‘Jesus and John Wayne’ Author Kristen Kobes Du Mez Comes Out Further as Gay-Affirming’

Kristen Kobes Du Mez is a rising star in progressive circles and usually is mentioned in the one-two punch alongside Jemar Tisby and his Color of Compromise (never forget, that Tisby literally went to work for Ibram X Kendi) as books shaping the modern-day evangelical discourse.

In a May 2022 interview with PBSA, the professor at Calvin University and author of “Jesus And John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted A Faith And Fractured A Nation, Du Mez, who recently came out as gay-affirming, explained that appointing Supreme Court justices overturning Roe was a “ruthless display of power” and that Christians through history didn’t always oppose abortion as strenuously as they do now.*

A few months ago, when Denny Burke asked her if she approved of homosexuality, she refused to answer, releasing a blog post where she recounts:

“Do I personally affirm “the church’s teaching that homosexuality is sinful?” Which church? My own church (local & denomination) is actively reexamining this issue in light of tradition, interpretation, history, & science.

I grew up holding the “traditional” view, that same-sex sexual relationships were sinful….Since that time, I’ve encountered compelling theological & historical arguments that challenge or complicate traditional approaches to this issue. I’ve read several but have several more to read, and am doing so in conversation w/ “traditional” perspectives.

I’m doing this all in community, w/ scholars, pastors, theologians, & LGBTQ+ Chrs, as part of my local church, as part of an officially sanctioned denominational process, and in an official capacity as a representative of my university.”

….So, how do I treat “homosexuality” in J&JW? The fact that there’s a strong historical/theological tradition of Chrs denouncing same-sex relationships (there are also intriguing counterexamples) does not in & of itself explain Anita Bryant, anti-ERA, or seeing the “homosexual menace” as a threat to America.

It’s possible to hold “traditional” views on sexuality but hold them very differently. It’s possible to believe in male headship but refuse to link masculine “protection” to American militarism. It’s possible hold evangelical theological views but denounce Christian nationalism.”

I refuse to use views on gender, sexuality, atonement theory, baptism, spiritual gifts and the like as a way to preemptively exclude believers from fellowship in the Body of Christ.

We can spend our lives asking what right belief & obedient discipleship looks like in all these areas, & we should. But I’m going to do so in conversation & communion with my LGBTQ sisters & brothers in Christ. Because of the gospel.

Now, in a recent article, she details the turmoil Calvin University is going through after the Christian Reformed Church denomination, of which CU is their flagship school, voted to elevate their opposition to homosexuality into becoming part of their confession; their very declaration of faith. The move is a clawing back by conservatives within the church concerned about liberalism creeping into their colleges and congregations, where most of the battles are fought and in Calvin’s case, lost.

This is because Calvin has perhaps the stupidest, schizophrenic approach to progressivism ever. Dumez explains: “School policies explicitly allowed professors room to criticize elements of CRC orthodoxy as long as they agreed to conduct their lives according to the church’s rules. And in a long-running internal CRC debate over how to temper biblical writings with contemporary values, Calvin faculty were frequently among those pushing hardest for more progressive views.”

For this reason, professors and students are allowed to publicly voice their support of same-sex marriage and abortion, so long as they don’t engage in homosexuality or have abortions. Last year’s Student Body President was an open and out lesbian- flying the PRIDE flag on her path to victory- she just wasn’t allowed to openly date another woman.

Famously, a popular professor Joseph Kuilema who has been openly vocal about his support for gay marriage and LGBTQIA illusion for over a decade was allowed to spout them for years and keep his position: it is only when he married a pair of lesbians that he got in hot water.

In her article, Du Mez details the existential crisis and wailing and gnashing of teeth students and faculty are experiencing, these roiling cold chills and fervent dread at the thought that the pro-gayers might have to leave, sharing some of her own thoughts on the matter:

This week has been filled with conversations among members of the CRC and Calvin faculty, staff, and students. Beautiful and heavy conversations. I’ve wept with parents of LGBTQ kids who are heartbroken and distraught that there is no place for them in our church. I’ve thought of the Calvin history student who was queer, who took her own life two years ago. I think of her often, and of others I can name, and for whom I fear.

My own local Christian Reformed Church offers a glimpse at what this looks like on the ground. We have LGBTQ members who worship with us and who minister among us. We have many LGBTQ children, our covenant children, whom we’ve promised to guide in their faith as part of their baptismal vows

I’ve listened to current students discuss the possibilities of getting out of their leases for the coming year so they can transfer. I’ve listened to the struggles of a celibate gay pastor in our denomination who feels he belongs nowhere in all of this. I’ve watched the gloating of some in the denomination who have gotten their way who cannot disguise their eagerness to purge the church and the college of their fellow believers

I hear traditionalists claim that LGBTQ inclusion is a slippery slope to abandoning gospel truth. Or that by opening our churches to LGBTQ believers, we have already abandoned the gospel. I’ve heard enough debates on the subject to know where that argument comes from.

But…what if they’re wrong? Because LGBTQ Christians in my orbit are some of the most resilient in their faith of anyone I’ve met, and they’ve ministered to me.

The openness (of CU) to LGBTQ believers that I’ve seen is not primarily the first step on a slippery slope, nor is it an embrace of therapeutic individualism, as critics like to claim.

It is, much more simply, an open invitation: “Come and see!”

If Calvin University stays the course and purges all the progressives and pro-LGBTQIA peeps out from the among, they may have a chance to survive. Going forward, though, it will be a battle, and we know which side DuMez is on.


*Du Mez suggests she misses the good old days when evangelicals were far less “radicalized” than they are now. She wishes that Christians didn’t take such an immovable unshakable hard line against abortion, but rather took a more wishy-washy approach and viewed it as the “lesser of two evils” rather than the purest manifestation of demonic activity on earth.

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