Monday, January 11, 2016

Jen Hatmaker: An Unbiblical Author

Well there's yet another new book that women are mindless following7:An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker. For a fuller treatment, The End Time Blog has two articles here and here. I'll share my own concerns based on the quote used in the first article (along with things I've read on Hatmaker's blog), which says:

Here is the book blurb:
American life can be excessive, to say the least. That’s what Jen Hatmaker had to admit after taking in hurricane victims who commented on the extravagance of her family’s upper middle class home. She once considered herself unmotivated by the lure of prosperity, but upon being called “rich” by an undeniably poor child, evidence to the contrary mounted, and a social experiment turned spiritual was born.”
“7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence.”
“Food. Clothes. Spending. Media. Possessions. Waste. Stress. They would spend thirty days on each topic, boiling it down to the number seven. Only eat seven foods, wear seven articles of clothing, and spend money in seven places. Eliminate use of seven media types, give away seven things each day for one month, adopt seven green habits, and observe “seven sacred pauses.” So, what’s the payoff from living a deeply reduced life? It’s the discovery of a greatly increased God—a call toward Christ-like simplicity and generosity that transcends social experiment to become a radically better existence.”
End quote.

First of all, her guilt came from hurricane victims who commented upon her lifestyle. This isn't true conviction of Holy Spirit by the Word; it's actually ingratitude it seems, from victims who had the gall to say something so ungracious. I mean, judging those who are able to take you in (while presumably wanting to not be judged) is not only bad form, it indicates jealousy. Also, how is "poor" defined? In the US, the poor rarely are truly poor. Our "poor" are actually rich compared to the real world poor. Hurricane victims typically get federal help, too.

"a social experiment turned spiritual was born.”

It was a social experiment, not a biblical principle or conviction, first. That's from the flesh and not of Christ, so it has no benefit in honoring Christ Jesus nor having any spiritual benefit to the person. You cannot change something of the flesh into something spiritual because by definition it didn't come from the Holy Spirit. Slapping on Jesus' name to a fleshly endeavor doesn't sanitize what is filthy flesh.

 modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence.”

Greed, materialism, and overindulgence seem repetitive words to describe the one thing: greed. But none of these are diseases. To medicalize sin is to necessarily deny the reality that greed is a spiritual condition of sin and needs to be repented of.  This disease model is borrowed from humanism's psychology to remove the sting of reality that it's nothing less than sin. As with the term "poor", greed, materialism and overindulgence should be defined. When one is infested with anti-American, pro-socialism, and white guilt, how they define greed going to likely be different along with their motives, on how and who they define as such. In Scripture, the poor really were poor--they had to beg for food or money every single day. They weren't supported by government programs, they didn't play the system or fake their poverty, and they were known in their communities for being truly poor. Not so today. 

"Food. Clothes. Spending. Media. Possessions. Waste. Stress." 

This list is arbitrary and I'm sure the author admits that. But if it it's arbitrary, then it's not biblical, is it?
Joh 12:4  But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, 
Joh 12:5  "Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?" 

Joh 12:6  He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. 

Lev. 19: 15 ”‘Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.

Exo 23:2  "You shall not follow the masses in doing evil, nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to
turn aside after a multitude in order to pervert justice;3  nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his dispute. 

The reverse of  this verse is also true:

Jas 2:4  have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil

To pretend to be poorer than one is by living with the poor for a few weeks or months, is artificial
and insulting to those who are truly poor. To literally jet into a poor area, live there for a little bit,
then jet back out is not compassion nor real. Poor people can't jet out of their poverty. They're stuck
there for likely all their lives. 

Prov. 21: 3  To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

Mar 14:7  For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me.

In the parable of the talents:
Mat 25:16  He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more.

Mat 25:20  And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.'
Mat 25:21  His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.'

Of the one who did nothing with the one talent the master had given him:

Mat 25:25  so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.'
Mat 25:26  But his master answered him, 'You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed?
Mat 25:27  Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.
Mat 25:28  So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents.
Mat 25:29  For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.

Consider that while Jesus is explaining a spiritual truth, He also isn't condemning making more money, otherwise that would give reproach to His teaching. Wise investments with money is commended, not condemned.

Scripture doesn't condemn being rich; it condemns relying on riches instead of Christ as we see with the rich young ruler who wouldn't give up his riches to follow Jesus Christ (Matt. 19:16-24). Nor does Scripture uphold the poor as more spiritual; being poor and without Christ Jesus means you are still lost (and today, weirdly, the poor are actually idolized as are those who think they are helping them). God is the creator of both.

"adopt seven green habits, and observe “seven sacred pauses.”  "

Green habits is nothing more than socialism wrapped up in environmentalism. Most "green habits" are really not very efficient anyway, like with recycling which is costly and spends quite a lot of energy in the process. Environmentalism is predicated on unbiblical principles for the most part; New Age worship of "mother earth" or Gaia is often behind much of this, as is socialism (a way to reject capitalism and to control people's behavior and spending and living habits).

"So, what’s the payoff from living a deeply reduced life? It’s the discovery of a greatly increased God—a call toward Christ-like simplicity and generosity that transcends social experiment to become a radically better existence.”

As you can see, this whole restrictive structure isn't for honoring Christ or others, but Self. What do "I" get out of it? In Hatmaker's view, her god is increased. That is not the triune God of Scripture who is immutable (without change)--Mal. 3:6.

Where does Christ call us to simplicity in how we live in every day circumstances like her 7 areas she's posted? Would she have called King David's life, a man after God's own heart, "simple"? What's her standard of what is simple? Where's the Scripture to support this?

On Hatmaker's blog "About" page she says in part:

I understand God best through people; their gifts and strengths, their love and compassion, their character and courage. I sincerely believe we were made in God's image, and when I evaluate the goodness of people, I love God more. I crave a world of justice where people are safe, loved, empowered. I plan to use whatever influence I've been given on behalf of edged-out people for all my days. If I loved well, I will consider my entire life a success. "

This is not biblical. First of all there are no good people; we are all totally depraved (Rom. 3:9-18; Eph. 2:1-3).  Therefore to use this as a way to love God more is fleshly. Also this social justice is of the flesh. Jesus said the poor we'll always have with us. Poverty won't be eradicated and certainly not by fleshly means. This is either liberation theology or dominionism. She marks her success by her social justice "love". But Scripture states that our "success" isn't in and of ourselves; rather it's if we obey and love Christ as His slaves.
Joh 14:15  "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." Col. 3 tells us:
Col 3:1  If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 
Col 3:2  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 

Hatmaker's got her eyes set on earth, with results on what she can see, and things done in the flesh.

Jesus didn't come to bring social justice (His own disciples then and now, will not see justice done, but rather often will be victims of injustice b/c the world hates Christ). True biblical righteous justice will only happen when Jesus returns as Judge and a Lion (for example, Is. 14, 16, Rev.18-19 )

Now, as I peruse Hatmaker's blog I see she lists a couple of feminist books, one book and one books' forward by false teacher Rachel Held Evans--a rabid Evangelical feminist; a book by mystic Brother Lawrence, another on Roman Catholic mystic Henri Nouewen, and some social justice books (one claims to end "extreme world poverty", one is of speeches made by plagiarist and womanizer Martin Luther King Jr., and one claims that the Gospel of Jesus Christ includes socialism (aka liberation theology). In fact, one of Hatmaker's  categories of books is "Christian Contemplatives, Fathers, and Mothers)".
Hatmaker's "sacred pauses" seems to be coming from Eastern mysticism like Contemplative Spirituality. One blogger writes an article called "Seven Sacred Pauses 1: Vigils":

The Ammas and Abbas, the holy mothers and fathers of our faith, made a practice of praying the Liturgy of the Hours—the seven holy pauses during the day which call us to draw together in community and become deliberate in our consciousness of God’s presence.

We begin with Vigils, also known as Matins. Vigils is the first hour of the day, between midnight and dawn. It’s the time of darkness, of unknowing. In the words of Christine Valters Paintner, “Vigil prayer is one of waiting, tending, listening, and surrendering to the wisdom of the night.” (The Artist’s Rule, p. 54)
Day begins with night. This may not seem to be good news if we fear the dark, if we rebel at the idea of not being in control. Yet darkness comes before light, gestation before birth, death before resurrection. The seed must be planted in the darkness of the soil if it is to blossom and bear fruit.
So I invite you to offer yourself up to the holy darkness. Take a breath. Relax. Listen, in the stillness, for the wisdom that comes at midnight.
End quote.

I suspect Hatmaker's obsession with the number seven comes from one of her favorite authors, Richard Rohr, who wrote "What The Mystics Know: Seven Pathways To Your Deeper Self". She didn't list this book, but she listed this author, who is a mystic/gnostic.

This is just a few of the resources she's found helpful, but which are anti-biblical. Clearly these authors have influenced her thinking, behavior, and writing.

Hatmaker is definitely another author to reject. What she offers isn't Christian, but pagan phariseeism which will only enlarge the flesh because it is of the flesh and not of Christ Jesus.

No comments: