Lately, in Christian circles, there has been much debate over Jen Hatmaker’s ideas on homosexuality and how the church should respond. She has emphasized a loving response and a move towards inclusivity. In her interview, there is much said that is worthy to hear because, there’s no point denying it, the church has not handled this particular situation very well. However, she takes a dangerous step in disregarding the basic standpoint of marriage that has been the norm for over two thousand years in Christian theology and is most consistent with a basic understanding of Scripture. It seems so often that there are only two responses to this issue: giving in and accepting it under the guise of love or standing firmly, and angrily, opposed in the name of truth. What if there is another way? What if we can demonstrate both love and truth?
To even take a step in this direction, the church must understand its ancient role. We have been entrusted with the Gospel. Our primary job, therefore, is to proclaim it, but also to protect it. Since the very beginning, God’s message to us in the person of Christ has been under attack. A very basic reading of the epistles demonstrates this clearly as the writers again and again correct false theology and warn against any twisting of the truth. This battle still goes on today. We have been entrusted with the Word much like Mary and Joseph were entrusted with the Word made flesh. Their job was clear–take care of and protect Him, not to accomplish any of the purposes they might have had but only to accomplish the purposes of God.
We must protect the whole message though. As Paul said to the Corinthian church, “And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” (2 Corinthians 3:3). The Word of our lives must also be consistent. We are the place where truth and mercy must meet. The truth of God’s justice and the mercy poured out upon us should propel us and motivate us. And it should greatly humble us.
To those tempted to “correct” theology in the name of love: be very careful not to exalt your ideas and beliefs above the clearly revealed truth of God, particularly those things that have been understood for generations. We must never think that we are the ones who finally “got it”! There is profound arrogance and danger in this path.
To those who guard the truth in anger : be very careful to also not negate the very real truth of God’s love and our role in demonstrating it in sacrificial ways to an unaccepting world. We have done well to protect the Word of God, but we must do so with humility and patience knowing that the anger of man does not accomplish God’s purposes (James 1:20).
We have a rich inheritance and a beautiful legacy of truth to protect as well as a painful reminder of a past in which we haven’t always done it with love. Let us walk forth humbly, under the authority of the Word, to proclaim the fullness of the Gospel in truth and in love.