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#DearPastor: When Lauren Daigle Meets Jonathan Edwards

#DearPastor: When Lauren Daigle Meets Jonathan Edwards

It’s early Tuesday morning. You shuffle into your study at the church, turn on the coffee maker, and open your laptop.

While the coffee brews, you open your email to find a subject line that says “Thinking about Lauren Daigle…” You open the message.

It reads:

Dear Pastor,

I’ve enjoyed the music of Lauren Daigle for some time. However, after her appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres show, an interviewer asked her whether homosexuality was a sin and she gave a non-committal answer. She said, “I can’t say one way or the other, I’m not God.”

I’ve seen a lot of Christians criticizing her and questioning the genuineness of her faith. I’m wondering whether I should stop listening to her music.

On a similar note, at the church I attend, I frequently hear leaders and members (and Christian leaders our church commends) speak positively of Jonathan Edwards. So, I bought some of his books and started reading them. But in my research about him, I learned that he both purchased and owned slaves all his life. (He spent £80 of his £200 annual salary to buy a 14-year-old girl and listed a “Negro boy named Titus” among the “quick stock” inventory in his will.) I understand that he even drafted a defense of slavery and called those who opposed owning slaves “hypocrites.”

I’m guessing that some people defend Edwards by saying that slavery saturated the culture of the day and he was blinded by it. Therefore he gets a pass. But doesn’t homosexuality saturate the culture of Lauren Daigle’s day? Shouldn’t she receive at least as much (or more) grace as Jonathan Edwards?

After all, 27-year-old Lauren Daigle merely expressed uncertainty about homosexuality in the heat of the moment. But the mature and educated theologian-pastor Jonathan Edwards not only expressed certainty about owning human beings as property (writing a defense of it), he also practiced it all his adult life (and ministry)! Wouldn’t Lauren Daigle actually have to defend, invest in and practice homosexuality to equal what Edwards did?

Why do conservative Christians race to damn Daigle but laud Edwards as a hero? Sometimes it feels like we love to condemn homosexuality, but we have no problem with racism going unchecked in our heroes. It’s almost like we’re OK with black people being mistreated, as long as gay people are condemned. 

I feel like if I raised this question in my church or on Facebook that I’d probably have my own faith questioned. So, I thought I’d email and ask you in private.

I know and agree with what my church believes about homosexuality and slavery. So, can you help me think through this? Should I get rid of my Daigle CDs? And if so, what should I do with my Edwards books?


How would you respond?

This article originally appeared here.