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Steve Chalke says 'juvenile' interpretations of Bible endanger gay people
Church leaders who encourage "juvenile" interpretations of the Bible are partly to blame for "heightened" physical, mental and spiritual harm among gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, Steve Chalke has said.
The prominent church leader from London criticised those who interpret scripture literally, suggesting God's word was influenced by the cultural context of the time it was penned and conservative views on sexuality are out-dated.
In a new video sermon, he said: "My call is to all responsible Church leaders and Christians to re-evaluate their attitude to the Bible and therefore to LGBT people; to work to welcome and celebrate them for who they are, to recognise their relationships and to sanctify their faithful, monogamous marriages."
The senior leader of Oasis Church Waterloo, who controversially endorsed same-sex couples five years ago, said the Bible has been used throughout history to oppress LGBT communities and undermine women's rights.
Calling the Church to "right past wrong", the married father-of-four also urged congregations to become "radical centres of inclusion".
He went on to say: "We have to face the fact that parts of Scripture have been used by others to justify some of the most inhumane, brutal and repressive episodes in human history...
"And still, the Bible is used by some to condone the death penalty, to keep women subservient to men, to incite Islamophobia, to insist on a 'young earth' - anti-scientific - six-day understanding of creation and to abuse the environment.
"All these have been 'faith-based initiatives' and all born out of the same over literalistic misreading of scripture.
"But, today, in order to focus and earth this challenge around how to use the Bible responsibly, I have chosen another contemporary example of discrimination to demonstrate how its poor use still costs lives.
"The tragic example of the Church's treatment of LGBT people."
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