Rachel Held Evans & God

When people read the Bible on their own, without the Spirit of Truth guiding them, they come to some sinful conclusions about God and his character. Ms. Evans is one of those people. She had left following the Spirit of Truth long ago and misses the mark when it comes to God. What we are going to address today is an excerpt from her new book. The title of which you can get from clicking the following link and going to her website

https://rachelheldevans.com/blog/war-stories-excerpt-inspired

We will take a few quotes from that excerpt and address them here:

#1. The question of God’s character haunted every scene and every act and every drama of the Bible. It wasn’t just the story of Noah’s flood or Joshua’s conquests that unsettled me.

One of the problems that come when reading the Bible on your own strength and using your own understanding is that you do not get the full picture of God and many times people simply do not read the whole story. They view God through their own personal preferences, their own ideas of right and wrong, morality and immorality and so on.

They ignore passages like

Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Gen. 6 NASB)

because those passages show that God’s character is not a blood thirsty, genocidal loving nature, but one that is holy and judges sin. If people like Ms. Evans are unsettled by God’s holy and just nature, then they may need to re-evaluate their lives and how they conduct them.

#2. The book of Judges recounts several horrific war stories in which women’s bodies are used as weapons, barter, or plunder, without so much as a peep of objection from the God in whose name these atrocities are committed.

It is clear that Ms. Evans does not read the whole Bible and apply its teachings to these specific events. She ignores the fact that God had spoken and given his instructions. For the ancient Israelites, it was the Mosaic law given at Mt. Sinai. For modern Christians it is both the OT & the NT. God has clearly laid out for his followers what they are to do, including how to treat women.

Every person in the OT that belonged to the people of Israel were well aware of what God instructed. But just like today, they make decisions and go against God’s will and desire for his people and commit atrocious acts. Or they did what most people like Ms. Evans do, and interpret God’s word so they can  feel good about disobeying him.

Now what Ms. Evans misses in the 2 examples she gives immediately after that quote is that God did not command those men to dismember the concubine or make the promise to sacrifice his daughter. She may not be so unsettled if she looked at the whole picture instead of doing what so any people do, leap to a conclusion and blame God for man’s decisions {the word man here means we are including both genders}.

As for the Midianites, she misses the words

Moses spoke to the people, saying, “Arm men from among you for the war, that they may [a]go against Midian to execute the Lord’s vengeance on Midian (Num. 30 NASB)

God does not kill to satisfy some blood lust. But that part of God’s nature is missed by those who attack and judge God using their own understanding and moral codes.

#3. They kill all except the young virgin girls whom the soldiers divide up as spoils of war. Feminist scholar Phyllis Trible aptly named these narratives “texts of terror.”

When people label biblical passages to fit their own preferences, they tend to miss out on God’s true nature and paint him with a broad brush influenced by evil. They see God as evil wants them to see him. This influence then helps to destroy the faith of a person, sending them to destruction. Ms Evans is well on that road. We do not know if it is too late for her but she should stop leading people to sin and destruction.

Her following words tells us that Ms. Evans does not understand the Bible but is looking for the answers she wants

Rereading the texts of terror as a young woman, I kept anticipating some sort of postscript or epilogue chastising the major players for their sins, a sort of Arrested Development–style “lesson” to wrap it all up—“And that’s why you should always challenge the patriarchy!” But no such epilogue exists. While women are raped, killed, and divided as plunder, God stands by, mute as clay.

She repeats the claim that God was mute, yet she fails to see that sin is committed today even though God has spoken through his Bible. The church is not innocent here.We also have to ask why she goes after patriarchy when that system did not command men to kill, rape, dismember, sacrifice and so on. Ms. Evans misses the point that it is the sin nature influenced by evil that lead people to make the bad decisions they make, even when they are major characters in biblical accounts.

She should be angry at evil, not God. The Bible tells us that God does not lead or command his people to sin so why is she up in arms and angry at God for something he did not do? She goes after God’s patriarchal system as if it is some sort of evil entity, refusing to understand that the patriarchal system is not wrong just because men let evil influence them to do evil acts.

If honesty and the truth  were her goals, she would have seen this. We do not challenge God’s systems or choices of leaders. We challenge their sins. We do not throw the  baby out with the bath water. God did not do that when his perfect creation was marred by sin. he provided a way to get back to paradise. Ms. Evans wants everyone to stay away from paradise by attacking God and his system

#4. I waited for a word from God, but no word came.

She just had to read her Bible and she would have seen that his word came. God does not say ‘Go and do though likewise’…’when his people commit sin and make bad decisions. In other words, men are not to commit adultery or murder just because King David did it. They are to follow the commands and instructions of God correctly. If Ms. Evans had read the Bible, she would see what she is to do, yet she takes this supposed silence as permission to ignore God’s word to her and all women.

#5. t was as though I lived suspended in the tension of two apparently competing convictions: that every human being is of infinite worth and value, and that the Bible is the infallible Word of God. These beliefs pulled at me with the gravitational forces of large planets. I couldn’t get rid of them, and yet I couldn’t seem to resolve them either. The tension was compounded by a growing confluence of mis- givings I had about the absence of women in leadership in my church, the shaming of young women perceived to be immodest or “impure,” and the insistence that God is most pleased when women are submissive and quiet. My home had always been a place of refuge, where the voices of women were valued and honored, but as I graduated from high school and entered college, I began to wonder if the same was true for the broader Christian community to which I belonged.

Ms. Evans demonstrates her lack of understanding when it comes to reading and grasping the Bible. God spoke countless times of the worth of a human but he did not say that worth made humans immune from discipline and punishment for their sins. Ms. Evans is quite misguided as she continues to ignore tha evil exists in the world and it is tempting, influencing, leading people to do things against God’s will and instructions.

She also equates her home with infallibility and assumes that her parents did everything according to God’s word. She then uses her growing up experience as the benchmark to judge the church, Christian academic institutions and so on. That is not right nor of God. Instead of questioning God and the Bible, why didn’t she question her parents first and seek understanding between the difference?

We see her problem. She took her upbringing to be more correct than God’s teaching in the Bible. We wish people would stop using the word ‘shaming’ as it has nothing to do with discipline, correction or even justice. It is a modern term being applied to stop people from doing what is right and correcting those in error. God’s kingdom is not a kingdom where everyone gets to do as they please. There are rules and those rules are found in the Bible, not secular culture, or leaning to one’s own understanding.

Then, while we agree that her account of the type of help she was receiving seems to be lacking in biblical thinking, and we say her account because we do not have the full transcripts in front of us of what was said in those meetings. We only have her word. It would help in future similar situations  if biblical men learned the truth first and how to communicate it properly before counseling women who disagree with God’s teaching.

#6. Piper’s dispassionate acceptance represented pure, committed faith, I was told, while mine had been infected by humanism and emotion—“a good example of why women should be kept from church leadership,” one acquaintance said

We put this in here because we want to make a point about the complexity of leadership. Years ago, one female US Senator from California said something to the effect , what is best for the children.  The statement caused us to think about leadership and why God said what he said about who occupies that office. Leadership is not just about children. Leaders have to govern everyone and do it without favoritism. They also have to apply the  rules equally to all and this includes men, women and children.

As we pointed out in our previous post, God does not suspend or change his rules just because children are  involved. Real leadership has to be tough but fair. It has to be strong but just. It has to make the hard decisions, even when applying mercy. The church, parents, leadership and so on do not exist for the children. The latter are the ones who have to be taught correctly. Deut. 4 has God telling  Moses what is to be taught to them- his ways, his commands, his instructions and so on.

When courts and politicians talk about ‘what is best for the child’ (which is not a biblical teaching), they need to look up Deut. 4 and similar passages to see what is best for the child. God has already laid it out for everyone how to raise their children correctly. Leadership has to govern everyone not one segment of society. Unfortunately, many women do not get this fact, including Ms. Evans. They limit their leadership to the children only and ignore other vital aspects of life. real leadership cannot afford to do this.

Many people think that women should be appointed to leadership positions just because they are female. The point to women like Deborah who was a judge and a prophetess to support their views. But what they do not take into consideration is that maybe God did not appoint her just to appease secular cultural demands or a small group of people. She got the job because she was spiritually qualified and governed everyone correctly.

We must repeat ourselves from other posts here- Deborah was not made head of the  temple. She did not violate God’s instructions on  who was to lead the temple. She also did not lead a movement to usurp authority from Gods appointed men who were charged with being the temple leaders. True leadership does not lead the people to sin and destruction. Nor does it elevate one segment of society over the others.

#7. If we train ourselves not to ask hard questions about the Bible, and to emotionally distance ourselves from any potential conflicts or doubts, then where will we find the courage to challenge interpretations that justify injustice? How will we know when we’ve got it wrong?

It is okay to ask hard questions about the Bible. That is how you learn the true nature of God and see the difference between the world’s view and the biblical view. God acts justly and is not some homicidal maniac who hates women. He has his way of doing things and that is what we are to humbly accept & follow. BUT when you ask those hard questions, you need to be prepared for the truth that answers those questions. You also  need to be prepared to accept those hard answer especially when they go against your preferences and understanding.

Ms. Evans does not do that. We know because we have tried on her website to answer her questions only to be banned from posting.

#8. “Belief in a cruel god makes a cruel man,” Thomas Paine said.  If the Bible teaches that God is love, and love can look like genocide and violence and rape, then love can look like . . . anything. It’s as much an invitation to moral relativism as you’ll find anywhere.

She does not help her case by quoting someone who misunderstand the Bible and did not know God. God does not commit sin, he doe snot command anyone to sin but he has given everyone the right of free choice, even those major biblical characters that Ms. Evans has a hard time with. It is time for Ms. Evans to apply that fact to her understanding of the Bible and see where she made her mistakes. Biblical characters had the same option to freely choose what they will do and follow. You cannot blame God for their words and deeds if they commit sin.

Part of her problem is that she and others like her do not understand how God defines love. They apply their own subjective definition to the term then judge God by that inferior meaning. That is not fair to God and it only lets evil ruin a person’s faith in God.

#9. I figured if God was real, then God didn’t want the empty devotion of some shadow version of Rachel, but rather my whole, integrated self.

As we read these final quoted words, we are struck by the thought that Ms. Evans did not mention one word about sin against men. Or the fact that women do sinful thinks to men. Her words were all about how women were treated That is not a wholistic view or even fair to men. She is not giving God her whole self but only that self that wants to attack men and remove them from their rightful place in the Church and the home.

She really does not  understand the character or nature of God. She should start with the fact that God is holy, does not make mistakes and is not wrong- even when he made his instructions about who leads the church and the family.