The son of Christian apologist and evangelist Josh McDowell said that while he usually doesn’t respond publicly to issues involving Christians, he felt compelled to do so when he read Brandon Hatmaker’s explanation on his and wife Jen’s shift toward gay marriage approval.
The Hatmakers recently made an announcement that they approve of the LGBTQ lifestyle. Jen, a best-selling author, was the first to speak publicly about it during an interview, in which she clearly stated her approval for gay marriage.
Jen’s husband Brandon gave an explanation on how they arrived at their newly embraced position on the issue. Writing a lengthy post to Facebook, Brandon said he and his wife “committed to a season of study and prayer” for more than a year before arriving at their conclusion.
They investigated the Scriptures, commentaries and various books that dealt with the issue of homosexuality, and they discovered “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,” Brandon wrote. “It was always a destructive act. It was always a sin committed against a person.”
Brandon said these sexual relationships were “an abuse of God’s gift of sex” and goes against His design of two individuals sharing a lifelong commitment of love and faithfulness.
“But not one of these scriptures was written in the context of marriage or civil union (which simply did not exist at this time). Each act mentioned in the Bible was sin, no doubt,” Brandon wrote. “In context, we believe the same today. Just like heterosexual sex outside of marriage is sin for obvious reasons, whether consensual or not, we still believe homosexual sex outside of marriage is a sin.”
This is also why they believe a gay marriage that exhibits a “lifelong monogamous commitment” can be holy before God.
In a blog entitled “A Few Thoughts on the Hatmaker Position on LGBTQ,” McDowell says he disagrees with Brandon’s LGBTQ theology because “while biblical prohibitions may be written in the context of the sins he mentions, the moral wrongness is based upon its violation of God’s creation imperative (Gen 1, 2).”
“The sins he mentions are destructive, but that’s not why they’re wrong. Rather, they are destructive because they are wrong,” McDowell explained.
“And they are wrong because God intended sex to be experienced between one man and woman in a lifelong marriage relationship (Gen 2:24),” McDowell continued. “This is the consistent teaching behind the entirety of Scriptural teaching on sex. God’s creation narrative provides the basis for human sexuality and consistently lies behind biblical guidelines (e.g., Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:26-27).”
Regarding the Hatmakers’ belief that same-sex marriage can be holy as long as the couple is committed to each other for life, McDowell said Jesus himself stated that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman.
Referring to Matthew 19 where Jesus was asked about divorce, McDowell pointed out that Jesus did not simply answer if divorce is a sin or not. Instead of just citing Genesis 2:27, which could very well have answered the question, Jesus mentioned Genesis 1:27 as well:
“Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
McDowell said that by saying this, Jesus affirmed that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman.
The apologist reminded his readers that the LGBTQ issue is a sensitive one and should be explored with “love and care.” However, he also asked his readers to remember that “love rejoices with the truth.”
“I appreciate that Brandon speaks about his commitment to Scripture. My concern is that he is importing an external narrative into the Bible rather than letting it speak for itself,” McDowell concluded.