A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

November 4, 2016

Changing God's Truth In The Evangelical Community

     As I have previously stated, I don't get too caught up in following the popular preachers and speakers in today's Christian community.  But maybe I should start paying more attention.  Just as a firestorm has erupted over evangelical pastor Andy Stanley's sermon on the sufficiency of the Bible, so has a similar uproar ignited over Jen Hatmaker's remarks regarding same-sex marriage.
     I have to admit that I have heard her name, but was unfamiliar with Hatmaker's position in the evangelical community.  She appears to be part of the new breed of evangelical Christians ... a young author, speaker, blogger, and television personality.  Specifically, she and her husband were hired by HGTV to host a show titled, "My Big Family Renovation," chronicling their overhaul of an old farmhouse.  The show became a hit, and HGTV announced that they have asked Jen and her husband, Brandon, back for a new series entitled “My Biblical Doctrine Renovation.”
     In the words of the network spokesperson, “The Hatmakers have an uncanny knack for tearing down old, worn-out, traditional things and replacing them with new, shiny fixtures and appliances, and they’ll be using these skills to renovate a traditional teaching from Scripture in each episode ... In every fun, relatable episode of the show, the Hatmakers will take a boring, traditional biblical doctrine, rip it to shreds using words like ‘tender’ and ‘nuanced,’ and replace it with something much more modern and acceptable ... Viewers will get to see the detailed, step-by-step process of updating out-of-vogue beliefs into something cutting-edge and trendy.”  If this is the direction the young evangelical community is headed, I'm glad I don't identify with them or adhere to their apostate teachings.
     And it looks as if Jen's first "renovation" project is homosexuality and same-sex marriage.  And by the swift response her stance is receiving, I might suggest that she rethink being "modern and acceptable" or "cutting-edge and trendy", and take another look at what the Bible actually says.
     The hubbub all began as a result of an interview Hatmaker did with Religion News Service, and the answer she gave to the following questions: Politically speaking, do you support gay marriage?  Her answer:  "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".
     And how would you respond if one of your children were gay?  Her answer:  "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. I would have the same standard across the board, no matter what".
     You mention faithfulness and God. Do you think an LGBT relationship can be holy?  Her answer: "I do. And my views here are tender. This is a very nuanced conversation, and it’s hard to nail down in one sitting. I’ve seen too much pain and rejection at the intersection of the gay community and the church. Every believer that witnesses that much overwhelming sorrow should be tender enough to do some hard work here".  [There's the "tender and nuanced" that HGTV is looking for!]
     All of this sounds very "New Age-y" and loving and compassionate.  But nowhere do I see her actually address what the Bible says about sexual sin.  As a committed Christian, I absolutely believe in the Bible and what it says about God’s will regarding sexual behavior.  I believe just as strongly in unconditional love and forgiveness.  But that love and forgiveness cannot supersede God's moral laws.  His Word emphatically says, “If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination (Leviticus 20:13)….”.
     But how many in this modern Christian Age actually know what is meant by that word abomination?  According to Strong's Concordance, when used with reference to God, this word describes people, things, acts, relationships, and characteristics that are detestable to Him because they are contrary to His nature.  And what is His nature in regard to the sexes?  It is stated from the very beginning of the Bible, in Genesis 1:27: So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.  It is not in God's nature to be accepting of anything that goes against what He has created.  And no matter how many laws are passed in favor of gay marriage; or how accepting and loving Society and the Church wants to be, it will not change God’s mind.  And I know that many in the young evangelical movement will cite that verse as part of the out-of-touch Old Testament Law that does not pertain to our modern society.  But to suggest that this verse is invalid today is to advocate the dangerous practice of redefining or deleting God's Nature and what He has said.
     I want to be very clear ... I am not saying we should not love people who have adopted the homosexual lifestyle.  We should love our fellow man or woman with the fear of God and the mercy of Jesus.  We should love them enough to be honest with them, and not distort the Word of God to make them feel better about sinful desires.  We all sin and fall short!  And it is not the lifestyle that I focus on, as much as it is their unbelief in the Word of God.  When the Bible says we are to die to ourselves, and to present our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, I believe it!  In fact, Paul states it so clearly in Ephesians 4:22-24:  in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
     I highly recommend that you read a response to Jen Hatmaker's conciliatory position.  It is written by Rosaria Butterfield, and titled Love Your Neighbor Enough To Speak Truth.  In the article, Rosaria gives her testimony about dying to the [homosexual] life she loved in order to gain Christ.  She makes a powerful statement: "When something feels right and good and real and necessary—but stands against God’s Word—this reveals the particular way Adam’s sin marks my life. Our sin natures deceive us. Sin’s deception isn’t just “out there”; it’s also deep in the caverns of our hearts.
     How I feel does not tell me who I am. Only God can tell me who I am, because he made me and takes care of me. He tells me that we are all born as male and female image bearers with souls that will last forever and gendered bodies that will either suffer eternally in hell or be glorified in the New Jerusalem. Genesis 1:27 tells me that there are ethical consequences and boundaries to being born male and female. When I say this previous sentence on college campuses (Rosaria is a former tenured professor of English at Syracuse University)—even ones that claim to be Christian—the student protestors come out in the dozens. I’m told that declaring the ethical responsibilities of being born male and female is now hate speech".
     In other words, there now appear to be people, groups, denominations, and Christian movements who are willing to depart from God's absolute Truth, and to distort the Biblical doctrine of sin in order to be "on their side" or to relate to "the pain and rejection" that Jen Hatmaker says the Church has caused the LGBT community.
     But as Rosaria Butterfield eloquently explains, "We can not have illicit love and gospel peace at the same time; sin and Christ cannot abide together ... the cross never makes itself an ally with the sin it must crush, because Christ took our sin upon Himself and paid the ransom for its dreadful cost."
     Like Butterfield, I advocate loving relationships with all people and open doorways to share God's Truth.  And like my God, in whose image I am made, I do not wish anyone to be lost.  I truly want my words to reflect His mercy and desire for reconciliation with Him.
     But I am a realist, and I know my opinion will certainly be an unpopular one with those in the world; and most likely spurned among evangelicals, who like Jen Hatmaker, feel the traditional Word is in need of "renovation and updating", while she desperately tries to be politically relevant.
     In summary, I see a form of Christianity being promoted that is only interested in pleasing the masses, rather than convicting the lost.  Pastors, and leaders, and teachers are willing to excuse Biblical sin rather than hurting someone's feelings.  No mention of Judgment is allowed, and Repentance is never sought.  Our faith has become politically correct instead of Biblically accurate.  When we preach indulgence instead of declaring sin, we are deceiving those who are sinning, as well as ourselves.  In the end, we are preaching our words -- not His Word -- and sadly, they are void of Truth and Salvation.

2 Peter 3:9   "The Lord isn’t slow about keeping His promises, as some people think He is. In fact, God is patient, because He wants everyone to turn from sin and no one to be lost."

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