Jen Hatmaker looked so good there for awhile. She seemed to say things that seemed biblical. That were almost…right. And then she started veering off to the left. Ever so slightly and subtly. Until eventually she landed at where she is today– an absolute heretic when we compare what she is teaching to what the Bible says. It seems almost pointless to show that this woman is a false teacher, given how clear she makes it for us..BUT if you aren’t in the Word on a regular basis, you may be fooled by her twisting of the Word and her silvery tongue. She sure does make her poison sound like honey. And so my daughter, Jess*, did some digging to give some hard evidence to what this woman is really teaching, comparing it to scripture–
Jen Hatmaker has been around for quite a few years now. She has authored many books, hosts a popular podcast, and has a huge social media following. She has a very likable personality and people love her writing style full of humor and candor. She made headlines in 2016 when she came out in support of the LGBTQ community and received both applause and ridicule as a result. She claims to have reconstructed her faith and now offers “a new kind of christianity” that is really just paganism slightly disguised.
Honestly, Jen is so obvious in her blatant disregard for Scripture that I almost didn’t feature her. However the idea of deconstructing and reconstructing your faith, sometimes called a de-conversion story, is one that is gaining traction and popularity. And so I thought it might be helpful to break down her story so we can see where she gets it wrong according to the Bible. Not because I find joy in calling people false teachers or because I have fun defaming popular “Christian” figures. It makes my heart hurt. But her message is so dangerous that it demands we chime a loud warning bell. And if I can help just one person steer clear of her false ideology, it will be worth it.
The first thing Jen shares about her de-conversion story is the negative aspects of the traditional, evangelical church. She claims that the church doesn’t let people ask questions, never acknowledges gray areas, doesn’t allow for uncertainty, and are unaccepting of certain types of people. That church is outdated, racist, unloving, misogynist, naive, oppressive, and too dogmatic.
The second thing she does is portray herself as the victim of this big, bad church. She simply decided to ask the questions nobody else would. She started seeking and embarked on a journey for answers. And when the answers she found didn’t line up with historical & Biblical Christianity, then she was “mistreated in ways that were scary, disorienting, crushing, devastating.” But her conclusions were in complete opposition to the Bible. So just because some people told her that she’s wrong and the Bible’s right, she’s a victim?
And finally, Jen shares with her audience a new belief system her journey lead to. When she was finally brave enough to ask the hard questions, she found freedom and light and acceptance. She invites them to go on the same journey. Here’s just a few of the conclusions she came to:
𝐖𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐜𝐚𝐧’𝐭 𝐛𝐞 𝐜𝐞𝐫𝐭𝐚𝐢𝐧 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐁𝐢𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐬𝐚𝐲𝐬. “For a season that sense of certainty was wonderful…but of course upon scrutiny it breaks down because, as always, we come to Scripture and the things that we say are certain are obviously not certain to other people…certainty really only works in an echo chamber.” She is insistent that if we really scrutinize our beliefs, we’ll find that we can’t really be certain about anything at all. She claims that when she struggled to find clarity, the Bible “just wouldn’t cooperate on perfect clarity.” I’m confident it wasn’t the Bible that wasn’t cooperating.
𝐖𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭’𝐬 𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐞 𝐛𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐫𝐮𝐢𝐭. One may wonder how we can know what’s true if we can’t be certain about anything the Bible says. Ironically, she twists the meaning of Jesus’ parable in Matthew 7 to answer this question. She says that “[Jesus is like] when there’s something, be it a relationship, or a person or a doctrine, whatever, that feels ambiguous, or it feels contentious, or there’s tension around its interpretation, look to the fruit…a good tree is gonna bear good fruit, and a bad tree is gonna bear bad fruit…that’s a clue that I feel like Jesus put into the hands of future believers, as we were going to do our generations work of pressing on Scripture and finding the threads of truth, and how do we interpret it and apply it to our lives at this time.” Yes, she did just say threads of truth. Actually, Jen, the entire Bible is true and it applies to our lives the same way for all of time.
𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐡𝐮𝐫𝐜𝐡 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐚𝐜𝐜𝐞𝐩𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐋𝐆𝐁𝐓𝐐 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐲. Her theory of good and bad fruit is what convinced her of this fact. She said the fruit of the “non-affirming Christian tree” was rotten (depression, self-hatred, broken families, loneliness) while the fruit of the “affirming Christian tree” was universally good. “And so that gave us the confidence to continue pressing until we felt convinced that God would have us open our arms wide to our LGBTQ friends and neighbors, and welcome them into the church, as they are” she concluded in an interview. (Given her view of scripture this would make sense, would it not? No passage regarding this would matter because it isn’t a “thread of truth” in her world. She is the one who gets to decide what is true and what isn’t. ~lda)
𝐃𝐞𝐧𝐢𝐚𝐥 𝐨𝐟 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐟𝐮𝐥 𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞. “That question you are asking, that dream, that need, that buried anger, that delicious desire, it can all live in the open, and its unveiling can be your liberation song” she writes. She encourages her readers to believe that “I am exactly enough” and “I deserve goodness.” She writes that even the worst evildoers “have something precious at their core.” She believes that if we but uncover our inmost being, we’ll find great and glorious good for the world. But the Bible says that our inmost being is utterly sinful, that there’s nothing good in us, that we deserve hell, and that our fleshly desires lead only to sin. And since she misdiagnoses our sinful condition, then there is no need for the Gospel. Which makes sense, I guess, since she never mentions it anyway.
𝐂𝐡𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐚𝐜𝐜𝐞𝐩𝐭𝐬 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲𝐨𝐧𝐞. “Everyone belongs” she says “and until everyone belongs, we’ve replaced truth with a lie. This the world Jesus envisioned.” She begs us to ask “what feels and sounds like actual good news, instead of who is in and who is out?” Is that really the world that Jesus envisioned, though? He talks countless times about the narrow way, about people being in and people being out, about the wheat and the chaff, the true and the false. Does it matter what feels like good news to us?
𝐑𝐞𝐝𝐞𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐬 𝐁𝐢𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐥 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞. “When loving God results in pain, exclusion, harm, or trauma to people then we are doing the first part wrong. It is not God in error but us.” She makes it clear that if we tell anyone that they’re wrong or sinful then we aren’t loving. But that’s her definition of love, not the definition we find in the Bible that never rejoices in iniquity.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. She completely negates the need for church since she figured out this new Jesus “lets me watch CBS Sunday Morning instead of church without shame.” She never shares the Gospel. She never talks about sin or repentance or the Bible. She makes Jesus exactly who she wants Him to be. It amazes me that she can say all of these things and still be accepted in the “Christian community.” There’s nothing Christian about her. She throws out the Bible, the Gospel, the church, and the true Jesus Christ and then expects to be accepted by the Christian community? How have we come to this place? She followed her lusts straight into a pit of heresy. I pray that she goes on another journey that leads her back to the Bible. Because if we can’t be certain about that, then what’s the point of faith at all?