Recently, a news report appeared at the website of Premier Christian Radio which was headlined: Baptist Union to allow gay marriage ceremonies.
The Baptist Union objected to this interpretation of its actions, and the report was modified. It is now headlined Steve Chalke welcomes Baptist Union gay guideline change
The original statement by the Baptist Union is available here.
At Assembly 2014 an update of our process was shared and the following was offered on behalf of the Baptist Steering Group to express where we are up to on the journey. This will serve as a backdrop to our continuing conversations and the way we will seek to behave.
As a union of churches in covenant together we will respect the differences on this issue which both enrich us and potentially could divide as we seek to live in fellowship under the direction of our Declaration of Principle ‘That our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh, is the sole and absolute authority in all matters pertaining to faith and practice, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures, and that each church has liberty, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to interpret and administer His Laws.’
Upholding the liberty of a local church to determine its own mind on this matter, in accordance with our Declaration of Principle, we also recognise the freedom of a minister to respond to the wishes of their church, where their conscience permits, without breach of disciplinary guidelines.
We affirm the traditionally accepted Biblical understanding of Christian marriage, as a union between a man and a woman, as the continuing foundation of belief in our Baptist Churches.
A Baptist minister is required to live and work within the guidelines adopted by the Baptist Union of Great Britain regarding sexuality and the ministry that include ‘a sexual relationship outside of Christian marriage (as defined between a man and a woman) is deemed conduct unbecoming for a minister’.
The whole story is analysed in great detail by Adrian Warnock. See The Baptist Union to allow differences on Same Sex Marriage and Interview on Same Sex Marriage with Baptist Union Spokesman Stephen Keyworth.
Meanwhile, the dispute between the Evangelical Alliance and Oasis Trust has been analysed in similar detail by Cranmer in Steve Chalke and the artful Evangelical Alliance defiance.
A lot of words have been (and are still being) poured out on the ‘schism’ in Evangelicalism following the expulsion of the Oasis Trust from the Evangelical Alliance over Oasis founder Steve Chalke’s stance on same-sex relationships, which the EA deem to be inconsistent with the ‘traditional’ Evangelical view. It seems that Evangelicals are only ‘Better Together’ (their mission slogan) when there is compliance and uniformity on the zeitgeist obsession of homosexuality. The EA do not expel members who support abortion; nor do they sever links with those who marry divorcees or accept pre-marital sexual relations as a forerunner of marriage. They do not even expel a member for repudiation of the foundational Evangelical doctrine of substitutionary atonement, which the Rev’d Steve Chalke terms “cosmic child abuse”, as though God casually murdered His Son for the salvation of the world, and penal substitution is barbaric and utterly morally indefensible…