LifeWay Christian Resources is being applauded for its decision to pull from its shelves and website books written by a popular Bible study author following a recent interview in which she expressed views on sexuality the retailer says contradict its doctrinal guidelines.
A favorite author and speaker among evangelical women, Jen Hatmaker's books will no longer be sold by the Southern Baptist entity's 185 stores and website. In a recently published interview with Religion News Service she was asked if, politically speaking, she supported "gay marriage." Following is her response in full:
"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.
"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.
"Not only are these our neighbors and friends, but they are brothers and sisters in Christ. 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."
She was also asked if she thought an LGBT relationship "can be holy":
"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."
LifeWay Christian Resources took note of Hatmaker's statements – and communications director Marty King says the chain has taken action.
"In [that] interview she voiced significant changes in her theology of human sexuality and the meaning and definition of marriage – changes which contradict LifeWay's doctrinal guidelines," says King. "So as a result LifeWay has discontinued selling her resources."
Dr. Alex McFarland is a Christian apologist and author and co-host of "Exploring the Word," a daily broadcast on American Family Radio. "I applaud LifeWay Christian Resources in having the courage to stand for biblical fidelity," he tells OneNewsNow.
"Her statements are contrary to the clear content of the Word of God – and LifeWay's decision to discontinue selling her work, based on her decidedly non-Christian positions about human sexuality, frankly is courageous and I believe commendable," he adds.
While acknowledging the decision could be considered controversial, McFarland argues it is the correct choice – and says Lifeway Christian Resources should be supported at a time when so many Christians and organizations have caved and compromised on this issue.