Jesus says: “Let those who have ears, let them hear”
As we live out our faith and put our beliefs into practice we are called to be a people who listen to Christ.
As Baptist churches we believe that the appropriate place for discerning that is the local church, but we also commit to being with one another on the way, not always agreeing, but considering seriously the way others have discerned what Scripture says and heard the Spirit at work. Our constant discerning of what Jesus wants us to be and do in church life means that it is rooted in and reflective of our contexts, but this means that we also need to hold our local understanding with humility, as a gathered piece of wisdom on the way that is appropriate for this time and place, but one which may need revision and change as we hear from others.
We know that even suggesting that human sexuality should be a conversation is a controversial thing to say. We want to state that whether or not it should be a conversation, it is one that is happening, and so we want to reflect and resource the questions people are asking and offer ways we might discuss this well. So please, we want to keep hearing from you.
Documents to download ...
A MATTER OF INTEGRITY: The Church, sexuality, inclusion and an open conversation
By Rev. Steve Chalke (Baptist Minister) 2013
Thoughtful conformity to Christ – not unthinking conformity to either contemporary culture or textual prohibitions – should be our unchanging reference point.
I feel both compelled and afraid to write this article. Compelled because, in my understanding, the principles of justice, reconciliation and inclusion sit at the very heart of Jesus’ message. Afraid because I recognise the Bible is understood by many to teach that the practice of homosexuality, in any circumstance, is ‘a grotesque and sinful subversion’, an ‘objective disorder’ or, perhaps slightly more liberally, ‘less than God’s best’.
Gay Marriage - Why the debate? How should the church respond?
By Rev Neil Brighton (Formerly minister of KBC) 2013
This booklet was produced as a follow-up to an evening discussion group at Poynton Baptist Church. It is designed to cover some of the aspects discussed in more detail, particularly the reasons why not all Christians are opposed to same-sex relationships. It is not intended to be the last word; nor does it claim to be a detailed study. The language reflects the spread of opinion within the church where, perhaps, more members are instinctively cautious and fewer intentionally affirming. It is not a statement of what the church nor its leaders necessarily believe, but a resource to help church members think about the issues for themselves. We have made it into a booklet in the hope that it will be of use to others. Our hope is that followers of Jesus can walk with love, integrity and Christlikeness as they respond to the current debate.
By Rev Nigel Wright, Former principal at Spurgeons College June 2013
Miroslav Volf makes the point, in one of the foremost expositions of Free Church principles of recent times, that for churches such as our own to flourish and attract others, outsiders need to have some degree of sympathy for the values that we stand for and embody. As an example, he reckons that churches that operate in a ‘top down’, hierarchical fashion are at a disadvantage when it comes to transmitting their faith compared with those that reflect the values of equality and freedom prized by their wider communities. Otherwise, he argues, the ‘social dissonance’ between church and society becomes too great to overcome.
Walter Breuggemann September 2022
Walter Brueggemann, is one of the world's most renowned biblical scholars, whose scriptural scholarship includes a specific focus on the Hebrew prophets.
What Scripture has to say
It is easy enough to see at first glance why LGBTQ people, and those who stand in solidarity with them, look askance at the Bible. After all, the two most cited biblical texts on the subject are the following, from the old purity codes of ancient Israel:
You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination (Lev. 18:22). If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them (Lev. 20:13).
There they are. There is no way around them; there is no ambiguity in them.
Given these most frequently cited texts (that we may designate as texts of rigour), how may we understand the Bible given a cultural circumstance that is very different from that assumed by and reflected in these old traditions?
Well, start with the awareness that the Bible does not speak with a single voice on any topic. Inspired by God as it is, all sorts of persons have a say in the complexity of Scripture, and we are under mandate to listen, as best we can, to all of its voices.
Videos to view ...
Timothy J. Keller, who was the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, co-founder of Redeemer City to City, and the author of several books, died at the age of 72 on May 19, trusting in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection. He is survived by his wife Kathy, his three sons and their wives, a sister, and seven grandchildren. Tim authored numerous books, with some of the best known being The Reason for God, The Prodigal God, and The Meaning of Marriage, which he co-authored with Kathy. Overall, he wrote 31 books that have sold over 6 million copies and have been translated into 29 languages.
Tom Wright is an English New Testament scholar, Pauline theologian and Anglican bishop. He was the bishop of Durham from 2003 to 2010. Between then and 2019 he was research professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St Andrews, when he became a senior research fellow at Wycliffe Hall at the University of Oxford. He writes about theology and Christian life and the relationship between them. He advocates a biblical re-evaluation of theological matters such as justification, women's ordination, and popular Christian views about life after death. (Source Wikipedia)
Sexuality & Holiness: Remaining loving and biblically-grounded in a rapidly shifting culture by Mike Williams
Publisher: WestBow Press
Uncompromising but compassionate, Mike tackles the tricky issues of same-sex relationships, gender and the Church’s interaction with individuals of the LGBTQ+ community today. Writing for the Church, to challenge the Church, he does not shy away from the tough questions including:
- What does the Bible actually say?
- Are believers living with a Kingdom-first mindset or going with the cultural flow?
- How can the Church keep love and truth in tandem in supporting the LGBTQ+ community?
And much more…
Main Link to BU website