June 23, 2021

In His Image: Delighting in God's Plan for Gender and Sexuality

In this episode, I'm at American Family Association in Tupelo, Mississippi interviewing Kendra White, the director of the documentary In His Image: Delighting in God’s Plan for Gender and Sexuality. The documentary was produced by American Family Studios, division of AFA, and it’s a special film because of the beautiful presentation of the healing Gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone who is hurting and confused either by the church or in the church.

Kendra White is the director of In His Image and producer at American Family Studios. Kendra has produced a wide variety of resources to inspire, uplift, and encourage Christian families.

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Levi (00:02):

Thank you so much for tuning in to the defendant Christianity podcast. I'm your host Levi Dade. And in this podcast, we aim to talk about the evidence and reasons for why the Christian faith is true and why it is good. We do this with the hope to encourage the church, to engage the culture around us and to be ready to give an answer for the hope that we have in Christ Jesus as first Peter three 15 commands. Thank you so much for listening. God bless, welcome back to the defendant Christianity podcast, where we talk about reasons for the faith that we have in Christ with the goal of being able to give an answer for the hope that we have in him. And we do this with gentleness and respect. Today's a special day for quite a few reasons. Actually. the first reason is that this is defendant Christianity's first in-person interview ever.

Levi (00:49):

My first interview ever, this is exciting, a great experience. Not just for me personally, but also professionally as well for the future. Another reason today is special is because I am here at American family association in Tupelo, Mississippi interviewing the director of a documentary that was released last year titled in his image, the lighting in God's plan for gender and sexuality, the documentary was produced by American family studios. And it's a special film because it's a beautiful presentation of the healing gospel of Christ to everyone who is hurting or confused either by the church or in the church. And the last reason today, especially is because not only do we have the director of this documentary, but we also have my dad sitting in with us to, to watch. And, and we're also having a tour today. So he, he tagged along with me today, Kendra white is the director of in his image and, and the producer and a producer at American family studios from directing faith-based films, such as snow white to writing AFH children animation series, Ryan D Freddy's secret agent Kendra has produced a wide variety of resources to inspire uplift and encourage Christian families.

Levi (02:03):

It's such an honor to be able to sit down as the first in-person interview ever to happen on this show and to talk to her about these issues that Christians need to be prepared for. Kendra, thank you so much for being willing to sit down and talk about in his image. How are you? Hey, Levi,

Kendra (02:19):

Thanks so much for having me on it's an honor to be here with you. And it's awesome to see someone, your age engaging with apologetics. You tackle some really important topics that some people are terrified to talk about. So yeah, it's great to be here with you. Well, I just,

Levi (02:36):

I think that God provided so much evidence and just logical reasons for us to be assured of our faith, not just from the Bible, but also just tangible things that we can see and feel with our hands. And so Christian should use that to their advantage and not be afraid of it. But for those who are listening, can you just tell us a little bit about what a American family association is and along those lines, what about American family studios and what y'all do as a mission as well?

Kendra (03:06):

Absolutely. So the ministry I work for American family association their whole thing is about fulfilling the great commission. So I mean, as believers, that's all of us, but the way that they specifically do that is by informing equipping and activating people to help transform American culture. And so we do that

through radio. We have several radio stations, we have an AFA journal, we have also American family studio. So that's the division that I work for. So we make documentaries, we make feature films, as you mentioned, we make church resources really, however we can help impact culture with a biblical worldview. That's, that's our goal. And I will say I think you mentioned one of our feature films in your intro. It is not snow white. I did not work on that

Levi (03:56):
Summer, know why I was like, ah, I

Kendra (04:00):
Think so I could be wrong, but I don't quite get credit for that in my notes. Right. And I directed summer

snow so I can see how that would

Speaker 3 (04:09): Happen. But yeah,

Kendra (04:11):
I unfortunately, I mean, did not, did not work on that one, but no you're buying, so it's images are recent

documentary and yeah, we're, we're really glad to talk about it.

Levi (04:23):
Well, awesome. Y'all do a great job on it. So how did you personally get involved with AFS and AFA and

how did you come about being a part of that team? Yeah,

Kendra (04:33):

Great question. So I was right out of college. I knew that media was something that God had called me to, I wanted to, to use media to help be a missionary in impact culture. When I was in in China in the 2008 Olympics, I was working as a student really awesome internship when you get paid to go to China for the Olympics. But I was met a lot of these interns and other Chinese students that were so influenced by American films. And it just, it kind of opened my eyes to the idea that if I go into film I films and the things that I make can go places that I never can. And I love missions. I love traveling. I honestly thought that the Lord was going to take me overseas. I was on a missions trip in Israel right after college.

Kendra (05:21):

And I had told the Lord, literally, I was like, God, I'm open to go anywhere. And I had in my mind, like, I'm going back to China, I'm going to like Africa somewhere exotic, very interesting. He's going to send me somewhere. And I said, in fact, God, if some opportunity comes, no matter how crazy it is, I'll at least look into it and give you the chance to say yes or no. I won't turn it down just because it's crazy. And literally right after I prayed that I'm on the mission field in Israel for a short-term missions trip about a month. And an email comes through from a friend she's like, Hey, there's this ministry in Tupelo, Mississippi that I think you'd be perfect. And I was like, where Tupelo? That's not exotic. Some might think it's exotic. I don't know. But so I actually submitted my resume as an act of faith.

Kendra (06:09):

Cause I told God that I would, I was like, well, this isn't going to turn into anything, but I almost submit this and we'll just see what happens. So little did I know AFA kind of researched me offered me the job said come on down and find out about us. So I came down and loved what AFA does because they're willing to stand up on some topics that a lot of other believers are just get nervous and back down. And I loved their courage. I loved that. They were all about the pro-life issue, all about family, all about marriage, all about all the things that got me excited. And they were like, we love your gifts. Come make stuff for us. And yeah.

Levi (06:50):

Well I think that you do an amazing job here with, with all the y'all all that you produce and help produce. So you obviously directed in his image as we're talking about today. What can you tell us about how that idea for it came about? What inspired the idea of talk,

Speaker 3 (07:08):
Talking about such a controversial issue.

Kendra (07:10):

So I didn't want to do it if I'm honest with you. None of us in American family studios were thrilled about this topic at first, at first because AFA came to us and they said, Hey, we keep getting calls from families who love our ministry, who are going through this topic and they need something, they need a resource. This is something that is not just affecting people outside of the church, but it is families in the church and make something. So we were like, okay, it's like, it's such a broad topic. And then we're like, there's transgenderism there, same-sex attraction, there's pornography. There's all of these issues that often get lumped together, but they're very different issues and we're trying to figure out what, what aspects do we tackle and, and take on. And, and I was very hesitant at the beginning to get involved because of the, honestly the personal it's a big ask when you stepped out on this topic. Of course I believed what the Bible said. I honestly didn't feel like the person for the job. I knew the Bible had verses about this. I probably couldn't have done a great job giving an apologetic response to this. Like I, I knew what it said, but I wasn't just sharp and ready to talk about the issue. Of course. So I was like, this seems

Speaker 3 (08:31):
Like something somebody else should do

Kendra (08:33):

And you know, but then, then I started praying about it and God just put on my heart a heavy burden for this topic. And in the middle of this I went to a Christian school. I had several individuals that I knew and loved and cared about that started coming out. And it was just this devastating realization one after another you know, a dear friend's younger sister that, you know, we kicked it around with and to, to see as I was researching these stories and seeing that some of these, these lifestyles end in brokenness and it might be enjoyable for a moment, but there's so much pain and heartache and that comes with these things. And my heart just begin, begin to be broken for my friends and not understanding how did this happen? Because we, we went to the, like, we went to church together.

Kendra (09:24):

Like we both sat in the same herd, the same sermons. Like we know what the Bible says, what, and trying to understand like what in their life led them to this path. And what sort of brokenness did they

experience that I missed or didn't understand. And what sort of lies are some in, in the church telling that that makes you feel comfortable in that sin? So as I was really grieving that and feeling like, well, something really needs to be done. The Lord just burdened me to say, look, you are no expert, but I want you to do this and I'm going to help you along the way.

Levi (09:58):

Well, it's very encouraging just to see your submission in that, even though you were very uncomfortable in it and just kind of skeptical about how you thought you would do, but God knew exactly how you were going to do. And I think I can just speak for everybody and say that you did an amazing job.

Speaker 3 (10:15):
So thank you so much

Levi (10:17):
For, for all that you've done with it. Can you tell our listeners what are some of the best ways that they

can get their eyes on the film if they want to watch it themselves? Absolutely.

Kendra (10:26):

So we have, if you go to in his image.movie, that's our website and there are a ton of resources for you there, you can watch the film for free. We have a ton of additional bonus features over three hours of bonus features that you can watch these videos. We've got books that we recommend. We have a prodigal prayer emphasis. That's like families that are struggling with this can submit a prayer request and connect with other families that are dealing with this. We've got ministries that help people with this. All of that's available on our website at, in his image.movie. We also recently released the film on YouTube as a way to want to, to reach more people. So if you go to the website, you have to enter your email address in order to watch the film. And some that struggle with these things are like, I'm not giving them nothing. So they're kind of like scared by the intern email. So we said, let's, let's put this on YouTube. We just want to give this away for free so people can see, and

Levi (11:21):
That's on the, in his image YouTube channel. Yes. And if

Kendra (11:24):
You just type in, in his image full movie, it should be the first thing that should pop up. And

Levi (11:29):
The channel also has small, smaller clips that also come from the the extra,

Speaker 3 (11:35):
The bonus features. Yeah. The bonus features interviews that aren't even looking

Levi (11:39):

At it. And then I saw that and I thought that was really cool. Really gracious. Just the fact that y'all were just put it out so willingly and it doesn't cost money or anything. People can just hear the truth and they

can do it for free. I think that's amazing. So in the film was hosted by Dr. Michael Brown, where he comes on the, on the screen from time to time he introduces what the film's about to address. Next. First of all, for those who don't know who Michael Brown is, can you just tell us who he is and then why you decided to have him as the guy?

Kendra (12:09):

He is incredible. First of all, like if whoever gets to have him as their grandfather is so blessed, like I want him to come be my, my grandfather loved love Michael Brown. He he, of course he's an apologist, he's a scholar. He's, he is the person who has written so many books on this topic. He's one of the, the go-to people, as far as answering the question of, can you be gay and Christian, he wrote

Speaker 3 (12:36):
A book about it. He's written for over 40 years.

Kendra (12:39):

He knows the Greek and the Hebrew. In fact, he, even in addition to hosting the film was so gracious. He didn't just come on screen. He actually helped give a lot of oversight as I was directing this. And we had some Greek and Hebrew words that appeared on the screen. And I was like, I don't know if this is the actual Greek word. And he was like, okay, let me get into that check, make sure you guys are doing it right. But yeah, we, we picked Michael Brown because actually there was a clip that I saw of him interacting with a young lesbian woman or a woman who had struggled with same sex attraction. He has a sh show that he's done for many years and he takes guest callers. And a lot of apologists can get into that zone of defending Christianity where it's like, I got to prove the point.

Kendra (13:28):

I got to make the case and that's all really good and helpful. But there's also a moment in your Christian journey where you have to recognize that it's not about winning an argument, but winning a soul, you know, and sometimes you have to know when to speak and when to be silent. And I watched Michael Brown with this person interact so graciously and they were just so wrong about so many things, but he kind of just had a way of cutting through all of that and cutting to the heart of the matter and being very compassionate to this individual, but still presenting truth to them. And I was like, yep, that's who I want. I want him

Speaker 3 (14:05):
To host our documentary. I mean,

Levi (14:07):

Darryl Bach has, was on the show just a couple of episodes ago actually. And it was on his book, cultural intelligence and he says something very profound. He says that, you know, we can say something and it can be right. But if our tone is wrong, we're still wrong. Right. And I think that's so true. We needed to be just full of love and grace when we talk to these people and engage. I completely. Yeah. Yeah. And, and

Kendra (14:28):

There's a time for, for your tone to be harsh. And there's a time to understand and be sensitive to the situation. I mean, I think a lot of times with this issue of homosexuality people say, oh, well, watch your tone, watch your tone. And the way they say it is, is stop talking of what you're saying, but there is a way to say it lovingly and still get that truth out there. You know, I think of John, the Baptist in the, in the desert saying repent for the kingdom of heaven is near, I think he's like the Mo he was the, the Bible equivalent of the guy who holds a sign on the street and is like repent. And you're like, he's a little crazy. So like, well, I don't think necessarily yelling at people is the best approach. There are certain times in culture where God does call you to just say truth bluntly and you know, but, but yeah, obviously having that, that loving background is important

Levi (15:20):
For sure. And that, that's what it is. Something that people call servant apologetics is when you're

putting the argument side of, of the apologetics on hold

Speaker 3 (15:31):
And you just listen to them

Levi (15:33):
And you're just listening, listening to the person and hearing them, letting them be heard, lead a


Kendra (15:38):
So much by asking questions, Greg Coco.

Speaker 3 (15:43): Yeah, absolutely.

Levi (15:45):
I'm going to have him on in July. I'm, I'm excited about that as well. The middle, he also goes through a

pretty deep theology on gender, marriage and sexuality. Can you unpack that? Yeah.

Kendra (15:56):

So, you know as we, we decided to take on both the topic of same sex attraction and transgenderism, which how do you squeeze both of those interim documentary? We knew we wanted to hit the transgenderism side of things because it is everywhere and it's the most recent but we felt like the answer to that was also the same as the answer of same sex attraction. So when you get into these topics specifically, I'm thinking transgenderism, you, you're saying, man, God created two genders according to Genesis there's male and there's female. Well, what is male? What does that mean? What does it mean to be male? What does it mean to be female? What does it mean? Apart from, of course there's the basic biology, so we're going to, we know we're going to be getting into science in this documentary, but we're also going to be getting into something of the essence of, of these these two sex is the essence of what's at the core heart of Amanda what's at the core heart of a woman.

Kendra (16:57):

And I kind of felt like if we're going to make a documentary about trans genders and we have to define biblical womanhood and manhood, and this was interesting for me because I had, I didn't know how to even form a definition. So you know of like, okay, I know, I know Genesis, but let's, let's get out the magnifying glass and study this a little more closely. So for that, we had Mary Caspian on she was one of the contributors. She wrote a book called true woman 1 0 1 divine design. And so she breaks Genesis down word by word, into like, what are some of the things that are at the heart and core of a man because there's cultural stereotypes. And then there's the biblical definition. So just as an example for me, I hate shopping. I am not one of these girls who loves going to the mall.

Kendra (17:46):

I hate them all. I just really, I don't like it. And if, if culture defines womanhood, as you have to love shopping, like they're going to take my woman card, you know, but that's not in the Bible anywhere that I have to love hanging out at the mall. That's something that the society has said. So in, in dividing that really zooming in on some of those words in Genesis, like, you know, he put man in the garden to work it and to keep it, and that he's the priest over his family. And then the woman being, here's the word I'm gonna say, helper, you know, we don't like to talk about that word. And, and then of course that got me into the messy category of like biblical submission and like, how do we talk about this in a world where a lot of men have really mistreated women.

Kendra (18:28):

But just the word male makes people angry nowadays, not, you know, so we, we also brought on Abraham Hamilton from American family association and between Mary and Abraham Hamilton they really laid the groundwork for what biblical manhood and womanhood is in the film going through Genesis, you know, and parsing out all of these, these scriptures and, and really laying a biblical foundation for those things. And we felt like that was, I debated be honest with you taking this whole section out of the film, because I was like, let's get to all these other things, but it felt like so foundational that we just couldn't skip it. Yeah.

Levi (19:03):
And I'm so glad you didn't, because it helped me understand things like theologically, like I'm a sociology

geek. So that was something that was really interesting to me

Kendra (19:14):
Learn anything about the core essence of being a man and I've been taking it on. Oh, that's awesome.

That's awesome.

Levi (19:22):
You, you said something a few minutes ago now I was going to follow up on it and I'm just totally

blanking on it now.

Speaker 3 (19:28):
It's cause I asked you a question. Yeah.

Levi (19:30):

It threw me off, but the movie also includes some personal testimonies from people who have also struggled from these things who have seen it in their lives in some sense or another, what can you tell us about the people who you brought in to just testify to share their testimony about, about their struggle with, with these issues? Let me

Kendra (19:49):

Just say they're the real deal. They're incredible people. Like one of the things that's awesome about being a filmmaker is you get to go to these people and like film in their home and meet their church family and their actual family and like incredible people. And I have so much respect for those that we that we interviewed and it was neat how the Lord brought each one of them and their stories to us. It really was a God thing. But just to give you some examples, we have Laura Perry and her mom Francine Perry. So Laura lived eight years as a she, so she was born a woman Tran transitioned became a man lived well. Didn't actually become a man because that's not possible, but lived as a man for eight years until the Lord radically transformed her heart.

Kendra (20:38):

And meanwhile her mom was praying and interceding for her. Both of her parents were just integral in, in praying. And they had a group, a women's Bible study that would meet regularly and pray for Laura. And so she ended up accepting Christ first coming back to the Lord, but was still living as a man and God was working on her heart and was like, Hey, if you're going to be a child of mine, like this is something that you have to deal with. So we, we get to tell her story. And I think what a lot of people in the film relate to Laura is they like hearing a mom's story of the freak out of like, oh my goodness, my child is going through this and that. So you kind of get to two stories, Laura's story, and a parent who is watching a child go down this path story.

Kendra (21:23):

And then there's such an amazing way that this Bible study loved on Laura and helped her through that transition. And it's just such a like for, for so many parents, it's been such an encouraging glimmer of hope for them to pray for deliverance in their child. Seeing Laura come back. It's not just one story, but we also have Walt Hyer. He's been well-known for several years. He also dealt with transgender and lived as a woman for about the same, about eight years. And then of course we have Stephen Black from first stone ministries. He struggled with same-sex attraction, lived as a, a gay man and God radically transformed his life. And then we tell the story of Denise Shick. And so she, it was actually her dad who transitioned and lived as a woman and like left their family. So she dealt with like grieving the loss of a parent that didn't actually die, but is no longer their parent. And I w I wanted to include her story because I think that's a unique perspective that like, even those that aren't struggling with this issue themselves, there's a lot of families that are dealing with the, it's almost like a grenade that goes off and it, the, the shrapnel affects the families and churches need to be equipped to love families through these things.

Levi (22:38):

And the movie was targeted for Christians for the church. I think it's very cool how you have that, but you also have the fact that it's applicable for anybody who's in this issue either. You transitioned to a male or you transitioned to be a female, or you're dealing with same sex attraction or you're somebody else in your family is dealing with it. Like, how do we deal with it? It's ethical for any situation. Yeah. And even

Kendra (23:01):

Identity disorders. We had someone that struggled with anorexia that watched the film, and there were like the principles of understanding my identity being in Christ was the same thing. And it applied and help them be

Speaker 3 (23:12):
Delivered. Yeah. That's so cool.

Levi (23:14):
Wow. Just watching God's sovereign work, know

Kendra (23:17):

It comes back to that, that scene in the film, we have this, we got to film a Potter and he was forming clay. You know, we went out and shot that. And I love that passage of scripture because it says, you know who is the clay to say to the Potter? Why did you make me this way? And I think with a world where kids have grown up with evolution being taught in schools, we've, we've walked away from the idea of God being our creator and the the results that come from really believing that if, if he is your creator, then he gets to design you and what your purpose is. And if you're struggling in life, and if you're listening to this podcast and you're struggling to find your identity, who am I, what's my purpose in life, go to the one who made you, because he holds the answer.

Levi (24:05):
Amen. Amen. He, he doesn't, he can, as my dad was, was discussing, like he has a power to break you

free of any. And I think that's, that's just so satisfying tonight of delivering

Kendra (24:20):

People like that is what he does. And that's, that's one of the things that the, the, the other side will say, well, change is not possible. You know, you can't, you can't experience any level of freedom from same- sex attraction. Like it's so rare. You're born this way. You're stuck in this way. Well, that is denying the power of the gospel. And there's the verse that says that. And you know, some of you, a heart denying the power of the gospel, the gospel transforms us. And even though as believers, you might not be able to personally identify with those that struggle with these things. That's a really heavy cross to bear to. I mean, honestly, the, the people that I've talked to that have struggled with these things, they did not ask for this. They did not ask to be abused. They did not ask for family trauma or the way the cards that were dealt to them in life were not something they ever would have picked, you know?

Kendra (25:14):

And so I think it's easy for us to come to that and go, oh my gosh, that's so ridiculous to ask someone who struggles with same sex attraction to honor God and to be lonely their whole life and to never get married. I just can't ask that that's too mean, you know, but that just because it's a heavy cross to bear that we don't understand that cross, we all, as believers have a cross to bear, that's what being a Christian is, is taking up and being like, I don't feel like doing this, but I'm going to do it

Speaker 3 (25:43):
Because I want to be obedient to God. Amen.

Levi (25:45):

I think what you said about people think that they can't change. It's like, well, two things, really the whole story of the Bible. If you could say it in one word, the theme of the Bible is redemption. My daughter's redeeming us to be who he created us to be. And the second thing is people sometimes say that because they start in Genesis three and 17 says one, like your primal identity is not center. As some people start, when, when they share the gospel, they start in Genesis three, you're a sinner. You change. Well, that means that you need to be something else. Now you need to go back to what you were created to be your primal identity is the image

Kendra (26:17):

That's so good. And that beautiful picture of Genesis when you study that, and you realize that so many of the things that you fight against are the results of sin. God, that was not his plan. That brokenness was not his

Levi (26:31):
Plan. God didn't make you differently out of what the the Bible describes that he did. Sam has just

distorted our view of ourselves and that's what it comes down to. And of course, there's

Kendra (26:44):

Right now, there's a big push for this gay Christianity and the church that says it's okay to be I'm going to identify as a gay Christian. I'm just not going to act on it, but I'm going to call myself this. But this is just who I am. Well, the idea of God making somebody transgender or God putting those desires in them for the wrong thing, to me, is more cruel than what they accuse us of doing. Why would you, why would you give somebody a desire for something that can never be fulfilled and, you know, ask them to go through this life of pain. And so those desires I believe even though they're hard for some people that struggle with them to identify what was the root cause of them and a lot, I've had people that have watched this film that have said, I, I, you know, I don't think it was abuse for me. I just, I don't know where this came from. Well, regardless of how it started, you need to be born again. We are all born into sin.

Levi (27:42):

Yeah. There's no Christian who has been a Christian, their whole lives. There was a time where they had accept Christ. So, so we all are on equal playing ground there. I think also with the whole guy, Christianity gay Christian thing is that it kind of disqualifies the process of sanctification. They're being made more like Christ and not like the world you're

Kendra (28:03):

Tagging onto your identity, a sin construct. So tied into, you know, I would never say I am an adulterous Christian, like let's say I struggled. I struggled with stealing. I would never introduce myself and be like, Hey, I'm, I'm Kendra thieving, Christian. And I know this seems like semantics to people because they, they want to be true to the actual struggles that they deal with. A lot of people that identify as gay Christians, the reason they do that is because they're like, there's this thing about me that I don't know how to get rid of, and I want to be truthful about it, but it's it's, it's a small change, but I would encourage you not to say I am a gay Christian, but rather I am a Christian period. I struggle with same- sex attraction. Yeah. Separate sentence, you know, and just by putting the word I struggle with lets you

know that this is an unwanted attraction, this is something that I acknowledge is not pleasing to God, but it might be a while.

Kendra (29:08):

Like the deliverance process for people is so different, you know, in our, in our film we have a variety of different people. Like some people experience complete deliverance on the spot from same-sex attraction. Some people it's something they struggle with their whole life, but they have to choose obedience. And, and I think what it comes down to in the film Laura Perry has a statement that I love. And basically she said that she realized that it's, it's not about feelings. It's about faith. It's she quotes from one of the the Puritan hymns. That was a great sin. If I make feeling a cause of faith, you know, and I had a young lady that I was speaking with recently and awesome testimony. She said she watched in his image and for years she's prayed and asked the Lord, would you just take away the same sex attraction?

Kendra (30:02):

If you don't want me to be gay, then I'm open to it, but take it away. And the feeling never left her. That feeling was always there. And she tried to not feel it, but it's like trying to not think of the, you know, purple elephant in the room like, Hey, you know, you just can't avoid it. And so she said, when she watched the film and heard these other testimonies, she realized that maybe it's enough for me to just choose obedience to Christ. And maybe it doesn't matter what I feel. And that was eye opening for her. And I think for a lot of people that struggle with this as Christians, we need to be compassionate because they really do feel trapped and the way the world streamlines the argumentation is that if they feel this, if this thing, if, if their truth is that they have same-sex attraction that, you know, they, the Bible says you can't have that. And so you're doomed. I mean that they call themselves an abomination. Well, I guess I'm an abomination then because I can't change this

Levi (31:03):
Well, that's true. But also like to point out I think it's sums four that says there are six things that the

Lord hates seven that are an abomination to him at least off 700 things.

Speaker 3 (31:13): Abomination, homosexuality.

Levi (31:16):
Isn't just this higher up offense to God. There are, I mean, it's just saying that all sin is an abomination to

him because it goes against the very nature of who he is. I'll push back you on

Kendra (31:28):

That a little bit, because I changed my mind on this topic, doing this film. So I've always heard, you know, Austin is equal in the sight of God. And to some extent I, I agree because Austin is equal in that it equally condemns us to hell and we're all equally guilty, but no, I don't think anybody would argue if I said that the sin of gluttony you know, Ooh, I ate a little too much pie and I just, I really Gorge myself that that's a worst sin than murdering children.

Speaker 3 (31:58):

No, I agree with that. I agree.

Kendra (32:01):

A little worse. And one of the things that's tricky about people that bring up, this are all sins equal topic. The reason they bring it up is because what they want to do is they want to identify that you have sin in your life. And so it's not that they're trying to point how bad gluttony is. What they're trying to do is make homosexuality seem not as bad when they bring up this argument. And so actually if you look at scripture not that there's levels of sin per se, but there are certain things that, like you said, that God says, these are an abomination to me and he lists off six or seven things. Well, if God's specifically call something an abomination to him, it's specifically offensive to him. And I think a lot of the ones that are specifically offensive to him are because they don't just affect one person, but they have kind of like we talked about that grenade effect. They have the ability to not only implode you and your personal body, but everybody else that that becomes a part of this. And so as harsh as that is to say, I would encourage anybody that has questions on our, on our website in his image.movie, there's actually a video called are all sins equal.

Speaker 3 (33:09):
Yes. Sean McDowell. And

Kendra (33:12):
We also have James White answering that question and, or maybe it's maybe Robert Gagnan I'm

forgetting, but they did an excellent job explaining it.

Levi (33:22):

Yeah. And I think what you say is very true. And I was actually reading first John not long ago because I did a sermon on it for my church, but I was reading the end of it and what he said, kind of maybe alludes to Austin as an equal. So I've been doing a lot of research on it lately. And I came to the same conclusion, I guess I was just saying that homosexuality alone is not an

Speaker 3 (33:45):
Abomination, not the only abutment. There are other abominations you mentioned in scripture. And

Kendra (33:51):

We're all in the sense of how high and how holy God is. I love in the Psalms. There's a verse where have you, you've probably heard this first quota that my thoughts are not your thoughts and my ways are not your

Speaker 3 (34:03):
Is Isaiah. Thank you. And the,

Kendra (34:05):
The context of it that we usually think is like, gosh, we just,

Speaker 3 (34:10):
Yeah, we'll just never know how great and how big God is. It's actually

Kendra (34:13):

A moral argument. So in, in the verses preceding it, he's talking about how man's ways are wicked, but God's ways are holy. And so even our own holiness how much holier is God's idea of holy than our idea of holy. He says it's as higher as high as the heavens are from the earth. So it's like, you know, even if, if we really look at who God is and his holiness, I think any, any sin makes you feel the weight of, of your sin and the need for Jesus,

Levi (34:48):
Hold it up. Because I think three months ago that was brought to my attention about the context of that

passage, because Frank Turk did a yeah. Yes

Speaker 3 (34:56):
He did. Did you watch it? Oh, that's great. That's, he's the one that brought that up to me too. Yeah, it's

Levi (35:01):

So cool. How he did it on one of his hope, hope one broadcasts or, or hope life. And, and it was just really interesting. So, so I wanna kind of transition what are, what are some of the positive feedback that you've got from, from doing this film? Yeah. Have

Kendra (35:19):

A wide variety of things. I think some, one of my most exciting comments that I got back with someone that said, this film changed my mind about this topic. And that was like, and it was a believer, you know? And then we had a, we had a pastor who contacted us and he said, I, this to my church. And God changed my heart to realize that I need to be more compassionate to people that are struggling with this and realizing, wow, how how devastating it is for those that struggle with these. And so he said that we have had a few people that have watched, we had had one lesbian couple that contacted us and said that they watched the film. They have decided they want to honor God with their sexuality. Please pray for us. It's going to be really hard. But also I feel for them, cause that's emotional

Speaker 3 (36:09):
For me, there's a lot to walk through.

Kendra (36:11):

And so you're not just asking. I mean, it's like when a Muslim person accepts Christ and the family, you know, it's it, it's a, it's a big thing to convert, you know, to Christianity. And it's a big thing to have to give up something that's such a personal part of your identity, but your family in many contexts often. Yeah. And it's a relationship that you're in and a lot of them feel very strongly. I don't know that I can ever, at least in the case of same-sex attraction, I don't know that I could ever be attracted to the opposite gender. So according to your standard, this condemns me to a life of singleness. They use the term condemns. I wouldn't use that term, but so you really are asking a heavy thing of people that choose obedience to Christ. But of course there's verses in scripture that talk about God, places, the lonely in families. And then like there is no lonely in the body of Christ. There's only there's only community. Yeah.

Levi (37:07):

I even when you're single, right, Sean, my dad talks about that in his book, chasing love that singleness has a purpose as well. While you might feel lonely you to mirror what it's going to be like in heaven in that nobody's going to be married and you still mirrored the community that we're going to have together. And what a, what

Kendra (37:25):

A responsibility that is for us as believers, who don't struggle with these issues to embrace those that are trying to honor God with their sexuality and invite them to become a part of our families and our lives. And it might be messy in helping them with that transition. But Christianity is messy. I mean, Tran the transformation process is a process and you gotta be willing to invite those people into your lives. And you know, tell them like, come hang out with my family. You know what I mean? Those that are really truly seeking God. I think that's an awesome opportunity for us because if you look at what the LGBT community offers, it is an LGBTQ community and they are very embracing and they are ready with open arms to come here and let us love on you. I'll be your mom. I'll be your dad. You know, I'll be your family. And so as believers, we got to step up our game on loving those that are, that are sludging through the carrying the cross, trying to honor God, I

Levi (38:29):
Couldn't say it even better. Amen. What is some of the negative feedback, if any, that you've got from

producing this film? Oh,

Speaker 3 (38:37): Goodness. Okay. Well, to

Kendra (38:41):

Be honest, I expected a whole lot more. I was, I was like brace, like I was ready to take the hits. But for the most part we haven't gotten as much of a backlash as, as I thought we would. But of course you know, the, well we w w there are some, some blog posts that have been made about the film that actually I take this as a compliment. They were encouraging LGBTQ people to not go see in his image because it was well-made and was what did they say emotionally compelling.

Speaker 3 (39:17):
So the right don't go watch it. You guys, you're going to turn, you know, around. I don't know. I was like,

oh, I'll take that as

Kendra (39:22):

A compliment. But yeah, you know, I mean, me personally, just standing on this issue, I've had friends on Facebook, you know, defriend me over this topic. They don't want to hear it. You know, as far as far as AFA in the ministry is concerned. I think for years, we've been known for standing up on this issue. So people already, the people that already know and hate AFA,

Speaker 3 (39:47):
They're not surprised by this doc room. Here's another one from AMA, you know, but, you know,

Kendra (39:53):

I think for me personally just I had that moment where I was like, okay, this is the line in the stand. Like, I'm, I'm agreeing to do this project. And I have friends and family members that aren't going to like it, but I'm on board Lord. Like here I am use me. And there was something about Amazon, right? Yes. Yes. Thank you. So yeah, so we, we tried to put the film up on Amazon and they wouldn't take the content because of new community standards. We've added, I don't know if I can even mention on air some of the other wow. Lawsuits and things that we've passed, excluded in the name of inclusion tolerance. Thank you. It's a great way to put it. Yeah. The censorship issue is real and a lot of the even the contributors in our film that have books out like Ryan Anderson his book on when Harry met Sally.

Kendra (40:44):

And so Walt higher have specifically been censored. Just, I mean, what, hire's just telling his story, he's just saying I'm, I'm a D transitioner. And they're like, yeah, no, that, that violates our policies. And it's, again, we're, we're really grateful for the places that we have been able to put the film. So I'm not at Liberty to express everything, but I will say AFA had a huge attack and took a financial hit when we first released this, this film by people we regularly do business with that would not do business with us and sent out, I mean, it was, it was a really, God, God helped and delivered us from that. But the, the censorship issue is huge and we kind of viewed it as this. We were like, the more people don't want to talk about our stuff, the more it gives us a chance to say, Hey, they don't want to talk about our stuff. And the more it makes people that struggle with this issue, curious, like the film, Facebook and YouTube and Amazon prime and the world doesn't want you to see. Yeah, it's funny. Cause like,

Levi (41:52):
If you think about a little kid, if you tell them not to do it, they're tempted to. And so I think if, if this is

just a big red flag, right, they're going to run right through it in many cases, at least.

Kendra (42:02):
So that's honestly us putting it up on YouTube. We were like, you know, we might get taken off, but

we're, we're here while we are. And

Levi (42:10):
I'm glad it's less, it's been out there for at least one a month. Now

Kendra (42:14):
We, we just, it wasn't too long ago that we did it. And I think that, that, that reaches a niche that our

website isn't, isn't reaching. Yeah,

Levi (42:23):

I think so. I think it's a really great opportunity for people to hear the truth who don't have access to it or who don't even hear about y'all. Is there anything you would like to say before we wrap up to someone who is following Jesus or who wants to follow Jesus, but just it's filling the way down from having same-sex attractions and is maybe just at a crossroads on how there are going to respond to this. Are they going to go and live the desires of their heart or are they going to follow Jesus? Like what, what would you say to just encourage them?

Kendra (42:54):

I would want them to know God's heart for them and that he loves them. Because it speaking with someone recently, they they said, you know, I understand the condemnation side of God, but I have trouble understanding that God could love me because of what I've gone through. And so if you're listening to this, like God, doesn't pick us pick to love us because we're lovable because if so, I don't, I think there's a lot of myself included that wouldn't make the list. You know, God loves us because he chose to love us because of his love, because of his graciousness because of Jesus. And so I guess I would tell that person that struggling God loves you and wants to have a relationship with you. He has a calling and a plan on your life and never under estimate how he can take a life and transform it for his glory and for his purposes. And he takes broken things. This is what he does. He takes broken things and he fixes them. He heals broken hearts and there is certainly hope for you in, in Jesus. And yeah. Awesome.

Levi (44:04):
Thank you so much. And so is there anything that you would like to say to Christians who want to talk

and love people who are in the LGBTQ community, but just aren't exactly sure how yeah. Don't be in

Speaker 3 (44:17): Any, so what I want

Kendra (44:19):

To say to every Christian, like if you think, yeah, no more snowflakes on this issue. Like this is, imagine that there are people drowning all around you and you have life vests, you know, Jesus, you know, that he is what saves people, you know, and we have the truth as believers. And if you're going to stick your head in a Saint in the sand and be quiet on this, because you're afraid of losing Facebook friends, like you'll have to be accountable to that. On any eternity, you know, and not saying that you have to do this in a public public way, you don't have to go make a documentary about it. But if there's someone in your church that you think might be struggling with this, have the guts to just invite them out to coffee and say, Hey, I would like to hear your story.

Kendra (45:06):

And I've noticed, you know, that, you know, maybe you cut your hair and maybe you, you know, maybe, you know, from something they've said on Facebook that, you know, there, there's usually the signs that kind of are flags to us that somebody is going through this, this this struggle or, you know transition and have a conversation with them, pull up a chair. If it's a family member that, you know, like be bold, like the, what I love about the Lord is that his holy spirit empowers us. He says he gives us his spirit and he says, you will be my witnesses. And, you know, the holy spirit is going to empower you to go do that, you know? And so when you open your mouth, there are just so many times when the holy spirit gives you those words to say, so just be willing to open your mouth. Mm

Levi (45:55):

Yeah. Amen. Kendra, thank you so much for being here today and for, for just answering these questions and being willing to just stand up for the gospel and what it means and what it can do in the lives of those who are willing to just obey and, and just allow it to change who they are inside and

Speaker 3 (46:14):
Out. Well, I'm blessed for your program. Thank

Levi (46:16):
You so much. So just one more time, where can listeners watch the, the movie in his image, movie.in his

image.movie, you can go to our website

Kendra (46:28):

Or you can go to YouTube to watch the film in his image YouTube channel. So in his image.movie, you can submit if you have, if you listen to this podcast and you have a loved one or you yourself are struggling you can submit a prayer request on our practical prayer tab. And we have a prayer team that meets over those and prays for them regularly. And

Levi (46:49):

That was, I also has a lot of great resources as well to help you too. So thank you so much and no problem. Thank you so much for joining us today on Phinney Christianity podcast. I hope and pray that you were encouraged and strengthened in your faith. And if you're someone who's seeking truth, I hope and pray that you have gotten closer to that because Jesus is the truth. Join us next time on the defendant Christianity podcast. God bless.

Kendra WhiteProfile Photo

Kendra White

Producer / Director

Kendra White is the director of In His Image and producer at American Family Studios. From directing faith-based films such as Summer Snow to writing AFA’s children’s animated series Ryan Defrates: Secret agent, Kendra has produced a wide variety of resources to inspire, uplift, and encourage Christian families.