Dear Steve Chalke,
Though this letter is written as a challenge to your more recent actions, I’d like to begin by thanking you for the contributions you have made to the Body of Christ here in the UK and to society at large over the years. You have contributed enormously to the British church’s understanding of social activism through the Oasis Trust that you started after your early years as a Baptist minister which has blessed millions. I also appreciate the work of Stop the Traffick which you founded to fight Human Slavery – an issue we both care deeply about.
But sadly, this letter is not about the heroic things you were known for in the past. Rather, I’m writing about the new direction you’ve taken, particularly in regards to your Open Church Charter in which you call on British churches to support gay 'marriages'.
I have just returned from a pastors' conference in France where one of the speakers was a man who was formerly active in the gay life style but who is now a celibate pastor - loved and accepted by his friends. We should be encouraged to see that leaders like him are emerging in our midst. These are leaders who – though they suffer with same-sex attraction - deny these temptations and live holy, celibate lives, empowered by the Holy Spirit and the intimacy of close spiritual friendships. They send a clear message to our generation: we need love to survive - not necessarily sex.
But you have taken a different direction than these men and women. You have presented your charter as a tool for accepting practicing LGBT people into a family, but whose family? The God of the Bible? By affirming people in their sin rather than calling them to repent of their sin, you have demonstrated 21st Century, Western inclusiveness - not Christian hospitality.
Yes, Jesus calls everyone. And he calls them to repent of their sin - not proudly celebrate it. By all means we should apologise to the LGBT community for times and places where we have insinuated that homo-sex is far worse than heterosexual sins. You rightly call that abuse. But it is equally abusive to embrace the opposite extreme and proclaim that such actions are not sinful at all.
Instead of offering Amazing Grace that redeems people from their sin, you're offering Appalling Grace that leaves people enslaved in it. Without repentance and forgiveness as the base, you offer only a faux inclusion. In trying to be inclusive - as 21st century culture defines it - you exclude them from the one community that really matters: the community of the repentant. ('The sexually immoral and those practicing homosexuality... will not inherit the Kingdom of God.' - 1 Cor. 6)
It was not surprising that your charter never once attempts to quote Scripture. Of course it didn't - you and I both know that every verse that mentions homosexual practice condemns it unequivocally. Rather - in the place of Scripture - you make good use of our current culture's more emotive bits of vocabulary: 'acceptance', 'inclusion' 'openness', etc. Further it shows that you have well sniffed out our generational zeitgeist, not only by the words you use, but by the words you don’t use: 'chastity', 'holiness', 'self-control', etc
Even now, let me offer you the loving call which - in your deception - you refuse to give to those who need it most. I call you to repent of your error - lest you find yourself outside the Kingdom. The younger you – the one who once publically wrote to Roy Clements as I am now writing to you - would label as 'false teaching' what you currently promote.
Your younger you would be right.
Turn back - and the sinful teaching of your later years will be washed and forgiven. Come back home. Those who are now cheering you on as a hero will one be seen as kissing enemies before the Judgement Seat.
To British pastors, leaders and Christians I issue an alternative call to that of Steve's gender-bender charter and its faux inclusion. Don't hide from this issue! Jesus condemns those who even tolerate teaching that makes room for sexual immorality (Rev. 2.20). Yet, many of you have been showing all the stalwartness of a kitten chasing a laser pointer when it comes to sexual sin in general and to homosexual sin in particular. Stop imaging that 'niceness' has become the 10th fruit of the Spirit. Exchange your backbones of wet tissue for ones of bronze, pick up the sword of the Spirit and obediently 'fight the good fight of faith'.
Let us offer a truly loving call to the LGBT community: Come and join the family of the redeemed - join us as we repent of our fornication, adultery, pornography, slander, rage and greed. As the Father forgives and cleanses our sins, he can forgive and clean yours.
He'll leave a light on for you.