LifeWay pulls Hatmaker books over LGBT remarks

Books | Best-selling author said she supports same-sex marriage
by Lynde Langdon
Posted 10/28/16, 02:12 pm

Retailer LifeWay Christian Stores is pulling from its shelves books by best-selling author Jen Hatmaker after she said in an interview she supports same-sex marriage.

In an interview with Religion News Service, Hatmaker was asked, “Do you think an LGBT relationship can be holy?” She responded, “I do. And my views here are tender. This is a very nuanced conversation, and it’s hard to nail down in one sitting. 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.” Hatmaker also stated she supported the legalization of same-sex marriage and would attend a gay wedding.

The author of several best-selling books and the subject of an HGTV series called My Big Family Renovation, Hatmaker’s Southern charm, laugh-out-loud humor, and passion for family gained her massive popularity both in and out of the Christian mainstream in recent years. She has more than 600,000 followers on Facebook and has appeared on national TV and in The New York Times.

Following publication of the Religion News Service interview, a LifeWay spokesperson told Baptist Press the store would no longer sell Hatmaker’s books.

“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 said Thursday. “As a result, LifeWay has discontinued selling her resources.”

LifeWay has barred other well-known Christian authors from its stores because of doctrinal differences. It pulled books by author and pastor Mark Driscoll and stopped selling resources by people who claimed to have visited heaven.

Hatmaker, a mother of five and wife of Pastor Brandon Hatmaker, has not issued a statement in response to LifeWay’s decision.

Lynde Langdon

Lynde is a WORLD Digital's managing editor. She is a graduate of World Journalism Institute, the Missouri School of Journalism, and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Lynde resides with her family in Wichita, Kansas. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.

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  • Lizzy's picture
    Posted: Fri, 10/28/2016 07:28 pm

    Christ told us that just as the world hated Him, it would also hate us if we followed Him.  We have been somewhat sheltered from that reality in this country up to now, but that doesn't mean that won't/can't change.  In our celebrity obsessed culture, Christians with a public presence are especially vulnerable to sacrificing truth on the altar of popularity.  The inability of Christians to stand firm for the truth in the Word is of far more consequence to the faithful witness of His church than who wins the Presidency.

  • DS
    Posted: Fri, 10/28/2016 09:34 pm

    Are you kidding me ????? What planet is this woman from ???? Obviously one who doesnt know what Life Way or what the southern Baptist denomination stands for !!! As a Christian ( admitantly A carnal one at best , probably , nowadays ) and a Southern Baptist who disagrees with a good portion of their policies , I say"  good show !" to Life Way ! 

    My wife is very involved with a ministry that ministers to those who are in , and  coming out of the gay lifestyle and any one of them would tell this woman that she is out of her mind .  

  • MA
    Posted: Sat, 10/29/2016 03:41 pm

    Good for Lifeway!  Now if they would just explain why they're letting some of their authors work alongside Prosperity Gospel workers such as Joyce Meyer and Christine Caine--and others--we'd be even more satisfied.

  •  Xion's picture
    Posted: Sat, 10/29/2016 03:49 pm

    Christians are good at judging, but poor at explaining the truth.  And so we pull books from shelves and shun sinners, but no one is explaining the biblical view of the LGBT question.  Why?  Because the shunning will be turned on us.  The Bible is clear that LGBT aren't kinds of people, but kinds of behavior.  Gender identity is an identity crisis rooted in sexual confusion.  We are to show grace to sinners, ourselves being just as guilty before God, but we should not be ashamed of the truth.

  • Michael Eichler
    Posted: Mon, 10/31/2016 11:40 am

    Xion - The assertion you are making that Christians are good at judging but poor at explaining the truth is rather lopsided. Christ pointed out to us in the pen of Paul in Romans 2, we all, believers and unbelievers, are apparently good at making judgments. In fact, it does not take much to effort to see people judging every day, everywhere (just go to any Produce section in a grocery store or drive in traffic). The question is are we all making correct judgments? That answer is 'No' and it does not matter if you are a believer or unbeliever, we all fail in the sinful action known as hypocrisy. The sad truth is we easily witness all the darkened minds who enjoy pointing out the hypocrisy of the Bride of Christ, the Church, with the one Bible verse they all seem to know, Matthew 7:1, but they fail to understand what Christ was saying and therefore fail to see the hypocrisy in themselves.  The only explanation I can discern regarding the failure to explain our judgments, on a general level, is likely due to this generation, with all our technology and access to information, is more illiterate in the Word of God than previous generations. We apparently have difficulty even expressing the foundation for our faith, devotion, and love of Christ to those who do not know Him much less defend other biblical truths.

    Now many pastors, elders, and teachers, who know the teachings of Christ and follow Him, have explained the biblical view regarding the question of LGBT behavior, not the LGBT question, loudly and more than once. The question is “is anyone reading or listening to what is being said?” The answer regarding LGBT behavior from church leadership is out there, but as stated within Scripture, 'no one seeks God' so I cannot become anxious or filled with despair when people who are suppressing the truth refuse to give us any floor time much less an open mind to consider what is being said.

    On shunning, this is a problem, but it is not a problem just for those who declared Christ is Lord and Savior. It is a problem for all of mankind. We, as Christians, are called as 1 Peter 2 says, "to keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds ad glorify God on the day of visitation." We are to honor everyone, which means we are to respect them as fellow image bearers of God, but honor is to the person not the behavior. Just as we are called to love everyone, we do not love the behavior. And anyone who has children or has had children should be able to understand this as we love our children but do not love their behavior. Do we fail in this regard, unfortunately the answer is 'Yes', and it is of no consolation that we, followers of Christ, are lumped together with those who do not know Him.

    Gender identity, by and large, has the appearance of being more of a cultural creation. While people throughout history have displayed same-sex desires and sexual behavior it is not much of a stretch of the imagination that people who 'feel' they are the wrong sex should not be a surprise, however, the root of both are found in the sin nature we all possess in this life. If you need an explanation of this, please let me know.

    You are correct, we are all fallen and we are only saved by the grace and mercy given and shown to us by the Triune God, and we are to show the grace and mercy we have received to those around us. We will do this imperfectly, if we do it at all, while doing what we are all commanded to do, speak the Gospel of Christ to all people everywhere.

  • Steve Shive
    Posted: Sun, 10/30/2016 07:11 am

    I only hope that Lifeway interacted with Hatmaker over this before making their final decision. I trust that they didn't make this decision just based on an interview or reading something by her. Yes the intervews sound suspicious, raise concerns, but still I hope they actually discussed this with the author herself to make sure they got the story straight and gave her a chance to correct any misunderstandings. 

  • JS
    Posted: Sat, 10/29/2016 10:52 pm

    While I disagree with Hatmaker's position on this issue, as a citizen soldier and veteran  I will continue to fight for her right to express it.  Simultaneously, I will also fight for the right of the business to choose to sell material consistent with its beliefs.  Politcal correctness can often intimidate people to remain quiet or self-sensor.  I encourage others to stand for their beliefs and give a reason for that same belief. If we fail to exercise our freedoms, we are prone to lose them. I will express my right of expression by not purchasing Mrs Hatmaker's products, and look at other authors' materials on LifeWay shelves.  - John, Augusta, GA. 

  • JerryM
    Posted: Mon, 10/31/2016 12:22 am

    Jen Amy be confusing some of the emotional/relational intimacy of two same-sex individuals with their sexual intimacy.  The former may be commendable.  The latter, like any sex outside of natural marriage, is sin.

  • zonie
    Posted: Mon, 10/31/2016 11:38 pm

    Excellent response from Rosaria Butterfield here:

  • Lizzy's picture
    Posted: Tue, 11/01/2016 04:49 pm

    Thanks for the link - you were right, excellent response by Rosalia Butterfield.  And applicable not only to Hatmaker but to all of us to take up our cross and sacrifice whatever sin is our particular temptation.

  • MC
    Posted: Tue, 11/01/2016 11:59 am

    Thank you for not allowing Hatmaker's books to be sold in Lifeway stores.  Our Christian faith is being deluted by Christians who succumb to world views rather than Biblical views.

  • dwp
    Posted: Sat, 11/05/2016 09:02 am

    Proud of life way for doing this