Christianity,  Culture

A Response to Rachel Held Evans on the Today Show

Earlier this morning, Rachel Held Evans appeared on NBC’s “Today Show” to promote her book A Year of Biblical Womanhood (see above). I have the book and intend to review it, but some of the errors in her remarks this morning were so serious that I thought they deserved a response in advance of the review.

1. Christians are hypocrites for not obeying Old Testament law. Evans reinforces the canard often brought against Christians by critics of our faith. The canard goes like this: “You people claim to believe the Bible, yet you do not obey Old Testament law. You are all hypocrites.” It amazes me that people think this to be a powerful critique, but it is still very popular today. It completely overlooks 2,000 years of Christian history in which the overwhelming majority of Christians have held that the Old Testament ceremonial and civil codes apply to the historic nation of Israel alone and not to the New Covenant church. Christians have recognized that it was Jesus himself, for instance, who abrogated the Old Testament kosher food laws (e.g., Mark 7:19; Acts 10:15). Evans allows the impression that Christians are hypocrites for embracing biblical gender roles while not embracing the rest of the Old Testament. With a smile and a giggle, she puts forth a false charge that gives our critics occasion to blaspheme (Romans 2:24).

2. Mockery of the Bible. The Bible is not a book to be trifled with. Much less should it be used as fodder to promote false teaching before a watching world. This piece presents the Bible as hopelessly irrelevant to the modern people. It presents its Old Testament prescriptions as silliness and folly, and it transfers that scorn by way of analogy to New Testament texts as well. The tragedy of this spectacle is that the person driving this impression is supposed to be a Christian. Those who form their impressions of the Bible from this piece will not conclude that the Old Testament law is “holy and righteous and good” (Romans 7:12). On the contrary, this presentation will give scoffers grounds to continue in their scoffing.

3. Misrepresentation of complementarians. Evans says the goal of her book is to challenge the idea that anyone is actually practicing biblical womanhood. Yet no complementarian would say that obeying Old Testament law is a fulfillment of biblical womanhood. It is not. Yet Morales seems to be under the impression that it is! Morales says, “There are Christian groups who live by this ideal of biblical womanhood,” and then she wonders aloud how widespread this strange teaching is. Morales asks her questions from a position of scrutiny and skepticism of the Bible, and Evans only reinforces that skepticism. And that is precisely the problem with Evans’ presentation. It uses a caricature of complementarians to discredit the Bible’s teaching on gender roles. Many people will use this to discredit the Bible altogether.

4. Redefinition of “evangelical.” Both Natalie Morales and the author identify Evans as an evangelical. I have already written about this elsewhere at length, but I will reiterate here. Evans’ definition of evangelical misses the mark on a number of points. Evans denies the inerrancy of scripture and says that “as a woman I have been nursing a secret grudge against the apostle Paul for about eight years.” As a young adult, she says that she stopped believing in the “Bible’s exclusive authority, inerrancy, perspicuity, and internal consistency.” She came to the conclusion that “the Bible wasn’t what I’d once believed it to be.” Evans has also pressed the case for inclusivism—the view that says people need not have conscious faith in Jesus Christ in order to be saved—and she rejects exclusivism. In a recent post, she defines the gospel without reference to the death and resurrection of Jesus and adopts the reductionism of counterimperial interpreters who say that the “good news” is “Jesus is Lord and Caesar is not.” She supports gay marriage, and she has served communion to practicing homosexuals. We could go on, but that is enough to make it clear that her definition of “evangelical” is strained at best. At worse, it’s not anything close to approaching evangelical. She is not a representative of evangelical faith, despite the assumptions of the reporters at the Today Show.

5. Denial of the authority of scripture. At the very end of the interview, Evans says something that is very telling. She says that she tries to defer to Jesus in order to figure out which parts of the Bible “apply” today. She says that’s how she decides which parts of the Bible she’s going to practice. So if a command from scripture doesn’t help her to love God and neighbor better as Jesus commanded, then she ignores it. And she makes no distinction here between Old and New Testament commands! On this point, it’s not Jesus she’s deferring to but her own notions of what helps her to follow Jesus. Her canon within the canon allows her to subjugate the black letters of scripture to the red letters with a disastrous result—a functional overthrow of the authority of scripture.

There is much more that can and should be said in response to this, and I will have more to say when I write my review. As I mentioned above, her remarks today on a national news broadcast were troubling enough that I thought they merited a response. My hope and prayer is that Evans would turn back from this dangerous theological course (2 Timothy 2:25) and that the impact from public appearances like this one might be diminished. Even though what she says is delivered with a smile, it is poison for those who receive it.


  • Steve Martin

    I have been visiting her blog from time to time, and I have to say that her theological understanding is very off kilter.

    She does get some things right, but her biggest problems are 1) Throwing out God’s law and 2) Genderizing everything. She’s on a females are great kick.

    We are one in Christ and we are ALL sinners. So much for Christian feminism and so much for tossing out God’s law.

    • Stand Up for Truth (@standupwi)

      If she gets some things right and gets her doctrine wrong, then she has nothing right at all… Sorry if this sounds unloving, but in these confusing times for Christians, we must be crystal clear not only who we are for, but also the false gospel we are against.

        • James

          Laura, they’ll pounce on you for being unbiblical and inserting ‘your own notions’ for saying such things. They’ll say you’re ignoring the black letters. Oh wait, “If I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing” (1 Cor. 13:2). I guess it’s not just the red letters.

  • Matt Svoboda

    Rachel Held Evans understands the Bible worse than most teenagers.

    This video is just sad. She only proved that she has no idea what hermeneutics are. She is a typical feminist, egalitarian that holds a very low view of the Bible and is okay with making a mockery of God’s word AND Jesus.

    • John Estabrooks

      After reading your comments, Matt, I felt compelled to reply. Your initial remark about understanding the Bible worse than most teenagers was, for me, rather confusing. Many teens I know who read their Bible’s are part of regular youth groups who study together and discuss what they read, while many adults read on their own and then ‘pronounce’ to others what they have read. So to write off ‘most teenagers’ in your opening line is unkind and perhaps unwise. That decision continues when you write RHE off as a ‘typical feminist’, and then decide that she has a very low view of the Bible, when she has been saying for a long time now how much she loves the Bible. This is not simply a defense, but an expression of her heart, and it is demonstrated by her commitment to ask questions, rather than dogmatic utterances. Finally, I would simply ask you to help me understand how you see her making a mockery of Jesus. I can understand – if not agree – with your belief that she is mocking scripture. It does sound like the book will hold a little bit of a cheekiness that has been incorporated in order to stir up the nests we have settled into, and not all will appreciate that. But to suggest that she is making a mockery of Jesus, whom she professed to love with all her heart, soul, mind and strength…I don’t see it. Her goal, as stated in the interview, is to become more loving towards God and humanity, and more like Christ. I do not agree with all RHE has to say, but I appreciate her heart as she says it, and am convinced that she truly does wish to be transformed into the image of God.

      • Wendy Fingerhut

        Bravo, John Estabrooks. I’d wager that RHE knows and understands the Bible far, far, far better than my former evangelical pastor (an ex-hairdresser) and indeed many evangelicals and their pastors. I am certain she understands the importance of context and intention in the creation of the text better than he did, and yet I believe that Denny would not accuse him of making a mockery of the Bible.

        • John Estabrooks

          Thanks Wendy. I AM an evangelical pastor (confession?), and also believe RHE seeks to be faithful with scripture. There is a fine line between mockery and cheekiness, and I think that is intent. My belief is that Rachel is seeking to hold up and promote a healthy use of scripture, though she does have the, “better to live on the corner of one’s roof” backwards (her husband would have needed to be up there). Her heart is in the right place, and we all need to remember that she has never claimed to be a Bible scholar. She is provoking, challenging, and posing questions – a very good thing for the church today…

    • Tom Parker


      I can just feel the love of the Lord in your comment. You just can not deal with a woman being used by the Lord can you–that just does not fit in with your narrow view does it?

  • Susan Donroe

    Patriarchy and gender roles are sins. Jesus would never stand for these things. Don’t put women (or men) in tradition boxes.

    • Ed D.

      Really? Father isn’t a role that only a man can take? Mother isn’t a role that only a woman can take? Husband isn’t only a role that only a man can take? Wife isn’t a role that only a woman can take? Elder isn’t a role that only a man can take? Really? How about lets not allow your tradition to displace revelation as is so often the case with those who attack tradition. Tradition that flows from sacred Scripture must never be abandoned. Tradition in and of itself is not evil. It only becomes so when it seeks to elevate human reason over divine revelation.

      • Thomas Vertrees

        Yes, wife and mother = women. Husband and father = man. But what does father/mother/husband/wife actually mean. Those are the items that are in contention.

    • Guest

      Can you substantiate this claim using scripture? Of course you cannot. However, I can substantiate that gender roles are ordained by scripture.

      • Kristen Rosser

        Actually, I have a number of posts on my own blog exploring these issues, substantiating from scripture that God did not design men to be in authority over women or women to be under the authority of men. You may not agree with my views, but you cannot say they are “unsubstantiated” by scripture.

  • Stacy Hutchens

    Thank you, Denny! I’ve been fuming over that clip all day! What gets me is that she doesn’t just address the OT laws, but takes rules for Biblical womanhood from verses that aren’t meant to be rules at all.

    I wanted to scream when Natalie said that there are really Christians who do these things, and RHE was all, “Yep.” NO. Nobody sits on the corner of their roof when they’ve been contentious, camps out in the yard during their period, holds a sign praising her husband at the city limits sign, etc… The whole thing is the biggest straw man argument against genuine, conservative, Bible-believing Christianity ever… and by a professing Christian who CLAIMS to love the Bible nonetheless!

    I’m reminded of Paul saying in Acts 20:30 that “from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.”


      That’s an intense verse to hurl at your sister in Christ. And give her a break. I don’t think she’s ever been on national television before. Haven’t all of us answered when on nerves in a way that wasn’t our best answer? Please search for grace in the Bible you love before condemning your sister in the faith.

      • fivepointer

        “Sister in the faith?” What makes you think this woman is saved? She believes basically the same stuff about God, the Word of God, and Christianity as most liberals believe. Does sound doctrine and behavior mean anything to you? Her “work,” if we can even call it that, is the sort of nonsense I hear from the typical blowhard 20 something atheist at your local community college. The girl is extremely muddled theologically, and at worse, she’s an apostate. She needs to repent of her blasphemy against our Lord and ask forgiveness from the Christian church and recant from the lies and slander she has spread across the internet.

        • Thomas Vertrees

          Fivepointer (only because I don’t know your name),

          I want to share something with you, and I want you to have an open mind about it, if you can.

          Hundreds of years ago, there was only a couple doctrinal systems in place. And then, one day a man by the name of Martin Luther thought that maybe some of the church’s teachings and doctrines didn’t line up with the original intent of the gospel. He did something about it. He spoke up, he asked questions, he considered alternatives.

          And there were likely many that would have said the same words you have shared here and likely much worse in response to these actions. He was considered an apostate, a heretic, and worse. And yet he set the stage for the founder of your 5 points to do his work. He did this by being all the vitriolic things that you now accuse of a woman that you obviously do not know very well at all.

          The disciples were apostate to the Jews of authority.

          It is not so much that individuals have differing interpretations, but instead the arrogance that “my box is the only right box”, with NO possibility that there be room in the inn, or that maybe, just maybe, churches today could use a little reformation, al a Luther style.

          Instead of doors, we just make blog posts.

          • fivepointer

            The name is Fred, by the way. My profile tells you that at my website if you had bothered to look.

            You seriously compare Evans’ doctrinal heresy with what Martin Luther stood for? You realize of course that Luther was at the long line of a number of individuals who believed and taught the same things about justification that he did, right? He wasn’t some unique individual who thought up justification by faith alone. It was just in God’s providence through the utilization of the printing press that his calling of the Christian church back to orthodoxy was able to be spread far and wide and God’s people resonated with the truth and genuine revival took place.

            Luther, however, never denied many of the fundamentals of the Christian faith that Evans’ does. I mean, you did read what Denny pointed out, correct? You seriously believe the orthodox Christian faith teaches inclusivism? Would affirm homosexual sin? would accommodate Darwinian antisupernaturalism?

            These are not areas in which we can “debate vigorously” yet not divide over, to borrow a phrase from a semi-popular radio personality. It’s not like I am disagreeing with her over whether or not it was Samuel’s ghost who appeared to Saul or a demon impersonating Samuel. The things she questions and casts doubt upon are serious doctrinal matters that define and shape our faith and who we are as practicing Christians. To give her a postmodern pass on those things would be sinful. Rather than being heard, she needs to be called to repentance.

            • Kristen Rosser

              You know, C.S. Lewis was both an inclusivist and an evolutionist. Really, it’s only a certain sect of Christianity called “evangelicals” who consider those two things to be deal-breakers as far as being saved. Neither one of those are in the Apostolic, Nicene or Athanasian Creeds. Gender roles aren’t either, in fact.

              I used to consider myself an evangelical, and still believe many of its tenets– but I have no interest in identifying with a group that seems more interested in deciding whether other Christians are apostate, than in loving God and doing unto others. I have come to dislike the term “Bible-believing Christian” very much, because it seems that rather than the Bible being there to point us to Jesus, it’s the other way around. I’d rather be what Christians used to define themselves as: “Christ centered.” It’s supposed to be all about Him. “The letter kills but the Spirit gives life.”

              Who appointed any of us as judges of Rachel Held Evans? To her own Master she stands or falls– and stand she will, because God is able to make her stand. All our petty condemnations notwithstanding.

            • Thomas Vertrees


              Thanks for sharing your name. I thought it was necessary to post here, based on the instructions to place a comment.

              My point is simply this:

              Jesus taught heresy according to the Jews.

              Martin Luther preached heresy according to the ruling powers of the day.

              Sometimes heresy isn’t heresy – sometimes it’s a truth that the pharisees and scribes just don’t want to hear.

                • Kamilla Ludwig

                  Then you haven’t been paying attention. In a quick search, I found that FOUR men had been called out for heresy here, including most notably Brian McLaren. And only one woman.

                  But then that’s probably evidence of Complementarian sexism that more women aren’t so discussed.

        • intersecthaiti

          “She needs to repent” …. WOW! I am fairly sure we don’t get to judge others and decide when THEY need to repent. Take care of your own repentance. That’s sound doctrine and behavior.

        • Dustin Brown

          This might be a shock to you, but being liberal and Christian are not mutually exclusive. There are MANY liberal Christians. In fact, some might say liberal ideology is more in line with the Gospel then conservatism (though neither come close). If that is something that seems impossible to you, maybe you need to ask yourself, “to what you are truly loyal?”

  • Liz Curtis Higgs

    In addition to all the excellent points you made here, I am also unimpressed with someone who runs off with another author’s concept. In 2008 A. J. Jacobs released The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible. That makes A Year of Biblical Womanhood unoriginal at best; blasphemous at worst.


      Wow. Again I am just…. wow. IS this how we are to conduct ourselves when we are in disagreement with one another? Hurl verses and accusations at those we don’t see eye to eye? It is forums like this that reinforce the stereotypical image of Christians being judgemental.

      If you read Evans’ book — like I have — you’ll find a gracious voice that does not condemn others for interpreting the Bible differently. And you will discover what inspired her to write this.

      Please put your stones away. It does not become a woman of God such as yourself.

      • Jason Gray


        I’m sorry, but, are you serious? She uses a “gracious voice that does not condemn others for interpreting the Bible differently”? For real?

        The entire book is a mockery and misrepresentation of what conservative evangelicals believe about the Bible and how to interpret it. How is that gracious toward those with whom she disagrees?

    • Gail Wallace

      It was actually Jacobs book that gave RHE the idea to see how different this would be for a woman. And boy, is it different! I am two-thirds of the way through her book and it is obvious that NO ONE who is criticizing her in this thread has even read it. I would think that in good conscience people would at least read what they are criticizing before passing judgment! So far I love the book – it is well-researched, thoughtful, and interesting. It is not blasphemous by any means!

  • Kim Shay

    She didn’t answer the last question. The interviewer asker her about the allegations that she was making the bible a mockery, and she responded with a phrase that she’s used on more than one occasion, that she didn’t want to see the bible reduced to an adjective. First, what does that mean, and second, how does that answer the question?

    • Kristen Rosser

      By “reduced to an adjective” she means “biblical this” and “biblical that,” as if the Bible’s purpose was to be a descriptor of a particular lifestyle. And yes, that does answer the question. To say she doesn’t want the Bible reduced to an adjective means Ms. Held Evans wants to see the Bible honored for what it is, and not what a particular group or groups want to turn it into. It’s not a list of rules for living. It’s a narrative about God’s creation and redemption of mankind through Jesus Christ.

      • Jon Fritzen

        ” It’s a narrative about God’s creation and redemption of mankind through Jesus Christ.”

        And a few others, apparently.

  • Daniel Darling


    I agree completely. To appeal to Jesus in the way she did ignores the way Jesus himself interprets the Scriptures in that He sees himself in the Old Testament. She really could use a good course in DA Carson’s Biblical Theology and Interpretation (which I’m currently taking at TEDS!).

    I was also offended at also the glib way in which she treated the Bible. Good word, Denny.

  • Sarah Mueller

    She has made a mockery of the Bible. I am sure this will be used by the enemy to either draw “crunchy mamas” into a false Christianity or help the world laugh at Jesus.
    Thank you for this article, and for so eloquently drawing out the fallacies of this book.
    How frustrating from someone at Her.menuetics, nonetheless!

    • Gail Wallace

      Sarah, I must ask, have you even read the book? If you had, I doubt that you would call it a mockery of the Bible. If you haven’t, I would hope you would withhold such harsh judgment. And how could this article possible bring out the fallacies of a book the author hasn’t even read yet?

      • Akash Charles

        Ok sometimes one does not need to read a book to judge it,especially if that person talks about that book on every other blog post and has basically already told the world about what she believes.

        I find it interesting that supposed christian’s find it okay to say women are better than men,but never okay to say men are better than women,there is nothing christian about anyone who thinks one gender is better than the other

        • Kristen Rosser

          I know of no Christian feminist or Christian egalitarian who believes women are better than men, or that men are better than women. If you think Ms. Held Evans teaches this, then you are definitely judging her based on misinformation.

          • Akash Charles

            well according to her and such feminists, generally if a man succeeds its because he is male and not because worked, basically all this feminism ./egalitarianism is a bunch of women complaining that they cannot get what the selfishly want,its really quite funny!

            • Kristen Rosser

              Akash– yes, and the civil rights movement, according to some, was a bunch of “uppity Negroes” complaining that they could not get what they selfishly wanted. It’s all a matter of perspective.

      • Elizabeth@Warrior Wives

        Ok, I HAVE read the entire book, and throughout the whole thing, I felt like she was looking down her nose at Paul, Peter, etc and treating them as though they just weren’t as “englightened” as she thinks she is. As though, if they had just been born several centuries later, they would never have dared to even think the things that she objects to. I’d say that’s kind of prideful at the very least.

      • Sarah Mueller

        No, and I don’t think I will bother. Her videos on youtube about this “journey” are ridiculous enough. I think I’ve seen more than I care too!

  • Beth Crouser

    I didn’t think the Today show interview was great, but anyone who reads RHE regularly knows she’s not “making a mockery” of the Bible. I thought Pete Enns said it well when he described her project as “an exposé of the futility of biblical literalism, especially as it has been applied to what a ‘biblical’ woman should be like.”

    • Richard Jones

      Interesting that Peter Enns — being no champion of inerrancy of scripture himself — would come to the defense of Rachel Evans.

    • Jason Gray

      Well, it is definitely an expose of the futility of misunderstanding the term “literal” in regard to biblical interpretation.

    • Sarah Mueller

      Ok Beth, I can hear this. I can be open to what you are saying, and you are right in that the Today show interview did not express this point well. Also, her youtube videos are really silly and I can’t help be offended by them. I hate that no one ever went into what biblical womanhood really looks like on mass media.

  • Don Johnson

    Jesus did not abrogate the food laws in the Sinai covenant. If he would have done that, then the Pharisees would have a just cause to dismiss him from further consideration as he would have been a false prophet, not from God, and therefore could not be the Jewish Messiah. Note that it is possible to be pagan and be a messiah, as Cyrus was, but not be a Jewish messiah (or more properly, the Jewish messiah). So it is Denny’s own interpretation of the Bible that is shown to be lacking and makes a mockery of what the Bible actually teaches. That others may also make this mistake is no excuse. See the Torah on what makes a false prophet.

    • Daryl Little


      Just so I understand you. Are you saying that the food laws given at Sinai still apply?

      If not, what’s your point exactly? I don’t quite follow.

    • Alex Humphrey

      Sorry Don, but what?

      And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” 17 And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him.

  • Reid

    This is a publicity stunt designed to promote herself, her book and make money. It’s also a knockoff of “the year of living biblically” so it isn’t even original.

    • Gail Wallace

      Reid, having read both books – I can tell you there is hardly anything that is the same. RHE deals with passages specific to women. It is fascinating to see how different her book is from the one Jacobs wrote. Both are very interesting and worth the read.

  • Big Daddy Weave


    I recognize that in his discussion of the four qualities that define evangelicals, Bebbington does use the word inerrancy in a handful of places. However, his definition of biblicism does allow room for folks with different understands of biblical inspiration than “inerrancy” as you employ that term.

    Bebbington does, after all, work at Baylor with folks such as my own father (and many others) who are theologically evangelical (whether self-identified as such or not) but do not embrace that terminology or that understanding of biblical inspiration. I’m sure Bebbington counts many of his Baptist Baylor colleagues as fellow evangelicals.

    There’s a bit more flexibility within the Bebbington quadrilateral than you yourself as probably willing to admit or rather allow.


    Someone on Twitter tweeted this post so this is how I am here. First time reader and commenter.

    I saw the broadcast too, and I read Evans’ book as well as have been following her blog for more than a year.

    I won’t attempt to defend her nor dissuade you from your point of view. We Christians are famous for quarreling to the point of degrading one another.

    Instead I will appeal to you Denny, to consider something worthy and noble you can find to write about Rachel. If her POV is so unbiblical to you than do what Jesus did – treat those who differ from you with love. The only folks Jesus hurled abuse at were the Scripture police. All the rest — including those Samaritans whom everybody knew were way off base — he treated with grace and love.

    I get the whole Sound the Alarm mentality. Yet cannot we not take our cue from Jesus who tended to sound the kinds of alarms that went right after the power and arrogance of the religious elite. Is that accurate to say? Where did Jesus ever go after people’s character or reputation or motives when they did not have a theology that matched his own???

    No where in Rachel’s book will you find the kind of accusatory tone that is here in this one post and among these comments. You cannot find fault with her on that,even though she (nor SCORES) of many other Jesus followers do not have the same POV that you possess of the Bible or of the Christian life.

    And she is allowed, btw, to call herself an evangelical. No one gets to own it.

    Wow. I don’t usually jump into forums like this as it is seldom fruitful.

    I really do appeal to you to consider what manner do conduct yourself when in disagreement with another follower of Christ. You risk putting yourself at odds with most of your brothers and sisters (of all kinds of denominational and theological persuasions) as well as contributing to the fracturing of the body of Christ.

    It would be good to see this post retracted in the spirit of reconcilation and fellowship.

    • Frank Rue

      Pam –

      You are assuming—without a biblical standard (because she is nice and not accusatory)—that RHE is a Christian. If she is, she is not defending any of the core concepts of biblical Christianity, and so she must be rebuked and admonished. Since all attempts to do this have failed, and she whines and then gets more people to flock to her because of our sentimentality, she typically has a host of defenders.

      I would like someone to appeal to Scripture, as Denny has. He has cited passages that make what she has said obviously unbiblical. These words (which, since they are Scripture) are ALL Jesus’ words, because He *IS* the Word. If she cannot concede to the biblical definition of a Christian (let alone a Christian woman), then she has no rights to terms of play like “reconciliation” and “fellowship”.

      She doesn’t believe the bible is inerrant.
      She allows communion to be given to practicing homosexuals.
      She mocks a straw man (woman?) of biblical womanhood (on blog and in interviews).
      She has a terrible hermeneutic.
      She is not convinced of hell.
      She is not convinced of the exclusivity of knowing Christ for salvation.

      These things are not good signs; they match that of the pharisees and false teachers of the early church. They sound like the things that many of the epistles warn us against.

      To defend her is to share in her wickedness and that is not only unwise but also throws into question the defender’s faith.

      Be warned: this is not a trifle exposition of a difficult passage of Scripture. This is the whole of her “ministry”: to cast doubt on orthodox Christianity with nothing but questions, irrational assumptions, and postmodern doubt.

      Grace is absolutely in God’s hands. But He does set out some very clear boundaries as to who will receive such grace. Although we do not have, as mankind, the knowledge of who is and is not part of the church, we have been told to judge all teachers and spirits and we have been told to examine ourselves. Against what standard? Is it just the red letters? Just a metaphor of the red letters? Or are we to take the whole of Scripture—the entirety of redemptive history—and call ourselves out against it? Do we all fail? Yes. But trampling under foot the very Word of God?

      I cannot fathom how anyone can support and agree with RHE and claim to be a Christian. The two seem diametrically opposed.

      • Thomas Vertrees


        You asked for someone to appeal to Scripture. I will do my best, but I will use this appeal against some of your claims here, your litmus test by which you affirm or deny someone the title of “Christian”.

        1) The term Christian is not biblical. Feel free to refute or provide direct evidence that the word is present in the Aramaic/Greek. It is a man-made construct used to simplify the vast concept of “being a disciple (or follower) of Christ” both of which are in the text. When you reduce it to a checklist – which is what has been done when we create credos that move well and beyond ideas like the Lord’s Prayer or the original Apostle’s Creed – it diminishes and misses the actual meaning – mainly changing it from an action to a status or a club – instead of a process.

        2) The term inerrant is not biblical. (this also deals with your assertion that she “has a horrible hermeneutic”) It, again, is a word we use in an attempt to reduce a complex response to the person of Christ and the written recording of God’s interaction with man throughout history. RHE has affirmed in multiple places that she believes in 1 Tim 2:16 as a lens for interpretation. Also, I would say that she has a Jesus hermeneutic – in that all of scripture (OT and NT) must be viewed through the lens of the actual experience of Christ on the earth. Outside of the Ten Commandments, the writing on the wall of Darius’ palace, and decrees in Revelation, all we know about God is through those that recorded their experiences. In that context, common sense would say, and Jesus himself stated, that he did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill (Matt 5.17). Jesus is the rubric for the entirety of scripture. So that means that if Paul says something, and Jesus talks about it too, or gives an example that relates to Paul’s words, I would defer to Jesus.

        But anyways, back to inerrant. Whenever someone actually starts talking about it, the positions of the staunch literalists and folks that have a Jesus hermeneutic all come back to the same thing. That scripture requires interpretation and should not be taken literally. Are Cretans always liars, evil beasts, and lazy gluttons (Titus 1.12)? If that is in fact not true, is the bible in errancy? Of course not! There is an understanding that Paul was referring to a situation, people, and time specific to him, and not intended for universal application. The problem when people throw out the term that someone “doesn’t believe in the inerrency of scripture”, it is more related to a disagreement to HOW the text was interpreted, not a question to the value of scripture as a whole.

        This is getting long. I’ll cover one more.

        3) “She allows communion to be given to practicing homosexuals”. At the institution of the Lord’s Supper the 12 were there. Judas was called out prior and left on his own accord (according to Matthew, but not Luke). Peter, the denier, was there. Thomas, the doubter, was there. Jesus, served communion to Peter and Thomas, knowing they would sin against him. Jesus served communion. The responsibility of accountability rests with the person receiving, not giving (affirmed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 11.27-29). This was true with Jesus, and affirmed with Paul’s institution as well. The dangers about taking communion seriously rests with the receiver, not the giver. That assessment appears to be biblical.

        I did not mean to be so long, but the truth is we enter dangerous space when we reduce people to checklists and statuses. That sounds an awful like pharisees and scribes – the “authorities” in Jesus’ day about the law and “proper” practice of community. And on that note, the moment I think that I am an authority on something, I just go read Matthew 23.1-36, and then I check myself.

        In all things, there is room for different interpretations. At least I think there is, and I think that the margins might be wider than we think.

        • Aaron Meares

          Can’t address all your points but as per your invitation for point #1: “ The term Christian is not biblical. Feel free to refute or provide direct evidence that the word is present in the Aramaic/Greek.”
          The Greek word is ??????????, Christianos.
          “…and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.” (Acts 11:26 ESV).
          “And Agrippa said to Paul, ‘In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?’” (Acts 26:28 ESV).
          “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name” (1 Pet 4:16 ESV).

          • Thomas Vertrees


            The word is there, and for that I am corrected. However, I still stand on the fact that the name was never really designed (in it’s context) to be a litmus test, but instead a way to describe who the people followed. In that context, being a Christian is a journey, not a destination.

            Thanks for commenting.

        • Frank Rue

          The core doctrines of Christianity (since it is an accepted term for “followers of Christ”) all rest upon the bible being true—so true, in fact, as to be inerrant. Once the bible’s own claims of inerrancy (Psalms 12:6, Psalms 119:89, Proverbs 30:5-6, John 10:35, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:20-21, etc.) are questioned, all of the other “core doctrines” are up for grabs. What deity of Christ? What resurrection? What attributes of God? What trinity? None of these things can be considered doctrine without their pre-existence in the inspired Word of God. If we make man an arbiter of what is “inerrant” in Scripture and what is not, we make man greater than God, and we can put all of the “core doctrines” on the table for re-interpretation.

          Which is exactly what RHE does. Which is why it is called false teaching.

          To believe that 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (if that’s what you meant to reference) is a great start for Scripture, than you have to assume “sufficient” *really means* sufficient—not “sufficient in some parts but not in others”.

          Pharisees creates enormous lists of legal regulations for righteousness for salvation. For this, Christ reprimanded them and condemned them. I am merely speaking of what the bible calls “sin”. Homosexuality is a sin. Communion was to be given to believers, and those who are actively sinning and unwilling to repent are to be kicked out of the church. Therefore, we should not be distributing/administering the sacraments to people who are actively participating in a sinful lifestyle. To miss this is to miss the definition of the church and the authority given to the Apostles and the church by Christ.

          To believe that Christ’s words are to be valued more than Paul’s is to create a competition between two persons in the Trinity.

          All of this is wonderfully anecdotal, I’m sure, but there are no words for which the belief that the aforementioned list of mistakes that RHE makes can be justified. Scripture clearly condemns her actions in more places than one.

          Liberal theology has never had such acceptance!

          • Thomas Vertrees


            Thanks for entering the discussion.

            Do you think that the Bible can be “true” and infallible, but not be inerrant?

            The only proof I have for this the following words from Paul:

            “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons. This testimony is true.” 1 Titus 12-13a

            If the statement is inerrant – then all those from the island of Crete are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons. If you ascribe to the absolute inerrant nature of scripture, then to find a Cretan who is not a liar, brute, or glutton – makes scripture errant.

            But of course no one thinks that. We instead understand that verse to mean a reference to a Cretan philosopher and logical problem, or even at the least to refer to a certain people for a certain time, that surely Paul isn’t talking about everyone from the island. So, the Bible is not inerrant, because of our interpretation (that he is referencing something else to make a point, or that it was directed towards a certain people at a certain time) of the verse.

            So …. what I find more times than not, the claim of a group that says that someone does not believe in the inerrancy of scripture has less to do with any belief of literal inerrancy, but instead is a claim made when one disagrees with an interpretation of a doctrine, philosophy, or context of a certain verse, statement, or command.

            Therefore, someone can in fact, very much, believe that 2 Tim 3:16-17 is true, but may disagree with your interpretation of passages, directives, and commands.

            Or do you believe that if your eye causes you to stumble that you should pluck it out? (Matt 8.9) And if so, knowing that all of our eyes have caused us to stumble, from a blind man to a blind man, my condolences.

            In closing, to say that “maybe that verse doesn’t mean what you think it means, and maybe we should continue to search for the truth” does not necessitate an irreverence to the bible as it relates to the multiple scriptural proofs that you have provided.

            And that … is all this book that RHE has written does.

      • Kristen Rosser

        These are the core concepts of biblical Christianity? Inerrancy, exclusion of gays, a certain view of womanhood, an approved hermeneutic, belief in hell, and exclusivity?


        What about the Triune God, the Incarnation, the Atonement, the Resurrection, regeneration by the Holy Spirit, and the return of Christ? What are you going to do with all the Christians through history who have held to these, but not to your list? The church fathers did not see fit to include your list in the Creeds. Were they trampling underfoot the very Word of God?

        Evangelicalism doesn’t get to define all of Christianity. And the Bible was sent to point us to Jesus, not the other way around.

          • Frank Rue

            The confessions do speak to all of these issues. But moreover, RHE does not confidently believe in the same Christ, the same God, the same hell or the same Resurrection (or its purpose) as orthodox Christians. The creeds continued to get more complex because more people attempted to squeeze man’s false teachings into Christianity. Thus, to assume that we can all go back to the Apostle’s creed is to ignore the sacrificed lives of hundreds of godly men who died protecting orthodox Christianity from just this sort of infiltration.

            In each century, different issues were addressed. In our day, it is the issue of homosexuality, because our culture is attempting to syncretize it with heterosexuality in marriage, in Christianity, and in “what is not really sinful”. If we are too blind to notice that this is a major problem, we are too late—the culture has won and we have failed as heralds of God’s Word.

            • Bill P

              What orthodoxy are you speaking of? I’m pretty sure the Greek Orthodox folks would like to have a word with you about that.

            • Kristen Rosser

              Frank– RHE does definitely believe in the same Christ, the same God and the same Resurrection. If you read RHE’s other book Evolving in Monkey Town you will see that she embraces these things. These are part of orthodoxy– what are called “essential” doctrines by Protestantism. The nature of hell, how churches are to interact with gays– these are “inessential” doctrines. A famous Protestant saying (dating from the 16th century) is “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.” Many people here are not extending either liberty or charity to Ms. Held Evans.

              In short, you can claim that you disagree with Ms. Held Evans on certain non-essential things– but you really are in no position to claim she is not orthodox.

              Everyone– please. This eagerness to declare another Christian unsaved, apostate and heretical over matters such as these is ungracious, unbiblical, unChristlike, and extremely unhelpful to our Christian witness.

    • Kyle Essary

      Your comment is very kind, but I do want to make two points in response:

      1. Have you ever studied how Jesus responded to his opponents? You say that he treated those who differed from him with love. This is absolutely true, but he “loved” them by calling them “vipers,” by openly scolding them and by literally throwing them out of rooms. He chased people out of the temple…with a whip…for mocking God’s place by commercializing it. He calls people “blind guides,” “hypocrites” and a “fox” (something that wasn’t kind).

      He loved them by challenging them, sternly urging them to repent and seek the truth and openly challenging those who opposed his teaching.

      All of that is to say that Denny’s comments easily fall within Jesus’s loving response to his opponents.

      2. Do words have meaning? If I say I’m a Philadelphia Eagle’s fan in order to get free tickets to the Eagles/Cowboys game, am I free to define myself? In reality, I’m a Cowboys fan. Isn’t that using a descriptor in a deceptive way in order to take advantage of it? Am I being honest if I hold Republican beliefs but self-identify as a Democrat in order to sway those in the Democratic Party to leave it? I think we would say that both instances are deceptive at best. Many of us see her doing the same thing. It appears to many that she self-identifies as an evangelical despite holding beliefs outside of evangelicalism in order to sell books through an evangelical publisher. This may not be the case, but it seems that way to some who look on the situation.

  • Thomas V

    Denny, I only found your blog because I wanted to search for the interview to see it because I missed it this morning. It was kinda sad that yours was a higher hit than the actual interview.

    All I can say is that I do not agree with Rachel with everything she says or how she interprets, yet at least she admits to the fact that we all “interpret” scripture and “pick and choose” what we apply. I have read many a complementarian blogger write about the nature of roles in marriage, and a favorite citation is the decree of the curse. It’s a curse. Yet it is clung to so closely that maybe many folks miss that for a curse to be a curse that the in the garden maybe there was something different.

    Regardless of that point, how can you chastise Rachel for pointing out that there are many old testament writings that we do not apply today, and in the next breaths use them to help define patriarchy and hierarchy in marriage?

    Other commenters here point to other things that seem a little contrary. Rachel attests that some of the rules Paul uses when he speaks about women could potentially be referring more to cultural specific issues, and people rebuke her. Yet commenters here state that she is making assumptions based on things that “were never intended to be rules”. So that is acceptable in OT writings, but not a possible interpretation of NT ones?

    And dare I say that if you do say that a reference to OT writings that indicates that you “shall” do this or that, and then you assert that it doesn’t apply due to this or that … what does that do to statements about inerrancy?

    Because I would say that the worst that Rachel has done in her work is take to bear the possibility that there is room in all of Christendom for a woman to love the Bible and speak from a pulpit, and that a literal interpretation of the Bible, complete with a list of rules (post-NT no doubt) is not the intent of Jesus. The first proclaimers of the gospel were not men, but instead women, given the command and authority from heaven to then proclaim the good news for the first time … to men. Women first, then to men. The antithesis of the complementary perspective. And yet we hold so fast to our “doctrines of men” that we are incapable of even considering that we might be possibly …. maybe …. off in our interpretation.

    If it is sin to proclaim the gospel from a particular position (physically or hierarchically) may God have mercy on our souls for stifling his Spirit. When I come to the judgement seat, I hope not to ever have to say that I stifled the expansion of His kingdom based on what was between someone’s legs.

    • Karen Campbell "thatmom"

      Amen, Thomas! Here is what the Prince of Preachers had to say about women and men in discussing the two Marys:

      “They were the first to see their risen Lord, and we will try to learn something from them tonight. It should be an encouragement to those members of the church of Christ who are neither pastors nor teachers that, if they live very near to God, they may yet teach pastors and teachers. Get clear views of our Lord, as did these holy women, who had no office in the church and yet taught the officers, for they were sent to bear to the apostles the tidings that Jesus Christ had risen from the dead. Not first to them who were the heads of the church, as it were, but first of all to lowly women did the Lord appear, and the apostles themselves had to go to school, to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to learn that great truth, “The Lord is risen indeed.”

  • Gail Wallace

    It is disturbing to me that you would post this article without having read the book you are commenting on. These accusations are unfounded and come across as mean-spirited. I have about 50 pages left to read, but from the 250 or so I have read so far, your conclusions are really off-base.

    • Jason Gray


      He is commenting on the interview…and he says so in the first paragraph of the blog post.

      That said, she has discussed on her blog (and in various places) the content of the book for more than a year. Her stance and material is already out there.and can be critiqued.

      • Dustin Brown

        You cannot critique something you haven’t read/experienced. I can’t critique a movie based off the trailer and what other people say. I might decide I don’t want to see it, and that’s well within my right, but I have no place in a critical conversation.

      • Steve Dawson

        I’m not quite sure why there is a need to critique Today show interviews, anyway. RHE wasn’t in a debate, she was invited to be interviewed on a TV morning show. I cannot believe that Denny Burke spent the amount of words that he did on an interview. Would Denny like someone to go and analyze all of his work ,even the casual conversations? I wonder if Denny has ever been interviewed by the Today show? Maybe that’s where the problem is.

        There is a habit among some bloggers that the promo material is analyzed before the book is read. Too bad that people don’t read the book or see the movie or whatever. However, they would only get one shot to blast the author.

  • Adam Cavalier

    I’m not saying it’s exactly the same thing, but the back-and-forth between supporters and critics seems an awful lot like the Rob Bell Love Wins controversy.

    The critics of RHE (like critics of RB) will tend to disagree by pointing to Scripture and the overwhelming majority of the church’s history.

    The supporters of RHE will typically point to rationality, emotions, and when they do point to Scripture, it is typically out of context in order to win points in a debate (ex. Eph 5:21 and Gal 3:28). The supporters of RHE tend to also tear down straw men and point the finger at critics by calling them (not their views) outdated and unloving (I also noticed RHE in the interview basically saying that all people pick-and-choose what to obey, so let’s just knock off the stuff we don’t like). This is obviously not the way to go. The irony in calling people out for being unloving is both comedic and sad. For example, some above have appealed to “taking the plank out of your eye.”

    We should NOT sacrifice biblical orthodoxy and history at the altar of inclusiveness and shallow pleasantries.

    This is not necessarily and commentary on the book or the author, but simply what the supporters and critics tend to appeal to. I just think the opinions of people are eerily similar to the RB controversy. Anyone else agree?

    • Frank Rue

      I agree wholeheartedly. She is pandering to the same crowd as Rob Bell, or she has found the fringe of people who thought Rob Bell was a little too far, but RHE is close enough. It is saddening on many fronts.

    • Kristen Rosser

      In actuality, many of us have been pointing out that what some of you are defining as biblical orthodoxy has not, in fact, been called that by the majority of Christians living in history. Young-earth creationism, exclusivism, inerrancy, and restrictive gender roles are simply not part of what is generally considered “orthodoxy.” If it were, all Christianity other than Evangelicalism would have to stop considering itself Christianity. As Evangelicalism is the relative new-comer on the block, it should not be surprised if other expressions of the Body of Christ consider this stance arrogant.

  • Kamilla Ludwig

    Bravo, Denny! The arrival of the consciousness-raising (read: listening party) brigade is a sure sign your criticisms have hit the mark.

    For those defending Rachel, particularly those decrying the charge of mockery —
    I’d ask you to remember that this is a woman who brags, in her first book, about her ability to fake sincerity.

  • Scott

    Denny –

    As I’ve said before in a previous article, you are a gracious and godly man. I have no doubt of that. And, though I would not stand for the same exact things as the SBC would in regards to Scripture, gender roles, etc, I do agree with you that RHE’s tactics aren’t helpful. There are wiser and more gracious ways to do this.

    What I would ask you to kindly consider is to engage with people who do properly approach these same theological issues, but do so in a better way. I suppose you won’t find it possible to completely leave aside RHE and her approaches. I am not sure how you first got involved and pulled in so strongly. But I would encourage you to engage people like Scot McKnight, Ben Witherington, etc.

    I believe at the core of what is being challenged is worth dealing with – the use of the term biblical as an adjective before certain nouns – biblical womanhood, biblical science, biblical counselling, biblical parenting, biblical sex, etc. If we are not careful, we end up causing confusion for ourselves (or others) with such terminology. I know what people are hoping to get at – approaching Scripture as the primary place where we understand these important areas. But, as I said elsewhere, the silliness of it is seen if we try and formulate biblical technology, biblical agriculture, biblical exercising, etc. And though those things are quite silly to suggest, I think there is this wrong approach to speak of biblical womanhood to its absolute and full extent. This is where the whole use of the term exclusive is being challenged with regards to the authority of Scripture. The Bible gives us a place to start in considering godly (not ‘biblical’) womanhood. But it might not always be the ‘exclusive’ place. No? There are plenty of things to do with womanhood that aren’t addressed in the Bible – how to care for a newborn, how to budget, how to be a prime minister, etc. And why should we run to Prov 31 to tell us about womanhood, but not Leviticus or Numbers? Why do we find a way to traject from 1 Cor 11 about head coverings? Why did complementarians of foregone decades not ever allow much of a peep from women in the church gatherings, but now it is acceptable for them to pray aloud, even speak? Ok, probably not in a strict SBC sense would it be allowed for women to speak on Sundays. But there are plenty of comps who allow it now. Why the shift?

    Scot McKnight put out a wonderful book called, The Blue Parakeet, which addresses these kind of issues with simple hermeneutics. An it all comes down to basic hermeneutics. And while RHE is being extremely satirical and pushing boundaries, I think more conservative evangelicals are creating some pretty stringent boxes on the other side of the pendulum swing. Perhaps there is a middle ground between the two. This is why I appreciate the wisdom and grace of a Scot McKnight and others like him on all hot topic issues today – gender roles, science and faith, doctrine of Scripture, etc.


  • Mike Stephan

    It is clear from the comments here that people are having a hard time seeing the Denny is responding to the CLIP ABOVE and not RHE’s BOOK. The book is only mentioned because that is what she is promoting in the clip.

    Mixing the two is causing a muddle in the meta.

  • Don Johnson

    Hi Daryl,

    The Sinai covenant food laws still apply to those who consider themselves in the Sinai covenant, often these are called Jews or the circumcision in the NT. These food laws do not apply to those that do not consider themselves in the Sinai covenant, these are called gentiles or Greeks in the NT. Acts 15 only deals with whether gentiles needed to become Jews in order to be saved and the answer was no, altho gentiles are asked to avoid 4 things that gross out Jews so there can be table fellowship between Jews and gentiles. Jesus was a Torah-observant Jew and would never have taught abrogation of anything in Torah.

    Scripture is a progressive revelation and Torah (AKA Pentateuch) is the foundation of all the rest of Scripture.

  • Don Johnson

    Hi Alex,

    Yes, I am referring to Mark 7. You should be aware that that translation is an interpretation choice. But even taking it at face value, one needs to read it both as if one were a gentile and one were a Jew. If one is a Jew, then anything non-kosher is simply not considered even to BE a food, So declaring all foods clean in context means declaring all kosher food clean. And the whole discussion in Mark 7 is about some human traditions made by Pharisees (that one can read more about in the Mishnah) that declared some (kosher) food unclean if one did not wash their hands before eating it. Since this declared something that was food to not be food, it was (and is) a violation of Torah to teach it, so Jesus pointed out it was a tradition that should be ignored. The whole teaching unit (pericope) is Mark 7:1-23 and one should not take a text out of its immediate context or you can lose the meaning.

    • Johnny Mason

      “If one is a Jew, then anything non-kosher is simply not considered even to BE a food”

      Peter had no problem eating with Gentiles and eating their food. Paul admonished Peter for his hypocrisy in Galatians 2:

      11 When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.

      14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?

      Peters vision in Acts 10 also confirms that all food is good to eat and no longer unclean. Acts 10:15 – Again a voice came to him a second time, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.”. The dietary restrictions were a sign to the nations that Israel was set apart, but when Christ came those restrictions were removed and no longer necessary because now the Gentiles were clean and all had access to the Father.

      • Jay Litehiser

        Christ declared that not one jot or tittle of the Law or the prophets would be done away with until heaven and earth pass away and until all be fulfilled. Neither of those conditions have been met.

        Further, He said that anyone breaking the least of the commandments and teaching others to do the same would be least in the Kingdom of Heaven; conversely, anyone keeping and teaching even the least of the commandments would be called great.

        Those who profess to follow Christ have been all to eager to pick and choose which portions of Scripture they accept. Christ’s declaration above (found in Matthew 5:17-19) is clear that even the least of the commandments are still in force. Other passages which would seem to contradict this must be interpreted in light of Christ’s declaration.

        In 2 Tim. 3:16.17 Paul wrote: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
        That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

        I don’t know what could be any plainer that that.

        Here is a very good analysis of Mark 7:19 and Peter’s vision:

  • Karen Campbell "thatmom"

    “And while RHE is being extremely satirical and pushing boundaries, I think more conservative evangelicals are creating some pretty stringent boxes on the other side of the pendulum swing. ”

    Scott, i think this is exactly the point the RHE is trying to make. Though I have many differences with RHE, this is one thing I am in total agreement with both her and you. For those who have not been exposed to the patriarchy and patriocentricity movement that is moving through homeschooling circles and now spilling over into evangelicalism, there IS a pendulum swing and it is crazier by the week. In fact, some of their teachings make RHE’s video look normal. There is a growing number of people in this camp who are advocating a return to obeying the OT laws (except for the ceremonial law) and a return to what they call “true OT patriarchy.” They teach what they call “militant fecundity,” often marrying off their daughters at 17 and 18 years of age and encourage them to have “Duggar size” families in order to out breed the Muslims. 20 by 40 is the mantra. (twenty children by the time you are 40 years of age) Some practice arranged marriages, others a type of betrothal where parents highly control a courtship and marriage. A 2009 Homeschool Leadership Summit held in Indianapolis outlined an agenda that included closing down all public schools, doing away with Child and Protective Services, preventing all women from attending college, and making sure all homeschooling families leave traditional churches and go to Family Integrated Churches. As whacky as this sounds, it is all true and I have documented it and linked to the recorded messages from that conference. And so you will understand how mainstream this is, Voddie Baucham,one of the apologists for FIC’s, was one of the organizers and speakers at this conference! It isn’t RHE that is driving people away from the Bible,it is this radical patriarchy crowd. Why aren’t your writing about them? and for the record, when asked, they all claim to be complementarians.

  • John Caneday


    This is a great, off-the-cuff response, and I commend you for it. I too often have negative things to say when I comment that I thought you deserve to be commended for this. Well done.


  • chris

    Read Keller’s post on how to do polemics. You can disagree, but don’t misrepresent her. It’s not a mere semantic difference changing “doubting inerrancy” to “stopped believing in inerrancy”.

  • Don Johnson

    One needs to use Scripture to interpret Scripture. On Gal 2, Peter was a Torah-observant Jew according to Acts 21. Gal is a complex theological argument, Acts is a historical record, and therefore simpler to figure out. The simpler needs to help us understand the more complex. If I invited a Jew over who tried to keep Torah, I would not try to serve them ham or do anything that might offend them. Why would we assume different in Gal 2.

    On Acts 10, I think you are misunderstanding it in a fundamental way, this is very common but still should be avoided. Peter TELLS us what the vision meant, it meant gentile inclusion. The challenge is to figure out HOW the vision meant gentile inclusion to Peter, we can figure it out but it takes some work. It takes knowing Torah, for one, and most Christians do not know Torah well enough to figure out what is going on in regards to the vision. God is making a mapping from the Torah food laws to various groups of people, we can figure that out from what Peter declares the vision meant. I can explain more, but the point is to not interpret a vision where Peter denies eating non-kosher food 3 times as allowance for Jews to eat non-kosher.

    • Johnny Mason

      @Don – “God is making a mapping from the Torah food laws to various groups of people”

      I agree with this. So if this mapping is used to show that Gentiles are now clean, why would it not also imply that all foods are now clean? God is saying, this previously unclean food is now clean, therefore Cornelius and the Gentiles are now clean. But if food still remains unclean, then so do Gentiles.

      I would not try to serve Ham to a Torah observant Jew either, but you claimed that Torah observant Jews, like Peter, would not view ham as food, yet Peter ate Gentile food. He had no problem eating “unclean” food.

  • Laura Johnson

    The whole point of Evan’s book is to point out that the ideal of ‘Biblical Womanhood’ is confusing and overly simplistic idea. She is not looking to mock the Bible. She is looking to be honest about the Bible and it’s complexities. By following Old and New Testament ‘rules and roles’ she is showing that we all pick and chose which scriptures apply. Most complementarians today don’t follow OT law- but many DO look to Genesis and Proverbs. They also pick and choose in the NT- head coverings? jewelry? women speaking in church? cultural. ‘I don’t allow a woman to take authority’? ‘Wives submit’? timeless.

    The point is that it IS complicated. The idea of ‘Biblical’ womanhood should be able to be challenged as the Bible seems to impart a variety of forms of womanhood.

      • Laura Johnson

        It grieves me that so many people are willing to assume that RHE isn’t ‘part of the family’ because she doesn’t hold the same view on inerrancy, gender roles, and exclusivity that they do. Are these doctrines the core of the faith now? I thought the Lordship of Jesus, His incarnation, death, and resurrection were the core.

        Food for thought-
        She is willing to sit at the table with you guys without attacking your commitment to Jesus. Are you willing to give her the same grace?

        • Kamilla Ludwig


          You’re joking, right? Mrs. Evans is willing to sit down at the table with you guys”? Which “guys” would this be? Denny? Mary Kassian? Nancy Leigh DeMoss? Dorothy Patterson? Any other self-described Complementarian? She had a whole year-long project to do that and as far as can be determined, she had a limited exchange with Mary Kassian which resulted in an invitation to a conference which the book gives absolutely no evidence of her having attended. That’s the extent of her willingness to sit down at a table with those with whom she disagrees.

          In addition, she has blocked from following her on twitter and commenting on her blog more people than I can recall – even the most reasonable of those who disagree with her.

          And yes the *exclusive* Lordship of Christ is an essential of the faith, always has been. Mrs. Evans and her accolytes would do well to recall that our Lord himself said it was so.

          • Laura Johnson

            From what I hear of her book, she interviews many people- complementarians included. She was recently on ‘Unbelievable’ with some complementarian (also from Boyce College, Strachan?). I don’t hear her writing complementarians off like many comps do with her… I just hear her challenging them.

            When I say ‘sit at the table’, I don’t JUST mean literally. I also am speaking in a broader sense- Can we recognize that those we differ with are still our brothers and sisters? Can debate and argue and still love and value like we may with family?

            As for exclusivity- are you really saying that only excusivitists (sp?) are true believers?

            • Kamilla Ludwig


              “From what you hear of her book”? Can you show me by page numbers, which complementarians she interacted with as part of the project? Because all I could find were three quotes of Dorothy Pattrson from a 20-year old book and a nod to Mary Kassian in the credits.

              I am saying what the Church has always said, what her Lord and Bridegroom told us when he walked this earth – that no one comes to the Father but by Him. And yes, in the way you use the term that means that inclusivists are not “true believers” and that their souls are in peril because of it.

              • Laura Johnson

                My post was never about her book specifically. I just know she interviewed various people of various walks for her book. I have yet to read the thing. I know she invited someone from from TGC (DeYoung or Taylor I think) to talk about complementatianism on her blog. I know she conversed with Strachan. She seems willing enough to acknowledge comps as brothers and sisters in the faith. It is many of the comps who seem unwilling to extend the same acknowledgement and I think it’s a tragedy.

            • Elizabeth@Warrior Wives

              I did read the book and one of the things that irritated me was that the people she quoted as being representative of “biblical womanhood” were ridiculous. Debi Pearl??? That was the most intelligent person she could think of to quote?? It made all of us complementarians look like brainwashed, backwards quacks.Even the quotes from Edith Schaeffer and Elisabeth Elliot make it sound so old-fashioned and quaint to believe in complementarianism. I’m only a year older than Evans (not quaint or old fashioned and intelligent enough to wish Debi Pearl would go away), I’m a complementarian, I believe it for intelligent well-researched reasons, and I resented how she implied that we’re not as enlightened as she apparently is.

              • Kristen Rosser

                But this is really the point RHE was trying to make. To you as a complementarian, Debi Pearl seems silly. I assure you that her followers don’t see her that way! Just about everyone who believes he or she is living “biblically” is going to tell RHE that she was doing it wrong, according to the way theyread the Bible– but a lot of their ways of living biblically don’t match one another any more than they match Debi Pearl’s. The point is, what kind of book is the BIble? Is it a set of precepts to follow, and try to figure out which ones apply and which don’t– and then to exclude everyone who applies different ones?

                So RHE ignored a certain interpretative rule that everyone here believes she should have followed. It wasn’t by accident or out of ignorence– she had to have done it deliberately. Her book Evolving in Monkey Town makes it clear that she was raised evangelical and is not ignorant of evangelicalism’s teachings. But perhaps she did that deliberately to make a point– and the point wasn’t to mock the Bible, but to get people to think about their hermeneutics and how consistent they really are. Perhaps we all should hold our “rightness” about our ways of following the Bible a little more humbly and loosely.

                • Karen Campbell "thatmom"

                  Kristen, you are exactly correct. If you have any awareness at all about how far many within the comp culture are willing to go to be “biblical” you totally understand the premise for RHE’s book. Of course I have not yet read it, I am only going by the video clip and interview. Within these patriarchal cultures today, there are all sorts of OT teachings that have become accepted as “normative.” If comp leaders are concerned that RHE is giving a bad name to the Bible, they need to step back and examine the extremes in their own ranks first.

  • Karen Campbell "thatmom"

    Limited exchange between RHE and Mary Kassian? Only because Mary has refused to respond to the very simple questions RHE asked her over two months ago on Mary’s blog! My guess is that there is a huge discussion behind the scenes as to what the “official” definition of complementarianism is to be and Mary ain’t happy with the boys and their perspective. She shouldn’t be.

  • Kamilla Ludwig


    I asked about the book because of your reference to it in the context of engaging Complementarians.

    The tragedy is that we are so poorly catechised that Mrs. Evans’ embrace of inclusivism, homosexual practice and feminism are seen as in any way compatible with orthodox Christian belief. I make no judgement about the true state of het soul, only her public words.

  • Don Johnson

    The point is that God in Torah never says gentiles are unclean, this was an addition to Scripture that the Pharisees taught, in order to be safe and supposedly avoid contamination.

    Most people know about the unclean/clean distinction among animals, a cow is clean a pig is unclean, therefore a pig is never able to be kosher and is not seen as food by a Jew. But there is an additional distinction among clean animals in order to be considered food. It is the distinction between holy and common, sacred or profane. To offer meat to an idol makes it profane, for example, even if everything else might be fine. No Jew would eat profaned meat. There are some other things in preparing an animal for food, it needs to be killed in a kosher way and drained of any excess blood, if it is not killed in a kosher way, then it is profaned or common. So there are 3 categories of potential food, (1) unclean, (2) clean but profane/common, and (3) clean and holy/sacred. A Jew would only consider the 3rd category as food. What the Pharisees did was add yet another category, to eat with unwashed hands, this supposedly turned clean and holy food (kosher food) into unclean status, if the hands were unclean. So the added a ritual to wash the hands before eating. However, this addition violated Torah as it now claimed that something that was (kosher) food was NOT kosher food.

    Also, most Jews categorized people into 2 broad groups, Jews (insiders) and gentiles (outsiders). They further claimed that Jews got an automatic ticket to the “world to come” by virtue of the promises to Abraham. Jesus told them this was not true. Jews further divided gentiles into 2 groups, pagans (idolaters) and God fearers. God fearers are mentioned in the NT in lots of places (those who feared God, etc.) They said that God fearers also had a place in the “world to come” but pagans did not. But God fearers were seen as lower in a hierarchy, below Jews. Such were stopped by a fence in the temple from getting closer to the altar than the so-called court of gentiles. This fence was a man-made tradition that actually violated Torah; Paul speaks about it and they have found 1 complete and 1 partial sign that warned non-Jews not to cross the fence on pain of death. So there was this hierarchy that supposedly went Jew-God fearer-pagan and this maps to clean and holy-clean but profane-unclean. So Peter would not go to a God fearing gentile’s house out of concern that he would be profaned, this was another man-made rule not found in Torah. So God gives Peter the vision. And the important key is “what God has made clean, do not call common (profane).” That is there is NOT a 3 level hierarchy of people in God’s Kingdom, it is just 2 levels, Jews and God-fearing gentiles are equal in God’s kingdom and Paul confirms this in Gel 3:28. This does not mean they are the same, but it means they are equal. So this is why Peter feels free to accept the invitation to go to a gentile’s house, he knows that Torah does not forbid it, just man-made traditions.

  • Nell

    So, how do you feel about John Stott-an optimistic agnostic on the issue of some making it to heaven without a direct profession of Jesus? I think he was also an annihilationist which is real shocker. Are you ready to proclaim him outside of orthodoxy?

    My guess is that you believe that babies make it and severely mentally handicapped folks make it? Could you tell me how you know this?

    Also, I think you are a bit upset that you are the one who was blocked from RHE and it wasn’t for your incisive dialogue, was it? RHE is hardly afraid of you.

  • Kamilla Ludwig

    Karen Campbell,

    That is such a deliberate mischaracterisation of the situation as to be a lie. Kaddish did not refuse to respond. Although she has not finished, she has already responded at great length.

    I might also add that this exchange began well after the project was completed and the book was in the hands of the publisher. Hardly an honest engagement with Complementarians during the project!

    But wait, there’s more! Kassian invited Evans to one of her women’s conferences. But when we looh to the book for insights gained there? All we find are the print equivalent of crickets.

    So stop pretending Evans honestly tried to engage Complementarians for the project.

  • Zack Hunt

    I’m not sure what makes you (or anyone else in the Neo-Reformed camp) think you have the authority to be judge, jury, and executioner of what does or does not constitute someone’s status as an evangelical (as if that were some measure of true Christian faith), but if the sort of biblical idolatry you espouse in this post under the guise of “biblical inerrancy” is the marker of “true evangelicals,” then thank God Rachel isn’t counted as an evangelical. By your measure, the early church fathers would be condemned to hell since they viewed the inerrant, literalist reading of Scripture you hold so dear, to, in fact, be the path to heresy. But what did they know? They only defined Christian orthodoxy.

    • Kyle Essary

      The church fathers unanimously affirmed inerrancy in a similar manner to evangelicals and Catholics today. A good book to start studying the topic is “Biblical Authority” by John Woodbridge, which assesses the historical understanding of inerrancy. I think you are also very confused about how evangelicals interpret the text.

      The church fathers clearly denied “literalist” readings in the sense that they didn’t read poetry as history or apocalyptic as narrative, etc. Evangelicals don’t do this either though, so accusing them of being literalists at least demands that you explain what you mean by the term. Evangelicals have always sought to read Scripture according to the literary and historical context as well as according to the literary form of the passage (i.e. read a poem as a poem, etc.). This is how the fathers read the text as well.

      Many of the church fathers stopped at this point, but some thought that there were levels of meaning beyond the plain reading of the text. They did not think that these deeper levels contradicted the plain meaning, but that they went beyond it to teach doctrines that were not clear from a plain reading. Here’s an example. They affirmed the literal historicity of Abraham being asked to sacrifice Isaac, but thought it had a deeper meaning which taught about Christ (the wood on Isaac’s back symbolizes the cross, the servants symbolize the thieves, etc.).

      They would have universally denied a reading that allowed for falsity. For instance, they affirmed that God literally told his people to exterminate the Amalekites. They might have found a “deeper” meaning in reading the passage as being about missions or victory over sin or something else, but they wouldn’t have denied the plain meaning’s historicity.

      Evangelicals do not follow the church fathers into these “deeper meanings,” (although some, like Peter Leithart might to a point). Evangelicals, along with the church fathers, affirm that everything the Scripture says is true when interpreted in its historical-grammatical context.

    • Kyle Essary

      Evangelical as a category has meaning. That meaning has changed over time, but still has a few primary categories that have defined it from the beginning. It is a highly diverse group of people, but is the dividing line with Mainline Protestants. Here are the four categories (from Bebbington) with one additional point from me:

      1. Conversionism – Evangelicals believe in a conversion experience. They are “born again” once they put their faith in Jesus.

      2. Biblicism – A high regard for biblical authority. It’s more than the language that they use, but God’s revelation to which they fully submit their personal views for critique and change.

      3. Crucicentrism – An emphasis on the saving power of the cross and resurrection. Jesus is the substitute for sinners and his death is their atonement.

      4. Activism – This is the belief that the gospel needs to be shown in action. This has been clearest in the missionary movement, and the social justice movement today (which is largely evangelical).

      5. Divider from Mainline Protestantism – Traditionally, the above four categories have separated Evangelicalism from Mainline Protestantism, but if the above categories become blurred, the meaning of the term should at least differentiate the movement from Mainline Protestantism.

      Where does RHE fall in this regard? In some regards, she’s right in the middle and in others she’s outside (or at least requires new interpretation of the terms to be included).

      There comes a point when a word has to be redefined so much that it loses it’s ability to divide (which is what all words do). Would most evangelical churches be uncomfortable with someone holding your views serving as a leader in their church? Would your views be more accepted in a mainline church or an evangelical church?

      It seems to me that a large bit of writing from RHE has gone into challenging evangelicals to be more open to views that are already associated with mainline protestantism. I wonder if RHE’s inclusiveness for evangelicalism would leave anything to distinguish evangelicals from mainline protestants? If her views became normative, would the Episcopal Church be outside evangelicalism? I think these are fair questions.

  • Karen Campbell "thatmom"

    Kamille, I went back and looked at her blog and saw that she does have a new post as of Octobwr 18 but I didn’t notice it because the picture was the same . However, I still don’t believe she has answered the questions she was asked Over 2 months ago bu RHE and othets. in fact at one point theemts were not open. Do you not see a world of difference between Mary’s definition of complementarianism and others who lay claim to this title?

  • Kathleen A. Peck (@purisomniapura)

    I’m not sure how this book serves women other than offering a digression from what true godliness is. Going back to the OT & cherry picking particular verses to recreate a carcass which the NT doesn’t actually promote makes no sense at all

    A woman who loves the Lord, His word, His gospel & His will/plans for her life & is pursuing these by His Holy Spirit, the scriptures & mentoring are what create the framework for biblical womanhood.

    Ultimately the writing of this book seems to be rooted in a flippant disrespect, that demonstrates no fear of heaping reproach upon God & His infallible word. One who sincerely fears God would painstakingly think twice about causing a stumbling block in any way …& adding more fuel to the world’s critical & unbelievng fire seems to be doing just that!

    I don’t hate or condemn her as she seems to be a very nice person, but if she does not believe the essentials of the Christian faith I would not be able to call her a sister in Christ or submit myself to her teachings.

    However smooth anyone’s words might be …if they advocate ‘another’ gospel other than the one Paul preached ….then it’s not the gospel at all. The Apostle Paul allows room for the right message with the wrong motives …but never allows room for the wrong message with the right motives. Philippians 1:18

    • Kristen Rosser

      Last time I checked, the gospel was the good news that Jesus lived and died for us, and was resurrected to save us from our sins. Nothing Rachel does or says in her book is about this. How can you judge her as “preaching another gospel” when her book is about “biblical womanhood,” not the gospel? She neither writes nor does anything to contradict the gospel of Jesus Christ. And honestly, this book does not place a stumbling block for the gospel in front of anyone. If anything, it addresses certain stumbling blocks already raised as issues by non-Christians, and offers some resolution for some of them.

  • Kamilla Ludwig

    Karen Campbell,

    Given your well-established record of promoting the vilest gossip and nasty speculation, well, frankly I have better things to do with my time than continually correct you. I did so here just the once.

    The fact is that if Rachel sought to genuinely engage Complemrntarians *during* her project, there is no evidence in her book that she did so. I know for a fact that more than one Complementarian woman tried to engage her during the project year only to be rebuffed.

    • Karen Campbell "thatmom"

      Kamilla, where did I say that I was referring to RHE’s research for her book project? I referenced the response to RHE by MK on MK’s blog a couple months ago where not just RHE but several others had their questions either ignored or answered in ways that made no sense whatsoever. RHE had written about the confusion of MK’s Complementarianism for Dummies piece and asked real questions. You see, MK’s take on what being a comp looks like in real life is quite different than what the men in this movement say it looks like. I have spent a lot of time researching and documenting these teachings, particularly as they relate to homeschooling, which is where the nutty stuff that RHE references gets its steam. What you call gossip I call actually quoting primary sources.

      • Kamilla Ludwig


        This is exactly why I normally advise against anyone engaging you. I referred to the limited exchange Evans had with Kassian during her project, you responded by referring to the blog series Kassian began, I corrected you about Kassian’s blog series being started after the book project was done and dusted and now you’re off to the races.

        I should have seen it coming.

        • Karen Campbell "thatmom"

          I’m sorry to be confusing. I brought up the blog in my first response so I thought I was being clear. You were accusing RHE of not engaging comps and I proved how that is not true in the blog situation. I don’t have any proof one way or other regarding the book. Neither do you. I am flattered, however, that you advise anyone about me at all. Tells me I have something to say! 😉

            • Kamilla Ludwig

              Sigh. If I wasn’t up early on my day off, I would have the strength of will to resist this. You cant even tell the truth about what is right here on the page for all to see so, no, our talking substance appears to be a practical impossibility.

              I never accused Rachel of not engaging Comps. I was referring to the spectacular lack of evidence she had made an honest effort to do so during her book project – and yes, the evidence of that is now out in print. And no, there is no evidence she seriously engaged the ideas or people who coined the phrase “Complementarian” or identify with the term “biblical womanhood”.

              Man, I need another beignet.

                • Kamilla Ludwig

                  Sigh. Again. I opted for more tea, I really should have had that beignet instead.

                  I am not a “Comp” never have been, never will be. I embrace the biblical term, Patriarchy. But then you already knew that.

                  • Karen Campbell "thatmom"

                    Kamilla, the comps, except for MK, are all now saying that patriarchy and complementarianism are the same thing. And those teaching patriarchy, even patrioentricity, are saying they are also comps. This is the point and the question I want answered. What is the difference (you obviously believe there is one) and what do each of these look like when lived out day to day? I am asking in all sincerity because I honestly don’t know.

                  • Pam B

                    This comment is a week late, but so what. Kamilla, you are, without a doubt, the meanest person I have come across on any Christian blog, and I’ve seen lots of mean people. Try a little graciousness in the future.

    • Becka Jarvis

      Kamilla – isn’t this the pot calling the kettle black? Do you have any idea how this comment makes you look?
      I’m not sure how you’d know what research Rachel did for her book after being banned from her site because of your ‘style’ of commenting. She did an ‘Ask a Complementarian’ with Justin Taylor, read a pile of books, wrote a bunch of posts looking at these issues & is surrounded by complementarians telling her exactly how they disagree with her, I’m not sure she needs to reach out…
      And I agree with Kristen here generally, Evangelicals are not the gate-keepers of the Christian faith who get to decide who’s in & who’s out based on their interpretation of scripture. Many of us who once believed that to be true, no longer do, for perfectly respectable reasons, wihtout abandoning either the authority of the Bible, or Christ himself.

        • Becka Jarvis

          Kamiila, mea culpa, I assumed if you’d been banned from commenting then you couldn’t see her website. It’s an easy assumption given your obvious unawareness of all the various complementarian interaction she’s had during the writing of her book. You could always pop over & read through the archives.

  • Denny Burk

    I haven’t had time to keep up with all the different conversations going on in the comments today, but I’m grateful to see that there are many new first time commenters in this thread. I just wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for participating and to remind everyone that in order to comment you must use your first and last names with no pseudonyms (see comments policy). Thanks!


    • Fred Butler

      Sorry bro.,
      The profile page records my screen name for my blog. The real name is available at my blog if anyone misses it.
      Fred Butler
      (“the IV” if you really want to know) =-)

  • Fred Butler

    Thomas. Jesus taught heresy according to the Jews? That’s a new one.

    It’s quite simple: Inclusivism isn’t truth. It’s heresy. It leads men into eternal destruction. There is no other name under heaven by which men must be saved. Darwinian antisupernaturalism isn’t truth; It’s a suppression of the truth. And affirming homosexuals in their perversion only drives them from the truth they so desperately need to hear.

    You really have nothing here, I’m sorry.

  • Matt Privett

    Even Satan, the father of lies, disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14). While Rachel Held Evans may say what she says with smile, her words in spoken or written form are (ironically, considering the title of her book) sub-biblical, to say the least. But there is nothing new under the sun. She’s trotting out old lies in not so new pseudo-evangelical feminist garb, and it’s poisonous to the soul, as is evidenced on this thread by the tragic number of RHE defenders. The fruit of her relativistic form of Christianity, which is not Christianity, is sadly not uncommon.

    Evans has created a god, and a Bible, in her own image. Scripture is her authority only insomuch as it doesn’t clash with what she wants her worldview to be. Quite frankly, she doesn’t take the lordship of Jesus Christ seriously. So Rachel, is you read this (and it wouldn’t surprise me if you do), I want you to know that the most loving thing I or any other disciple of the Lord can do is plead with you to repent and believe in the exclusive gospel. Submit to the lordship of Jesus Christ and recognize that God has exalted His own word in accordance with His holy name.

    Thank you for the post, Dr. Burk. Press on!

    • Scott Terrell

      Wow. So we’re comparing Rachel to Satan.

      If the comments on this thread are representative of American evangelicalism, then Rachel (if she is reading) is probably pretty glad you guys don’t consider her one…so am I.

      • Matt Privett

        I didn’t call her Satan. Anyone not in Christ is under the power of the dominion of darkness, however, and RHE’s worldview is one in which she twists the word of God to suit her purposes. People do that all the time. Not just her. Satan did it in the Garden and many more times. The bottom line is she doesn’t accept the unequivocal authority of Scripture, and thus the lordship of Christ, and this has colored her views on many things including but not limited to the exclusivity of the gospel, gender roles, homosexuality, and the nature of divine revelation.

        • Dustin Brown

          Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s. What you want is an emperor, not a savior. Someone to dictate your life and, more importantly, tell you you are right and superior over others. Jesus’ “lordship” was demonstrated in breaking bread, healing wounds, washing feet, and dying.

          • Matt Privett

            Jesus’ humility and service is demonstrated by those things, but to say His lordship is demonstrated that way is to simply misunderstood what lordship is. The word quite simply refers to one who is “Master,” and was used of God Himself in the OT. That He is Lord of Lords goes hand in hand with the fact He is King of Kings, denoting power, authority, dominion. Jesus’ lordship was demonstrated when He walked on water, when He cast unclean spirits out of men, and yes, when He forgave people of their sins. It’s also demonstrated in His commands to His people: Repent… believe… Submit… Go… Make (disciples)… teach. And yet, His lordship is not extended merely to His words, but to the indicatives and imperatives when we find elsewhere in Scripture… “Homosexuals will no inherit the kingdom of God,” “I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man.”

            Evans’ version of biblical womanhood subverts Christ’s lordship where it doesn’t suit her… and before anyone gets into her interpretation of certain OT commands, she betrays her own interpretation of those versions when she decides only to do some of them for a week, or to get a baby doll instead of having a baby. As Dr. Burk has written, she mocks the Bible. I pray the Spirit might move upon her to convict and save.

            • Dustin Brown

              But Jesus exercised his lordship very different from the Old Testament or his contemporaries. “I no longer call you servants, but friends…” Using “commands” to control and suppress is the practice of emperors, not the Savior.

  • Dustin Brown

    Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s. What you want is an emperor, not a savior. Someone to dictate your life and, more importantly, tell you you are right and superior over others. Jesus’ “lordship” was demonstrated in breaking bread, healing wounds, washing feet, and dying.

    • Kyle Essary

      I would suggest that you read Denny with the same charity that you want others to read Rachel’s book. Misinterpreting his views and claiming that he believes something that he obviously doesn’t do not evidence that you think he should be treated in the same way as Rachel.

      I do want to point out that Jesus also demonstrated his lordship by opposing false teaching, saying that people erred for not knowing the Scriptures, called them names and even forcefully (as in literally by force) removed them from profiteering in God’s house. Does what Denny has said above go beyond Jesus’s responses over theological differences? If so, I’d love for you to demonstrate how he has done so.

      • Dustin Brown

        I apologize. I was commenting from my phone and was trying to respond specifically the post just previous to this one by Matt Privet (where he makes mention of Jesus’ lordship). It wasn’t intended as a general remark for Denny, so again, I apologize.

        As to what you’ve said here, I would agree. I think it’s important to look at WHO Jesus said/did these things to. It was the religious leaders who had sold out to the power structure of the day, enjoying their seats of honor more than caring form the people.

        Denny seems like a nice enough guy. I think his observations here are wrong, but not (intentionally) malicious. Having not read the book, I don’t think he has the basis to make these harsh accusations, but that’s just my opinion.

    • Akash Charles

      I thank God for dictating my life in so many ways, by pointing me to what is right and what I should not do so I can honor him.

      I fail but at least Jesus does not give up on me and dictates to me on how I should live through his word and through several other ways.

      As for “superior over others”-SUCH a response only occurs when someone feels they have lost their own superiority that they treasured!

      Denny has never said or implied he is superior, and If everyone is proud and demeaning is they see something that contradicts the God’s word there is no point in the existence of Gods word

  • Kamilla Ludwig

    Matt Privett,

    Thanks for reminding us of that.

    Everyone who comments on Mrs. Evans’ earnestness, honesty, and sincerity would do well to remember that, in her first book, she brags about her ability to fake sincerity.

    That combined with her cheerful vulgarity and her casual blasphemy should be enough to warn peopl away from her. It should especially alert Shepherds to keep a watch over the tender souls um their flock.

        • Kamilla Ludwig

          I was off on page numbers. pp. 36-37.

          Regarding the “Best Christian Attitude Award” at her private elementary school she writes

          “My strategy for winning the Best Christian Attitude Award each year included keeping extra pens ad pencils in my desk to loan to needy students … trying not to tattle in an effort to secure the troublemaker vote, and writing sweet noes of encouragement to Isabella and Juanita , to procure the swing minority vote.” (p. 36)

          And when she sensed serious competition for the award she, “shrewdly reserved all my tattling for her so that at the end of the year she had a few more demerits than I did I was remarkably calculating and conniving for my age …” (p. 37)

          • krwordgazer

            Yes, RHE talks in Monkey Town about her inability to fake sincerity. The quote, however, is taken out of context. Ms. held Evans is talking about the way she was when she was a little girl.. She is not bragging about becoming so good at faking sincerity– she is talking about how the way she was schooled by a private Christian elementary school made it easy for young children like her to learn to fake sincerity. In no way is she saying she approves of this or that she considers this a useful skill that she learned, to be brought forward into her adult life! She is confessing a sin she committed when she was a child. Later she talks about how she became aware of, and repented of, her hypocrisy and lack of sincerity.

            And now this is to be used against her, to hold her in suspicion today? Honestly?

            I guess no one should ever write a book in which they confess the sins of their youth, as other Christians will be eager to hold it against them forever, when God forgave them long, long ago.

            Let she who is without sin cast the first stone.

            • Kamilla Ludwig

              You’re right – she is not bragging about *becoming* so good at faking sincerity. She is bragging about how good *she already was* or did the “remarkably calculating”, etc. part of the quote pass you by? If you think I’ve taken anything out of context, I am sure Denny wouldn’t mind if you posted a more extensive quote.

              You say she is confessing a sin? Where, WHERE is there any evidence of shame, regret, repentance? Could you return the favor with page #s and quotes? A 30-something year old woman who refers to having a “pouting chair” (you all can do that homework yourselves, it’s right there on her blog, mentioned multiple times) doesn’t sound like the sort of woman who has matured past that kind of emotional manipulation.

              I find it kind of disturbing the lengths her fans will go to re-cast the meaning of her books and blog posts while at the same time you all utterly ignore folks seen as friendly to Mrs. Evans using the same sort of language about her. Where is the outrage at Sarah Pulliam Bailey calling her a “post-Evangelical” in the CT article? Or when another blogger known as “Geaux Girl” lets the cat out of the bag by opening and closing her review by writing about the Rachel’s tongue in her cheek.

              No, you feminists know exactly what Mrs Evans is about. You just don’t like it when the rest of us call attention to it.

              • Kristen Rosserr

                Kamilla, if you can’t see Rachel’s honest facing up to her own shortcomings in Monkey Town, I can’t make you see it. The issue is not someone calling Rachel a “post-evangelical” — unless they are using that term to deny that she is even saved. There is no issue with someone saying Rachel’s tongue is in her cheek– unless they are using that term to accuse her of “mocking the Bible.” The fact is that there’s a way to talk about someone with fairness and charity– and then there’s the way many of the commenters here are talking.

                If you want to take everything RHE says in the most negative, uncharitable light possible, I can’t stop you. But I do protest against your insistence that this is an acceptable way of reading someone’s writings.

                As for page numbers and quotes– I read Monkey Town a week ago and returned it to the library. If I had the book here with me, I would certainly quote it– but since you would undoubtedly read those quotes in the most negative light possible, I don’t see what would be the use.

                • Kamilla Ludwig

                  How odd that you recall the contents so clearly that you can tell me I took those quotes out of context and yet cannot recall even a section, a general page number vicinity to show me how very wrong I am.

                  In fact, I have just now used Amazon’s search function using a number of different search terms, including the words you use above and *never’* do any of them occur in Monkeytown with regard to Evans’ own behaviour. In fact, the only times most of the terms occur is in cases where she is referring to the hypocrisy, etc. of others. With specific reference to the Best Christian attitude award, she does admit she is a sinner — but it is in the context of a look of hurt a boy in class gave her for her refusing to pick up his pencil which had rolled under her desk (she says she had forgotten the voting had already taken place). She was afraid she would get in trouble for passing something to him and indeed, he did get in trouble when he got up to pick up his own pencil. Her regret is for what someone else thought of her, not for how she had deceived others. (p.38)

                  So it’s OK to say Evans is not an Evangelical even though she claims to be one *unless* you are saying something else about her you claim is also untrue? How bizarre! Funny thing about that is that others have seen the same things in Evans and the only group of people who seem unable to see it for themselves are her fellow religious feminists.

                  • Kristen Rosser

                    Kamilla, we apparently read through entirely different lenses. Even if RHE didn’t specifically say, “I was wrong, I repented” for “faking sincerity,” it was quite clear to me, reading it, that she did regret it, that she did consider it wrong, and that she was not endorsing or advocating this behavior. If it wasn’t clear to you, I can’t make you see it.

                    As for someone saying Evans is a “post-evangelical” (which is actually different from saying “not an Evangelical”), it really depends on the context, and that’s all I meant. I consider myself a post-evangelical — but I would not object to someone referring to me as an evangelical unless they did it in such a way as to unfairly and uncharitably attribute to me things that are fundamentally untrue– for instance, that I use my religion to decide who is “us” and who is “them” and to vilify and exclude other Christians accordingly. This is what I’m seeing evangelicals doing here– and frankly, I want nothing to do with it.

                    For the rest, I am finding this conversation increasingly distasteful and would prefer to end it.

                    • Kamilla Ludwig

                      I am sorry you find substantiating your claims do distasteful the you wish to end this conversation. It is quite difficult to make someone see something that isn’t there (I did, after all, use *multiple* search terms in an attempt to unearth this remorse you say is so evident). I even told you that Monkeytown Is fully searchable on Amazon but it seems that was too distasteful a task as well.

                      What I find astonishing is that Evans’ duplicity is on display for all to see yet her supporters refuse to acknowledge it. For instance, it has been claimed here just now that I have bern banned from Evans’ website. I have not. I am, however, one of a growing number of folks who have been blocked from posting comments. In spite of this, Evans allows me to be discussed on her blog, even by folks who claim I must be lying sbout being blocked.

                      Now, I ask you — how honest and fair is that?

                      That was rhetorical, by the way. No need to answer that. You wish the conversation to end, well then it ends here unless you are willing to substantiate your claims about my misreading of Monkeytown.

                    • Kristen Rosser

                      I do not find substantiating my claims distasteful– I find this discussion distasteful, and believe that substantiating my claims would be a waste of time, since I don’t have any confidence that even extensive quotes from the book would change your mind in the slightest.

                      That’s all I have to say on this matter.

    • Dustin Brown

      Yes, quotes and page numbers would be helpful (rather than, you know, baseless claims). I read Evolving in Monkey Town and don’t remember anything of the sort. But I’m willing to be proved wrong, if you’re willing to provide the evidence.

  • Jay Litehiser

    It appears to me that Rachel Evans is doing nothing more than going one step further in the “pick and choose” approach to Scripture which has been used in varying degrees by those who profess to follow Christ for some 1900 years.

    “For this is the love of God that we keep His commandments and His commandments are not grievous.” 1 John 5:3

    “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” 1 John 2:4

    “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12

    “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:17-19

    The whole tenor of God’s Word is that He has given us His Torah to teach us how to live. It is for our own good to walk in His instruction – just as our Lord did.

    We should not add to His Law/Torah and we should not take away from it.

    “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.” Deuteronomy 4:2

    • Dustin Brown

      I wonder how well you do to “keep the commands” and what “commands” you choose to keep. And yes, I said “choose” because you (and everyone else) do just that. For example: I bet you haven’t stoned any disobedient children lately.

      • Jay Litehiser

        “…the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” Romans 7:12

        “The law of the LORD is perfect … the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right … the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes … the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.”

        “Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.” Ps. 119:142

        “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.” Ps. 119:165

        Recommended reading:

        1) By This Standard: The Authority of God’s Law Today by Greg L. Bahnsen
        2) Restoration: Returning the Torah of God to the Disciples of Jesus by D. Thomas Lancaster

  • Don Johnson

    The ironic thing is that what Rachel did can be said to be a cafeteria-style approach to the Scriptures, but this is the same approach used by many others that denigrate her for using that, except they do not see that.
    Denny in his concern list thinks it is OK to divide the Sinai covenant into parts, where some parts are still valid and some are not valid; this is just another version of reading the Scriptures using a cafeteria-style approach. He does not (yet) see that a covenant is a unity and cannot be divided into valid and invalid parts, altho this is common in Reformed theology. Since covenants are the backbone of Scripture, not understanding how covenants work is a great way to misunderstand the Bible.

      • Daryl Little

        The covenant at Sinai doesn’t apply to anyone…it was instituted to lead us to Christ.

        Besides, when we say apply, what do we mean? No one can be saved by it (yes, I know, they never could) and whereas previously it could only be kept by faith, now it is only a lack of faith that causes anyone to try to continue in it.

  • Don Johnson


    Those are good questions. The short answers are that the Sinai covenant applies to those that believe it applies to them, these people are called Jews and does not apply to those that believe it does not apply to them, these people are called gentiles. On the new covenant, the difference is the location where it is written, the Mosaic covenant was written on stone and on a scroll, but had no power to change people, the new covenant is written on one’s heart (insides) where it DOES have the power to change that person, they will want to obey the commandments that apply to them. See Jer 31:31-34. Note, some other covenants in the Bible apply to everyone and so apply to gentiles.

  • Don Johnson

    According to the NT, Peter, Paul, James, etc. had no problems being Jews and following Christ. They went to temple, celebrated the festivals in the Bible, and even paid for animal sacrifices. Most of this information is in Acts, but it often gets ignored or downplayed, but Acts is not a complex theological treatise, it is an historical record. And a basic principle of Bible interpretation is to let the simpler things help one understand the more complex things. Acts 21 is very important in this area, as you sound like one of those accusing Paul.

    • Johnny Mason

      Paul believed that we are no longer under the Law, so when he went to the temple or did a ritual cleansing, it wasnt because he was obeying the Law, but because he wanted to win as many as possible to Christ.

      1 Cor 9:19-23:
      hough I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

  • Don Johnson

    Given that 1 Cor is a letter from Paul responding to questions from Corinth and whom even Peter says is hard to understand in the 1st century and Acts is by Luke, who is not writing a complex treatise, when they seem to conflict in what they say, which do you think is more likely to be misunderstood? Recall in Acts 21 Paul claims to have always followed the Torah. Acts 21:24B Act 21:24 Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself also live in observance of the law.

    Also, as Kelley points out, the new covenant is to be made with Judah and Israel (at least) when Jer 31 prophesies, so you still want to claim that God makes the new covenant with Judah but then they cease to exist as Judah?

    • Jay Litehiser

      And are not those gentiles who have faith in Christ a part of Israel – being grafted in as Paul states in Romans 11 and again in Ephesians 2 where he speaks of them as once “being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world” but now they “are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God”?

      Is not the promise of the New Covenant made in Jeremiah 31 also for these “grafted-in” citizens of Israel? And do not the other covenants made with Israel apply to them, seeing as how they are now a part of Israel?

  • Marci Johnson

    I was initially intrigued by the comments, and found myself trying to understand where each side was coming from. But now, it just makes me sad. Is this really the way the body of Christ should be behaving? I will never understand those who call into question another’s salvation. Isn’t that God’s job??? Certainly there are times when I look at someone’s behavior (and, yes, even blog comments) and realize that it doesn’t line up with what I see as a Spirit-filled, Spirit-led life, but only God knows that person’s heart.

    Please, can’t we agree to disagree? Can we extend grace to one another, even when we don’t agree with or approve of another’s belief? That doesn’t mean you have to condone it. This conversation is getting so mean-spirited. Is this what is going to draw others toward the Good News of Jesus?

  • Kelley Kimble

    Proverbs, by definition, are sayings that are intended to illustrate concepts and principles. Her treatment of the Book of Proverbs is surprising, given her supposed familiarity with the Bible. To interpret the Bible “literally” means to recognize that the Bible uses all kinds of literary devices to communicate. I signed up for her newsletter and got the first two chapters of the book for free. I do not see anything in that free sample that makes me want to buy the book.

  • Jackie Walton

    Just a few comments about the original post. First, the Bible does not give a laundry list of who can and cannot take communion. If it were only those who are not sinful, or even those who are actively sinning, none of us would be able to partake. Paul talks in 1 Cor 11 about rules for communion, but he appears to be commenting on having a proper attitude and not being out of order in the way one eats. Given the fact that Pharisees thought Jesus wasn’t holy enough because he regularly ate with “sinners” (including loose women and other “scum”), and considering that communion is the Lord’s Supper, I find it hard to justify the idea that someone who is a practicing homosexual is a person Jesus would refuse to invite to His table, while someone who is a liar and a cheat, or has a nasty temper and tears down those around them, etc. would be welcome.

    Secondly, many Christians who believe in the words of the Bible and sincerely try to follow what it says believe in inclusivism (the idea that we are all saved through Jesus but that there may be some people who do not meet Jesus on this earth will be saved through their faith in God as best as they could understand from the light they had). The most direct passage about this is Romans 2:12-16, where Paul indicates that there are those who do not know the law and yet will be considered as if they did. You may disagree with this interpretation, you may think that only those who directly know Jesus will be in heaven, but you can’t argue that exclusivism is the only argument that is supported by the Bible.

    • JM LaRue


      You are correct. Unrepentant liar and cheats are not welcomed at the table either. Earlier in the letter Paul wrote, “But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one” (5:11). Eating the Lord’s Supper is for repentant sinners. Sinners? Yes! But those who are repenting and turning from their sin. Not those who continue to embrace their sin as good and acceptable. Practicing homosexuals do not consider themselves to be sinning. They think its good and acceptable.

      Secondly, you may personally believe inclusivism is what the Bible teaches, but evangelicals do not. The very roots of the term evangelical in the early 20th century hinge on the belief in conversionism – that people must repent and be born again in order to be saved. ‘Evangelical’ is not a recent word. Its a word that actually has historical meaning distinguishing from fundamentalism and liberalism.

      “Evangelical” was meant to distinguish people from those that do not believe in conversionism (i.e. inclusivists), along with 3 or 4 other key concepts as already written about. You’re certainly free to not believe these things to be true (as countless others do), but as something other than an evangelical.

      Finally, I fully agree with you that Romans 2:12-16 is teaching that those who do not know the law will be considered as if they did. But what is Paul’s point for saying that? Paul says this to undergird the reality that ALL are sinful and condemned by their sinfulness. Romans 3:23 is continuing the logic of this passage to say that all have fallen short of the glory of God. Paul, having established all as sinful and condemned, moves to talk about the only way unto justification and right standing with God – faith and repentance in Jesus Christ. This culminates in Romans 10:9-10, 13, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart othat God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. . . For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” Who will be saved since all are condemned according to Paul? Those who repent and believe in Jesus.

  • missdaisyanne

    I finished reading her book a couple of days ago, I’m apart of the review crew. I’m on purpose giving myself a few days to digest what I’ve read, then I’ll write a review. Thank you for your post!

  • Laura Barnard

    Rachel is the kind of Christian that inspires those who have left the church, who have decided to toss the bible out completely (often inspired by posts and perspectives that are exclusive and rigid, like this one). By doing so, she is actually attracting people back to their faith! She doesn’t claim to have it all right – maybe you should take a lesson from her.

  • Don Johnson

    Table fellowship (eating food together) is different from communion, altho they might be done at the same time, they are still distinct.

    Also, Abraham is used by Paul as an example of our faith, but he certainly did not know about Jesus, at least the way we do from the gospels. It is true that no one comes to the Father except thru Jesus, but that just says that Jesus is the gatekeeper and decides based on God’s mercy and love who gets to come.

    • JM LaRue

      So you would be willing to exclude someone from table fellowship, but not communion? Surely, wouldn’t you consider table fellowship the lesser restrictive, not the greater.

      And why would you exclude someone from table fellowship? Clearly according to this text, it is because of unrepentant sin. So one excluded from table fellowship because of unrepentant sin would be welcome to partake in communion?

      And we both know what is being described in 1 Cor 5 is not simply someone not being allowed to eat at your house. The unrepentant sinner is being put out of the community. They are being compared with leaven which must be gotten rid of in order for the lump of dough to remain pure. The unrepentant sinner is to be handed over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh. And yet, communion is still to be offered to him?!?

      No, I would say 1 Cor 5 presents an unrepentant sinner (specifically an unrepentant sexually immoral man, but vs 11 extends it to unrepentant idolaters, revilers, drunkards, swindlers, greedy, etc…) being put out of the new covenant community. Handed over to Satan, called leaven among the dough, restricted from table fellowship, this man is clearly being distinguished from the new covenant community who trusts in Christ known as the church. Unrepentant sinners aren’t to be welcomed to partake in the new covenant meal of communion because they are displaying with their unrepentant lives that they do not in fact believe in Christ. If they believed in Christ, they would repent of their sin when confronted by the church. Communion is for the new covenant community alone.

  • brendan murphy

    This is a late addition to the conversation, obviously, but I’m so entertained I can’t help but say that, collectively, you all (blogger and commenters) are hilarious. Are you all members of a self-appointed christian thought police club? You are so exercised over this book. But I can’t figure out how it is so earth-shatteringly important for you to assert how right you are and how wrong she is.

    Held-Evans seems quite smart, nice and sincere, and certainly a better christian than i’ve ever been. Why so worked up, everyone? Sure, she’s a human who is no source of infallible truth, but I’m pretty sure none of you ‘right-thinking’ tools are either.

    Here’s the thing: no one needs you or her to be infallibly right. And no one outside of your club cares about your theological/hermeneutic/philosophical/cultural nitpicking. (would “gnat-straining” work better? I think so. Jesus said that, right?)

  • Wayne Shaffer, Jr.


    I posted replies to several comments a few hours ago, and they seem to have disappeared. AFAICT, I did not violate any of the posting guidelines. May I have an explanation?

Comment here. Please use FIRST and LAST name.