Brandan Robertson, polyamory

Polyamory “Holy” “Beautiful” says Progressive Christian Minister

on October 19, 2018

Last night, a friend called to my attention a video circulating on social media of a young minister declaring open and polyamorous relationships “holy” and “beautiful” before his congregation.

Note: The original version of this article included the video shared by Brandan Robertson on Twitter. The video has since been deleted. So here is what Robertson had to say:

“For those who are in an open or polyamorous relationship here this morning who might be squirming, because this is an uncomfortable question to hear in church sometimes. I want you to hear me loud and clear as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Your relationships are holy. They are beautiful and they are welcomed and celebrated in this space.”


“We call all of us together to the same set of standards that we call everyone to: to seek to follow Jesus in all of our relationships. To seek to be honest and respectful and self-sacrificial and consensual and loving with your partners. When any of us live into these standards we can be sure we are on the path to wholeness and holiness.”

The young minister in the video is Brandan Robertson, one of the Religious Left’s quickest rising stars. At 26 he is the senior pastor of Missiongathering Christian Church, a church plant affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in San Diego, California. Interestingly, Robertson is a graduate of the evangelical Moody Bible Institute. He is also a graduate of the liberal and United Methodist-affiliated Iliff School of Theology.

By 23 years old, Robertson had impressive byline placements in Time, The Washington Post, and The Huffington Post. He is a regular speaker at the Wild Goose Festival and his mentors include retired Episcopal Church Bishop Gene Robinson, Rob Bell, and Brian McLaren, among others.

Well, you can imagine the criticism that Robertson’s video has received.

Author and Christian thought leader Rod Dreher had this to say:

Evangelical radio host Janet Parshall responded:

Executive Director of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Colin Smothers reminds us of 1 Corinthians 5:1:

The Christian Post‘s Brandon Showalter observed:

There’s plenty to be said about the sinful, harmful nature of polyamorous relationships. But I suspect those reading this already understand the sanctity of marriage and how a covenant between husband and wife reflects the covenant relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church. So instead, I want to consider Robertson for a moment.

It’s been interesting to watch Robertson’s evolution since 2014 or so. In 2015, I watched Robertson tout the “Evangelical” title as he advocated for same-sex marriage, then later read he defined himself as “Christianish,” and now he is calling himself a gay “Renegade Reverend” who is rethinking sin “as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

I consider Robertson an acquaintance. We’ve broken bread together here at the Institute on Religion & Democracy office and had a congenial conversation. We disagree on many things to be sure, but honestly, I feel a sense of sadness and compassion for Robertson. He is a young man who has endured painful experiences and struggled to find his complete identity in Jesus Christ. Then along came the old guards of the Religious Left who placed a 23-year-old Robertson on their shoulders as the young fresh face of progressive Christianity and onto a national setting that he was unprepared to handle.

Robertson believes that he is an innovator, presenting novel ideas on sexuality and sin that few have thought before. It is a reoccurring trend that we see among younger progressive Christians who grew up in evangelicalism. Their ideas on inclusion and tolerance have already been implemented by liberal mainline Protestant denominations, and their embrace of sin hasn’t fared well.

I mentioned earlier that Robertson is the senior pastor of a Disciples of Christ-affiliated church. And no matter how welcoming or “radically inclusive” the Disciples’ table, fewer and fewer souls are taking a seat.

Just this week, the IRD’s Jeffrey Walton reported the shaky congregational numbers of the Disciples of Christ. “Church membership shrank to 411,140 in 2017 (down from 497,423, or 17 percent, from 2014), while average worship attendance dropped to 139,936 (down from 177,141, or 21 percent, from 2014),” noted Walton. “While these figures in themselves are striking, two objective numbers that often serve as future indicators – baptism and transfers in – are even more dramatic. New additions by baptism are at 4,344 (down from 5,808, or 25 percent, from 2014) while additions by transfer are 7,441 (down from 15,111, or 51 percent in 2014), not nearly enough to keep up with deaths and transfers out.”

There is no joy in watching a soul wander deeper and deeper into darkness. All I can do is pray that the Holy Spirit intervenes, removes Robertson from his liberal bubble so that might recognize the destructive and deceitful path that he is headed down with others following closely behind.

My prayer for Robertson is that by the time he gets to his 30s and 40s, these troubling remarks on polyamory and his mistaken understanding of human sin, will be a wonderful part of his testimony where blind eyes gained sight. Because what was meant for evil, God can use for good.

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  1. Comment by Daniel on October 19, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    There’s so much truth to growing out of this phase. I considered myself a very liberal Methodist in my 20s, and even early 30s. What changed for me in my mid thirties was actually reading the Bible as the truth, rather than a piece of fine literature. Now, I’m as conservative as one can be. I feel like these seminaries do more harm than good. They seem to delegitimize the Bible in the name of education. I’m pretty sure Satan loves these seminaries more than any gay bar because pastors can instill false ideas in so many more humans than some gay, drunk or drug addict. What he’s doing is truly demonic. I pray he grows out of it.

  2. Comment by William on October 19, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    Will those hearing heresy and blasphemy from these deceivers and believing such go into hell with them one day?

  3. Comment by Phil on October 19, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    It’s the logical end of so-called theology that seeks to conform to the ways of the world rather than be obedient to God.
    Not too long ago, they insisted the slippery slope was just an unfounded concern of faithful Christians. They were wrong or they were liars.

  4. Comment by Palamas on October 19, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    According to Wikipedia (take that for what it’s worth), Robertson is bisexual. That combined with his denominational affiliation practically guaranteed he’d take a position like this, and he has a personal stake in sticking with it.

    That said, Robertson is as much a “minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ” as Pat Robertson is the Dalai Lama.

  5. Comment by David on October 20, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    “Missiongathering Christian Church was born in San Diego California in 2001(?) out of the Vision and Dreams of Planting Pastor Rich McCullen to provide a worship space that welcomed people from all walks of life into its doors.
    Missiongathering Charlotte was born out of the desire to see a church community that truly welcomed everyone planted in the heart of the Queen City in January of 2016. We wanted a place where everyone was welcomed to the table regardless of their personal background, financial stability, race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, family background, or religious affiliations.”—official website.

    This seems more like a small denomination of itself. I would be slow to blame the DOC for the actions of this group.

  6. Comment by Anneke on October 21, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    “Missiongathering Christian Church, a church plant affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)”

    aka: Disciples of Satan

  7. Comment by Theo on October 22, 2018 at 11:30 am

    This is very sad, but I appreciate the hopeful note on which you end. The Holy Spirit can and does work miracles in people’s lives.

  8. Comment by Silver on October 22, 2018 at 11:38 am

    My grandmother was DOC and my mother was raised in that denomination. It is not surprising that a person who can embrace a denomination that believes in baptismal regeneration, ie. you are saved through baptism, could slide down another slippery slope of error. Pray for his eyes and ears to be opened to all truth.

  9. Comment by Justin Murff on October 22, 2018 at 11:55 am

    Robertson’s views represent A blatant and outlandish misrepresentation of what a covental marriage represents as seen in the New Testament and in the historical teachings of the Christian tradition across all denominations for two millennia. Heresy Is not new to the church, but it reminds us of the ever increasing need for biblical truths to be preached, doctrinal clarity to be taught, and why proper discipleship is so very important.

  10. Comment by Nick Stuart on October 22, 2018 at 7:51 pm

    Ever notice how these people look about like you would think they would look?

  11. Comment by Stacey on October 23, 2018 at 2:17 am

    Call him what he is! A false teacher, tickling the ears of those who don’t love the Truth! These people need to be called out and if they don’t repent be done with them! Pray for them but stay away from those who will teach lies. They have no desire to do what is right – this is the work of satan “beautifying” sin!!

  12. Comment by Skipper on October 23, 2018 at 10:32 am

    Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live, but he who pursues evil will die. Proverbs 11:19

  13. Comment by Stan Jefferson on October 26, 2018 at 9:59 pm

    One needs only ask Brandon Robertson, “By what authority do you make these claims on sexuality?” It either comes from God’s inspired word, or they are made out of whole cloth. The only thing needed to become immoral–is someone else’s permission.

  14. Comment by Eddie on October 27, 2018 at 7:27 am

    I have family and a cousin who is a minister of the Disciples of Christ in Puerto Rico who reject such blatant anti gospel preaching. It is no wonder that the DOC in Puerto Rico continue to distance themselves from the DOC in the USA!!

  15. Comment by Barbara seddon on October 27, 2018 at 10:41 am

    So many people have : itching Ears: and will hear what they want to hear. The Bible has the Truth of Christ,and nowhere in it does it make holy that which is not holy..namely,sexual sins,adultery homosexuality etc… this young man hal truly been led astray.

  16. Comment by John Smith on October 29, 2018 at 6:02 am

    Only a senior pastor? Obviously overlooked, this is UMC Bishop material.

  17. Comment by L. Alexander on December 12, 2018 at 8:32 am

    Thank you for this article and especially your charitable attitude and exhortation: to recognize his youth (not despise it) and pray for him.

  18. Comment by Loren Golden on December 20, 2018 at 1:29 am

    “Polyamorous relationship(s) … holy… (and) beautiful”?  It’s obvious that this young man has not seriously read the Old Testament.
    The first example of a “polyamorous relationship” included a murderer (Gen. 4.19-24).
    The “polyamorous relationship” they shared did not work out so well for Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar (Gen. 16, 21.1-21)—and the descendants of Abraham’s first son are still at odds with the descendants of his second son some four thousand years later.
    It likewise brought no joy to the home of Elkanah, Hannah, and Peninneh (I Sam. 1.1-8).

    It filled the home of David, Michal, Abigail, Ahinoam, Maacah, Haggith, Abital, Eglah, and Bathsheba with bloodshed and strife (II Sam. 13-18, I Kg. 1).

    And the “polyamorous relationship” shared by Jacob, Bilhah, Zilpah, and sisters Leah and Rachel was so bitter (Gen. 29.1-30.24) that the Lord proscribed the taking of living sisters as rival wives (Lev. 18.18).
    The Lord made only one wife for Adam (and only one husband for Eve; Gen. 1.26-28, 2.18-25), and through Paul He declared that officers in the Church should be “the husband of (only) one wife” (I Tim. 3.2,12, Tit. 1.6).
    Even the godliest of human marriages is fraught with sin, for it is the joining together of a sinful man with a sinful woman (both in need of the redemption of the Lord Jesus Christ) and is thereby made much more difficult.  Given that every example of polyamorous—or polygamous—marriage in the Bible is so filled with bitterness, jealousy, and strife—even moreso than monogamous marriage—what possible God-honoring reason can any ordained minister of the Gospel have for condoning—let alone blessing—“polyamorous relationships”?

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