Following the much publicised statements made by UK evangelical leader Rev Steve Chalke revealing that he could no longer support then exclusion of gay people from the church, he himself has been excluded by the Evangelical Alliance (EA).
The reasons offered centre around a perception that the Oasis Trust, pioneered by Chalke, has been on a mission to change the Church’s historic view on human sexuality.
(EA statement http://www.eauk.org/current-affairs/media/press-releases/oasis-trust-membership.cfm)
Oasis Trust had responded by saying that they had 'no corporate view on this matter’ but this was seen as dodging the issue by this group of Evangelicals whose strap line is 'better together'.
(Oasis response http://www.oasisuk.org/article.aspx?menuId=34770)
Now firstly let me say that the EA tells us on their website that they represent 'the UK’s two million evangelical Christians'. That's right; they represent all of us: presumably even if we have not asked for them to do so.
Not withstanding the fact that I know of many Evangelical Churches that are not members this statement serves to give the impression that these 2 million Christians are of one voice on a variety of issues including human sexuality.
Now I ask you: when Chalke raised his challenged did the EA ask its members for their opinions on such matters? No, they chose to represent them without knowing what they might feel. Did they look to the rest of the UK evangelical community for support. No, they gathered as a board and decided the subject was too hot to handle.
If they had looked for consensus before choosing to exclude Rev Chalke's organisation they may have achieved something near a level of honesty that might be useful. Unfortunately they have now given a clear signal that honesty is not welcome amongst evangelicals.
So all of those evangelicals that disagree are encouraged to remain silent or face being put out of the group.