The podcast episode is raw and heartbreaking. Jen Hatmaker, a popular author and speaker, invited her daughter Sydney to discuss her homosexuality and spirituality. The open discussion was part of a special “A Moment of Pride” series on Hatmaker’s “For the Love” podcast.
“This is like a known fact in our family, and has been,” Hatmaker prefaced the podcast. “This is not news, this is not new news, this is not an announcement.”
Sydney speaks of recognizing she was lesbian around 12 years old (12 years old!), having pretend crushes on boys, and finally understanding her sexuality thanks to “representation of gay people just in movies and stuff.”
She admits to struggling with confusion and, quite sadly, doing her own comprehensive Bible study to understand varying perspectives.
Sydney explained, “I just remember trying to Google it, and one of the first resources that I found was just this person talking about various Christian perspectives on same-sex marriage. And they were kind of providing some different leaders who had said different things on it.”
The article mentioned those who were “loving, but unaffirming” and then linked to an article written by Jen Hatmaker at the time. Sydney said, after that moment, “I didn’t touch a Bible for years.”
Towards the end of the podcast, Hatmaker says that among her greatest regrets is not reconciling homosexuality and Christianity sooner. In her own words:
“So, it will just always be my greatest sadness that Dad and I did not do our own work early enough so that you felt safe and beloved in your own family—or that we didn’t do our work in front of you even, that that was not something that we were talking about. He and I were, but we weren’t talking deeply about what we were learning and processing in front of you, and thus left you alone, and vulnerable, and scared. And I am so sorry. And I’m so sad. And if I could go back, I would change it. I would shake myself to life before you were even born, shake some sense into me. Like, ‘Look at this, look at what this is causing. Just look around, use your eyes, use your ears, use your brain, and use your heart.'”
“I would not change one molecule of you, not one. I’m so glad you’re gay, I’m so proud that you are free. I love that this is how you were made. I’m thrilled about your future,” Hatmaker concluded.
The words of Romans 1:32 are striking. “Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”
Hear me, I know we are all deserving of death because of our sin. It’s only because Jesus Christ paid our debts that we have life. But Romans 1:32 is a warning to those who blatantly disregard the moral law and deadly effects of sin.
We’re listening to this happen on a podcast between Jen and Sydney Hatmaker. A popular Christian mother overlooks any recognition of sin and even apologizes for once affirming moral law.
I have no doubt that the love and experiences discussed by Jen and Sydney are genuine. As a mom of two precious babies, I feel compassion for Hatmaker. To think of my daughter feeling scared and confused because of her attractions is unbearable. So I’m trying to approach this discussion with gentleness.
Yet, it is painful to listen as there is no recognition of wrong.
It is also heartbreaking to hear of parents who deny relationship with their kids because of sin. To threaten or manipulate a child to change who is struggling with same-sex attraction is not the answer either.
Hatmaker has long spoken of motherhood and parenthood. She has a strong influence on young Christian moms. Her words and actions are effective, whether we like them or not. And how she approaches her daughter’s sexuality will influence a cohort of young moms, many thousands who attend conservative evangelical churches.
Yes, I recognize that I have little authority to speak on parenting young adults with gay identities, and so I want to proceed cautiously here.
I do wish that more Christian leaders (with more authority than this blogger has) were sounding the alarm. But there’s been little commentary, especially from female Christian leaders.
Where are the mature Christian mamas who’ve grappled with extending grace to their beloved children while also affirming orthodox Christian teachings? Their experiences and insights are what we need to hear now.
I know they are out there somewhere. Online, it’s just easier to find the Hatmakers — those who affirm without recognition of wrong. Their online communities are massive and devoted. Some other female Christian leaders just avoid the topic altogether, likely due to fear of the “Cancel culture” (but that’s a post for another day).
Affirmation of sin isn’t limited to homosexuality. We especially see it happen with cohabitation and premarital sex. Some Christian parents hand their teenage daughters hormonal contraception and IUDs and give their sons barrier methods, with little discouragement and discussion. They are buying into a culture that says: “abstinence is unachievable, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.”
We cannot change or control our kids. I’m learning this lesson, even with toddlers. And we do not own our kids, whether they are toddlers or young adults. I’m especially learning this lesson. Our children are gifts given to us by God that come with a responsibility to demonstrate both God’s grace and God’s law. (Thank you author Paul Tripp and his book Parenting for teaching me these principles.)
Parenthood is hard.
Somehow we must show love without sacrificing truth. I’ll be the first to raise my hand in exhaustion and discouragement and recognize this challenge.
Yet, Romans 6:23 warns, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” This truth is frightening. I can’t bear to think of my children perishing and being part of the reason why they couldn’t recognize sin. This verse should be enough to motivate us to boldly denounce sin, while demonstrating unconditional love.
There’s no Christian formula or 7-step article that holds the answers to this challenge. But with Him all things are possible.
Actually, only with Him is godly parenting possible.
Comment by Andrew on July 8, 2020 at 7:12 am
Thank you Chelsen for your love and courage to tell the truth. It is love for others and courage From The Holy Spirit that constrains Christians, not as perfect, but redeemed sinners to warn of a judgement day.
Comment by Mark Plaster MD on July 11, 2020 at 10:15 am
It is normal for a 12 year old girl to have strong feelings of affection toward her closest friends, which are most likely other girls. This due to normal hormonal development. But for this to be construed as a sexual attraction is abnormal and likely the result precocious introduction to sex by an older child, adult, media, or on-line exposure. This confusion is then solidified by our culture of sexual affirmation. Mix this with Christian leaders who predominantly look outward and aren’t ‘minding the farm’, as a preachers kid something I was familiar with, and you get a confused kid who slips under the radar, lost, confused, and afraid. Then that same leader compounds their original negligence by affirming the mistake and you get a permanently injured child and a guilt ridden delusional parent/leader who further compounds the mistake in others.
Comment by Lee Cary on July 8, 2020 at 7:26 am
“Some other female Christian leaders just avoid the topic altogether, likely due to fear of the “Cancel culture” (but that’s a post for another day).”
The eventual outcome of “cancel culture” is an acultural society, lacking moral boundaries or customs, that incrementally degenerates into anarchy. And then dies.
Comment by Tim on July 8, 2020 at 8:41 am
Our preaching career with our children only last so long and then our praying career takes over. Our children must choose which life to follow. I am reading St. Augustine’s ‘Confessions’ translated by F.J. Sheed and Augustine’s mom, Monica, never quits praying for her son.
Comment by Erik on July 8, 2020 at 9:12 pm
Is this phrase yours: “Our preaching career with our children only last so long and then our praying career takes over.” ?
Either way, I am stealing it, but I would like to give credit where it is due
Comment by Tim on July 9, 2020 at 8:07 pm
No, I think I read it in a daily devotional. I tell it to people all the time.
Comment by Dan on July 8, 2020 at 8:56 am
It came across as one long, narcissistic “selfie” IMHO. Quite a sad thing to hear. Just another modern pagan saying “look at me, I’m so virtuous by what I say and do.”
Comment by Ray Kingrea on July 9, 2020 at 7:52 am
Is your reference of narcissism to the writer of the article? If it is, your statement is a reflection of your own spiritual condition.
Comment by Dan on July 9, 2020 at 3:00 pm
No, the narcissism reference was to Ms. Hatmaker.
Comment by Krista Smith on July 8, 2020 at 10:08 am
Wise, insightful and timely words Chelsen. Thank you for having both the conviction and courage to speak biblical truth. I appreciate your writings to much.
Comment by Karole Fedrick on July 8, 2020 at 10:12 am
As a mother, I understand Jen’s love to affirm her daughter. As a follower of Christ, I understand God’s love to save us from our sin, not affirm us in it. “Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth,” 1 Cor. 13:6.
Comment by William on July 8, 2020 at 4:06 pm
34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn
“‘a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
Comment by William on July 8, 2020 at 4:14 pm
Matthew Henry Commentary:
Children must love their parents, and parents must love their children; but if they love them better than Christ, they are unworthy of him. As we must not be deterred from Christ by the hatred of our relations which he spoke of (Matt. 10:21, 35, 36), so we must not be drawn from him, by their love.
Comment by Mandy on July 8, 2020 at 12:52 pm
Wonderfully written and so true. I can’t imagine being in the mom’s shoes, but I have pondered what I would do if one of my children professed homosexuality. I would still love him with all my heart, but I could not condone the sin (nor premarital sex or cohabitation).
Comment by Robert Hulse on July 8, 2020 at 7:47 pm
“I recognize that I have little authority to speak on parenting young adults with gay identities”
No, you have no authority. So you should have stopped right there.
Same sex attractions are not sinful, nor are same sex relationships.
Comment by binkyxz3 on July 9, 2020 at 3:33 am
Pretty easy to pile on someone who admits their shortcomings. I bet you’re perfect.
<> Care to cite a Biblical source?
Comment by Jeff on July 10, 2020 at 5:21 pm
On your pagan planet, Robert, I suppose homosex is A-OK.
But here on God’s Earth, where Jesus Christ is Lord and King, the standard is set by Him. And His Word (as well as common sense and scientific fact) clearly define homosex as an aberration — a perversion of the Father’s Creation — a brokenness introduced from our enemy at the time of the Fall.
In other words, a sin. In no uncertain terms, a sin.
Comment by April User on July 10, 2020 at 5:44 pm
Since you say that Chelsea has no authority to speak on this subject, what authority do you ascribe to yourself for your statement?
Comment by Richard Bell on July 10, 2020 at 7:42 pm
You are right about same-sex attractions and same-sex relations; they are no more sinful than opposite-sex attractions and opposite-sex relations. But baldly asserting that is futile. April User rightly questions your personal authority. Jeff just baldly asserts the contrary. And binkyxz3 asks you for proof from Scripture.
Can you offer the requisite support? I can, and I do, in my essay proving from Scripture that God wills the Church celebrate homosexual marriages just as the Church celebrates heterosexual marriages. If you need help responding to scoffers like April User and Jeff and binkyxz3, ask for a copy of my essay by email: [email protected]
Comment by Loren J Golden on July 14, 2020 at 12:59 am
You have been touting your “essay” on this site for the last five years (see https://juicyecumenism.com/2015/03/20/same-sex-marriage-and-missing-churches/ for the earliest example). If you want people to read it and take it seriously, then get a publicly-accessible blog (websites such as blogspot, patheos, and wordpress offer blog hosting for free), post it there, and subject it to public scrutiny. Unless and until you do, I for one have no interest in investing the time to read it; for your failure to do so demonstrates that, despite your hyped-up advertising of it, you have no confidence in its ability to convince and persuade others of your advertised premise.
Comment by Jim on July 14, 2020 at 7:58 pm
Ahh but Robert the same sex sexual intimacy and physical act IS indeed an abomination to the Holy and Righteous God. This is crystal clear in scripture.
Comment by Michele on July 10, 2020 at 5:59 pm
My daughter is a lesbian and her father and I are reformed Christians. We have made sure our daughter knows our love for her but not her sin. She use to equates affirmation of her sexual perversion with affirmation of her. She knows what the Bible says about homosexuality and we told her that we have not changed, she has. Separating the sin from the sinner is not easy and having a child who doesn’t walk with the Lord is heartbreaking. We continue to walk in the truth of the word and present the gospel to her and her “partner” whenever we can. We want them to see Christ in us and choose to walk in truth and love. It can be done by God’s grace.The Bible doesn’t tell us to disassociate with sinners but to present the gospel and that’s what we’re called to do with any sinner.
Comment by Precious on July 10, 2020 at 7:12 pm
Chelsen, thank you for being willing to call out sin in the Church, just as Paul did in his letter to the Corinthians.
As a mom who has watched one daughter struggle with same-sex issues and two daughters who have lived with their boyfriends before marriage, I believe Biblical sexuality is the chink in the armor of many Christian homes. We reared our girls in the United Methodist Church (mostly useless in Biblical Values), but they were taught the Truth from their Dad and me. (An aside, we don’t attend UMC anymore as they have left Biblical Truth in favor of the Culture du Jour) Our girls knew that the only sexuality affirmed by God is purity before marriage and faithfulness after marriage to a person of the opposite sex.
The pain of releasing my girls to God when they turned away from all they have ever been taught was searing. I am tearing up even now as I write this and remember. We now have a wonderful relationship with all of them but it was not easy. None of them seek the Lord, but it pleases me that they often reach out to me for advice and prayer.
What the Lord Jesus has taught me through this ordeal is that He must forge His own relationship with my children in His own way and time, just as He did with myself and my husband. I trust Him to bring them to Himself as we still stand for God’s holiness, but show grace and mercy to our loved ones.
Comment by Richard Bell on July 10, 2020 at 7:17 pm
Hatmaker: “I’m so glad you’re gay, I’m so proud that you are free. I love that this is how you were made.”
Homosexual desire is abnormal and defective. It is perverse to be glad that someone has it or to love that someone was made to feel it.
On the other hand, Chelsen Vicari goes too far. Expression of homosexual desire is not per se sin. Autism, for example, is abnormal and defective, but its expression is not per se sin. Paul condemned homosex outside marriage as sin, as fornication, a violation of the Seventh Commandment. (In Romans 1:32, Paul remarked that idolatry leads sinners to act worse, by not only rebelling against God’s moral law but approving the rebellion.) Paul did not and would not condemn homosexual relations within marriage; to the contrary, Paul would commend marriage of homosexuals who do not have the gift of sexual continency.
I have stated a proof from Scripture, interpreted according to traditional methods, that God wills the Church marry homosexuals just as the Church marries heterosexuals. It has been examined and criticized by scores of mature and learned conservative Christians, including seminary professors, without refutation of any important argument. Is your mind even slightly open? Ask for a copy of my essay by email: [email protected]
Comment by Rebecca on July 10, 2020 at 10:36 pm
In order for you to say homosexual marriage is fine with God, you have to ignore the entire book of Genesis, especially Gen 2:24 as well as Matthew 19:1-12, along with close to 400 other passages in the Bible condemning homosexual relations. God stated a marriage is between one man and one woman, and any other sexual relations are verboten, according to the Bible.
Comment by Jeff on July 10, 2020 at 11:17 pm
Beware of “Richard Bell”! If he actually had such an airtight essay he would have already published it somewhere, and he’d simply refer you to a link to it. Ask yourselves why he wants your email address so badly…
Comment by Rebecca on July 11, 2020 at 11:56 am
Thanks for the warning. Just to let you know, I did not click on the link. Ted Weiland is another one to watch out for, although occasionally he gets things almost right.
Comment by Jeff on July 12, 2020 at 8:57 pm
In fairness to Richard Bell, he’s probably harmless. Apparently he’s been peddling this essay on line since c. 2015, typically in comments to articles such as this current one, and apparently without much success.
A bit of research reveals this illuminating post in the the “stasis online” blog about Mr. Bell and his essay:
That “stasis online” blog, incidentally, is a great source of information on the conflict between Christendom and the Alphabet Militia.
Comment by Catherine on July 16, 2020 at 3:25 am
From Romans 1: “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: . . . For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;” etc. Knowing that Leviticus calls for stoning of men that lie together with men as they would a woman, Paul could not have condemned the practice of homosexuality in any clearer terms. He is not calling for them to marry here, and doesn’t mention whether they were “married” to the partner or not. Homosexuality is unnatural and against God’s design. It is not genetic, no serious study says so, and many have left that lifestyle for a heterosexual relationship – look on YouTube. Always eat the truth of God’s Word, no matter how bitterly it opposes your own ideas. Best wishes for your future.
Comment by Ted R. Weiland on July 10, 2020 at 7:44 pm
Parents wake up!
To encourage or even tolerate your child’s homosexuality is to help facilitate your child in committing a capital crime, no different than if he or she were a practicing murderer or rapist,
That’s right, according to the Only One with the authority to determine what constitutes a capital criminal, sodomy and lesbianism are both capital crimes, per Leviticus 20:13 & Romans 1:26-27, 32.
This is but another consequence of today’s rampant antinomianism in today’s churches.
For more on how the Bible’s immutable/unchanging moral law (the Ten Commandments and their respective statutes and judgments) applies and should be implemented today as the law of the land, see free online book “Law and Kingdom: Their Relevance Under the New Covenant” at http://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/law-kingdomFrame.html
Comment by David Gingrich on July 11, 2020 at 8:24 am
Genuine love does not promote or support sin.
Comment by Deborah S Nash on July 12, 2020 at 1:27 pm
Many years ago I had a talk with an older Bible Study/mentor who’d flipped her position on homosexuality and was now trying to “convert” her class as Jen is doing but without telling her class that her daughter had come out and was in a sexual relationship with a married mother. We covered all the usual debate topics until I asked her if she’d ever encouraged her daughter to abstain and with the most devastating pain on her face, she turned to me and wailed, “but it’s just not fair.” And as I prayed in my spirit, the words came to me,” and it wasn’t fair that Jesus died for you, me and “Susie.” And I realized at that moment that she had chosen her Love for her daughter over Her love for Jesus. A few years later, after her husband’s death, she openly had a male friend move in with her without benefit of marriage. How far we can fall when we take our eyes off Jesus.
Comment by A mama who loves on July 15, 2020 at 8:52 am
I am one the Christian mamas you called out to in your article. My husband and I walked many years alongside our son who grappled with same sex attraction. Our story was complicated by his terminal illness. I would say that, though we did not parent perfectly, our relationship was marked with LOVE and TRUTH. We talked a lot, we read books together, we argued, we prayed.
We did not ever say to him — “Having sex outside of heterosexual marriage is ok, that’s just how God made you. Pursue that so you can live a fulfilled life. ” We could not say that as believers. He grew into a man before his death, and he thanked us for helping him be ready to meet God, face to face. If he had lived I believe he would still be struggling with his sexuality. I could write a book about our beautiful son and our relationship, and perhaps someday I will. Our current culture’s thinking is not aligned with what Christ preaches about sexual purity. The woman at the well led a life with a succession of sexual partners; Christ LOVED her and also directed her to stop. God’s best for us is not always what comes “naturally” to us.
Comment by Cathy on July 16, 2020 at 3:32 am
I wonder if Christian parents realize how much sexual sin they let into their children’s souls via television. You can’t undo it – it is there and it grows into a life of its own. If you let in bad attitudes of “mom and dad don’t know much,” or “those values are too old-fashioned,” etc. then don’t be surprised when they want to do what the world does when they hit puberty. In my opinion, TV is one of the most careless and sinful things a Christian parent can allow into the home. We watched a little, but rarely was I not there to tell them why the world thought like they did and how God’s word and our beliefs did not allow for that subtle sin, from taking the name of the Lord in vain to kissing without being married.
Comment by Tim on July 16, 2020 at 9:30 am
Luke 12 49-56 I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning! I have a terrible baptism of suffering ahead of me, and I am under a heavy burden until it is accomplished. Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other! From now on families will be split apart, three in favor of me, and two against—or two in favor and three against.
Father will be divided against son and son against father; mother against daughter and daughter against mother; and mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.
Then Jesus turned to the crowd and said, “When you see clouds beginning to form in the west, you say, ‘Here comes a shower.’ And you are right. When the south wind blows, you say, ‘Today will be a scorcher.’ And it is. You fools! You know how to interpret the weather signs of the earth and sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the present times.
Comment by Ashley on August 10, 2020 at 11:53 am
This, this, this… a hundred times over – thank you for putting words to this question and truth: “Where are the mature Christian mamas who’ve grappled with extending grace to their beloved children while also affirming orthodox Christian teachings? Their experiences and insights are what we need to hear now.”
Comment by Diane on August 20, 2020 at 6:15 pm
The model for biblical marriage is one man and one woman, the man being the head of the household and his wife being her father’s property till dad gives her away as property subjected to her husband. Not permissible to buy in to half or none of it. “Who gives this woman in marriage? “ is oft spoken at Christian weddings. Christian Marriage is understood as a property transaction between males. Mother’s cannot give their daughters away (which is a contemporary, non-biblical practice when both parents give their daughter away). Clergy never ask “who gives this man away” or who gives this man in marriage to this woman (who’s understood to be the head of the household and husband is subject to her).
That’s the biblical mandate for heterosexual marriage. I trust all of you are teaching that to your children.
Comment by Lisa on May 25, 2022 at 5:21 pm
It has only been a couple of weeks since my adult son has shared he was bi-sexual and as a strong believer it has been difficult to say the least. I have always told my boys that it doesn’t matter what you say or do I will always love you the same and I have found that is true in this case as well. It just seems like a long road ahead. Sin is sin, yet somehow this one seems more evil and psephologically damaging. He is not in a relationship yet, and for that I am grateful. I have truly been soaking up so many of your comments here today of those who have already gone down this road a ways. It has given me hope.