Caleb Kalenbach is the Lead Pastor at Discovery Church in Simi Valley, CA. Raised in the LGBT community, he was exposed to how some Christians treated the LGBT community, and grew to hate Christians. In high school, he joined a Bible study to disprove the Bible, but ended up following Jesus instead. Later, his parents followed Jesus, too. This is the subject of his first book, Messy Grace - holding on to the truth of God's Word while being filled with grace. Caleb is a graduate of Ozark Christian College, Talbot School of Theology (Biola University), and is finishing his doctorate at Dallas Theological Seminary. He speaks widely on the subjects of reconciliation, faith, diversity, and grace/truth. Caleb and his wife, Amy, reside in Southern California with their two kids.
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I am so grateful to Caleb for writing this book. I have been wrestling with how to make sense of these issues and this book has been a tremendous help to me. It has dispelled my fearfulness of what I didn't understand, and has encouraged within me a God-given love for the precious souls who identify as LGBTQ. Thank you Pastor Kaltenbach!
Let me first say that I am a born again Christian, who is a sinner. The reason I love Christ SO much, is not only His finished work on the Cross, but also because He saved a wretched, wicked woman like me. So, when you read on, please know that I understand my heart is wicked, and if my Lord had not called me to Himself, I'd be on the road to hell. I am no better than anyone else on this planet.
With that said, Mr. Kaltenbach gave it a good try, but really missed so many Biblical points! He comes across as immature in the faith, but there are points that I do agree with him on, like: Option 1. Celibacy. Kaltenbach does a great job talking about options for celibacy for homosexuals.
Option 2. Marrying someone of the opposite sex: Now, THAT is a wonderful option for gays who are saved by the Blood of Christ. Mr. Kaltenbach said he met a couple (as a Pastor) who did just that, and he said he never thought of that as an option. Well, that's where the immaturity comes in.
If Kaltenbach dug into 1 Corinthians chapter 6:9, he would know that Paul said "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you"
Paul, in the above "vice list" says: "such WERE some of you" So, if you simply read that text at face value, it's easy to see that God delivers people from sexual sin and many other sins. So if God delivers people from being drunkards, why can't He deliver a person with same sex desires? The answer: God does deliver people from that sin. I've seen it happen in my family and there are books written by people who were delivered from that sin and are now happily married -- with children.
Where I strongly disagree: At close to the 5 hour point in the audio book, Kaltenbach asks about a dozen hypothetical questions about our churches. Some of those questions are: Would your church allow an openly gay couple to attend services? Would your church allow an openly gay man to serve as an officer? (I'm guessing he means Elder or Deacon) Kaltenbach suggests we need to have churches that cater to that particular sin.
Let me ask Mr. Kaltenbach a hypothetical question: "Would you allow a person who showed up drunk every Sunday at church to continue coming to your church, without discipline? Would you allow a man who is married, to bring his girlfriend to church with him, while his wife is sitting in the next row? How about letting an adulterer serve as an Elder? Or a homophobe? How do we deal with those situations?
The Bible gives the answer:: They come under church discipline. It's that simple. So, why does the "practicing" homosexual get special rights over the practicing "adulterer"? Or why can't a man come to church every Sunday drunk? Because, the church would be affirming SIN. So, apparently the author thinks the Church, the Body of Jesus Christ, should give approval to this particular sin. Please read Romans chapter 1
Mr. Kaltenbach made a statement that grabbed me and made me think "Let's see how long he can go without doing the very thing he hates" -- Kaltenbach made a statement: "I HATE when people say "those people" or "they" or "them" (talking about homosexuals)... but listen... it didn't take him more than 3 minutes to use the word "THEY" when he was talking about Christians! He did the very thing he said he HATED! That is beyond hypocrisy sir!!! You can't start taking pronouns from the English language and expect to have a meaningful conversation that makes any sense whatsoever. He has bought into the postmodern lie and he is completely blind to it.
Another error: He says: "Church needs to be a place where you belong BEFORE you believe" -- a direct quote from the author at 4 hours and 59 seconds into the book. WRONG AGAIN. This is very discouraging. And it's very un-Biblical The CHURCH is a place where the "Saints" gather to worship God"
Can we bring unbelievers to church? Of course. But "worship" on the Lord's Day is designed for the Saints, first and foremost, to come together and worship the God we actually BELIEVE in!
Another error about Christians. We are not homophobic! My husband and I have had homosexuals live in our home. We also have a homosexual friend come into our home and groom our dogs, and we love her. I don't know why you have accused "Christians" of being homophobic. The Bride of Christ does not do the hateful things you accuse us of doing. My church family and I have never, ever seen a group of so-called Christians standing in groups at gay pride parades, yelling obscenities at gays. The author grew up with a world view that told him that "Christians" are the haters.
Please, answer this question. What do you call a group of homosexual men who grab a teenage boy and rape him? Is THAT loving? The author NEVER, EVER, one time mentions the heinous sins that some homosexuals commit (and I am saying some, not all) But, that is a reality and he does not address it.
The Biblical errors pile up so high, I don't have the space here to mention them all. Kaltenbach has a view of a squishy Jesus who only loves and never judges. He never mentions the Wrath of God and the Lion of the Tribe of Judah who will come and judge the world. No, his Jesus sounds like the Jesus in the movies, who looks like a shampoo model and has nice soft hands. See Psalm 7:11 "God is angry with the wicked every day."
Has this man ever read Matthew chapter 23? Yes, I know it is directed at the Scribes and Pharisees, but, Christ is a righteous Judge, as well as the Lover of our Soul. Our Triune God has a range of attributes. I pray that Mr. Kaltenbach digs into the Bible and studies the attributes of our God and King.
In the last half hour of the book, Kaltenbach does NOT mention that God commands all people to repent and believe in Jesus Christ... but he goes on and on about the "good works" that his church did for his parents. People are not saved by "good works".... his church should have been begging these precious souls to REPENT.
In his last 15 minutes, Kaltenbach asks, "Can someone be gay and go to Heaven?" He answers his own question with, "Can someone be alcoholic and go to Heaven? Can someone gossip and go to Heaven? Can someone be arrogant and go to Heaven? etc. etc. etc. Those are questions of the heart and we cannot not see the hearts of men. Only God can see the heart, so his questions are flawed.
As I wrap up, let me say my heart goes out to Caleb Kaltenbach. Perhaps, as a child, he experienced seeing fringe groups like the Westboro Baptist Church, who are no Christians at all. He doesn't mention a name of this "Christian" group, but that behavior is not Christian behavior. If you are purchased by the precious blood of Christ, you don't have the desire to go out and curse people out. That's not what we do. We believe in a Sovereign God who does the judging, not us.
Lastly, I would suggest that if he writes another book that he gets a professional narrator... but there I go being picky. There are really more important errors in this book to be aware of, so the narration is the least of my worries about this young man. I am not trying to be harsh, but these days, people really should be truthful and most importantly, BIBLICAL!!! May God bless him -- and you!