Earlier today I had the distinct displeasure of reading comments from both believers and non-believers about Rachel Held Evans

Earlier today I had the distinct displeasure of reading comments from both believers and non-believers (re: vocal atheists) about Rachel Held Evans. Where I saw this doesn’t matter as I’m fairly certain it was just one of countless places where I, or anyone else, can see nearly the exact same thing.

My big takeaways from suffering these comments are:

1. The atheists seemed much more empathetic and respectful than most of the Christians, many of whom were quick to point out that Rachel Held Evans is in Hell now.

The first part is unsurprising. Matthew 12:30 clearly states that “whoever is not with me is against me” so, of course, atheists are going to have more empathy and demonstrate more respect toward Rachel Held Evans than believers will. An enemy of my enemy is my friend, after all. Although Rachel Held Evans was kind, congenial, funny, tolerant…her theology clearly indicated that there was enmity between her and God. That may be a hard pill to swallow for people who liked and agreed with her but that is the ugly reality. Make no mistake, she was an enemy of God just as much so as the most devout atheist.

All the being said, though, Christians stating she is in Hell right now with any kind of authority are both cruel and wrongheaded when none of us can know. She may indeed be in Hell. Or, she may have received true forgiveness minutes before she died just like one of the criminals who was executed alongside Jesus did.

2. Atheists seemed to delight in the fact that Christians were “eating their own” so to speak.

This is also unsurprising because atheists understand that a house divided against itself cannot stand. Christians, sadly, seem to have no idea of this concept at all. How do we seem to have no concept, you may be wondering? Because we demonstrate it, daily, by our words.

3. Matthew 7:1 was misused every single time I saw it.

Agin, unsurprising because it was used almost exclusively by non-believers who are unable to rightly handle the Word of Truth. Here is what it really means.
Jesus’ command not to judge others could be the most widely quoted of His sayings, even though it is almost invariably quoted in complete disregard of its context. Here is Jesus’ statement: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (Matthew 7:1). Many people use this verse in an attempt to silence their critics, interpreting Jesus’ meaning as “You don’t have the right to tell me I’m wrong.” Taken in isolation, Jesus’ command “Do not judge” does indeed seem to preclude all negative assessments. However, there is much more to the passage than those three words.
The Bible’s command that we not judge others does not mean we cannot show discernment. Immediately after Jesus says, “Do not judge,” He says, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs” (Matthew 7:6). A little later in the same sermon, He says, “Watch out for false prophets. . . . By their fruit you will recognize them” (verses 15–16). How are we to discern who are the “dogs” and “pigs” and “false prophets” unless we have the ability to make a judgment call on doctrines and deeds? Jesus is giving us permission to tell right from wrong.

Why I posted this, really, is to emplore Christians, especially those who are quick to ham-handedly condemn others for their own edification, everywhere to check themselves.

Granted they might not be a known heretic but, nonetheless, their eternity could very well be just as bleak as if they were.

Most of what passes for American Christianity these days is based on clichés that we read on the back of Christian tee shirts. Most of our Christianity comes from songwriters and not the Bible. Most of what we believe about our faith is dictated to us through our culture and not by the Bible. The Bible never teaches that a person can be a genuine Christian and live in continuous carnality and wickedness and sin all the days of their life. Instead, the Bible teaches that the genuine Christian has been given a new nature. The genuine Christian has a Father who loves them and disciplines them and watches over them and cares for them.

My heart is breaking because you know this as well as I do, let’s not be hypocrites about it. Let’s not hide it. There are so many. You know them. You might be one of them, or you at least know that they’re in your church. They come to your small group. They do all the things other Christians do, but in their heart, they’re as wicked as wicked can be. There is no difference between them and the world. There is no light in them except a light they can turn on on Sunday morning or Wednesday night for an hour or so then turn off.

Everything that the world does, they do, and they think it’s appropriate; it’s okay, because they are carnal Christians or because they struggle with sin. My friend, that’s not Christianity, it’s a lie.

If you are genuinely a born-again Christian, a child of God, you will walk in the way of righteousness as a style of life. And if you step off that path of righteousness, the Father will come for you. He will discipline you. He will put you back on that path. But if you profess to have gone through the narrow gate, but yet you live in the broad way, just like all the other people who are carnal and wicked, the Bible wants you to know that you should be terribly, terribly afraid because you know not God.

What about you? Look at the way you walk. Look at the way you talk. Look at the passions of your heart. Is Jesus in there somewhere? Or is He just some accessory that you add on to your life? Is He just something that you do on Wednesday or Sunday? Is He something that you give a mental assent to? Is He an accessory or is He the very center of your life?

And what is the fruit that you’re bearing? Do you look like the world? Act like the world? Do you have and experience the same joys that the world experiences? Can you love sin and relish it? Can you love rebellion and relish it? Then you know not God.

“Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my father who is in heaven will enter.”

Do you know what your profession of faith in Jesus Christ is worth? Absolutely nothing. Yes. Did you read that passage? Study it. Not everyone who comes to me and says, Lord, Lord . . . not everyone who professes, Lord, Lord, will enter into the kingdom of heaven. There are many people who are going to profess, “Lord, Lord,” but they are not going to enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Are you one of them?



Categories: Christianity

13 replies

  1. I would hesitate to call judgemental Christians, Christian. Our God said we could judge and correct actions of one another in Christ Jesus but in great love. One’s spiritual heart belongs to God and only He knows and judges this.:))

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Reblogged this on moreinkpleaseblog.

    Like

  3. Well done James. Interesting, though, what Limey said. I think he was actually talking to Hawk with that comment. You write a post that is pretty compassionate yet truthful, and the best the militant atheist can do is attempt to set your readers against you. Sort of proves part of what you said, really.

    Liked by 2 people

    • He was talking to Hawk about me being judgemental. Admittedly, I have made some comments here and elsewhere that I regret but I am human. As far as me being judgemental overall, I think that is a tough claim to back up.

      Ironically, Limey did make my point but not as succinctly as Steve who is banned from commenting here.

      Atheists cannot see things the way we do, Wally, we come from different places and have different understandings.

      We see rebuking someone for poor theology as a good thing, atheists see it as infighting and delight in it.

      Granted, there are more than a few Christians who are guilty of infighting and putting their brothers and sisters down to make themselves look better so the atheist’s claims of infighting are not completely without merit.

      When I said, “an enemy of my enemy is my friend” I implied that is how atheists think 100 percent of the time. They hold RHE in high regard simply because she had a huge problem with the same people they do, conservative evangelical Christians. Had she gone back to her evangelical roots, she would have been immediately kicked to the curb by every atheist under the sun.

      As far as RHE being kind, respectful, tolerant…she was. But she was also a false teacher who was an enemy of God and we have to be able to say that.

      If we refuse to admit that FACT because it will offend people who’s thinking conforms to the ways of the world then we bend to the will of the enemy and are in deep trouble.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. I’ve also been a bit bewildered by the extreme reactions to RHE’s tragic death. Perhaps it should be no surprise for someone the Washington Post once called “The Most Polarizing Woman in Evangelicalism.” To her followers anything other than effusive praise in light of her death is hate-filled venom. In their minds it seems she is right up there with Mother Theresa and any acknowledgement that she was controversial and held non-traditional views cannot be mentioned. See https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/may-web-only/re-rachel-held-evans.html for the reaction to what I thought was a very fair-minded tribute from one of her adversaries, John Stonestreet, or “Greg the Apologist” in her book.

    On the other side those condemning her to hell with no acknowledgement of the tragedy of a wife and mother leaving behind her family, or that she may have been a wandering sheep that the Lord would leave the 99 to go and bring back in her final hours. This is where your writing has been helpful. I am reminded of Jesus’ answer to those who asked about the Galileans who met a tragic death: “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:1-3). We are all sinners in need of a Savior.

    And the atheists now delighting in Christians “eating their own” first delighted in her writings as examples of Christians “eating their own.” In my opinion she unfairly generalized and caricatured Christians just as atheists do. She may have had some fair criticisms of the church initially and perhaps she herself was treated unfairly, but as you say she was very open about her doubts and even enmity with God and the church. She may have been a sincere questioner and seeker of truth, but she seemed to write with a slant against any form of traditional Christian teaching. To expect everyone to just sweep that under the rug as if she were not one of the most prolific and widely-shared Christian content writers on the internet is unrealistic. She often courted controversy and the reaction to her death is just more of what she cultivated in her writings.

    May God bless her family and may we all entrust her soul to Him Who Judges Justly with humble introspection to the state of our own souls.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Excellent comment, JD, thanks for sharing.

      What wonder now is this. How can atheists praise RHE as being such a good Christian when a good bit of her theology was clearly against what the Bible teaches? Do they not understand Christianity at all?

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you for this post. So much truth.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. As a young believer who came to Christ after a long drawn out pursuit (by Him) and me running over 360 miles (over the speed limit), I found out a couple things which are right before my eyes frequently in my walk…1) Spiritual blind-sided-ness: someone who believes strongly, yet the adversary is able to deceive that one..it takes a divine act of God to fight those battles. 2) very young believers who are called by God, never experience the world, yet when they reach a certain age, they walk away or are drawn away from the faith….this one is pretty dangerous…..I never knew the young lady, but I did see the notice of her passing and I was drawn by your using her name in the post. I saw a brief bits n pieces and saw she was a staunch believer as a younger person, then she stopped believing the “word” for what it is….she started trying to rationalize God (pretty dangerous). In a case such as this, discerning eyes may be able to see the spirit tormenting her and drawing her to the path she took? May God help us fight this battle in this army we are called to be in ” Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle” Psalms 144:1

    Liked by 1 person

    • Point number one I agree with completely but number two I struggle with. I think it is possible for people to grow up in the church and then wonder and wander, i actually think that can be OK and make people stronger in their faith.

      However, RHE was doing more than wandering when she full-stop endorsed a theology that was clearly unbiblical.

      I don’t know for sure but if I were to speculate I would wager that the allure of heresy was too strong for her to resist. She was famous, well regarded in certain circles, and made a fortune speaking and selling books. Highly likely none of that would have happened had she stayed true to the faith.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wandering is wandering any how you take it; individualizing it is like classifying “big sin/little sin”, yes? She wandered and like the young ones who leave, some are fortunate to return to the fold, some are not and die out there….she had a deep faith crisis. Never had a chance to return until what might have happened in those last moments. That hasn’t been told. But God said He will have mercy on whom He will.
        Time will tell I guess. God is a merciful and long suffering Father.
        vw

        Liked by 1 person

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