Noted British Baptist minister, Steve Chalke, has been offering a series of short videos (Chalke Talks) challenging the assumptions and workings of modern Christianity. Chalke is the senior minister of Oasis Church in Waterloo, central London as well as the founder and director of the Oasis Charitable Trust, one of the leading UK charities, and is a former United Nations‘ Special Adviser on Human Trafficking.
In this video, he calls out the unhealthy ways the Bible has been used as a cudgel in in Christian history and speaks to how many are using it in ways that are detrimental to the mental health and well-being of LGBT+ persons. Specifically, he offers three challenges to churches and Christians.
- Be honest – When people say they ‘follow the Bible literally’ – and badge those that don’t as liberals or heretics – they do so only by sidestepping the serious moral issues that some of its books present. Instead, of this, we need to grapple with the whole of Scripture, wrestling with the cultural confines and preconceptions into which they were originally written, to discover the bigger arc of where the Bible’s overall story is going.
- Recognise this matters – These moral issues are simply not things Christians can ‘agree to differ’ on. Getting interpretation of the Bible wrong can cause serious harm to people in churches and society as a whole. The issue of LGBT rights is one of the most pressing examples.
- Start repairing the damage now – Only by acting now to ensure that each and every church is a centre of openness, inclusion and justice can churches begin to address some of the unintentional damage that has at times led to oppression and marginalisation.
The ‘Chalke Talk’ series is hosted on the Open Church Network – a virtual gathering place for people seeking an open conversation about Christianity, theology, church, the Bible and life. www.openchurch.network is a web portal rich in content and resources for those with a personal interest in Christian life or theology; for church leaders, church members and those who are currently finding their way outside a traditional sense of church.