Evans had written the book of late, "A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master."
Her book was thoughtfully and instructively critiqued here (negatively), and sternly here (very negatively).
Today I read an essay which is a response to Evans' piece called "If my son or daughter were gay..." The piece is written by Dr. Joel McDurmon and it's called "To Rachel Held Evans, RE: “If my son or daughter were gay…"
Sometimes when we write about someone who has a new book which illustrates a slide toward apostasy, it's good to catch back up with that person later on to see if they have corrected course, indicating a momentary inattention and a repentant drift, or if they have continued that slide (are they are still going out from us?) Is Rachel Held Evans still sliding? Yes. That is the first point of this essay. Examples to come and warning duly given.
Example 1: Over the last year Mrs Evans has been presenting a series of ask and answer questions on her blog. The series is called "Ask A..." in which she asks a prominent person a question and explores all the biblical responses to it. As Kevin Miller says at Patheos, "she’s allowing readers to throw their questions at people who hold to various positions on hell. First up was Edward Fudge, well known advocate of Conditional Immortality and author of The Fire that Consumes. Next up is Robin Parry, author of The Evangelical Universalist."
In the essay response to Mrs Evans' 'If my son or daughter were gay' piece, Dr McDurmon wrote, "There is a stream of tears dripping from the end of Rachel Held Evans’s recent blog, “If my son or daughter were gay…”. I have to admit: I am crying, too. - ... Yes, I am crying, too, but for a different reason. I am weeping over the disgrace to God, the neutered theology, the tortured application of “unconditional love.” - See more here.
I think it is clear that to read Mrs Evans's blog or her books would not be profitable for the Christian and her works do not honor Jesus.
The second point of my essay here today is to examine the tactic Mrs Evans uses, in the hopes that how satan slyly comes in will be made more apparent to you and you can then be aware in future.
She asks questions.
I am not against questions. Christianity is a thinking religion, demanding in its intellectual and spiritual proposals. After all, the Holy Spirit endeavors to transform our mind. (Romans 12:2). That is one of the ministries He is performs inside us- renewing our mind away from the default of saturated sin and evil toward light and Christlike. (Colossians 3:10). Honest questioning is a good thing. "What did that verse mean? How can I apply that to my life? Is there a biblical example of that I can learn? Where is a parallel verse? What is the context here? What does Jesus mean when He says 'meek'?" and so on.
Those are honest questions. When a disciple of Jesus comes to the word and honestly seeks to know, and asks the Spirit to answer, this is honest work.
Satan asks dishonest questions.
Let's look at the dramatic moment in Genesis 3. I keep going back to that moment in many of my blog essays because it is important. Also, we are given insight into not just what the apostles said about satan, but in the very few times satan himself is recorded interacting with man (or Jesus or God) it behooves us to pay attention and learn from it.
We meet satan for the first time in Genesis 3:1. The introduction to him is "Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made." That is how the Spirit chose to introduce satan to us. So pay attention.
When you make an introduction to someone you state their name. You say one or two of the best things you can think of to commend that person, to make a good first impression. In the bible's introduction of satan, his name is left off and the only commendation of him to us is negative. Not one good thing.
In the very next sentence we read, "He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”
This is dishonest questioning. Satan had an agenda. He did not approach the woman in earnest, seeking to know what God hath said. He already knew what God hath said. He is all ears. He sees all that God does and with constant and persistent action, seeks to undermine God and accuse humans. (Revelation 12:10). If satan had really wanted to know what God had said, he could have gone to God and asked. No, satan knew the answer but had a different reason for asking. This is dishonesty.
He asked this question of Eve not because he didn't know the answer. He asked it because he had an agenda. That agenda is to subvert the word of God and to introduce doubt into the recipient.
Rob Bell perfected this art of subversive questioning in his book denying hell's existence, "Love Wins."
Dr John MacArthur noted this in his review of Rob Bell's book, "Rob Bell: “Evangelical and orthodox to the bone? Hardly.", first quoting a passage from Bell and then making his statement-
Bell: "What if that spring [the virgin birth] were seriously questioned? Could a person keep on jumping? Could a person still love God? Could you still be a Christian? Is the way of Jesus still the best possible way to live? Or does the whole thing fall apart? . . . If the whole faith falls apart when we reexamine and rethink one spring, then it wasn’t that strong in the first place, was it?” (26-27)Back to Mrs. Evans.
So on the one hand, in a single sentence, he professes to affirm the virgin birth. On the other hand (and on the very same page), he spends multiple paragraphs calling the truthfulness and importance of that doctrine into question.
Even Charisma Magazine asked a couple of days ago if Mrs Evans has caved to the culture.
"Evans, who states that she “grew up in a religious environment that vilified LGBT people,” still identifies as an evangelical Christian but has had a change of heart in her viewpoint on homosexuality, just as she had a change of heart on “the age of the Earth, the reality of climate change, the value of women in church leadership, [and] the equal failings of both the Republican and Democratic platforms to embody the teachings of Jesus.” And so, when Exodus International announced it was closing its doors and when the Supreme Court made its momentous, pro-gay activist decisions, she “celebrated” along with her many LGBT friends. ...The title of her article is “Not All Religious Convictions Are Written in Stone,” but Evans leaves us wondering if any religious convictions are written in stone."
Yes, they are written in stone. It is the job of satan to make you believe that they aren't.
This questioning-seemingly-humble tactic is what John MacArthur called the "Hermeneutics of Humility" in his sermon on 1 John 1:1-4, "The Certainties of the Word of Life, part 2", writing, " There's a new hermeneutics, a new science of interpretation called the Hermeneutics of Humility, and this is serious to the people who espoused this and their Hermeneutics of Humility say, "I'm too humble to think that I could ever know what the Bible really means and so I can only offer my opinion and I certainly can't say that this is in fact the truth." They pat themselves on the back congratulating themselves for such intellectual openness."
It does seem to fool people when we come across someone who seems to be struggling with the larger questions of Christianity, and they are seemingly innocently asking questions in order to resolve their doubt. Who wouldn't want to come alongside such a person and help them with biblical answers? But we are in the midst of wolves. We must be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. (Matthew 10:16). This calls for discernment. Is a person a wolf who will devour me with their questions, or are they an immature lamb seeking their Shepherd?
As for being a 'humble seeker,' you can know. You should know. You will know with certainty. In the sermon on the 1John verses, MacArthur said "I mentioned to you before that 36 times you're going to find some form of the word "know" here. I know, we know, you know...there is an absoluteness in that."
I wondered about hell when I was first saved. I studied the bible, read what Jesus had to say about it. The answer became clear. So then I stopped asking. Question asked and answered. To continue to ask questions about a subject once you have learned what the bible says on it is blasphemy because by then you're not genuinely wondering about your understanding of the topic, you are directly questioning God. To fail to gain clarity on a topic that the bible presents clearly in the first place is also blasphemy. It is all dishonest questioning.
The bible is also clear on the disposition of the unrepentant sinner, including unrepentant homosexuals. It is also clear on the definition of love. A person is not being humble by continuing to ask, they are simply using their blog to introduce doubt and giving a platform to others who are wolves. (I.E. "Ask A... series").
The bible speaks to these foolish 'what if' questions. The bible has the first word and the last word on the questioning tactic, dishonest questioning, that is, 'If anyone has a morbid interest in controversial questions...'
"If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that religion is a means of gain." (1 Timothy 6:3-5).
Pulpit Commentary says
"In this morbid love of questionings and disputes of words, they lose sight of all wholesome words and all godly doctrine... surmisings, here in the-New Testament, In classical Greek it means "suspicion," or any under-thought. The verb occurs three times in the Acts - "to deem, think, or suppose." Here the "surmisings" are those uncharitable insinuations in which angry controversialists indulge towards one another."
Be wise, be strong, and study hard. Know what you know, and proclaim it! Satan is coming on like a flood.
Can we ever know doctrine for certain?
Can we know what the scripture means?
What is doctrine?