When Smart Theologians Endorse Dumb Hermeneutics

If you’ve been anywhere near the evangelical blogosphere lately you’ve probably heard that Rachel Held Evans finally published A Year of Biblical Womanhood, her lame Christianized knock-off of a silly stunt-book produced five years ago. I’ve read enough of Evans’ blog to know she has a low view of scripture, so I’m not much interested in hearing a book-length treatment of how silly she finds the Bible [Update: I broke down and bought a copy on Kindle. My thoughts are below]. But I am interested in the reactions to the book.

One of the best is the open-letter/review by Kathy Keller. I’m not being hyperbolic when I say that Keller’s is one of the best book reviews I’ve ever read.

What sets the review apart from the others I’ve read is that Keller takes the book seriously, much more seriously than Evans took her goofy, attention-grabbing stunt. Keller treats Evans as a woman capable of clear thought and intellectual honesty—and then shows how she failed to apply either.

Compare Keller’s take to reviews by my Patheos neighbors—Peter Enns, Ben Witherington, and Roger Olson. Each of these men wrote reviews that were between warm and glowing, and each wrote reviews that were pandering and condescending.

If a student of Enns, Olson, or Witherington, had turned in a paper that applied as shoddy a hermeneutical approach as Evans uses in her book, they would have given them a failing grade. Yet work that would not pass muster in their class and would only be seen by a professor is lauded when it is made public. Each of these men has reduced their credibility by praising a hermeneutical approach that I have no doubt they disdainfully reject. Let me be clear that I’m not criticizing them for approving a method that I disapprove of; I’m saying these men—intelligent and respectable evangelical scholars all—are endorsing a method that they would normally condemn.

So why do they give their stamp of approval to a book that, as Keller says, ignores “the most basic rules of hermeneutics and biblical interpretation that have been agreed upon for centuries”? Is it merely a matter of tribalism? Is it because Evans shares the same theological “enemies” as they do, and so they feel obligated to come to her defense? I’m really curious to hear their reasoning.

Update: I’ll add my thoughts as I read through the book:

1. I can say with confidence that the people who are saying that Evans is being satirical in applying her hermeneutic don’t know what they are talking about. Here is a direct quote from the book which provides a representative sample of what her critics have been claiming:

The irony of course, is that while advocates of biblical patriarchy accuse everyone of biblical selectivity, they themselves do not appear to be stoning adulterers, selling their daughters into slavery, taking multiple wives, or demanding that state laws be adjusted to include death sentences for rape victims. . . at least not yet. Those who decry the evils of selective literalism tend to be rather clumsy at spotting it in themselves.

Now there are only two ways to explain this passage. Either Evans really does believe that “advocates of biblical patriarchy” are being “biblically selective” (e.g., she doesn’t have the first clue about hermeneutics or how it has been applied throughout history) or she is aware that she is misrepresenting the views of those she disagrees with by creating a strawman caricature. In other words, she is either too ignorant of the main topic of the book to write about it fairly or she is being intentionally intellectually dishonest. I suspect it’s the latter.

2. Initially, I was peeved by those who were defending Evans’ hermeneutical games. Having read the book for myself I have to say that now I’m deeply embarrassed that anyone is defending this dishonest trash. I don’t think the scholars who are praising this book realize the damage they are doing to their credibility. The only justification I can think of is that they skimmed the book and didn’t read it carefully. I can’t imagine a trained scholar could read her views (e.g., see passage above) and still believe it is something they want to defend.

3. Note to writers: If you are going to produce a book that copies a previous best-seller, make sure you have something original to say. Much of the book seems like Evans wrote it while flipping through the book she is ripping-off, A.J. Jacobs’ The Year of Living Biblically.

4. Fortunately for Evans, she is a genius at stirring up controversy. That will help sell books. If she had to rely on word-of-mouth, she wouldn’t sell too many copies. Strip away the dishonest swipes at those she disagree with her and there isn’t much to keep the reader’s interest.

5. No serious person can read the book and not see that Evans is mocking the Bible. There’s no getting around that. When you twist God’s word, act as if a narrative description is a Biblical command, and then use it to satirize views that no one holds, then you are mocking both the Bible and Christians.

6. I can’t remember when I’ve read a book that was so disrespectful to women. It’s ironic that an egalitarian Christian feminist can be so condescending toward her own sex (or maybe it isn’t so surprising).

7. Evans writes an entire section on justice for women and decries gender-based violence. When I get to that part I assume I’ll finally find a reason to give unqualified praise: She’s going to take the bold stance of opposing sex-selective abortion. But . . . she does not do that. Not a word about the slaughter of females in the womb, nary a mention of female infanticide. Obviously Evans realized that any hint she was pro-life (she is pro-life isn’t she?) would cause her to lose support amongst her fellow feminists. Smart marketing move.

8. In her conclusion, Evans shares the lessons she’s learned. Not surprisingly, her “year of biblical womanhood” has only confirmed that she was right all along. She says, “I’d learned a lot over the past 363 days, some of which changed my life.” Intriguing. So what did she learn? Some of the “resolutions for the future” include “Try a new recipe every week” and “eat more ethically.” Seriously, those are two of her ten resolutions after the “life-changing experience.” The book is quite a slog so it’s disappointing that her epiphanies are so banal.

9. A Year of Biblical Womanhood isn’t so much a book as it is a totem and cudgel. Despite being derivative, trite, and mind-numbingly boring, it will be overly praised because Evans has become the new spokesperson for disaffected young evangelicals (i.e., young people who won’t come out of the closet and admit they are liberal mainline Protestants). It will also be used—as Evans uses her text—to bludgeon the reputations of “advocates of biblical patriarchy” (e.g, inerrantists, complementarians) by spreading falsehoods about how we interpret the Bible.

This is a work that is as lackluster as it is dishonest. However, like The Shack the more it is criticized the more it will be embraced as telling uncomfortable truths. But the only uncomfortable truth is, as Kathy Keller said, Evan’s has “further muddied the waters of biblical interpretation instead of bringing any clarity to the task.” Perhaps Evans can be excused; perhaps she doesn’t know better. But there are smart theologians that do know better. And for them to endorse such dumb hermeneutics is inexcusable.

  • http://www.matthew-hand.com Matthew

    Although I agree with your review of the book in question, I wouldn’t describe A.J. Jacobs book “A Year of Living Biblically” as a silly stunt. The purpose of the Jacobs book was to connect to a Jewish heritage he knew little of, whereas Rachel Held Evans is an attempt to diminish Scripture by promoting her agenda.

  • http://www.womenfaithculture.org Sarah Flashing

    Joe, clearly political motivations are driving so much of the approval of this book. Sworn allegiance to the deconstruction of evangelicalism is at work here–at least the army could have been led by someone who properly understood the metaphor of the contentious women in Proverbs or that the Nation of Islam is not the proper term for the Muslim religion.

  • http://www.12lions.com Cameron

    Joe, I think Ms. Evans has made it clear that her book is a satirical critique of bad hermeneutical practices of people picking and choosing which scriptures to follow and how. “Any inconsistency in my hermeneutic is intentional and acknowledged, meant to point to the inconsistency of a patriarchal hermeneutic.” (http://rachelheldevans.com/5-reasons-read-first)

    Pete Enns says the same thing in his review, “Evans rightly puts the blame for this attitude on literalistic readings of the Bible that allegedly “command” such things of women. Briefly put, Evans exposes this type of literalism as unworkable and unavoidably selective, since no one really follows what the Bible says about women. Being “biblical” automatically involves us in hermeneutical process, so the question quickly becomes “Why are some things the Bible says seen as abidingly valid but other things aren’t?” Evan’s book models this type of basic hermeneutical engagement of the Bible”

    I don’t understand why you, Mrs. Keller, and other leaders at the Gospel Coalition keep insisting that Ms. Evans was trying to argue for that approach to hermeneutics or seriously applying that hermeneutic. It seems that y’all are missing the point that she was making. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I am genuinely baffled by those responses.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/joecarter Joe Carter

      Joe, I think Ms. Evans has made it clear that her book is a satirical critique of bad hermeneutical practices of people picking and choosing which scriptures to follow and how.

      What page of her book does she say that she is making a “satirical critique of bad hermeneutical practices?”

      “Any inconsistency in my hermeneutic is intentional and acknowledged, meant to point to the inconsistency of a patriarchal hermeneutic.”

      That might make sense if their were people who applied a “patriarchal hermeneutic” in the way that she does in her book. But there aren’t. She builds a strawman to knock it down.

      I don’t understand why you, Mrs. Keller, and other leaders at the Gospel Coalition keep insisting that Ms. Evans was trying to argue for that approach to hermeneutics or seriously applying that hermeneutic.

      Here is a direct quote from the book: ““From the Old Testament to the New Testament, from Genesis to Revelation, from the Levitical code to the letters of Paul, there [will be] no picking and choosing.” From her own descriptions she followed the Levitical code, something no Christians do. Why did she set up such a strawman if not to mock the Bible? And if she wasn’t trying to serious point, then what was the point of it all?

      t seems that y’all are missing the point that she was making.

      What exactly was her point? She seems to claim that Christians are “cherry picking” what parts of the Bible they follow because they don’t apply the hermenutic that she (and you yourself) admit is not a serious one. What is the point that we are missing?

      • http://www.12lions.com Cameron

        Thanks for getting back to me Joe. Like Keith says below, the satirical claim comes from her blog and not her book, though I’m not sure it has to be spelled out the book is done to a playful, humorous extreme.

        Her point is not that Christians cherry pick the parts of the Bible they follow because they don’t apply her humorous hermeneutic. Her point is that Christians cherry pick the parts of the Bible BY utilizing that kind of hermeneutic. The way she started putting pennies in jars and ended up on the roof of your house is the same way things like Quiverfull theology happen. Her criticisms of the way Proverbs 31 is typically used (http://rachelheldevans.com/mutuality-women-roles) also comes to mind. There are legitimately large sections of evangelicalism that live with the sort of hermeneutic that she was satirizing.

        Her point is this: your hermeneutic looks what I am doing. It’s inconsistent, ridiculous, fairly arbitrary, and misses the real point of the text. She just did hers in an over-the-top, humorous, reductio ad absurdum way.

        She might be wrong in the way that complimentarians utilize their hermeneutic, but that is not the same thing as a strawman, and even if it was, that does leave “to mock the Bible” as her only remaining motive.

        I’m not trying to be divisive or cause a fight, so please let me know I’m coming across that way. Thanks again for taking the time to respond.

        • Joe Carter

          Cameron,
          I don’t think you are being divisive or trying to cause a fight. And I appreciate your perspective. But I have to ask: Have you read the book yet? If you’re basing your opinion on what Evans has claimed her book is about, you’ll be in for a big surprise. Indeed, I think a lot of her defenders are going to feel betrayed when they find that they’ve been defending her on points in which her critics were 100% correct. (I’ve add some of my thoughts in an update to my post.)

          Her point is not that Christians cherry pick the parts of the Bible they follow because they don’t apply her humorous hermeneutic.

          Actually, that is her point: she says so in her book (see the passage I quoted above). At no point does she say that she is applying a “humorous hermeneutic.” The entire premise of the book is that if Christians who believe in inerrancy were consistent, they would follow all the rules in as rigidly literal a way as she does.

          There are legitimately large sections of evangelicalism that live with the sort of hermeneutic that she was satirizing.

          Are there Christians that make peculiar extrapolations based on how they apply hermeneutics? Of course. But as Keller pointed out that is exactly what Evans does too. Evans cherry picks the Bible to support her liberal feminism. Anything that disagrees with that can be discarded as old-fashioned and no longer relevant.

          She might be wrong in the way that complimentarians utilize their hermeneutic, but that is not the same thing as a strawman, and even if it was, that does leave “to mock the Bible” as her only remaining motive.

          No one can read her book and think that she is not creating a strawman. In fact, no one can read the passage I quote above and think that she is not creating a strawman.

          Also, Evans is mocking the Bible. There’s no getting around that. When you twist God’s word, act as if it were a Biblical command, and then use it to satirize views that no one holds, then you are mocking the Bible and Christians. Either that is not her motive (and she is clueless about what she is doing) or she did it intentionally.

          • http://www.12lions.com Cameron

            Thanks again for getting back to me Joe.

            I have not read the book at this point. I hope you’re wrong about the book’s content, not to go against you, but because I really hope Ms. Evans isn’t really making a mockery of the Bible.

            All of my thoughts have come from what she has said about her book and what the people (E.G. Pete Enns) who have favorably reviewed the book have said. All of their descriptions of the book have been along the lines “Rachel’s book does a good job of exposing the silly hermeneutic that people apply” rather than “Evans is trying to show how the Bible is unreliable and you have to cherry pick the parts you follow.” Ms. Evans could be totally misrepresenting her book and the positive reviews could all be done through rose-tinted glasses, but I have hard time buying that.

            Of course, I haven’t read the book, so I may end up feeling deceived once I get to it. You have given some good things to think about. Thanks Joe.

            • TJ

              Cameron you may have to learn the hard way not to defend a work (or critique a work) you haven’t read yet. I learned that lesson in seminary and it’s a good lesson to learn.

      • Steve F

        Joe, your first question on ” what page” reveals you know nothing about writing or genres of literature. Your ignorance of basic literature disqualifies you from your rant.

    • Keith Plummer

      Readers familiar with Evans” blog who have been critical of her book without having read it are told that they should reserve criticism until and unless they have done so. In this case, however, when criticism is made on the basis of the book’s content, critics are referred to the blog for an explanation. A lot of misunderstanding could have been avoided if Rachel had included the explanation that appears in her blog in her book.

  • http://www.womenfaithculture.org Sarah Flashing

    “I vowed to spen one year of my life in pursuit of true biblical womanhood. This qeust of mine required that I study every passage of Scripture that realates to women and learn how women around the world interpret and apply these passages to their lives. In addition, I would attempt to follow as many of the Bible’s teachings regarding women as possible in my day-to-day life, sometimes taking them to the extreme.”

    “Within a couple of weeks of starting the eperiement, I was annoying my friends with random facts about biblical womanhood.”

    These quotes are from the introduction. Nothing Lehrer indicates any satirical intent. She seems quite serious about her endeavor, though taking some practices to the extreme doesn’t seem fair to her study of the passages and practices.

    And I take little comfort in the notion tha this book may have been satire. That doesn’t help her as it shows her utter disrespect for those she ought to be seriously engaging.

  • Joe Carter

    I broke down and bought a copy of the book on Kindle. I’m only about a third of the way through so I’ll post my thoughts once I finish it. But I’ve read enough to say with confidence that the people who are saying that she is being satirical in applying the hermeneutic don’t know what they are talking about.

    Evans accuses “advocates of biblical patriarchy” of resorting to “biblical selectivity” because they (we?) don’t support “stoning adulterers, selling their daughters into slavery, taking multiple wives” etc. This is quite literally one of the dumbest things I’ve ever read. Either Evans really is clueless and believes this is being “biblical selective” (e.g., she doesn’t have the first clue about hermeneutics) or she is presenting a knowingly false caricature of those who disagree with her in order to paint them in the worse light and lead people who don’t know any better to think this is what evangelicals actually believe. In other words, she is either clueless or dishonest—that is the most charitable interpretation.

    I was peeved by those who were defending this nonsense. Having read it for myself I have to say that I’m deeply embarrassed that anyone is defending this dishonest trash.

    • john

      Kinda ‘snake’ like

    • John

      Just in the last week, I’ve debated with a Theonomist who believes that the laws outlined in the Bible are the only basis we have for establishing civil laws. They refused to draw a line about what OT directives should be made into the law of the land.

      We hear about people who think that homosexuality should be punished severely, through the death penalty or otherwise, and they use scripture to do it.

      And to a much less extreme degree, but in much higher numbers, there are plenty of people who put forth the idea that certain activities are “more biblical”. They won’t say it’s a matter of salvation, but they will say that maybe we *should* stick to dietary laws, or to a strict 10% tithe, because that’s more holy and a more Biblical way to live.

      These people are out there. I am friends with them, I go to church with them, I argue with them.

  • http://parablemania.ektopos.com/ Jeremy Pierce

    Joe, I’m inclined to support the claim that this book is mocking the Bible and that she is misrepresenting those she’s critiquing, in the extreme. However, I don’t understand your point 1. I’m not at all sure why you think the passage you quoted rules out the satirical interpretation. In fact, it seems to me to support it, unless I’m misunderstanding what the satirical interpretation is supposed to be.

    I take the satirical interpretation to be the following. Evans thinks conservative evangelicals, complementarians, inerrantists, whatever group she’s targeting, cherry-pick the Bible. She thinks they (we) decide which views we like, find the parts of the Bible that we agree with, and then concoct some hermeneutic that allows us to explain why the Bible supports our views but not the things we dislike about the Bible. We take passages literally when they’re not meant to be taken literally, provided that we like doing so, and we take them in other ways just in the cases when that’s what we prefer. So she sets out to write a satirical book that makes fun of this group by doing the literal thing in different places, since someone could just as easily do that if they had happened to have different things they liked.

    So then I read the quote you give in argument 1 above, and it seems to me to confirm that this is indeed what she’s doing in the book. But somehow you think that quote shows that it’s not what she’s doing. I’m left completely confused.

    Now even if this is what she’s doing, I don’t know how it remotely excuses this book. It’s such an uncharitable interpretation of what the groups she’s criticizing are up to that I can’t imagine her really thinking this is what they (we) do unless she just doesn’t have a clue about how evangelical hermeneutics really works. That’s indeed what Kathy Keller criticized her for, and it seems to me that she was right to do so. But that doesn’t mean she thinks evangelicals are following exactly the rules of interpretation she’s using. It just means she doesn’t think evangelicals are using rules that are in any way objectively better than the ones she’s using. In reality she’s a subjectivist about which rules are best to use, and she is in fact doing the thing she accuses others of doing. She has no problem with choosing what you like and rejecting the rest, it seems. But she doesn’t think you should do that while pretending to do otherwise, and she uncharitably reads others as pretending to do otherwise, mostly because she doesn’t understand the hermeneutics of those she’s criticizing. She recognizes her own selective use of scripture and doesn’t understand any attempt to do otherwise, so she even sees selective literalism in Jesus’ choice of which OT regulations to emphasize or reject.

    I suspect the reason for that is that she’s projecting her own motivations onto them (us). She has no interest in getting to the bottom of what God was really trying to communicate, because that’s not what she sees scripture as being about. So she doesn’t understand how anyone could approach it from that framework. I honestly think that’s the most charitable interpretation of what she’s up to, because ignorance is more charitable to attribute to her than willful misrepresentation.

    • Joe Carter

      In fact, it seems to me to support it, unless I’m misunderstanding what the satirical interpretation is supposed to be.

      Fair point. There are two points of clarification that I should have added. First, nowhere in the book does she say that she is using a “satirical interpretation.” That is a post hoc claim she makes on her blog. But she also claims that she is not mocking the Bible, which makes me thin think that she doesn’t understand what satire means.

      What I think she means is, “If we interpret certain passages of the Bible with a wooden literalism, then when we treat them as commands (whether the genre treats them as commands or not), they lead to behaviors that 21st century Americans would find laughable.” (She seems blissfully unaware that she is not only mocking evangelicals but Orthodox Jews too.)

      Second, by her definition, the word “biblical” simply means “in the bible.” Therefore, it is “biblical” she claims,
      for a woman to be sold by her father or forced to marry her rapist since those things are found in the bible. “Biblical womanhood” therefore means that anything that is found in the bible and pertains to a woman can and should be treated as a command.

      Obviously, not even cultists use such an idiotic definition of “biblical” when referring to the normative commands of God. But Evans claims that if we do not adopt her definition, it is merely because we are “picking and choosing” what parts of the bible we take seriously (those are her very words).

      We take passages literally when they’re not meant to be taken literally, provided that we like doing so, and we take them in other ways just in the cases when that’s what we prefer.

      Yes, that is indeed her point. Though she also offers her own side: We should not take passages literally (within the genre’s context), even if they were meant to be taken as such, if they lead to outcomes that differ from other views she holds (e.g., feminism).

      When a command (whether a real biblical command or one she created) is something she doesn’t like, the hermeneutic is “satirical.” But when a command is something she approves of, then the hermeneutic stops being “satirical.” So I guess it could be that she is being “satirical” in a highly selective and very inconsistent way.

      Although I would hate to have you waste time reading the book, I think it would be beneficial for a philosopher like you (or someone else trained in analyzing arguments) to provide a critique. That is the task that Enns, Witherington, and Olson should have done. They could have done it with gentleness and charity (more so that I have given her). But they needed to do it. And they didn’t. It would be great if you took up the task for them.

    • John I.

      Good points. And an actually thoughtful review, unlike the lede post.

  • Tiago Cavaco

    Right on, Joe. You’re doing a great job! Um abraço de Portugal!

  • Stacy

    I really, REALLY want to share this, because I totally agree with your points, but I’m afraid your overly harsh tone and glaring typos prevent me from doing so. My friends who need to hear this the most would immediately tune out. Can we not just stick to addressing the topic without being so gratuitously ungracious toward Evans personally?

    • Joe Carter

      . . . I’m afraid your overly harsh tone and glaring typos prevent me from doing so.

      I apologize for the typos. I wrote in heat and haste and got a bit sloppy. I’ve corrected those.

      As for the tone, I can’t really apologize for that since that was my instant and honest reaction; I wasn’t intending to write a cooly objective book review. I’m usually calm guy—borderline comatose my wife would say—but there are three things that get me fired up: violence against children, lying about God’s people, and misleading the world about God’s word. Evans does the last two, so it is impossible for me to try to be cooly objective about her book.

      However, despite my tone being harsh, I was actually holding back. Saying what I really think about the book’s aesthetic and moral value would really cause me to lose readers.

      But I also have to say that you can’t adequately address the topic without addressing Evans personally. She wrote a stunt-book where she is the central character. She has entire chapters in which we are expected to care about stuff (like what she’s cooking) simply because it’s Rachel Held Evans doing it. She obviously wrote the book with the assumption that she has fanboys/fangirls that are really fascinated by her. So it’s difficult to criticize the book when the book really is about her and how she is right and those “biblical literalist” idiots are wrong. She’s the star and hero of the book so she and her fans should expect that the criticism to get a bit personal.

      The one thing that I take comfort in is knowing that nothing I could have said would have mattered much anyway. Kathy Keller wrote a wise and winsome review that was immediately dismissed because RHE is not just a writer but a celebrity. So I’m not trying to change her fans minds but to confirm for the suspicious that the book is as terrible as they had imagined.

      • Stacy

        Great points. Thanks for the reply!

  • http://www.womenfaithculture.org Sarah Flashing

    What I want to know is if her book is intended to be satire, why is that ok? If anything that reveals her inability to respect those she disagrees with and her heart to mock complementarians. Calling it satire justifies the mock and ridicule of a movement? And I could be mistaken, but I don’t think Enns, Witherington or Olsen viewed it as satire either.

  • ScotT

    How is Rachel any different than your average theologian’s torturous and misguided exegesis? Yeah, she butchers the text from time to time. But I can excuse that in an amateur, untrained student of scripture. Even still, she’s closer than what I see from trained evangelical theologians who use the Bible as little more than a proof text for everything from Calvin to complementarianism.

    • Joe Carter

      How is Rachel any different than your average theologian’s torturous and misguided exegesis?

      Which theologians to you have in mind? You’re comment is too broad and I suspect you don’t really think that the “average” theologian is butchering the exegesis as bad as Evans (I don’t know first year seminarians that have produced as torturous an exegesis as Evan has).

      Even still, she’s closer than what I see from trained evangelical theologians who use the Bible as little more than a proof text for everything from Calvin to complementarianism.

      How so? Evans approach seems to be that she is the only one that should be able to decided what a text means (using her “hermenutic of love” or whatever). She follows no rules gleaned from studying a text’s genre, context, etc.

  • John I.

    ” Obviously Evans realized that any hint she was pro-life (she is pro-life isn’t she?) would cause her to lose support amongst her fellow feminists. Smart marketing move.”

    You don’t know the above to be true, and are uncharitably and unlovingly attributing to her evil motivations. Most of your so-called review is overwrought, but the quote above is among the worst. Not that I agree with her, but those that do disagree with her should at least try to do so in a more circumspect and respectful manner. Sheesh, if Jesus taught us to die for our enemies out of love, you could at least be a decent chap in your writing.

    • Joe Carter

      You don’t know the above to be true, and are uncharitably and unlovingly attributing to her evil motivations.

      Evans wrote an entire chapter about violence against women and girls and how they are exploited in the developing world. For her to leave out any mention of the “global war on baby girls” is not a mere oversight. Perhaps she had better motivations for leaving out any mention of sex-selective abortions. But I can’t think of one.

      Sheesh, if Jesus taught us to die for our enemies out of love, you could at least be a decent chap in your writing.

      Where did we get the idea that Jesus was some sort of milquetoast Mr. Rodgers type of guy? Jesus was much more harsh than I am on people who distort his word—as Evans has done. There are some things that are worth getting angry about. Lying about God’s people and his Word are two of them.

  • John I.

    BTW, you write: ” I wrote in heat and haste and got a bit sloppy. I’ve corrected those. As for the tone, I can’t really apologize for that since that was my instant and honest reaction; I . . ,”

    Didn’t your mother teach you to count to 10 when angry? I find the tone of your post inexcusable for a christian and I, for one, believe that you should indeed apologize. And also count to 10 next time.

  • http://www.womenfaithculture.org Sarah Flashing

    I take Rachel at her word. She has told me personally that she is prolife and i have no reason to believe otherwise. But Joe’s point still stands, why was that not emphasized in the book?

    • http://www.bravelass.blogspot.com Kamilla

      Sarah,

      You know better than to take Evans at her word – on anything. How anyone who admits voting for Obama and says her position on abortion has “become more nuanced” (per the post linked by another commenter) can get away with calling themselves pro-life is beyond me. She also promotes the “Half the Sky” movement whose major funder is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Along with the Gates’ Half the Sky co-founder Sheryl WuDunn peddles the overpopulation myth and the attendant necessities of population control, birth control, abortion. Like Evans, they too try to side step the ultimate discrimination against women – as evidence by the 160 million girls missing from the World.

      Joe,

      Can I let you in on a little secret about your point #6 above? Feminists despise being women. And they hold in deepest contempt those women who love and embrace being women. Many of them hold , even if they don’t consciously recognize it, a thoroughly gnostic anthropology — pretending there is some sort of generic humanity upon which maleness or femaleness is overlaid and it is this underlying generic being that is the really important one. This has pushed them into laments about having “a female body” and denying that Christ does now and forever will possess a male body as well as denying any differences between men and women apart from purely procreative functions. I once read a comment by a feminist who had spent some years in the army recalling as the highest praise when, after spending a week together in a quonset hut in 100 degree heat, one of the officers said to her, “I forget you’re a woman.”

      What pulls this together (being not really that pro live and despising womanliness) in Evans’ project is that, instead of volunteering at a day care center serving the poor, or taking a friends’ children for a weekend, etc. she rented a “Baby-think-it-over” doll that was programmed to cry, etc. Need I say more about that?

      Kamilla

      • http://www.bravelass.blogspot.com Kamilla

        I forgot to add the best entry in the “Uhm, I don’t think that’s a compliment” category:

        Someone on Twitter referred to the project/book as “Hermeneutical Performance Art”.

        Snort.

  • Pingback: Taking Out Rachel Evans’ Trash | hipandthigh

  • http://mattiechatham.wordpress.com/ Mattie Chatham

    This post is terrible, coming from a journalism professor and an editor of First Things. I’m not going to get all ad hominem on you, but I would like you to consider this: you are setting an example for how educated Christians read and think and argue critically. And you have just ranted before you read, to made assumptions before you listened, and cast judgment before trying to understand. I have no respect for this in most people, but this post isn’t worthy of someone who has earned positions of some respect for skill in reading well. Why would you think this was a good idea?

    Enns is endorsing RHE for her use of hermeneutics that she’s taken from him and N.T. Wright. Did you realize that? She made the authorial mistake of writing a book that could not stand alone will apart from the context of her blog. However, a reviewer should have the decency to try to understand the authorial context for a piece, and reading RHE’s posts on the satirical nature of her approach and her book club post series on Enns’ and Wright’s books would perhaps help you and Keller both understand why she does what she does, rather than coming to the text with your own presuppositions. Which, by the way, is what the whole book is warning against.

    Cheers.

    • http://www.womenfaithculture.org Sarah Flashing

      Mattie, I responded to the content of her blog during this project here (http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2012/11/too-bad-youre-a-girl-testing-the-biblical-teachings-i-grew-up-with/264396/#) and was accused of writing a “pre-cog” review of her book! So you can’t address her blog as it stands….gotta wait for the book. Then you read the book and your told you gotta go back to the blog. I can’t tell you how angry I am that she gets to use these excuses and then we’re suppose to settle for this:

      “Some fellow evangelicals are unhappy with me for playfully challenging widely held assumptions about “biblical womanhood.” They say I am mocking scripture, muddying the waters, and straying from the straightforward hermeneutic that had conveniently rendered “biblical womanhood” into the happy-homemaker archetype.

      What they don’t realize is that evangelical women like me have received mixed messages about womanhood for years. The only way to achieve clarity is to subject to scrutiny the careless ways in which people invoke “biblical womanhood.” My project emerged from a genuine love of scripture and concern for the way it has been reduced to an adjective and used to put women in their place.”
      http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2012/11/too-bad-youre-a-girl-testing-the-biblical-teachings-i-grew-up-with/264396/#

      There was nothing *playful* about YBW, it was an angry treatise against something she’s never truly tried to understand in the first place.

    • Joe Carter

      And you have just ranted before you read, to made assumptions before you listened, and cast judgment before trying to understand.

      No I didn’t. Evans views on scripture are well-known to anyone who has frequently read her blog. The assumption I made was made after listening to her. Yet her fans keep saying, “You have to read the book before you can judge!” But that wasn’t true. Even before Evans wrote the book you knew what she was going to say. Reading her book merely confirmed it.

      Why would you think this was a good idea?

      I don’t understand your complaint. The “rant before I read” was because I was relying on the judgment of people I respect. Reading the book confirmed that they were right. It’s really silly to claim that we should without judgment about what a well-known writer has said when (a) she has said it all before, and (b) both her critics and her supporters admit that she said it. In such cases, only an extreme skeptic thinks we should withhold judgment before reading the book themselves.

      I suspect that you are casting judgment on my criticism without having read the book yourself. Am I right?

      Enns is endorsing RHE for her use of hermeneutics that she’s taken from him and N.T. Wright. Did you realize that?

      Oh good grief. I’m not the biggest fan of N.T. Wright but let’s not slander the man by saying that RHE is using a hermeneutical method she adopted from him. That is simply not true. I can only assume that you have not read the book, because no one who has could seriously make such a claim.

      She made the authorial mistake of writing a book that could not stand alone will apart from the context of her blog.However, a reviewer should have the decency to try to understand the authorial context for a piece, . . .

      I did understand the “authorial context for a piece” because I read the book. When a critic reads a book and says, “This is hot mess” an author can’t say, “You don’t get it. You have to read my blog to understand the context.” It doesn’t work that way.

      and reading RHE’s posts on the satirical nature of her approach . . .

      Ugh. It’s not satirical. Maybe RHE doesn’t know the meaning of the word but that doesn’t excuse her defenders. There is nothing in the book that hints that it is satirical. For her to try to make that post hoc claim on her blog is simply embarrassing.

      . . .and her book club post series on Enns’ and Wright’s books would perhaps help you and Keller both understand why she does what she does, rather than coming to the text with your own presuppositions.

      She was given an entire book to make her point. I shouldn’t have to go and read some blog posts to see what she was really trying to do. The book is a standalone text. If she failed to communicate her intentions that is her problem.

      Why are her defenders so condescending to her? Yo’re basically admitting that she is an incompetent writer but that everyone should cut her some slack. Why is that the case? Why should she get special treatment?

      Which, by the way, is what the whole book is warning against.

      Again, you didn’t read the book, did you? That’s not what it’s about. Stopping taking RHE’s word for what she says the book is about and read what she actually says for herself in the book.

      (Notice how not one of her defenders uses her book to justify their claims? Every excuse for her is “You have to read her blog to understand . . .”)

      I’m sorry if I appear abrasive but defending her book—which absolutely mocks the Bible—is irksome. To say that she is simply doing what Enns or Wright would do is slanderous.

  • Loo

    OK, I wasn’t thrilled when she decided to do this genre for her next book either. I did learn, however, that she had originally wanted to do a book against The Biblical Manhood/Womanhood book Piper and someone else wrote. Her publishers said “no”. Nice to be an ordained pastor in the Christian world and be allowed to critique someone else’s book, but when a non-ordained person tries, publisher says NO. She mentions this quite some time later, but it did strike me as interesting the double standard that gets applied to ordained publishers and non-ordained publisher.

    She wasn’t allowed to directly critique, true. Did she need to go through the bible and pull out all the ridiculous things they tell women to do? No. But, she isn’t so far off some Christian’s interpretations. Let’s see: women covering their heads – some traditional Mennonite Brethren branches, Pentecostal branches, about every Christian church in India, etc. Not followed in strict complementarian Southern Baptist churches, who take the women can’t prophesy verse too literally. Who has the sloppy hermeneutics here?

    Marriage itself is hardly a good thing to call “biblical”. Mormons may actually be correct – polygamy is not banned in the Old or New testament. So, nuclear families are not actually Biblical families, just western families. I know few churches that outright ban re-married families, but I can see some good reasons to deny them (depending on the circumstances of the divorce, true, but the church has no legal right to know the exact reasons, and I know a few cases where the remarried spouse was not completely upfront about their own culpability in a previous divorce, if one is very concerned about ‘Biblical’ marriage, erring on the side of caution and banning all church positions to divorced then re-married individuals would be “safer”). Polygamy is banned, remarriage is not according to whose hermeneutics? Worse, homosexuals are thrown to the wolves over a similar sin. So divorce – fine, polygamy – wrong, homosexuality – purely evil. That is bad hermeneutics – you know it- yet no one in the conservative camps dares to weigh in on that front. Too many tithes at stake?

    And on and on. Rachel is making a point. Not that biblical scholars can’t tell the difference, but that the modern Evangelical church can’t. And, in an area as contentious as gender roles, the church isn’t doing a good job of finding out what the Bible really teaches.

    • Joe Carter

      Her publishers said “no”.

      But why did her publisher say “no?” Could it be that they actually want to sell books and having some young uncredentialed blogger take on a serious Biblical scholar wouldn’t sell many copies?

      She mentions this quite some time later, but it did strike me as interesting the double standard that gets applied to ordained publishers and non-ordained publisher.

      Oh vey. There’s no double-standard. There are thousands of people who would like to publish a book, most of them have better qualifications and ability than RHE. Why is it fair that she gets published and they don’t? It’s not. But that’s the world. For her to whine about it is ridiculous. She’s already got notice far above what her work would warrant.

      Who has the sloppy hermeneutics here?

      Um, she does. She uses the exact same hermeneutic that she critiques. (Has no one actually read the book?) It’s ridiculous to say is critiquing a sloppy hermeneutic when that is, by her own admission, the exact same hermeneutic.

      Mormons may actually be correct – polygamy is not banned in the Old or New testament.

      So what? That doesn’t mean that polygamy is endorsed by God, much less by the standards of the New Testament. Yet RHE muddies that point.

      And, in an area as contentious as gender roles, the church isn’t doing a good job of finding out what the Bible really teaches.

      Most of the contention over “gender roles” is because people like RHE reject the Bible. Most of it isn’t all that contentious when you put the World of God ahead of liberal feminism.

      • Loo

        If some un-credentialed guy starts a church and it grows big enough, then he can write whatever he wants – Real Marriage anyone? As if the Song of Songs tells wives to do certain things (I won’t say it, you would probably delete it, if Driscoll said it, you would probably keep it, meh). Rotten to the core hermeneutics there. It is just a popularity contest for Christian writers out there. What she wants to write, she can’t, so she writes something less great and people want it. That’s the world for you.

        Actually, I think Evangelicals as a whole have sloppy hermeneutics over many, many issues. Some get somethings right, some of the time. Her point was, why aren’t more people asking questions about what we are taught the Bible says? Many teachings on Biblical-this or Gospel-that don’t line up with the actual text.

        Does something have to be endorsed by God to be considered Biblical? That is news to me, I think a lot of Christians aren’t following that rule in any way shape or form. Again, her point. Christians randomly point to this story or that situation to claim something is Biblical – take, oh, Timothy 5: 20-something. Is that endorsed by God? If so, what about the rest of Paul’s argument – Slaves submit to your masters type stuff? Is that endorsed by God?

        It is fun to claim something is or isn’t endorsed by God without context- want to back up polygamy or not with a few verses? 12 tribes of Israel seems to endorse this? Why did all 12 son’s get a tribe, why not just Leah’s sons? As she is the Legit wife (or maybe Rachel), but whichever you choose as the true wife, the rest of the tribes look pretty endorsed. God could have just raised a prophet (if Leah is the true wife then Moses would do) to make the legit/endorsed ancestors a nation. God blessed the ‘unendorsed’ concubines to have more kids, then counted them as Jacob’s own. Come on, how on how can anyone claim God doesn’t endorse more than one wife in the Bible? Don’t go all Eden on me. That’s Old Testament anyways, completely null and void apparently. Well, according to Kathy it is, as we don’t need any impurity laws (fallen state laws) anymore. (Unmarried) Jesus is the new Adam and that old stuff is gone, right?

        So, where is the endorsed New Testament Biblical view of one wife? I can drum up an endorsed view of celibacy, but not non-polygamy.

        Rachel isn’t muddying points, she’s showing the church has muddied points without naming names. OK here are a few churches/movements with muddied points: Quiverfull – Go forth and Multiply, Women all need to homeschool their kids – probably some state laws vs. Biblical laws verses, Patriarchal to the point of the Dad needing to marry off the daughter – Rebecca’s narrative, etc.; SBC – women cannot teach (varying degrees). Or read the Bible in church (some churches), in case a man accidentally learns something? Not sure why, really. Silent in churches maybe? Never mind Pricilla, Phoebe, Junia (inconvenient narratives, I suppose). Mennonite Brethren – women must cover their heads in church, are they wrong? I would think so, but that verse is really, really odd and not at all about cultural modesty (Angels? are they swayed by human culture?).

        Rachel just went around and tried all these rules out. In India (I lived with Indians, not in some White bubble enclave) women still didn’t touch food during their periods. It was a nice break for them, so they weren’t going to give that command up. Is that mockery – if so, first, rant at the Quiverfull movement for bad hermeneutics, next, rant at the inconsistencies in the SBC regarding women’s church participation, then, go rant at Christians all over the place (possible in the days of the internet) for bad hermeneutics. Or, just admit, the Bible isn’t all that clear on Biblical womanhood and no one really has a monopoly on it. Rachel’s point to begin with.

        If an unsophisticated, un-hermeneutically astute/correct writer can so easily open a can of worms, get everyone at TGC all in a fluff, maybe it is time to look inward. Have the leaders of today’s church properly taught the average Joe why they follow this, not that? Have they checked. You praise Kathy, but Kathy makes a pretty big blunder. I didn’t even realize she was wrong until I read the comments at her/the site. I thought all sacrifices were done after Jesus’ death. Yet, in Acts 21, there goes Paul to the temple to do a sacrifice! So, what on earth? Now what? Kathy didn’t even know this. I didn’t know this. This sort of changes things. Of course, that will be quickly hushed up. Maybe you people should try calmly answering non-hermeneutically correct bloggers/commenters instead of bashing everyone who doesn’t agree with you.

        I don’t think Rachel did a great job of showing us the NT/OT divide. I think she should/could have done that better, but I think she has a salient point, trying to use the Bible to teach us about our 21C western roles is silly. She did a good job of that. Personally I’m half way through the book, well, I skip around, so about 40% covered so far.

        • Joe Carter

          It is just a popularity contest for Christian writers out there.

          Well, of course it it. Book publishing is a business. Do you think RHE would have gotten a second book deal if she did not have a popular blog?

          Her point was, why aren’t more people asking questions about what we are taught the Bible says?

          Again, that was not the point of her book. (Seriously, folks, read it and you’ll see.) And if that had been her point it would have been a lame one. You can’t swing a dead cat without someone who is “asking questions about what we are taught the Bible says.” That is pretty much all some people do. The Bible inevitably conflicts with stuff they want to believe or support (e.g., gay marriage) and so they question God’s Word (Did God really say that?) rather than accept an answer they don’t want to hear.

          Does something have to be endorsed by God to be considered Biblical?

          Um, yes. I don’t think any serious Christians has used the adjective “Biblical” in reference to their beliefs and not thought it was meant “something endorsed by God.” That was one of the goofiest parts of RHE’s book. She pretended not to recognize that fact (and she was pretending because she’s not that dumb).

          That is news to me, I think a lot of Christians aren’t following that rule in any way shape or form.

          Give me an example of who you mean?

          Is that endorsed by God?

          Yes, that was endorsed by God. But that does not mean slavery was endorsed by God.

          It is fun to claim something is or isn’t endorsed by God without context- want to back up polygamy or not with a few verses?

          Have you ever heard “let scripture interpret scripture?” (It’s a basic hermeneutical principle.) Look at all the verses on marriage and see whether polygamy or monogamy is normative. This is not even a tough one.

          Well, according to Kathy it is, as we don’t need any impurity laws (fallen state laws) anymore. (Unmarried) Jesus is the new Adam and that old stuff is gone, right?

          Do you think the OT is “completely null and void” if you do not abide by the purity laws? if not why the strawman?

          So, where is the endorsed New Testament Biblical view of one wife?

          Jesus endorsed that view in Matthew 19:

          He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female,  and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?  So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

          OK here are a few churches/movements with muddied points:

          Translation: Here are some things you disagree with so they must be wrong.

          If an unsophisticated, un-hermeneutically astute/correct writer can so easily open a can of worms, get everyone at TGC all in a fluff, maybe it is time to look inward.

          False teachers that lead believers astray should always be denounced, especially popular ones like RHE.

          Yet, in Acts 21, there goes Paul to the temple to do a sacrifice!

          No he didn’t. The passage says that Paul paid for four men who had taken a Nazirite vow.

          trying to use the Bible to teach us about our 21C western roles is silly.

          And there we have it. We’re modern—we live in the 21st century—so we don’t have to listen to God’s revealed Word any more. You could have saved a lot of debate if you had put that at the top. You’re admitting what all of the RHE’s critics are saying: that she is mocking the Bible by showing that it’s no longer relevant to us today.

          • Loo

            OK here are a few churches/movements with muddied points:

            Translation: Here are some things you disagree with so they must be wrong.

            Wrong – there are 3 or 4 of many traditions who are randomly applying various verses from the Bible. I lived in the East, covering my head at church was really no big deal, I could take it or leave it. But, I can’t see it is simply as cultural when Paul goes on about Angels. For the record – I only did it for cultural reasons in the East, I don’t do it here. But, if someone felt we ought to, I’d listen.

            Acts 21: 26 (ish) The next day Paul took the men and purified himself along with them. Then he went to the temple to give notice of the date when the days of purification would end and the offering would be made for each of them.

            Is Paul involved or not? Paul is purifying himself.

  • http://mattiechatham.wordpress.com/ Mattie Chatham

    Correcting verb tense… “And you just ranted before you read, made assumptions before you listened, and cast your judgment before trying to understand.”

  • Loo

    trying to use the Bible to teach us about our 21C western roles is silly.

    let me specify those roles. Biblical Marriage, Biblical womanhood, Biblical Scholarship. Following what someone tells you is the correct way to do this or that is silly. Following Jesus is life-altering and good. Following a 15th C disgruntled priest’s prescription for how to do church/marriage/whatever could be silly, better look into it. And everything else everyone says is Biblical. I’m not talking about following Jesus here. I am talking about taking someone else’s take on things and seeing if they are applicable. Often, they aren’t. If, as quiverfulls might say, women are saved by childbearing, do I have to believe them? No. Infertile women are saved too. It is called “thinking for yourself, not following someone else ‘s opinions.

  • Keith Pavlischek

    “Not a word about the slaughter of females in the womb, nary a mention of female infanticide.”
    I suspect that she is personally opposed to sex-selective abortion, but wouldn’t want to impose her personal sectarian based morality on the rest of society. Why would we expect her political theology to be any more sophisticated that her Biblical hermeneutic?

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  • http://morganguyton.wordpress.com Morgan Guyton

    Wow Joe, your fruit sure does testify. It sounds to me like you want to stay in your own echo chamber and throw your amen chorus some big slabs of red meat to devour. Who are you hoping to influence with what you’ve written here beyond people who already agree with you? Your tone and your self-certainty have pretty much eliminated your ability to have any influence on me.

    There’s a whole lot of humanity within Rachel’s book that you’ve swept aside dismissively. I’m guessing that you generally feel under attack by the culture at large and so you’re pouring out your wrath about that feeling on Rachel, whom you hate particularly acutely since she’s a traitor to you. Being playful is not the same thing as mocking. Because Rachel sits on her roof after reading a Proverb that a contentious woman makes her husband want to sit on his roof does not signify that she’s belittling the Bible. Did you miss the part where Rachel got to know the Orthodox Jewish woman and an Amish woman who both live in traditional, “complementarian” roles that confronted Rachel’s stereotypes and forced her to reexamine them?

    It sounds like you read this book for ammunition to score points in your argument. The problem when you write this way is that you lose people who are seeking spiritual maturity and don’t see our religious responsibilities as simply being to yell and throw beer at the refs like hockey fans cheering for Team Jesus, because such people don’t just look at how Bible verses you cite but check to see whether your manner of speaking exudes the fruit of Galatians 5:19-21 or Galatians 5:22-23. Right now your words are coming out on the wrong side of that distinction. I hope you will make an effort to communicate more effectively if indeed God has a truth to speak through you.

    • http://www.bravelass.blogspot.com Kamilla

      You know what’s funny about what you say here, Morgan? You’re treating Joe the way you accuse him of treating Rachel, the same way you accuse Kathy Keller or reacting.

      C’mon man, you actually used the word “ooze” in your post!

      Aside from a bit of a laugh, I have to thank you for one thing:

      Illustrating, yet again, that if none of the obviously intelligent folks who disagree with and criticise Rachel’s work can get the point of it — she must be a really crappy writer. You know, like “Rocky Horror Picture Show” was a crap movie that garnered a loyal cult following? Like that.

  • arthur1526

    What to say to an unhappy sick person?
    From Risalei Nur collection by Said Nursi.
    http://www.nur.gen.tr/en.html#leftmenu=Risale&maincontent=Risale&islem=read&KitapId=494&BolumId=8752&KitapAd=The+Flashes+(Revised+2009+edition)&Page=266

    Do not be anxious, have patience! Your illness is not a malady for you; it is a sort of cure. For life departs like capital; if it yields no fruits, it is wasted; and if it passes in ease and heedlessness, it passes swiftly. Illness makes that capital of yours yield huge profits. Moreover, it does not allow your life to pass quickly, it restrains it and lengthens it, so that it will depart after yielding its fruits. An indication that your life is lengthened through illness is the following much repeated proverb: “The times of calamit y are long, the times of happiness, most brief.”

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  • Steve F

    Joe calls Rachel so many names, and castigated her book, and as a self appointed evangelical fold keeper, cast her out. But he is a cheerleader for mormonism, and never critical of their belief structures. Wonder if he still believes in the trinity, the way he heralds a Mormon as a saint. Hypocrisy oozes from every pore, and it reeks of a man who made idols.

    • http://www.bravelass.blogspot.com Kamilla Ludwig

      There you guys go again with your oozing …

      • Kristin

        Kamilla, do you have a role here other than to troll? I have yet to see you address anything about the conversation other than making the false claim that all feminists hate being women, calling RHE a crappy writer, and generally belittling anyone who disagrees with Joe.
        BTW, there are many women who call themselves feminists who love being not only women, but women of God. There are many people believe that being “pro-life” doesn’t stop at birth and so choose to focus on the “missing girls” who have been born. There are many intelligent people who not only understood RHE’s book but applauded it. There are also many who got it and disagreed with her but did so in a charitable way. These are the people who cause us to think about both sides of the issue, not the people who attack and not the people who troll.

        • http://www.bravelass.blogspot.com Kamilla Ludwig

          Oh my. Kristin, it seems you don’t know the difference between a generalization and universal claim. Sigh.

          And then, whatever gave you the idea that *anyone* thinks being pro-life stops at birth? Trouble is, if you don’t have the right to life – no other right matters, period. Do you not understand that it is all of a piece – that we cannot and will not be able to adequately care for and protect from abuse girls that are already born if we don’t advocate for those that are not yet born? If you can have a child ripped limb from limb while she is still in the womb simply because she is a she, why in the world would it matter if she had already been born? The President that Evans voted for thinks we must protect the murder of little babies who survive the gruesome procedures of late-term abortion because to protect them from further attempts on their lives might just possibly have a chilling effect on the future rights to abortion for any reason at any time.

          And what of the grown-up girls, the mothers who are subjected to forced abortion? The organization that Evans promotes advocates for coercive family planning and forced abortion by their support of UNFPA which praises China’s “family planing” program. They criticize any restriction of US government funding of abortion providers like Marie Stopes International and think that we should set aside “the right and wrong of it all and just help women”. How in blazes do you help women without knowing what is right and wrong?

          No, Kristin, you cannot be pro-life unless you are pro-life from conception to natural death. To be anything less is to pave the way for deciding which lives you will be “pro”.

          It makes me sick to know that anyone could support the Kristof/WuDunn inspired movement and call themselves a Christian. The two are incompatible – as is feminism and Christianity.

          Kamilla

          P.S. If that makes me a troll, I gladly embrace the label. But what does it make you that you dog me on different blogs?

          • http://www.bravelass.blogspot.com Kamilla Ludwig

            P.P.S. I never called Mrs. Evans a crappy writer.

    • Joe Carter

      But he is a cheerleader for mormonism, and never critical of their belief structures.

      I think you must have me confused with someone else. I’m highly critical of Mormonism. (See, for example: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/04/24/the-faqs-are-mormons-christian/ and http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/10/19/billy-grahams-website-removes-mormonism-from-cult-list/)

      Wonder if he still believes in the trinity, the way he heralds a Mormon as a saint.

      What Mormon do I “herald as a saint?” (You must really have me confused with someone else.)

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  • RD
  • BWW

    I read this recently as part of a book club and was equally as “fired up”. Very insightful article — it is refreshing to hear of people who have not bought into the “gospel” according to Rachel Held Evans. Speaking of the gospel — that leads to the biggest problem I had with this book — where is the gospel?? For someone who claims an evangelical faith I would think that’d be a central part of a book on biblical living. I would at least expect it to show up when she talks about “coming to terms with her sin” at the end of the book. Instead we are given a Jewish proverb, a few nods to various mystic and/or non-Christian beliefs and her “epiphany” that she is fine as long as she can forgive herself. No reference to what Christ did on the cross.

    No wonder this book has been so palatable to Oprah, the Daily Show, the View, NPR, etc. Some times “the world” is better at spotting something that undermines the gospel than we are as Christians.


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