The Nashville Statement, Jen Hatmaker, and that thing called Doctrine.
If you haven’t heard, the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) signed a statement about human sexuality based on what the Bible teaches called the Nashville Statement. It is times like these that we are reminded to know our authors beliefs and that doctrine matters when you read a related Jen Hatmaker tweet of “The fruit of the "Nashville Statement" is suffering, rejection, shame, and despair. The timing is callous beyond words.” So many women love Jen. She is truly funny, quick, and sincere. But don’t let yourself be a simple, silly minded woman by overlooking her doctrine. You are more intelligent than that. Does doctrine (or teaching) really matter? Oh, yes. Doctrine is what you believe based on what the Bible says. Not knowing your doctrine is like a recipe for carrot cake but you decide not to use carrots, flour, eggs, or sugar. What’s the result? I don’t know, but it’s not carrot cake. Details matter. If you don’t have biblical, sound Christian doctrine, you don’t have Christianity.
So, what is Jen’s doctrine? Obviously, she doesn’t support the Nashville Statement. However, years ago, it didn’t take long to find it in her book and in her blogs and in hearing her speak soon after she was becoming popular. She cussed in her blog (the Lord has called us to be holy, and no, not everyone cusses), she referenced drinking in her book, and she endorsed the LGBT community to young college students at Glorieta while “preaching” to the whole group and was heavily endorsed by Lifeway (however, they pulled her books last fall).
Whether it’s Jen Hatmaker or it’s The Shack, you need to know who and what you’re reading. I’m thankful for the clarity of the Nashville Statement as signed by some great, conservative Christian leaders. It reflects the teaching of God’s Word. Doctrinal statements like these are a quick guide to let someone know your beliefs and where you stand. I don’t mind at all that people know I’m a Baptist, for instance. There is a clear set of biblical statements that defines Baptist belief quickly and precisely. If I said I’m non-denominational, well, that could mean any number of things that still must be defined. Labels are good. When you go to the store and you want a bottle of fabric softener, you look for that label—otherwise, how do you know what is what?
For yourself, know the Bible and the doctrine it has for your life. Know what the authors believe whom you read. Details matter. Finally, how you live out your doctrine matters. “Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching,” 1 Tim. 4:15-16.