Steve ‘the Facebook killer’ Stephens did a horrific thing on April 15th. It was detestable. It was despicable. It was upsetting and unsettling. It was all out wickedness! And it was forgivable.
Yes. FORGIVABLE. (Wait! Hear me out!)
About two weeks before my 39th birthday I fell into a mild depression. I was entering the final year of my 30s a single lady, and not only that, there was no one waiting in the wings to “put a ring on it”. Honestly, that broke my heart...and it did a nice little number on my pride. I didn’t feel “single, saved and sassy” or whatever catchy, alliterative descriptor some Christian authors might use these days. I simply felt “single and sad”...and angry...and lonely...and frustrated...and anxious!
Thankfully, on the day of my birthday, the depression and heaviness of what I’d been feeling lifted. But in the weeks and months to come, I’d still find myself “feeling a way” about my marital status.
At this point, most are aware that famed Christian poet, writer and speaker Jackie Hill Perry has recently and publicly affirmed the ministries of several female heretics. Amid news of her participation at Propel Women’s Activate 2019 conference, Jackie has garnered a slew of controversy as many have attempted to make sense of her decision.
There might have been room to offer her the benefit of the doubt for why she signed on to the event, and many were prepared to offer it. Perhaps she didn’t know much about the ministries of the other speakers, namely the conference’s co-founder Christine Caine of Hillsong Church Australia. Or, maybe she was aware of these women and their errors, but wanted to share the Gospel and offer up a public rebuke. Yet, Jackie removed all doubt with a recent Instagram post and Insta-Story in which she unapologetically confessed her willingness to fellowship and do ministry with those whose doctrinal teachings oppose to the truth of God’s Word.
Where Scripture says light has no fellowship with darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14-17), Jackie cites her goal to better love her neighbor. Where Scripture says not to welcome or even greet those who bring a different gospel (2 John 1:10), Jackie cites a quest for “unity”. While her goals may be Scriptural (Christ does tell us to love our neighbor and He did pray for unity in the Body), her application of these Scriptures don’t align with the context upon which these truths stand. Christ has warned us against sacrificing truth on the altar of peace (Matthew 10:34-36). Her twisting of the Scriptures in this way is most troubling and could be telling of deeper matters most, including myself, don’t yet want to admit.
So, in an attempt to be slowER to speak and quickER to listen, I’ve avoided saying much on this issue too soon, despite many tagging and messaging me for my thoughts on this soon after the news broke.
While she’s done things and has had associations that have caused me great concern, I’ve still considered her a sister in Christ thus this news has only caused me grief, disappointment and frustration. As such, I thought it best to just collect my thoughts as anything stated too hastily might not have been coherent or edifying. So, over the past few days, I’ve examined my thoughts and Jackie’s statements under the light of Scripture. In the end, I have come away with the following open letter that takes care to directly respond to the various points she raised in her statement.
To be sure, no doctrinal debate has most wrecked my brain than the debate on the cessation versus continuation of miraculous spiritual gifts (ie; prophecy, tongues, healing). I mean, I guess IF the Lord has willed for the cessation of miraculous gifts, so be it. After all, Scripture says that the Holy Spirit distributes spiritual gifts to each Believer as He wills (1 Corinthians 12:11). Thus, it is possible that He no longer wills to distribute to any Believer the gift of healing, for example. Nevertheless, after I've researched this topic for my own edification, I haven't found anything in Scripture which specifically speaks to the cessation of any of the spiritual gifts at any time before Christ returns. And despite the case for cessationism put forth by men I highly regard in the Body of Christ, I’m not personally comfortable with making that proclamation or emphatically holding to it as a matter of doctrine. (May all reformed proponents of cessationism forgive me. Thankfully, this isn't a salvific issue, thus I trust they will continue to receive me as a sister in the Lord.)
After thousands of years of human existence, women remain the only gender (of the only two genders) that can biologically become pregnant with, carry, and give birth to another human life. As such, it is only natural and understandable that the female perspective is considered in discourse on abortion. Yet, in the past 40 years, society has systematically and disingenuously presented the female perspective as the only perspective that matters, especially when that perspective is “pro-choice”.
Sure, the very camp that’s long supported rhetoric like “It’s a woman’s right to choose!” now also supports the “right to choose” of women who feel they’re men (thus, per society, they are “men”) - because, apparently, “men can get pregnant, too.” But gender confusion and obvious delusions aside, the male perspective on, and a man’s experience with, abortion is typically silent and silenced. And with abortion in the news quite frequently in recent months, I’ve found their silence rather deafening - perhaps as deafening as Adam’s as he watched Eve eat the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:6).
During her recent appearance on the DL Hughley Show, professing Christian and actress Meagan Good opened up about why she often skips church. No..it’s not because of her busy work schedule or a debilitating illness. It’s because of….you guessed it: “CHURCH FOLK”.
“Church folk”, a pejorative for Christians, is often hurled in response to a Christian or Christians one might perceive as judgmental (condemning) or hypocritical. In fairness to Meagan, she does share in the interview that she loves Christians, the church and her Lord and Savior. Yet, she immediately undermines her proclamation when she conversely notes her decision to “love” us from a distance to protect her spirit, which she says is too sensitive.
Thanks to Meagan’s now viral commentary, the topic of “church hurt” has been thrust back into the spotlight for mainstream fodder. As can be expected, the general public fully sides with Meagan and even encourages her to continue to forsake the assembling of the saints (Hebrews 10:25). In response, however, I felt compelled to dissect the concept of “church hurt” and discuss whether Meagan’s sentiments hold any merit.
It’s been a rough week.
As nine innocent churchgoers lost their lives last Wednesday night at the hands of a shooter poisoned by hatred – scratch that – sheer EVIL, I sat in the comfort of my home drafting a carefully crafted piece on forgiveness, specifically what it truly means, how to extend it, and how certain attitudes can hinder it.
In the days leading up to writing that piece, I’d wrestled with God over the topic because I felt it wasn’t ‘sexy’ enough. We’d been privy to the bizarre and the strange that is the Rachel Dolezal story for days at that point, and I felt I was losing too much precious time writing about “forgiveness” when I’d much rather get in on some “transracial” action!
But God nagged me to publish my next post on forgiveness and, honestly, I didn’t get it. I initially felt the subject had absolutely no relevance. “Who would even read it,” I thought. But I soon came to realize why God inspired me to speak on that particular topic.
As I’ve meditated on this concept and completed an honest check of my heart’s condition, I have identified four of the greatest hindrances to forgiveness that I’ve had to overcome throughout the years. I share them in the hopes that those who also struggle with extending forgiveness will begin to identify the attitudes that might not only threaten your maturation in the faith, but potentially cause you to sin and, ultimately, remove you from God’s grace.