Steve Chalke comes out as a Bible grappler

No stranger to causing controversy in evangelical Christian circles (he of “cosmic child abuse” fame), Steve Chalke (sadly no relation of Charlie Chalk, a childhood hero of mine – see google images) has published this paper:

In it he advocates long-term homosexual relationships as being an ok thing for a Christian to be in. The main point I’d like to make in response involves the word “grapple”. Here are some quotes:

I have formed my view, however, not out of any disregard for the Bible’s authority, but by way of grappling with it and, through prayerful reflection, seeking to take it seriously


In my view, however, it is the task of all those worldwide who take the Bible’s text seriously and authoritatively to grapple constantly with what it means to recognise our neighbour and to love them as we love ourselves

There are some nice-sounding bits in the paper about his regard for Biblical authority, but the veil is lifted by his use of the word “grapple”. This word basically means to fight or struggle. This is precisely the wrong attitude to have when reading Scripture. He finds some bits of the Bible he doesn’t like, and then fights with them until he can reach a (still biblical, of course!) position that fits with how he thinks things should be.

If we are to understand Scripture properly, we must not grapple with it but must surrender to it and allow it to grapple us without resistance, whether it says what we want it to say or not. If we fight back we will inevitably impose our own ideas into it and stray dangerously from the truth.

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