Love, Judgment and Jen Hatmaker
Written by Phylicia Masonheimer | November 4, 2016
This week, popular author Jen Hatmaker revealed her stance on homosexuality in an interview with Religion News Service. Due to her influence in Christian circles, Hatmaker’s comments caused an immediate stir. When asked if she supported gay marriage, she replied: [Excerpt] “…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.” She further clarified this stance by saying she believed gay relationships can be “holy” (read her full interview here).
This is not the first time Hatmaker’s comments have reflected support for a gay lifestyle; her emphasis on love for the gay community has been a theme throughout much of her work. In many ways, this is to be admired. The Christian community has failed to live out gospel love to the gay community.
But Hatmaker missed a theological cornerstone in this conversation, and it’s this: It’s possible to both love someone and judge sin. While her motives may be good, her theology is wrong, and here are three important reasons why.
God Himself both loves and judges.
Historically and fundamentally, Christianity defines sex within the confines of male and female (Genesis 1:27). There is no transfer of gender or sexuality; God designs our sex in the womb (Psalm 139:13-16). But we live in a fallen world, and the perfect sexuality God created is now influenced by sin. Sexual abuse, premarital and extramarital sex, adultery and homosexuality all fall outside of God’s design for sex according to Scripture. That said, it’s important to note that ALL sin—not just homosexuality—is an abomination to God. All sin separates us from Him (Romans 3:23). And it is for all sin that Jesus died, reconciling those who give up their former lifestyles, take up their cross and follow Him.
Because God is perfect, He MUST judge sin. He MUST condemn those who participate in it. If He didn’t, He would no longer be perfect—which means He would no longer be perfectly good, loving, kind or compassionate. For God to pardon sin, there had to be someone to take the penalty for it. That’s how justice works.
Enter Jesus. Jesus wasn’t sent because it was just a “good idea.” Jesus was sent because man was in a hopeless predicament, and God so loved the world, He gave the best He had for the worst of sinners. That’s you, me and our gay friends.
It is God’s judgment that magnifies His love.
Jesus supported the Old Testament view of sexuality.
Many people debate whether Jesus ever said homosexuality was wrong. They try to separate Jesus’ words from the rest of the Bible, as if one part is more accurate than another. It doesn’t work like that.
You cannot “believe in Jesus” and reject what He said through the apostles and Old Testament prophets. Jesus Himself fulfilled the law—and said so (Matthew 5:17-19). The Law is the Old Testament, which includes God’s stance on homosexuality (Genesis 19:1-38, Leviticus 18:22, 20:13). Jesus also promised to impart His Holy Spirit to the apostles after His ascension (John 14:15-17), and His promised Spirit is who inspired the work and writings we see in the New Testament today (2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:21). God has been consistent about sexuality since the creation of Adam and Eve. He has not changed His stance in the Old Testament or the New.
While we are free to believe what we wish, that doesn’t make our ideology accurate or truthful. If Christianity changed for every cultural ideal, it would not be Christianity. It would be popular opinion. Hatmaker’s stance on homosexuality is indeed popular, but it’s not biblical.
Love always chooses the best for another person.
What is the ultimate best for any human being?
The very best we can offer the people in this world is a hope beyond this life. We could offer money, time, a perfect family, success or fame, but all these things would pass away. Instead, Christ followers have access to the secret to eternal life. We have security. We have peace. We will live free from judgment and condemnation and spend endless years in the presence of God. We have all this, yet because we fear man more than we love him, we remain silent.
It is not unloving to communicate the truth of the gospel: no one can come to God apart from Christ, and part of following Christ is following His design for sexuality. This is not “condemning”; it is just the opposite! It’s like pointing to the “exit” sign as someone is headed to a certain death. It’s the way out from condemnation. Jesus Himself said:
“Whoever believes in him [Jesus] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (John 3:18)
When Hatmaker says homosexual relationships are “holy,” it’s like saying that extramarital sex, adultery, lying, covetousness or hatred is holy. All these things—and all of us—offend God, not just people who live a gay lifestyle. This is humbling.
These truths should motivate us to better evangelism. God has outlined his plan for sexuality, and we don’t get to redefine it. We shouldn’t compromise what Christ said, lie about Scripture or set up a fake Christianity so people approve of our worldview. But we should love all people—including the gay community—the way God loves us. God never sacrificed truth when He gave His love, and He never speaks the truth without a loving motive. May we all strive to do the same.