Thursday, September 16, 2004


As the argument within the churches about human sexuality rages on, it is always good to see people who refuse to play 'the tribal game' and whose inclusivity is rooted in (no doubt painful) theological wrestling. I'm thinking of the recently formed Accepting Evangelicals who, along with Courage and the Evangelical Fellowship for Lesbian and Gay Christians, give the lie to the idea that this is some kind of simple war between 'liberals' and 'conservatives'.

Given the vituperative climate, AE are a brave bunch of people, too. But no-one who has worked with Benny Hazlehurst (as I was fortunate enough to do in Southwark Diocese in the mid-90s) could doubt his faith or integrity. Not being an evangelical I can't join. But I certainly send AE my best wishes and prayers. Their self-explanation is as follows:

Accepting Evangelicals is a new network of Evangelical Christians who believe that it is ok to be both Evangelical and open to accepting or affirming views on homosexuality.

It is both national and ecumenical and welcomes anyone who would call themselves an Evangelical. Among its founders are Benny Hazlehurst and Paul Roberts, both Anglican vicars & members of General Synod, and Jeremy & Bren Marks, founders of ‘Courage’.

"We want to create a space for Evangelicals to be able to sign up to an accepting or affirming position on the gay issue without having to stop being Evangelicals!” said Benny Hazlehurst. “We are passionate about the Gospel, and believe in the authority of Scripture, but are prepared to accept that there is more than one way to interpret the Bible on this issue.”

Accepting Evangelicals believe that many Evangelicals are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with some of the hard-line statements that are being issued on their behalf. The network also wants to engage constructively with those who are opposed to the acceptance of faithful, loving same-sex partnerships.

Membership of the network is free, and both people and churches can join up via the web site info.htm We need to break the myth that being a pro-gay Evangelical is a contradiction in terms so if you call yourself Evangelical, come and visit the web site, join up, and give us your feed back.”

My own musings on Christian faith and sexuality are here.

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