On January 10 on Twitter, Seth Dillon, the CEO of satire website The Babylon Bee, made the following comment:
Christianity Today says the Babylon Bee “has run a number of anti-trans jokes—mocking both particular transgender people like Levine as well as fictional trans people.” Our jokes are not anti-trans. They’re pro-truth. The idea that men can become women is false (and funny).
I shared Dillon’s comment and added, “Christianity Today’s president and CEO Tim Dalrymple is pro-LGBTQ+,” meaning that he is affirming of those who identify with the sins of homosexuality. Does CT run articles calling the things in the LGBTQ acrostic sin that will keep a person from the kingdom of God (see 1 Corinthians 6:9-11)? They do run articles critical of those who oppose homosexuality—as they did with The Babylon Bee.
Because I made this comment publicly, Timothy Dalrymple responded and said, “Hi there. Both CT and I have been clear on many occasions that we believe in the traditional view of sexuality and marriage.”
I responded with an article written by Megan Basham in The Federalist. She referenced an essay from Dalrymple where “he was suggesting believers should capitulate on the issue of marriage three years before” the U.S. Supreme court decision on Obergefell made same-sex marriage legal. “He closed the essay by intimating that he was still working out his views on whether it is worth continuing to argue for the biblical definition of marriage.”
“Dalrymple assured his readers that he’s among those who believe ‘it’s biblically and theologically clear that marriage was created and ordained by God for the union of male and female,'” Basham said. “But he also encouraged them to ‘humbly acknowledge the limitations of our knowledge, and recognize the possibility that we are mistaken.'”
That’s right, Timothy Dalrymple, the CEO of Christianity Today, said that Christians might be mistaken on what the Bible clearly says about homosexual sin. He said this seven years before he became the CEO of Christianity Today, the publication founded by Billy Graham.
Kelley G from Georgia responded, “I’m confused. How is it that those of us who oppose gay marriage based on the clear teachings of the Bible might be ‘mistaken’? Is Dalrymple saying he does not believe in the inerrancy of God’s Word? The Bible text concerning homosexuality and marriage seems unambiguous to me.”
Basham also exposed the fact that Timothy Dalrymple attended “the wedding ceremony of a gay co-worker officiated by prominent LGBT-affirming pastor and author Jonathan Merritt. The pictures posted on a public website are festive, even reverent, showing Dalrymple and his wife participating in a candle-lighting processional and hitting the dance floor with abandon in honor of the two men.”
After I shared these things, Mr. Dalrymple contacted me privately and said, “I’d rather not publicly engage Megan Basham, but yes, I’ve read the article. It gets some things right and some wrong. Did you click through to the articles she referenced? Here’s one:” and then he linked to this article.
“This was all published some time ago, of course,” he said, “long before I came to CT.” I find that especially troubling that Christianity Today knew he held these views, and they made him CEO anyway. He has never renounced these views. He didn’t renounce them when he spoke privately with me. Does that not mean CT shares his same perspective?
I want to believe that there are people who work at Christianity Today who have orthodox, biblical views of sexuality. If there are, why don’t they speak out? At the same time, they have on staff a web developer, Matt G. Metcalf, who has preferred gender pronouns in his online bio. Preferred pronouns are an indication that someone sympathizes or aligns with the LGBTQ movement, or at the very least they have an unbiblical view of sexual ethics.
I asked CT news editor Daniel Silliman via Twitter if CT required employees to affirm a biblical definition of marriage and biblical sexual ethics, but I didn’t get a response (instead, I got gaslighted by VeggieTales creator, Phil Vischer).
Does Christianity Today at large—including Silliman, Russell Moore, Kate Shellnutt, Mike Cosper, et al—share Mr. Dalrymple’s doubts when he says true Christians might be mistaken on what the Bible says about homosexuality?
“As for attending a gay wedding, I assure you my friend and employee understood perfectly well that I view marriage ethically and theologically (which is to say, truly and objectively) as between a man and a woman only. I think Christians can disagree in good faith on whether attending a same-sex marriage is always wrong, but I do hold to a traditional view of it. Since you’ve stated several times now that I’m pro-LGBTQ, I just wanted to reach out and clarify my position. Thanks.”
On January 11 at 12:43 AM (all times central), I replied to Mr. Dalrymple with the following:
Thank you for responding. I reply with a respectful yet impassioned tone.
I have read your articles, “Ten Things I Believe About Evangelicals and Same-Sex Marriage” and “Is it Time for Evangelicals to Stop Opposing Gay Marriage.” In fact, I saw them years ago. Setting aside some of the inconsistencies in your arguments, let me focus on just the position you have stated.
Though you say, “I believe that the sexual union for which we were created is the union of male and female in the context of the marital covenant,” how do we observe that conviction in practice? Seven years later, you attended a same-sex wedding officiated by Jonathan Merritt—not just attended, but celebrated (!!!). It appears as if you invested a great deal of time and money to celebrate it. Can you understand the confusion?
How sound is your conviction when it does not in any way hold you back from honoring the perverse union of two men under the guise of holy matrimony? Do you not regard marriage to be a sacred union created and defined by Jesus Christ Himself (Matthew 19:4-6), and what your friends were doing was not marriage at all? Do you not love your lost friends?
Sir, your friends are going to hell where they will burn in eternal punishment if they do not repent (Jude 7). Are you to cheer them on as they go [or stand in the way and exhort them to repent]? The Scripture is clear: homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Even the desire for such immorality—not just acting on it but desiring it—will incur the wrath of God (Colossians 3:5-6). Does that sound like a secondary issue to you, as you called it in your articles?
My concern for your soul is that you know the righteous requirement of God, yet you give hearty approval to those who practice sins the Bible says Christ will judge (Romans 1:32). By even your confession to me here, you know the truth, yet you participate in and encourage the sin—and this before the world, as the president and CEO of Christianity Today. Which is worse: that Christians oppose “gay marriage” in the public square or that they affirm it?
There is more I could say and more I could engage with (like what parts exactly did Mrs. Basham have incorrect?). But the heart of the matter I believe I have addressed. Do not affirm the sins for which Christ died—in yourself or anyone else. I pray you will take the time to consider this, consult the word of God, and ask for His forgiveness.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will be converted to you” (Psalm 51:10-13).
Thank you for your time.
Pastor at First Baptist Church in Lindale, TX
Mr. Dalrymple responded at about 8:00 on Wednesday morning, January 11, with the following:
Even Focus on the Family says that attending a gay wedding is a matter of conscience where Christians can come to different conclusions. But the usual concern is that you are inadvertently communicating that you approve of the wedding. This was not true in my case. I met with the gentleman two weeks beforehand to make sure he was still clear on where I stood. I could never officiate a gay wedding but I decided (with prayer and consultation) that I could attend as a way of communicating I still love my friend and want to continue in relationship.
There was some financial cost, yes, but not a ton, and my wife and I paired it with a little getaway for ourselves, which was nice. So the expense of attending the actual wedding was minimal. I danced a bit with my wife afterward and then left. My friend was going to get married whether or not I was there. This way we have a stronger relationship, we still talk about spiritual things, and I have a lot of hope for him.
Certainly sexuality is important before God. What I called a secondary question is really the pragmatic question of whether Christians should continue to fight the legalization of SSM in a pluralistic democracy where the culture no longer shares our convictions on the matter.
In any case, thanks for engaging. I would suggest it’s wrong to say that I am pro-LGBTQ—I’m certainly not trying to change Christian views on the matter—but I wish you the best. God bless.
The next morning, I replied with the following:
Thank you again for your correspondence. Brother, are you sure you’re thinking this through in the Spirit of truth? As I said, there were inconsistencies in the arguments you made 11 years ago, and there’s inconsistency in your present reasoning.
Let’s say your friend was not marrying another man. Let’s say he was a KKK member. Your friend was getting a promotion, moving up through the ranks of the KKK, and he invited you to come to the ceremony. You met with him two weeks beforehand to make sure he was clear on where you stood. You could never officiate a KKK meeting, but you decided (with prayer and consultation) that you could attend as a way of communicating that you still love your friend and want to continue in relationship.
Could you attend that meeting on the same moral justification you’re using to attend a gay wedding and keep a clear conscience? Would your friend believe you really think he’s in sin and headed to hell if he doesn’t repent? Would he be convinced you’re actually opposed to white supremacy and everything the KKK stands for?
Do you think you’d be able to persuade people that you’re not pro-KKK with the same responses you’re giving me about attending a gay wedding? “My friend was going to get promoted whether or not I was there,” you could say. “This way we have a stronger relationship, we still talk about spiritual things, and I have a ton of hope for him.” Would people believe that you’re changing his mind? Or does it look more like your friend is changing your mind?
Contrary to what may have been said about them in the 90s, Focus On the Family is not the determiner of truth. God’s word is. The Spirit says, “Do not associate with any so-called brother if he is a sexually immoral person, or greedy, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to each with such a one” (1 Corinthians 5:11).
As an aside, I tried to verify Mr. Dalrymple’s claim that Focus on the Family said “attending a gay wedding is a matter of conscience where Christians can come to different conclusions.” The only thing I was able to find was this article, where Focus clearly says the opposite: “We’d like to make one thing perfectly clear: Focus on the Family cannot advise you to attend [a gay wedding].” So Mr. Dalrymple is wrong again. My response continues:
Ephesians 5:5-11 says, “For this you know with certainty, that no one sexually immoral or impure or greedy, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them, for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light (for the fruit of that light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. And do not participate in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead even expose them.”
What is Christianity Today doing in exposing these fruitless works of darkness, warning about the wrath of God to come, and calling people to repent and believe the gospel of Christ? These are eternal souls we’re talking about. If the watchman on the wall knows the danger and does not sound the alarm, he will be guilty of every soul that is lost (see Ezekiel 33:3-6).
I’m grateful for the interaction. Search the Scriptures, and may the Lord convict your heart.
And that is where our correspondence ended. As of yesterday, it has been a month, and I have not received any further reply. This did not resolve any of the skepticism I have about Christianity Today and how committed they are to what the Bible says, nor do I understand how Timothy Dalrymple does not think his words and his actions have been LGBTQ-affirming.
James 1:6-8 says, “The one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all of his ways.”
We must boldly declare and defend the truth of the Bible, “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15), “with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition” (2 Timothy 2:25), “sound in word which is irreproachable” (Titus 2:8). Failure to do so can have disastrous, eternal consequences—for you and for the people who need to hear the truth.
Sadly, Christianity Today may very well be a reflection of American Christianity today.
Appreciated reading this post. Will you be back on Twitter?
It always makes sense when people exchange “progressive Christians'” favorite sins with racism. It shows how ridiculous their arguments are. How about this – “I have racist desires and thoughts but I don’t act on them.” That isn’t sin according to the latest “progressive Christian” thinking on homosexuality, right?
Keep up the good work. That KKK example was gold. I only wish he had argued against it.
Brian Schuette says
This is a model of faithful engagement by Pastor Hughes.