I was just trying to offer my thoughts on what a simple and non controversial fix might be.

        If treatment of gay people is not the issue here then do you mind explaining what the issue is?

      4. Because you are equating someone going out and cheating on their wife with someone’ sexual orientation. The issue is not the treatment of gay people (which I’ve already said should be the same as anyone else in the church) but the threat to prosecute Christians who teach the biblical view of sex and sexuality.

      5. I’m sorry David, I have not communicated my point clearly.

        I was not trying to say that being attracted to the same sex was analogous to adultery. I was only suggesting that churches could ensure that they treat gay people at least as well as they treat divorced and remarried persons.

        We generally dont hear complaints from divorced and remarried people on how they have been treated by churches so this could provide an easy model as to how to treat gay people better. Its difficult to see how this would be controversial and, although not all gay people would be happy with it, at least there could be no case to say that gay people were being singled out for discrimination.

      6. A real life example known to me. It’s not my personal story so I cannot give the names involved.

        At a not particularly conservative evangelical church a young gay man was banned from playing in the worship band because he got a boyfriend. You might think this was fair enough, but there were several straight young people who were known to be not only dating, but also sleeping with their girl/boyfriends who were permitted to continue.

        I know that one example is not necessarily representative, but there are a *lot* of these stories and I think if a little more thought were just put into consistency and transparency with rules like “what behaviors get you banned from the worship band” then a lot of the tension on this issue would go.

      7. Of course that is wrong and ridiculous. But just because I know someone who has been a hypocrite and stolen – does not mean I should endorse theft!

      8. To be clear David,

        I am not saying that divorced/remarried people are analogous to gay people,

        I don’t know how to write that any more clearly.

        I am suggesting that they could be a useful guide for consistency in church practice and policy.

        Actually there is a website encouraging churches to be clearer about what their policies towards gay people actually are because often churches don’t seem to have thought about what their policy should be in certain scenarios (such as a gay person wanting to go on a missions trip) before they occur and much hurt can be caused just by being inconsistent, secretive or changing positions at the last minute,

      9. You made the analogy – and you appear to be sticking by it. Divorce and remarriage are not analogous and therefore are not ‘a useful’ guide for dealing with a completely different issues.

      10. Aren’t we silly?! How could you have made it any more clear that you wanted to eat your cake? You have merely been suggesting that, in addition, it might be useful for you also to continue to have your cake. Of course!

        If two things are not analogous, why should the manner in which we deal with one provide a “useful guide” as to how to deal with the other? If two things are not analogous, then what would it even mean, to deal with them “consistently”?

        A church should not fall into the trap of having, let alone publishing, any sort of policy for dealing with “gay people”. If we were supposed to have that, it would have been in the bible. There are no “gay people” in the bible. “Gay people” were not invented until 19th century. Those who identify as “gay people”, as nobody could do before “gay people” were invented, do not need to be treated any differently from anybody else.

      11. It’s of course very difficult to make either the claim that this sort of “ridiculous and wrong” treatment is widespread or that it rarely happens because all the data we have is from anecdotes, which can be dismissed as exaggerated or misconceptions.

        An easy way to demonstrate that churches value members who are attracted to the same sex and do not wish this sort of thing to happen to them is to have fair, clear and consistent teaching and policy on everything likely to come up and if all of this has a clear theological basis all the better.

        I was once told a story, which I heard second hand so I don’t know if it was true or not, that when a lady admitted being attracted to women she was told by the church leadership that she could continue to attend the church, but could no longer be on the flower rota. It sounds really silly, but these bizarre decisions can inflict lasting wounds. If someone is confessing an issue to someone they love and trust and that person’s reaction is to prohibit them from an act of service like that it can be very wounding.

        So I think that a lot of this trouble could go away just by having clear policies and expectations and also having a bit more thought about how to treat people in these situations before they happen so that “ridiculous and wrong” judgements aren’t made on the spur of the moment.

    1. John, David

      Murder and tax fraud are not analogous, but I would question any judicial system that said murderers could go free, but people even thinking about tax fraud must be executed.

      You both seem to be so focused on this one detail that you are missing my actual point.

      1. What “detail” are we focused on? Do you mean that when replying to your whataboutism, we focus on the details of your whataboutism? Or that when focusing on the heresy of Chalke and now his breathing out of threatenings against the disciples of the Lord, a faith community he has forsaken and turned against in rage, we focus on the false teaching of Chalke that we are tasked to refute, and its toxic fruit? Why is either focus inappropriate?

  6. Last year I attempted to dialogue with Chalke for several weeks about his dangerous position and views. Upon reading his most recent book (The lost message of Paul) I gave him my honest opinion. His answer was to block me and cease all communication. I am convinced that the man was never saved at all and has now become a very clear and formidable enemy of Christ, His church and the gospel message.

    1. We read that from the very beginning of Church history there are those who twist the scriptures and lead people astray. Thank you David for keeping us alert to what is happening in our times – none other than modern-day apostasy.

  7. A lot of what you say is spot on.

    Not only are my own dire predictions 15 years ago showing unmissable signs of coming to pass, but famous Christians with a following and a track record in conventional ministry (like yourself) are beginning to make the same dire predictions this year. Thank you, Jesus.

    I find it frustrating, though, that hardly anybody “evangelical” was even slightly interested in what I had to say in 2005, a lot of which you and others are at last saying again, more audibly, now. 2005 being the year when I took HMG to court in a bid to prevent the implementation of the Gender Recognition Act 2004, the real legalisation of same-sex marriage, as Lord “nudist colony” Tebbit and I alone seemed to realise, by the creation of what Maya Forstater recently correctly identified as a “legal fiction”.

    Stop gender fraud!
    https://johnallmanuk.wordpress.com/2017/07/08/gra/

    I foresaw a long time ago how the game the enemy is planning to play will play out. Now perhaps millions have glimpsed that future too, yourself included, and it will be averted.

    Conversion Therapy (so-called) is a hoax. The real conspiracy has always been to criminalise Christianity, as you are beginning to see yourself, David.

    I put paid about 24 hours ago to the particular fake news story about Steve Chalke, as penned by Premier Christian News, to which you are now responding (well, thank God) in a series of three tweets, as follows:
    https://twitter.com/John_Allman/status/1318128239840235521
    https://twitter.com/John_Allman/status/1318009650332172289
    https://twitter.com/John_Allman/status/1318017552614854656

    The main thing you have written here that I think you have got wrong is this:
    “… evangelicals do welcome LGBT people into our churches. We welcome LGBT people in the same way we welcome anyone else …”. This fudges two different definitions of the ambiguous cliche “LGBT people”.

    Unlike those of the LGBT cult, the doctrines of Christianity do not teach that there is such a thing as “sexual orientation” (taught in LGBT dogma to be unchosen and immutable), whereby there exist “gay people”, whose so-called sexual orientation (it is taught by LGBT) determine their sexual behaviour (including what activities and persons they are attracted to). Nor does Christianity teach that there are “trans people”, either in the sense of “born in the wrong body” (and making the best of a bad job), or having somehow transitioned their sex, with or without genital mutilation. One meaning of “LGBT people” is people who believe those doctrines of sexual orientation and gender/sex transition. Another meaning is people who, believing these doctrines, believe themselves to “be gay”, or to “be trans”.

    Now, the call of the gospel is broadcast to all. One who is LGBT in either sense, is welcome to attend public worship to hear the gospel. But the LGBT doctrines give an explanation for behaviours such as sodomy and imitating the opposite sex, the latter even so effectively as to deceive the innocent victim of the gender fraud committed, that is at loggerheads with the Christian explanations for these evil behaviours, which should still be taught by the true church. I am not sure that you are yet quite with me on that, because I am not yet quite sure that you yet recognise that there is such a thing as false LGBT doctrine, to the effect that there exist gay and trans people, doctrine which you need to reject and to preach against in the power of the Holy Spirit. I hope I’m wrong about that.

    1. John

      I agree with you that often (possibly less so now) some of the friction caused between churches and LGBT people has been over a misunderstanding of terms.

      I don’t agree with you that LGBT people can p mean people who just believe that some people are attracted to the same sex or that some people experience being a gender at odds with their birth sex – such people are generally known as allies to LGBT people, not LGBT themselves.

      Where I think the difference is is that when a person says they are gay typically they mean they experience attraction to the same sex and no attraction to the opposite sex, but churches tend to define gay as meaning someone who takes part in same sex sex. In Venn Diagram terms these would be two overlapping circles with plenty of people who fall into one category, but not both.

      It’s clearly helpful for churches to be clear what they are against and also it be clear for them to know what they are dealing with. But there is a problem – if the church leadership specifically asks members who say they are gay about their sexual behavior, but does not do likewise for everyone else then this is singling out gay people for treatment that others don’t receive. If churches are not asking single or divorced members if they are having sex then they probably shouldn’t be asking gay members if they are having sex either.

      1. The LGBT doctrine that “some people are gay” is not a Christian doctrine. There is a great deal behind that slogan that contradicts Christian doctrines, and vice versa.

        Lots of people I come across object when I refer to LGBT doctrines. But the fact that there are LGBT doctrines is usually quickly proven by the dogmatic, didactic tone the objectors immediately adopt. They accuse me of “ignorance”, and proceed to try to educate me, by reciting the very LGBT doctrines they say do not exist, which I have heard a hundred times before. “This is how it is,” they explain. “Learn from me, so that you might no longer be ignorant.”

        The way in which people use words reveals what they believe, to the careful listener.

      2. “It’s clearly helpful for churches to be clear what they are against and also it be clear for them to know what they are dealing with. But there is a problem – if the church leadership specifically asks members who say they are gay about their sexual behavior, but does not do likewise for everyone else then this is singling out gay people for treatment that others don’t receive. If churches are not asking single or divorced members if they are having sex then they probably shouldn’t be asking gay members if they are having sex either.”

        Why is that a problem? Why should the church leadership interrogate those who don’t have conversations about sexuality?

      3. Yes, but my point is that a person who believes in the LGBT doctrine is not necessarily LGBT. You can believe gay people exist naturally without yourself being attracted to the same sex.

      4. “Yes, but my point is that a person who believes in the LGBT doctrine is not necessarily LGBT. You can believe gay people exist naturally without yourself being attracted to the same sex.”

        I take your point.

      5. I agree it wouldn’t be a problem to talk about sexuality with individuals if those individuals are raising the topic as long as it were done consistently.

        For example, if young people associated with a church face deep questioning about their sexual behavior if it becomes known that they are attracted to the same sex, but not if it becomes known they are attracted to the opposite sex then that could easily be perceived as singling out and intrusive.

  8. “Steve put out a press release warning churches that it was psychological abuse to express pastoral concern or pray for people with unwanted same-sex attraction.”

    Yes, and in Scotland as in other parts of the world we have experienced heartache within the church epitomised with debates over this kind of thing and even churches splitting. Mind you, considering the history of the church in Scotland there is nothing new under the sun with a church split!

    I recall weeping after talking with fellow dog walkers when this was at it’s height (before it got overtaken by the current hot potato of transgenderism). And the reason I wept was because of the image my fellow dog walkers had of the church – of it being about falling out over a secondary issue such as this and my sharing of the gospel being something they hadn’t heard before.

    What is it about this kind of thing that the church allows to take prominence over the gospel! I despair over organised religion.

    Coming to your point David – I’ve know one or two people talk of living a gay lifestyle and now living a heterosexual life. Even your friend Peter Tatchell speaks of similar among people he knows. So why then in a culture where gender fluidity is accepted is fluidity with sexual orientation not given similar affirmation? The answer, I suggest lies in the reaction to fundamentalist approaches historically with using a word such as “pervert” to describe someone experiencing same sex attraction. Then the gay lobbyists in the 1980s coming up with the idea of “born that way” which if true makes anyone who believes same sex activity to be sin is a horrible bigot.

    So because there has been this cultural battle ground then “gay conversion therapy” of course becomes an issue for controversy with points being scored on either side.

    Is it “psychological abuse” if someone comes to you with a desire they have to change a particular aspect of their lifestyle and you are attentive to that? Of course not. If this were the case then AA meetings would attract the same controversy as “gay conversion therapy”.

    On the other hand this is not to diminish the responsibility to not be a hindrance to the gospel for the LGBT community and those with an evangelical inclination best take heed of that lest with good intentions there is an approach that does more to alienate than to further the kingdom.

    It’s good to express truth but truth expressed without compassion can be just as damaging as lies.

  9. We are familiar with the concept of pseudoscience that is published by pseudoscientists. By analogy, what we have in Chalke, is a pseudolawyer spouting pseudolaw. It is a category mistake to assert that a church can practice therapy. Refraining from eating meat because a doctor advises this might be considered therapy. Refraining from eating meat because a priest suggests this is religion, not therapy. As with Daniel, we will never have any case to answer, unless it is concerning our religion.

    A classic example of pseudolaw is found in the persecution of a schoolteacher said to have misgendered a trans pupil. The Gender Recognition Act section 1(1) begins with the words “A person of either gender who is aged at least 18”. In the UK, the doctrine that there exist trans schoolchildren is therefore pseudolaw, not a true legal doctrine.

    I linked to 3 of a set of 4 tweets here yesterday. (Thank you for allowing this, David.) In the tweet I accidentally missed out, I took Premier to task about their promotion of unqualified legal advice, which was pseudolaw from beginning to end.
    https://twitter.com/John_Allman/status/1318006358147563521

    1. I think what we are seeing now is a complete attack on free discussion. When the likes of Steve Chalke, Brian Maclaren and Rob Bell began their polemics they raised legitimate enough questions. The problem is that they soon began to attack the Gospel itself rather than silly accretions and prejudices.

      That is why what you are saying is so valuable, David. We all have different emphases but what Stephen Chalke is saying now is not only not evangelical but bears no relation to the faith delivered to the saints.

      More power to your elbow.
      #

  10. It does seem odd – as others here have pointed out – that there appears to be only one sin left that merits intense scrutiny into the worshipper’s private life and either expulsion from the Church, or being made uncomfortable enough to leave. Cheat on your wife or your taxes, and you will find a Church somewhere that will turn a polite British eye and ask no questions as you come to the Table. Abuse said wife or even (God forgive us) young children, and there will be years of wrangling and enquiry as the Church struggles to admit any wrong was done or that they could or should have prevented it. Campaign for the death penalty? Fine. Condemn the poor, the sick or the stranger en masse as criminals and scroungers, deny them the means of life itself? God help the Church if she opens her mouth to speak. As for divorce and remarriage, only the Roman church has held the line on that – and even she can be persuaded to an annulment now and then. But the Mafia are famously among her most devout children when not murdering each other.

    And now we hear daily that President Trump is a “baby Christian” whose least move towards outlawing abortion means every other thing he says or does must be ignored and a big welcome extended by the Church any time he visits. Isn’t it grand that he is only repeatedly and publicly unfaithful and abusive to a sex other than his own?

    You are right in reminding us that we need to focus more on what Jesus is offering – forgiveness for *all* our sins – than combing through each other’s lives in pursuit of just the one, with all the attendant arguments on what is and isn’t a sin. I’m struggling to think of any marriage in the Bible that is actually what we now call “a Biblical marriage” – the history of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their successors through David to the End of the World is anything but.

    I think one of the worst things about the modern obsession with sex is the loss of same-sex *friendship*. But that’s probably material for a whole new discussion.

    1. The problem is not that same sex relationships are seen as a worse sin than others but they are not seen as a sin as at all but as something to be affirmed.

      1. “The problem is not that same sex relationships are seen as a worse sin than others but they are not seen as a sin as at all but as something to be affirmed.”

        The problem is that they are seen as both, depending who you ask – and the two sides are hell bent on “victory” over one another regardless of the cost. And the vitriol both ways is a disgrace to us all, as well as a disfigurement to the souls giving way to it.

        I suppose it’s not the first time the Body of Christ has been wracked by such vicious divisions, with each side absolutely convinced the other should be purged from the Church, if not from the world altogether, as heretics. It usually ends in new established sects and at least an end to killing – and a patient God somehow goes on working through it all, in spite of us.

    2. Karen,

      I completely agree with everything you said apart from the last paragraph. I have lots of same sex friendships and some that are deep and have lasted the test of time. This appears to me to be fundamentally different than a romantic relationship. I dont think I can accurately articulate the difference unfortunately.

    3. Karen,

      there are a number of dioceses of the Anglican Church of Australia that do not permit divorcées to be ordained. And there are also some that do not permit their clergy to perform the marriage of any who have been divorced.

    4. “It does seem odd – as others here have pointed out – that there appears to be only one sin left that merits intense scrutiny into the worshipper’s private life and either expulsion from the Church, or being made uncomfortable enough to leave”

      Very clever. Congratulations on disguising so well your whataboutist diversion.

      The church has had to defend its doctrines from heretics in every age. When one prevalent heresy of the day is a toxic new teaching that certain sins are not sins at all, but rather define who certain people “are”, even after they come to Christ, then those sins are bound to become a focus of attention for preachers of righteousness and teachers of sound doctrine too, who are faced with the important task countering the false teaching concerned, for the safety of the flock.

      Those sins are a focus of the church only some of the time, and only because they are the focus of the “LGBT” heretics in the first place, who preach that the church should accept, affirm, welcome and otherwise enable those who practise those sins and teach others to do the same, rather than warning those who identify as LGBT that they have believed false doctrines designed to leave them in sin.

      As the virus said to the immune system, “Antibodies, antibodies, antibodies, that’s all you think about! Why do you keep spouting your hateful antibodies at me? You’re obsessed! What a one-track, dirty mind you have! You’re even worse than me!”

      Cet animal est très méchant. Quand on l’attaque, il se défend. (This animal is jolly naughty. When attacked, it defends itself.)

      1. What sort of person sees themselves as an “antibody”, and anyone who doesn’t agree with them as a “virus”?

      2. I used the topical virus-antibody *metaphor* (which I will now extend) to refer to a pathogenic false doctrine, and the correct doctrine that is tailored specifically to counter the specific infection it causes in the body. An antibody is specialised, or “focused” as you put it, on the specific pathogen it is created to destroy. That is because you implicitly accused the church of focusing *unnecessarily* on particular sins, when trying to protect the gospel truth from the specific virus (false teaching) with which it is presently infected.

        I did *not* compare any *person* to either a virus or an antibody. The church’s immune system uses correct doctrine as a metaphorical antibody, to end each and every infection (heresy – false doctrine) that comes along. It just so happens that in the present day, the church needs to fight off the infection of false LGBT doctrine that nullifies the gospel, and therefore needs to focus, for that task, upon the sins into which that heresy leads the vulnerable.

      3. You are still sailing dangerously close to the wind: the Churches have more than once travelled the short road from “heresy as a dangerous infection” to “heretics as carriers of a dangerous infection” – and acted accordingly.

        The Founder of our Faith Himself was executed by the Jews for both heresy and blasphemy, as well as by the Romans for political crime. And the fathers of the Protestant faith (apart from lucky Luther and Calvin) trod the same fiery road before their “dangerous” arguments prevailed.

        Whichever side of today’s fashionable argument one stands on, the warnings are unambiguous. And even the Bible presents us with Gamaliel’s wise response to a new Jewish “heresy”. The hallmark of Christian martyrs down the ages is to be victims of discrimination and violence, not aggressors: if you want “martyrs” who will die trying to eradicate “dangerous” beliefs you will have to change to another well-known Faith instead.

      4. Jesus and the Apostles sailed ‘close to the wind’ when they warned us about the danger of false teachers as well! Who is talking about ‘dying trying to eradicate dangerous beliefs – a confused, muddled and dishonest post.

      5. Not at all “confused”: I was comparing genuine martyrdom (which is always unsought) with the sort that attacks in order to get itself victimised.

        Plenty of that to be seen on both sides of this debate: I have as little sympathy for one as the other. It too easily slips from trying to identify “WWJD” to “owning the other side” – and is seen as such from without. It doesn’t bring people to the foot of the Cross as sinners (of any kind) but encourages them to pride and finger pointing at “those awful people” instead.

        As for Jesus Himself: He certainly warned about false teachers. But He didn’t comb through His followers periodically to check their behaviour, hunt out the insufficiently pure and expel them – again, something both sides of this argument are prone to do or demand is done. He had more pressing battles to attend to.

        I foresee yet more new denominations arising, unless the multitude of existing ones manages to gather neatly on either side of the issue, which is improbable. The history of salvation to date suggests we can trust the Lord to sort out which survive and lead those He is saving appropriately.

      6. Again I think you are misrepresenting – no is ‘combing through his followers to check their behaviour’. We are dealing with a professing Christian minister who publicly attacks biblical teaching and threatens churches with prosecution if we don’t accept his theology! And Jesus does have plenty to say about false teaching in churches (see the Seven Letters for example).

      7. “Sailing close to the wind”, am I?

        When I was 14, I discovered my “motto”, for use in my sixties, an old French proverb mocking exactly the attitude exemplified in your attempt to blame me for defending the faith from false teaching, with insinuation rather than accusation.

        This is the proverb that sums up your latest post to me:
        Cet animal est très méchant. Quand on l’attaque, il se défend.
        (This animal is very wicked. When attacked, it defends itself.)

  11. This article resonated with my Bible reading this morning:
    This is what the Lord says:
    “As for the prophets who lead my people astray, they proclaim ‘peace’ if they have something to eat, but prepare to wage war against anyone who refuses to feed them.
    Therefore night will come over you, without visions, and darkness, without divination. The sun will set for the prophets, and the day will go dark for them. The seers will be ashamed and the diviners disgraced. They will all cover their faces because there is no answer from God.”
    But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin.” ‭‭Micah‬ ‭3:5-8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

  12. The essential part of this is the christian’s foremost identity as being ‘in christ’ before anything else. Those that are not ‘in christ’ cannot tolerate those that are, no matter what other common ground they may share. See Gal 4:28. A good question always to ask therefore is ‘why do I want to?’ rather than ‘can I?’ (or may I if we are being pedants).

  13. What a hateful article against Steve Chalke and Oasis one of the largest Christian charities in Europe. The complete antithesis of the character and teachings of our dear Lord Jesus. I fear he would be ashamed of you and sad at the damage you are doing in alienating people from knowing and experiencing the forgiveness salvation and grace he won for us.

    1. What a hateful comment! Do you see how easy it is to play the hate card? Do you think that Jesus ever condemned false teaching? Or warned people about hell? Or taught that marriage was between a man and a woman? Do you realise how much Chalke is alienating people from the Christ of the Bible – and turning them from the forgiveness and salvation he won for us?

    2. Chalke, once a leader and teacher within Christianity, having left the faith, turns on Christians who have not followed him into his heresy, threatening them with violent repression of the state. David and others draw attention to this, warning against complacency, for Chalke has powerful friends who are even greater enemies of Christ and the church than is Chalke. And you accuse David of “hate”?

      Calling David’s post “hateful” exemplifies par excellence the mentality mocked in my adopted motto. “Cet animal est très méchant. Quand on l’attaque, il se défend.” (This animal is very wicked. When attacked, it defends itself.)

  14. The word ‘hate’ is a lexiconically devalued currency , almost totally without nuance. Many people have been accused of ” hating” when they simply feel the emotion of disgust.

    I met the above quoted French proverb ( in translation ) in its guise as a sign, informing visitors to Dublin Zoo’s lion enclosure of the ” bleedin’ obvious “.

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