Steve Chalke’s Support For Faithful, Committed Gay Relationships

Steve Chalke
Steve Chalke (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Media attention is hovering around Steve Chalke’s article (due to be published in an abridged form in the next issue of Christianity magazine) in which he declares his support for faithful, permanent, exclusive gay relationships. The ‘extended’ article is here. For reasons of pastoral care – to protect deeply vulnerable, at-risk people – Steve takes the argument beyond exegesis to hermeneutics.

I have to say that on a first reading not every part of his biblical argument convinces me. Even his dear friend Tony Campolo writes sympathetically, but still committed to a conservative position.

Why do I think it’s too much to hope for that the result of this will be a thoughtful, respectful conversation, one which is more about light than heat? Please, Christian world, prove me wrong.

UPDATE: the Christianity magazine material is now online. In addition to Steve Chalke’s piece, there is a ‘taking the temperature‘ article by editor Ruth Dickinson, and a conservative response by theologian Greg Downes: this is the extended version. There is also a brief response from Steve Clifford of the Evangelical Alliance, with the promise of a longer response later and a theological one from Steve Holmes of their Theology and Public Policy Advisory Commission.


  1. One of the factors which is overlooked more than is appreciated is that the average heterosexual tends to be revolted and disgusted at the practice of homosexual sex, of which I have to confess to feel anything other than revulsion at the concept. For this reason the Biblical injunctions against homosexuality are practically attractive to very literal and conservative positions. The issue that we all struggle with is how to be inclusive and accepting of gay people whilst overcoming a natural revulsion.


    1. @ David Parsons

      I am about to read the material. A couple of quick comments on what you said first, if I may.

      Firstly, the modern idea that a human being can meaningfully be described as “homosexual” is only about a hundred years old. The idea that other people should therefore be described as “heterosexual” in contrast, is bound to be at least slightly younger even than this.

      Homosexual acts date back to pre-history. But homosexual “orientation” and “identity”, are modern inventions.

      Even younger is the present surprising hegemony of the dumbed-down ideological position that every human has a biological characteristic that is their innate, immutable, non-pathological, and ethically neutral sexual orientation, which deserves legal recognition and protection. This itself is an even more recent a cultural development than the idea that the population includes homosexual people.

      Secondly, the term you used, “homosexual sex”, is problematic.

      For a start, two people of the same sex cannot have “sex” in the Bill Clinton meaning of the term, i.e. sexual intercourse. They haven’t between them a quorum of the necessary body parts. So they have to be inventive, making do with what they have got.

      Whenever, for whatever reason, two people of the MALE sex have aroused in them feelings, towards one another, of the type that might cause each to want to have sexual intercourse with the other (if only that were possible!), they find themselves faced with a problem.

      One of the solutions that is frequently negotiated to that problem, of wanting to have “sex” with somebody else male with whom it is obviously going to be anatomically impossible for one to have sex as such, involves a certain controversial and unhygienic sex act (possibly taken in turns), which tends to “revolt and to disgust” MOST people; possibly even including the people who are actually engaged in it at the time, if they stop to think objectively about what they are doing, as opposed to just concentrating on what it feels like, and “going with the flow”, so-to-speak.

      It isn’t true that most people who don’t self-identify as gay, find EVERY possible negotiated programme of activities, for pairs of male or female homosexuals, that substitute for sexual intercourse, *physically* revolting and disgusting. It is, however, true that the bible encourages mankind to worship our Creator by obediently CHOOSING to think of such activities as MORALLY “repugnant”.

      If you Google “Jim Davidson ladyboy blowjob” you’ll learn, from a recent bulletin, the gist that it’s only the “unhygienic” sex act that generally revolts the unsaved population, and not because there isn’t a woman involved either.

      For further example, far from being repelled by what he sees, a married Christian man, surprised on his computer after his wife has gone to bed alone, by an unintended picture of two lesbians at it, might easily have to make a moral decision to turn his eyes away, despite his fallen flesh urging him to feast his eyes further.

      Remember the KISS acronym? Keeping it Simple, when it’s really rather complicated, is Stupid. Keeping it simple is the debating tactic of the cohorts of the enemy. His agenda is set out thus:

      “All laws banning homosexual activity will be revoked. Instead, legislation shall be passed which engenders love between men. … All churches who condemn us will be closed.”

      {Michael Swift: “Gay Revolutionary”; From Gay Community News, Feb. 15-21, 1987]


  2. I read Steve Chalke’s article with much sympathy for his stance on this issue. I particularly found his words about pastoral care for homosexuals to be sensitive and inclusive. Statistics tell us that around 5-10% of the population are homosexual – this is a significant number of people who need, like everyone, to be loved, to be understood, to be accepted.

    A respectul conversation needs to take place between ‘conservative’ and ‘liberal’ thinkers on this issue. And the two greatest commandments – to love God and to love neighbour ‘as ourselves’ – should be paramount.


      1. John, my information is gleaned from reading articles (in newspapers and on the internet) quoting this statistic. So this is why I mentioned “a significant number of people”. But does it really matter if the statistic is 1% or even a fraction of 1%. If there is one gay couple who are committed to each other and faithful to each other in a group of a hundred couples don’t they qualify to be treated equally with the other 99 couples?


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