Rachel Held Evans: Staying or Going?

By Scott Fowler

Here is a little window into the mind and logic of Rachel Held Evans. Who is she? Well, she is described by herself and others as evangelical, but she does not fit into that category as it is traditionally understood.

Here’s how Dr. Joel McDurmon, from The American Vision, assesses Evans’ situation:

Now this is close to discovering her true identity. She has realized she doesn’t belong at the evangelical table.

That’s good. It was far too long in coming, but better late than never.

But her reasoning has still not quite reached the level of good therapy. So let me dialogue with her for a minute:

RHE: For many years, I felt that part of my call as a writer and blogger of faith was to be a different sort of evangelical, to advocate for things like gender equality, respect for LGBT people. . . .

JM: Rachel, that’s not “a different sort of evangelical.” That’s “a liberal.”

Doesn’t that just clear up so much?

She recognizes that “The response to World Vision revealed some major fault lines in the Church.” Yeah, they are fault lines that have been there for over a hundred years. Rachel just woke up and realized she’s standing on the wrong side of the line for what she’s been calling herself.

Now she finds herself standing in the “wilderness” and thinking she’s starting afresh. Rachel, you’ve been in the liberal wilderness the whole time.

Now she thinks she’ll start a new ministry, friendly to all people—a great big love tent with no labels and no divisions “where everyone is welcome.”

The problem is, and always has been, RHE wants the church on her liberal terms, suppressing the voices of conservative values, squashing God’s law in many places, and yet advancing the old liberal line of “diversity” and “tolerance.” It is anything but tolerant of those she disagrees with.

You see, when the conservative evangelical world bends RHE’s liberal way, she calls it “community”:

I want this community to be a place where the churched and un-churched, Republicans and Democrats, American citizens and people from around the world, can come together to dream big dreams for the future.

When it doesn’t bend that way, however—for example, like World Vision’s recent decision—she cries, pouts, and stomps out of the room in her own little Exodus.

Problem is, this is no real Exodus. She’s been wandering in that wilderness bearing the name of the chosen, but she rebels against Moses and promises to stay in the desert.

Not to be unkind, but someone is going to have to leave evangelicalism. Why? Because the truth matters. Doctrine matters. Theology matters. And they are not negotiable for the sake of some “hyper-enlightened, swaying-for-world-peace” approach to Christianity in which the Bible is subject to our approval and God is pressed into our image.

Read two articles by Rachel Held Evans that show her stance on the World Vision flap and her style of evangelicalism.

What Now?

On needing some time…(or, Oh evangelicalism, why can’t I quit you?!).

 

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