Bestselling author, speaker, Bible study leader and HGTV star Jen Hatmaker says she has changed her mind and put aside the conservative childhood biblical teachings of her parents and church.
LifeWay Christian stores---all 185 of them nationally and their international web site---has taken down all of her books, teaching materials and other resources.
LifeWay will likely be labeled both racist and bigoted by some, but they have made the right decision.
Some of you know that I know a bit about the Christian retail business. I applaud them for taking a stand---refusing to cave to cultural pressures.
I hope you will applaud them as well.
Here's the story.
Jen Hatmaker is well known in evangelical churches and circles. She is a best selling Christian author, produces Bible study materials and is a well know personality on the HGTV show "My Big Family Renovation."
Recently she sat down with Religion News Service and explained how she has abandoned some of the biblical teaching of her parents and the church in which she grew up.
She says her church always had voter's guides in the pew and always told every one to "vote a straight-ticket Republican" because "The Republican platform is Christian. The end."
As I read her interview, it became apparent to me that her "transformation" is about much more than political parties.
It's about fundamental moral beliefs.
Jen and her husband have adopted 2 children from Ethiopia to raise along with their own---thus creating a multiracial family.
She says she has become "deeply embedded" in the Black Lives Matter movement.
But it was her "evolution" on homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and abortion that caught my attention---and the attention of LifeWay Stores as well.
RNS asked if she now politically supports same-sex "marriage."
"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."
She was also asked if she thought an LGBT relationship "can be holy":
"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."
She was asked if an LGBT friend got "married" would you attend the wedding?
She said, "I would attend the wedding with gladness, and I would drink champagne. I want the very best for my gay friends. I want love and happiness and faithfulness and commitment and community. Yes that's an easy answer."
I would suspect that's what her parents and her old church would want for them as well.
Biblical Christians and churches also want the best for homosexuals, but the best is not affirmation and celebration of a life and lifestyle that is ultimately destructive---and unacceptable to God.
The true path to happiness, faithfulness, commitment and community is through forgiveness and restoration that comes through accepting Christ as personal Savior.
And this applies to all of us because we are all sinners. A new life in Christ, which is what Christianity is about, is not about celebrating and approving the sins, whatever they may be---rather being delivered from them.
Religion News Service asked, "What about the other hot button issue? Where do you stand on abortion?"
She said, "I've always had a pro-life ethic and still do. But my pro-life ethic has been expanded from simply being anti-abortion."
"There's something incredibly disingenuous about a Christian community that screams about abortion, but then refuses to support the very programs that are going to stabilize vulnerable, economically fragile families that decide to keep their kids,"---meaning not abort them.
Her expanded pro-life view, she says, now includes being pro-Muslim and pro-refugee---and she is certainly "not in favor of late-term abortions."
LifeWay has pulled all her materials from their shelves and their online retail, and they have done so in the spirit of standing for righteousness and biblical teaching.
Marty King, communications director for LifeWay said, "In [that] interview she voiced significant changes in her theology of human sexuality and the meaning and definition of marriage---changes which contradict LifeWay's doctrinal guidelines. So as a result LifeWay has discontinued selling her resources."
Clearly LifeWay is taking a stand for biblical teaching. Who knows what the consequences or reactions may be?
I join other evangelicals in applauding LifeWay for standing strong and not caving.
Now that we have applauded them, let's go spend some money in their stores. There are about 185 LifeWay stores across the nation. This is a "store locator" to help you find one near where you live.
Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Vigilant. Be Prayerful.