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Image Credit: HGTV

Image Credit: HGTV

Cosmopolitan and Buzzfeed recently discovered that the church Chip and Joanna Gaines attend, Antioch Community Church, is led by a pastor who does not support same-sex marriage and who believes that homosexual practice is a sin. In other words, Chip and Joanna Gaines attend a historically Christian congregation on the matter of sexual ethics.

Now, not all Christians will agree with some of the statistics cited by the Gaines' pastor, his linking homosexuality in most cases to abuse, or his portrayal of the “gay lifestyle.” But there is nothing newsworthy about a Christian church teaching that male-female marriage is God's original design and that newly invented definitions fall short of God's intention for human flourishing.

What is newsworthy is the religious undertone of the Cosmopolitan article. It reads like a heresy hunt. The magazine has "uncovered something many fans will likely want an explanation for--a startling revelation that has left many wondering where Chip and Jo stand."

Buzzfeed is seeking clarification from HGTV, hoping (apparently) to hear the Gaines recant their pastor's heretical beliefs. Until then "their silence speaks volumes."

Uncovering the ‘Heretics’

This isn't the first time we've seen reality TV stars come under fire for Christian beliefs. It's happened to the Duck Dynasty patriarch, the Duggars (before their other scandals), and the Benham Brothers. After an initial "uncovering" of the disturbing perspective, outrage ensues, ultimatums are given, the stars are expected to recant, or the company is pressured to punish the heretics by cutting ties.

If my use of religious terminology to describe this phenomenon surprises you, it shouldn't. Mary Eberstadt has pointed out the religious dimension to the Sexual Revolution:

The fundamental impulse leading to the penalizing of moral traditionalists today is not libertarian. It is instead neo-puritanical--that is, it is aimed at safeguarding its own body of revealed and developed truths, and at marginalizing, silencing, and punishing competitors.

She continues:

The bedrock of contemporary progressivism can only be described as quasi-religious. . . . Exactly like followers of other faiths, they believe both that they are right, and that people who disagree are wrong--and that those other people ought to think differently.

The so-called culture war, in other words, has not been conducted by people of religious faith on one side, and people of no faith on the other. It is instead a contest of competing faiths: one in the Good Book, and the other in the more newly written figurative book of secularist orthodoxy about the sexual revolution. In sum, secularist progressivism today is less a political movement than a church.

Exclusion in the Name of Diversity

Supporters of same-sex marriage once leaned on libertarian terminology to make their case. "Just live and let live," we were told. Nowadays, despite surveys showing that only half of Americans support same-sex marriage, the traditional view, accepted by nearly all societies across the world for thousands of years, is treated as if it is a fringe position, worthy of public scorn.

The Cosmopolitan article says the revelation about the Gaines' church is startling due to "the diversity of their audience." If diversity were truly valued, then it wouldn't be controversial to have a traditional Christian on an HGTV show.

Just think. If uniformity on sexual ethics is required, then Cosmopolitan would, in the name of diversity, bar the door to a Muslim host of a show, or an Orthodox Jew, or a convictional Catholic. No, this is not about diversity and inclusion; it's about enforcing the new moral orthodoxy by shaming "cultural heretics."

Christians as “Sex Rebels”

One of the chapters in my new book, This Is Our Time, is called "Sex Rebels" because it makes the case that Christians in our generation will be known for dissent from this ideology.

In the 1960s and ’70s, the sexual rebels were the hippies who wanted to throw off moral restraints in favor of "free love." In the 21st century, the sexual rebels will be Christians who dissent from Sexual Revolution dogma.

But there's no reason to be gloomy about the task we have before us. We have the privilege of bearing cultural reproach for the sake of the kingdom, and accepting the challenge to embody a different way of life.

If we're going to be outcasts and dissenters, let's be the kind of rebels that don't just expose the lies of the Sexual Revolution. Let's answer the longings of our society by offering an entirely different vision of sex and marriage. Let's declare what God is for. After all, God's "no" to certain kinds of sexual behavior goes along with God's "yes" to sex in its proper place (marriage) and also celebrates various kinds of non-sexual but vitally necessary companionship within the community of faith.

Meanwhile, pray for Chip and Joanna and their church. The cultural inquisition is coming.


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27 thoughts on “Are Chip and Joanna Gaines ‘Cultural Heretics’?”

  1. Victoria says:

    It was only a matter of time before the secular world attacked them. In this world you have tribulation. If they hated me they will hate you. Jesus’ warnings are just as true today. The irony is that the world wants what Chip and Joanne have.

  2. Stanton says:

    I agree with you Victoria. The world wants want they have and doesn’t understand that the only way to have it is through Jesus. So if they can’t obtain it without ease then they attack it and destroy it for others that do experience the peace the passes all understanding.

  3. Vicky says:

    I just don’t understand why some people just don’t get it. As a Christian myself, I love everyone. I may not agree with ones sexual preference. I don’t have to. I agree with the truth in the Bible. You are to love one another and stop judging. Truly the author of this is just jealous of what they have!

    1. Allen says:

      When you say you love everyone, what do you mean by that? And do you believe calling something a sin is the same as judging someone?

  4. Katherine says:

    I’ll support them till they take the show off our of my cold, dead hands! Liberals are such hypocrites! They don’t believe what you believe? HORRORS! They have 100% as much right to ANY belief as any other person on the planet, and they produce a great product for HGTV – they are fine people, fun people, TALENTED people, and honest people. I hope this “heretic hunt” goes about as well as the Chic-Filet one did!

  5. June Flores says:

    They are only following what the Bible says. We are not to judge, but to discern, sin. When we see sin, we are to pull away from it. GOD will judge us all. The pastor at the church the Gaines’s attend is teaching GOD’s word.

    1. Denise says:

      Katherine, I totally agree with you! This is like a witch hunt! My goodness, these are lovely people who love the Lord and are just going about their business and haven’t even said a word about any of this. But, even if they did, they have a RIGHT to their opinion! Good grief………….go find some real news!!!

  6. Krista says:

    The one thing that I am confident about those 2, they would probably care less what HGTV would threaten them with. I see 2 solid believers who understand and know how to count the cost of taking a stand for truth!

    1. Katherine says:

      I’ve been thinking about the same thing. They have a right to not comment on politics or religion at all, or if they choose to comment, and HGTV cans their show, I’m confident that they WENT INTO this show knowing that they might be called upon to stand up for Our Lord and His WORD, over our culture’s made up as it goes views, and were willing to lose the show, go back to their perfectly nice life and run the store, Chip do real estate and they flip homes again, just no show or bigger money. So be it, I bet they are thinking. I think we all missed out on the shows The Benham Brothers never got to have aired on HGTV. It’s too bad good talent doesn’t trump being different in a worldly culture!

  7. Kimberly says:

    What does the word “diversity” mean to you? To this author? It means DIFFERENT. So they’re Christians that believe different than you. Get it??? So to you that means it’s ok to be different than most of the population but it’s not ok to not have people not believe as you? I have news for everyone that would vilify these people. Grow the effing up.

  8. David says:

    More than ever, “diversity” means not diversity, but something more like “belongs to one of the following groups”. In academia you will sometimes here a student called a “diverse student”, which by itself is nonsense – how can one single person be diverse? But they just mean the student belongs to one of those groups. In today’s climate, a college composed 100% of female African-Americans could probably win an award for diversity.

  9. Jennaleigh says:

    This isn’t about a pastor preaching that being gay is a sin. It’s about a pastor trying to deny the rights of people he disagrees with… why is THAT okay, but it’s okay for people to be upset by the fact that this church supports and funds conversion therapy? That has been criticized widely, it does not work and it is often outright abusive. It’s even illegal in several states.

    So yes, I would like to know where the Gainses stand on this. Not to tell them they can’t believe what they want, but because I refuse to fund hate, and that’s exactly what this sort of nonsense is. Isn’t god supposed to be the judge? You don’t have to agree with homosexuality to treat people with basic human respect and dignity.

    The Bible also says divorce is not permitted, but I’ve met many evangelical Christians who have been divorced, sometimes more than once. They’ve remarried, even though that is adultery, according to The Bible.

    It’s hypocrisy, pure and simple. Don’t preach about how wrong gay marriage is when the divorce rate of heterosexual, evangelical Christians is among the highest of any group, including us heathen atheists. And that comes from a study done at Baylor University, a religious school in the same exact town where Chip & Joanna live. In fact, they’re both alumni. https://www.baylor.edu/mediacommunications/news.php?action=story&story=137892

    So maybe you should work on your own people before you go after the gays, huh? Crazy idea, but seems valid to me!

    1. blake hanna says:

      Just cause some attends church or a Christian university does not mean they are a Christian. A very large percentage of our nation would claim to believe in Christ but very few know what it means to be a follower of Christ. As far as Baylor, kind of as stated above that means nothing about their faith in Christ just cause they attend a so called “Christian” school. Believe me I attended a Christian school and almost everyone claims allegiance to Christ but the question is have they been regenerated by the Holy Spirit. As far as “going” after gays i dont know what you mean by that we are all in need of Christ. Idk anything about this pastors belief, I do not believe in gay conversion therapy but I do believe in if that person claims Christ teaching them want the scriptures teach on homosexuality

    2. Mel says:

      The hate articles did not provide one link or proof about the conversion therapy. I read them. You are merely repeating the article.
      I would suggest you NOT watch the show. Just like I don’t watch MTV or all those gross housewives shows that encourage dysfunction. Or how about that dance show where the woman screams at the little kids. Do you watch that one?

    3. Helena says:

      I’m not an expert on any kind of therapy, and I won’t pretend to be. What I do know, however, is that people today expect you to be either “all in” or “all out” on issues. What I mean by this is, people assume that if you don’t support gay marriage, you hate gays.

      1. Helena says:

        …(my computer glitched) which is not by any means true. Some of my best friends are members of the LGBT community. I don’t support gay marriage, but I love them as people. Everyone has their own personal, obvious sin that is their tripping point; for LGBT’s, theirs is just receiving a lot of press lately and becoming more socially acceptable. No sin is worse than any other. Those who hate gays are just as wrong as those who support them.

  10. Gary Westra says:

    What is ironic here is all the religious groups this would eliminate as “heretics” on the LGBT issue. It would include Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Orthodox Jews, Mormons, and more…. I guess all those in arts, entertainment, and politics that identify with those faith traditions have to disagree with – or leave – their religious community. Idiocy.

  11. William Duncan says:

    I find any attempt by media to vilify these professing believers to be exactly in accord with scripture. It is a good thing that someone is noticing them for what they are, followers of Christ. When Christ warns of this in scripture, we are told to count it for joy. When we are told that we will be persecuted for our faith, we are to be “happy”. That is what the “blessed” in the beatitudes are. We are to see that God is faithful and is still working. I’m glad they, and others, like the Robertsons, have been noticed.

  12. Just imagine what the hue and cry would be if it had come out that they attend a church which doesn’t single out homosexuality as somehow different from other sins, or homosexuals as different in the eyes of God from the rest of us. Such views are well supported by scripture (e.g. Romans 3;23 “All have sinned and fall short…”), yet it would now be many Christians embroiled in the familiar cycle of “outrage, ultimatums, expectation to recant, or pressure to punish the heretics by cutting ties.” Witness the reaction to World Vision when they stepped momentarily away from this “orthodoxy” back in 2014. The fact is, ungrace toward the perceived “heretic” is as endemic in the church now as it is in secular society. In many ways, our ungrace is more hurtful in the eyes of God since we are supposed to be emulators of a savior who, while we were still in unrepentant sin, gave his life for us. (Romans 5:8)

  13. Nell Parker says:

    I read the Cosmopolitan article. I believe that the criticism of the pastor of Antioch Community Church is not primarily focused on the church’s stance on traditional marriage but on the pastor’s s beliefs on reparative therapy and unproven stats that 90 % of homosexuals were abused. Even the SBC has condemned reparative therapy. It seems to me that the Gaines are attending a church led by a pastor who is, at the very minimum, ignorant on the matter.

    1. Mel says:

      Google the abuse part. There are wide ranges of statistics from different sources. It is not ridiculous that he would quote that number while trying to get people to be empathetic. In fact, one of the complaints by advocates is that the domestic abuse is not taken seriously enough.

  14. Mike Poirier says:

    This is one of my wife’s favorite shows and she kept telling me she believed they were people of faith (I am not an avid watcher) We should not be surprised that mainstream media has concerns about anything “Christian” today. The leadership in America has spent the last 8 years trying very hard to dismantle our God centered values and the majority of the media has bought into it fully. We need to pray and pray some more for the Gaines and the media.

  15. Jim says:

    I’m grateful for Chip & Joanna Gaines’ vision becoming a reality. As a result, people associated with them have honest jobs, other people receive services that are a blessing and add value to their community, and for the “icing on the cake”, many of us enjoy the uplifting humor that is shared between their marriage and friends! There was a song recently that applies to those who have a hard time seeing this gifted family in a positive perspective: “haters gonna hate”. Thanks for an informative article that will be a catalyst for lifting up prayers of appreciation and grace for the Gaines family.

  16. Debra Gail says:

    Just because a believer does not agree with the gay lifestyle because of what the Bible is very clear about does not mean they hate those people that do that. I do not know any Christian that hates them personally. We do not like what they do, from what we know to be true from God’s Word. We are not in fear of them as they refer to us as’ homophobic’ (phobia: fear of). We love them as the Lord commanded us to – we just hate what they practice. Why can’t some people get this? We need not sway our beliefs to suit them…..or shame on us.

  17. Aaron says:

    Truth is hate to those who hate the truth.

  18. Curt Day says:

    The real trouble with the article above is that it doesn’t distinguish between the Christians who try to hold to Biblical values who also support equality for the LGBT community in society from those who don’t.

    Quite often, the stumbling blocks we give nonChristians to hearing the Gospel are attachments that we associate with the Gospel. And many of those attachments have to do not with the actual sharing of the Gospel, but the attempts we make to force our Biblical values on society. And that seems to be the message being repeated by many of the comments made previously.

  19. Erwin Lapschies says:

    Hopefully the Gaines’ remain true to their hearts. Asking anyone to deviate from their beliefs is not respecting their freedom to live and carry out business as they wish. Just like you can’t walk into a Mosque or Jewish Synagogue and ask them to accept Catholic ways, or even visitors, straight or gay. In both cases, even male or female. If we are asking the Gaines to submit to media pressure then the whole world is headed to a bad place….

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Trevin Wax


​Trevin Wax is Bible and Reference Publisher at LifeWay Christian Resources and managing editor of The Gospel Project. You can follow him on Twitter or receive blog posts via email. Click here for Trevin’s full bio.

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