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Evangelical Women Challenge Jen Hatmaker's LGBT Comments

11-01-2016
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Popular author and speaker Jen Hatmaker is facing gentle but firm rebukes in evangelical circles for her recent comments on gay marriage.

In an interview with Jonathan Merritt for Religion News Service she said that LGBT relationships can be "holy."

"This is a very nuanced conversation and it's hard to nail down in one sitting," she said. "I've seen too much pain and rejection at the intersection of the gay community and the Church."

Hatmaker is perhaps the most prominent female evangelical leader to voice public affirmation for gay relationships. In response, LifeWay Christian Stores has stopped selling her Bible studies and books.

Meanwhile, other well-regarded female evangelical leaders are speaking out against Hatmaker's comments.

In an article titled "Love Your Neighbor Enough to Speak Truth," former lesbian Rosaria Butterfield conceded that Christians often fail "to offer loving relationships and open doors to our homes and hearts" to the LGBT community.

Still, she added that "we also have failed to discern the true nature of the Christian doctrine of sin."

"For when we advocate for laws and policies that bless the relationships that God calls sin, we are acting as though we think ourselves more merciful than God is," Butterfield wrote.

She also noted that "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—even ones that claim to be Christian—the student protestors come out in the dozens," Butterfield said. "I'm told that declaring the ethical responsibilities of being born male and female is now hate speech."

"Calling God's sexual ethic hate speech does Satan's bidding," she charged. "This is Orwellian nonsense or worse."

Jennie Allen, a long-time friend of Hatmaker and founder of a popular Christian women's conference, The IF:Gathering, also responded to Hatmaker's comments by affirming biblical teaching on marriage.

"Church, this issue of homosexuality is a difficult one for us right now and it's not because the Bible is not clear on the issue," Allen said. "The difficulty is because it is not an issue—it is people and people we love. It is requiring something we are not well practiced in: holding the tensions of grace and truth."

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