Yesterday’s Conversation

… is now online. Click play below to hear what Steve and I talked about.


In retrospect I think I would have liked to have handled the slavery issue differently and I’ve also checked out Steve’s claim on the Cybele cult and (and I hesitated in saying this yesterday because I wasn’t 100% sure so I didn’t) he is incorrect in his assertion that there was only Imperial approval after 200AD. His exact words were that it wasn’t a state religion till then, but it was still highly regarded before that point and the Emperors paid for many of the shrines (especially at the time of writing of Paul’s letter to the Romans).

Myself and Justin Brierley

Picture – Andrew Horton / Worldview Media

8 Comments on “Yesterday’s Conversation

  1. A very interesting debate Peter. I don’t think you did as badly over the slavery issue as you might think; but I do think you exposed the weakness of the “conservative” Evangelical defence of biblical slavery. I once heard Bishop Holloway call this defence “a bit smelly” and I think in their heart of hearts most people would agree it is and also share Steve’s point that the Bible, disappointingly does not give the “knock down” argument against one human being owning another we all wish it did. But doesn’t that just go to show that the Bible in Anglicanism is one of three supports (along with Tradition and Reason, as Jill has pointed out recently and that ALL have to be brought to bear on any question)? Maybe wrestling with the Bible which Steve talked a lot about might include, God forbid! rejecting some of it not just as out of time but actually wrong ( it was composed by human authors not dictated to a single Prophet à la Islam)? The sola scriptura argument seems to get too close to the Islamic view and it leads conservatives into all sorts of problems, such as the one Justine dealt with on his Unbelievable podcast the week before last, the divinely-ordered genocide of the Amalekites. John Allister defending it had his feet held to the fire by Justin Schieber. He said that John’s defending the slaughter of the children by blaming their parents for not passing themselves off as Kenites was just sick – the Israelite war machine advanced; it was the military commanders who gave the orders to shove broadswords into children’s bellies, and behind them the prophet and behind him God. Indefensible and most of the listeners to Unbelievable, Christians and non, saw that. Does Christianity really fall apart if you say the Bible is a human document, maybe in part inspired, but the authors were of their time and got some of it wrong?

  2. You were spot on with your pastoral response mainly needing to be a better dealing with singleness – we’ve become so pro-marriage (which is a good thing) that we’ve often become ignorant of the other Godly lifestyle (other than maybe something for the chosen few who have the gift of intentional life-long celibacy*). Chalke, even in his response to you, didn’t even mention the single life. Given singleness is not on his radar at all, I don’t know how I (as a (‘straight’) single) would be able to feel included in his ‘inclusive’ church.

    *ie not single through circumstance of not being married, but by choosing to not get married.

    • Good point. Are sexually active singles (gay our straight) welcome in Steve’s church? Or does his acceptance of gay people in loving, stable relationships imply that the gay singles who attend his church must abstain until they are married or civil-partnered?

      • I think you raise an interesting question*, but I wasn’t talking about sexually active singles. Rather I was talking about those who are chaste (or trying to be) because they are not married, even if they don’t particularly want to be single (like me).

        As Chalke was laying out his pastoral response, I felt more and more alienated – the idea that someone isn’t sexually active seems completely alien to him.

        *which I believe he answers to a large extent – he talks of ‘life long faithfulness’ a lot.

        • I (rather cynically) took the emphasis on ‘life long faithfulness’ to be an evangelical crowd pleaser tactic. I don’t suppose the gay men who attend his church behave very differently to their secular gay friends.

  3. You did rattle him on several issues. He hated it when you made exegetical points that contradicted his opinions and reacted each time..

    Steve was good at polemics: dragging in slavery: misinterpreting Romans as a criticism only of homosexual people: misapplying the inclusion of the Gentiles to suggest that it was equivalent to approving of gay sex (but, of course, no other sex that current society still disapproves of!!); dominating the time; and interrupting you when he didn’t like the points you were scoring…

    At base his argument was fundamentally on the same basis as those advanced 20 years ago by liberal Anglicans such as Jeffrey John and Bishop Doe: the church is being nasty to gay people and rejecting them (but, of course, it’s not nasty to disapprove of other people’s sexual attractions – that are disapproved of by the state!!)…. and trying to assert that he is “taking the bible seriously.” (ROFL)

    ps Steve has forgotten that if he wants to follow Jesus he has to do it His way!

  4. Don’t know if anyone else noticed this, but he was wrong in his reference to Timothy. He was wrong on which chapter (a non-issue) and he said that Paul said that no woman could speak in any church, whereas the language does not say this, so is clearly readable as speaking to that specific situation only.
    Alongside that, he completely avoided answering my question (the second one). Admittedly it should have been phrased at the beginning as “If we believe that Jesus is God, thus knowing the mind of the Father and also that monogamous relationships would happen mr some point…”

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