Jen Hatmaker, author of several popular books (one of which, For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards, I read earlier this year) and star of the HGTV show, My Big Family Renovation, has become a household name in recent years, with a large following in many Christian circles. So when an interview with her was released last week where she shared her rather interesting views on a myriad of political issues ranging from Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton to abortion and homosexual marriage, and Black Lives Matter, a firestorm of opinions and reactions quickly released. And, yes, I am about to throw my own voice into the ring of this firestorm. At first I wasn’t going to, because I didn’t feel I had anything to contribute to the discussion that someone else hadn’t probably already said. However, as I pondered one particular part of the interview and a little something Jen said and kept mulling it over and over in my head, I could no longer keep silent. And that particular part was when this was asked:
Interviewer: “You mention faithfulness and God. Do you think an LGBT relationship can be holy?”
Jen: “I do.”
There are many other aspects of the Jen Hatmaker interview which we could address today and, as we go on, a couple others may, in fact, be brought up. But this particular statement made by Jen is inarguably the most harmful and disconcerting, so it is on this main point that I want to focus most of my time today.
Now, as Jen accurately points out in the interview, the topic of homosexuality and homosexual “marriage” is an issue fraught with a lot of emotion, arguing, heartache, tension, etc. in our day. It is precisely because of this, however, that we must not make the mistake of relying on our hearts and feelings when addressing this important topic! Jen, who, I’m sure, is a very caring, warm, loving, compassionate person, unfortunately makes this mistake in the interview when talking about gay marriage (and not once does she instead point to Scripture and what it teaches; she instead relies fully on her own thoughts and feelings). She makes references repeatedly to her “views being tender”, how she has seen “too much pain and rejection at the intersection of the gay community and the church”, that she would attend the wedding of gay friends and drink champagne because “I want the very best for my gay friends. I want love and happiness and faithfulness and commitment and community.”, etc.
Though I appreciate her heart for people, again, we cannot make the mistake of relying on our hearts or our feelings when it comes to the topic of homosexuality, for Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” Likewise, we cannot rely on or follow our own thoughts, opinions, or preferences when it comes to the topic of homosexual marriage, either, for 2 Corinthians 10:5 says we must be about the business of, “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,”. So, rather than sharing our own feelings or thoughts on the matter of homosexuality and whether or not it can ever be described as “holy”, let us turn strictly to the Word of God alone, allowing it to speak for itself, not adding to or taking anything away from it.
Does God Believe in the Concept of “Holy Homosexuality”?:
Allowing the Bible to Speak for Itself
Below is a montage of verses from the Scriptures which directly speak to the topic of homosexuality, and from God’s Word alone (which is living and active and more powerful than any two-edged sword [Heb. 4:12] and God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, [2 Tim. 3:16] ) we will determine if “homosexual marriage” and “holy” can be used in the same sentence.
“1 Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground. 2 And he said, “Here now, my lords, please turn in to your servant’s house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way.” And they said, “No, but we will spend the night in the open square.” 3 But he insisted strongly; so they turned in to him and entered his house. Then he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. 4 Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. 5 And they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally.” 6 So Lot went out to them through the doorway, shut the door behind him, 7 and said, “Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly! 8 See now, I have two daughters who have not known a man; please, let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you wish; only do nothing to these men, since this is the reason they have come under the shadow of my roof.” 9 And they said, “Stand back!” Then they said, “This one came in to stay here, and he keeps acting as a judge; now we will deal worse with you than with them.” So they pressed hard against the man Lot, and came near to break down the door. 10 But the men reached out their hands and pulled Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. 11 And they struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they became weary trying to find the door. 12 Then the men said to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Son-in-law, your sons, your daughters, and whomever you have in the city—take them out of this place! 13 For we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.” 14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, and said, “Get up, get out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city!” But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking. 15 When the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot to hurry, saying, “Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city.” 16 And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. 17 So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed.” 18 Then Lot said to them, “Please, no, my lords! 19 Indeed now, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have increased your mercy which you have shown me by saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, lest some evil overtake me and I die. 20 See now, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one; please let me escape there (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.” 21 And he said to him, “See, I have favored you concerning this thing also, in that I will not overthrow this city for which you have spoken. 22 Hurry, escape there. For I cannot do anything until you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. 23 The sun had risen upon the earth when Lot entered Zoar. 24 Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens. 25 So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. 26 But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. 27 And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord. 28 Then he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain; and he saw, and behold, the smoke of the land which went up like the smoke of a furnace. 29 And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot had dwelt.” ~Genesis 19:1-29
“22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination….24 ‘Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you.” ~Leviticus 18:22, 24
“13 If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.” ~Leviticus 20:13
“22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;” ~Romans 1:22-28
“ 9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were [were – they are no longer practicing these sins!] some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” ~1 Corinthians 6:9-11
“8 But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, 9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.” ~1 Timothy 1:8-11″
“4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. 5 But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; 7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. 8 Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries.” ~Jude 1:5-8
Ok, let’s recap: When referring to homosexuality, the Scriptures use these words and phrases: “Do not do so wickedly!”, “God has sent us to destroy [the city]”, “punishment of the city”, “abomination”, “defiled”, “uncleanness”, “dishonor their bodies”, “vile passions”, “against nature”, “shameful”, “penalty of their error”, “debased”, “not fitting”, “unrighteous”, “lawless”, “ungodly”, “unholy”, “profane”, “lewd”, “immoral”, “strange flesh”, and “defile the flesh”. [clickToTweet tweet=”Just so there is no mistake or confusion – God does not believe homosexuality or homosexual ‘marriage’ is holy. ” quote=”Just so there is no mistake or confusion – God does not believe homosexuality or homosexual ‘marriage’ is holy. “]In fact, He directly refers to it as unholy. Interesting, isn’t it? It’s quite eye-opening to read the Scriptures for themselves and to listen to what they say as opposed to shutting our ears off and closing our eyes to God’s Word and instead relying on our own opinions or feelings!
When reading God’s take on the topics of homosexuality, the LGBT lifestyle, and homosexual “marriage”, it immediately becomes quite clear that [clickToTweet tweet=”Jen Hatmaker is not getting her concept of ‘holy homosexuality’ from the Word.” quote=”Jen Hatmaker is not getting her concept of ‘holy homosexuality’ from the Word.”] She is getting that idea from her own mistaken picture of what love is and her own desire to not step on anyone’s toes or to hurt anyone’s feelings or deprive anyone of “love and marriage”.
“So, just what is the big deal?”, you may be asking. Why point this out? What about all the other sins out there? Why zero in on the sin of homosexuality? Why all this focus on Jen and what she said about homosexual “marriage”? Why all this spouting of Scripture?
First of all, all of Scripture is God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16) and I believe that God is not about the business of wasting His breath! If He took the time to put into His Word passage after passage after passage to warn us of the sin and dangers (both physically-homosexuals contract AIDS and a whole host of STDs at far higher rates than heterosexuals and die at much younger ages– and spiritually – it separates you from God) of homosexuality, then I believe that clearly means He wants us to pay attention to what He has to say on the topic! Why? Because, as we saw in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, the homosexual lifestyle, if unrepented of and not turned away from, is enough to keep a person out of the Kingdom of Heaven and to instead damn them to hell. Yes, so are sins such as stealing and being drunk (also 1 Corin. 6:9-11). But just because other sins can also keep a person out of Heaven doesn’t mean you just focus on those and not the “more commonly accepted in our culture” sin of homosexuality! We are to preach against sin, regardless of what sin it is, homosexuality or otherwise.
Second, here is another reason why the mistaken concept of “holy homosexuality” needs to be addressed:
“If I profess with loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except that little point which the world and the Devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”
~ Martin Luther
What timely words! The issue of homosexual marriage is huge in our current culture and the Bible is clear on that topic, which is precisely why we need to share God’s truth on this issue with others. If we fail to do so for the sake of not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings, or wanting to spread “love”, or not wanting people to come down hard on us and our viewpoint, then we are actually failing to confess Christ. We are failing to take part in the raging spiritual battle going on right now in our culture. We are failing to point others to Christ and eternal life and redemption. We are instead disgraceful soldiers, failing our Savior and our most important mission – the pointing of lost folks to Him.
Third, to address this idea espoused by Jen Hatmaker of “holy homosexuality” is so important because, honestly, [clickToTweet tweet=”To refer to homosexuality and homosexual marriage as ‘holy’ is borderline blasphemy.” quote=”To refer to homosexuality and homosexual marriage as ‘holy’ is borderline blasphemy.”] I don’t say this lightly. In fact, I almost cringe to say it. By nature, I am one who likes to avoid confrontation. I enjoy writing and posting articles that I know will uplift, encourage, and bring joy more than I do articles on emotionally-driven, hot-button topics of our day, because I know I may get hate mail for what I say and that is never any fun. But, again, if I am going to be a faithful and true soldier of Christ, I must speak to this issue. Now, why do I make the claim that the idea of holy homosexuality is borderline blasphemous? Here’s why (again, letting the Bible speak for itself!):
“22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” ~Ephesians 5:22-33
Here we see, outlined in beautiful text, one of the primary purposes for the institution of marriage, the first institution created by God. It is not merely to bring us joy, to make babies, etc. Marriage itself is to serve as a clear and beautiful illustration and witness to the watching world of the loving, redemptive relationship between Christ and His Bride, the Church. In the Old Testament, likewise, the Lord repeatedly refers to His people, Israel, in terms making it clear He views them as His bride (Isaiah 54:5, Isaiah 62:5, Jeremiah 2:2b, Jeremiah 3:14, 20, Jeremiah 13:27, Jeremiah 31:31-33, Ezekiel 23:37b, etc. ). God clearly designed marriage, which is between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:4-6, Ephesians 5:31), to be an accurate and clear representation and picture of Christ and His people. Therefore, to refer to homosexual “marriage”, which is a deformity, distortion, and defamation of true marriage, as “holy” is a very serious issue, for it is a smacking of God in the face, as it were. It is, I believe, blasphemous. As is Jen’s husband, Brandon’s, comment in response to his wife’s interview: “Bottom line, we don’t believe a committed life-long monogamous same-sex marriage violates anything seen in Scripture about God’s hopes for the marriage relationship.” Clearly, He hasn’t been exposed to or read any of the above Scriptures I just shared with you today.
When asked how she would handle it if one of her children took on the homosexual lifestyle, Jen replied with, “I think we would parent that child exactly the same as the rest of them. Which is to say, we would always be on their side and in their corner and for them and with them. We want for all of our kids the same thing: faithful, committed marriage and a beautiful family that is committed to God and the church.” This, too, is extremely problematic, for homosexual unions are not marriage and it is deceptive to think that one can have a homosexual “marriage” and it be a “marriage” that is committed to God, when it is a union based upon relations that God hates. Again, borderline blasphemy. To truly be on your kid’s side is to want to see that kid in Heaven with you one day! As former lesbian and now Christian, Rosaria Butterfield, said in an excellent podcast interview I heard, yes, loving a gay child is so important! Members of the LGBT community love each other fiercely and sacrificially – that is a common characteristic of their community. But, not only must we love our gay children more than the LGBT community does in order to reach them, part of that loving involves pointing them to the truth, not encouraging them to remain where they are.
So, What About Love?
In the interview, Jen continuously refers to love – that is clearly her emphasis when referring to the LGBT community. I submit to you today, however, that Mrs. Hatmaker has a misunderstanding as to the concept of true love. She says, “I want the very best for my gay friends. I want love and happiness and faithfulness and commitment and community.” But does she want what is best for them? Does she want happiness for them? True happiness is found in Christ, not in indulging yourself in whatever sinful tendencies and lifestyles you want to partake in. If you want what is truly best for someone, then that means you want to share God’s truth and His Word with them (not your opinions or feelings), for what is best for a person is to find forgiveness, redemption, and eternal life in Christ – not to be damned to hell because they remained in their sins (at our encouragement to do so and with our support!). Do we really want the blood of the LGBT community on our hands? I sure don’t! I don’t want to encourage them to embrace their sin and in so doing, have them be turned away from truth and eternal life! That is the most hateful, most unloving thing I could do! As much as Jen Hatmaker seems to have a big heart that cares for people, I submit to you today that, if she continues to encourage members of the homosexual community to live out their sin and refuses to call sin sin or point them to the forgiveness of Christ, then she is, in fact, hating her gay friends all while thinking she’s loving them. The most hateful thing you can do is succumb another person to the terrible, rude awakening of the “Depart from Me, for I never knew you” scenario (Matthew 7:21-23), because we encouraged them to remain in their sin when it was in our power to speak truth into their lives and issue to them a life-saving warning, a warning with eternal consequences. Do we care about the eternal souls of those in the LGBT community? Do we really love them? Do we have true compassion for them in our hearts? Do we want what is best for them? Then we will unwaveringly speak truth and issue warning to them, in the hopes that we will be able to spend eternity with them in Heaven! In order to actually love them, we must point them to Christ and His Word! This is nonnegotiable. We would do that with someone sinning in some other way (adultery, lying, stealing, whatever), so why not with this culturally more “accepted and celebrated” area of sin? If done in a spirit of humility, compassion, grace, love, kindness, and truth, pointing out this sin and pointing the fellow sinner to Christ is the absolute most loving thing we can do. To water down God’s Word on this topic, however, is the most unloving, for we are depriving folks from the life-saving Gospel offered them in Christ. Not only that, but are we not making ourselves out to almost be “more loving” or “more gracious” than God Himself when we say we need to just “love” one another and not share God’s truths and standards with each other? In her excellent article, “Love Your Neighbor Enough to Speak Truth: A Response to Jen Hatmaker” former lesbian and author of two eye-opening, important books, Rosaria Butterfield, writes,
“Calling God’s sexual ethic hate speech does Satan’s bidding. This is Orwellian nonsense or worse…… 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.”
Let us guard against puffing ourselves up and thinking ourselves more merciful than God Himself! Let us be careful to view members of the LGBT community as fellow sinners who also bear the image of God as we do. Let us open our hearts and homes to them in a truly loving way – a way which shows compassion, humility, care, and grace to them, and, in so doing, points them to truth and the Good News of the Gospel which can save them from their sin, sanctify, and justify them, and provide them with ultimate joy and eternal life (1 Corinthians 6:9-11) in Christ. Yes, the Church needs to step up to the plate and generously love members of the LGBT community. And that means we point them to the Savior.
Until next week,
*Be sure to check back next week for when we will further explore just what it means to speak the truth in love in an article to be entitled, “Why Christian Dogmatism is not Enough“.
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