Wednesday, July 07, 2010

"Coming Out" on Jennifer Knapp's Coming Out

Author:  Susan L. Prince

This is a tough one for me.  You see, I LOVE Jennifer Knapp's music.  I basically held vigil for her return after her spontaneous withdrawal from all things music in 2001.  And yes, I heard all the rumors and chose not to believe them.  I would at least give her the benefit of the doubt. Rumors are often wrong about what they say, and they are always wrong to spread or participate in.

Upon her return to music, I was ecstatic to catch her live show in Nashville at The Belcourt Theater last November, 2009.  I saw her again in the Spring at TPAC in downtown Nashville.  Then, in the April 13th, 2010 edition of Christianity Today, she shared her "secret" with the world and announced her homosexuality.

What are my thoughts?   Ache.  Disappointment.  Sadness. Confusion.  I had many questions:  Should I listen to her music?  How can I listen to her music?  Is my buying her music condoning sinful behavior?  Am I sinning while listening to it?  How can a person who has written some of the most passionate music ever written about God's mercy and love, turn her back on His Word?  Does she pray her own prayers, by that I mean her songs, which are humble prayers?  These and many other questions came to mind as I read about the struggles Knapp has endured, and the temptation she eventually gave herself over to.  Heartbreaking.
Stop. stop. stop this foolish pride of mine.
That dares to drag me far away from you.
When I try to do it my way I always lose.
I always lose your point of view.
I don't intend to debate this issue.  I have participated in conversations about this news, especially when it first broke.  I have read what both sides of the spectrum have to say about this, and now I'm going to just put out there some of my thoughts on this.

Lord, come with your fire,
Burn my desires; refine me
Lord, my will has deceived me
Please come and free me
Refine me

It is not sin for me to listen to Jennifer Knapp's music or to buy it.  However, when I hear a song, what does it make me think about?  It makes me grieve.  I think about her sin.  It does remind me to pray for her, but it is difficult for me to listen to her music and not wonder how it can be that she has written some of the most heartfelt prayers set to music, and then fall so far?  This is not condemnation, this is a serious question.  Did she really want to know Him?  Did she really want to be refined?

We are all susceptible to falling out of fellowship with the Lord which is why the Bible teaches us to "be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall..." (2 Peter 3:17) and  "if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted" (Galatians 6:1).

I am sure she has run into her share of "christians" who have demonstrated an ungodly attitude toward her and have heaped condemnation on her, and not tried to restore her gently.  In fact, before her "news" broke, it was evident by some of what she shared at her live shows that she had encountered some "issues" with "church people".  This has not represented Christ well at all.  Knapp is a sister in Christ,  and as with any brother or sister, we should embrace her and love her, just as God loves us.  We can not condone her sin, but we can let her know she is loved and that we would so like to see her restored into a right relationship with the Lord.  You see, when somebody chooses sin, or to live their life in contradiction to the Word of God, they are choosing to serve a different master, they are choosing to serve themselves, or the world, and one can not serve two masters.  Either you serve God, or you serve the god of this world.  It is heartbreaking to observe sin running its course.

Often the argument is "but we all sin".  True, we all sin and fall short of the glory of God, but the difference is repentance.  God can not forgive excuses. God can not forgive alibis. God can only forgive sinGod will make one clean again, but, one must choose to turn from their sin.

In reading some of the interviews Knapp had with the media after the news broke, including some of what was said on the Larry King Live interview, it was noticeable that she was uncomfortable calling herself "Christian" and instead would say "woman of faith", or "I have faith".  She mentioned the difficulty she had and still has singing some of her old songs.  I wonder if it is because the Holy Spirit uses her own words and music to smite her and convict her?  She said she doesn't currently have a church home, and I can't help but question why?  If she had a church home maybe her church family would help restore her to the fellowship, and the reason she stays away from church is because she knows she has chosen sin over submission to God's Word, therefore a healthy functioning gospel church is the last thing she would want.
"For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it."  (Matthew 7:13)
It is apparent to me that Knapp does not want to be some "poster child" for homosexuals and/or to promote a "christian homosexual" agenda, but unfortunately with her fame and notoriety, she is thrust into the spotlight by default and has inevitably become somewhat of a reluctant spokesperson.   I believe she is gifted by God and is a talented artist, but her art right now is being perverted. Also, satan is having a field day using this to "make it ok" for others trapped in the same sinful lifestyle.  What is sad as well, is that many in the Christian community have chosen to condemn, rather than try to restore, and this serves to hurt the cause of Christ.

You in the mirror. staring back at me. O' conscience let me the pure, all things are pure. To those who defiled unbelieving: nothing is pure. Their minds, their conscience defiled. They profess to know God. But deceive him by deeds all the while.

God loves Jennifer Knapp.  He wants a thriving relationship with her.  She is confused and God is not the author of confusion.  Does she not see that she is defiled?  That she is professing to know God but deceives Him by her deeds?  In the interviews I've read/seen, she questions the interpretation of the Bible in places...and most of her songs are scripture!   Or, at least they used to be!  Does she not believe it now?  It is way too convenient to "interpret" the Bible to say what we want it to say so that we can have our way.  God hates sin, and He hates it whether or not we acknowledge a certain behavior is sin.  Sin is sin, and the wages of sin is death.  Choosing sin keeps us separated from the love of God.  It is an uncomfortable place to be which is why Knapp sang "Undo Me"!

Now, the trouble I have listening to Knapp's music right now is not because she has announced her homosexuality.  I am a huge Indigo Girls fan and they are both lesbians.  I am a Melissa Etheridge fan.   I love their music and I have no problem listening or supporting it, but they do not claim to live as Christians. The trouble I have listening to Knapp is that she claims to be a "woman of faith", and for years was billed as a christian singer/songwriter who represented Christ, and now she is out there announcing her sinful behavior and denying that it is sinIt is the fact that she is unrepentant right now that makes it difficult for me to justify supporting her career.  The sin isn't so much the problem, it is the unrepentance.

Knapp has said that she understands that a person purchasing her music or attending a show does not mean they support her lifestyle, and that it only means they like her art.  I am somewhat comforted by this, because I am not about to trash my Jennifer Knapp collection.  It is still some of the best music and will always be, and someday I hope to be able to listen to it with new ears.  I have had to remove it from my mp3 player for the time being.  I have not yet listened to Letting Go, her new release, the new music I've waited so long for, although most of it I have heard from her website and from the demo CDs I got from her live shows I attended before she revealed her sin.  It breaks my heart because I waited and prayed for her, and her return to music, for 8 years.  I couldn't wait for new music from Knapp and when it happened I was absolutely ecstatic, but then I was blindsided.
If I give my Life if I lay it down can you turn this Life around, can I be made clean by this offering of my soul. Can I be made whole again?

God is faithful and just to forgive, but in order for Him to do that, we need to repent.  We need to turn from evil and turn to Him.  I believe that deep within Jennifer Knapp is heart that pines for God and that His Word is hidden in her heart.   I believe this because she has difficulty performing her "old" music.  I believe this because she has difficulty calling herself a "Christian".  I believe this because she avoids church.  I believe that the difficulty she has shows that there is a level of conviction in her, but still, she is willfully choosing her own pleasures over submission to God.    Debbie, a friend of mine, put it this way " As for Jennifer's faith, I think it is one that she has crafted to tolerate her sin, which is why she has such conviction otherwise."

I am praying for her to really cry out to God like she once was able to do and so eloquently shared through her music.  I pray that she will "Lay It Down", be broken, "Fall Down" and allow God to "Undo" her, "Refine" her and make her "Whole Again", because "His Grace is Sufficient".  With God all things are possible.

And when it happens, she really will be Letting Go. 


  1. Sue...I wish Jennifer could read this. It's so perfect. I think this is the best anyone has addressed this issue so far...better than Christianity today and certainly better than Larry King and the other inaccurate representations of Christianity on his show that night. I especially love how you used her Album title to make your point in the end. She let go of God to run to a life without hope. When she really "lets go" and loses her life...then she will save it.

    Have faith, Sister! She will return even better than before. You will see!

  2. Wow..I think this is the longest post you have ever written! Looks like one of mine!!!!

  3. And I've caught some flak for this as expected. What is interesting though is that people "read" stuff in here that I didn't say. LOL

    Yes, but Christianity Today was simply reporting about it and interviewing her.

    The pastor/minister or whomever on Larry King didn't make the case well because he wouldn't point out the difference between a Christian who sins, and an *unrepentant sinner*. I don't know if he was nervous or what, but he blew it by not focusing on that.

    None of us is perfect, but without repentance, Jesus isn't going to be there to stand in our place before the Perfect One. He is Who makes us clean again, but only if we ask Him to.

  4. And you may be right! I think this may be my longest post ever! LOL And, no pictures! LOL

  5. Are we being judgemental towards those who do not live as we do? Are we the "elite?" I don't know. I love people for who they are warts and all..well almost all. Should we teach our children to discriminate and judge? I think so, but for all the right reasons.
    Just me..Carol

  6. Carol,

    I appreciate the comments. What are the right reasons? Where am I being judgmental or elite? Where have I not shown love?

    And yes, we should teach our children to avoid behaviors that will ultimately lead them away from God.

  7. I also, love Jennifer Knapp's beautiful worship music. I just found out about this issue today (I know....little late). I'm very saddened by this. Thank you for your blog, you really expressed it beautifully.

    Sister in Christ

  8. Thank you for reading the post. It is still so difficult for me to grasp the whole situation. I pray now and then for Knapp when something brings her to mind, usually cued by a lyric or her music, that she would turn back to the Lord.