Caleb Kaltenbach

How a Pastor with Gay Parents Learned to Love Others Without Sacrificing Conviction

The issue of sexual identity and Christianity is one of the biggest hot buttons for today's culture. Questions surface such as "what does the Bible have to say about same-sex issues" and "how can we balance grace and truth." In Messy Grace, Caleb tells his story of being raised in the LGBT community by his parents, accepting Christ, becoming a pastor, and looking at what the Bible has to say about sexual identity. Through biblical teaching, Caleb helps his readers understand how they can love others without sacrificing biblical convictions. In addition, he shows evangelicals how to treat people well and nurture healthy, respectful, and biblically informed relationships with people in the LGBT community. This is a must-read for everyone no matter what position you take on the topic of sexuality and Christianity.


When Caleb Kaltenbach was a toddler, his parents divorced and independently came out of the closet as a gay man and a lesbian. As a result, Caleb was lovingly raised in the LGBT community. He attended LGBT parties with his mother and partner, marched in pride parades...and experienced hatred and bitterness from Christians. To his enduring surprise, Caleb became a Christian and a pastor as a young adult. 

Messy Grace invites readers into what may be the most urgent and difficult conversation evangelical Christians face today: how can we hold true to what the Bible says about sexuality and be gracious at the same time? In other words, how can we wrestle with the tension of grace and truth? What does it look like to love and treat people well even if we disagree with them? What is my response if someone "comes out" to me? This book will help you find answers to these questions and other issues that you might not have thought of yet.

Through a revealing personal story, biblical teaching, and practical solutions, Caleb's non-judgmental voice and life-tested counsel will appeal to people who understand that despite good intentions, some Christians have done great harm and we desperately need constructive answers.

caleb.kaltenbach copy


Caleb Kaltenbach 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.




Jud Wilhite

Pastor of Central Christian Church

Messy Grace is a important contribution to the conversation about sexual identity for churches and leaders. Caleb's story is surprising and unique, and he weaves it together compellingly. He states his views clearly, leaves room for disagreement, and champions love no matter where you are in this conversation.


Reggie Joiner

Founder of ReThink

Today's world offers fewer easy answers than ever before. And even more, the answers the church is giving are responses to questions no one is really asking. Caleb Kaltenbach cuts through the confusion and talks about what it really means to love people and what is really means to follow God--and how they're not mutually exclusive ideas. The answer the world is looking for is messy and it's full of grace. When you start with the right question like Caleb does, it makes it a lot easier to get to that answer.


Jack Graham

Pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church

Messy Grace, written by my friend Caleb Kaltenbach, is a personal story of God’s incredible grace and a call to love people as God loves. The message of this important book combines grace and truth and offers hope to a broken generation. Messy Grace is pure truth spoken in love and will help you relate to every person in a way that pleases God.


Lane Jones

Founder Member of North Point Church

This is an important conversation for the church today and no one's story makes them better suited for it than Caleb Kaltenbach.  In a world that tries to force everyone to take sides, Caleb speaks from the inside of both worlds.  Gay or straight, Christian or non-Christian, everyone can learn from and be impacted by Messy Grace


Kyle Idleman

Teaching Pastor of Southeast Christian Church

Some authors have inspirational stories to tell while others have insightful points to make, what makes Caleb’s writing so powerful is that God has given him both.


Carey Nieuwhof

Author of Parenting Beyond Capacity

I think you're going to love Caleb's story. It breaks down categories, crushes stereotypes and will make you think differently than you thought before you read it—regardless of your convictions. Caleb's true-to-life honesty is refreshing, as is his treatment of the very true-to-life Gospel. Anyone who loves Jesus and loves friends and family members who are LGBT is going to want to read this fascinating book. Okay, scratch the conditions. I think anyone is going to want to read this book.


Darrell Bock

Professor at Dallas Theological Seminary

There may be no greater mess for the church than the question of how to engage with the LBGT community. Messy Grace shows how grace can enter into the mess of life and draw people to God’ s love and goodness of God. It can happen while being clear about what God hopes for in all of us. Here is a book, sharpeneed by life experience and reflection on the Word of God, that has much to teach all of us about the challenge of loving our neighbors when they are different from us.


Bryan Carter

Senior Pastor of Concord Church

Messy Grace gives us a refreshing look at how the gospel is lived out in ministry with the gay community.  Caleb does a phenomenal job of addressing the complexities and realities of our Christian faith and our Christian responsibilities.  It will challenge you in every aspect of your life by hearing his powerful testimony and teachings.


Jenell Paris

Professor of Anthropology, Messiah College. Author of The End of Sexual Identity

A story that will move you. A spirit that will inspire you. A pastor's wisdom that will teach you. Questions that will challenge you. Kaltenbach's exhortation to both treat gay people lovingly, and hold true to one's convictions, is both winsome and challenging. His wisdom flows from life, being raised by two gay parents, coming to Christ, and sharing Christ's love with his parents and loved ones. I read with rapt attention, wanting to see his story unfold, and to benefit from the insight his experiences yield for the  church. Grace is messy, and that's OK. It's possible to live in grace and truth. Christ's love is higher, purer, and truer than the positions we take, or the sides we join. A rich, readable, provocative, and persuasive read.

Image created by Sarah Danaher with a Canon EOS 5D MkII

Mark Dever

Pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church, President of

This book combines undeniable experiences with clear biblical arguments.  Add the gracious tone throughout and you have a powerful book.  Empathetic and humble, practical and loving, straightforward and enlightening—that’s what I’m looking for in a book on this topic.  And here I’ve found it.  Useful questions are pressed.  Legalism is countered.  Wise advice is given.  You may not agree with everything, but we can all appreciate the spirit in which Caleb has written and learn from him.  I’m thankful that Caleb has written this book, and pray that you profit from it.


Jim Daly

President at Focus on the Family

In recent years there has been no shortage of books on how Christians can lovingly and meaningfully engage their gay family members and friends. Caleb Kaltenbach adds a wealth of unique insight to this conversation based on his experiences being raised in a lesbian household and also having a gay father. He has an important message for everyone who shares a commitment to both grace and truth.


Mike Foster

People of the Second Chance

I loved Messy Grace! These pages are filled with humility, compassion and powerful insights as Caleb's story profoundly demonstrates that grace is both messy and beautiful. This book is a must read!

For more endorsements of Messy Grace, visit the Amazon Reviews.


Caleb has spoken widely on this topic in churches, conferences, seminars, classes, and Bible studies. Please feel free to view the sermon below (which is one of many talks Caleb gives on this issue). If you are interested in having Caleb come to speak at your event, please fill out the brief contact form below and include the details of the event in the "your message" section.

If you are interested in having Caleb speak at your church or event, please fill out a speaker request form and we will be in touch.


If you are interested in having Caleb speak at your church or event, please fill out the speaker request form and we will be in touch.

Please enter your name.
Please enter a message.