The Cowardly Defense of Sin: Jen Hatmaker's Rejection of the Bible
Last October, popular blogger Jen Hatmaker revealed in an interview that she believes that LGBT relationships can be holy before God. In the same interview, she hit on several of progressive Christianity's main talking points, including a wishy-washy stance on abortion. Predictably, the interview prompted competing choruses of support from progressive Christians and dismay from conservative evangelicals.
Thanks to a recent Christianity Today article, the uproar over Jen Hatmaker has been revived. In fact, this time, it may have been kicked up a notch or two. Sounding the warning that many within the Christian blogosphere operate apart from any ecclesiastical oversight, Tish Harrison Warren asked, "Where do bloggers and speakers like Hatmaker derive their authority to speak and teach? And who holds them accountable for their teaching?"
Those are legitimate questions, ones that more Christians need to consider before uncritically consuming the opinions and teachings of writers (including those of John Ellis). Never mind the legitimacy of Harrison Warren's thesis, though; by inserting Jen Hatmaker into her article, Harrison Warren now finds her engaging article and much of the subsequent dialogue swamped by angry supporters of Hatmaker.
Having conducted the original interview with Jen Hatmaker that lit the torch of controversy, Jonathan Merritt has waded into the current brouhaha with what is probably the template for supporters of Hatmaker, who, by the way, are very vocal. Accusing Hatmaker's critics of character assassination, Merritt counters that "Hatmaker’s original sin is that she broke ranks with the evangelical powers-that-be on same-sex relationships." He concludes his article with the declaration, "So I’ll take a courageous Jen Hatmaker over her cowardly critics any day."
I could probably write an entire series of articles unraveling the many error-filled bromides that fill Merritt's recent article. Since my editor has yet to approve that, I'm going to hit the two big errors of Merritt and Hatmaker: 1) that the traditional view of same-sex relationships within evangelicalism isn't a test of orthodoxy and 2) the notion that Jen Hatmaker is courageous.
Setting aside the nonsensical notion that there is some sort of secret cabal of evangelicals that decides who's in and who's out, Merritt's assertion that Hatmaker's views on same-sex relationships can be overlooked by conservative evangelicals is flat-out wrong.
Homosexuality is either a sin or it's not. God either forbids homosexuality or He does not. For those of us who conclude that the data of Scripture overwhelmingly and clearly reveals that homosexuality is outside of God's defined boundary for sex, those who disagree are in serious error. Our doctrine of sin is important because it reveals our doctrine of God. In turn, our doctrine of salvation naturally derives from our doctrines of sin and God (among other doctrines, of course).
God is holy and just. Being holy and just means that God cannot overlook sin. The bad news is that all humans are sinners. The good news is that those who are repenting of their sins and are placing their faith in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ are given Jesus' righteousness while having the punishment for their sins placed on the second person of the Trinity. The good news means that Jesus came to save sinners; Christians are sinners who are saved by grace, through faith in Jesus.