Ex-lesbian Jackie Hill Perry recently rebuked Christians who were angry that she spoke on stage at Christine Caine's Propel Women conference and called Bethel Music's Jenn Johnson her friend.
Perry teaches mostly among Reformed circles and does not subscribe to Word of Faith doctrine, according to a recent Twitter post. But on Saturday, Aug. 24, she spoke at Propel Women's Activate 2019 conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, along with Propel founder Caine, Lisa Harper, Sarah Jakes Roberts and Nona Jones. Johnson led worship for the night.
"While there, being the Millennial that I am, I posted videos of the worship set, clips of my teaching, and the Twitter infamous clip of me calling Jenn Johnson (of Bethel Music) my friend," Perry tweeted. "
Perry says some people responded to her videos with "words [that] didn't have an ounce of love." She says she grieved when she saw one woman simply respond by writing, "Yucky."
And just as Perry doesn't mince words when she shares her testimony of leaving a lesbian lifestyle to follow Jesus, neither did she hold back when she rebuked Christian tribalism.
"I'm going to be a bit frank so clutch your pearls or grab your tea, whichever suits you best," she wrote on Instagram along with several pictures of her at Activate 2019. "One thing I want you all to know about me is that I'm not tribalistic when it comes to ministry. You might see me on platforms with Reformed folk one day and with non-Reformed folk the next day. ... Why? Because I believe that God's church is big and multi-faceted and it's made up of people who are complicated and nuanced.
Perry says that she has no problem teaching alongside genuine Christians whose doctrine may vary from hers when it comes to worship style, preaching, spiritual gifts and approaches to evangelism.
"I don't agree with everybody I do ministry with (including the folk people might call 'theologically sound.' Some of them, being blindly complicit when it comes to white supremacy, who are faithfully inspired by the theological musings of slave masters but that's a whole other conversation) but I love them still. " she writes. "And where I disagree, I'm open to discussion, and where I can learn, I have ears to hear. So yea, just in case you think I'm apart of 'your tribe' just know that I'm not. I'm too free for that."
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I'm going to be a bit frank so clutch your pearls or grab your tea, whichever suits you best. One thing I want you all to know about me is that I'm not tribalistic when it comes to ministry. You might see me on platforms with Reformed folk one day and with non-Reformed folk the next day. You might see me laughing it up with the Southern Baptist's one moment and being churchy with some Cogic saints the next. Why? Because I believe that God's church is big and multi-faceted and it's made up of people that are complicated and nuanced. Our approaches to evangelism, the local church, preaching, spiritual gifts, worship style, etc vary but when there is a unified commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ, the inerrancy + authority of Scripture, and love for God and neighbor, the unity for which Christ prayed is made possible. I don't agree with everybody I do ministry with (including the folk people might call "theologically sound". Some of them, being blindly complicit when it comes to white supremacy, who are faithfully inspired by the theological musings of slave masters but that's a whole other conversation) but I love them still. And where I disagree, I'm open to discussion, and where I can learn, I have ears to hear. So yea, just in case you think I'm apart of "your tribe" just know that I'm not. I'm too free for that.
On Twitter, Perry explained her position more in depth.
She says she was raised in a Baptist-Pentecostal context. When she got saved, she attended an Apostolic Pentecostal church and eventually started going to a Southern Baptist congregation, though she wouldn't call herself Southern Baptist.
"It is in these churches that I've learned that the same people that I might find issue with doctrinally can still know God salvifically," she says. "... I know that those of us who are on the side of staunch biblical orthodoxy can also lean quite heavily on the side of lovelessness and arrogance. Criticism can be more practiced than love for some of us. It's become a sport in some 'discernment' centric ministries when in some cases it is purely a ministry built on judgment and criticism that's being masqueraded as obedience to Jude 3."
Perry clarifies that she does not in any way subscribe to Word of Faith teaching. In fact, she calls it "foolish and a distraction to the beauty of God and a misrepresentation of the gospel of God. ... Though I believe that the Word of Faith movement in and of itself is unbiblical, I cannot say, with a clear conscience, that someone that speaks with 'Word of Faith' language (because that's a thing) or a teacher that might ascribe to one tenant of the WOF movement but not all, is actually a false teacher. I believe there is a distinction between teaching falsely and being a false teacher."
Some applauded Perry's boldness. Caine responded to Perry's Instagram post with "Love you <3."
Others, however, rebuked Perry for associating with "heretics."
One woman responded to Perry by saying: "Respectfully, as someone who recently came out of 15+ years in the WOF/Bethel-type Charismatic Movement, I think what Bethel teaches is dangerous and an entirely different gospel. And believe me, my heart breaks for these people because I was one of them."
Perry said she understood this woman's concern but reaffirms that "my work with a conference where Bethel sang is not the same as me being at a Bethel conference."
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