LifeWay pulls Jen Hatmaker books over LGBT views

Jen Hatmaker (twitter.com/JenHatmaker)LifeWay Christian Resources has discontinued resources featuring best-selling Bible study author Jen Hatmaker just days after she voiced approval of gay marriage and the gay lifestyle.

"In a recent interview, [Hatmaker] voiced significant changes in her theology of human sexuality and the meaning and definition of marriage -- changes which contradict LifeWay's doctrinal guidelines," LifeWay spokesman Marty King told Baptist Press today (Oct. 27). "As a result, LifeWay has discontinued selling her resources."

LifeWay, a Southern Baptist Convention entity, has published several resources by the popular speaker and reality television star, including the best-selling B&H Publishing book, "7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess."

In an Oct. 25 Religion News Service article, Hatmaker said she affirms gay marriage from both civil and spiritual perspectives, and advised the church to embrace members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community who profess Christianity.

"Not only are these our neighbors and friends, but they are brothers and sisters in Christ," Hatmaker said in the RNS question-and-answer column. "They are adopted into the same family as the rest of us, and the church hasn't treated the LGBT community like family. We have to do better."

The RNS interview focused on several popular topics, including gay marriage and Hatmaker's perspective of the LGBT lifestyle.

"From a civil rights and civil liberties side and from just a human being side, any two adults have the right to choose who they want to love. And they should be afforded the same legal protections as any of us. I would never wish anything less for my gay friends," Hatmaker said. "From a spiritual perspective, since gay marriage is legal in all 50 states, our communities have plenty of gay couples who, just like the rest of us, need marriage support and parenting help and Christian community. They are either going to find those resources in the church or they are not."

Hatmaker would not hesitate to attend and drink celebratory champagne at a gay wedding, she told RNS, but spoke with less certainty when saying she believes an LGBT relationship can be holy.

"I do [believe an LGBT relationship can be holy]. And my views here are tender. 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. Every believer that witnesses that much overwhelming sorrow should be tender enough to do some hard work here."

The mother of five said she would treat a child who professes homosexuality no different than a heterosexual child.

"I think we would parent that child exactly the same as the rest of them. Which is to say, we would always be on their side and in their corner and for them and with them," Hatmaker said. "We want for all of our kids the same thing: faithful, committed marriage and a beautiful family that is committed to God and the church. I would have the same standard across the board, no matter what."

Hatmaker gained national notoriety when her 2013 blog post on the rigors of mothering school-age children went viral, landing her an interview on NBC's "Today Show." Her HGTV home renovation show "My Big Family Renovation" debuted in 2014, and she has been popular among many evangelical women.

Diana Chandler is Baptist Press' general assignment writer/editor. BP (bpnews.net) reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists' concerns nationally and globally.

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