A California author and pastor, who was raised by three gay parents, is detailing how the Bible transformed his life despite previous attempts to disprove Christianity.
Caleb Kaltenbach, who serves as Research Pastor at Shepherd Church in Los Angeles, found himself saying, “I never want to be a Christian,” after experiencing hatred and anger from Christians who opposed homosexuality.
“My parents divorced when I was two, and they both went into same-sex relationships,” he told host Billy Hallowell on a recent episode of the “Edifi With Billy Hallowell” podcast.
Kaltenbach, the founder of The Messy Grace Group, shared that following the divorce, he and his parents (2 lesbians and a gay man) became pro-LGBT activists where he encountered Christians who “hated gay people.”
“I learned real quick from things that I saw in pride parades, the way how I saw Christians treat people, the way how I saw families ignore their young sons dying of AIDS in the 1980s — I saw real quick that Christians hated gay people,” he said. “And I thought to myself, ‘Man, I never want to be a Christian. If Christians are this bad, I can’t imagine how awful Jesus must be if He’s their leader.’”
When Kaltenbach turned 16, he joined a Bible study as part of an effort to disprove Christianity. His effort, however, would instead lead him to his conversion.
“I became a Christian, changed my view on sexuality to what I hold today — that God designed sexual intimacy and affection to be expressed in a marriage between a man and a woman,” he said.
Additionally, the pastor stressed that “theological beliefs should never be catalysts to devalue others.”
While Kaltenbach’s parents initially kicked him out of the house for becoming a Christian, they later reconciled and realized that he wasn’t like the angry Christians they encountered when he was younger.
His parents would also become Christians years later.
Last month, Kaltenbach published his new book, Messy Truth: How to Foster Community Without Sacrificing Conviction, through which he hopes to help Christians “create a culture of belonging without sacrificing theological convictions.”
Kaltenbach told Hallowell that Christians must learn to show empathy to others.
“We need to employ a lot of empathy … I don’t mean empathy as being a pushover,” he explained. “To me, empathy is similar to humility … empathy is acknowledging somebody’s reality.”
Kaltenbach is a graduate of Biola University. He also received his Doctor of Ministry from Dallas Theological Seminary, according to his LinkedIn page. He has served in associate and lead pastor positions at several churches.