"Where's the kaboom? There was supposed to be an earth-shattering kaboom?" –Marvin Martian

This is the same Steve Chalke who has described substitutionary atonement as “cosmic child abuse”. Just in case you were wondering where you’ve heard the name before.

Full disclosure: I’ve always found Steve Chalke rather irritating. I’m sure he’s a lovely chap, but we’re just not on the same wavelength in a way I can’t quite put my finger on. We’re probably wildly clashing Myers-Briggs types or something (jn). So bear that in mind in what I say about him.

Anyway. I found a lot of Chalke’s latest article rather “hand-waving”: “the church has changed its mind on women, slavery and geocentrism, so it can change its mind on same-sex relationships”, that sort of thing. Chalke also sets “exegesis” at odds with “hermeneutics” in a manner which seems a bit… odd.

The following paragraph summarises his argument:

Christianity is not about a book, but about a person who is the Word of God made flesh. On the issue of women or slavery, as just two examples, the New Testament closes some distance from where even the most conservative Christian now is in their understanding. The process of understanding the character and will of Yahweh – as revealed through Jesus – is the continuing task for every generation. Therefore, biblical interpretation is not finished, but is the endless, open-ended project of all those who take its text seriously and authoritatively.

In short: it’s not that I think it impossible to make the sort of case that Chalke is attempting to make; it’s just that I don’t think he does a particularly good job of it. James Alison is much better at this sort of thing, whether you end up agreeing with him or not.

Don’t miss also Chalke’s “inclusion resources” which he has published to accompany his article, and which include a form of same-sex blessing (PDF).