Muddled Views of God, Scripture, and Women

Despite her early and tragic death, Evans added great confusion and error to Christian teaching. This addresses the methods and conclusions Evans and other revisionists use. #RachelHeldEvans #Revisionists #BibleLoveNotes #Bible #Devotionals

Rachel Held Evans was an engaging and articulate ex-vangelist who died tragically in May 2019. Sadly, she contributed to the already-muddled views many people have of Scripture.

If you aren’t familiar with R.H.E., she was an extremely popular New York Times Best Selling author, speaker, and blogger who wrote from an ex-vangelical view point. She saw the Bible as a book of questions, not a book of answers, a conversation-starter, not a conversation-ender. (source)
 
In her book A Year of Biblical Womanhood, Evans claimed she was testing biblical principles. 

However, she didn't differentiate between Old and New Testament laws. For example, she lived in a tent in her front yard during one of her menstrual periods to enact an Old Testament law not followed by New Testament Christians (Leviticus 15:19-30). 

"Cleansing laws," which were not limited to women, were reminders that unholy people could not worship a holy God. When Christ came, He cleansed us by His blood (Hebrews 9:14; Hebrews 10:1-25).

In addition, Evans applied verses in ways that had nothing to do with the principles involved. For example, she stood by her city limits sign with a placard that read "Dan is awesome" to demonstrate Proverbs 31:23: "Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land."
 

Although Evans talked about understanding the purpose and historical background of Bible passages, she used the book of Proverbs in a way it was never intended. See: A Proverbial Mistake.

I believe Evans actually weakened legitimate concerns about the abuse of women by doing this irrelevant playacting. Perhaps she didn't intentionally mean to mock Scripture, but some of her actions appeared to be more like publicity stunts to sell her book than a thoughtful examination of biblical womanhood.

Nonetheless, she drew this conclusion from her year-long experiment: "Despite what some may claim, the Bible’s not the best place to look for traditional family values as we understand them today" (page 48)

I encourage you to read A Year of Biblical Womanhood - Review 

In addition to feminist views, Evans gradually went from questioning the Bible's stand on homosexuality to embracing the LGBTQ community. She claimed that "LGBT Christians have a special role to play in teaching the Church what it means to be Christian." 

She feels "LGBT people have a lot to teach Christians about sexuality and culture, but also how to be decent Christians."(1)

Evans reached her conclusions using methods that are popular among ex-vangelicals:

1. Emphasizing Old Testament passages out of context.

Old Testament situations appear confusing when taken out of the context of God's unfolding revelation. Some of these laws and situations will remain a mystery until heaven (1 Corinthians 13:12). But most of them can be explained if we are willing to research their historical context and purpose.

God used the Old Testament to show us the hopelessness of external laws and practices (Galatians 3:23-24; 1 Corinthians 9:21). Christ fulfilled these laws. See: Christ's Complete Fulfillment of the Law

In many cases, Evans failed to bring the completed work of Christ into her questions and answers.

2. Judging Scripture by personal experiences. 

We may think 2+2=5, but that doesn't change the fact that 2+2=4. 

If we believe there are errors in Scripture, then we have no source of truth beyond ourselves. Either Scripture is divinely inspired (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21), or the words of Christ are mere hearsay and the plan of salvation a doubtful human invention.

Without God's Word, we find ourselves in a most miserable place.

Genuine believers accept the fact that we don't judge Scripture; it judges us (Hebrews 4:12). When we think we are in a place to judge God's Word, we would do well to read God's response to Job when he questioned God's justice and purposes: Job 38-41

3. Believing modern views of womanhood and sexuality are more enlightened than scriptural views.

When people doubt the divine inspiration of Scripture, it often has to do with approving culturally accepted immorality. It's a much kinder world if we agree with popular views of morality and forsake biblical principles. But God promises to bless those who are unjustly called "haters" when they share God's loving commands (Matthew 5:10).

LGBTQ approval is always at the forefront in ex-vangelical teachings. If this was motivated by a true love for the LGBTQ community, ex-vangelicals would seek to share how God can deliver people from sins that damage their hearts and souls.(2)

Now more than ever, we must test things like the Bereans did (Acts 17:11) and stand firm in our faith. 

"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong."  1 Corinthians 16:13

--------------
(1) First quote from "Unstoppable Grace" by Rachel Held Evans. Second quote from interview with Evans. 
(2) Please note that Scripture says practicing homosexuals cannot enter the kingdom of God unless they repent and turn from the sin of homosexuality (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). 
Photo attribution  

Despite her early and tragic death, Evans added great confusion and error to Christian teaching. This addresses the methods and conclusions Evans and other revisionists use. #RachelHeldEvans #Revisionists #BibleLoveNotes #Bible #Devotionals

Bible Love Notes

4 comments:

  1. I don't agree with your statement that the Old Testament Law was used to show hopelesness (external laws and practices). Psalm 19:7 says "The Law of the Lord is perfect refreshing the soul". Maybe your point was made using a poor choice of words? I think we can agree that salvation cannot be attained through works of the law but only through faith in Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice. But even with this truth Peter continued observing the Old Testament Law as did Paul so why would they do this if The Law was hopeless? They did it out of love and obedience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Manny,

      God told Peter in Acts 10 to quit observing the Old Testament laws. However, at one point Peter reverted back to observing some of the Old Testament dietary laws and Paul rebuked him strongly for doing it in Galatians 2:11-21.

      Paul did not observe the Old Testament law after he became a Christian.

      He did on occasion do things according to the Old Testament laws so he would be able to speak to the Jews, but he explains this in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 where he says in part: “To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.”


      And I would not change my description of the purpose of the Old Testament law because I believe it accurately reflects what Scripture says:

      Romans 3:20: "No one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin."

      Galatians 2:19-21: “For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God… I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.”

      Galatians 3:12-13: This way of faith is very different from the way of law, which says, “It is through obeying the law that a person has life.” But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”

      Colossians 2:16-17: So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality.

      Delete
  2. Peter's vision in Acts 10 was nothing to do with dietary laws it was to show him that he must not discriminate between people. Peter was a Jew so obviously he kept the dietary laws that's why he was confused about what the vision could mean. Later he realised it was to do with people. In Galatians 2 Peter is still a Jew so is Paul because he says in v 17 we Jews so even though they were preaching the gospel to the gentiles were they keeping a different set of laws? I'm confused

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Welshlady,
      Our God is a wonderful communicator.

      It's true that the overall message was acceptance of the Gentiles, but the specific aspect God used to illustrate that point was dietary laws which kept Jews from eating with Gentiles. If God still considered some foods "unclean" and forbidden, He wouldn't have said exactly the opposite 3 times.God doesn't say things unless He means them.

      This is the message throughout the New Testament:

      1 Corinthians 8:8: "Food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do."

      Compare this verse to the words of the Old Testament dietary laws, and you will see that the main purpose of dietary laws was to show man that we were not clean enough to be in the presence of a holy God. But Christ made us clean!

      God has made it clear that we are no longer made clean or unclean by foods we eat. You must deny clear, straightforward New Testament verses in order to support the claim that we are still under Old Testament dietary laws.

      In the verses below Jesus explains why dietary laws are not pertinent to New Testament believers. Let's "listen and understand" what He is saying.

      Matthew 15:10-11: "Jesus called the crowd to him and said, 'Listen and understand. What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.' "

      Mark 7:18-19: " 'Are you so dull?' he asked. 'Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? 19 For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.' (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)"

      If you believe that certain foods make you unclean, you have not applied the work of Christ to your diet. Before Christ, you needed to separate yourself from others during your period because your period made you unclean. You couldn't go to the temple if you touched a dead animal because that made you unclean. And you were made unclean by the things you ate. Dietary and cleansing laws had exactly the same purpose: to show us that without Christ, we are unclean, unholy, unworthy of access to God. But Christ makes us clean, something we can never do through diet or cleansing or sacrifices.

      "So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality."
      Colossians 2:16-17:

      Delete