Jen Hatmaker is a best-selling author and a prominent Christian leader. She also calls gay marriage holy. So if you are a pastor or leader in the church and you don’t know who she is, then you should. Jen Wilkin’s recent tweet makes a similar point:
Pastor, if you had to ask, “Who’s Jen Hatmaker?” it’s time to be more directly invested in the spiritual nurture of half your church.
— Jen Wilkin (@jenniferwilkin) October 28, 2016
In other words, Hatmaker influences women in your church. In fact, in Canada women may make up more than half your church!
Since Hatmaker greatly influences women, her recent comments to Jonathan Merritt warrant attention. He asks her “Do you think an LGBT relationship can be holy?”, and she replies: “I do.”
I do. I do think that LGBT relations are holy. Holy. God’s nature, his holiness, extends to LGBT relationships. This is a surprising admission from Hatmaker. Note that she does not just mean that LGBT persons can have holy relationships in general, but she almost certainly means romantic relationships, even marriage.
Consider how she responds to this earlier question: “If an LGBT friend of yours got married, would you attend that wedding?” She says: “I would attend that wedding with gladness, and I would drink champagne. I want the very best for my gay friends. I want love and happiness and faithfulness and commitment and community. Yes. That’s an easy answer.”
Clearly, then, Hatmaker affirms LGBT marriage and romantic relationships as a good and holy union between two persons who faithfully love each other. In response, a number of thoughts come to mind.
1. We Should Affirm Hatmaker’s Desire to Love
While it’s easy for Evangelicals to immediately criticize Hatmaker, we should affirm her impulse to desire the good and happiness of others. God is love, and we should desire the goodness and happiness of others. We should also love genuinely LGBT persons as those made in God’s image and as those whom we are called to love.
2. But We Should Reject Hatmaker’s Stance on The Holiness of LGBT Relationships
LGBT persons are created in God’s image, and Christians ought to love and appreciate such persons. But God calls LGBT relationships sinful, not holy. Further, to attribute God’s nature to something sinful is not only wrong, it’s misrepresents God. It attributes something sinful to God’s nature.
God tells us to be holy as he is holy (Lev 20:26; 1 Pet 1:16). When we act holy, we act like God. We are called to be like God. Our holy behaviour imitates God. So to call behaviour (LGBT relationships) holy when it is not is to attribute something sinful to God.
3. We Should Reject Hatmaker’s Affirming Theology
The heart of the matter is this: Why does Hatmaker affirm the holiness of LGBT relationships? While this impulse evinces compassion on her side, it is a misdirected compassion. She never once justifies her beliefs by engaging with God’s word, the Biblical text (at least in this interview). To be sure, God’s word calls us to love others; but it also directs how we show compassion to the world around us.
The Bible is not silent on God’s intentions for human relationships. Genesis 1 and 2 detail that God created two genders to equally complement each other as they rule over God’s creation. Same-sex relationships do not share the same origin or purpose.
Hatmaker influences many people in Christian churches, and her message sounds loving, kind, and compassionate. But the sound of her statement echoes hollow, because she sings a hallowed nature into a horrendous thing: sin. Christians must kindly but forcefully reject Hatmaker’s affirming theology because it attributes something false to God and because it finds no biblical support.
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