Category Archives: Rachel Held Evans

Ben Witherington – A Review of Rachel Held Evan’s Book – Searching for Sunday

Ben Witherington recently wrote a review of Rachel Held Evans’ book “Searching for Sunday”.  He captures very well both what I like and dislike of Rachel’s blog.  He writes:

“What her book fails to really grapple with however is the major difference between unconditional love and unconditional acceptance of us as we are.

Frankly put, God doesn’t ‘accept’ us as we are, because what we are is fallen and flawed sinful people. God loves us as we are, but God is insistent that we all change, repent of our sinful inclinations and ways, and become more like Christ. A loving welcome by Jesus does not exclude incredible demands in regard to our conduct, and indeed even in regard to the lusts of our hearts. As it turns out, God is an equal opportunity lover of all humanity, and also an equal opportunity critiquer of all our sin, and with good reason— it is sin that keeps separating us from God and ruining our relationship with God. This is why the only proper Biblical approach to everyone who would wish to be ‘in Christ’ and ‘in the body of Christ’ is that they are most welcome to come as they are, and they will be loved as they are, but no one is welcome to stay as they are— all God’s chillins need to change. Welcoming does not entail affirming our sins, much less baptizing our sins and suddenly calling them good, healthy, life giving.”

Witherington’s review can be found here: A Searching Book – Rachel Held Evans’ ‘Searching for Sunday’

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Link: Rachel, stop whac-a-moling other Christians. Please.

Good thoughts from  Derek Ouellette on Rachel Held Evans’ criticism of Dave Ramsey.  I wholeheartedly agree.

He writes:

As a Christian I’m compelled to challenge Evans ungenerous assumptions about Dave’s teaching. He is her brother in the Lord. So I have to ask myself why she would jump to such preemptive conclusions, then plaster her opinion of his teachings all over a secular media source prompting scoffers in the comments to make claims like:

“just one more in a countless line of scammers using a bronze age book of stories to squeeze money out of gullible fools. It’s been going on for 2000 years!”

This is why it is so important for Christians to address each other in Christian venue’s. The image of the Church is already in disrepair and I think Evans’ taking to CNN to offer heavy-handed accusations to a fellow Christian does Christ more harm than good.

Rachel, please put down your hammer and stop whac-a-moling other Christians.

See Derek’s post here.

Evans frequently takes things too far with those she disagrees with. She is not charitable.  She doesn’t give the benefit of the doubt to her brothers and sisters in Christ.  She did the same thing with Calvinists John Piper and Mark Driscoll (who any casual reader of the blog with know I’m not fans of).  She refers to their “god” (in lower case), and attributes beliefs to them that they do not hold, or would at least have a more nuanced way of expressing. It’s gotten to the point I don’t care to follow her anymore. And that’s a shame, because sometimes she is inspiring.

Our family has benefited from taking Ramsey’s class. A few years ago we had student loans, car loans, and additional consumer debt. Now we have everything paid off but the mortgage, and have money in savings. We have definitely benefited from his class.  We’re able to give more, and we have more “financial peace” because of it.

Having said that, I don’t agree with Ramsey on everything. I would like to see him focus more on simplicity, and less on acquiring stuff – even if it’s paid for. But overall he’s a solid teacher.

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Thoughts on John Piper and Rachel Held Evans

John Piper is at it again. Shortly after the OKC tornado, he made the following tweet (which was later deleted):

Your sons and daughters were eating and a great wind struck the house, and it fell upon them, and they are dead. -Job 1:19

Just as night follows day, Rachel Evans promptly called him on it.

First, some thoughts on Piper.

This is not the first time he has done something like this.  He’s developing a pattern.  I really wish he would think ahead of time before speaking when people are hurting.  It damages the witness of all believers.  Pat Robertson does this thing too often as well.  They remind me a tiny bit of those folks from Westboro Baptist who hold out their “God hates gays” signs any time someone dies. I do think Piper and Robertson are genuine believers, I’m not so sure the Westboro folks are (no one knows but God).  However, they have similar attitudes towards suffering and their understanding of the wrath of God.  I bet the Westboro crew is on their way down to Oklahoma right now.

As Christians, our job is to mourn with those who mourn.  We are to help and comfort those in need, even when we don’t think they deserve it.  It is not for us to assign blame.

Now on to Rachel Evans.

She takes things things too far.  Although her post made some good points,  she too damaged her Christian witness, placing her criticism of Piper in front of the fact that he’s a fellow believer.

She wrote:

Piper’s god is like an abusive father, filled with unpredictable rage. His family must walk on eggshells, afraid of suddenly enraging him. Should he be provoked, this god will lash out with deadly, earthquakes, tsunamis, violence and war.

Two things here:

First, this is not a quote Piper would agree with.  Evans should not attribute a belief to Piper that he would reject, or to which he would at the very least give a nuanced explanation of.  The most that can be fairly said is that from Evan’s view, Piper’s theology inadvertently leads to a misunderstanding of God’s character, and this misunderstanding leads to an inaccurate picture of God who is abusive, full of rage, etc.

The second thing is that she refers to Piper’s “god” in the lower case.  She does this throughout the post.   This implies that Piper worships a false god.  Despite our differences, all Christians worship the same God.

Just like Piper, Evans needs to think ahead of time before speaking.

And I suppose I do too.

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Filed under Calvinism, disaster, John Piper, Rachel Held Evans