Last week I posted about Jen Hatmaker endorsing homosexual marriage as being holy. In that post I called Hatmaker a wolf in sheep's clothing and that it was clear that she and others like her who claim to be Christian actually practice a different religion. As I stated last week, I hope and pray Hatmaker repents, this is still my prayer, but her husband, Brandon Hatmaker, has joined the conversation this week and he has doubled down on his wife’s statements. Brandon, unlike his wife, did offer some of his “biblical” reasons for supporting homosexual marriage here
At this point I would like to direct you to some great responses by solid Christians. You can find a response from Kevin DeYoung I wholeheartedly endorse here. You can also find a response by Rosaria Butterfield, a former lesbian, here. Both are excellent and better than anything I will write on the subject.
Nonetheless, I have received a request to respond to Brandon Hatmaker’s arguments so I will continue my small part of this discussion. I plan on responding to what I view as some of the more important errors in his brief statement. Time does not permit me to respond to every error in his brief statement.
While I hope the Hatmakers will repent, the more they defend themselves the more it becomes clear they are indeed wolves in sheep's clothing. Consider that statement for a second: a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
This analogy warns of the danger of this type of wolf because they will look like sheep, talk like sheep, and even think they are sheep, yet are inwardly “ravenous wolves” (Matt. 7:15-23). They are dangerous precisely because so much of what they say and do is exactly what a sheep would do. I find this to be true in much of Brandon’s statement. He sounds so Christian, yet the core of what he is saying is anti-gospel and anti-Christ.
The question becomes for us sheep, “How are we to tell if someone is a sheep or a wolf?” Thankfully Jesus tells us how when he shifts analogies in Matthew 7 saying we will know a tree by its fruit—a good tree will produce good fruit and a bad tree, bad fruit (Matt. 7.15-23). It is my assertion the Hatmakers are showing the type of tree they are by showing us their bad fruit. Bad fruit cannot come from a good tree according to Jesus. This means they are wolves. I pray they repent, that is my heart’s desire. But the goal of my post is protect true sheep from being deceived and devoured. This is one of the jobs of a shepherd after all. Please note this post is entirely too long, but there was much for me to correct. Therefore, I have included section headings for your convenience.
What’s at Stake: The True Jesus and True Salvation
One of the wonderful (and horrible) things about posting on social media is you get to see how people respond to your beliefs. To me it is often in these posts that a lot of light and clarity is brought to how our culture thinks. That is the good news. The bad news is if you read many comments sections you know our culture is not prone to sound thinking anymore.
I saw one response to my article last week which called me hateful and divisive, and yet in doing so the author insisted we were all united. This is an odd contradiction to assert that we are united but to then separate yourself from being like me. Then the author inadvertently proved my point by writing:
“This article puts us vs them, for example ‘In the end, we are not united. In the end, we are opposed to each other like wolves and sheep.’ That couldn't be further from the Christ I know.” (Emphasis mine)
The hypocrisy of this statement is so deafening it is amazing that the author failed to recognize it. First, I am rebuked for doing an “us versus them” and then the author says the very same thing I said in my article that we don't know the same version of “Christ""— this isn’t the Christ she knows… Exactly. That is the point. You and I believe in different Jesuses and this means we believe in two different religions. Her own statement proved that despite us both claiming the name of Christ we are in fact talking about different people.
What also escaped her was the idea of division between the wolves and sheep, good trees and bad trees, is taken directly from the words of Jesus in Matthew 7. The Jesus of the gospel of Matthew, by her own admission, is not the Jesus she knows. This is the problem—many have fashioned an image of Jesus which has no basis in Scripture. They have made an idol that looks and sounds an awful lot like our culture. What is at stake here is who Jesus really is and thus how we are really saved.
While my tone may at times sound harsh it is my goal to bring light to the situation so that these things become clear.
To that end Brandon Hatmaker in his post encourages us to be careful about what we post online in response to him because, “There is a real human on the other end of every Facebook post…” These words are true, but his encouragement falls short.
Our goal must not be to not offend or hurt people’s feelings with our posts (nor should we go attack people unjustly). We know that the gospel is offensive and is by nature a stumbling block to many (1 Cor. 1.23).
There is more at stake here than hurt feelings over a disagreement. If 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 is correct that no homosexual will inherit the kingdom of God, then eternal human souls are at stake. If 1 Corinthians 6 is true, then the Hatmakers are deceiving people into thinking they are going to heaven when in fact they are going to Hell. Salvation for many people is at stake in this disagreement. Either we or they are driving people away from God and away from salvation. The stakes could not be higher and as such our responses must have the proper tone and weight. Let’s turn to the heart of Hatmakers’ argument.
The Bad Fruit on Full Display
Brandon Hatmaker starts by comforting us who say they have abandoned Scripture. In fact, he assures us, they arrived at this position by the diligent study of God’s Word. They claim to be representing the Bible accurately and that they are submitting to it. Their proof? They studied a lot. Well then, case closed.
At this point it must be noted that every heresy attached to Christianity would say the exact same thing. They all claim to respect and revere Scripture from Jehovah’s Witnesses, to Mormons, to Protestant Liberals. Almost no one says, “I came to this decision on whim and ignored the Bible completely by twisting it to my own desires.”
Personal assurances of hard study do not guarantee fidelity to Scripture. A wolf who acts like a sheep and thinks himself to be sheep would say they respect Scripture and are faithful to it. But their fruit tells us a different story. This is what occurs later in Matthew 7 when people claim to have done the work of the Lord and yet Jesus denies ever knowing them because of their lawlessness (7:21-23). This is what I believe to be occurring here. The Hatmakers are claiming the name of our Lord Jesus, yet they are promoting lawlessness. This is a very rotten bunch of fruit.
The heart of the Hatmakers’ argument is found in the following quotes:
“The historical view [of Christianity] is that scripture is clear on homosexuality. What we found is that it’s not as simple as traditionally taught.”
“Every verse in the Bible that is used to condemn a “homosexual” act is written in the context of rape, prostitution, idolatry, pederasty, military dominance, an affair, or adultery… not one of these scriptures was written in the context of marriage or civil union (which simple did not exist at this time).”
There are so many inaccuracies in these quotes it is hard to know where to start. Let’s first work out the logic of their argument.
The Hatmakers later concede that all sexual activity outside of marriage, gay or not, is sin. They also claim that homosexual marriages and civil unions did not exist in the ancient world. So one has to wonder, “Since according to the Hatmakers gay marriage and civil unions did not exist at that time, then it must be true that all homosexual activity was sinful until it was endorsed by the state in the last generation?” That would be odd wouldn’t it? All expressions of homosexuality were sinful throughout human history until the last 30 years. This conclusion is simply breathtaking; yet I doubt they would hold to such a conclusion despite the fact that their argument demands it be true.
I do applaud the Hatmakers for acknowledging the historical position of the church for the last 2000 years has been that all homosexual acts are sinful. This though leads to further issues for their position.
We must ask following question, “What has changed?” I mean it takes a massive amount of arrogance to insist, without clear biblical support, that for 2000 years the whole of the Christian church got this wrong. That all of sudden now we have arrived and know better than all those simpletons who cam before us!
To make such an argument rests on an assumption of one’s own superiority in thinking and in culture. This argument boils down to asserting that those who were closer in both culture and language to the New Testament, those who actually spoke Greek as their primary language, didn’t understand the language being used to prohibit homosexuality as well as our 21st century eggheads do. This type of arrogance is staggering when one takes a step back and sees it in historical context.
So again we must ask, “If for 2000 years this teaching remained the same, what could possibly be driving this change? Could it be that the pressure culture is placing upon us, instead of Scripture itself, is driving this change?” If you think you found something new in Scripture that everyone else has missed for 2000 years, you are probably wandering into heresy.
Let’s turn to the core of their argument. The Hatmakers insist that all of the verses used to condemn homosexuality are in essence not written in the context of homosexuality as it exists today. Namely, the context of all the passages in Scripture about homosexuality are about bad forms of homosexuality like rape and adultery and thus have have nothing to do with loving and committed same-sex unions. Is what the Hatmakers assert true? No, not even close.
There are two false premises of this argument. First, the belief that the Bible’s references to homosexuality are qualified and are thus talking about types of “bad” homosexual activities like rape, domination, pederasty, etc. Second, that the writers of Scripture knew nothing about long-term, committed homosexual unions and ceremonies. The belief that these types of homosexual relationships did not exist in biblical times. I will address these both.
Are the Bible’s References to Homosexuality Limited to Rape, Idolatry, Pederasty, Adultery, etc.?
In this section I would like to point you to Kevin DeYoung once again. He wrote a book called, “What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?” In this book he addresses this argument (and the other ones) thoroughly and biblically. I will be relying on this book and quoting from it often in this section.
When one looks at the passages in Scripture which deal with homosexual acts it is clear the texts leave their condemnations open-ended. By this I mean the texts are not narrowed to only bad types of homosexuality like rape, pederasty, domination, adultery, etc. How the Hatmakers arrived at the conclusion that these texts are only in reference to bad types of homsexuality has no basis in the actual passages.
The authors of the various could have used more specific wording like adultery or pederasty to label such things as sin yet none of them did. Instead the authors used broad language to condemn homosexual acts in general. Why would Paul and others in an attempt to condemn pederasty, rape, or adultery use only broad language about homosexuality when they could have been more specific? If that was their goal then the authors did a terrible job communicating a limited condemnation of homosexuality. I will give two examples from Scripture that leave little doubt.
Leviticus 18 is the first example. In this chapter we are told of many sexual practices which were prohibited. This list of unacceptable sexual relations includes relations with: close relatives, your father’s wife, your sister, your mother’s daughter, your aunt, your brother’s wife, animals, and to not marry your wife’s sister. It is crystal clear that this list is not in the context of just adultery, rape, idolatry, pederasty, etc. If it is, then we can use the same arguments the Hatmakers use for justifying incest, bestiality, polygamy, etc. If their interpretation is correct there is no basis to be against any of these sexual acts.
It is in the middle of this list, in Leviticus 18.22 where we read, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” There is no hint whatsoever that this command is anything but broad and universal to include all forms of male homosexuality. You shall not lay with an animal and you shall not lay with a man like a woman. It is pretty clear and it is not narrowed at all by talk of rape or any other sexual sin.
Any person who would assert the prohibition against homosexuality in this passage is not universal can only do so by in essence saying, “It isn’t because I say it isn’t.” The text itself does no such thing. It says men are not to have sex with men just like they are not to have sex with their aunt, their father’s wife, their wife’s sister, or animals. The text is clear.
It is here where the screaming starts, “Well you eat shellfish don’t you? You’re breaking the Levitical law too!” To that I say, “No, I don’t eat shellfish. I hate seafood.”
In all seriousness, many will make this vaunted and critical error. The Hatmakers didn’t, so I will not address it here. Instead, I will move to a New Testament example to demonstrate the continuity between the Old and New Testaments as they both stand against all forms of homosexuality.
In Romans 1:18-32 Paul has his famous discussion of God handing people over to the wicked desires of homosexuality. This handing over is an act of God’s judgment. All of this is a result of people rejecting God and following false gods. In this passage both male and female homosexual relations are condemned (1.26-27). The wording here is very particular and should sound familiar to what our culture promotes today as good homosexuality:
…For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another…
There are several things to note here. The natural sexual relations are exchanged for that which is “unnatural.” Anyone familiar with human biology knows what this means—they have left behind heterosexuality for homosexuality. Such actions are against nature, they defy biology.
But the Holy Spirit through Paul does not stop there; he says these people are “consumed with passion for one another.” This could hardly more clear—their desire is for one another. It is a mutual desire for homosexual acts. The two parties in this same-sex union desire and have sexual passion for their homosexual partner. This is a willing and mutual relationship where both parties are consenting and getting exactly what their unnatural passions want. Is that not how homosexuality functions today---revolving around the freedom to "love" whoever I was "born" to love? It appears Paul knew of this type of homosexual behavior.
So not only is this text not limited to only "bad" forms of homosexuality, it it clearly about those who were wanting and mutually engaged in homosexual relations.
The text is clear and it is not just conservative Christians who can see this. Here is a quote from lesbian historian Bernadette Brooten about Romans 1 “I See Paul as condemning all forms of homoeroticism as the unnatural acts of people who had turned away from God” (quote taken from DeYoung’s book).
For the Hatmakers, one must conclude that despite all their assertions that they are taking Scripture seriously, that it is their chief authority, and that they have done a lot of studying, that their position is decidedly anti-Scripture. It cannot stand up against even a cursory examination of two texts.
Couple this with there being no historical support of homosexuality found in the church and that there is not even a single positive verse in Scripture about homosexuality, we must conclude it cannot be a respect for the authority of Scripture which is driving the beliefs of the Hatmakers about homosexuality. Something else is.
This leaves them with one final out, perhaps the authors of Scripture knew only about homosexuality that was deformed. The Hatmakers insist that gay unions like civil unions and marriages didn’t exist back then. The authors of Scripture must not have known about things like sexual orientation, committed marriages and unions which were homosexual as we do today. The reasoning goes, that if this is true then all of the verses in Scripture just assume rape, pederasty, domination, etc. when discussing homosexuality.
This argument could possibly have weight to it if it had any historical validity to it, but it doesn’t. Any study of the ancient world shows us that homosexuality like we have today is nothing new. The Greeks and Romans in particular had every form of homosexual practice we have today. Yes these existed, and to some extent were popular, during biblical times. The LGBTQ movement knows this to be true and has used this historical reality often to show they are not something “new” or “strange.” They assert contrary to the Hatmakers that their sexual appetites have existed for centuries. And they are correct.
Nero, the emperor of Rome during much of Paul’s ministry, was married twice to men in public ceremonies. Once he was married as the bride and once as the groom! It is believed that 13 of the first 14 Roman emperors were either homosexual or bisexual. Homosexual practice was very common in Roman society so much so the society was sharply divided over whether it was a good thing or not. Sound familiar?
According to Thomas Hubbard, a non-Christian expert in Greek and Roman culture, and author of the book, “Homosexuality in Greece and Rome,” homosexual behavior in that time was wide ranging and complicated. Some homosexual lovers swore lifelong attraction, some were lifelong partners, some of their ‘marriages” were gender nonspecific. Some homosexuals even identified themselves by their sexual desires and saw homosexuality as antithetical to heterosexuality. In terms of scope and practice homosexuality in Rome and Greece had everything we have today (see Deyoung's book).
It goes farther back than that as well. In Plato’s Symposium there are several sections on homosexual love in specific. In these sections homosexual love is praised for being natural and long-lasting. These statements are given in the context of two grown men who are mutually consenting and devoted in their ‘love’. There is even a speech given which suggests that these homosexual desires may be a result of our genetics, or how we put it, “They were born this way.” Plato’s work was written in the 300’s BC. Over three hundred years before the New Testament. Clearly our type of homosexuality did exist in biblical times.
The assertion the Hatmakers made about Homosexuality being different in biblical times is nothing short of either ignorance or a lie. History tells us a different story then the Hatmakers tell.
Our modern homosexual movement readily recognizes that their type of sexual behavior is nothing new and for once I agree with them. This means though that liberal-minded Christians need to study history a little more thoroughly before they use such easily debunked nonsense.
In fact, it wasn’t until the Roman Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity in the 300s AD that homosexual acts, all of them, were outlawed in the Roman Empire. Why? Because the early Christians knew this is exactly what Scripture taught—all forms of homosexuality are sinful.
An examination of both history and the text shows us there is no argument for the Hatmakers' position left. Therefore, we must acknowledge they believe the way they do because that is what they want to believe. Their affirmation of homosexuality cannot be attributed to Scripture.
The End of the Matter
So the fruit of the Hatmaker’s tree is laid bare for all to see. This is bad fruit which is evidence of a bad tree. There is no scriptural or historical reason to claim committed homosexual relationships are holy. To suggest so is to show towering ignorance of Scripture, church history, world history and a breathtaking amount of arrogance.
This is the foundation the Hatmakers and others are building upon to tell millions they are fine, that they aren’t sinning and they're going to heaven. If I were to make that argument, I would want at least one leg to stand upon.
These are wolves, and the sheep need to take notice so that no one is caught off guard by their tactics. The fruit is plain for us all to see and the stakes are high as millions are being deceived into thinking they are at peace with God when in fact they are in need of salvation.
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”- 1 Corinthians 6.9-11