Popular Christian Author: God is Ok with LGBT Relationships So the Church Needs to Accept Them

Posted on November 9, 2016 in Marriage, Sexuality, Theology by

Jen HatmakerThe statements of a Christian author that caused her books to be removed from LifeWay stores is worth studying and understanding theologically.

Popular Christian author Jen Hatmaker recently had her books pulled from the largest Christian bookstore in the country for her statements supporting same-sex relationships. It’s become commonplace in our society to hear of Christians “evolving” on this issue and voicing their support for what the Bible calls sin. It almost seems expected for popular pastors, authors, speakers, and religious personalities to tickle the ears of the masses with this “conviction” that didn’t exist ten years ago.

A brief statement by Hatmaker bears significant theological problems and is worth looking at to understand why her view is not in line with what the Bible teaches. She said:

“From a civil rights and civil liberties side and from just a human being side, any two adults have the right to choose who they want to love. And they should be afforded the same legal protections as any of us. I would never wish anything less for my gay friends.

“From a spiritual perspective, since gay marriage is legal in all 50 states, our communities have plenty of gay couples who, just like the rest of us, need marriage support and parenting help and Christian community. They are either going to find those resources in the church or they are not.

“Not only are these our neighbors and friends, but they are brothers and sisters in Christ. They are adopted into the same family as the rest of us, and the church hasn’t treated the LGBT community like family. We have to do better.”

The first mistake Hatmaker made is in believing “any two adults have the right to choose who they want to love.” This clearly violates the basic premise of marriage as found in the Bible. In Matthew 19 Jesus said, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female. Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” (Matt. 19:4-5)

Clearly Jesus is indicating the marriage that God approves of by reminding us that God made us male and female and then affixing that gender difference to marriage. Jesus could have simply stated that God made all people and people should be joined and not separated (see verse 6). But He didn’t. Instead, Jesus reminded us that from the beginning God made males and females to be joined together in marriage.

But Hatmaker also misses the problematic civil aspect of her statement supporting “any two adults” being married. Is she really in favor of siblings marrying? Close relations like first cousins? The argument for incest is already being made culturally and Hatmaker, by her lack of clarification, will give support to that cause.

Her next statement, “from a spiritual perspective, since gay marriage is legal in all 50 states,” is equally troubling. Hatmaker is using civil law as a justification for her support of same-sex “marriage.” Since abortion is legal in all 50 states, does she support abortion?

Our civil law is only to be a justification of our support for something when it lines up with Scripture. When the civil law opposes God’s Word, we as Christians are to refuse to support that law. Supporting a particular point of view based upon a civil law that violates God’s Word is wrong. Our current culture has legalized all manner of sins that God has clearly condemned, do we now begin to support those sins because man has legalized them in the land? Will we support pornography, abortion, drug use, no-fault divorce, or euthanasia?

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of this statement is that Hatmaker connects her “spiritual perspective” with civil law. Our spiritual perspective, aka our theological convictions, are not shaped by civil law. We don’t derive our convictions from the state or the law and we don’t legitimize the things God opposes simply because the state approves.

Hatmaker further muddies the waters by saying that LGBT people and couples need “Christian community” and will either “find those resources in the church or they are not.” She is advocating the acceptance of practicing, unrepentant homosexuals into Christian fellowship of the church. But this is a clear misunderstanding of what the church is. The church is not the place for sinners to find fellowship, the church is the place where sinners hear the Gospel and seek repentance for their sins. The church is a family, you cannot find fellowship in a family that you do not belong to; and you can’t belong to God’s family without repenting of your sins. But if our church accepts homosexuality and welcomes unrepentant LGBT people into our fellowship, we are doing them a disservice.

Rosaria Butterfield would agree that we have “all failed miserably at loving fellow image bearers who identify as part of the LGBT community.” However, Butterfield, a former lesbian, says that we have failed to “love our neighbor” enough to share the truth with them. Butterfield responded to Hatmaker’s comments with a powerful post reminding us that taking up our cross means dying to self:

“There is no good will between the cross and the unconverted person. The cross is ruthless. To take up your cross means that you are going to die. As A. W. Tozer has said, to carry a cross means you are walking away, and you are never coming back. The cross symbolizes what it means to die to self. We die so that we can be born again in and through Jesus, by repenting of our sin (even the unchosen ones) and putting our faith in Jesus, the author and finisher of our salvation.”

Butterfield has the unique perspective of being a former lesbian that was saved from her unbelief and realized that her lifestyle was not compatible with her new faith in Jesus. She began to realize that she had to die to herself, and her desire to be a lesbian. She began to see that her sin would keep her from living the life she was created for as a image bearer of God. Her words are powerful.

Butterfield points out our failure not as one of acceptance for the sin of homosexuality, but for loving the people God has created in His image. Her statement is a sobering reminder to us all of how our theology and convictions should inform our relationship with other people:

“We have all failed miserably at loving fellow image bearers who identify as part of the LGBT community—fellow image bearers who are deceived by sin and deceived by a hateful world that applies the category mistake of sexual orientation identity like a noose. And we all continue to fail miserably. On the biblical side, we often have failed to offer loving relationships and open doors to our homes and hearts, openness so unhindered that we are as strong in loving relationship as we are in the words we wield. We also have failed to discern the true nature of the Christian doctrine of sin. For when we advocate for laws and policies that bless the relationships that God calls sin, we are acting as though we think ourselves more merciful than God is. May God have mercy on us all.”

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