Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Jen Hatmaker's Pro-Gay Post Got One Thing Right, Says Christianity Today Columnist

  • Veronica Neffinger

    Veronica Neffinger wrote her first poem at age seven and went on to study English in college, focusing on 18th century literature. When she is not listening to baseball games, enjoying the…

  • 2016 Apr 29

Christian author and speaker Jen Hatmaker recently stirred up controversy with a Facebook post in which she said the LGBT community should be welcomed by Christians.

“It is high time Christians opened wide their arms, wide their churches, wide their tables wide their homes to the LGBT community,” wrote Hatmaker.

"So whatever the cost and loss, this is where I am: gay teens? Gay adults? Mamas and daddies of precious gaybees? Friends and beloved neighbors of very dear LGBT folks? Here are my arms open wide. So wide that every last one of you can jump inside. You are so dear, so beloved, so precious and important. You matter so desperately and your life is worthy and beautiful,” she continued.

While some applauded Hatmaker’s new stance and others questioned if she was changing her views on gay marriage and saying it is not a sin, people in both conservative and progressive camps seemed to want Hatmaker to elaborate more.

Katelyn Beaty, the print managing editor for Christianity Today, wrote in a column that while people from both viewpoints may wish Hatmaker would provide more clarity on her stance, she nevertheless communicates one very important thing about Christian love: that it does not come with conditions.

Beaty goes on to discuss the story of the Prodigal Son and how it had a great impact on her as a teenager.

Beaty shares that when she first heard the story, she assumed the father would reject the son who had squandered his fortune, slept with prostitutes, and wasted his life, but the fact that the father embraced the son greatly impacted her and impressed upon her the kind of love God extends toward those who come to Him, no matter how broken and messed up they are.

“Before the son even had a chance to repent, to ask for forgiveness, to declare that he would change his lifestyle or voting patterns or sexual behavior (and let’s not forget the prostitutes), his father runs toward him. But—as in 'although,' or 'even while'—the son was far away, still the father embraced him,” says Beaty, and this is why Hatmaker makes an important point, she goes on to say.

“Despite all that she doesn’t say and that some understandably wish she said,” writes Beaty, “Hatmaker is surely right to say the gospel begins with an unconditional announcement of God’s love. God’s love may not end there, but it surely begins there.” 

Publication date: April 29, 2016