30 min readOn Redefining Words and Character Assassination

May 5, 2017 | Article | 40 comments

30 min readOn Redefining Words and Character Assassination

May 5, 2017 | Article | 40 comments

Jonathan Merritt recently wrote a piece supposedly lamenting the blogosphere’s character assassination of Jen Hatmaker. Merritt’s article is rife with words and phrases about those he disagrees with such as, “warlords”, “cowardly”, “dragged…to the stocks”, “christian mafia”, “evangelical aristocracy”, “pulverizing its uncompliant members”, “raging dumpster fire”, “unhinged racists”, and “rigid tribalism”,  to name a few. I take all of this to mean, don’t assassinate anyone’s character, you warring, low-down, no-good evangelicals, capiche? 

I, myself, have not seen any such character assassination in action. That’s not to say it hasn’t happened, but that the war-lording fervor Merritt paints a picture of has largely been missing from my feed. From what I have seen of Jen online, she is funny, smart, not too shabby with the pen, and has a crazy huge fan base. She’s sarcastic and whimsy, two things I value greatly in a person. Of course, I stridently disagree with everything Jen said that got us here in the first place (more on the “everything” later), but disagreement does not an assassin make. I suppose you could say consistently characterizing an entire group of people as tribes that pulverize dissenters might be harshly characterizing an entire group of people, but let’s not get too deep in the weeds here.

I responded in a video to her interview with Merritt last fall in which she identified as a truth-denier. I did so with sarcasm and whimsy, as was befitting, which I received quite a bit of character assassination for. Not everyone responds well to sarcasm and whimsy (as Jen herself knows) and that’s just fine with me. Any time you open your mouth on the internet to disagree with someone, there will be those who believe you are just a mean, nasty, terrible person who doesn’t know Jesus. Hopefully the irony of Merritt lamenting character assassination while sloppily painting a picture of all conservatives as blood-thirty warlords is not lost on us. Ahem.

Merritt wrote,

Hatmaker’s original sin is that she broke ranks with the evangelical powers-that-be on same-sex relationships. In an interview with me last October, Hatmaker stated that if she found out one of her children were gay, she would love that child just the same. If an LGBT friend of Hatmaker’s got married, she said she would attend the wedding. And Hatmaker said she believed LGBT relationships could be holy.

In the interview, Hatmaker did not deny a line in the Apostles Creed. She did not promote a historical heresy. She merely claimed that after a careful study of the scriptures, she had arrived at a different understanding of same-sex relationships. But this was enough to outrage some conservative Christians. Lifeway Christian Stores even banned her books from their shelves.

I’d like to pause to really reflect on the presuppositions here. Hatmaker did more than break ranks with evangelicals (what does “evangelical” even mean anymore?). And certainly, I could care less if you call yourself an Evangelical or an Underwater Basket Weaver. I don’t know who the “powers-that-be” are, either, although Merritt makes much of some highfalutin aristocracy that presumably controls all of us (is this like the feminists and the elusive patriarchy?).

The problem is not some ambiguous establishment that has plotted against Hatmaker. The problem is that Hatmaker broke ranks with what Christians have believed for thousands of years: namely, that God is holy. If God is holy, in order for anything to be holy, it cannot transgress the law of God. The Law of God is abundantly clear that homosexuality is a sexual perversion that goes against God’s law. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 6, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” No one who lives in unrepentant sin will see God. And the message of Christ was, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.” Hatmaker’s message is that you can remain in your sin and still be considered holy. Hatmaker’s gospel is, quite clearly, a gospel “contrary” to the one given to us in Scripture (Gal 1:8).

Further, I had no idea that the Apostles Creed, short and sweet as it is, was the gold standard for what is or is not heretical. I certainly have no problem saying that anyone who says that you CAN live in sin and still please God is without question in grave error (Rom 6:1). We know where the Bible stands on the issue of homosexuality. There are a great many things that the Apostles Creed does not cover, and merely agreeing with each line in it does not make one orthodox.

Hatmaker describes her coming out, as it were, as a “tsunami of terror. One hundred things died.” She talks about “suffering rejection” and “punishment”. As of today, the specific post in question has over 20,000 likes and thousands of you-go-girl type comments on Facebook. Thousands. According to Merritt, JUST SO MANY Christian leaders agree with her stance on the morality of sexual perversion. Not only is she not alone, she has gotten a proverbial tidal wave of agreement and approval from her followers. The least Merritt could have done was point out that he wrote his article about her bravery in the face of sweeping terror on International Opposite Day. Last I checked, it costs very, very little to go with the flow and it’s impossible to deny that acceptance of the perversion of homosexuality is indeed the flow of our day.

Regarding someone being ousted from a group of domineering fiefdoms for their “different thoughts or convictions”, Merritt writes:

This kind of behavior reminds me of Jesus’ words in John 16:2: “For you will be expelled from the synagogue, and the time is coming where those who kill you will think they are doing God a service.”

Jesus may not be prophesying about modern America, but his words remind us that religious people have a tendency to believe that they’ve been commissioned by God to purify the church of those who refuse to genuflect to the whichever Christian warlord is ruling their region. These people will work to expel dissenters from the community in the name of God, convinced that heaven looks on them with favor for their efforts. In this regard, 1st century Palestine doesn’t look all that dissimilar from 21st century America.

I love irony, but this is a bit too much. When I originally read this, I laughed, and I am still unsure if it was genuine or nervously. Here we have Hatmaker, the one departing from God’s Law, likened to the one kicked out of the synagogue, and effectively martyred.

It is absolutely offensive that those who stand on the foundation of the Word of God are then compared to “whichever Christian warlord is ruling their religion.” Merritt has one thing right here in terms of his constant war references: Scripture is a double-edged sword. You either live or die by it, which is why this utterly foolish line of thinking must be addressed.

Atheist columnist H.L. Mencken once said, “Morality is doing right, no matter what you are told. Religion is doing what you are told, no matter what is right.” Sadly, evangelicalism has become a movement of religionists who will execute anyone whose pursuit of morality leads them beyond the status quo. It is a movement marked by rigid tribalism, divided into warring fiefdoms, and managed by rigid rulers.

Here we are supposed to take a moral lesson from a self-professed atheist, who, by definition, has zero moral ground to stand on. Not to beat a dead horse, but once you depart from Scripture, you have no basis whatsoever for morality outside of culture, which is subject to change. Which, if you think about it, makes perfect sense. Hatmaker’s new definition of holy and moral is completely defined by culture and why not? Except now I’m getting lost a bit because supposedly she’s bucking the trend and getting martyred for it, except that her stance is completely defined by majority rule (culture), and morality is suddenly ambiguous and….

And for those conservative Christians who believe Jen is an outlier, allow me to burst your bubble. Hatmaker is not alone in her views on same-sex relationships. Many evangelicals agree with her. No, I’m not referring to Matthew Vines or David Gushee or Julie Rogers or any other evangelical who is vocal about their affirming position. I’m talking about many who secretly agree with Hatmaker but are too afraid to say so.

I have talked to dozens and dozens of evangelical leaders over the past few years who confidentially confess that they’ve changed their minds on these issues too. They include pastors of some of America’s largest evangelical churches, preachers with internationally broadcast television ministries, best-selling Christian authors, popular bloggers and leaders of large faith-based organizations. They can’t afford to have their speaking schedules dry up or to lose their jobs, so they avoid the issue, or worse, they outright lie about what they actually believe. They tremble in fear at the wrath of the evangelical aristocracy.

Got it. So, Jen is not alone, she’s actually a part of a very cool, strong group of leaders with scores of followers. The flair for drama is appreciated but the dishonesty is not. Jen may have lost some followers, but her career is nowhere near damaged by her departure from orthodoxy on this issue. The idea that these huge mega big name this-and-that’s “can’t afford to have their speaking schedules dry up” is preposterous. As Jen and her ever-growing fan base has proven, there is quite the market for the Gospel Lite. Lots of people are flocking to her flavor of Doctrine Is So Outdated Christianity. Chip and Joanna Gaines had a media firestorm come around them shortly after Hatmaker came out. The pastor of the Gaines’ church said homosexuality is a sin, and for awhile there, their career really was on the line. Buzzfeed and other outlets wrote hit pieces. The Gaines were forced (I used that term loosely) to stay ambiguous on the issue to keep their show. No such thing happened with Hatmaker. No one was talking about her show being cancelled. The message the media sent was clear: affirm, or get out.

There is a reason that doctrine is important. I cannot and I will not stand quietly by while people are being hurt. Because for all of Hatmaker’s calls for love and respect, she is not, in any sense of the word, loving those who identify as gay or lesbian. She is not loving them. Do you hear me, Christian? She is not loving them. She may have a way with words and oh her pen just frolics dandily across the page with ease but she is NOT loving her neighbor when she tells them that their homosexual “marriage” can be “holy”. And she is not, as Merritt asserts, merely differing with us supposedly angry evangelicals. She is denying the truth. She is denying the healing balm of the Gospel to those ensnared in sin. She is lying to those who call themselves gay. She is not doing the hard thing—she is doing the easy thing. The world wants you to believe that it is “nice” to let people be, but it is not. It is the Gospel, the one revealed through the entire counsel of Scripture, that saves. Our God—not this man-made, namby-pamby, go-with-the-flow, pie-in-the-sky, “nice” God—is Healer, Comforter, Redeemer. It is our God, the one revealed in Scripture, that is the most loving God. He’s the only real God. He’s the only true God. And He will not be mocked. He designed you. He made you. And he knows what is best. If you really love your neighbor, do not lie to them. Do not leave them in their sin. The stove is hot and they’re about to lay their hand on it. Hatmaker is standing quietly by and telling you it’s okay to touch it. Is that “nice”? Do we really want to redefine that kind of behavior as “loving”?

The church has failed to love those who identify as gay and lesbian and transgender in a great many ways. As Rosaria Butterfield said, the Gospel is on a collision course with these issues. More and more, those who claim Christ and have large platforms, like Hatmaker, are falling in step with our culture’s failing moral compass and are willing to compromise the truth of the Gospel on the Altar of Nice. I can see how it may be tempting to do the easy thing, but lying is sinful. Lying about the Law of God is shameful. To encourage those in their sin is abhorrent. It is the opposite of love. And love actually is courageous.

Jonathan Merritt recently wrote a piece supposedly lamenting the blogosphere’s character assassination of Jen Hatmaker. Merritt’s article is rife with words and phrases about those he disagrees with such as, “warlords”, “cowardly”, “dragged…to the stocks”, “christian mafia”, “evangelical aristocracy”, “pulverizing its uncompliant members”, “raging dumpster fire”, “unhinged racists”, and “rigid tribalism”,  to name a few. I take all of this to mean, don’t assassinate anyone’s character, you warring, low-down, no-good evangelicals, capiche? 

I, myself, have not seen any such character assassination in action. That’s not to say it hasn’t happened, but that the war-lording fervor Merritt paints a picture of has largely been missing from my feed. From what I have seen of Jen online, she is funny, smart, not too shabby with the pen, and has a crazy huge fan base. She’s sarcastic and whimsy, two things I value greatly in a person. Of course, I stridently disagree with everything Jen said that got us here in the first place (more on the “everything” later), but disagreement does not an assassin make. I suppose you could say consistently characterizing an entire group of people as tribes that pulverize dissenters might be harshly characterizing an entire group of people, but let’s not get too deep in the weeds here.

I responded in a video to her interview with Merritt last fall in which she identified as a truth-denier. I did so with sarcasm and whimsy, as was befitting, which I received quite a bit of character assassination for. Not everyone responds well to sarcasm and whimsy (as Jen herself knows) and that’s just fine with me. Any time you open your mouth on the internet to disagree with someone, there will be those who believe you are just a mean, nasty, terrible person who doesn’t know Jesus. Hopefully the irony of Merritt lamenting character assassination while sloppily painting a picture of all conservatives as blood-thirty warlords is not lost on us. Ahem.

Merritt wrote,

Hatmaker’s original sin is that she broke ranks with the evangelical powers-that-be on same-sex relationships. In an interview with me last October, Hatmaker stated that if she found out one of her children were gay, she would love that child just the same. If an LGBT friend of Hatmaker’s got married, she said she would attend the wedding. And Hatmaker said she believed LGBT relationships could be holy.

In the interview, Hatmaker did not deny a line in the Apostles Creed. She did not promote a historical heresy. She merely claimed that after a careful study of the scriptures, she had arrived at a different understanding of same-sex relationships. But this was enough to outrage some conservative Christians. Lifeway Christian Stores even banned her books from their shelves.

I’d like to pause to really reflect on the presuppositions here. Hatmaker did more than break ranks with evangelicals (what does “evangelical” even mean anymore?). And certainly, I could care less if you call yourself an Evangelical or an Underwater Basket Weaver. I don’t know who the “powers-that-be” are, either, although Merritt makes much of some highfalutin aristocracy that presumably controls all of us (is this like the feminists and the elusive patriarchy?).

The problem is not some ambiguous establishment that has plotted against Hatmaker. The problem is that Hatmaker broke ranks with what Christians have believed for thousands of years: namely, that God is holy. If God is holy, in order for anything to be holy, it cannot transgress the law of God. The Law of God is abundantly clear that homosexuality is a sexual perversion that goes against God’s law. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 6, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” No one who lives in unrepentant sin will see God. And the message of Christ was, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.” Hatmaker’s message is that you can remain in your sin and still be considered holy. Hatmaker’s gospel is, quite clearly, a gospel “contrary” to the one given to us in Scripture (Gal 1:8).

Further, I had no idea that the Apostles Creed, short and sweet as it is, was the gold standard for what is or is not heretical. I certainly have no problem saying that anyone who says that you CAN live in sin and still please God is without question in grave error (Rom 6:1). We know where the Bible stands on the issue of homosexuality. There are a great many things that the Apostles Creed does not cover, and merely agreeing with each line in it does not make one orthodox.

Hatmaker describes her coming out, as it were, as a “tsunami of terror. One hundred things died.” She talks about “suffering rejection” and “punishment”. As of today, the specific post in question has over 20,000 likes and thousands of you-go-girl type comments on Facebook. Thousands. According to Merritt, JUST SO MANY Christian leaders agree with her stance on the morality of sexual perversion. Not only is she not alone, she has gotten a proverbial tidal wave of agreement and approval from her followers. The least Merritt could have done was point out that he wrote his article about her bravery in the face of sweeping terror on International Opposite Day. Last I checked, it costs very, very little to go with the flow and it’s impossible to deny that acceptance of the perversion of homosexuality is indeed the flow of our day.

Regarding someone being ousted from a group of domineering fiefdoms for their “different thoughts or convictions”, Merritt writes:

This kind of behavior reminds me of Jesus’ words in John 16:2: “For you will be expelled from the synagogue, and the time is coming where those who kill you will think they are doing God a service.”

Jesus may not be prophesying about modern America, but his words remind us that religious people have a tendency to believe that they’ve been commissioned by God to purify the church of those who refuse to genuflect to the whichever Christian warlord is ruling their region. These people will work to expel dissenters from the community in the name of God, convinced that heaven looks on them with favor for their efforts. In this regard, 1st century Palestine doesn’t look all that dissimilar from 21st century America.

I love irony, but this is a bit too much. When I originally read this, I laughed, and I am still unsure if it was genuine or nervously. Here we have Hatmaker, the one departing from God’s Law, likened to the one kicked out of the synagogue, and effectively martyred.

It is absolutely offensive that those who stand on the foundation of the Word of God are then compared to “whichever Christian warlord is ruling their religion.” Merritt has one thing right here in terms of his constant war references: Scripture is a double-edged sword. You either live or die by it, which is why this utterly foolish line of thinking must be addressed.

Atheist columnist H.L. Mencken once said, “Morality is doing right, no matter what you are told. Religion is doing what you are told, no matter what is right.” Sadly, evangelicalism has become a movement of religionists who will execute anyone whose pursuit of morality leads them beyond the status quo. It is a movement marked by rigid tribalism, divided into warring fiefdoms, and managed by rigid rulers.

Here we are supposed to take a moral lesson from a self-professed atheist, who, by definition, has zero moral ground to stand on. Not to beat a dead horse, but once you depart from Scripture, you have no basis whatsoever for morality outside of culture, which is subject to change. Which, if you think about it, makes perfect sense. Hatmaker’s new definition of holy and moral is completely defined by culture and why not? Except now I’m getting lost a bit because supposedly she’s bucking the trend and getting martyred for it, except that her stance is completely defined by majority rule (culture), and morality is suddenly ambiguous and….

And for those conservative Christians who believe Jen is an outlier, allow me to burst your bubble. Hatmaker is not alone in her views on same-sex relationships. Many evangelicals agree with her. No, I’m not referring to Matthew Vines or David Gushee or Julie Rogers or any other evangelical who is vocal about their affirming position. I’m talking about many who secretly agree with Hatmaker but are too afraid to say so.

I have talked to dozens and dozens of evangelical leaders over the past few years who confidentially confess that they’ve changed their minds on these issues too. They include pastors of some of America’s largest evangelical churches, preachers with internationally broadcast television ministries, best-selling Christian authors, popular bloggers and leaders of large faith-based organizations. They can’t afford to have their speaking schedules dry up or to lose their jobs, so they avoid the issue, or worse, they outright lie about what they actually believe. They tremble in fear at the wrath of the evangelical aristocracy.

Got it. So, Jen is not alone, she’s actually a part of a very cool, strong group of leaders with scores of followers. The flair for drama is appreciated but the dishonesty is not. Jen may have lost some followers, but her career is nowhere near damaged by her departure from orthodoxy on this issue. The idea that these huge mega big name this-and-that’s “can’t afford to have their speaking schedules dry up” is preposterous. As Jen and her ever-growing fan base has proven, there is quite the market for the Gospel Lite. Lots of people are flocking to her flavor of Doctrine Is So Outdated Christianity. Chip and Joanna Gaines had a media firestorm come around them shortly after Hatmaker came out. The pastor of the Gaines’ church said homosexuality is a sin, and for awhile there, their career really was on the line. Buzzfeed and other outlets wrote hit pieces. The Gaines were forced (I used that term loosely) to stay ambiguous on the issue to keep their show. No such thing happened with Hatmaker. No one was talking about her show being cancelled. The message the media sent was clear: affirm, or get out.

There is a reason that doctrine is important. I cannot and I will not stand quietly by while people are being hurt. Because for all of Hatmaker’s calls for love and respect, she is not, in any sense of the word, loving those who identify as gay or lesbian. She is not loving them. Do you hear me, Christian? She is not loving them. She may have a way with words and oh her pen just frolics dandily across the page with ease but she is NOT loving her neighbor when she tells them that their homosexual “marriage” can be “holy”. And she is not, as Merritt asserts, merely differing with us supposedly angry evangelicals. She is denying the truth. She is denying the healing balm of the Gospel to those ensnared in sin. She is lying to those who call themselves gay. She is not doing the hard thing—she is doing the easy thing. The world wants you to believe that it is “nice” to let people be, but it is not. It is the Gospel, the one revealed through the entire counsel of Scripture, that saves. Our God—not this man-made, namby-pamby, go-with-the-flow, pie-in-the-sky, “nice” God—is Healer, Comforter, Redeemer. It is our God, the one revealed in Scripture, that is the most loving God. He’s the only real God. He’s the only true God. And He will not be mocked. He designed you. He made you. And he knows what is best. If you really love your neighbor, do not lie to them. Do not leave them in their sin. The stove is hot and they’re about to lay their hand on it. Hatmaker is standing quietly by and telling you it’s okay to touch it. Is that “nice”? Do we really want to redefine that kind of behavior as “loving”?

The church has failed to love those who identify as gay and lesbian and transgender in a great many ways. As Rosaria Butterfield said, the Gospel is on a collision course with these issues. More and more, those who claim Christ and have large platforms, like Hatmaker, are falling in step with our culture’s failing moral compass and are willing to compromise the truth of the Gospel on the Altar of Nice. I can see how it may be tempting to do the easy thing, but lying is sinful. Lying about the Law of God is shameful. To encourage those in their sin is abhorrent. It is the opposite of love. And love actually is courageous.

SUMMER WHITE

Writer | Sheologian
Summer White is @SummrWrites on Twitter. She is a mother of two and she occasionally blogs when taking a break from making crock-pot meals. She grew up traveling with her dad and watching him debate all over the country. She does not like long walks on the beach.

@SummrWrites Facebook sheologiansblog@gmail.com

40 Comments

  1. Edmond Sanganyado

    I do not agree with Jen Hatmaker but if we want to be honest there’s a gang of theologians who believe they’re there custodians of faith in Christ. Anyone who holds beliefs contrary to the gang understands what being blackballed in Christian cycles mean. I have been on the receiving end for being a Pentecostal. But the truth is we ignore and marginalize other believers, refuse to learn from those who are different from us, culturally, racially and academically. I agree 1 Corinthians 1 should be a wake up call.

    Reply
    • Sam Wainwright

      Could you please name some of these ringleaders for us?

      Thanks!

      Sam

      Reply
    • Angie M Smith

      Edmond, doesn’t 2 Cor 5:17 and Luke 14:26 eliminate race, academics, culture, family history and anything that separates us from being a follower of Christ, a Christian. In Matthew 12:46-50 Jesus tells us exactly who is our brother, our family, our precious fellowship. The ones who recharge our batteries to serve His Great Commission. The ones who will endure the persecution alongside us. Matthew 25:36, the ones who will care for us if we are imprisoned for His purpose. When I hear of a Christian speak of another Christian in worldly ways my ears perk up. We don’t want to walk on the wide road next to Jen. If we are in Christ, we are aliens to the world and our previous bodies before Christ, right? Romans 12:2. We learn a new way to walk, speak, behave, learn. Beginning with Genesis 1:1 all the way through to Revelations 22:21. Praise God 🙂

      Reply
      • Edmond Sanganyado

        Thanks, Angie for the wise words. I totally agree with you. Correction, rebuke and even chastisement is an integral part of church discipline and restoring a brother or sister into the faith. But I will stand on my observation there indeed is a gang of theologians who claim authority over the faith. I disagreed with several popular Christian authors, bloggers and theologians about climate change. Their gut reaction was to block me. There’s one truth that is Jesus Christ and we are called to defend that truth. And when one sways from the truth our call is to restore them. But the theologians we now celebrate do not seek to restore, they’re out there to block, blackball, malign and polarize. Christ even visited houses of the Pharisees.

        Reply
    • Ludie

      As Christians, we are all called to be custodians of the faith, Jude 1:3- Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.

      Reply
      • Edmond Sanganyado

        Thanks, Ludie. But why is it only a chosen elite few are aloud to contend for the faith, and when the rest of us do it’s called ‘victimhood trope’ and spiritual autonomy as Ethan Larson eloquently said? When I disagree with attacking victims and remind people of the Savior who pledged he will not blow out flickering wink, I am called a sympathizer of apostasy? Who contends for the faith?

        Reply
        • Chris Nelson

          Pentecostalism is the ancient Montanist heresy which rejects Sola Scriptura, please reconsider.

          Reply
    • Edmond Sanganyado

      I once had a senior who was blatant racist. She made it clear there was nothing, she could learn from an African who had no publishing record as hers. I made a conscious decision to ignore her racism and learn as much as I could from her. And I did. I told myself that I had nothing to lose, I will learn from her but she was too proud to learn from me. Will you repeat the words you said about me if you spend a day with me, or talk to people who personally know me? I challenge you to contact anyone who knows me and share with them the words you used to describe me. My prayer is if indeed I have an atonomous spirit and I’m a victimhood mentality, God help me by his grace. Thanks.

      Reply
  2. Debbie loveless

    Wow! You are sooo right! Love this article, it touches on so many issues! Thank you!

    Reply
  3. Kelli

    Summer,
    Thank you for writing this. I found Jen Hatmaker’s Good Friday post to be pretty offensive. Nothing we go through could ever compare to the suffering that Jesus endured. I’m an old homeschooling mama in my mid-forties ha ha ,and I find your writing to be clear cut and refreshing. I live in the middle of suburbia, where many of the christian women I know eat up everything Jen Hatmaker and Glennon Melton say. It’s all kinds of messed up! By the way, I showed my kids the video you made at the women’s march. That was great!

    Reply
  4. RB

    He means LifeWay was mean to her and took her books away. They won’t publish or sale her books anymore. She can’t speak at any of their events either.

    Reply
    • Summer White

      Best thing that ever to happened to Sho Baraka, am I right? hahahaha

      Reply
  5. Anna

    You hit this one out of the park Summer! The real ‘hard’ thing is to stay true to the Gospel & biblical morality in the shifting sand of our current culture. Thank you for your boldness!

    Reply
  6. Cindy Tandy

    God bless His word and God bless you for speaking painful the truth in LOVE.

    Reply
  7. Tia Kerwin

    Wow!! Fantastic article! So well written and thought through. Excellent stand for the absolute truths of scripture! God bless you for your courage to stand for His truth. Oh how the church failing to truly love those who are deceived and lost in their sin. Jesus commands us to “love others as I have loved you.” To genuinely love others is to speak the truth in love. Being “nice” to the lost will not save them from God’s holy wrath against them. Genuine Christian love is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and warn them of their need for repentance and salvation.

    I’m deeply grieved for those so deceived to believe contrary to scripture that being “nice” to those caught in what God calls abominable, is better than declaring God’s truth and His saving grace. I pray I will never outlive my love for God’s absolute truth.

    Reply
  8. Melodye

    You said everything I have been saying and I wanted to say. But you said it perfectly! Thank you. Just, thank you!

    Reply
  9. Sean Cornell

    God bless you Summer, for not compromising on the truth.

    “You go, girl!” 🙂

    Reply
  10. Lisa Bevere

    Well said Summer well said.

    Reply
    • Summer White

      Thanks, Lisa! Are you the author Lisa Bevere?

      Reply
  11. Marie

    I’m new to your site. Glad I read this. Merritt’s article was so over-the-top. In fact, the entire Hatmaker circus is over-the -top. I have to stop rolling my eyes over the whole thing or I’m going to pull a muscle.

    Reply
    • Heather

      Right, there’s this interesting trend of ascribing heroic beatification to people who represent mainstream American thought. If you look at the language that authors like this use, it’s actually co-opted religious language used to support popular ideas. Popular morality is thus a pseudo-religion itself, with persecutors and valiant heroes of the faith like Jen Hatmaker. Being in line with predominant thought is neither hard nor even inherently noble, but it creates an inspiring narrative, essentially painting a goliath as a little boy with a sling. When the real David is the minority stance of Christian Orthodoxy.

      Reply
  12. Angie M Smith

    Jen is telling her neighbor the supernatural work of salvation and resurrection of a new person as James stated in 1 Cor 6 is not theirs to have. She tells her neighbor the love of the Trinity from the beginning of time in Genesis , the finishing work on the cross of our Lord, God and eternity with our Holy God is not theirs to have. She tells her neighbor the genuine fellowship of the saints is not necessary. She tells her neighbor popularity is more important than standing for Christ. She does not understand “Forrest and Bubba” back to back against all odds. She does not know the love of Christ and thereby cannot love her neighbor as commanded by our Lord, God. She is doling out glasses of water to the thirsty with one catch, she put a drop of cyanide in it.

    Reply
  13. Rachelle Cox

    The most confusing aspect of this whole debacle was watching a bunch of folks rip apart a FEMALE PRIEST on twitter for daring to use Hatmaker as an example in a blog post about online teachers and accountability concerns. She said nothing rude or even that racy about Hatmaker or anyone else in that post, she just used her name in an introduction paragraph.

    She got every name in the book lobbed at her (sexist, racist?, oppressor, bigot, idiot, etc). Way worse than anything I ever saw said to/about Jen. All anybody ever said about Jen was “she’s wrong, this is what the Bible says.”

    It felt like stepping into the twilight zone. A bunch of complementarians were defending a female priest on twitter from all the egalitarians harassing and bullying her.

    Reply
  14. beccajrt

    I have personal experience regarding this issue and what I’ve experienced is, on the one hand, those who encourage me in sin, and on the other hand, those who encourage me as under the Law. I’ve been blocked by Hatmaker and those like her, and, I’ve also been blocked by those who claim, “believers are under the law as a rule of life.” Frankly, if those two “viewpoints” were the only ideas available to me in dealing with this, I’d leave this despicable world today. Praise God for His Son Jesus and His work on the Cross for us and in us through the eternal Holy Spirit, and for His Holy Word. Those who deny the truth that we “died to sin” and those who deny the truth that we “died to the law” are all in the same boat. Neither group will cut Christ asunder and won’t they cut His Gospel asunder either, they cannot; “It is finished.”

    Reply
    • Brandon

      Fantastic post, beccajrt. Some people are neither honest with others or with themselves about these issues and you have to wonder why.

      Reply
    • Jan H

      beccajrt: I loved what you had to say. Very true! I am so glad you know the Savior & are equipped with the true gospel. God bless you Sister!!

      Reply
  15. Marie

    Great article Summer. We must learn what loving our neighbor really is. I’m learning as I go.

    Reply
  16. Tamara

    Summer,
    Great post and I am really enjoying your podcast with Joy!

    Reply
  17. Eric Davis

    Sound words. Thank you for this.

    Reply
  18. Mick

    “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” – Matthew 5:11-12

    This only works when we are falsely accused for Christ’s sake. Those who attack the holiness of God and embrace evil have no claim here. Wonderful article Summer. May we who claim the name of Christ be diligent to please him…

    Reply
  19. LisaE

    I agree with Justin Taylor from TGC:
    “I have to confess that I get somewhat weary of the pattern. A popular author decides to say something controversial. He or she writes a book or seeks to make a provocative video or orchestrates a softball interview with a journalist-activist to break some news. Once it all goes live, the usual suspects fire up their responses, which themselves generate a lot of traffic. Then the controversialist feigns surprises and lament at how the body of Christ is failing to love one another when news of defection from orthodoxy is announced.”

    It’s just really hard for me to believe that these “announcements” are not stage-managed by activists. And I wish Christians would see it for what it is and not fall into the trap. Of course, I have no idea how to do that when to disagree is to be unloving.

    Reply
  20. Jessica Bechtel

    So much concern for Jen’s supposed character assassination, but can we please be more concerned about the character assassination of God that occurs when we try to alter biblical truth? ‘Poor Jen’ and the Corp of the Enlightened are just another distraction from the real victim.

    Reply
  21. Chris

    Amen! I’m commending your blog to my teen daughters immediately.

    Reply
  22. Darcy

    Thank you, Summer, for this. Exactly what my heart couldn’t find the words for.

    Reply
  23. Misti

    Since “heresy” is outright defined as beliefs counter to the common established standard, the Apostles’ Creed would be a legitimate metric by which to judge if something’s heresy. If it’s not your metric, fine, but Merritt’s citing that as his.

    That said, something being in conflict with common opinion doesn’t make it innately bad. Jesus was called a heretic (cf. 24:14). So was Martin Luther.

    We’re told to test ALL spirits (cf. I John 4:1), not just the ones that we already think are wrong. Even majority opinions are worth being leery of (cf. Matthew 7:13–14 & Luke 13:22–30).

    There is much consistent, logical (and even historical) support on both sides of this issue. (Notice I’m saying “support”, not “argument”—the arguments on both sides tend to engage in logical fallacies. The counterarguments tend to be even worse, adding equivocation and fallacy of four terms into the mix.)

    Ultimately, I went digging to set up counterarguments that addressed the actual arguments and not straw men, and I found that it’s completely possible to support the premise that homosexual relationships are okay from consistent and coherent application of Scripture. Which is not what I’d expected to find, and oddly, I can make stronger arguments for both sides than I see anyone actually using.

    Romans 14 and I Corinthians 10:29 outright say that folks will have different opinions about what qualifies as sin and one person’s conscience doesn’t bind another. So Hatmaker isn’t bound by anyone else’s conscience; just hers.

    Reply
    • Summer White

      Actually, we are bound to call sin what God calls sin. You can nuance the topic all you want. Sin remains sin.

      My point regarding the Apostle’s Creed is that it is not comprehensive. A good metric, sure. Comprehensive? No.

      Reply
  24. Larissa Munchinsky

    Like the millions who google doctor themselves, typing in the symptoms and believing the answer the computer generates is the disease that they suffer, so too are some followers of Jesus in regards to matters of sin and the depravity of human beings. Just as with google doctoring if symptoms increase in frequency and intensity one eventually seeks out a professional for help often to be condescended or rudely, rebuffed by the educated doctor who tells you what you have is actually deadly and cannot, contrary to popular opinion, (or Dr. Oz) be cured by garlic or chia seeds.

    This same mentality seems true for many Christians blindsided by the redefinition of so many words and meanings we took for granted for so long, words like marriage, family and gender. Like health that we ignore till we are really sick, so too is the foundational truths of our faith that we never bothered to really study and meditate on what definition God gives these.

    Unfortunately, too many Christians who waited so long to understand such definitions go get their biblical understanding using internet resources what pops up is generated by the loudest, likable and entertaining people not necessarily those that DELIGHT in Gods laws, like google doctoring oneself, instead of being wary of diagnosis via popular opinion, to eat more flax, we are relived that what they say about sin is all a misunderstanding and isn’t as deadly as fist thought.

    A Christian who tries to blame or point out other Christians unloving or intolerant behaviors will find themselves thinking that the speck in their brother’s eyes is more destructive to Jesus gospel of love than their own unhindered, unchecked and undisciplined plank that is far more noticeable and likely to create a trend.

    The question Christians, true worshipers of God in spirit and truth, should be asking themselves before they tweet, post or proclaim anything is, “who will be in agreement with me after I make said claims? If it is God’s law than you are giving your heart to the right truth? If it is mass media and television networks that accept and agree with you than one MUST ask is this truth? Or am I peddling a lie dressed up to be a great ‘mic drop’ that is propagating anti-God?

    If you claim to be Gods elect and claim Him to be you Lord and savior than we must spend more time reading and searching our bibles than debating and believing online blogs, no matter how fantastic, funny, controversial, or likable the writer might be. Less time studying television personalities and more time meditating on Gods character. We begin to look like what we spend our time with.

    Reply
  25. Ashley

    Thanks for this. Just, thanks.

    Reply
  26. Willis Fletcher, Jr.

    May God continually bless you, your efforts, and this site, Sister Summer. Mrs. Hatmaker, sadly, is loving homosexuals all the way to an eternal hell. We live in a day were culture and gov’t are trying to dictate to the local churches what is and is not acceptable. We have God’s word as our guide to what is and is not acceptable, but seeing how it has been banned from schools, court houses, pretty much all public spaces, this gives room for Satan to creep in and take over…sadly, for the most part, he has.

    Now, I believe in God’s sovereignity, and this, in His own way, is part of His plan. But we must stand firm on what His word avers, and pray for the salvation of many.

    May He always be with you, Sister Summer.

    Willis Fletcher, Jr.

    Reply

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SUMMER WHITE

She is a mother of two and she occasionally blogs when taking a break from making crock-pot meals. She grew up traveling with her dad and watching him debate all over the country. She does not like long walks on the beach.

@SummrWrites Facebook sheologiansblog@gmail.com

©2017 Sheologians is kept nice and tidy by netflud

©2017 Sheologians is kept nice and tidy by netflud

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