A recent blog by Matt Walsh on the Blaze has been making the rounds. I have not previously followed Jen Hatmaker - I'm gonna say that right up front. In fact, I've only heard her name through friends of mine she inspires.
I did use to follow Beth Moore religiously (sorry - couldn't help it), having completed over a dozen or so of her Bible study courses. It's interesting to me that at the moment, Moore is getting the beat down over comments she made to the effect that the election shouldn't make us so angry (GASP) and that we should TRUST GOD, and quit finding such fault with each other over our particular political choices everything will work out the way it is supposed to (again GASP). Basically, her thesis concluded with the notion that God doesn't need our help to run the globe for him. We should do what we can (our civic duty), but not in anger or malice or in ruination of friendships and family relationships that may never be mended.
I can get behind that message. I can't get behind the message Walsh quotes from Hatmaker's recent interview with Religion News Service. In fact, I was kind of scandalized by the comments he quoted in his blog, so I went out and read the interview for myself. THAT floored me.
Love is the key to Christianity - I get that. Few humans change without the benefit of someone they love (or simply who loves them desperately no matter the return on investment) helping them to change.
Relationship is the door unlocked by that key. However - and here's the big HOWEVER - as Christians, we can't subvert, or pervert the message of the Bible to create relational love with someone in unrepentant sin.
While I have also had my issues with Mr. Walsh from time to time (he can be a bit strident in his disagreement for me sometimes), his thoughts on the topic match my own completely.
You cannot love anyone in unrepentant sin to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ by coming into agreement with their sin - even reveling and celebrating in their sin (which Hatmaker says she does/will). This flat doesn't work. You can't get into the gutter with an alcoholic and then expect him/her to hear your plea for sobriety. What respect could anyone have for someone who is telling him to quit drinking while pouring gin down his own throat? Truly - even kids get that kind of level of dishonesty.
Love is important, but so is the trust respect brings. Jesus LOVED sinners, but he didn't wallow in the gutter with them or engage in their sin in order to show how loved they were and how serious he was about interacting with them relationally. Jesus stood above the sin, while loving the sinner and expressly making it clear they were NOT TO SIN AGAIN.
See John 8. When the adulteress was brought to Jesus and he asked the crowd who should throw the first stone, he didn't say, "Run on back to your boyfriend and work it out with your husband later, or, I know you lust after your boyfriend, divorce your husband and run after him in order to gratify your immediate sexual cravings.
No, Jesus said, "Go, and sin no more." It is not LOVING to love the sinner AND the sin. This is ENABLING and it causes sons of alcoholic fathers to become alcoholics and daughters of adulteresses, to cheat on their husbands.Relationship is about establishing boundaries made of love, but the kind of love that says, "I love you but I can't agree with your behavior - hopefully we can talk about a better way", or, "No, I can't come to your wedding, but come over for coffee when you get back." The world - in this zenith - hates truth. It hates truth in ALL forms, but particularly Biblical truth.
The devil is very busy stirring up ill will among friends and family members and reveling in the arguments falling through the floorboards to Hell over everything from the election to what's going to happen in the world/state/neighborhood tomorrow. We CAN stick to truth and be loving. We CAN have relationships with people without subscribing to their sin to do it.
I don't know Mrs. Hatmaker's heart, but I know her by the fruit she described in her interview and that can't stand for me. Christians in ministry (of any kind) have no room for public wobble. The lay Christian today is in DRASTIC need of SOLID, Biblically grounded leadership and souls can't be won to Christ without that. I pray that the truth of the Bible will become the utmost to ALL Christians and especially those in ministerial positions.
Until then, don't forget that before there were ministers and Bible study leaders to tell us what the Bible said - or what they believed the Bible said - people had to read it for themselves to find out. No matter what any LEADER says, the word of the Bible is inerrant and this is the well from which we should draw daily.