Joel Houston, the leader of the popular worship ban Hillsong United, is raising concern after he recently remarked that he found an interview with HGTV celebrity and author Jen Hatmaker—who revealed that she believes homosexuals should be supported in and by the church—to be “refreshing.”
Hatmaker had been interviewed by Jonathan Merritt of Religion News Service (RNS) on a variety of subjects, including the election, homosexuality and abortion.
“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,” she said when asked by Merritt if she supports same-sex “marriage.” “I would never wish anything less for my gay friends.”
She said that churches should offer marriage and parenting help and support for those in homosexual relationships.
“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,” Hatmaker continued. “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,” she asserted. “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.”
Hatmaker also answered in the affirmative when asked if she would attend a “wedding” of the same sex, and that she would support her children if one of them came out as homosexual.
Days later, her husband Brandon also wrote on the matter following the release of the RNS interview, affirming his wife’s words.
“Jen and I are 100% on the same page regarding her recent interview about our love and hope for the LGBTQ community. This is a journey we have been on together,” he wrote. “We both believe a same-sex marriage, as a life-long monogamous commitment, can be holy before God.”
“Bottom line, we don’t believe a committed life-long monogamous same-sex marriage violates anything seen in scripture about God’s hopes for the marriage relationship,” Brandon Hatmaker later stated in his lengthy explanation.
As Merritt shared his interview with Jen Hatmaker on social media, Joel Houston, leader of the popular worship band Hillsong United wrote on his Twitter page, “Wow … So refreshing.”
In response to Houston, follower Joshua Sardella remarked with worriment, “Some of it maybe, but putting a blanket ‘refreshing’ on this article doesn’t seem wise for someone with your influence.”
“You’re probably right,” Houston responded. “But what I found refreshing was her honesty—particularly enacting a gospel of love over hate/fear.”
Houston has since deleted his remarks.
His words, however, drew concern from some, including Jeff Maples of Pulpit & Pen, who wrote, “I would encourage any who listen to Hillsong music to stop. These men purport to be Christians yet habitually pervert His grace for profit. If your church plays their music, complain. You have the right to do so. Your tithes and offerings are lining the pockets of men like this.”
“I don’t doubt the convictions of the leaders at Hillsong, but I think Christians who cannot stand fully for orthodoxy for risk of losing an audience ultimately do more harm than good,” also opined Erick Erickson of The Resurgent. “I wouldn’t change the radio if a Hillsong song came on and won’t go purging my iPod of their songs. But I also don’t want to promote their music to my listeners either.”