Steve Chalke Cranmer
Ethics & Morality

Steve Chalke, sexuality and the redemption of the Church

 

Over the last four decades of being a Christian there have been a handful of individuals who have significantly influenced and shaped my faith. My parents come out top by far, but after that a number of more well-known names feature. Mike Pilavachi, leader of the Soul Survivor Church and festival, and the song writer Matt Redman, are both right up at the top too. Without their input directly into my life it is highly likely that I wouldn’t be in a position to be writing this post now.

Further down the list is Steve Chalke. He has been one of the biggest names in Christian circles for as long as I can remember and has constantly been in the background, through Christmas Cracker radio, his youth work resources and various talks and seminars I have attended over the years. I particularly remember one talk he gave to several thousand young people – again at Soul Survivor – on the theme of serving the poor and homeless. At the end he challenged everyone listening to go back to their tents and think hard about what they could donate to the homeless individuals that his charity Oasis was working with. After several minutes, a continual flow of young people came, bearing items of clothing which they set down in pile upon pile to be given to others who needed them far more.

This has always been one of Steve Chalke’s greatest gifts. He challenges his listeners, taking the biblical message of social action from being something that we agree is a good idea, to actually making it happen, stirring consciences and breaking hearts in the process.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen Steve from a distance, but I’ve never met him, so when I was invited to have dinner with him a few days ago, it was hard not to accept.

Of course, what Steve has predominantly been known for over the last couple of years is his vocal support of same-sex unions and a belief that they are acceptable in God’s eyes. Having upset plenty of people who believe he has strayed far from biblical orthodoxy, he has taken a fair amount of stick (to put it mildly) as a result, including having Oasis kicked out of the Evangelical Alliance.

I was asked to attend an expenses-paid meal along with a few select bloggers and journalists in order to hear about Oasis’ Open Church conference being held next April. This is billed as: “A safe space for honest, open conversation as together we explore the pastoral, theological and practical issues around the Church’s inclusive engagement with local communities.” By inclusive, what is really meant is LGBT. Steve Chalke is clearly keen to keep the discussion going that he entered into two years ago, and further challenge individuals’ and churches’ thinking on this issue. What I was really keen to find out, though, was his motivation behind this. Why is he investing so much time and energy encouraging others to discuss homosexuality? Steve’s stance is widely known: could it be that the purpose of putting on a two day conference is just another attempt to win attendees over to his way of thinking?

As it turned out over the course of the evening, Steve has had this subject on his mind far longer than I had realised. His journey to this point dates back to 2003 when he took on the leadership role of what has morphed into Oasis Church Waterloo. At the time, his Oasis charity was based not far away from the local Baptist chapel and, wanting to be grounded in the local community, Steve offered to get involved. The congregation consisted of a handful of elderly people who would meet for an hour every week singing the same hymns which were played from the same cassette tape in the same order every time. This was a church on its last legs. Steve went in and found himself desperately praying that new people would come through the door and hopefully want to stick around, despite the lack of life.

Over time this did indeed happen, but to Steve’s surprise many of the people coming through his doors were gay. What he repeatedly found was that they had been made to feel unwelcome at or even rejected by other churches. Some had been considerably hurt emotionally by the treatment they had received and were still carrying with them the scars of their experiences.

As Steve began to get to know these new members, he was deeply challenged both at the theological and pastoral level. Jesus spent a great deal of time with those rejected by society and the religious authorities. If the church is a place that reflects the love of Jesus, welcoming all people, why was he hearing such stories? As time moved on, Steve felt an increasing need to speak up about this treatment and the need for a greater understanding. He began writing around 2010 and it took him the best part of 18 months to put something together. He saw this as a grave injustice that one group of people was still being excluded from the body of Christ to a large extent. Sometimes this was purely because of their orientation, but it was more likely to be the case if they were in a loving same-sex relationship. Just as he was getting to the point of finally being ready to go public, David Cameron announced that the government would be looking to legalise same-sex marriage. So when his now infamous article was published in Christianity Magazine, it became caught up in a much bigger national debate.

Steve again reiterated during our time together that, in his mind, it isn’t possible for churches to be both truly welcoming and to believe that gay relationships are sinful. Rejecting the validity of same-sex relationships “denies a fundamental principle that God is love”, he said.

I’m not confident that Steve is ever going to win the theological debate on this. Others have looked at his arguments and found it easy to find flaws. When he wrote in 2012 that he wanted to start a conversation, he failed to acknowledge that one has been going on around the subject of sexuality for a very long time – albeit to a limited extent in your average church. In the same way I do wonder what hosting a conference on sexuality will achieve. I do genuinely believe that Steve’s intention is to provide a space where speakers from a variety of viewpoints can meet under one roof and allow those attending to hear all sides of the debate. The fact that the majority of speakers signed up so far – including Vicky Beeching and Bishop Alan Wilson – side with Steve’s views suggests that as a ‘damaged brand’ amongst Evangelicals, Oasis is struggling to find those on the other side who are willing to participate in this event.

What becomes apparent from spending time with Steve Chalke is that he is willing to take big risks even when the outcome is unclear or likely to cause him trouble. He said he had been willing to take a big hit to his reputation and the Oasis charity over the issue of sexuality because someone needed to stand up for those who are being ostracised by our churches. When Steve sees an injustice that he can address, he won’t hold back. He may upset and offend others, and possibly draw some wrong conclusions in the process, but he does it all not to deliberately stir up dissent, but because he cares.

And he cares because it is personal. Steve is of mixed race. His father is Indian and his mother is British. He grew up at a time when such relationships were far from fashionable. He was something of an outsider as a result. When he talks about the marginalised, he talks from experience. His acute awareness has been channelled and heightened as a result of his encounter with God in his teens. Now, many years later, he heads up an international organisation working on five continents and in 11 countries around the world, delivering housing, education, training, youthwork and healthcare. Oasis is a substantial voluntary-sector provider in the UK, supplying crucial services for local authorities, as well as self-funded initiatives aimed at providing opportunities for the most underprivileged and dispossessed, of all faiths and none. It employs in excess of 5,000 staff in dozens of schools, hospitals and homeless shelters. He is also the founder and Chairman of Stop the Traffik, and a special adviser to the United Nations on human trafficking.

All of this quite incredible work is done with an openly Christian emphasis. Unlike some Christian organisations, Oasis has not held back on the public declaration of its foundation in Christ.

Steve Chalke may have become a pariah or even a heretic in the eyes of many Christians, but he has also transformed the landscape. He certainly has played his part in challenging others to reconsider their attitudes to gay people and move beyond a “love the sinner, hate the sin” superficial mentality. He is also right that there is work still to be done. How many churches are still excluding others because of their attitudes and language irrespective of their stance on gay relationships?

I just wonder how much more Steve has to offer in this particular area, though. He has paid a heavy price for his decisions. Some may say that it is an inevitable consequence of his biblical interpretation and that he deserves the criticism he has received. Perhaps so. But as he talked about his day over dinner, he told us about how he had managed to secure over half a million pounds of funding for the local community around Waterloo, including a major grant for one of the churches. How many of us who have dismissed Steve outright because of one or two of his views will ever come close to achieving the amount of good that he has, or spreading the good news of Jesus Christ to as many?

Jesus talked about eyes with specks of dust in them and eyes with logs. The church should be a place of healing far more than a place of division. Judging by the way some have been treated in these situations, we still have some way to go. Thankfully, all things are possible through Christ, and the more we fix our sights on Him rather than on each others’ perceived failings and earthly distractions, the more we will see what God is really asking of each one of us.

  • “How many of us who have dismissed Steve outright because of one or two of his views will ever come close to achieving the amount of good that he has, or spreading the good news of Jesus Christ to as many?”

    I’m curious what good news Steve Chalke actually spreads. Especially given passages like 1 Cor 6.9f, which say to me that Chalke may actually be excluding people from the kingdom of God. Unless the message of good news is founded on repentance for the forgiveness of sins, it is not good news. That is a message I’m not sure I’ve heard from Chalke in a long time. This is why many of us on the ‘conservative’ or traditional side are concerned about what he’s saying.

    Paul’s words to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:26-27 come to mind: “I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.” Proclaiming some of the gospel (the nice bits about God’s love) is not proclaiming the gospel. My fear is with Chalke that he’s focussing so much on God’s love that he’s forgotten God’s holiness, righteousness and just judgement against sin. It’s all part of the gospel, not just the bits that our society today finds palatable.

    • Shadrach Fire

      Phill, Nail on the head.

  • len

    Steve Chalk seems to sum up for me what is wrong with much of ‘ the Church.’This is probably going to upset some people and accuse me of being judgmental unloving and confrontational (shock horror)
    When we look at the Cross of Calvary we see God`s Judgement on the sin nature that dwells within all of mankind.
    We see that God does not compromise, He does not try and reform man,He does not give man a religious formula to make him a better person…. He executes him. Yet strangely(and incomprehensible to most of us) this is Love.
    It is only by confronting our fallen state and desiring to move into God`s plan of Redemption that man can be truly saved. It is only when we die to self that we can truly be born again and by this act move from the old creation into the New.

    So let us not condone what God has condemned and face God`s plan of redemption without compromise.

    • Shadrach Fire

      Great Len, God loves everyone but calls us to repentance. Turning around and going the other way. Non of us can escape that.

    • dannybhoy

      Len, I like many of your posts. I always respect integrity and people who stand up for their beliefs no matter how unpopular this may make them.
      E.g. Steve Chalke.
      I’ve said this before, I will say it again. From the point of view of salvation let’s take away all the labels and stick with,
      “All men (note, no labels) are sinners and have fallen short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23
      Regardless of how that sin manifests we are sinners from the most morally upright humanist to the most perverted paedophile. We know too that God hates the sin, but loves the sinner.
      The issue of sexuality and how we relate to each other, how we find acceptance, how we receive and express love is about the reality of our sinful humanity.
      We know that God made man and woman. He did not make homosexuals as a third optional sex. The old and new Testaments condemn homosexual practices quite clearly.
      But what we have to grapple with is that homosexuals exist! They are real human beings with all the good and bad attributes one would find in the heterosexual community.
      What needs to be evidenced is that homosexuals who come to Christ have been delivered from their same sex attractions.
      If we argue for heterosexual or homosexual celibacy for singles, we are ignoring the fact that very few men or women remain single and celibate by choice. It is not the natural way of life. It causes problems such as those we have already seen in the celibate priesthood.
      The reality is that not only does the Evangelical Church often condemn homosexuals, it imposes on them to a celibacy not demanded of heterosexuals.
      So what are we as Christians to do? Homosexuals exist. Homosexuals are also spiritual beings and some come to faith,They want to be part of a congregation, want to contribute to the life of the church. They also want to be loved, accepted and treated with dignity.
      Although I remain opposed to same sex marriage and to sexual perverion, I am not against same sex civil partnerships. I would want to see homosexuals as welcomed by the church as any other form of sinner, to be able to hear the Gospel and find forgiveness and redemption through Our Lord Jesus.
      We then need to stand by that person in all their struggles and show the same kind of love and nurturing that we would anyone else.

      • dannybhoy

        There’s another article in that magazine David refers to. It’s called,

        “Conservative Christians are losing the argument: here’s why..”

        Here’s the link.
        http://www.christiantoday.com/article/conservative.christians.are.losing.the.argument.heres.why/42742.htm

      • Broadwood

        Yes, we do need an adequate pastoral response to same-sex attracted people. But that is already out there – eg livingout.org.uk, True Freedom Trust, and many more.
        Any many courageous ex-gays stick their heads above the parapet and testify to a changed way of life, although that will likely include some continued temptation (which of us is immune from that?).

        But they are very often the target of a great deal of attack from members of the LGBT community, who wish to preserve the politically convenient narrative that it is an inborn and unchangeable characteristic, despite copious evidence – Peter Ould’s blog is a goldmine on this topic.
        Gay people in our churches who seek to be faithful disciples of Christ need every bit of our support and understanding, but we should not get bogged down in same-sex relationship issues, the challenge is much broader – according to polls about 40% of churchgoing American adults are single, and divorce and family breakdown afflict the church as much as anywhere else; Christians must not blindly reflect our culture’s obsession with romantic relationships as the answer to all our problems in life, they are not strong enough to bear the weight of our entire relational needs – the dire situation we find the family in today reflects the breakdown of community and friendship structures in our society, which are meant to place individuals and families within a much wider web of support.
        This is where the whole Gospel with its reconciliation and adoption message is the powerful Good News the world is waiting for. As children of God we belong, we are loved, accepted into a community of love, and empowered to be disciples; and the church needs to demonstrate this reality to a world awash with fractured relationships and relational pain.

        • dannybhoy

          Thank you Broadsword,
          The reason I included the link below is because I sometimes feel that there is a certain harshness, a condemnation, anger even, directed at homosexuals which I think works against the Gospel.
          Us evangelicals should therefore be promoting organisations such as those you mentioned..
          “livingout.org.uk, True Freedom Trust, and many more.”

          I agree with you completely about the breakdown of families and relationships. We see this even in our rural community and my wife and I with the support of our clergy are prayerfully reaching out and exploring ways to draw these young families into meetings where they can feel comfortable and in which we can share the Gospel.
          My main concern is not to condone homosexual practices, but to recognise that they are people, sinners like us, and we have to find ways of reaching them without compromising the Gospel.

          • dannybhoy

            ps
            the livingout.org.uk link doesn’t appear to work.

          • Broadwood

            Ooops! Corrected link – http://www.livingout.org/

          • dannybhoy

            Now that’s a useful website.

      • Danny, “If we argue for heterosexual or homosexual celibacy for singles, we are ignoring the fact that very few men or women remain single and celibate by choice.”

        Very few people remain sinless without great effort and fortitude. That’s the nature of the human condition and why we have to take up our crosses daily. All sex outside of a lifelong marriage between a man and a woman, intended as an act of self-giving, including the possibility of life, is an objective sin.

        “It is not the natural way of life. It causes problems such as those we have already seen in the celibate priesthood.”
        Well, its certainly a difficult way of life as it means fighting our natural and, in some cases, unnatural natures. But what problems are you alluding to in the celibate priesthood? Loneliness? What?

        “More than three-quarters of the acts of sexual abuse of youths by Catholic priests …. were same-sex acts (priests abusing male victims).
        (John Jay Report, 2011)
        These priests were giving into their homosexual desire and their disordered proclivities. Many had had homosexual sex whilst at seminary. This abuse wasn’t caused by the discipline of heterosexual celibacy.

      • len

        dannybhoy,

        As I have said we are all sinners saved by God`s Grace.We all struggle with issues of some sort or another I know that I do..Also I do not believe that homosexuality is the ultimate sin as all sin is exactly that ..sin..
        I believe the sin of Sodom(the place) was the blatant public endorsement of homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle.
        When we become aware that we are sinning (and all sin is directed at God ) but continue in that sin and actively encouraged others in that sin I believe we have’ crossed a line’ which I believe is where our society is today .

      • DrCrackles

        “The reality is that not only does the Evangelical Church often condemn homosexuals, it imposes on them a celibacy not demanded of heterosexuals.”

        Danny, you are setting up a false comparison. We are told to abstain from fornication (1 Thess. 4:3). This applies to every Christian. Unmarried Christians must remain celibate.

        If the church is in a place where it permits one sin and not another then the solution is to remove the first sin. Adding homosexuality to fornication is to make the church false and in rebellion.

        • dannybhoy

          “Danny, you are setting up a false comparison.”

          Not so Dr Crackles.
          We have already established that St Paul said it was better (for single heterosexuals) to marry than to burn with lust.
          There is no such provision for homosexual Christians, and I am not arguing that there should be.
          However, consider that down through the ages the Church has been riddled with stories of nuns and monks, monks and monks and nuns and nuns “getting it together” all over the place. We have to acknowledge that illicit sexual relations have played and continues to play a significantly smutty role in the life of the Church.
          No condoning that either.
          My concern is that dogmatically correct guardians of the truth here, assert that homosexuals should accept their lot is celibacy, when so many heterosexuals down through the ages clearly haven’t!
          Let’s all show a little more humility and compassion towards those who are homosexuals and want to be faithful to our Lord.
          Let’s make sure we welcome them in our congregations, invite them to our homes for meals, listen to them, pray with them, support them.
          Let’s stop being so damn condemnatory and sanctimonious!

          • DrCrackles

            Danny, one sin does not excuse another. Your point about Monks and Nuns is just that, an excuse.

            Marriage is no covenient ‘get out’. It binds us to another in a solemn way. It is no fulfillment of lust. It is a death covenant.

            Homosexuals do not want to be bound in this way and cannot be either. The homosexual lifestyle is completely at odds with the married lifestyle.

            I cannot agree with you about homosexuality being a state of being. This is a fairly recent invention. Sexual sin is powerful and overwhelming, but we always have a choice whether to identify oursevles with it or not. So, the homosexual has the option to turn away from sin and with the Lord’s help remain turned away. It is inconceivable that Paul had no experience of those who practised homosexuality, yet he makes no special exception. Sin is sin and we love no one when we make allowances for it.

          • dannybhoy

            “Your point about Monks and Nuns is just that, an excuse.”

            Nope.

            That’s an honest to goodness observation.

            What you’re doing is making excuses for heterosexuals!

            “I cannot agree with you about homosexuality being a state of being. This is a fairly recent invention.”

            Now you’re talking nonsense. Homosexuality is as old as Lot!

            Really, this is sad stuff.
            “It seems as though you fully accept the ‘born gay’ doctrine? You do know that ‘born gay’ is a device?”

            I knew a born again Christian who fought those homosexual temptations for years. Married a lovely girl,had child with her, pastored a church.
            Suddenly gave it all up and went back to a homosexual life style and eventually died of HIV/Aids. In fact I knew another solid respectable Christian man married for years, two young children, then went completely off the rails….

            Perhaps to you, (conveniently ignoring ALL the rich/smutty/sordid/passionate history of heterosexual lust/obsession/ illicit affairs/”love children” etc.),
            these guys with their homosexual tendencies weren’t really born again?
            Now ain’t that much more convenient than recognising that both heterosexuals and homosexuals struggle with their sexual urges?
            I do not agree with excusing any Christian anything which the Bible condemns as sin, or watering down the Gospel to make it easier for heterosexuals who struggle with porn/lustful thoughts/masturbation etc…. 🙂
            What I do know is that an awful lot of Christians struggle in certain areas of their personal lives. This is hardly surprising when one considers that we remain joined to a physical body that functions the same as other mammalians..

            But I don’t excuse them or myself for our struggles Crackles, I think we all confess this sins and temptations to the Lord, and perhaps to some other close Christians, and seek for greater self control and purity.

          • DrCrackles

            Danny, I make absolutely no excuses about sexual sin. Nowhere have I written such. Please don’t invent things. The church is in the moral mess it finds itself in today because it did not take a biblical stand on adultery and fornication. If these things are tacitly excepted then it is gross hypocrisy to single out homosexuality. The solution is, however, for the church to be in line with scripture and preach against all sexual sin.

            I do not believe in ‘born Gay’ whereas you clearly do. I believe in the overpowering nature of sin where it renders helpless those imprisoned by it. I also believe in a generational element to sin that means sinful patterns appear in families and societies. Most importantly I believe that Christ’s atonement brings a complete victory over sin, a victory we live in who are identified with Christ. We know however that this victory is a process (1 John 1:8-10 and Romans 7:17).

            I completely agree that there must be compassion for those trapped in a homosexual lifestyle and that the church is lacking in this area. I believe this ministry needs to be approached carefully. That said, the way the ex-Gay movement has been destroyed I see little hope. The homosexual movement is triumphant these days.

          • dannybhoy

            I believe in what gay people have told me, not as to a Christian, but as an acquaintance, as a work colleague, two as as fellow Church members.
            They had nothing to gain from lying, they were just sharing a bit of personal torment..
            It seems to me that some seem to be born with those tendencies, some have learned them.
            Just as some heterosexuals struggle with issues in their lives.
            However homosexuality comes about Crackles, it’s as old as the hills and Christians have struggled with it as others struggle with other things.
            Were it as straight forward as you seem to think it is then we wouldn’t have all the other manifestations of sin in churches as we have now, and always have had.
            I would have been far more convinced by your assertions had Christians popped up here to testify about the victory over homosexual urges and the joy of celibacy.
            They haven’t.
            I’m sure there are some, but they haven’t put in an appearance here. Also I am not prepared to insult a homosexual person’s intelligence or integrity by telling them that they are choosing to be homosexual.
            Think Alan Turing.

            What I would say is that anyone who comes to faith or even just wants to understand what it means to be a Christian deserves my respect, compassion and prayerful support -even tough love where necessary.

          • DrCrackles

            Danny

            I am not as unsupportive as you imagine, but ministry to people struggling with homosexuality must be start with the acknowledgement of it being sin. This is where Chalke fails.

            I actually believe in deliverance which is rarely spoken about here and the power of the Holy Spirit. That much of the church is so far removed from the promised ‘riches of Grace’ may explain why homosexuals are unable to receive any help. This is a failure of the church.

            None of this easy. It is the strait path after all

            Lastly, no one is born Gay:

            http://www.petertatchell.net/lgbt_rights/gay_gene/borngay.htm

            http://www.cwfa.org/born-or-bredscience-does-not-support-the-claim-that-homosexuality-is-genetic

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            I think that you ought to stop saying things like “no one is born Gay”. You don’t know whether or not anyone is born gay. No-one does. Nor do we know whether or not anyone is born straight. There are any number of theories about what it is that determines people’s sexual orientation, ranging from plausible (at least superficially), through far-fetched and fanciful, to screwy, but to date not a single one of them has been proved.

          • DrCrackles

            I think it of vital importance that the ‘born Gay’ myth is challenged. ‘Born Gay’ is a recent invention and used as a device to garner sympathy for homosexuals among those who would have been strongly against such behaviour. This device has worked spectacularly well and ‘born Gay’ is widely accepted even though there is no evidence to support it.

            ‘Born Gay’ underpins Steve Chalke’s position and is a major challenge to orthodox Christian belief, because biblical fundamentals can’t really apply when a man has no control over his sexual desires. The problem is that ‘born Gay’ could easily become ‘born adulterer’ or ‘born paedophile’.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            You are free to challenge the “born gay myth” as much as you like, but when you come down to it, we simply don’t know whether people are “born gay”, or whether they are “born straight”, because we don’t know what determines sexual orientation. All that we do know is that people do not choose their sexual orientation, and that while some people’s sexual orientation is fluid, deliberate attempts to change it are seldom, if ever, successful and can be harmful. (There is, in any case, no more need to change a homosexual orientation to a heterosexual one than the converse.)

            I would point out that sexual desires and sexual behaviour are not the same thing. We have no control over whether our sexual desires are heterosexual or homosexual, but both heterosexual and homosexual people are expected, quite rightly, to exercise control over their sexual behaviour and to act responsibly. You say that ‘born gay’ could easily become ‘born adulterer’ or ‘born paedophile’. ‘Born straight’ could just as easily be extended in the same way. But that tells us nothing whatever about the origins of sexual orientation. (“Born adulterer” is an inept analogy anyway: heterosexuality and homosexuality are orientations which are likely to lead to sexual acts, although they don’t necessarily have to, whereas adultery IS a sexual act.)

          • DrCrackles

            Guglielmo,

            Thanks for giving the green light to express my opinion 🙂

            I personally do not define myself in terms of sexual orientation. I am a married Christian man. This imposes on me absolute limits and responsibilities. I have covenanted myself until death.

            Regarding your understanding of sexual orientation do personally believe in some biological origin?

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            DrCrackles, you say that you don’t identify yourself in terms of sexual orientation. I’m not surprised, since few people do, no matter what their sexual orientation is. In fact, identification in terms of sexual orientation is most often something that obsessively anti-homosexual people attempt on others whom they believe (rightly or wrongly) to have a homosexual orientation.

            However, by describing yourself as a married Christian man – I take it that you mean married in the traditional sense – you ARE identifying your sexual orientation AS heterosexual. And there is no reason why you should not do so. I don’t identify myself in terms of sexual orientation, just as I don’t, for example, identify myself in terms of handedness, eye colour or voice type, but that does not alter the fact that I am right-handed, I am blue-eyed, I am a baritone, and yes, I am gay. None of those things define me, but they describe real aspects of who I am – and they are positive aspects, which I am entitled to value. It also seems clear to me that your heterosexual relationship, in other words your marriage, is extremely to you. Quite rightly so. I think you will find that for most homosexual people who are in committed gay relationships, those relationships are likewise extremely important to them. Again, quite rightly so.

            With regard to sexual orientation, I do think it likely that sexual orientation is determined, to a great extent at least, by biological factors, although I don’t know what those biological factors would be. If I were a betting man (which I’m not), that is where I would put my money. But I don’t claim to KNOW what causes people to be heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual. I don’t. And nor does anyone else. But although the question is of great scientific interest, it is of no practical urgency whatever. People can easily get on with living happy and productive lives without pining to know what caused their sexual orientation, and most do.

          • DrCrackles

            Guglielmo,

            The term ‘sexual orientation’ is part of the growing terminology used by activists. There has been a continual development in the language of human sexuality. This is however very, very recent and we do not have to go back too far to find a period when centuries old ideas and terms were common currency. I seek a return these ideas: holy matrimony, virginity, monogamy, faithfulness, chastity, purity, consummation, sacrifice, long-suffering, temperance. You see this inheritance has brought us to where we are. The new ideas and language will bring our destruction. This is why the same-sex marriage law is so damaging in that it attempts to normalise and give legitimacy to something that can give us no future.

            This brings me back to the question I raised about biology, Can you give any explanation as to what biological advantage is gained by homosexuality?

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            DrCrackles, the term “sexual orientation” is used to indicate whether a person is sexually attracted to people of the other sex, of the same sex, or of both sexes. The validity and reasonableness of its use for this purpose is perfectly clear; it cannot be nullified by any other use (or misuse) to which it may have been put, whether by “activists” or by anyone else.

            I could not say offhand how long the term has been around, but the word “orientation” was certainly being used in this way at least as far back as half a century ago. Your legitimate love of the ideas of holy matrimony, virginity, monogamy, faithfulness etc. in no way affects the reality that the sexual orientation of a small minority of people is not heterosexual. Nor can you alter that reality by denying it, by deploring it, or by protesting against the use of a term which reminds you that human sexuality is not as simple and uniform as it would be if you had been called upon to design it. As for your claim that acknowledging reality and using appropriate language to describe it “will bring our destruction”, I see no reason to take it seriously for one moment.

            You ask me what biological advantage is gained by homosexuality. None that I am aware of. It obviously does nothing to ensure the continuation of the human species, which is presumably why the mysterious processes of nature keep it as a decidedly minority orientation. From a purely materialistic, utilitarian pint of view it serves no useful purpose. But there is no good reason why the non-procreative sexuality of such a small minority should be a matter for concern. As one Catholic priest – one of another minority which, officially at least, does not reproduce and is therefore of no “biological advantage” – once said to me, “People are very dear to God.” People are of value simply because they are people, quite irrespective of whether or not they reproduce. If it were not so, there could be no conceivable virtue in producing more of them.

          • DrCrackles

            Guglielmo,

            The campaign for the acceptance of homosexuality can be traced back to Magnus Hirschfield who was a sexologist in Berlin between the wars. In the 1940s and 1950s the baton of sexology was firmly taken up by Kinsey, whose dubious methods and research had a great impact in changing public attitudes towards sex in the US and here. Kinsey gave us 1 in 10. It wasn’t until the 1960s that discussions about homosexuality moved from being about acts to about identity. The gay rights movement followed firmly in the steps of the racial equality and equality between the sexes. The term ‘sexual orientation’ seems to have originated about the same time. Now if identity is based on some immutable characteristic then it would be cruel for wider society to condemn a man for something he can do nothing about. This is where we are at now with innate homosexuality being taken as established fact by the general public and Christians. Chalke’s view is probably consistent with most Christians, yet this creates a major problem when scripture is read plainly. Actually I believe that outside the church ‘born Gay’ is losing its relevance. “Why should anyone have to hide behind nature to justify one’s lifestyle?” “Existence proceeds essence.” “We should be free to choose.” Old labels are being done away with. A woman becomes a man and has relations with a man as a homosexual! We are embracing sexual anarchy. If you genuinely believe that this sexual chaos is a fitting foundation on which to base the nation and cannot see the potential for self-destruction then I feel sorry for you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.

            Inside the church ‘born Gay’ is absolutely vital if the church is to accept homosexuality and overturn the bible and tradition. This is where we are at now and certainly there is a battle that needs to be fought. Churches must preach a message of repentance for all sinners, including homosexuals. We need strong Christian families with children raised in God-fearing homes.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            DrCrackles, I see little point in bringing in Hirschfeld and Kinsey at this juncture. They are of mainly historical interest. The validity or otherwise of their theories and researches is of negligible importance to us today – at least as far as this subject is concerned – since a sensible, humane and enlightened attitude to homosexuality in the year 2014 does not need to depend on them in any way.

            Do you believe that all the people leading a heterosexual “lifestyle” have no real sexual attraction to people of the other sex, but engage in heterosexual acts solely because they have been taught that those are the “correct” ones, just as we drive on the left in the UK because the law says that we must, and that otherwise everyone – including you – could cheerfully lead a homosexual “lifestyle” and find it equally gratifying? Do you believe that all those who are referred to as homosexual have no more sexual attraction than anyone else to people of their own sex, but simply force themselves to engage in homosexual acts for the sake of being “naughty”, and that they refrain from heterosexual acts by exercising self-control? Unless you can seriously and sincerely answer “yes” to those questions, you have no logical alternative to acknowledging that sexual orientation is a valid concept describing a real phenomenon. You may dislike the term, but even if you used a different one, that would make no difference: you can’t abolish a reality by thinking up an alternative name for it.

            Whether homosexuality is innate or whether it is immutable are questions of no more consequence in the present context than whether heterosexuality is innate or immutable; no matter what anyone believes the correct answers to be, maltreatment of homosexual people is no less immoral than maltreatment of heterosexual people. “Born gay” is no more vital to the acceptance of homosexuality than “born straight” is vital to the acceptance of heterosexuality.

            Although I share some of your concerns regarding crackpot ideas about gender, the subject has no direct relevance to homosexuality, so I am not sure why you have brought it up here. But whatever, trying to pretend that there is no such thing as sexual orientation is not a solution to any problems in that area – or a solution to anything else. It is a mere piece of silliness.

          • Who knows the human origins of same sex attraction? And what difference does it make? Men, by nature, are probably not monogamous or inclined to fidelity. It doesn’t mean we

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Yes, I agree that the mere fact of feeling an inclination to do something does not mean that we should do it. There may be very good reasons indeed why we shouldn’t, e.g. the fact that it is morally wrong. Is that the case with all homosexual behaviour per se? I am aware that some people would say yes. I would say no.

          • DrCrackles

            Guglielmo,

            You and I are both sinners with the free gift of Grace offered to us. When I sin I do not make excuses for it, but I take it to the cross and enjoy the riches of his Grace. I do not come up with theories which transcend biblical commandments in an attempt to bypass or relegate them. The homosexual community has done just this. This makes it perilous for the Christian who is tempted in this way. Does he continue to acknowledge his sin and attempt to live out his life as a Christian in the true and traditional sense? Or does he turn to pseudo-science, the current socio-political theories or reprobate ‘theology’?

            We are all tempted, some more than others, and sexual temptation is terribly strong, overwhelming even. This makes Christ’s victory even more amazing.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            DrCrackles, the crux of the matter is this. Is having a homosexual orientation (which you have tried to claim does not exist), i.e. being sexually attracted to (some) people of the same sex, a sin, to be acknowledged and repented of? My answer is no. Is it nonetheless an undesirable “tendency” to be fought against, struggled with, even eliminated if possible? My answer is no. Is loving another person of the same sex and expressing that love fully in a personal sexual relationship (to use the language of the Lesbian & Gay Christian Movement) a sin, to be acknowledged and repented of? My answer is no.

            Therefore the question of making “excuses” – on the basis of “pseudo-science, the current socio-political theories or reprobate ‘theology’” or of anything else – either for being gay or for being in a gay relationship does not arise. I wouldn’t care to dispute your reminder that “You and I are both sinners”, but it is not to the point here.

          • DrCrackles

            Guglielmo,

            I pray one day you will find your identity wholly in Christ, that he would make you a new creation, and that you would live for him with all your heart with all your soul and with all your mind.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Thank you. You are very charitable. Will finding one’s identity in Christ change or eliminate a heterosexual orientation? Presumably not, nor is there any reason why it should. There is no good reason to expect it to change or eliminate a homosexual orientation either.

          • CliveM

            Agree with nearly all of that

  • Paul Newton

    ” it isn’t possible for churches to be both truly welcoming (to gays) and to believe that gay relationships are sinful.”

    This sounds really wonderful, but let’s test the concept;
    “it isn’t possible for churches to be both truly welcoming to thieves and robbers and believe that theft is sinful.”

    Doesn’t sound quite so inviting. But, you may say, there is broad agreement among the population, including those outside the church, that theft is wrong. Anyway, gays don’t like to be compared to “sinners” or “law-breakers”, so they get rather huffy if you start talking like this.

    So what about “it isn’t possible to be both truly welcoming to teenagers (and a lot of other people) and to believe it is sinful to have sex whenever, wherever and with whoever they want.” After all, there is a large political lobby, as well as a lot of teenagers themselves, who still believe that sex is just an itch to be scratched and that the “sexual revolution” of the 60’s and 70’s was a good thing, despite all the broken families that they have led to.

    As I read the Bible, I find many situations, in both the Old and New Testaments, where God has said to his people, “Because I love you, I am telling you that what you are doing is wrong, and you must stop doing it.”

    That message, no matter how much society dislikes it, is still true today.

    • Shadrach Fire

      Oh, the poor dears, they can’t help it!!!!!!

    • Coniston

      The problem today is that we live in an ’emotivist’ culture, both in society at large and in much of the Church (the term ’emotivist’ was used by the philosopher Alasdair Macintyre, who was for long a Marxist, but because he came to realise the incoherence of modern moral philosophy eventually became a Christian). It is also worth reading ‘How to Defend the Faith without Raising your Voice’ by the Catholic writer Austen Ivereigh.

  • David Andrew Robertson

    Thank you for a stimulating and interesting piece. I actually found it moving and helpful… ” Oasis is struggling to find those on the other side who are willing to participate in this event.” – Might it be that it is because they have not asked and they are not really willing to have a genuine ‘dialogue’ a bit like the government ‘consultation’ on SSM? I have written about this and indicated by willingness to participate in any such dialogue – if it was serious – but I am not aware of anyone with the traditional biblical view who has been invited. Steve actually regards us as heretics, denying the very nature of God. I am not so sure about Oasis being ‘inclusive’ either. We have one young woman who was told she could not work with Oasis if she did not accept Steve’s teaching on the atonement. Maybe that was a mistake but it certainly did not speak of an inclusive and open community. If you are interested my article on Steve’s latest attack on biblical Christianity is here – http://www.christiantoday.com/article/david.robertson.on.steve.chalke.i.believe.in.the.jesus.of.the.bible.not.the.jesus.of.western.middle.class.liberalism/42553.htm

    • gbsblogs

      Hi David. My name is Gareth and I work for Oasis.

      Oasis does not require any member of staff to hold any particular theological stances.

      If your friend was told that they needed to agree with Steve’s view on the atonement than this was a severe violation of our recruitment policies.

      As such I would appreciate it if you would provide me (privately) with:

      1) The details of the person in question
      2) The rough date
      3) the position applied for
      4) If they can remember, the name of the person that said this

      We will then investigate.

      If you cannot substantiate this at this stage, I would appreciate it if you would edit your post so that this comment is removed. I’m sure it wasn’t meant in this way, but you are accusing Oasis of violating employment law (and failing to honour one of our core values).

      I hope you appreciate this comment in spirit it is meant. Am more than happy to discuss further.

      Gareth
      [email protected]

      • David Andrew Robertson

        Gareth – thanks I have sent you a reply…with the information you requested. Hope it helps….

      • Busy Mum

        Just curious – would Oasis employ somebody who disagrees with SSM? Red Cross also talks about things like core employment values…

        • gbsblogs

          Not only ‘would we’ – we do.

          • What about if they believed same sex relationships were gravely sinful?

          • gbsblogs

            Everyone would be expected to share their views kindly and respectfully but such a view would not be a barrier to employment. We would never ask during an interview anyway.

    • Thanks David. Tony Campolo is the main speaker representing the traditional biblical view.

      • David Andrew Robertson

        And therein lies the problem. I have heard Tony on this and he is not really traditional. He will be joining you by video. Will you actually have anyone there who holds to the traditional view? If not how can it be called a dialogue? Tony’s position seems to be to persuade those who are traditional that the issue is not really that important. Why don’t you allow someone who actually holds to and is prepared to advocate the biblical position? Only then can it be called a dialogue….why are Oasis afraid of that dialogue?

  • Graham Wood

    “Over the last four decades of being a Christian there have been a handful of individuals who have significantly influenced and shaped my faith.”
    Gillan the question arises from your piece: Does Steve Chalke now influence and shape your faith on the issue of homosexual marriage?
    Its not clear whether you endorse SC’s theology of homosexual relationships and marriage, or that you feel simply he is misunderstood or wrongly maligned? Which is it?

  • AnnieCarterUK

    I really want to agree with Steve Chalke; his position sounds so commendable and compassionate. I don’t want to be judged as someone who’s not ‘inclusive’, as someone who’s not accepting (when I really do befriend and accept all types of people). But my understanding of Scripture, acknowledged by countless theologians before me, won’t let me just nod my head and say “Yes, that’s reasonable. Christ loves the outsider, therefore we must accept SSM”.

    At the same time, I’m also challenged by Chalke – challenged that he is, in fact, living out the Christian faith in so many outward, evident and bold ways that I am not. He is loving the poor, he is caring for the outcast. What am I doing? My mind keeps taking me to the parable of the sheep and the goats, where the only difference between those accepted into God’s kingdom (the sheep) and those who were turned away (the goats) was that the former lived out the teachings of Christ by loving their neighbour, feeding the poor and helping the sick. Just because I lean toward the conservative viewpoint does not mean that I agree with everything that the majority of anti SSM preachers and teachers espouse. And holding onto a conservative stance in this regard does not automatically mean that one will be placed in the ‘sheep’ crowd, just by believing the alleged correct theological view.

    I do think that the whole issue is taking up too much time and thought in Christian circles – perhaps even distracting from gospel action. I’m reminded of the opening chapters in Revelation, where God points out all the shortcomings or wrong teachings of the seven churches. At no point are the attendees exhorted to leave their church, but rather to ‘hold fast’ to their faith or to ‘stand firm’ in what they know is true. (Rev 2:25) I’m therefore convinced that it, ultimately, doesn’t matter too much which views our church leaders may hold (they will be judged for them), as long as we are clinging to our love for God and living out His purposes on this earth. It’s just as terrible to have a dying faith (while making out you’re a keen believer) as it is to accept false teaching. (Rev 3:1) Now that is something that truly makes me shudder.

    • CliveM

      Their is so much in your post I agree with. I wish my understanding on SSM could be different, but sadly the Bible doesn’t allow it. However as you say, I need to be more concerned about where I fall short (in many ways), then I need to be about others.

      • cacheton

        ‘I wish my understanding on SSM could be different, but sadly the Bible doesn’t allow it.’

        It sounds as if you would like your head and your heart to be agreeing, and you are admitting that your belief that the Bible is the Word of god is preventing this. Do you think that this is a valid choice?

        • CliveM

          Yes. Why would I not?

          • Clive, you have to figure out why the Bible doesn’t allow sexual licence, including homosexuality, adultery and fornication more generally. Do that and any conflict you might experience between compassion and God’s law becomes easier.

            It is not compassion to stay silent in the face of offences against God which have eternal consequences – if the Bible is to believed, that is. What these neo-pagan progressives teach is that the Bible and/or our 2000 year understanding of it, isn’t to be relied upon anymore.

            We are ‘smarter’ than that today. We have science.

          • retiredbloke

            No, Jack, we are not smarter, we are simply more arrogant at a time when our great increase in knowledge is highlighting huge areas of ignorance which should be making us more humble.

          • But so many *scholars* are *proving* much of the New Testament is fictional. Haven’t you heard Jesus never performed miracles and never claimed to be God incarnate? As for the resurrection – impossible. It was all made up. No. Man is far brighter and much more enlightened nowadays as he is armed with *science*.

          • retiredbloke

            As ever, Jack, I am totally in awe at your erudition.

          • Why thank you, kind Sir.

          • CliveM

            I understand the issue regarding sexual licence. I don’t understand why he allows people to be born with this orientation then bans them from the love and comfort the rest of us can enjoy.
            I accept it by faith, but I’m unhappy with it.

          • Inspector General

            We all have our load to bear, Clive

          • “I don’t understand why he allows people to be born with this orientation then bans them from the love and comfort the rest of us can enjoy.”

            Couple of blatant assumptions in there. Who says homosexuals are born with their sexual disorientation? Even if they were, God always gives sufficient grace to overcome our particular vices. And are all those unable to marry excluded from love and comfort?

            Use your reason as well as your faith – that’s why you were given it. Just be sure faith guides your reason.

          • CliveM

            Happy Jack

            Surely my position on this is actually quite Catholic? Whilst I don’t pretend to understand, I am still prepared to accept Church (and biblical) teaching.

            Actually what irritates me about all of this is how distorted Church teaching has become. To the outside world it must appear at times that we have nothing else to say. But actually we have a lot to say and proclaim. God has offered us a full life. He had given it meaning and purpose. He has things to say about society and justice. He has given us eternal life and communion with him.

            I would like us to spend more time proclaiming that.

          • “Surely my position on this is actually quite Catholic? Whilst I don’t pretend to understand, I am still prepared to accept Church (and biblical) teaching.”
            This is true but nowadays such is the onslaught from without and within the Church we need to understand the reasons for our positions on sexual morality.
            It would be good if we could focus on other issues, agreed. It is not the orthodox Church who is setting this agenda.

          • CliveM

            Well we agree on that. It is time the Church started to set the agenda and not simply respond to it. It has become too comfortable with gazing at its own navel. Some parts of the Church are worse then others it has to be said.

            Attack is the best form of defense, it has been said.

          • CliveM

            Ps I don’t think we are smarter!

          • cacheton

            So your head is winning over your heart. But, ironically, Jesus’s teaching is quite clear that it should be the opposite!

          • CliveM

            Do you think so? I’m not sure you are right when you look at his life as a whole. He seems to use his intellect when debating with his opponents. Indeed as a 12 year old he seems to have enjoyed intellectual discussion so much, he forgot to go home.

          • No – the heart and the mind need to be in harmony with God’s will. Without this, its all lurve and fluffiness in the Church of Nice.

            “Jesus said to him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and thy whole soul and thy whole mind. This is the greatest of the commandments, and the first. And the second, its like, is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments, all the law and the prophets depend.”
            (Mathew 22:37)

            “If your desire and aim is to reach the destination of the path and home of true happiness, of grace and glory, by a straight and safe way, then earnestly apply your mind to seek constant purity of heart, clarity of mind and calm of the senses.”
            (St Albert the Great: Cleaving to God)

          • cacheton

            Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself is the commandment. You seem to be implying that other parts of the bible should be followed intellectually even if they contradict this commandment.

            I suppose it comes down to a matter of choice.

          • Loving your neighbour as our self has to be rooted in a firm understanding of God, is what Jack is saying.

            Without knowledge of Him and His creation, His ways, and His love for us, how can we love our neighbour? Love isn’t just a verb, its also a noun. Its not just an emotion but a desire to assist.

            If our neighbour is doing something that offends God, is it loving him to encourage him in that sin? Rather, we shouldn’t we with love, explain the path he’s treading offends God and offer assistance to him to put himself right with the Lord?

            This is what Jack would expect from a Minister of God and from his neighbour. .

          • cacheton

            ‘If our neighbour is doing something that offends God,’

            God is not a person, therefore cannot be offended. What you think may offend god is based on biased interpretations of ancient texts. How could God who IS love and compassion be offended by anything? It is people who are offended by certain things and seek to justify their offense using their unfounded belief that the bible is the word of god. This is why some people claim that it is religion which is offensive! It is also why it is not possible to explain with love that the path someone is treading is offending God, because it is obvious to the person on the receiving end of the ‘explanation’ that it is your offense and judgment that they are receiving, not God’s, and that is not a loving experience.

          • Do you believe God exists, Cacheton? Do you believe Jesus was God incarnate?

          • cacheton

            Absolutely, yes.

            So what offends Jesus then? How would you know?

          • Well, if you believe Jesus was God incarnate then you can only have come this through a faith grounded in both Scripture and in the Church’s and interpretations of this since Pentecost.

            And Jack uses precisely the same methods in working out what offends Jesus.

          • cacheton

            Ooh no – one does not need faith grounded in anything to see that – church teachings frequently contradict the belief that Jesus was God incarnate, and also human. Probably because the responsibility for a human of being a potential god is too much to bear. Church teachings keep people firmly in the despairing ‘you will never get there, sinner’ mindset, rather than concentrating on what Jesus actually said, something along the lines of ‘this and more you shall/can do’, and guiding people how to do it.

          • “Ooh no – one does not need faith grounded in anything to see that – church teachings frequently contradict the belief that Jesus was God incarnate, and also human”
            Teachings declared heretical by the early Church, you mean? The New Testament lends itself to all sorts of whacky interpretations. You’ve said you accept Jesus was God incarnate.
            Probably because the responsibility for a human of being a potential god is too much to bear. Church teachings keep people firmly in the despairing ‘you will never get there, sinner’ mindset, rather than concentrating on what Jesus actually said, something along the lines of ‘this and more you shall/can do’, and guiding people how to do it.

          • Albert

            You make two claims here:

            1. church teachings frequently contradict the belief that Jesus was God incarnate, and also human

            Church teachings keep people firmly in the despairing ‘you will never get there, sinner’ mindset

            I don’t suppose I could trouble you for the evidence of both those claims, could I?

          • cacheton

            Yes maybe I should clarify. Put simply, the church teaches that God is, well, God, and humans are sinners, ie: not God. Jesus however showed us that it is possible to be both. It seems to me that church teachings concentrate on what is different between humans and God (which is what I mean by the despairing ‘you will never get there sinner’ mindset), on how we are separate from him, guilty of sin and always will be because we are human. Where are the church teachings that emphasize that all humans have the potential to be God incarnate?

          • Albert

            Where to begin? Have you been choking on Hegel?

            The point about the incarnation is that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. There’s nothing in that belief that shows we can all be God, rather it shows we can’t. In other words, only if you are God already (and we aren’t) can you become God made Man. It cannot happen the other way around.

          • cacheton

            It cannot happen the other way around.

            What other way around? What if you are God, but have (unlike Jesus) forgotten that you are? Or do not want to take responsibility for being God, again unlike Jesus.

            This really is a matter of interpretation. You interpret ‘there’s nothing in that belief that shows we can all be God’, and I interpret ‘there’s everything in that belief that shows we can all be God’. How on earth do you know that you are not, and were never, God already?

            Shall we fight about who is RIGHT now Albert?!!

          • CliveM

            Well Albert gets my vote.

            I find it incredibly easy to dismiss any thought of personal divinity. My every action and thought proves it.

          • Albert

            What if you are God, but have (unlike Jesus) forgotten that you are?

            If you are God, you are unchanging and omniscient. Therefore, someone who does not know they are God is not God.

            Shall we fight about who is RIGHT now Albert?!!

            Interesting. I knew the idea of truth would come up eventually.

          • cacheton

            Therefore, someone who does not know they are God is not God.

            No, someone who does not know they are God is someone who has fallen under the illusion of the physical world in which they have incarnated, and has therefore forgotten they are God.

            Truth? Which of those two – nothing/everything that shows we are all God – is of most benefit to humanity?

          • Albert

            No, someone who does not know they are God is someone who has fallen under the illusion of the physical world in which they have incarnated, and has therefore forgotten they are God.

            That contradicts the classical definition of the word “God”. If you want to use the word “God” to mean something else, then it may well be that we are substantially agreed. But that would also mean that you are saying something much less significant than you seem to be.

            Truth? Which of those two – nothing/everything that shows we are all God – is of most benefit to humanity?

            I suspect that a false belief will ultimately not benefit humanity. But the claim is yours: so defend it.

          • cacheton

            Well what is the classical definition of ‘God’? I thought we were broadly agreed that he is unconditional love and compassion.

            I suspect that your suspicion is correct. What claim am I being asked to defend?

          • Albert

            Well what is the classical definition of ‘God’?

            Before you come along trying to critique Christianity, don’t you think you ought to know what you are critiquing first? No, I’m not going to make up for your laziness. If you want to have a grasp of the classical understanding of God, I suggest you read the first part of the Summa Theologiae of St Thomas Aquinas. You can read it here: http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1.htm

            What claim am I being asked to defend?

            The claim that a false belief will ultimately benefit humanity.

          • cacheton

            Aha – seems like you’ve given me the link to the site you get your info from! Thankyou, it looks interesting. But also, in the Summa section, fiendishly complicated. No wonder so many people don’t believe in God any more – if they had to digest all that to find out who he is! One of his attributes is simplicity, or so I thought. Do I have to read and understand all that to have a grasp of the classical understanding of God in order not to be accused of being lazy? I’ll stick with unconditional love and compassion!

            I do not claim that a false belief will benefit humanity – on the contrary! I asked, ‘Which of those two – nothing/everything that shows we are all God – is of most benefit to humanity?’ So, which is it?

          • Albert

            Aha – seems like you’ve given me the link to the site you get your info from!

            I get my info (viewed as my overall belief structure) from books. Call me old fashioned.

            Thankyou, it looks interesting.

            I’m glad you think so.

            But also, in the Summa section, fiendishly complicated. No wonder so many people don’t believe in God any more – if they had to digest all that to find out who he is! One of his attributes is simplicity, or so I thought. Do I have to read and understand all that to have a grasp of the classical understanding of God in order not to be accused of being lazy? I’ll stick with unconditional love and compassion!

            Certainly, I am not saying people are atheists because they are well-read or intelligent. They reject what they do not know. You don’t have to read all that, but if you critique classical theism, you do need to have a working knowledge of it. Otherwise, your comments will be unjust and thus neither loving nor compassionate.

            I do not claim that a false belief will benefit humanity – on the contrary!

            You’ve claimed it elsewhere.

            I asked, ‘Which of those two – nothing/everything that shows we are all God – is of most benefit to humanity?’ So, which is it?

            The belief we are all God is not of benefit to humanity:
            1. It is untrue
            2. It would lead to pride
            3. It would prevent a proper critiquing of human society
            4. It reduces the nature of God

            those sorts of things…

          • cacheton

            1. As we have seen, that is a matter of interpretation.
            2 and 3. It would lead to far greater responsibility for one’s actions than we currently ‘own’, because we would have to be constantly thinking what God would do. It would lead us to recognising that the part of us which does not seem to be god (pride, all that is ‘wrong’ with society) is actually not useful and therefore can be discarded. In recognising what god is (love and compassion), and therefore what we are fundamentally, we could choose to be godlike rather than being victims of not being godlike (current Christian view).
            4 ??

          • Albert

            1. No, this follow necessarily from the doctrine of God I have given. If you use a different doctrine of God, I say that what you call God is not God.
            2. & 3. It would have the opposite. When people think their actions are ratified by God they become oppressive. Your position goes a step further and says we are God.

            However, in Christianity we are being given the freedom to become godlike. However, that freedom comes from our response to God in faith, not from an idea that we already are god.

            4. God is reduced on your view, since, instead of being perfect, things which are imperfect also are God.

          • cacheton

            When people think their actions are ratified by God they become oppressive.

            Yes – this is being played out as I write. But thinking your actions are ratified by God is not the same as doing God’s actions as if you were God. This is a result of the poverty of the spiritual teaching in western religions and Islam, where most teachings are centred around ‘doing’ rather than ‘being’, promises of rewards (carrots and sticks) and where there is no tangible method for spiritual advancement, except ‘pray’ and ‘read the bible’, which result in spiritual enlightenment only very very rarely.

            Things which are imperfect and conscious of being so, such as humans, were made by god. If you don’t see them as being god in some way, may I ask why god created humans? Would he really have created them without the potential to be god, and conscious of it?

          • Albert

            But thinking your actions are ratified by God is not the same as doing God’s actions as if you were God.

            Do you know what happens to people who have a divinity complex?

            This is a result of the poverty of the spiritual teaching in western religions and Islam, where most teachings are centred around ‘doing’ rather than ‘being’, promises of rewards (carrots and sticks) and where there is no tangible method for spiritual advancement, except ‘pray’ and ‘read the bible’, which result in spiritual enlightenment only very very rarely.

            That is quite likely the most ignorant thing I have seen written, even on the internet. You really must challenge your prejudices.

            Things which are imperfect and conscious of being so, such as humans, were made by god. If you don’t see them as being god in some way, may I ask why god created humans? Would he really have created them without the potential to be god, and conscious of it?

            This is just very confused. Why on earth should I know or expect to know God’s reasons for things? At one level he has no reasons! Also, if someone is god they cannot have the potential to be god. So this makes no sense.

          • cacheton

            Somebody with any complex, if severe enough, is work for psychiatrists. I know psychiatry is generally full of incompetence, but I think they can tell the difference between a complex – which has a precise definition and manifestation – and behaviour which is not the result of a complex! A complex is a set of ingrained beliefs that cause the person carrying them to react in certain ways beyond their control – it is perfectly possible to be in control of one’s divinity!

            You do not want to know why you were created? Really?

            Albert, do you have any idea what an ego is, and what it does?

          • Albert

            I think complexes are to do with the distance between our beliefs and reality. Thus to believe you are God if you aren’t is to have the most severe complex imaginable.

            You do not want to know why you were created? Really?

            I didn’t say that I didn’t want to know, I said: Why on earth should I know or expect to know God’s reasons for things? At one level he has no reasons! As it happens, in Christ we have some sense of why God made us: to know him, love him and serve him in this world, and be happy with him forever in the next.

            Albert, do you have any idea what an ego is, and what it does?

            I don’t see the relevance of this question.

          • cacheton

            Someone with a God complex would not be a very happy person, and depending on how strong the complex was may even be in a psychiatric institution. But there is a difference between a God complex, where it is the complex that is declaring that the complexed person is God (because the person is not in control, the complex is) and the godlike qualities which some people display some of the time (Jesus being someone who displayed them all of the time, as far as we know) which are not the result of psychiatric ill-being.

            The relevance of the question about the ego is that it is this aspect of being human which gets in the way of us recognising our divinity. All those beliefs about this and that, and the wish always to be ‘right’. Spiritual teachings guide people out of ego. If teachings guide people into more ego, ‘I/we are right/better than them’ etc, then they are not spiritual teachings. I think I’ve made this point before. But if you do not know what an ego is and what it does, how to recognise egoic thinking etc, then you will not be able to discern which teachings are spiritual and which aren’t.

          • Albert

            I think I have made the point over and over again: under the doctrine of God used by most people in the West at least, it is unintelligible to say we are divine/God. You work with a different notion of God, and as such reduce God, while misleading us.

            Spiritual teachings guide people out of ego. If teachings guide people into more ego, ‘I/we are right/better than them’ etc, then they are not spiritual teachings

            But that’s what you’re like! Look at how often I have had to correct your prejudices!

          • cacheton

            Re your first sentence: exactly. That is because western religion seeks to control people, rather than lead people to understand their spiritual origin. People are now seeing it for what it is, and rejecting it. My notion of god does not reduce god – how can you reduce unconditional love and compassion? As to who is misleading and who is being misled – have you ever thought that the carrot and stick doctrines of the church may be the misleaders here? Who are those doctrines really serving?

          • Albert

            have you ever thought that the carrot and stick doctrines of the church may be the misleaders here?

            Have you ever thought that you might just be completely ignorant, prejudiced and unjustly judgemental about that which you do not understand – all in the name of unconditional love and compassion of course? I do not recognize my faith in what you say here.

            That is because western religion seeks to control people, rather than lead people to understand their spiritual origin.

            No, it is because the word “God” cannot name what you want it to name – in the Western tradition.

            People are now seeing it for what it is, and rejecting it.

            No they’re not. Most people have got even less clue about Christianity than you have. People don’t reject Christianity in the name of “understanding their spiritual condition” but in the name of unbridled, and selfish hedonism.

            My notion of god does not reduce god – how can you reduce unconditional love and compassion?

            Your notion of God is contradictory. On the one hand, you think he is unconditional, on the other, you condition him by reducing him to the level of creatures.

            Who are those doctrines really serving?

            Quite. Have you ever read Soloviev’s short story The Anti-Christ?

          • cacheton

            ….in the name of unbridled, and selfish hedonism.

            We’ll have to disagree on that one. There are SO many people who want to believe, who seek meaning, some kind of faith. But they reject blind, prejudiced and de-responsibilising faith.

            Your notion of God is contradictory. On the one hand, you think he is unconditional, on the other, you condition him by reducing him to the level of creatures.

            Ah no – HE conditions HIMSELF by ‘reducing’ (i don’t think he would see it like that) himself to the level of creatures!

            I can see this is going to end soon; there is one more question that I would like to ask. If you believe God is the final judge, the only one who can really judge, why not leave all the judging to him (of homosexuality for example) – why do you feel you have to do it too?

          • Albert

            There are SO many people who want to believe, who seek meaning, some kind of faith. But they reject blind, prejudiced and de-responsibilising faith.

            And quite right too, but they are blind, prejudiced and irresponsible if they say all faith is like that.

            Ah no – HE conditions HIMSELF by ‘reducing’ (i don’t think he would see it like that) himself to the level of creatures!

            If you were talking about the classical doctrine of the incarnation, then that would be one thing. But you’re not, you’re claiming that a being, who is classical terms is immutable, changes. Well then you are not talking about God.

            If you believe God is the final judge, the only one who can really judge, why not leave all the judging to him (of homosexuality for example) – why do you feel you have to do it too?

            Because there is still right and wrong. Your posts here have had a long continuous theme: judgementalism towards my faith. Now that is because you think my faith is wrong and harmful. If you think that, you should say so. We cannot live in a world in which there is no such thing as right or wrong. It’s odd, is it not, that you pick homosexuality. Why not pick other things such as the exploitation by the rich, of the poor? Why not say that the Church is wrong to condemn that? The answer seems obvious, because that condemnation is acceptable to liberal/left types, so that’s okay. Christian teaching on sexuality is not, for the moment at least, acceptable in certain circles, and so you seek to condemn it. You don’t actually have a problem with people judging other people’s actions and beliefs. You have a problem with other people judging your actions and beliefs.

    • len

      An established believer rooted and grounded in the Word of God probably would not be led astray by a leader who followed whatever he decided was ‘right’ in his own eyes but what about the unsaved who do not know the Truth of God`s Word?. I believe they would follow this leader into error.
      I believe all should be welcome into church regardless(we are all sinners saved by God`s Grace) but the Church should not change its moral foundation to make it more acceptable to a wider audience (which unfortunately seems to be the path the church is taking?.

    • Graham Wood

      Annie. I’m sure that many will fully agree with your comment:
      “I do think that the whole issue is taking up too much time and thought in Christian circles – perhaps even distracting from gospel action.”
      I fully agree. Homosexual “marriage” is indeed a distraction and while the church argues over it, in the same measure it is failing to address the “weightier matters of the law and Gospel”
      But we should not overlook the fact that it is the so called “gay agenda” which promotes and serves this distraction in which Steve Chalke plays an active part.
      In doing so he not only is, frankly, wrong on the issue, through his cavalier treatment of the clear biblical texts, but more seriously , he leads astray others who are being deceived. He is therefore a false teacher. He is saying in effect that he, and his fellow teachers are right, and that the collective voice of the church for centuries in their interpretation of Scripture is somehow mistaken..
      Chalke perpetuates the now well worn error that “love” justifies a homosexual relationship apart from all other considerations, and that love is the only absolute that must be considered.
      But this fails to reflect the biblical balance, for love needs God’s law to direct it aright. If love was the only consideration then of course, adulterous, bigamous, or polygamist relationships are all permitted – instead of monogamous heterosexual marriage which the bible (and natural law) so clearly teaches.

  • Shadrach Fire

    Gillan,
    It is dangerous to be succumbed in to the presence of the deceptive. I have said before that popularism is a poor guide as to the correctness of a leader. Hillsong has been a marker in this area recently. Hitler was more than popular in his day, he was adored and worshiped by his advocates but he was very wrong.

    How many of us who have dismissed Steve outright because of one or two of his views will ever come close to achieving the amount of good that he has, or spreading the good news of Jesus Christ to as many?
    No one can claim to have he whole truth but there are fundamentals that we should all agree on. As has been said below, if he fails to teach the whole Gospel he hates those who tries to help because he keeps them from salvation.
    Chalk is in a sense a ‘Livingstone’. More the explorer than the missionary. Chalk is a very good social worker that provides for the body but not the soul.
    Ultimately, like most LBGT advocates, he wares down the opposition with platitudes of niceness and compromising claims that rejecting these loving relationship is anti God. It made me cringe whenever Cameron and his cohorts spoke of marriage for these loving couples. Odd isn’t it that now Nicky Morgan has a ministerial post she has changed her view on SSM. Probably couldn’t get the job unless she did.
    We live in dangerous times.

  • Inspector General

    It’s like a dripping tap…

    The problem is, everyone is fearful of upsetting the blighters by saying the concept of a man lying with another man is utterly repellent. This man would not allow himself to get too close to a couple such as this in church.

  • len

    I think the predicament of anyone preaching the gospel today is exactly how to present it.
    Centuries ago preachers had a foundation to build on because certain Biblical principles were widely accepted.
    But now our Judeo /Christian foundations have been discredited by secularists and this has been enforced throughout our entire educational system in the West.The Media almost always seems to present Christianity in un- favourable ways.

    So anyone preaching to the lost must start from basics .The Fall of man , the decline into sin, man unable to save himself, so a need for a Saviour, etc.

    The condition of man today is easily seen (for those with eyes to see) because as man has advanced technologically in leaps and bounds there is something wrong that lies at the very heart of man something man cannot change by his own efforts and it is only when this position is realised and a solution sought that the Light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ becomes apparent.
    The Gospel IS the Good News that God threw us a Life Line (in Christ) and that we do not need to drift aimlessly in this world to eventually perish and sink without a trace.
    It is through Love that God chose to redeem us and to save us not to leave us as we are but to place His Life into us so we can be totally whole as He originally intended.

  • Busy Mum

    If Oasis provides services for local authorities, it has no choice but to tow the local authority line. It seems to me that Mr Chalke’s business success depends on peddling the ‘gay agenda’. To say that Mr Chalke has paid a heavy price is disingenuous when he is clearly thriving materially; the price was morality, and true Christian morality is priceless. People like Asher’s bakery and the Bulls pay a heavy price rather than sell their souls.

  • Inspector General

    The Inspector is resting at home today. Flu, you see. Mother Nature’s annual attempt to clear away the weak specimens and worn out of humanity. No laughing matter that. Mother Nature has a similar device for her sexually active deviants. Her disease of choice is HIV. Don’t let homosexual propaganda about any cure fool you. Every day, sufferers die from complications arising from the treatment to keep its worst at bay. And every day the infected choose to abandon their treatment – the side effects are too much for them.

    The thing is still a full-on instrument of death. You could say it is remarkably tailor made for its mission. You could say its been designed by the highest authority of all. Yet, the lifestyle that spreads this awful retribution is rarely criticised publically, and we have agents for those who choose to live this life that way like Chalke urging us to open our arms to them, as shining examples of God’s love ?

    Never !!

    • Anne Peat
      • “The statistics – which show HIV increasing more in straight communities – buck a national trend, with HIV infections among gay men hitting a record high this year, and declining in other groups.”

        Best to move out of Kent ! That or keep sex for marriage,

    • CliveM

      Hmm is the flu a punishment from God for your sins?

      Get well soon!!

      • Inspector General

        Appreciated Clive. One has the mere strength of a kitten today. Bodily, not mentality though. And yes, God is so displeased with the Inspector he has not only visited him with flu, but arranged for vengeful on line queers to block his discus account. One is needing to use a newly created whatever from today…

        • carl jacobs

          Inspector

          A kitten? So you have a cat now? Why, Inspector. You’ve “grown.” You’ll be driving a Prius next. Soon you’ll be pulling the lever for the Liberal Democrats.

          Yes, the ownership of a cat foretells many things.

          • Inspector General

            Strength of a kitten not the article itself, Carl

          • carl jacobs

            Ah, but one can only know the strength of a kitten by personal experience. The cat is out of the bag, so to speak. I bet he is named Fluffykins.

        • CliveM

          It will be a sad day if you are ever stopped from contributing on this blog.

          From whatever source.

        • Watch for all those ‘Digitally Transmitted Infections’ then if you’re returning to that site. Do take precautions and ensure you have adequate protection.

          • Inspector General

            Won’t go there on this machine. They’re clearly waiting for the opportunity, and are hiding in the shrubs…

        • Cressida de Nova

          If you had a wife you would have someone to tend to your needs while you are sick. You need to resolve your dislike of women. A real man loves women and could not envisage life without one.

          • Inspector General

            Mid fifties now. No unrealistic expectations at that age…

      • dannybhoy

        Nah,
        let him suffer.
        He is after all, a man… 🙂

  • carl jacobs

    Oasis is struggling to find those on the other side who are willing to participate in this event.

    Of course they are. What would be the point of attending such an event?

    1. The mere act of attending extends some measure theological legitimacy to the position Chalke is advancing. It implicitly conveys a sense of both sides struggling to be faithful to Scripture when that is manifestly not the case.

    2. It won’t actually be a discussion. Alan Wilson et al aren’t interested in discussing anything. They are graciously extending themselves in yet one more patient effort to enlighten the reactionary. The condescending nature of this kind of “discussion” is so palpable it could be harvested and sold.

    3. What is there to discuss? The arguments have been repeated endlessly. There is nothing new here. There is no need for better understanding. There is no need to find some king of Hegelian synthesis between the two sides. There is no need for reconciliation at all. What then would they talk about?

    If Chalke desires to go to the left, then others will go to the right. If he desires to go to the right, then others will go to the left. The relationship can be friendly and civil at the fence line. But there is going to be a fence line. And there isn’t any need to talk about removing it.

    If Chalke wants the applause of the modern world, he is welcome to it. Surely he has received his reward. But there is no need for others to participate in some faux-discussion to correct the errors into which he has fallen.

    • dannybhoy

      “If Chalke wants the applause of the modern world, he is welcome to it. Surely he has received his reward. But there is no need for others to participate in some faux-discussion in order to correct the errors into which he has fallen.”

      So that’s what it’s about is it? Steve Chalke wants the applause of the modern world??

      Had you have simply said Steve Chalke’s compassion is seriously misplaced and he needs to get back to basics, fine. But to say that he wants the applause of the modern world is totally unfair.

      Any Christian knows this verse…
      “You adulterous people![a] Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” James 4:4
      Why would he seek the approval of the world when he owes everything to the Lord Jesus?

      • carl jacobs

        Dannybhoy

        I have written what I have written. It is an objective fact that the secular Western World will applaud any Christian leader who breaks ranks on this issue. This is exactly what the Church is being pressured to do. Chalke’s behavior is an act of cowardice in the face of pressure. And before you say it, that is the charitable explanation. The alternative is that he actually believes what he teaches and so has made himself a wolf in sheep’s clothes. To be a coward is far better than to be a honest to goodness heretic.

        • dannybhoy

          Carl,
          let’s leave the world out of it for a second and just admit that Christians and other faiths have pondered the rights and wrongs of so many issues down through the years..

          • Chalke et al have been chipping away at Biblical sexual morality since the 1990’s. The ‘movement’ started with dismissing the Reformed ‘Penal Atonement’ (which Jack also rejects for a ‘Vicarious Atonement’ theology). This has led to a developing view that God is all Love and Mercy and onto Universal Salvation. Once grace is received, imputed, and salvation is guaranteed for believers.
            In 2000 Chalke had this tape on sale: “Glad To Be Gay? Christian Approach.”

          • dannybhoy

            HJ
            But does Steve Chalke teach that all will be saved? Does he teach that homosexuals don’t need to repent? I’m not saying you’re wrong but some evidence would be useful.
            Whilst I agree we must stand for the truths of our faith, we have to acknowledge that there are still differences between us in what I hope are peripheral issues.
            Right doctrine is important, but it isn’t doctrine which saves us; it’s faith in Christ’s redemptive work.

          • He sees nothing morally wrong with homosexuality – so why would there be a need to repent?

            Faith in Christ – alone – will not save you if you ignore His commandments.

          • dannybhoy

            I agree there with your second sentence Jack, you know I do.
            Here’s Steve Chalke’s original statement on the subject. You might have already seen it, but it’s worth a read again.
            http://www.premierchristianity.com/Featured-Topics/Homosexuality/The-Bible-and-Homosexuality-Part-One

          • Jack has read it and all the other defences of homosexuality.

            “One tragic outworking of the Church’s historical rejection of faithful gay relationships is our failure to provide homosexual people with any model of
            how to cope with their sexuality, except for those who have the gift of, or capacity for, celibacy.”

            This is true, up to a point. We do not know how this has been dealt with privately between those afflicted with this condition and their confessors or spirit advisers. The challenge to avoid indulging in homosexual sex is no different to the Church’s wider teaching on confining sex to permanent, faithful marriages.
            “In this way we have left people vulnerable and isolated.”
            Again, there may be some truth in this. However, he then takes an extraordinary leap.

            “When we refuse to make room for gay people to live in loving, stable relationships, we consign them to lives of loneness, secrecy and fear. It’s one thing to be critical of a promiscuous lifestyle – but shouldn’t the Church consider nurturing positive models for permanent and monogamous homosexual relationships?”
            The Cameron line. One understands this dilemma and the difficulties. There is a pastoral issue about how to respond lovingly to the temptation of same sex attraction. Chalke says he doesn’t want to “challenge the traditional understanding of marriage – far from it – but to extend to these people what I would do to others – the love and support of our local Church. Too often, those who seek to enter an exclusive, same-sex, relationship have found themselves stigmatised and excluded by the Church. I have come to believe this is an injustice and out of step with God’s character as seen through Christ.”

            So, he claims, God, as revealed in Jesus Christ, would support same sex marriage. He claims heterosexuality is no more than a normative ideal – and we all fall short and miss God’s targets in life. The difference is, of course, when we do we acknowledge our fault, express remorse and do what we can to amend our lives. Chalke, on the other hand, goes on to reinterpret “in new ways” those Biblical passages condemning the objective sin, describing them as simplistic and culturally ambiguous. It is not a sin at all. Pastoral problem solved.

            “Christ-like love”, according to Chalke, “calls us to go beyond tolerance to want for the other the same respect, freedom, and equality one wants for oneself.” And his conclusion is that to be “Christ-like”, in these circumstances, we “should find ways to formally support and encourage those who are in, or wish to enter into, faithful same-sex partnerships, as well as in their wider role as members of Christ’s body.”

          • dannybhoy

            HJ,

            “This is true, up to a point. We do not know how this has been dealt with privately between those afflicted with this condition and their confessors or spirit advisers. The challenge to avoid indulging in homosexual sex is no different to the Church’s wider teaching on confining sex to permanent, faithful marriages.

            This is what I am getting at. No condoning of homosexual practices, no approval of same sex marriage,
            but recognising that these folk still face a struggle, and we as Christians have to accept the validity of their need of emotional attachment in a close non sexual relationship.
            Provision is made for heterosexuals through marriage, not for homosexuals.
            So how do we deal with these people? Do we say
            “Unfortunately you are gay. Either you chose to be gay or something went wrong genetically. Either way, the best we can offer you is celibacy.
            Now had you been heterosexual……”

            That’s what I’m getting at, and I notice that we still haven’t had comments from Christians who were practicing homosexuals sharing how the Lord has enabled them to cope with celibacy..!

          • Are underestimating the grace of God in strengthening the homosexual in resisting sin? If you believe homosexual acts are grievous sin, then really the only response to such temptation is to say “No”.

          • dannybhoy

            So where’s all the testimonies from born again Christians who were homosexuals?
            All sin separates us from God unless confessed Jack.
            Don’t you see how imbalanced our views and treatment of homosexuals is? How we condemn them without noticing the infidelities and illicit relationships amongst us heterosexuals?
            I’m arguing for practical compassion -not for the sin but for the sinner who in this case happens to be the homosexual community.
            Of course we could really go to town on the failings of the heterosexual community, but we don’t.

          • So what exactly are you proposing, Danny?

            Jack has repeatedly stated the Church should welcome everyone and offer support and assistance. Jack is just not willing to be suckered by the homosexualist guilt-tripping agenda being peddled by the Steve Chalke’s of this world. While God’s love is unconditional, sin separates us from this love, potentially eternally, and access to His forgiveness was purchased at a heavy price.

            As for a “practical comparison”, there is no “community” for serial adulterers, or for paedophiles, or those addicted to pornography or to prostitutes. No rewriting or reinterpreting of Scripture to say this behaviour is acceptable. We do not define people by their particular sin. There is no different standard at all for sexual sinners. What there is is access to God’s love and forgiveness through the ministry of His Church. Granted, ministry has to be tailored to individual circumstances. This is not the same as rewriting God’s law to be inclusive or diverse in order to reprograme consciences and remove the sense of sin so necessary for conversion.

          • dannybhoy

            I am proposing that we take a more balanced approach to preaching the gospel where homosexuals are concerned.
            Whatever you say Jack, I think we have failed in our approach.
            Not that we water down the demands of the Gospel, but that because we are dealing with a particular group whom we expect either to find heterosexual feelings or to live as celibates.
            Yet we both know that single heterosexuals struggle enormously with celibacy, but do have the possibility to marry.
            Let’s remember that these people have mums and dads, brothers and sisters, who may be struggling over their son or brother’s homosexuality.
            Let’s remember that whatever a mother or father say in support of their only homosexual child, they will never know the joys of seeing them married and having grandchildren of their own bloodline like you just have..

            Let’s have a little more compassion and a lot more support for those who struggle.
            That’s all.

          • Then we are in agreement.

          • dannybhoy

            Well.. good!

          • carl jacobs

            Dannybhoy

            It’s not a difficult issue. It’s a painfully simple issue that puts us at odds with the modern religion of autonomy. He isn’t struggling with Scripture because there is some legitimate doubt over what it says. He is struggling with it because he doesn’t like what it says. He is using external standards to norm Scripture to achieve a pre-determined outcome.

            Sex is a powerful lever. If you can change a man’s opinion on sex you can take down the entire Christian edifice. Why? Because what you will be destroying is the ability of Scripture to act as a norming authority. If Scripture can be compromised on sex, then it can be compromised on everything. For everything rests on that same authority. Without Scripture, God is effectively silenced. And then man is free to talk.

            If that is the case, then I don’t have to worry about fornication. I don’t have to worry about adultery. I don’t have to worry about divorce. What has God really said anyways? These are just hard issues that God expects us to use our intelligence to resolve on our own. Funny how all those resolutions tend to pander to our desires.

          • dannybhoy

            I am going to repeat that I am an active supporter of Coaltion for marriage http://c4m.org.uk/

            One man, one woman. I also accept the authority of Scripture, the need for personal salvation based on the recognition of our own sinfulness and failure to live up to God’s law, and forgiveness and redemption through the atoning work of Jesus Christ.
            Homosexuals are people like us. They are sinners. If they have come to faith they are sinners saved by grace.
            No arguments there? Good.
            There is provision made for Christian single heterosexuals for love, companionship and sexual release through marriage.
            “It is better to marry than to burn” said St Paul.
            There is no similar provision made for Christian homosexuals because God did not create a third sex, so neither is there any physical provision made for same sex intercourse,
            Yet we know that homosexuality has existed for the longest time. It obviously wasn’t there with Adam and Eve or (presumably) with their immediate offspring and grandchildren. So Biblically speaking, the origins of homosexuality in the human race is a mystery.

            So what is homosexuality? A genetic abberation or a learned behaviour? Nature or nurture?
            What I would value here on Cranmer would be the input of born again Christian homosexuals, and their own experiences regarding their same sex attraction and loneliness. and emotional fulfilment.
            It’s all very well to exhibit “heterosexual self righteousness” and poke fun at the more sordid aspects of homosexuality. (Incidentally, not all homosexuals engage in such behaviour.)
            This condemnation does nothing to address the fact that judging by the dearth of Christian homosexual comments here, there aren’t many around, and if not if it’s just a “lifestyle choice”, why are there so few coming to faith?

  • Happy Jack thinks its about time the Equality Commission issued a writ against God for all the inequality He has permitted and continues to permit in the world. Maybe the United Nations should charge Him with Crimes against Humanity. Despite the best efforts of man to compensate for God’s failings, we remain unequal and He must see to it that it stops – now. Its been going on since Eden and, for a loving God, really its just not good enough.

    From conception to death life is all so unfair. People are not born with equal chances. Children with desperate disabilities are still being born, even though we try to identify them and release them from any future suffering by ending their lives. Adults still face great pain and suffering although medicine does it best and we have now to consider helping them to end their lives so they can die with dignity. And we now know people are born into a world where their environment conditions them and hard-wires their brains to see and act in certain ways.

    It just isn’t right that we the creatures have to continually make right what God causes to go wrong. And it seems He couldn’t even get His Revelation right. For two thousand years we’ve tried to follow His laws and guidelines and it seems He either gave us a wrong steer or for all this time He’s permitted the Church to misunderstand Him.

    God has got to get His act together.

    • cacheton

      ‘for all this time He’s permitted the Church to misunderstand Him’.

      Of course, we have free will. So what are we going to do about it? Personally I do not agree that man has made much of an effort to compensate for God’s failings, as you put it.

      • “I do not agree that man has made much of an effort to compensate for God’s failings …”

        Jack knows. There’s so much more we need to do. Do you have any particular suggestions in mind for putting right all the things God has got so wrong?

        • cacheton

          Of course it’s not a mistake, otherwise you would have to conclude that hunger etc is the will of god, when in reality it is the possiblilty of it which is the will of god, but the actual hunger is the will of unconscious humans.

          What exactly has god got wrong? We humans could choose to end inequality, hunger etc now, but we don’t.

          • Without the free will of Adam and Eve we wouldn’t be in this mess.
            End inequality? Now that’s a big ask. Just how would you achieve that?

          • cacheton

            Are you saying that A & E shouldn’t have had free will? That story is symbolic, you do know that don’t you. Without free will we would be automatons, unable to change anything. Would you really want that?

            Equality of opportunity is not too big an ask – people would not all choose the same things, so some financial inequality will always exist.

          • Happy Jack was being ironic “chubby cheeks”.

  • Gerhard

    When homosexuality is discussed in the Bible, whether that be in the Old or New Testament, it is almost always addressed and grouped with other sexual immoral sins, such as adultery. The Bible see’s an adulterer no different than a homosexual. It see’s both as sinful. I think this is where Christians have gone wrong in my view. We Christians judge those who are practising homosexuality with a different standard to those who are adulterers. And because we have of late a far more relaxed attitude towards heterosexual sin, homosexuals expose this double standard for the hypocrisy that it is.

    Yes, the Grace for a repented heterosexual sinner is sufficient and yes, the Grace for a repented homosexual sinner is also sufficient. The problem is, we Christians don’t seem to think it is sufficient and homosexuals don’t see their lifestyles as sin.

    • Albert

      We Christians judge those who are practising homosexuality with a different standard to those who are adulterers.

      Not true of Catholics. The reason we believe homosexual acts are sinful is because they violate the general principles of marriage and sexuality that apply to all people: namely that sex must be open to procreation, and therefore, can only be within a relationship that has the stability properly to provide for children, that is, marriage.

      If you want to be consistent on homosexuality, it’s not a question of what you think of adultery, it is ultimately a question of what you think of sex itself in relation to procreation. As Robert Runcie pointed out when he was Archbishop of Canterbury, the CofE changed its mind on homosexuality, when, in 1930, it broke with unanimous Christian teaching for 2000 years and permitted the use of artificial contraception. That which God has joined together, let not man put asunder, applies against contraception and divorce, and from that perspective Christian teaching against homosexual acts makes coherent sense.

      • Inspector General

        Albert. You do not need to drum out your tired old Taliban like prohibition on birth control to defeat homosexualists like Chalke…

        • He does actually. Its the only coherent argument.

          • James60498 .

            Rather makes it sound as though the Catholic Church condones adultery doesn’t it? As long as it is open to life.

            Not sure that’s the case.

            Also there is the “don’t sin again” bit. How does a man “married to” another man make any commitment not to sin again. I hope that the adulterer can and would do that, even if at some point he fails.

          • Albert

            Rather makes it sound as though the Catholic Church condones adultery doesn’t it? As long as it is open to life.

            I’ve dealt with that within my natural law argument in the first paragraph of my post.

          • cacheton

            Hi there Albert.

            Albert, WHY must sex be open to procreation?

          • Inspector General

            He can’t answer that. There was a time when the church kept out of married couples private intimacies, and he knows it. Would for that time back…

          • Albert

            Really? I’d like to see your evidence for when that was.

          • Inspector General

            Pre Humanae Vitae. Go ahead, there’s enough for you to drown in.

          • Albert

            I asked for evidence, and that isn’t evidence. Anyway, I can falsify your claim. Try Casti connubii or Vatican II for that matter. Even the earliest Fathers of the Church condemn artificial contraception.

          • Inspector General

            Nothing like you though….

          • That’s because it was widely accepted back then. Nowadays, *some* just express horror about homosexuals and homosexual behaviour without founding it on a solid rational foundation. In turn, this switches the discussion about why it constitutes sin and leads to others defending it on non-biblical lines or by saying our understanding of the bible is out-of-date or wrong.

          • Inspector General

            Seriously, the church didn’t give a tinkers cuss. In the same way the church wasn’t overly concerned that most lived in poverty. It was not what the church was primarily for, to wit, the salvation of the wretches souls…

          • Albert

            Have you read them? They are far more fierce than I am.

          • Inspector General

            “1853. I have 1853. Any earlier, like from the time of Christ. 1853 once, 1853 twice, 1853 it is. The earliest date found for meddling in the private affairs of God’s sacred union by the church”

          • Inspector,

            The Bible, written before 1853, condemns coitus interruptus and sterilization without exception – Gen. 38:9–10 and Deut. 23:1.

            The Letter of Barnabas in AD 74:
            “Moreover, he [Moses] has rightly detested the weasel [Lev. 11:29]. For he means, ‘Thou shall not be like to those whom we hear of as committing wickedness with the mouth with the body through uncleanness [orally consummated sex]; nor shall thou be joined to those impure women who commit iniquity with the mouth with the body through uncleanness’”

            Clement of Alexandria AD 191:
            “Because of its divine institution for the propagation of man, the seed is not to be vainly ejaculated, nor is it to be damaged, nor is it to be wasted.”

            “To have coitus other than to procreate children is to do injury to nature.”

            Hippolytus refuted this in AD 255:
            “Christian women with male concubines, on account of their prominent ancestry and great property, the so-called faithful want no children from slaves or lowborn commoners, [so] they use drugs of sterility or bind themselves tightly in order to expel a fetus which has already been engendered”

            Lactantius AD 307
            “[Some] complain of the scantiness of their means, and allege that they have not enough for bringing up more children, as though, in truth, their means were in [their] power . . . or God did not daily make the rich poor and the poor rich. Wherefore, if any one on any account of poverty shall be unable to bring up children, it is better to abstain from relations with his wife.”

            “God gave us eyes not to see and desire pleasure, but to see acts to be performed for the needs of life; so too, the genital [’generating’] part of the body, as the name itself teaches, has been received by us for no other purpose than the generation of offspring.”

            Epiphanius of Salamis AD 375
            “They [certain Egyptian heretics] exercise genital acts, yet prevent the conceiving of children. Not in order to produce offspring, but to satisfy lust, are they eager for corruption.”

            Augustine AD 419
            “I am supposing, then, although you are not lying [with your wife] for the sake of procreating offspring, you are not for the sake of lust obstructing their procreation by an evil prayer or an evil deed. Those who do this, although they are called husband and wife, are not; nor do they retain any reality of marriage, but with a respectable name cover a shame. Sometimes this lustful cruelty, or cruel lust, comes to this, that they even procure poisons of sterility. . . . Assuredly if both husband and wife are like this, they are not married, and if they were like this from the beginning they come together not joined in matrimony but in seduction. If both are not like this, I dare to say that either the wife is in a fashion the harlot of her husband or he is an adulterer with his own wife.”

            There are many, many more examples.

          • Inspector General

            Without wishing to get too personal, are you familiar with the term ‘libido’. And if you are, would you agree it is God given ?

          • Is that an open-air swimming pool?

          • Inspector General

            The Inspector can see himself recognised as a Doctor of the Church one day…

          • Maybe … once the Tribulation is in full swing.

          • Cressida de Nova

            LOL …and I too will be canonised a saint !

          • Cressida de Nova

            Jack the denial of libido and claiming that it is perfectly normal not to have one, is just weird ,unnatural and unhealthy.

            God gave us libido (both sexes) to produce lots of babies and keep us mentally healthy. It is in the natural order of things. We are not meant to be celibate.We are supposed to make nests and have a mate.Catholics are compelled to be happy here on earth and that includes having lots of sex.

          • Oh, its not an open air swimming pool then.

          • The Bible, written before 1853, condemns coitus interruptus and sterilization without exception – Gen. 38:9–10 and Deut. 23:1.
            What a load of old rubbish! Deut. 23:1. ‘He who is emasculated by crushing or mutilation shall not enter the assembly of the LORD.’ What does that have to do with contraception? It was a provision of the Old Covenant which is abrogated in the New (Isaiah 56:3-5; Acts 8:26ff). In the case of Onan in Gen. 38, he disobeyed a particular command of the Lord, not a general one. As for your church fathers, I give them no authority; the falling-away of the churches started right after the time of the Apostles (Acts 20:29-30; 1 John 2:18; Rev. 2-3).
            Whilst it is my experience that larger families are generally happy families, it is no business of the Church to peer into the bedrooms of married couples. The Church of Rome seems to have a view that the sex act is somehow just a little bit disgusting and only to be tolerated for the continuance of the species; on the contrary, it is the good gift of God (Proverbs 5:18-19; 1 Cor. 7:3-5).

          • Not too well versed in Catholic teaching then, Martin.
            The Catholic Church has a very rich theology on sexual relationships which combines unitive, selfless, giving love with its intended purpose – pro-creation. Are you saying there is no sexual sin between married couples? That all the Church Fathers cited were wrong but you are correct? That contraception is moral?

            And this view of Saint Paul is hardly a ringing endorsement of the gift of sex – marriage as a way of channelling lust and avoiding fornication.

            “But, to avoid the danger of fornication, let every man keep his own wife, and every woman her own husband. Let every man give his wife what is her due, and every woman do the same by her husband; he, not she, claims the right over her body, as she, not he, claims the right over his. Do not starve one another, unless perhaps you do so for a time, by mutual consent, to have more freedom for prayer; come together again, or Satan will tempt you, weak as you are.”
            The Church until the 1930’s always regarded contraception as unacceptable.

          • According to the Protestant Confessions, marriage was ordained, ‘For the mutual help of husband and wife, for the increase of makind with a legitimate issue, and for preventing uncleanness [immorality] (Baptist 1689 Confession of faith. The XXXIX Articles are similar). The proof texts given are Gen. 2:18; Gen. 1:28; 1 Cor. 7:2, 9.

            Now if there is one command of the Lord which mankind has fulfilled with gusto, it is the command to multiply and fill the earth. In the absence of any command of the Lord to do otherwise, I see no objection to married couples using contraception. Unmarried couples, of course, shouldn’t be having sex, let alone using contraception.

            As I say, I have only an academic interest in your church fathers. matters are proved by the Bible, and nothing else.

          • “Now if there is one command of the Lord which mankind has fulfilled with gusto, it is the command to multiply and fill the earth.”

            Which is why the population in the West is failing to replace itself.

            Martin Luther, John Calvin and John Wesley all preached against contraception as being against the natural law and God’s revealed will. Indeed, up until 1930 all Protestant denominations agreed in condemning contraception. At its 1930 Lambeth Conference the Anglican church announced that contraception would be allowed in some circumstances. Soon the church allowed contraception across the board as an act of individual conscience, and all Protestant denominations followed suit.

            Some methods of contraception are actually early forms of abortion. Some methods of birth control act after conception has occurred to prevent the continuation of the pregnancy. The intrauterine device (IUD) acts primarily as an early abortion agent by preventing implantation of the week-old human life. The birth control Pill makes the inner lining of the uterus very hostile to implantation. It is not known how often the Pill acts in this way, but it cannot be denied that the Pill acts as an early abortion agent.

          • Albert

            Please tell me that’s not the best you can do…

          • Inspector General

            What’s the point. You religious police may well think you’ll
            triumph eventually, but we will stand up to and ignore you. Then you will be pushed aside.

          • Albert

            I’m simply looking at the evidence, and it’s easy to see that I can go back on this one well beyond 1853! A Christian should find himself opposing the world – If they persecuted me they will persecute you.

          • Inspector General

            Evidence ? Selected texts from whomever you find suits your way of thinking.

            To be alive, to live and to experience life, to cope with life, is sin itself is it ? There you go, that’s YOUR religion. Expect further opposition to your machine mind thoughts in the future…

          • Albert

            If you think I offer selected texts, go and find me something from the early Church to support your position. Your second paragraph does not address or represent my position.

          • Inspector General

            Stick your texts. You damn converts to Roman Catholicism are a right pain…

          • Albert

            We do our best! But you disappoint me. You just said Expect further opposition to your machine mind thoughts in the future…, and now you seem to be throwing in the towel! Besides, it was you who started the appeal. This is what you said:

            There was a time when the church kept out of married couples private intimacies, and he knows it.

            Now how can you possibly know that without evidence? And what kind of evidence would you have in this department, if it were not textual evidence?

            Stick your texts.

            I will, and you will stick to your non-texts.

          • Inspector General

            Clear off and go with Carl’s church. We don’t need you guilt trippers with us.

          • Inspector

            Its so annoying when a mere convert demonstrates a greater grasp of Catholicism than we old hands, isn’t it?

            After 4 years Jack still doesn’t fully understand your Christian objections to homosexuality. He knows you regard the acts as repellent and hazardous to health. He knows you see the condition as an affliction that should be practiced in private and not spoken about. He also knows you object to a noisy minority imposing their views on society and children. What he can’t quite fathom is whether you have any objections based on Christian sexual morality – as you understand, that is.

            Well?

          • carl jacobs

            Inspector

            How did I get dragged into this? And anyways. Did you just call me more Catholic than Albert?

          • Albert

            What we need is forgiveness, and that comes only with repentance…

          • Hi inspector

            The arguments you’re putting up here about contraception (which I don’t necessarily disagree with) could also be applied by gay people…

          • Indeed …. and they are. This is what our dear Inspector fails to grasp.

          • Hi happy Jack,

            I think inspectors views come from what I call the”icky” factor. That is, he simply doesn’t like the idea of gay / lesbian sexual activity. It’s something I’ve encountered a lot. Many heterosexual women will be extremely accepting of gay men (at least the “camp” stereotype), but, say 50% , will be hostile towards gay women, even if they are “feminine” like me…. By contrast I’ve found 99% of straight men to be more accepting of lesbians, but less so of gay men and I dunno why that is so. Of course I’m making generalised comments, but I find that office banter -like being called a “hot dyke” or the “leso” or “which one of you is the butch one”- is just easier with straight men. Although I get on extremely well with gay men as well…. and most straight women.

          • Inspector General

            A thought Albert. Are you confusing the issue of birth control with papal commands that Christian families should turn out as many children (boys) as possible to oppose the muslims then on their way to Vienna. A command that ultra Catholics like you will claim has never been rescinded and is thus still in place.

          • Albert

            No, I am not. I am going from the evidence.

          • Busy Mum

            As I pointed out on the DT the other day – sexual relations are a privilege for married persons – the trade-off is that these prvileged persons contribute to society by raising children.

          • cacheton

            Trade-off? Privilege? That’s political, not spiritual.

          • Busy Mum

            Thought this website was all about the overlap between the spiritual and the political?!

          • cacheton

            But there is no overlap there. It’s purely political.

            The church’s teachings on sex/sexuality have nothing to do with spirituality at all, but are purely past measures to give some organisation to society, ie: political.

          • Busy Mum

            So you do agree with me that the Biblical view of marriage and sexual behaviour is a good way of organising society and that without this restraint, chaos will ensue?

          • cacheton

            No.

            If the church were a beacon of spiritual teaching, which it claims it is, or at least wants to be, then sexual responsibility would ensue anyway without having to be enforced. The fact it feels it has to have rules about this sort of thing does not make it convincing as a spiritual beacon, which is why it is losing support.

          • Busy Mum

            I said the Biblical view, not the church view; I agree that the church, in abandoning Biblical teaching, is no longer a beacon..

          • Albert

            Really? You seem very confident. Are you going to offer some evidence in support of this? Besides, what is wrong or unspiritual about giving organisation to society?

          • cacheton

            Use your brain Albert.
            There is nothing wrong with giving organisation to society if the aim is to reduce harm. This is not a spiritual exercise however – with proper spiritual guidance people would not want to be involved in harm anyway, as they would understand that it is not in their best interests. But as the church cannot distinguish between what is and what isn’t spiritual in its’ book of words (we’ve been here before I think!), it is now seen by a majority as merely a set of rules by which to live which many no longer want to accept, and why should they? The government is there to make the rules which some people still need, and their business is politics.

          • Albert

            Use your brain cacheton.

            But as the church cannot distinguish between what is and what isn’t spiritual in its’ book of words

            So say you. But as we have seen you’re ignorant of the issues you pontificate so rudely about (while claiming compassion and love are so important to you, of course).

          • cacheton

            So its rude to use one’s brain. I see. Maybe this is why you will not use yours to explore your belief that the bible is the word of/inspired by God? Why you uncritically ‘pontificate’ that the Catholic church is ‘right’!

          • Albert

            What’s rude is the implication that I wasn’t using my brain.

            Maybe this is why you will not use yours to explore your belief that the bible is the word of/inspired by God?

            That is just stupid. I have given reason in defence of that.

            Why you uncritically ‘pontificate’ that the Catholic church is ‘right’!

            I have also given reason in defence of that.

            You on the other hand, offer a range of regulation issue opinions, which usually attack my faith on the basis of prejudices you do not realise you hold and which you therefore cannot investigate.

          • cacheton

            I am not attacking your faith Albert, I am questioning your reasoning, which you say your faith is based on.

            You have said that the reason you believe the bible is the word of god is because the church commends it to you as such. That is not adequate reasoning, and I’m pretty sure that you know that!

          • Albert

            Well hang on a minute. You seem to be thinking one or possibly two things, and you haven’t defended either. Firstly, you seem to be thinking that in order for a belief to be rational if and only if, everything it rests on can be rationally or evidentially demonstrated.

            Secondly, you may be assuming that your beliefs are so grounded.

          • cacheton

            Yes, I suppose so. If it can be rationally and evidentially demonstrated that believing God is unconditional love and compassion is beneficial, then even if one cannot scientifically prove the existence of God, that is a reasonable evidence for the belief being based on some sort of ‘truth’. Some may not agree.

            And we would also have to agree on what ‘beneficial’ is – it seems to me that it is here that there are more problems than with the belief that god is love and compassion.

            What is your reasoning behind your belief that what the church says is true?

          • Albert

            Two problems here: firstly whether you can demonstrate your claims about God are rational (and whether your view of beneficial is right). Secondly, and far more importantly, I think you need to show, by its own standards why the following proposition is true: a belief to be rational if and only if, everything it rests on can be rationally or evidentially demonstrated.

            Until such time as you can do that, you can’t pick at my arguments with lines like:

            You have said that the reason you believe the bible is the word of god is because the church commends it to you as such. That is not adequate reasoning, and I’m pretty sure that you know that!

            In any case, I have given reason to believe in the Church, but you have given no reason in support of your beliefs. So I think you are not in a position to complain about the rationality of my position.

          • cacheton

            Neither I nor anyone else can prove or test the existence of a separate God to scientific standards, precisely for that reason – God is not separate.
            But what I can do is evidentially demonstrate that my belief that he exists has an effect. I observe the effect of believing God is unconditional love and compassion leading to more of the same in myself and the world, and for me that is the proof I need that, well, this is God. This is what I would expect from a universal and unconditionally loving creator – to create more of himself.

            But it also supposes – we’ve been through this before – that I can tell what is unconditionally loving and compassionate. This is where we differ, because you say you can’t do that as you’re not God, so you need the Bible to do that with, as for some reason I have not yet understood you believe that this is the only thing that has been inspired by God for the past 2000 years.

          • Albert

            I don’t understand the first paragraph. God is essentially of a completely different nature from everything else, and is therefore radically separate (to use your word).

            But what I can do is evidentially demonstrate that my belief that he exists has an effect.

            I agree: the universe is one enormous effect of God.

            This is what I would expect from a universal and unconditionally loving creator – to create more of himself.

            Now here’s the problem. If God is genuinely unconditional, you cannot condition him with terms like love (at least not human concepts of love, anyway). Similarly, you cannot say that you expect this or that or him. To do so is to entail that he is conditioned by factors that you can know. But that is not God at all.

            some reason I have not yet understood you believe that this is the only thing that has been inspired by God for the past 2000 years.

            I want to tweak that: the apostles’ actions and words were also potentially inspired. However, there has been no new revelation since the death of the last apostle, because, in Christ, God has already revealed everything he is going to reveal.

          • cacheton

            And I don’t understand your first paragraph. If God created everything, and in the beginning was only God etc etc, how can he be essentially of a completely different nature from everything he has created? Sure he can and does create the illusion of things being different, but the work of spiritual teaching is to bring people to the understanding that essentially there is no difference, any illusion of difference or separation is just that – an illusion.

            Otherwise you would be contradicting your view that God did not create evil, only the possibility of it – you would be arguing that God did infact create evil, radically different and separate from himself.

            As to your last paragraph – how on earth do you know that??!

          • Albert

            If God created everything, and in the beginning was only God etc etc, how can he be essentially of a completely different nature from everything he has created?

            Obviously, if God created everything else, he isn’t one of the things he created (or he would have to create himself, which is absurd). Thus he has a different nature. Moreover, the universe is filled with contingency, but the cause of all cannot be contingent, or it would itself need a cause. Therefore he is of a different nature. Think of a fishpond. If we had a really intelligent fish, he might ask if the water he is in is in anything itself. Obviously, whatever it is in, could not just be essentially the same as the water, or it would just be more water, and the pond wouldn’t be in anything else. We of course know that whatever the fishpond is in, isn’t water, but of a difference essence. Ergo…

            Sure he can and does create the illusion of things being different, but the work of spiritual teaching is to bring people to the understanding that essentially there is no difference, any illusion of difference or separation is just that – an illusion.

            Another truth claim…oops.

            Otherwise you would be contradicting your view that God did not create evil, only the possibility of it – you would be arguing that God did infact create evil, radically different and separate from himself.

            I cannot see how that follows. I suppose it’s possible that you’ve found a problem that St Augustine, St Thomas Aquinas and the rest didn’t notice, but I think it more likely that there is an error in your thinking.

            As to your last paragraph – how on earth do you know that??!

            It follows from understanding that Jesus is God. It’s also in the Bible and it is the explicit teaching of the Church.

          • cacheton

            What is absurd about God creating himself, in different forms? Obviously if he created more of his absolute self, in his absolute dimension, the result would be more of the same, on and on, and nobody (God included) would see a difference because God is all there is anyway, so ‘more God’ and ‘less God’ are meaningless. But he can create different versions of himself suited to different dimensions, and I think we agree that in our physical incarnated situation we are not in the same dimension as absolute love and compassion! The difference is one of form, not essence. This explains your fishpond.

            If you argue that God creates things essentially different from himself, then you are basically saying he could create evil. But you said before that he didn’t. So who did?

            And the belief that god stopped revealing himself 2000 years ago is part of that same old unreasoned belief that the bible is the word of god etc … I see.

          • Albert

            Your first paragraph will be unintelligible to anyone who uses the word “God” in the theistic sense. Granted it might make sense on a Hindu view. But look, if God can change (e.g. from one form to another), then God is in some sense contingent. If he is contingent, then he needs to be caused by another, and if he needs to be caused by another, he isn’t God, but the “another” is.

            If you argue that God creates things essentially different from himself, then you are basically saying he could create evil. But you said before that he didn’t. So who did?

            “Evil is neither a being nor a good” Pseudo Dionysius the Areopagite. As evil is not a kind of thing or substance, it isn’t something that God creates.

            And the belief that god stopped revealing himself 2000 years ago is part of that same old unreasoned belief that the bible is the word of god etc … I see.

            That wasn’t very loving, was it? But I have given reason for this belief. Granted, it may not have been an evidential proof, but as I have pointed out you cannot rationally demonstrate that a belief is unreasoned if it does not have an evidential proof in its favour. So your claim here is wrong, and based on a position that you have neither, nor can defend. Nice.

          • cacheton

            Jesus showed that God can become human, that God can change form, and still stay himself. The fact that Jesus was physical did not suddenly make God contingent, did it.

            And how is evil created then?

            What is the reasoning behind the Church’s claim that the bible is the word of/inspired by God? If your belief rests on this, then maybe this needs exploring. Why do you believe the church? Beliefs can (and should) be reasoned back to something that is either unprovable, like the existence of God (we’ve been here before) or they should be based on at least something, no? Otherwise you are kind of admitting that at base your belief arises out of an emotional need, a fear. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that, but in the name of clarity it would be helpful to everybody, including those people, if they admitted that.

          • Albert

            Jesus showed that God can become human, that God can change form, and still stay himself.

            That’s not the claim. The claim is as follows:

            although He is God and man, yet He is not two, but one Christ. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of that manhood into God.

            You say,

            The fact that Jesus was physical did not suddenly make God contingent, did it.

            He was contingent in his humanity, not his divinity.

            And how is evil created then?

            As I have said, evil isn’t created. Evil occurs however either when one physical perfects itself at the expense of another (a lion eating a lamb – this is a good for the lion, but evil for the lamb) or when free agents choose bad actions.

            What is the reasoning behind the Church’s claim that the bible is the word of/inspired by God? If your belief rests on this, then maybe this needs exploring. Why do you believe the church?

            I have answered this before.

            Beliefs can (and should) be reasoned back to something that is either unprovable, like the existence of God (we’ve been here before) or they should be based on at least something, no?

            My belief in the Church meets that test. As a matter of interest, can you subject that claim to its own test?

            Otherwise you are kind of admitting that at base your belief arises out of an emotional need, a fear.

            That didn’t follow.

            I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that, but in the name of clarity it would be helpful to everybody, including those people, if they admitted that.

            Some atheists perhaps hold their beliefs out of fear. Are you asking them to admit that?

          • cacheton

            Re ‘the claim’: who wrote that? Is there anything that Jesus reportedly said that would back this up? I am assuming you interpret the second sentence as a choice God made with Jesus but that he won’t/doesn’t make with everybody else. Why won’t/does he not make the same choice with everybody else?

            How do you know that it is evil for the lamb? How do you know that the lamb does not just accept it. Lambs are not humans, and neither are lions for that matter. Whereas free agents (humans) choosing bad actions – what is it that makes them ‘bad’? Surely it is harm to others, which the free agent has not yet grasped is self-harm at the same time.

            For a belief to be reasonable, it has to be reason-able. No? If you can’t reason it back to source, then what is wrong with admitting that?

            I think the ‘based on fear’ bit does follow, because with a basic knowledge of psychology one knows that this is what all beliefs are based on, if they cannot be reasoned. Jesus did not believe anything, he knew! And absolutely I would ask any materialistic meat-machine believing atheist to admit their belief is based on fear, the fear that the assumption of naturalism on which the scientific method is based is actually false: very useful for doing science, but ultimately false.

          • Albert

            Re ‘the claim’: who wrote that? Is there anything that Jesus reportedly said that would back this up?

            It comes from the Athanasian Creed. As for backing it up, that’s what Christians mean by the incarnation.

            I am assuming you interpret the second sentence as a choice God made with Jesus but that he won’t/doesn’t make with everybody else.

            No, that’s not what it means. Jesus is not a man whom God adopts as God the Son, rather Jesus has no existence except as God the Son. Hence someone who is not already God incarnate, cannot become God incarnate.

            How do you know that it is evil for the lamb?

            Being eaten is plainly bad for the lamb – even if the lamb wants to be eaten.

            Whereas free agents (humans) choosing bad actions – what is it that makes them ‘bad’? Surely it is harm to others, which the free agent has not yet grasped is self-harm at the same time.

            You are confusing natural and moral evil.

            For a belief to be reasonable, it has to be reason-able. No?

            What does “reason-able” mean? Does it mean that it is scientifically provable, or that reason can be given in its favour or something else?

            If you can’t reason it back to source, then what is wrong with admitting that?

            I can reason it back to source: Jesus, being God made man is the first truth. That is the highest truth you can get. My question would be how many other beliefs can be reasoned back so far.

            I think the ‘based on fear’ bit does follow, because with a basic knowledge of psychology one knows that this is what all beliefs are based on, if they cannot be reasoned.

            They could be based on confusion, or they may not be the kind of belief that fits this construct. My belief that the works of the ancients are not medieval forgeries is held with very little reason, but it is not based on fear. Moreover, psychology is not demonstrably true, and therefore that psychological claim would be based on fear.

            And absolutely I would ask any materialistic meat-machine believing atheist to admit their belief is based on fear, the fear that the assumption of naturalism on which the scientific method is based is actually false: very useful for doing science, but ultimately false.

            Some atheists are clearly very fearful and this is the cause of their error. Others are just confused.

          • cacheton

            There are 2 kinds of evil? Please explain!

            Reason-able means you can reason it back to its source.

            I would agree with your ‘highest truth’. But ‘Jesus is not a man whom God adopts as God the Son, rather Jesus has no existence except as God the Son’ is already an interpretation of that, and there are others. You suggest that all other humans DO have an existence other than as God’s children. What is that? And why?

            And Albert, most Christians are very confused too! I’m wondering where your ‘psychology is not demonstrably true’ comes from? Humans don’t have minds? That sounds more like something an atheist would say!

          • Albert

            2 kinds of evil: natural evil, evils that don’t involve moral agents choosing badly – things like earthquakes, disease etc. Moral evil – where moral agents choose badly – sin.

            Reason-able means you can reason it back to its source.

            What do you mean by source?

            is already an interpretation of that, and there are others

            It is the interpretation given by his Church, by the power of his Holy Spirit, which, he promised would lead us into all truth.

            You suggest that all other humans DO have an existence other than as God’s children. What is that? And why?

            Yes, certainly. The Bible makes it clear that Jesus is God’s Son in a unique way (his only-begotten). This is normally taken to mean that Jesus shares God’s divine nature in some way. That could not be true of us. We clearly have a different nature, and are God’s children only metaphorically.

            psychology is not demonstrably true

            There is no way that you can show that a psychological interpretation is the correct one. Let’s take two opposing theories of human behaviour. One says that all human behaviour is motivated by pride, another says it is motivated by fear. Now let’s say Fred sees a man drowning and doesn’t stop to help. Supporters of the first interpretation says “There you see, Fred is so proud he thinks it is beneath him to help.” But supporters of the second interpretation say “That confirms my theory, Fred doesn’t help because he is afraid himself.” It’s hard to find evidence conclusively to support such theories (for the record, if I subscribe to a psychological school, I am probably an Adlerian).

          • cacheton

            By source I mean the fundamental fact on which the other beliefs are based.

            Why could that not be true of us? There are many examples of acts of healing, unconditional love etc in the human race!

            And those psychological theories really are unrecognisable as such. I was thinking more along the lines of those who actually studied the mind and its unconscious aspect, like Freud (who you have already quoted) and Jung, rather than behavioural ‘psychologists’.

          • Albert

            But what is a fact, and how is it known? To me the fundamental truth is God. Reason from him and everything follows.

            was thinking more along the lines of those who actually studied the mind and its unconscious aspect, like Freud (who you have already quoted) and Jung, rather than behavioural ‘psychologists’.

            I don’t think it makes a lot of difference. Psychology isn’t a science in the normal sense of the word. The fact that Freud and Jung had such different takes on psychology (and the fact that the responses to them have been so varied) proves the point I made.

          • cacheton

            Right, so how do you reason that God wrote the bible?

            The only reason Freud and Jung are not considered scientists is because the conclusions they ultimately came to (Jung particularly) were more religious than scientific, and science did not (and still does not) want to see itself usurped by something else. I do not think the Western world has even begun to grasp the implications of Jung’s understandings, to our detriment. Instead we have to put up with behavioural short term techniques which can still be confined to what science thinks it can accept, while a working understanding of the mind is still not mainstream, and there are many miserable people suffering depression etc for whom there is very limited help available. I think religion could make a big difference here, if it weren’t itself caught up in ego but instead offered a way of going beyond it.

          • Albert

            I do not claim that God “wrote the bible”.

            The only reason Freud and Jung are not considered scientists is because the conclusions they ultimately came to (Jung particularly) were more religious than scientific, and science did not (and still does not) want to see itself usurped by something else.

            I think Freud would be very surprised to think his view was religious. In any case, the reason they are not considered scientists is because they do not follow scientific method.

            I think religion could make a big difference here, if it weren’t itself caught up in ego but instead offered a way of going beyond it.

            This is just prejudice again. In fact, religions help people with mental illness – numerous studies have shown this.

          • cacheton

            I don’t know enough about Freud to comment, but Jung did follow the scientific method. That’s why he maintained that he was a scientist when accused of trying to found another religion. As I said before, it is the conclusions that made ‘Science’ reject him, not the method.

            That is an observation. You may see it as an opinion – in which case you could explain why my observation is wrong.

          • Albert

            It is very hard empirically to falsify psychological theories, hence it is hard to see how they can be considered science.

          • cacheton

            You can test if they work. I suppose they would be difficult to falsify, yes, but when dealing with the evolution of consciousness that is to be expected – empirical science can’t explain consciousness!

          • Albert

            The example I gave of theories about human motivation was of two opposite motivations both equally confirmed by the same action. You are right, empirical science can’t explain consciousness, that is one of the reasons why psychology is not scientific.

          • CliveM

            I am confused, what is it you believe, if anything? Previously you have accused me of being to ready to stick with my mind and not my heart and then you accuse Albert of not using his brain!

            Where are you coming from ?

          • cacheton

            I believe that God is unconditional love and compassion. Everything else comes from that.

            Albert and I had a conversation a couple of weeks ago on another article and my ‘accusation’ referred to where we discussed using brains on that!

            So what do you do if your understanding of biblical teaching is in conflict with your heart?

          • CliveM

            I had forgotten about this!

            Until it was showed that my understanding was wrong, I would stick with my head. Emotions are too changeable and fickle.

          • cacheton

            But maybe that’s exactly what your heart is doing – showing you that your understanding is wrong. Unconditional love is not an emotion – it is God, beyond emotion.

          • CliveM

            I unconditionally love my son. But I also have rules, which in some cases he will be punished if he breaks. I don’t punish him out of vindictiveness, but out of concern (some rules are about being safe, some are about being moral, some are because he needs to learn to live in society etc) to ensure that when he becomes an adult he has the tools to make his own decisions and lead his life.
            I think that is the unconditional love shown by God and revealed in the Bible. You mistake this as a promiscuous, anything goes love, guided by want.

          • CliveM

            Cacheton

            You might not agree with Albert, but he always uses his brain. I have always found what he says well thought out and considered.

          • cacheton

            Yes, Albert is a thinker. In my experience thinkers are quite rare among those who claim to be religious, which is why it is so nice to communicate with him.

          • Albert

            That’s kind of you cacheton, but I think you need to read a little more philosophy of religion if you think that. Try Alvin Plantinga.

            BTW, I tend to hold the same about secular-minded people….

          • cacheton

            Oh so do I Albert. Thinkers are a rare breed over the whole spectrum these days it seems. I will try Alvin Plantinga.

          • Albert

            Thank you, Clive.

          • Albert

            It is one of the goods to which sexuality is ordered. Reason shows us this. Thus a person who separates the two alienates himself from his own rational structure. This in turn leads to other errors. As even Freud could see:

            “It is a characteristic common to all the perversions that in them reproduction as an aim is put aside. This is actually the criterion by which we judge whether a sexual activity is perverse – if it departs from reproduction in its aims and pursues the attainment of gratification independently.” Sigmund Freud, A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis (1920)

            While Darwin offers a related point:

            “I believe that any such [contraceptive] practices would in time lead to unsound women & would destroy chastity, on which the family bond depends; & the weakening of this bond would be the greatest of all possible evils to mankind.”

            The fact that these things are almost universally accepted, does not mean they are not perverted. It means society is almost universally perverted.

          • Inspector General

            Don’t stop there Albert. Let’s have your thoughts on ‘Western Education’ while you’re at it…

          • cacheton

            ‘It is one of the goods to which sexuality is ordered.’

            Yes, but not the only one.

            Albert I am fascinated – are you a catholic scholar of some sort – do you have a database of quotes on all subjects from different influential people that you can access to support your beliefs?

          • Albert

            Not the only one – I said that. But it is one of the goods.

            No, I’m not a Catholic scholar. But I read a lot of books. Although I often can’t remember where I read something, I can usually remember who said what to be able to find the quote from the internet.

          • cacheton

            But what makes it a necessary good? What is wrong with having sex to get one of the other goods? Do you approve of compulsory sex for married couples to have kids, even if one partner really does not want or enjoy it?

          • Albert

            But what makes it a necessary good?

            The fact that it is inherently natural to the act. Hence it requires artificial contraception to prevent it, and it is the artificial element that is the problem.

            What is wrong with having sex to get one of the other goods?

            Nothing, I’m just saying that none of the goods should be absent. Sex without love is at least as abhorrent to me.

            Do you approve of compulsory sex for married couples to have kids, even if one partner really does not want or enjoy it?

            In common with secular law I think that consummation is necessary for the validity of the marriage (this has been compromised now, because the law cannot recognize gay sex as sex, so in an anti-equality move, consummation is required for heterosexual marriage, but not homosexual “marriage”). Beyond that, I do not think sex should be compulsory for married couples (I don’t quite see why you ask this question), and indeed, if one partner does not consent to it then it would clearly be rape if it did happen.

          • cacheton

            I was asking that question because I reckoned you would answer, as you did, that none of the goods should be absent. If sex without pleasure is OK, then why is sex without the possibility of procreation not OK, kinda thing. That actually includes most heterosexual sex in marriage aswell!

            And as to whether ‘none of the goods should be absent’ – whyever not? We could be here debating for eternity.

          • Albert

            I didn’t say procreation had to be present, I said all the goods should be present and I meant “open to procreation” as a good.

            So let me clarify: sex must be open to procreation and must be open to pleasure. Of course, neither can be guaranteed in any individual act of sex, but actively to prevent one of those goods is plainly evil, since it is about intentionally removing one of the goods (e.g. a man actively preventing his wife from having pleasure – who would deny that that is evil, a good is being prevented). What is evil in Christianity, but deprivation of good? Thus, it follows, that artificial contraception, since it is about deliberately removing a good inherent in the act, is actually evil.

          • cacheton

            So whatever happened to free will then?

          • Albert

            How on earth have you come to the conclusion that what I have said questions free will?

          • cacheton

            Because you have said that I cannot exercise my free will to use contraception, for example.

            You are basically saying that God gave free will, but punishes/sanctions/judges people for using it. Personally I don’t think God is a hypocrite. Do you?

          • Albert

            Where did I say you cannot exercise your free will to use contraception?

            You are basically saying that God gave free will, but punishes/sanctions/judges people for using it.

            No I’m not. I am saying that God gives free will and punishes people for misusing it. He rewards those who use it properly.

          • cacheton

            And how do you qualify ‘misusing’? That is the same as ‘using’ plus a punishment/judgment/sanction on whatever the use happens to be, rendering free will not free at all.

            I stand by what I said. Your god seems to be a hypocrite.

          • Albert

            To misuse something is to direct it against its proper end. God, who creates all things, and directs all natures of things, know what each nature is properly directed to, since he has directed it.

            I cannot follow the logic of the second sentence. Of course I have free will even if I know there is a sanction.

          • cacheton

            If free will is conditional, then it is not free. And having things ‘properly directed’ is also conditional. That is not what God is, as he is unconditional, and creates unconditionally. In my belief system anyway.

            I can see we are going to get there soon, so I’d like to jump ahead a bit.

            Albert, do you think evil is absolute, therefore on a par with God, or do you think god created it, or the possibility of it?

          • Albert

            I never said free will was conditional.

            If free will is conditional, then it is not free.

            That does not follow.

            And having things ‘properly directed’ is also conditional.

            On the contrary, having rules in certain things makes freedom a possibility.

            That is not what God is, as he is unconditional, and creates unconditionally.

            What do you mean by saying he creates unconditionally (and is unconditional)?

            do you think evil is absolute, therefore on a par with God, or do you think god created it, or the possibility of it?

            I don’t see why it was always going to end up there, but since you ask, I do not think evil is absolute, neither do I think God created it. I think God created the possibility of it and permits it. That’s fairly standard Christian belief.

          • cacheton

            Oh are we back to basics again? Do you believe that God is unconditional love and compassion? I do, and I thought you did too. By writing ‘God is unconditional’ I mean ‘God is unconditional’. That’s not too hard is it?

            Re evil – we agree, but I do not agree that that is fairly standard Christian belief. I have found that most Christians who have thought about it prefer to believe that evil is absolute, which of course creates a basic theological problem around who created it, which they prefer not to think about!

          • Albert

            Whatever God is, he is unconditionally. This is because he is infinite. However, it does not follow that what he creates is unconditional and it is that move that I am critiquing. If God creates something, he creates something finite, and something finite is necessarily limited by conditions. Therefore, God creates unconditionally (because nothing compels him to do so), but what he creates is conditional. To prove this just ask yourself if you have the freewill to turn into a butterfly.

            I have found that most Christians who have thought about it prefer to believe that evil is absolute, which of course creates a basic theological problem around who created it, which they prefer not to think about!

            The position I have given is standard Christian orthodoxy. A Christian who thinks evil is absolute has not thought about it, for precisely the reason you give.

          • cacheton

            Well I’ve just answered this in another post – he creates the illusion of things being finite, and therefore conditional, the ultimate end being death. But he shows us in Jesus that death is not the end, not real – he shows us that it is an illusion, an illusion of the dimension we find ourselves in as incarnated physical beings.

          • Albert

            You’ve asserted this claim about the illusion. But if things are infinite, how will they fall for an illusion?

            But he shows us in Jesus that death is not the end, not real – he shows us that it is an illusion, an illusion of the dimension we find ourselves in as incarnated physical beings.

            This is just wrong. Death is the end. We are not deluded in thinking that. It’s just that God, in his kindness chooses to overcome death.

          • cacheton

            How do essentially infinite beings fall for an illusion? Very easily, as is plain for all to see. Because God created the possibility of it.

            Death is the end of what?

            Did Jesus show that human death is an illusion, yes or no?
            Is Jesus alive? I presume you would agree that he is. But I assume you agree also that he is not currently incarnate in a physical body. So where is he? He ascended into a different dimension, did he not?

          • Albert

            How do essentially infinite beings fall for an illusion? Very easily, as is plain for all to see. Because God created the possibility of it.

            If a being is of infinite knowledge, that being cannot fall for an illusion. If, on the other hand, a being is not of infinite knowledge, that being is not God.

            Death is the end of life.

            Did Jesus show that human death is an illusion, yes or no?

            He showed death is not an illusion, he really died.

            Is Jesus alive? I presume you would agree that he is. But I assume you agree also that he is not currently incarnate in a physical body.

            Jesus is physical, but not physically present in our dimension (if I am to use your terms).

          • cacheton

            Albert, did God create humans? Humans are notoriously good at falling for illusions!

            Death is the end of what life?

            Jesus really died a physical death, then rose again. Then ascended…. where is he now? Do you think Jesus is still physical, ie: incarnate? If he is still physically incarnate, then he is in the physical dimension. Where is he?

          • Albert

            Of course God created humans, the fact that they are created (and fall prey to illusions) shows they are not God.

            Death is the end of this life. I believe we have an immortal soul, but, as Aquinas says, my soul is not me. Hence, I believe at death, although part of me continues, death really is the end of me, as such.

            Jesus really died a physical death, then rose again. Then ascended…. where is he now? Do you think Jesus is still physical, ie: incarnate? If he is still physically incarnate, then he is in the physical dimension. Where is he?

            The Bible says Jesus rises with a spiritual body. It has properties we do not experience in normal life (although it’s not obvious that it has properties weirder than you find in quantum physics). Jesus isn’t somewhere in the physical universe, though.

          • cacheton

            We do not agree about your first sentence – in explaining I would just be repeating what I have already said, so I won’t!

            ‘My soul is not me’. What is it then?
            ‘I believe at death, although part of me continues, death really is the end of me’. But I’m sure you recognise that the two ‘me’s in that sentence could not possibly be referring to the same thing, as one dies and the other lives.

            Jesus rose from the tomb with a spiritual body, or rose into heaven with a spiritual body? I thought people touched him after he had risen from the tomb, to make sure he really was physical. At what point did his body leave physicality then? It is not at all obvious that a spiritual body has properties we do not experience in physical life – sure most of us are not aware of it, the physical nature of our bodies deludes most people into thinking that there is nothing else.

            Jesus isn’t in the physical universe, OK. Where is he, then?

          • Albert

            We do not agree about your first sentence

            We? Are you Legion? I cannot see how you use the word “God” in my sense and disagree with the proposition.

            What is it then?

            Part of me.

            But I’m sure you recognise that the two ‘me’s in that sentence could not possibly be referring to the same thing, as one dies and the other lives.

            If an essential part of me ceases to be, I cease to be, even if other essential parts of me continue.

            Jesus rose from the tomb with a spiritual body, or rose into heaven with a spiritual body?

            Both.

            I thought people touched him after he had risen from the tomb, to make sure he really was physical.

            Yes, but he also arrived in rooms where the doors were locked.

            At what point did his body leave physicality then?

            Do you mean, when did he leave our universe as we know it?

            It is not at all obvious that a spiritual body has properties we do not experience in physical life

            On the contrary, that’s exactly what it means.

            Jesus isn’t in the physical universe, OK. Where is he, then?

            Heaven.

          • cacheton

            If you think your soul is part of you, then it should be possible to separate your soul from you without affecting the rest. Is that possible?

            Yes – when did Jesus leave the universe? Where is heaven?

          • Albert

            If you think your soul is part of you, then it should be possible to separate your soul from you without affecting the rest. Is that possible?

            Your soul is that which animates you. Therefore, if you remove the soul, you are no longer animated – i.e. you are dead. Therefore, no, it isn’t possible.

            when did Jesus leave the universe? Where is heaven?

            At the Ascension, although given that he left the universe, the question of where he went/is is rather an odd one.

          • cacheton

            Your soul is that which animates you. Therefore, if you remove the soul, you are no longer animated – i.e. you are dead.

            Well quite. That suggests that the soul is more than ‘a part’. It is the determining factor. Are you also saying that the soul can live without the body, but not vice versa?

            Jesus left the universe? God is bigger than the universe, and that’s where Jesus is, outside the universe? I think the ascension tells us that Jesus left our dimension, but he must be in the universe otherwise he could not be said to be alive in any sense could he?

          • Albert

            It is the determining factor. Are you also saying that the soul can live without the body, but not vice versa?

            Body and soul together are necessary for the whole person, but yes, the soul can live without the body, but not vice versa.

            God is bigger than the universe, and that’s where Jesus is, outside the universe? I think the ascension tells us that Jesus left our dimension, but he must be in the universe otherwise he could not be said to be alive in any sense could he?

            I think there’s a contradiction in there somewhere. But even if there were not, there is at least a non sequitur.

          • cacheton

            Albert, is Jesus alive now? You will probably say yes, and he is in heaven.

            Where/what is heaven? I do not see how you can avoid admitting different dimensions to life for much longer. I think it was even you who mentioned quantum physics!

          • Albert

            When did I say I was avoiding different dimensions? Jesus is alive now and in heaven. If you want to call that a different dimension, I have no problem with that.

          • cacheton

            OK. But you do have a problem with God being in different dimensions at the same time, it seems to me.

          • Albert

            Go on. Explain your claim.

          • cacheton

            I am not going to repeat what I have already said – this is getting long already!

            I still do not understand how you argue that god creates things fundamentally different to himself. Of course it seems to us that he does, as we live in the physical dimension which is not the same one as absolute unconditional love and compassion, though we do have access to states of consciousness where that is possible, which is how we know it/he exists.

            And you say that god does create things fundamentally different to himself, but does not create evil. That does not make sense. And you say that you don’t have, and because you are merely human you could not possibly have, any idea why god would create things which are fundamentally different to himself.

            So – either you know god exists, because you have experienced the state of consciousness where you know that, or you believe it without evidence. If the former, then you could take responsibility for also knowing why/how he creates. If the latter then there are many things you cannot have any idea about, because you do not have any experience of god, only belief. And there are many questions you evade answering because you say that it is not your responsibility, it is God’s, though you consider it IS your responsibility to uphold certain ideas written in an ancient book, even if you can see that those ideas do not have unconditional love and compassion at their base.

            WHY?

            I think we’re back where we started aren’t we?

          • Albert

            I am not going to repeat what I have already said – this is getting long already!

            But you haven’t explained why you think I have a problem with God being in different dimensions at the same time.

            I still do not understand how you argue that god creates things fundamentally different to himself.

            It follows of necessity. That which is created is finite and dependent by nature, but God is infinite and necessary by nature. Therefore, whatever God creates is fundamentally different from himself.

            And you say that god does create things fundamentally different to himself, but does not create evil. That does not make sense.

            It seems to me that it does. But if you think it doesn’t explain why.

            And you say that you don’t have, and because you are merely human you could not possibly have, any idea why god would create things which are fundamentally different to himself.

            No. I understand why if God creates what he creates is fundamentally different from himself. However, I do not see that human being should expect to understand why God creates at all. As it is, I think God has revealed an answer to this, and I gave a quotation from the Penny Catechism. I find it odd therefore, given that I have already answered the question, that you think I say I cannot.

            either you know god exists, because you have experienced the state of consciousness where you know that, or you believe it without evidence

            Faith just is the state of consciousness where you know that. But in any case, you are missing a third option which is that God’s existence is evident to us philosophically – from the things he has made, as scripture says.

            If the former, then you could take responsibility for also knowing why/how he creates.

            I’d love to see how you reach that conclusion from the premise.

            And there are many questions you evade answering because you say that it is not your responsibility, it is God’s

            I am quite certain I have never said that. May I suggest that you try to quote what I have said, rather than making inferences and attributing to me what you think I said. Remember: your knowledge of the Christian faith is pretty patchy.

            though you consider it IS your responsibility to uphold certain ideas written in an ancient book, even if you can see that those ideas do not have unconditional love and compassion at their base.

            I consider it my responsibility to uphold the truth – without truth you cannot even make compelling statements about the importance of love and compassion. This is why I really believe in those things, but you only believe in their utility.

          • cacheton

            But you haven’t explained why you think I have a problem with God being in different dimensions at the same time.

            You maintain that humans are not divine, because they do not seem to you to be so. We agree that humans do not live in an absolute dimension – we live in what seems to be a finite and dependent one, unlike God. You therefore reason that we must be fundamentally different to him, whereas I reason that it is the form that is different, not the essence, and the ‘problems’ we have are due to the characteristics of the dimension.

            I understand why if God creates what he creates is fundamentally different from himself.

            OK – so why does God create things fundamentally different from himself?

            Faith just is the state of consciousness where you know that.

            Are you saying that you know that without having experienced it?

            I consider it my responsibility to uphold the truth – without truth you cannot even make compelling statements about the importance of love and compassion. This is why I really believe in those things, but you only believe in their utility.

            If love and compassion did not have any tangible benefits (utility, as you put it) then why would you want to uphold them? And how do you find the ‘truth’ – if it is biblical ‘truth’ you are talking about you first have to have a reason why the bible is ‘true’, and I haven’t seen you provide that yet.

          • Albert

            You maintain that humans are not divine, because they do not seem to you to be so.

            Nothing to do with what they seem. They just are contrary to what, as a Christian I believe God is. If you say they are divine, you are using a different meaning of the word, from the one I use.

            You therefore reason that we must be fundamentally different to him, whereas I reason that it is the form that is different, not the essence, and the ‘problems’ we have are due to the characteristics of the dimension.

            That doesn’t answer the question of why you accuse me of having a difficulty believing God is in different dimensions. But again, I cannot see how these words apply to God. There is no distinction in God between form and essence.

            so why does God create things fundamentally different from himself?

            I have answered that twice, if not three times – show where my answer is lacking and I will respond.

            Are you saying that you know that without having experienced it?

            ??? As a man of faith, how could I possibly claim that?

            If love and compassion did not have any tangible benefits (utility, as you put it) then why would you want to uphold them?

            Because they are good and God has revealed them to be good.

            And how do you find the ‘truth’ – if it is biblical ‘truth’ you are talking about you first have to have a reason why the bible is ‘true’, and I haven’t seen you provide that yet.

            Yes, I have. I have said I believe in the Bible on account of the Church, and I believe in the Church on account of Jesus, and I believe in Jesus because he seems to me to be God, the first and highest truth.

          • James60498 .

            Fair enough. I wasn’t objecting to your comment per se, though I note some of the other comments on it.
            Rather at the apparent suggestion that the Catholic Church needs the reason of procreation as a justification as to why it treats homosexuals differently to adulterers. I would have thought the only answer needed is “it doesn’t”. Both homosexual acts and adultery are treated as wrong.
            The only reason why the adulterer may be treated slightly differently was my second point, that he (or she) should have given up on the adultery to obtain forgiveness. Someone in a long term active homosexual relationship (or a series of short term ones) has by definition not made any serious attempt to change. I am not of course including someone who falls for temptation despite best efforts to avoid, regardless of course of old behaviour.

          • Albert

            Rather at the apparent suggestion that the Catholic Church needs the reason of procreation as a justification as to why it treats homosexuals differently to adulterers. I would have thought the only answer needed is “it doesn’t”.

            That is my point! The teaching on procreation applies to everyone equally, so there is no way in which the Church singles out homosexuals for particular censure but doesn’t worry about adultery. Personally, I would say that adultery is a graver sin than a homosexual act. Both involve sexual sin, but adultery also damages other relationships (spouse, children, society etc.), probably involves lies, risks spreading infections, probably involves contraception (homosexual acts are not conceptive anyway, so the use of a condom perhaps does not aggravate the sin), risks unwanted pregnancy with the harm to child of being aborted or growing up in an unstable family.

            I am not of course including someone who falls for temptation despite best efforts to avoid, regardless of course of old behaviour.

            An important point. We are discussing simply the rightness or otherwise of acts. Sympathy and culpability for those acts is something different.

    • Busy Mum

      I agree – I will not be popular for saying this, but the minute adultery was sanctioned by government with the concept of divorce followed by remarriage – in effect, the government making legal what God had not – the floodgates were opened. Widespread homosexuality is the result of our moral decline, not the cause of it.

      “Those nations (destroyed by the Israelites on re-entering the Promised land) had reached that latest stage of sensual iniquity, which respects neither God nor Nature……their bestial indulgencies had become recognised, normal, nay more, even religious and obligatory.” Gladstone,

      Britain has recognised and normalised homosexual behaviour. Mr Chalke appears to be one of the agents for making it religious and obligatory.

    • dannybhoy

      That’s a pretty good summation Gerhard.
      Society nowadays does not condemn anything except perhaps paedophilia and Christianity. It is this “live and let live!” morality which has destroyed our cultural Christian morality.
      So that adultery flourishes – (but not much condemnation of that here.) but we can all unite in condemning “the gays.”
      We need to get on our knees, examine ourselves and then seek repentance and renewal through the power of the Holy Spirit. We need to show both God’s holiness and His love to the world through the preaching of the Gospel and accept that we ain’t going to be very popular in doing so..

      • retiredbloke

        Both sin and hell have been off the evangelical agenda for several years now. How do we expect repentance when sin is seen as having no adverse consequences. I do wonder how Chalke introduces these subjects to those he is “rescuing”.

    • Busy Mum

      Meant to say also, that while I agree that sin is sin is sin….and God’s mercy is infintely great and we have the Biblical records of David, Mary Magdalene etc as proof of this – I cannot think of a single Biblical account of God forgiving homosexual behaviour. Please correct me if I am wrong, somebody! If I am correct, surely the absence of such a record is as much for our instruction as the presence of the aforementioned records. Romans 1 would imply that a homosexual society has gone past the bounds of mercy because it is a society already under judgement – the behaviour in itself IS the sentence.

      • sarky

        Or god just didnt care? ???

        • Busy Mum

          Why should God care? (small ‘g’ gods cannot care)

          • sarky

            Exactly, why should he.

          • Busy Mum

            Christians say He needn’t care but does.
            Non-Christians say He ought to care but doesn’t.

          • sarky

            I just dont care! !!!

          • CliveM

            You must have a sad, lonely little life to spend so much time on something you don’t care about.

            Why don’t you get a hobby? Train spotting would suit I think.

          • Inspector General

            Playing on the tracks, please Clive…

          • CliveM

            Tsk, tsk most un Christian of you!

      • Gerhard

        Busy mum, ignore Sarky. He is only after a reaction. Don’t throw you pearls to swine remember!

        As for your homosexuals cannot be forgiven comment, I do not think it is true. Jesus Himself taught that it is only blaspheming the Holy Spirit that is unforgiveable. I tried to find the passage where Paul urged the church in question to refrain from sexual immorality of which he mentioned homosexuality. During this he commented that ‘some of you were like that’ which I have always read that some of these people were homosexuals but repented. Perhaps someone can furnish us with the passage.

        • dannybhoy

          Is this what you were looking for Gerhard?

          “Nay, already it is altogether a defect in you, that ye have lawsuits one with another. Why not rather take wrong? why not rather be defrauded? 8Nay, but ye yourselves do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.

          9Or know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with men, 10nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11And such were some of you: but ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.”

          1 Corinthians 6:7-11

          • Gerhard

            That’s the one, many thanks DB!

          • retiredbloke

            Why not tell it like it is:
            But as for the cowardly, the untrustworthy, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those involved with the occult and with drugs, idol- worshippers, and all liars their destiny is the lake burning with fire and sulfur, the second death.” Rev 21 8

          • sarky

            I’m screwed then.

          • retiredbloke

            Repentance is possible through the Power of the Blood of Jesus. So far as the east is from the west will your sins be removed from you.

          • Perhaps. There’s always time and, if God wills, you have plenty of years in front of you. Once you start Secondary School things will really kick off.

        • Busy Mum

          See my reply to Dannybhoy above. I did not say that homosexuals cannot be forgiven; the issue at stake is that in years gone by, practising homosexual behaviour was recognised by all as a sin which could therefore be repented of and forgiven. The trend now is for homosexual behaviour to be classed as normal and not a sin, in which case it cannot be repented of and cannot be forgiven thus excluding them from heaven. Surely this is why it is so cruel of the ‘gay lobby’ to deny therapy and help to those who are suffering temptation on this matter. It is even worse for anybody parading as a church to actively encourage these tempted ones to fall, rather than to bear and share their burdens and support them in the daily battle against all sin.

          Mr Chalke and the trendy C of E Bishops need to take heed of Peter’s warning “Judgment must begin at the house of God” (I Peter 4 v 17). These church ‘leaders’ will have to account for the souls of those they have led astray as well as for their own so will be far more accountable than those practising homosexuals who have never been told any different.I think in particular of the increasing numbers of teenagers in schools who are deciding that they are homosexual (now they have been led to believe they might have been born that way and can see that to be so qualifies them for extra consideration in all areas of life)and are deliberately kept in ignorance by the powers that be, who have effectively silenced the alternative viewpoint by the Equality Act.

          • Gerhard

            I agree with everything you say!

          • Busy Mum

            Thankyou – and I took your advice with regards to ‘Sarky’ but sadly have fallen in that respect today.

          • Gerhard

            I engaged him a little on God and cosmology last week and he was nowhere to be found. I don’t think he is up for serious discussion..

          • Busy Mum

            Think I’ve scared him away today!

      • dannybhoy

        That may be because the Lord never came into contact with homosexuals, but it’s nonsense to expect He would treat them any differently. All men are sinners..

        • Busy Mum

          I wasn’t expecting Him to treat them differently; what I am suggesting is that indulging in homosexual behaviour is evidence that He has already passed judgment on the person….’one thing to be tempted, another to fall.’

          • dannybhoy

            Yes I agree with you.

      • Martin

        BM

        Try

        “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (I Corinthians 6:9-11 [ESV]

        • Busy Mum

          Thankyou Martin. The Authorised version splits ‘men who practice homosexuality’ into the ‘effeminate’ and ‘abusers of themselves with mankind’, upholding the higher Gospel order that thoughts as well as practice must be repented of.

      • bockerglory

        Busy Mum – in Revelations there is the hint that God let’s Satan take over and permits Satan to tempt us. Satan is the best marketing and salesman in the world – he knows our weaknesses.

        • Busy Mum

          Definitely – human weakness is to want to be god.

    • Shadrach Fire

      I think Christians generally do consider homosexuality in the same light as other sins but they in their arrogance expect Christians to accept them as normal and that their lifestyle is not a sin.

      • DanJ0

        I expect wider society to accept me and my sexuality as normal and to allow me the freedom to live my life as I see fit, subject to the usual constraints that everyone has about harm etc. If Christians see a homosexual relationship as sinful then they can simply choose not to have one. It’s arrogance to think the rest of us should care a hoot what you believe. Likewise with Muslims. Just because they think drinking alcohol and eating pork is haram that doesn’t put any sort of duty on the rest of us to avoid it.

        • The difference, Danjo, is that you don’t claim to be a Christian. You’re not trying to change 2000 years of orthodox Church teaching in order to be “welcoming” and “inclusive”.

          • DanJ0

            This is why I’m not commenting generally on this thread. It’s an internal church matter. If homosexual Christians want to change their church then that’s their fight not mine. Personally, I think sexual morality in Christianity is pretty clear: In that paradigm homosexuality is, in your favourite phrase, intrinsically disordered. However, the concept of sin generally, and the ordering of sexual acts in particular, is wholly dependent on the premise that the Christian god exists. In wider society, people who don’t believe in the Christian god can simply ignore the whole thing because the argument collapses if the premise is considered to be false. In effect, you lot live in a moral bubble of your own.

          • Inspector General

            3% of the population are homosexual. Only 1% identify as such. YOU work that one out…

          • DanJ0

            Are you having one of your sexuality crises again?

          • Inspector General

            No, but YOU are…

          • DanJ0

            Oh dear. It looks very much like you’re having one of your crises again. There’s no other sensible reason for your targetting of me on this thread. No doubt you’ll be over at Pink News again shortly, trying to resolve your conflicted mental state. Really, these homosexuality threads are not good for your state of mind at all.

        • Martin

          DanJ0

          Tough, since God has clearly said that your behaviour, it is not ‘sexuality’, is sin. You’re a sinner, just like the adulterer, fornicator, paedophile and every other misuser of sex.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            When and to whom has God clearly said this? He’s never mentioned it to me.

          • Martin

            You only have to read the bible.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            I don’t have to hold the same opinions on everything as the men who wrote the Bible.

          • Martin

            GM

            Nor do you have to be a fool and pretend God doesn’t exist.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Although one of the psalms tells us that “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God”, there are in fact plenty of atheists who are very far from being fools. I am not myself an atheist, however, and I fail to see what pretending that there is no God has to do with what I have previously written.

          • DanJ0

            Your particular god almost certainly doesn’t exist and your religious book is a work of fiction written by men. You’re wasting your miserable life following a counter-intuitive and unnecessarily restrictive ideology. Give it up, you fool.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            You know God exists and you know the Bible is His word, you just want to continue pretending so you can live as you please. One day you will be very unhappy.

          • DanJ0

            Martin, you know that you merely hope your god exists and that the bible is not a work of fiction. You know you’ve been indoctrinated into a particularly vicious and unpleasant form of Christianity. Moreover, you are clearly not happy or joyful, though you serm to take a perverse pleasure in your malice. One day you will be dead, having wasted your life, and that will be that. But it’s not too late to embrace life and be good and nice and kind while you still can.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            I know God exists, as do you. It gives me no pleasure to warn you, but if God were to save you that would be pleasure indeed. Remember, God doesn’t need your consent.

    • DrCrackles

      I agree about the double-standard and this is the weak underbelly caused by the progressive waves of attack since the sexual revolution. It is all part of the plan so to speak. So, the howls of ‘hypocrites’ are rather hollow. The church, however, must be blameless.

      Regarding terminology the Christian should never refer to himself as a heterosexual. He is either married or he isn’t. If he isn’t married it should rightly be assumed he abstains from fornication.

  • Inspector General

    Commentators and viewers of this site may not be aware that Brighton, which
    is densely populated by homosexuals, has a bit of a problem with its public open
    spaces. There’s been quite a lot of ‘gross indecency in a public place’ taking place.

    To overcome this, it appears the police are dragging their feet about arresting the culprits, for lo, that would be homophobic. Instead, the council has been called upon to let the shrubbery grow in these areas.

    It just goes to show that when these deviants gather in numbers, civilisation really does begin to crumble, as the Greeks and Romans found to their cost, and presently too will Christ’s church on this earth if people like Chalke win the day.

    • gbsblogs

      Just to be clear are you saying that all who practise homosexuality are ‘deviants’

      • Inspector General

        Deviating from the ‘accepted’ norm. The norm of course is whatever we believe God would require from us. We are pretty sure he doesn’t want us to defecate on the pavement, and we also think he wants those who feel the need to queer to do it privately and not seek society’s approval.

        This is what it’s all about, you see. Not homosexuals doing what they do, or being what they are, but them DEMANDING society’s approval which will NEVER be forthcoming. Not while there are Christians about. Not while there are real men and real women around either…

        • gbsblogs

          What is a ‘real man’ and a ‘real women’?

          • sarky

            A bigot apparently! !!

          • Inspector General

            Unfamiliar terms to you, are they ?

          • gbsblogs

            I’m concept with the words ‘real’ ‘man’ and ‘women’. I’m not sure what the definition of a ‘real man’ or ‘real women’ is.

          • Inspector General

            Let’s just say they are proud to be men and proud to be women, and to conform to these ideals when others don’t have it in them to be and must queer.

          • Come now, Inspector. A homosexual can be a real man or real woman. We are not defined by our bodily lusts. In part, it means resisting the temptation to sin sexually and not seeking to publically invert the moral order in either the Church or within society. To do so in the Name of God is surely a grave offence against God – unless God is wrong.

          • Inspector General

            Standards, dear boy. Standards. It is about standards.

          • carl jacobs

            Jack

            Masculine and feminine are incomprehensible without reference to the complement. That’s why homosexuality is called confusion. It seeks to define masculinity (femininity) in terms that render distinctions of gender incidental. The purpose for the division into male and female is found in the desire of one for the other. You can’t deny that reality and still create a coherent concept of what it means to be a man or woman. You will end up with an artifical construct designed to serve the whims of man.

          • “The purpose for the division into male and female is found in the desire of one for the other.”

            Agreed, Carl. And yet, one can be a man or a woman and have no sexual desire or lust at all (perhaps the ultimate position if Jack reads Jesus and Saint Paul correctly?) or a disordered sexual desire (the misuse of the gift of human sexuality away from its intended purpose).

          • carl jacobs

            The meanings of masculinity and femininity are determined by their natural place in the created order. It doesn’t have anything to do wirh any particular man or woman. We are supposed to be conformed to the order in which we exist. To redefine those concept absent the constraints of the created order is to commit high-handed rebellion. How do you define what it means to be a man in the absence of any recognition that a man is not a woman? The question is idiotic but that is the question being asked.

          • Jack is saying being a man or a woman is not just about having a penis or a vagina and being sexually attracted to the other sex.
            Jack does not know what you mean by: “masculinity and femininity are determined by their natural place in the created order”.

          • carl jacobs

            Jack

            To answer the question “What does it mean to be a man?” you must first ask “What did God intend a man to be?” You will find the answer at the intersection of the divinely ordered life between a man and a women. You will not find the answer in the exclusive company of men because there is no ability to differentiate between like and like.

            So how then is the homosexual man to define masculinity? He cannot define according a relationship he does not have. He cannot define it according the relationship he does have because it consists of a relationship of like with like. He cannot copy the complementary definition because that definition is predicated upon a male-female relationship. He will instead define it terms of positive character traits that are not exclusive to either side of the male/female divide. Courage. Integrity. That sort of thing. It amounts to an effective abolition of the concepts of masculine and feminine as artificially constructed. And that I think is why the reaction to homosexuality is so visceral in the particular case.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            How is the homosexual man to define masculinity? Well, I define my masculinity in the same way as a typical heterosexual man defines his: being male. That’s not too abstruse for you to grasp, I hope.

          • carl jacobs

            Guglielmo Marinaro

            No, it was actually quite helpful. I wish all my opponents were so helpful.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            I’m very glad to hear it. “If I can help somebody….”

          • But what is “being male”?

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            It’s generally indicated by your physiology. I’m told – although I haven’t the knowledge or equipment necessary to verify this personally – that it’s also written indelibly into your chromosomes.

          • …. and in behaviour and relationships?

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            If you’re male, then you’re male, no matter what your behaviour and relationships are like.

          • Inspector General

            One would say with the male homosexual community in general, though obviously there are exceptions, the concepts of masculinity and femininity are blurred. You must be speaking about just yourself.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            I presume that by “one” you mean yourself, and that you are speaking about some SPECIAL male homosexual community which exists in your imagination.

          • Inspector General

            Not at all. Of course if blurring the genders doesn’t appeal to you, don’t go there.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Whichever gay bars/clubs you are an habitué of, they’re clearly nothing like any that I’ve ever been in.

          • dannybhoy

            Well, men usually wear trousers usually like some form of sport, need to shave most days and are good at not listening.
            Women on the other hand wear dresses, can have babies, and are very good at talking… 😉

  • sarky

    Just love watching you lot tearing yourselves apart over this. Its not the atheists or the gays you need to worry about, but each other.
    Gives me a warm feeling inside knowing your going to argue yourselves into oblivion.

    • Less than convinced.

      Yes. Obviously, because Christianity has never survived disagreements before. I think if it can survive the Great Schism, the Reformation, Counter-Reformation, any every other religious disagreement of the last 2000 years it can survive what amounts in the grand scheme of things to a relatively minor issue. Enjoy your warm feeling though – I’m sure self-satisfaction is more fun than using your brain.

      • sarky

        Yes, but its not surviving very well is it?? And this issue is one of the major (not minor) reasons why.

        • Less than convinced.

          No it isn’t. There is literally no hard evidence that the issues of gays has had any significant impact on church numbers. You may imagine otherwise, but there is no data to back you up. It seems to me to surviving perfectly well. Rather better than any secular humanist ideology has done,

          • sarky

            Really??? Think you’ll find the secular humanists now outnumber you greatly, and that number grows as your numbers shrink.

          • Less than convinced.

            Err… no. Once again your grasp of stats seems profoundly dodgy. Whether worldwide or in the UK the number claiming to be religious vastly outnumbers even those who call themselves non-religious. Then you have to burrow down from that to those “non-religious” who genuinely are consistent secular humanists (as opposed to all manner of apathies, spiritual weirdnesses and general nonesenses). I suspect you would struggle to fill Wembley stadium with what you have left. The collective membership of the NSS and BHA would certainly fall well short.

          • sarky

            4-6% of the uk (and thats optomistic) go to church regularly. Over 30% claim to have no religion, so I think it’s you who have a poor grasp! !!!

          • Inspector General

            Last census – over half the population consider themselves Christian.

          • sarky

            Yes but thats cultural christians, not ‘personal relationship with god’ christians.

          • Inspector General

            They had the chance to put ‘no religion’ but they didn’t…

          • CliveM

            Now, now Inspector. Richard Dawkins has described himself as a cultural Christian. No doubt he will have described himself as a Christian then at the last census!

          • sarky

            Its a default position for alot of people but thankfully thats starting to change. The next census will show a very different picture.

          • Less than convinced.

            Oh I see, so you get to tell people whether they are Christians or not, regardless of their opinion on the matter! 4-6% would still dwarf those who call themselves secular humanists. That “no religion” option covers a vast range of people, but not many secular humanists. You delude yourself to think otherwise. A noisy tiny minority is still a tiny minority, no matter how self-satisfied they might be.

          • Inspector General

            The % of homosexuals who only have attraction
            towards their own sex, so excluding so called
            bi-sexuals in only around 3% of the population.. However, the % who FREELY IDENTIFY as such is a mere 1%,

          • sarky

            Exactly!!!!!!

    • Inspector General

      Ah, the court fool puts in an appearance…

      • sarky

        Come on admit it you missed me.

        • carl jacobs

          sarky

          Well, I had noticed a sudden surge in the weblog’s excess supply of !’s and ?’s over the weekend.

          😉

          • sarky

            What????????!!!!!!!!!!

          • CliveM

            I’m beginning to hoard in case of shortages. Note no ! Ohhhh, darn it.

    • dannybhoy

      “Gives me a warm feeling inside knowing your going to argue yourselves into oblivion.”

      But then what will you do?
      Your life will lack purpose. If we Christians disappear it’ll be you and Richard Dawkins…

    • magnolia

      Warm? Not so fast!! When one disentangles the meaning of “homosexual” it includes a rejection- no less, as let us not mince our words here- of normative attraction to the other gender, therefore a lack of appreciation of the body of said gender, even a looking down upon it and an avoidance of it. Now where is the love there?

      We are called to love, love and love again, which to my mind neither allows the disdaining of the other gender in any way shape or form, nor to encourage others to do so.

      The list of those who are or have been homosexual and really no have time for the other gender is long, but long, . Wilfred Owen I read the other day as yet another example.

      Also some very pro gay male churches are very anti-women, and vehemently against their ministry, lay or ordained. Lovelessness like this can never be encouraged in Christian community, and it is very divisive and unpleasant.

      Steve Chalke should not find any of that acceptable behaviour.

      • Guglielmo Marinaro

        Not so fast!! When one disentangles the meaning of “heterosexual” it includes a rejection – no less, as let us not mince our words here – of attraction to the same gender, therefore a lack of appreciation of the body of said gender, even a looking down upon it and an avoidance of it. Now where is the love there?

        We are called to love, love and love again, which to my mind neither allows the disdaining of one’s own gender in any way shape or form, nor to encourage others to do so.

        The list of those who are or have been heterosexual and really no have time for their own gender is so long that it could go on for ever. Charles Dickens is just one example.

        Also some very anti-gay churches are very anti-women, and vehemently against their ministry, lay or ordained. Lovelessness like this can never be encouraged in Christian community, and it is very divisive and unpleasant.

        • Inspector General

          Rejection ? Disdain ?
          Not so.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            It would be so if magnolia’s crackpot “reasoning” were correct.

          • Guglielmo, are you a Christian? Jack asks as you evidence a knowledge of the Gospel.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Yes, I am a Christian.

          • So how do you square that faith in Jesus with active homosexuality?

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            I see no more particular need to square faith in Jesus with “active homosexuality” than to square it with “active heterosexuality”.

          • So let Jack put the question another way.

            on Scripture, including the teachings of Jesus, the orthodox Christian view is that sex should only take place between a man and a woman in a life-long marriage.

            How then can this be reconciled with active homosexuality?

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Certainly what you describe as “the orthodox Christian view” of sex cannot be reconciled with “active homosexuality”. However, one is not compelled to hold that view; one may hold a different view, and some people do.

          • Which is what the thread is all about ….

            So you hold unorthodox Christian views?

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            If you wish to put it that way, yes.

          • Well it’s more polite than some terms Jack could use. *chuckle*

            Seriously, Jack is interested and you seem thoughtful, straight talking and honest. Do you see no conflict between the Bible and homosexuality and/or a sexual freedom that’s extends outside traditional and orthodox lines?

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Yes, of course I see a conflict between the Bible and homosexuality – the same sort of conflict that I see between the Bible and, for example, having a savings account or a pension scheme that accumulates interest.

          • magnolia

            You fail to distinguish much between lechery and love, which overly male-dominated societies (your social group?) tend towards, as they are bounded and disabled by false notions of the feminine and false expectations that they engulf the feminine, while actually being harsh, and not gentle environments.

            The citing of Dickens is bizarre, as his treatment of his wife was far from top notch!!

            I take more notice of those with the creativity to use their own prose rather than borrow wholesale and twist, which is also a less than wise thing to do on a website with many Christians, where taking something and twisting it has theological echoes for your audience.

            There is no necessary rejection of one’s own gender within heterosexuality as one represents one’s own gender and a proper self-identification and self-respect takes care of that.

            There is much to come out about the shocking abuse in some of the more homosexually dominated parts of society- the BBC, parts of the House of Commons, and parts of the security services in the past (Sir Peter Hayman et al) it seems. and including even some more high up Church officials it seems

            By the end of it few illusions-ipso facto- will be left. Bring it on; naivety, disinformation and cover ups do not serve the Almighty

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            “…as they are bounded and disabled by false notions of the feminine and false expectations that they engulf the feminine…”

            I don’t know what all that’s about, I’m sure. Sounds remarkably like claptrap to me.

            I didn’t twist what you wrote, nor did I need to; it was quite sufficiently twisted already. I simply showed that one could use similar “reasoning” to manufacture equally bizarre and groundless fantasies about heterosexual people. No, of course there is no necessary rejection of one’s own gender within heterosexuality. Nor is there any necessary rejection of the other gender within homosexuality.

            I deplore and condemn abuse by sexual predators as much as you do. But once again, if homosexuals in general were to be condemned on that basis, then heterosexuals in general would also have to be, as anyone who has been following the news recently will know.

          • Inspector General

            Hardly. You need to realise as a homosexual, something isn’t quite right. One leaves it to yourself to work out said deficit, but deficit there most certainly is.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            I realise that some people aren’t content with heterosexual people being at least 95% of the population and hold the strange belief that absolutely EVERYONE should be heterosexual. Saying that “something isn’t quite right” and speaking of a “deficit” are merely ways of saying that those of us who are homosexual don’t fit in with that fantasy. That’s the kind of something that “isn’t quite right” that I’m more than content with.

          • Inspector General

            Homosexuality is a handicap is it not ? Inability to conceive is also a handicap if you are a woman wanting a family. The differences between the two conditions is that the woman do not go out on pride marches, because to be frank, an inability to conceive is not something to celebrate.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            No, homosexuality is not a handicap, at least certainly not in any objective sense. It is simply a different sexuality from that of the majority. Of course it limits one’s options, but all of us have our options limited in various ways by different aspects of who we are. No-one can get everything. To be frank, I think that in civilized western Europe at any rate, although not in some other parts of the world, pride marches are now becoming somewhat passé. But the idea behind them is a perfectly good and sound one. “Gay Pride was not born of a need to celebrate being gay, but our right to exist without persecution. So instead of wondering why there isn’t a Straight Pride movement, be thankful you don’t need one.”

          • Inspector General

            Didn’t think you’d acquiesce to the handicap description. You’re on this site to put a shine on the condition.

            Well, that’s it for this thread.. We’ll leave you in peace…

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            No, of course I don’t “acquiesce” to an absurd description. People who are homosexual haven’t got a “condition”, any more than people who are heterosexual have. We simply have a different sexual orientation than the latter.

          • Inspector General

            It’s a condition then. You can’t reproduce naturally, so you’re a bit of a dead end. What’s the problem, can’t you accept that ?
            You need to drop the uprising and come back into the fold.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            I grant that the word “condition” can be used in a number of different ways. But when we speak of someone HAVING a condition, we generally imply that they are suffering from some sort of medical or psychological dysfunction: as you have previously put it, that “something isn’t quite right”. Thus we might say, for instance, that so-and-so suffers from a condition called dermatitis or from a condition called bipolar disorder.

            As the late Dominican priest and scholar, Fr Gareth Moore, rightly said of homosexuality as a “condition” that people “suffer” from, there is no good reason to suspect that there is any such condition.

          • Inspector General

            We need to consider homosexuals as suffers, otherwise you are going to end up as uber people. The highest state humanity can achieve, which as one is sure you’ll agree, is nonsense…,

          • DanJ0

            It’s a public statement that we will not feel shame and hide because some other people with their own issues want us to.

        • CliveM

          One of the more bizarre pieces of logic.

  • Sybaseguru

    Its amazing how history gets rewritten if the truth doesn’t make a good story – Steve Chalk had already announced his support for gays at Spring Harvest (Skegness) in the mid/late 90’s. At the time it was put down to his being influenced by his media friends.

  • Nicodemus

    I feel excluded.

    • dannybhoy

      Well go and find yourself some personal issues then, and we’ll pull you to pieces instead…
      🙂

      • Nicodemus

        No, God forbid I should allow my feelings to get the better of me. How could I allow the unreliable barometer of feelings to be the measure of truth? I must man up (as they say) to fight the good fight, to remember that through much tribulation we enter the kingdom of God, that our trials are light and momentary, especially compared to put suffering brothers and sisters in the Middle East. Theologies come and go, but the word of our God endures forever. 🙂

        • Inspector General

          Strong silent type, eh ? Good show !

          • Nicodemus

            Got it in one. But the modern trend of society listening to the those who make the loudest noise, however unintelligent (or wicked) their racket may be, can be most frustrating.

  • Inspector General

    Here’s a thought. If homosexuals do make it into the church, and develop a power base therein, and don’t say they won’t, will they start persecuting Christians who disagree with the ‘forgiveness’ they are arranging for themselves ?
    Mirroring society, if you will…

    • CliveM

      Inspector

      Homosexuals will already be in the Church.

      • Inspector General

        One means established and all official, Clive. Makes all the difference, you know…

        • However, “established and all official” are anathemas in certain churches …………

  • Shadrach Fire

    Danny Boy posted this Bible text earlier.

    Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with men, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. This is pretty explicit I think. There is no place in heaven for theses sinners without repentance. It is followed by, And such were some of you: but ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.
    Easy really, sin and go to Hell. Repent and turn from your wicked ways and you WILL be forgiven and have everlasting life.

    • Gerhard

      Sin means missing the ‘mark’ or falling short of the ‘standard’. No one can claim that they have not committed any of the sins mentioned in 1 Corinthians 6, therefore we are all guilty.

      No one is more guilty than another, if you miss the mark, you miss the mark, by how much is irrelevant. It is getting people to admit that they have missed this mark. It is getting people to repent, that is the key!

      • Shadrach Fire

        There is no problem with missing the mark. We are expected to ‘miss the mark’. We just need to know that are ‘sins’ are forgiven if we repent.
        Trouble is, homosexuals do not want to recognise their deeds as sinful.

        • Gerhard

          Agreed!

        • Guglielmo Marinaro

          “Homosexuals do not want to recognise their deeds as sinful.”

          One more respect (out of many) in which we’re just like heterosexuals.

          • CliveM

            True.

          • Not true, Clive.

          • CliveM

            Happy Jack

            Sex before marriage rates amongst Christians don’t differ much from the wider community. Living together amongst Christians is common. More then one sexual partner not unheard of. I could give personal testimony of people I know in all of these categories. And I see no evidence that any of them feel what they did was wrong and it would be surprised if many of them ask for forgiveness. So when GM says that lots of heterosexuals don’t acknowledge their sin, or see their behaviour as sinful, I see no evidence that he is wrong.

          • Okay, granted. However, two wrongs do not make a right.
            The Church should be clearer about the nature of sexual sin and leave people in no doubt about what is and what is not acceptable for a professing Christian.

          • CliveM

            Agreed.

    • Gerhard

      SF,

      You probably know what I said in my previous post already, my apologies. It was intended for those who find the term ‘sin’ a bit strange these days..

  • Inspector General

    A slight aside, but with L&G you also have ‘T’

    Richmal Crompton, of ‘Just William’ fame, is being mentioned on the radio. Reminds the Inspector of a dialogue he once read…

    “Yes, Just William. Richmal Crompton’s finest hero of sorts. He’s a good author is Crompton, I’ve read many of his books”

    “Excuse me, old chap, but Richmal Crompton was a woman”

    “Was he really ? Until when ?”

    • IanCad

      The things one learns on this blog!

  • Graham Goldsmith

    The final short paragraph sums it up for me. Division comes when Gay people are treated insensitively or made to feel unwelcome in the church and yet many do come because they see something in the person of Jesus Christ they can identify with, standing for the marginalised as he did. Division also comes when we put an agenda regarding our own sexuality before the person of Jesus Christ. I am not sure that Jesus would want us to be fixed so obsessively on this issue but rather love God first and foremost and be obedient to his teachings not just on marriage and sexuality but also on judgement and condemnation. This includes developing a loving attitude to all people and character and virtue in matters of sex including self control. As fruit of the holy spirit. He is pointing us toward something spiritual rather than carnal after all. But we are carnal by nature and particularly with those we love. It must be difficult to deny that intimacy toward someone we love and are sexually attracted to. Do we believe that we should repent in such situations or is all sexual expression a right despite biblical teaching ? Steve Chalke is convinced that a traditional view has something of the pharisees about it because in condemning the deed we implicitly condemn the person and that love cannot be served that way. It is better that we should confess our uncertainty as well as our sin and as Gillan has said we can only do that through Jesus.

    • “Steve Chalke is convinced that a traditional view has something of the pharisees about it because in condemning the deed we implicitly condemn the person and that love cannot be served that way.”

      If this is his basis for claiming homosexuality is acceptable to God, then its a strange justification indeed. And, actually, it isn’t his view at all. Here’s what he wrote recently:

      “One tragic outworking of the Church’s historical rejection of faithful gay relationships is our failure to provide homosexual people with any model of
      how to cope with their sexuality, except for those who have the gift of, or capacity for, celibacy. In this way we have left people vulnerable and isolated. When we refuse to make room for gay people to live in loving, stable relationships, we consign them to lives of loneness, secrecy and fear. It’s one thing to be critical of a promiscuous lifestyle – but shouldn’t the Church consider nurturing positive models for permanent and monogamous homosexual relationships?”

      He doesn’t want to “challenge the traditional understanding of marriage – far from it – but to extend to these people what I would do to others – the love and support of our local Church. Too often, those who seek to enter an exclusive, same-sex, relationship have found themselves stigmatised and excluded by the Church. I have come to believe this is an injustice and out of step with God’s character as seen through Christ.”

      So, he claims, God, as revealed in Jesus Christ, would support same sex marriage. Heterosexuality is no more than a normative ideal – we all fall short and miss God’s targets in life. He then goes on to reinterpret “in new ways” those Biblical passages condemning the sin describing them as simplistic and culturally ambiguous and trots out the familiar examples of women, slaves and Galileo to show that interpretations move with the times.

      “Christ-like love calls us to go beyond tolerance to want for the other the same respect, freedom, and equality one wants for oneself. We should find ways to formally support and encourage those who are in, or wish to enter into, faithful same-sex partnerships, as well as in their wider role as members of Christ’s body.”

      • Graham Goldsmith

        Hello Jack. Sure Steve did not use the term pharisee i was using my broad brush to illustrate what i believe he is getting at. Surely by extending its scope he is challenging the traditional understanding of marriage but i see in his viewpoint a parallel. Pharisees condemned people under the law punished and excluded them. Jesus saved his greatest criticism for the pharisees. Why would jesus do that !!!!

        • Possibly because they were hypocrites and imposed extra biblical requirements on people? Possibly because they were more interested in their positions and public opinion than serving God?

          What Chalke was “getting at” was that traditional interpretations of the Bible were erroneous and that to be “Christ-like” the Church should accept homosexual relationships and marriage. Show Jack any parallel between this and Jesus’ criticisms of the Pharisees.

          • carl jacobs

            Fastball. Plate. 102 mph. Strike.

          • Graham Goldsmith

            There are none Jack because Jesus did not speak directly about homosexuality in the context of marriage and only implicitly in terms of morality.This was not my point. He tended not to comment on people groups other than religious people who as you rightly say were more interested in their own personal power and did not live up to the standard they were expecting of others. I am not affirming Steve Chalke’s biblical interpretation by the way on those passages that relate to homosexuality because Christs teaching on the bride and the groom are quite clear as well the Genesis texts on the relationship between man and women. Thats why i made the point about people with an agenda around sexuality being divisive. I take the inspectors point regarding the political pressure within the Church for legitimacy of same sex marriage but the majority i think are not interested in that but rather serving Christ. But many have had a distressing journey getting there because of the ”pharisaic” attitude of some christians. The link with the pharisees is simply to illustrate that we too can be hypocritical if we major on the sexual sin of others but don’t recognise our own. Having read and listened to testimony by gay people who are dedicated to Christ but struggle with something which is natural to them, to remain celibate. I dont think that they choose to be Gay they just are. This is what Steve Chalke recognises. If we ostracise people and do not support them we lack compassion just as the pharisees did. Which as i said previously is also divisive. Jesus engaged with sinners prostitutes tax collectors and the like, he loved them and wanted them as his own. He also wants us to repent whether that be in our deviation from Gods pattern for sex and marriage but also when we isolate or say rude and insulting things about Gay people because all are of equal worth and loved in the eyes of God. This i think is Gillans point which i share. To prefer sensitivity and compassion however misguided over a crushing sense of superiority is understandably human yet we would not be able to consider any of it without Gods creative plan for Mankind nor be redeemed but for his gift of grace in the face of sin.

          • Graham

            Happy Jack cannot disagree with your general argument. It must be a great trial and a struggle to have same sex attraction. And it does not help to encounter hateful responses, especially as so much sexual sin is ‘overlooked’ by Christians. However, one wonders if interventions by Chalke actually helps. His approach alienates the very people he hopes to reach.

            Your points are taken. Yet, there is a new Pharisee in our age. The one who stands at the back of the church bemoaning we are all sinners and we are all forgiven. The Pharisee who wants to accept the sins of our age through ‘love’ and ‘compassion’ and overlooks the Justice of God.

            “Having read and listened to testimony by gay people who are dedicated to Christ but struggle with something which is natural to them, to remain celibate. I dont think that they choose to be Gay they just are. This is what Steve Chalke recognises.”

            To genuinely help them is to be at their side and encourage them. Why turn individual struggle into a collective? Why plea for special privilege? The journey in faith should be a quiet and calm one.

            Surely Its the ultimate failure in pastoral care and love to mislead people by encouraging them to remain in sin or to fail to call them to repentance and renewal? Pope Francis recently called this a “deceptive mercy”, a false mercy which bandages wounds but fails to heal them.

            So please do not label Christians ‘Pharisees’ when they defend orthodox faith and morality against those who want to redefine sin and want to rewrite Scripture.

          • Graham Goldsmith

            I don’t think we are really disagreeing on much at all. Its not the people that are defending orthodoxy or the biblical definition of sin that are ”pharisees” its the people that say ”get out of our church” are insensitive in their comments or cold shoulder them on account of their homosexuality. Jesus would not have done this and nor should we. That approach does not encourage gay people to stay in sin but neither does it encourage them to stay in church and hear the message of what Christ is offering us, something beyond the carnal. That agape love is our highest calling and not eros. That the holy spirit can bring change, the fruit of which can be self control in all sorts of behaviour not just sexual. Where virtue and character can grow through adversity. That devotion to him is more important that our own sense of individual rights. The centrality of repentance as an act of cleansing and i say again the command not to judge individuals. Agreed the struggle with sin is an individual thing and largely private between ourselves and God but maybe its become a collective issue because some people in the church also view it that way.

    • Inspector General

      In other words, keep buggering on, then ?

      No. Unacceptable. Let queer folk form their own church.

      • Graham Goldsmith

        Character and virtue in matters of sex including self control. As fruit of the holy spirit.- All i am saying is that we should be sensitive to the difficulties that gay people have coming to terms with their sexuality. Jesus showed great compassion to those sinners who were being condemned by others. The woman at the well, The women caught in adultery. In each case their sin was important to identify but a secondary consideration either to their devotion to Jesus ( the living waters) or to the condemnation by others. Whilst he urges them to sin no more, in truth we are all hopeless sinners inspector and reliant on Gods grace. Repentance not only applies to our sexual sin but also to the plank eye sawdust scenario. Do repent inspector.

        • Inspector General

          It’s all a question of influence, you see. We have a situation where a tiny percentage of the population are making their mark. Hoping to make up for two thousand years of ‘bigotry’ as they would put it. Representation beyond their numbers. Well beyond. Yes we come to church as mere sinners if want, but only one group tries to justify the sin. So repent nothing. One looks to a time when a persons sexuality is no ones business and is not wielded as a weapon.

    • Martin

      Graham

      There are no ‘gay people’ and to pretend that they are some sort of class who should be given dispensation to behave as they wish is to hate them. They are simply sexual sinners and they need to repent of their sin.

  • Jeremiah 23:17, 22. ‘[The false prophets] continually say to those who despise Me, “The LORD has said, ‘You shall have peace;'” and to everyone who walks according to the dictates of his own heart, they say, “No evil shall come upon you.”…….But if they had stood in My counsel, and had caused My people to hear My words, then they would have turned them from their evil way and from the evil of their doings.’
    The Lord Jesus was known as the Friend of sinners, but His universal command was for repentance (eg. Mark 1:15; John 8:11). He warned people that if they had a sin in their lives, even if it was as dear to them as their hand, foot or eye, they should cut it out (Mark 9:43-48). It is not kindness to tell people that God does not really mind about their sin, it is desperate wickedness- sending people to hell with a pocket-full of false promises. There is grace and hope for the very worst of sinners- of whom I and the Apostle Paul are two (1 Tim. 1:15)- but that hope is based on repentance and faith in Christ, not on the false teaching of Steve Chalke.

    • bockerglory

      Well said! This is exactly the point. If you love some one dearly you forewarn them of danger! I don’t like labels and homosexual is a label. It does not define the complexity of a human. Humans want to love and be loved and often use sex to make themselves feel loved. This is a confusion our being is made to love God and be loved by God.

  • Rasher Bacon

    David Robertson’s article is clear and straightforward. What shall it profit a man if he gain a whole world of charity money, but suffer the loss of his own soul (and possibly others’ beside)? Why when we criticise the money in the US televangelist’s church system, does the ability to raise large sums of money suddenly become an unqualified good? Does DFID qualify on the same grounds?

    What use is a landscape that’s been changed by removal of the landmarks? Sounds a bit like the Somme to me.

  • educynic

    Many of us caught up in sexual sin wish it were otherwise. To the woman caught in the act of adultery, Jesus’s response was ‘Go and sin no more.’ Some of us follow this injunction. For others of us, many of our struggles against sin are failures and, à Romans 7, we do the very thing we hate.

    Accepting those who approve of, for instance, homosexual acts inevitably results in the rejection of those who disapprove of them. And many of us who commit these sins know them to be wrong. True acceptance is not to tell us that we do not sin and should not struggle. It is to encourage us in our struggle.

    Of course the church has exaggerated sexual sin. It is salutory to note that homosexuality is put alongside gossip and disobedience of parents (Rom 1). Against such sins, indeed all sin, we all struggle.

    But, and I speak of it as one with far too many sexual sins, there is someting frightening about the denial that homosexual acts are sins. ‘They not only do (those sins) but also approve of those who practice them.’ (Romans 1:32). If we approve of homosexual acts we ignore the evidence of our own eyes. As every child can see, the male and female bits fit together. Ultimately the acceptance of homosexual acts is a denial of God’s creation and His authority that is a consequence of that creation, from which, dear God, please save me.

    • Jon Shannow

      Actually, the first response of Jesus to the woman caught in adultery was to save her life. To stop her being stoned to death. That act of grace and compassion then provides a strong foundation for the subsequent direction to sin no more. To how many people do we as Christians seem to give orders about how to live their lives without first showing the grace and compassion of Christ which then draws them in and allows their lives to be changed bit by bit.

      • Let’s be frank, how many homosexuals in Britain do you know who are actually facing a baying mob wanting to stone them to death? Its been decriminalised; same sex marriage is legalised; and homosexuals are a protected group under equality legislation.
        Fine, welcome sinners in the Church but that isn’t what Chalke and his ilk are about, now is it? No, they’re not trying to draw sinner in. They want to redefine the sin away by changing Church teaching. And they’re trying to guilt trip the Church too.

        • Jon Shannow

          I probably agree with your last para. But in your first, the focus on the specific stoning rather than the general (and hence more relevant and harder to ignore) dealing with need coupled with grace is misplaced.

          Homosexuals are unlikely to be at risk of death here. But they may well first come into contact with a church at a time when they are vulnerable, harangued by the ones they are/were close to and are extremely troubled or confused. At such a point of weakness, their need is for love and a Christ-like community to draw them in, rather than to immediately talk about the need to change their ways. Your ‘loud and proud’ homosexuals may perhaps be less likely to be seeking. Perhaps

          • Agreed …. unconditional love for the person comes first and picking them up when they are down. Doing so does not mean compromising the Gospel. It is the Gospel. However, that is not what Chalke is preaching, is it?

          • Jon Shannow

            It appears not. And it appears that he could be in error.

      • Clive9

        Yes Jesus saved her life but also told her to sin no more … the two CANNOT be separated

      • Martin

        Actually the passage John 7:53-8:11 is of doubtful provenance and is probably not not part of the original document and hence not part of the Bible.

        • Jon Shannow

          Hmm, yeah, I’ll take God allowing it to remain in the Bible for hundreds of years over a certain academic interpretation. And even if you’re correct, I wonder whether ‘doubtful provenance’ comes anywhere close to equating with ‘did not happen/is not true’

          • Martin

            Jon

            The question arises as to what you think the Bible is. Is it the translation you hold in your hand or is it what the inspired writer wrote?

          • CliveM

            It is both these things.

            You know one of the absurdities are those people who want to remove all the negative parts of the bible and just leave in the God is love bits.

            You however seem to want to do the opposite. Leave out all the God is love bits and just leave in all the God is vengeance bits.

            You seem frightened of Gods love. Open yourself up to it.

          • Martin

            Clive

            You do realise God doesn’t love everyone?

          • CliveM

            “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that whoever believes in him shall not die, but have eternal life”

            Note the World, not some of it, not most of it , not bits of it. The World. He certainly hates what we do and will reject the unrepentant. But he loves.

          • Martin

            Clive

            The chapter starts with Jesus talking to Nicodemus of the New Birth. Now does a baby choose to be born or is it entirely out of their hand, and once born can a baby choose not to be born?

            It is also quite clear from the following verses that not all will be saved. We all prefer darkness to light and as Jesus taught in the parable of the great feast we must be compelled to come in. Ephesians 2 tells us that even our faith is the gift of God and since we are spiritually dead we cannot choose Christ.

            So, since that is so, and since elsewhere we are told that God chooses whom He will save, it is clear that God loves some and saves them while others He allows to continue to their deserved damnation.

            Clearly ‘world’ in John 3:16 does not mean every person in the World.

          • CliveM

            Martin

            Your view of Gods relationship with the world (and it is not clear that I’d doesn’t mean the whole world, indeed it is the opposite that is clear) makes a mockery of the Cross and makes God out to be capricious and unjust. He is neither of these things.

          • Martin

            Clive

            My position is entirely in line with the Bible’s revelation of God’s relationship with Man down the ages. Did not God choose to save Noah and leave the rest of the World to perish? Did not God choose to call Abraham to leave Ur? Did God not call Israel out of Egypt and cause Pharaoh and his army to perish? Did not God choose the disciples?

            God is not capricious but chooses to save some for His own glory that He might save them and make of them a people.

          • CliveM

            Jon,

            Martin simply doesn’t believe the parts of the bible he doesn’t like. Typically the compassionate bits. He’s a bit like Steve Chalk in that sense.

          • Jon Shannow

            I can’t speak to the man as I do not know him. But the affliction you mention is a tragically common one.

          • CliveM

            I feel sorry for him, he seems to get no joy from his faith. It seems more of a burden.

          • Martin

            Clive

            The evidence is that it is not part of the original inspired Scripture, that’s all there is to do with it. I have no problem with compassion, I just have a passion for what is true.

          • CliveM

            Martin

            As you will know the bible as we know it was compiled at the Council of Nicaea. This council included this passage. The question you need to ask is what authority did this council possess? Was it inspired by God in its job of sifting the competing ‘Gospels’ and ensuring the correct understanding of Gods message. Or was it simply a human council who got it wrong?

            If so where does that leave us? Our understanding of God and Christ’s message is based on their work. They compiled it. If this passage is wrong, if they got this wrong, then what else did the get wrong? Should they have included the Gnostic Gospels? Is the whole message actually misunderstood? If you want to undermine the bible in this way fine, but please don’t criticise others, such as Steve Chalk for deciding to reject passages. You have just done the same.

          • Martin

            Clive

            No, the Bible wasn’t compiled at the Council of Nicaea, that council agreed what was already accepted by the churches. As far as I know the council did not discuss down to chapters.

            It’s very simple, if the original documents did not include this passage it is clearly not part of Scripture.

        • Peasant Farmer

          Are you sure Martin? They are some of the most beautiful verses of the Bible, highlighting our need to avoid hypocrisy in condemning others and giving the correct response to sin of whatever variety in verse 11: Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.

          • Martin

            PF

            The passage isn’t found in the oldest documents and is found in other places in others. Whatever the teaching, if it is not part of the original, inspired document it simply is not God’s word.

          • Peasant Farmer

            Well you learn something every day, but come now Martin, from the blunt tone of your postings here I’d have you down as a man of a reformed baptist persuasion, and as any good reformed man knows, if it’s in the authorised version, it’s beyond question….

          • Martin

            PF

            The question is, what is Scripture? Is it the work of translators working from multiple translators or is it the writing of men of old, moved by the Spirit?

          • Peasant Farmer

            In the English language do you mean, or the original Greek and Hebrew etc?

            In any modern language it is the best (hopefully) efforts of the translators to convey the meaning of the original manuscripts. Translation is not a perfect science and many manuscripts exist, hence confusions such as with this passage.

            P.S. I was right about the Reformed Baptist thing wasn’t I? 😉

          • Martin

            PF

            The writers wrote in Hebrew, Aramaic & Greek so those original documents are what I mean. They are Scripture, not the translations, good & holy men though the translators may have been.

            There is no confusion with this passage, it simply is not found in the oldest documents.

            Yes, I hold to the 1689 London Baptist Confession, but I can see no reference to the AV being inspired therein. Come to that, I think their preference was probably for the Geneva Bible rather than James’ new one!

      • dannybhoy

        I like it!

  • Clive9

    Steve Chalke has already called those who believe in the Bible “Traditionalists” and “hateful” because they believe in Biblical Authority.

    The Bible does talk about marriage, particularly the New Testament. The Bible links marriage to the family, yet those who support same sex marriage seem to be openly prejudicial against the family and discriminatory against children. The family is disconnected by SSM from marriage, which is wrong, and children are nothing more than commodities, which is equally wrong.

    The Bible is not hateful. If even St Paul can write in Romans 7:19 that he is constantly imperfect then we who are lesser are equally constantly imperfect. We really are not hatefully claiming some kind of perfection.

    I don’t see how Steve Chalke can ask for a conversation when he has already decided that most Christians are hateful.

    • CliveM

      Has he called traditionalists hatefull, can you supply evidence?

      • Clive9

        Prof Ian Paul also went to a Steve Chalke chat about an open conversation. The website is at:

        http://www.psephizo.com/life-ministry/in-dialogue-with-steve-chalke/

        • CliveM

          Have read the article. He doesn’t say traditionalists are hateful, although he would appear to have used that expression with regards certain biblical passages.

  • saintmark

    I presume all sin must be ‘off the table’ now, as Mr Chalk has the power to forgive sins. What about using prostitutes, or how about sex with animals? Neither Jesus nor any of the apostles says anything against that, if my new Vicar turns up with his lifelong partner, Dolly the sheep can I assume that God approves? And how could I argue against it if I’m prepared to say that SSM is blessed by God? Is our morality dependent on the Bible or on public opinion, I guess for Mr Chalk the later.

  • Philip___

    This is an incredibly disappointing article on a site that claims to be both Christian and conservative.

    First, it just cannot be claimed Steve Chalke has represented authentic Christianity
    since about 10 years ago when he rejected the foundational Christian truth about Christ’s atonement: penal substitution. By denying that central Gospel truth, which
    is the only way us sinners can be reconciled to a holy God and have our eternal
    future changed, Steve Chalke is doing us no favours at all, and is surely preaching ‘another gospel’.

    On homosexuality, perhaps a key phrase in the article is, “it isn’t possible for
    churches to be both truly welcoming and to believe that gay relationships are
    sinful.” Does that indicate that the reason some of the homosexuals Steve Chalke knows have felt unwelcome and rejected by other churches, however accepting of them they may be, may be that those churches take the Christian Biblical stance towards homosexual behaviour? It may be true some churches and Christians display lack of love, but is it not also true that some homosexuals will not feel ‘love’ unless their lifestyle is affirmed?

    As for “challenging others to…move beyond a “love the sinner, hate the sin”
    superficial mentality”, yes that saying may seem superficial and even trite, but it does actually give at least an indication of the attitude of Jesus to sinners (whatever our sins), doesn’t it? That is of love and therefore urging repentance?

    • DrCrackles

      I agree. It is not clear with Gillan Scott agrees with Chalke at some level or not. Scott seems to be acting as an apologist.

      I fear the blog might be losing its edge since the revamp.

      • bockerglory

        I agree ….

  • Royinsouthwest

    I think that marriage is what it has been since the beginning – a relationship between a man and a woman. However, I feel more sympathy for Steve Chalke’s viewpoint than that of some of his critics. All of us are sinners and if we were challenged about our particular sins every time we went to church how many of us would continue to go?

    Take as an example something else that some people would not consider to be a sin – gluttony. Are there any obese people in your church? If so isn’t their lack of self-control a sin? By not denouncing the obese aren’t we condoning their sin? Why should some sins be worthy of condemnation and not others?

    • carl jacobs

      There is no demand to ‘not denounce’ homosexual behavior. The demand is to positively affirm it. The demand is to uphold as good that which the Scripture condemns as evil. So if you follow that advice, then what have you said about Scripture? You have already set a precedent. You have declared yourself an authority to judge whether Scripture can bind your conduct. In so doing you have denied the divine nature of the Book. Man has no authority over the things of God. If you have authority over Scripture, then Scripture must be of the things of man. What other Scriptural imperatives will you then kick to the curb when they become inconvenient or unpopular? But in fact, why would you even need to bother, since Scripture has no authority?

      At the very center of Liberal religion is the presupposition that God has not spoken. They assert He is silent and unknowable. Man therefore struggles to find God on his own. A very benign and not especially holy God who is not angry, and doesn’t have particularly high standards for man. Thus does man bend religion to his own ends. “God has not spoken. We must speak for Him. If God could speak, He would affirm homosexual behavior as good.” Very appealing in this modern world. And a complete lie.

    • Gerhard

      I’m not sure I follow the logic in your argument or we may have differing views of what a church should be like.

      A church, the way I read the Bible, is a body of people who were once condemned because of their sins. These people have come to realise their lostness before God because of their sins. Because of their sins, they’ve accepted the atoning death only Jesus of Nazareth can offer because He was sinless. Sin is the THE barrier between us and God.

      Of course a church should remind people of their sins all the time. Of course a church need to remind people that their sins can be forgiven, but they must repent. A church should also remind people that they really are forgiven.

      A church of course has many other functions too as the body of Christ, but it should purge itself from sin first a foremost!

      • bockerglory

        Well said! We all struggle with sin and it is only through repentance, the fear of God and the love of Christ that we are saved.

    • dannybhoy

      You’ve got it.
      We don’t excuse our sinfulness, we accept that we are struggling with sin. We seek a deeper revelation of “If any man be in Christ Jesus he is a new creation..”,
      but at the end of the day, we run our own particular race, and we recognise that it is by grace that we are saved, not by works, lest any man should boast!

      I think the process of Sanctification requires real effort on our part in taking hold of God’s provision for our purification,
      but Salvation is freely given by our Lord Jesus Who loves us to the end of our earthly lives until we are received into Glory.

    • Jon

      Thing is Roy, noone is trying to tell us gluttony is good. I’ve not actually met a christian who condones it even if folk are obese. So we don’t need to bring it up to defend it being a sin or to discuss. However, homosexuality (as in active) is paraded around in front of us with many trying to tell us it is good when scripture says otherwise. Noone is trying to force us to accept gluttony is good and thus gluttony can’t be used as an argument it’s a different situation and irrelevant.

  • Hi all

    Whilst I understand that this is an internal Christian matter, I feel an urge to comment, as an outsider.Having once believed that gay inclusion could be resolved by reasoned argument, I think that having a debate on accepting gays in the church is like a discussion over the issue of the status of the pope , the virgin Mary or mass viz the Catholic and Protestant division.

    Imagine if pope Francis arranged for a weekend discussion on the virgin Mary, with one protestant on the panel. What would that achieve, except to confirm the Catholic view? Whilst I am in favour of LGBTQ acceptance in society, from reading various Christian forums I dunno if there’s no way this cannot be a non compromise issue…. so they’ll be another division I guess?

    I think it’s one of those issues people will never agree on and therefore proof texting each other to death solves nothing, e.g. any arguments put forward here would be described as a twisting of the bible or tradition or a denial of sin or the slippery slope (which is why I no longer bother with engagement in these debates, as no one learns).

    I think that the most realistic outcome is an agree to disagree, or at least provide a way of providing pastoral support to gay Christians,but I dunno. I’ve got my own battles to fight, about my religion and stuff.

    Over to you .

    • dannybhoy

      ” I dunno if there’s no way this cannot be a non compromise issue…. so they’ll be another division I guess?”
      No, there won’t be another division Hannah, because bottom line is that all true born again Christians know that they are sinners and have different areas of morality or behaviour with which they struggle.
      Homosexuality should not be the issue it is amongst Christians and even practicing Jews.
      It’s not a sin to be a homosexual. It is a sin to be a practicing or promiscuous homosexual, according to the Scriptures (yours and ours.)
      What we as Christians have to do is everything in our power to support the homosexual or heterosexual who repents and turns away from a life of sin.
      I personally think that may well be harder for a homosexual for all sorts of reasons, and we cannot water down our faith in order to make it more palatable, but we can extend more love and compassion and support, and make them feel accepted into our congregations (ours and yours! 😉 )

      • Hi Danny

        That response is precisely WHY I won’t engage in these debates and why it is pointless to do so (as I said above).

        • dannybhoy

          I think it’s only by debating things that we come to a conclusion. I did years ago on this issue, but there weren’t any means then of entering into discussion with other people.

          • Hi Danny

            As Clive has said above it’s a permanent ground hog day. There are people on this blog who have a particular view and call being gay a sin, if not worse,there are doubtless others that don’t see it that way on other forums, but I’ve given up bothering to debate with people about this here because it is quite clear what people’s views are and in any case it won’t change anyone’s minds. To most people here being gay a terrible sin and nothing will move them on that. So I don’t bother to debate because there already is a conclusion people have on this issue. I’m more than happy to explain my views and arguments, but this isn’t the place I’d ever feel comfortable doing so.

          • CliveM

            Well I am prepared to say being Gay is not a sin.

          • dannybhoy

            “I’m more than happy to explain my views and arguments, but this isn’t the place I’d ever feel comfortable doing so.”

            Hannah, fair enough, but presumably that would be true for you on any conservative or orthodox Jewish sites?
            At my age and experience I have met a fair number of homosexual people of all kinds. I have always treated them with respect and stood up for them where necessary, as anyone should for anyone.
            From the little I know of you you are a lovely young woman, and life is more than our sexuality isn’t it?
            Do you remember my saying to you some time back that at the end of it all you/we all answer to God for the decisions we make in life? The very fact that you admit your own struggles tells me that you are sincere and you wish to please God and walk in His ways.
            Of course we differ on who Yeshua is and what He did for us, but again that is between you and God because He alone knows what is truly in our hearts.
            Amen v’amen!

          • Hi Danny

            Thanks for the complement and I’m sure you hate the sin and love the sinner.There’s also a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3) and right now doesn’t feel like the time to be getting into long blog discussions about sexuality and or gay sex being a sin or not. Answering to God at the end of my life will probably be easier than a cranmer blog comments thread (:

          • dannybhoy

            Bless your heart Hannah!

        • CliveM

          Hi Hannah

          I understand your point. When I read these debates it’s like Groundhog Day, an endless repetition of what has already been said, with no discernible change in outcome.

          There must come a point when it doesn’t matter what end of this argument you come from, when you have to say enough.

      • “It’s not a sin to be a homosexual. It is a sin to be a practicing or promiscuous homosexual, according to the Scriptures (yours and ours.)”

        Sit on the fence for too long and the pain will get unbearable.

        • dannybhoy

          “The flowers have already appeared in the land; The time has arrived for pruning the vines, And the voice of the pedantalist has been heard in our land.”
          Again!

          Solomon’s Song 2:2

          • Now you make up Scripture !

            “ …. always thou wilt have a true counsellor in sight, always hear his voice in thy ear as he warns thee, This is the true path, follow it; no swerving to right or left! .”
            (Isaiah 30:21)

          • dannybhoy

            Beautiful, HJ.
            My wife and I worked with a young woman who ‘came out’ as a lesbian.
            We knew her personally. Ny wife worked closely with her and was quite fond of her.. The girl said that she had felt ‘different’ from a very young age and ended up going into a relationship with another girl in the same employment. Neither were Christian and neither were we at the time.
            Now YOU go and tell that young woman she had made a decision to be gay Jack, and let me know how you get on..

            My point is that if a homosexual comes to faith they are a new creation in Christ; but they will still have to put aside the sins of the flesh, as would I.

            “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices* and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.”
            Colossians 3:5-11
            * I’m sure pedanticism is in there somewhere..

          • Danny, its not pedantic recognising sin for what it is and turning one’s back on it.

            This comment is non-committal: “It’s not a sin to be a homosexual. It is a sin to be a practicing or promiscuous homosexual, according to the Scriptures (yours and ours.)”

            And why should Jack ” … go and tell that young woman she had made a decision to be gay Jack, and let me know how you get on”? Has Jack ever suggested our human desires are chosen? It is behaviour we chose and this should be informed by a correctly developed conscience. If she asked Jack for his views on homosexuality then, based on Scripture, he would explain these and he wouldn’t fudge the issue in the way you have.

            And that is not being “pedantic” Danny, it is being clear and plain.

            “There is no riddle like the twists of the heart; who shall master them?”
            (Jeremiah 17:9)

          • dannybhoy

            I haven’t fudged the issue there HJ,
            I just didn’t say it the way you think it should be said.

            Also, Hannah for example knows what we believe. It’s nit like she’s arguing the case as a Christian demanding acceptance as a homosexual, she has already told us that she has her own struggles as a Jewess.

          • Jack’s comments were addressed to you and not to Hannah.

          • dannybhoy

            Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

          • “There will be peace in the valley for me, some day
            There will be peace in the valley for me, oh Lord I pray
            There’ll be no sadness, no sorrow
            No trouble, trouble I see
            There will be peace in the valley for me, for me.”

        • Anna055

          Ummm – I don’t think he is sitting on the fence. Don’t we all believe that it isn’t sinful to be tempted, but only sinful if you give in to temptation….. which is what I take dannnyboy to be saying here.

          • Hi Anna.
            Jack read it as Danny suggesting non-promiscuous homosexual behaviour was somehow okay. This is the liberal, revisionist position. His subsequent comments rather confirmed this. And Jack agrees to have same sex attraction and be tempted isn’t sinful.

    • Busy Mum

      Hannah – I tend to agree with you – as Rabbi Sacks said, a society is only sustainable if it operates a shared moral code and on this issue, the divide is absolute between those who wish to live in a society where homosexual behaviour is not sinful and those who wish to live in a society where it is. This is the problem in schools now; as I have pointed out to teachers, it is impossible to please everyone all the time and by running programs to make ‘homosexual children more comfortable and included’, they are simply making orthodox Christian/Jewish/Muslim children feel less comfortable and more excluded. This is crystal clear to me without beginning to argue about the rest of it ( I have never yet met a primary school child who ‘identifies as LBGT’ – no doubt they will all start coming out once the £2million anti-homophobic bullying campaign gets under way)

      • DanJ0

        What do you propose to do given that Christianity is a minority religion in the UK now? Emigrate? This is the problem with religion, it inclines people to be uncompromising. As an a-theist, I feel fairly comfortable sharing society with people who have a different moral code, provided we share a set of ethics which allows us to live side by side. This allows people to pursue their own interests and lifestyles within a broad framework of values. It’s a pity some Christians, Muslims etc want to dictate how the rest of us who don’t have those religious beliefs should live our lives.

        • Guglielmo Marinaro

          “It’s a pity some Christians, Muslims etc want to dictate how the rest of us who don’t have those religious beliefs should live our lives.”

          Speaking as a Christian myself, I think that the word “some” above should be emphasized. But that is indeed the problem: people who aren’t satisfied with holding their religious beliefs and living their lives in accordance with them – which, of course, they have every right to do – but think that they also have some mysterious right to arrange everyone else’s lives in accordance with them.

        • Busy Mum

          Not sure Christianity is a minority religion, just browbeaten into silence.
          Why should I emigrate? More to the point, where could I go? I have been born into a Christian country and I’m happy with that. Those British people who realised they didn’t want to live in a Christian country should have emigrated to somewhere like North Korea instead of changing this one.
          The UK was always a pretty good society, with all sorts of people living side by side. The set of ethics that allowed this to happen was the Christian constitution.Both you and I have been betrayed by our leaders who have failed to uphold this.

          On what would an atheist base society’s ethics?

  • Martin

    I have to wonder why Steve Chalke is continually placed before us as a person who is interested in what the Bible says when he is in fact only interested in what Steve Chalke says.

    • CliveM

      Martin it is possible of course that he genuinely disagrees and it has nothing to do with self promotion.

      • Martin

        Clive

        He certainly has no interest in what the Bible says, it’s plain enough.

        • Tim Hall

          Martin,

          You’re correct. I have no interest in Leviticus 18:22 & 20:13 which detail how much God hates homosexuals. Nor, as a gentile, am I interested in Matthew 15:24 which has Jesus stating, explicitly, that he was only sent to the lost sheep of Israel. And, as an ardent anti-Nazi, I am utterly disinterested in the blood-libel of Matthew 27:25.

          The Bible can be as beautiful or disgusting as you want it to be. The font of tolerance and wisdom or the foundation of bigotry.

          I believe in John 4:8: “Whoever does not love does not love God, because God is love”

          • Martin

            Tim

            How do you feel about Romans 1:18-32, specifically:

            Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

            For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. (Romans 1:24-27 [ESV]

            And that little word ‘were’ in I Corinthians 6:11

            Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (I Corinthians 6:9-11 [ESV]

            Perhaps you should consider that love does not cause another to sin or cover over their sin and pretend it doesn’t exist.

          • Tim Hall

            Martin,

            What I feel about the passages you quote is as follows:-

            They were both written by an odd/inspired little man called Saul, latterly Paul ( his Roman name is lost to us). He, like you, clearly didn’t like homosexuality much. Many people down the millennia have felt similarly, and if I’m honest, so do I. Sex between one man and another man makes me feel quesy. I don’t even like to see men kissing.

            Evolutionary biologists reckon this instinct is ancient and rooted in the dislike of those who cannot breed; thereby risking the strength of the tribe. They also think racism has Stone-age roots. Close-knit tribes ensured the greatest degree of cooperation within a social group, and protected territory, by shunning strangers.

            I believe that, in 2014, I can use my intellect and belief in a loving Creator, to transcend such atavistic tendencies and fulfil the following:

            ” There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” Gal 3:28

            I notice, by-the-by, that you completely side-stepped Matthew 27:25. Presumably you don’t find it’s particular brand of bigotry congenial.

          • Martin

            Tim

            Actually they are both in the Bible, which means they are both God’s word, the word which anyone who claims to be a Christian is required to accept and base their life on.

            Now Paul may have been little in stature, I don’t know, but intellectually he was a giant and here He is God’s prophet. So call yourself a Christina and accept it, or reject it and admit you’re not a Christian

            Your intellectual pride is leading you on the path to Hell. You see, while our Creator may love His creation He is also just and must punish sin. So our Creator is selective in His love, placing it on some, for no other reason than His glory, and not on others. You misuse that passage in Galatians, failing to see those little words “in Christ Jesus”, it doesn’t apply to all.

            Matthew was written by a Jew, who records what his countrymen said. I fail to see how that can be construed as bigotry.

            And by the way, Evolution does not, has not, will not ever exist.

          • Tim Hall

            Martin,

            What is a Christian?

            The first Christians in Jerusalem were all Jewish and believed it was essential they keep the Law. (Are you Jewish? Do you keep the Law?)

            Perhaps followers of Eastern Orthodoxy are proper Christians or are Catholics with their celibate priesthood, Papal Infallibility and transubstantiation?

            Or could Calvinists be Christians, believing in predestination. Maybe Baptists are the real-deal or Methodists?

            What about Mormons with their polygamy?

            Then again we turn to the Dutch Reform church whose faithful adherents used the Bible to justify apartheid. And, lest we forget, the Westboro Baptist congregation and their charming ” God hates Fags” campaign.

            Just maybe, the only authentic Christians on Earth are worshippers in the Church of Martin, who take their cue from this great patriarch. (Oh the sin of pride)

            I am a Protestant. Inheritor of a tradition of dissent that goes back half a millennium and I thank God every day for it. Just as I thank him for the wonderful insights provided by science.

            Galileo, for instance, proved the heliocentric model of the Solar-system and was house-arrested by the Pope for it. (Remind me who was right Martin?) And of course there is Charles Darwin, whose study of the fossil-record and inspired observation showed how species evolve through Natural Selection. (N.B even the Catholic church accepted this officially in 2003)

            Regarding my going to Hell: I’m there already and it’s horrible. It involves a protracted tit-for-tat with a doomed little dunce, so I’m leaving.

            To infinity and beyond…………

          • Martin

            Tim

            A Christian is one who is born again, whose old nature has been transformed by the power of God making them a new creature. Their love is no longer for this world but for the world to come and their authority is God’s word.

            No one can keep the Law. for we are all sinners, and that is the primary purpose of the Law.

            Dissent doesn’t make us Christians either, but what it is that we hold to. If what we hold to is false, whether we dissent from evil or not.

            Science is merely a methodology and itself doesn’t provide insights. Galileo argued against the consensus of his day, his forcefulness in arguing what got him into trouble rather than his dissent, much like Biblical Creationist argue against the consensus that deifies Darwin and his excessive extrapolation. The lack of use of science in relation to the latter is, of course, it’s greatest weakness.

    • Tim Hall

      The church is dying in this country and you want to exclude people. Great strategy. Where are gay people to take their live of God, if not to a house of God?

      • Martin

        Tim

        Why do you imagine that allowing people who clearly do not hold to what the Bible teaches would do anything to make the churches more healthy? On the contrary, allowing such in is the cause of the distressing state of many churches. It is quite clear that to become a Christian means to reject sin and that includes identifying with those who glory in their sin.

        • Leacock

          The Church is dying because of its wanton willingness to hook up with the spirit of the age. It will soon be a widow if it is foolish enough to solemnize it.

          • Martin

            Leacock

            I’d say church rather than Church since there are many churches that have resisted.

  • DrCrackles

    I fear that Steve Chalke’s ministry has displaced the Almighty in his affections and subsequently he does what is necessary for Oasis even when this clashes with biblical truth.

    In the age we are Christian ministries are being sidelined and excluded for upholding biblical truth.

  • len

    Until man can see sin and its deceptive and destructive power as God does man will tolerate sin and even commend it to others.