Rachel Held Evans has been doing a series of interviews where her readers can ask various folks (a Mormon, a Catholic, an Atheist, an Orthodox Jew, etc.) anything they want, and the person answers the most popular questions. If you don’t mind the mixed metaphors, I bit the bullet and jumped into the hot seat and gave it my best shot.

You can go here to read my answers to the questions—which include whether or not you have to be Reformed to to be saved or to be an evangelical, how God can be just if someone has no possibility of salvation, what I find uncomfortable about Calvinist soteriology, why engage in mission if limited atonement and irresistible grace are true, whether I would have done things differently in retrospect with regard to the Love Wins controversy, what I’d say to someone who hasn’t been chosen for salvation, why Calvinism is different from fatalism, and personal advice for someone teetering on the edge of faith.

Print Friendly

Comments:


126 thoughts on “Ask a Calvinist”

  1. Bob Turner says:

    Justin – thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. Well done!

  2. Bill says:

    Justin,

    You did a wonderful job answering tough questions with limited space. I appreciated your use of Scripture and your pastoral heart toward those with questions. This will be a great starting point for people struggling with those questions.

    I would add one extra recommendation for those trying to think through the doctrines of election: read J.I. Packer’s Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God. It’s a short book that helps the reader think through the apparent contradiction between God’s sovereignty and man’s free will.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  3. Matt Barefoot says:

    As always Justin your thoughtful responses were spot on…

  4. MarkO says:

    a thot:

    Justin, I suggest that universalist do indeed limit the atonement. They minimize the true divine purpose of the atonement. They see the atonement as just something we needed to nudge us all in God’s direction. This view limits the worth and value of the atonement. Do you agree?

    1. Justin Taylor says:

      Mark: I think that’s possible. But I don’t think all universalists necessarily hold to the same “model” of atonement. One could hold, for example, to a full-fledged penal substitutionary model and yet believe that Christ propitiates the Father’s wrath against any and all sin.

  5. Henry says:

    Justin,

    Are you aware what kind of things Rachel Held Evans has on her blog? It seems like by going on her blog you are facilitating her setting herself up as a false-teacher of the church. What happened to Paul’s repeated commands to ‘avoid such people’? I’m not being nasty just genuinely uneasy about you unwittingly consenting to her wrongful place of authority in the blogosphere.

    1. Arminian says:

      Henry,

      Could you say why you view Evans as a false teacher? I am not particularly challenging you (nor am I affirming your view). I don’t know much about her and wonder why you would say that when I thought she was supposed to be a Christian.

      1. Theology Samurai says:

        Arminian,

        Check out her blog yourself. Five minutes of reading should clear this up for you…

      2. Michael says:

        I think the fact she makes a mockery of the Scriptures is good enough reason Arminian. Of course Brian McLaren thinks “She represents what is most hopeful and promising in a new generation of articulate, intelligent, and faithful young leaders.”

        1. Andy says:

          Agreed, Rachel Held Evans makes a mockery of the Scriptures, which 5 minutes on her blog will make clear, and I am opposed to granting her views any legitimacy or insinuating that she is a Bible-believing Christian; she is not.

          While just about any of her posts make this clear, some people want specifics. Here you go (all in her own words):

          from Did Anne Frank go to hell?
          If salvation is available only to Christians, then the gospel isn’t good news at all.

          from Better Conversations About “Biblical Womanhood” (Part 2)
          But even our notion of what constitutes “biblical principles” is selective and profoundly affected by our culture, our tradition, our projections, our experience, and our biases…Let’s not forget that, technically speaking, it is biblical for a woman to be sold by her father to pay off debt, biblical for her to be forced to marry her rapist, biblical for her to remain silent in church, biblical for her to cover her head in prayer, and biblical for her to be one of many wives…There is no single “biblical” lifestyle, and we must regard any claims to such a thing as inherently selective.

          from The Future of Evangelicalism: A Twenty-Something’s Perspective
          The second group—sometimes referred to as “the new evangelicals” or “emerging evangelicals” or “the evangelical left” is significantly less organized than the first, but continues to grow at a grassroots level…While young adults in this movement tend to identify similar influences (NT Wright, Rob Bell, Shane Claiborne), they are significantly less organized. More importantly, most of the young adults in Marham’s survey reported that they didn’t like labels. They strongly preferred “non-denominational” or “follower of Christ” to “evangelical.” Folks who identify with this group would be more likely to welcome Bell’s ideas…or at least not condemn them as unorthodox. A quick glance at my Facebook profile would reveal that I relate more to the second group than the first.

          from Why Calvinism Makes Me Cry
          That God loves everyone (and not just a select group of people) has always been the most important theological constant in my life…and I feel like Calvinism, were it true, would take that away from me. Replacing “for God so loved the world” with “for God so hated the world” (which I believe Calvinism requires) is so disorienting to me, so dark and frightening and hopeless, that I fear it would lead me to despair.

          1. Andy – I get your objections to RHE. She’s that very dangerous combination of an excellent writer with a lot of bad theology, and a very big audience. I choose not to read her blog because it simply tempts me to all manner of sinful anger.

            But I seem to recall Jesus spending quite a lot of time engaging smart people with bad theology and very large audiences. I can’t think of anyone better qualified than JT, who is one of my personal examples for combining grace and truth on the Internet, to speak to that kind of an audience. I’m praying it bears much fruit. Like people reading less RHE and more Bible. :)

            1. Andy says:

              Rachael, you seem to be misunderstanding me. The main objections I pointed out at the beginning were objections that others made to which I was responding(agreeing). The samples of her work I posted were just that: samples of her work which offer evidence that those with whom I was agreeing are spot-on.

              Neither did I ever say that we ought not engage those with bad theology. I agree with you that speaking truth to those stuck in falsehood is appropriate and I am similarly hoping that Justin’s comments bear fruit.

              What you seem to have taken the wrong way was: “I am opposed to granting her views any legitimacy or insinuating that she is a Bible-believing Christian; she is not.” I meant exactly what I said. I wasn’t even thinking specifically about JT when I wrote that, but if you want an application of my statement to bloggers, I would say this: don’t reference her in a way that gives the impression that she’s just another one of us reformed, sola scriptura, solus Chritus Christians; don’t call her “Christian blogger”; don’t include her name alongside a list of solid, Bible-teaching people; don’t just avoid recommending her blog – don’t cause people to head for it; call her our for what she is: she’s used the term feminist to describe herself before, call her that; she says she believes in inclusivism, call her an inclusivist; she’s relative on the Bible, she’s got humanist tendencies, she’s proud of her belief in evolution: call her a Biblical relativist, a humanist, an evolutionist…

              1. I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
                the Maker of heaven and earth,
                and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

                Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
                born of the virgin Mary,
                suffered under Pontius Pilate,
                was crucified, dead, and buried;

                He descended into hell.

                The third day He arose again from the dead;

                He ascended into heaven,and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

                I believe in the Holy Ghost;
                the holy catholic church;
                the communion of saints;
                the forgiveness of sins;
                the resurrection of the body;
                and the life everlasting.

                And I love Jesus Christ and would give my life to follow him.

                I’m sorry this isn’t enough to be counted as a sister by you.

              2. I’m astounded by the fact that you consider Rachel Held Evans to not be a “Bible-believing Christian”. Is that really your place to judge if she believes the Bible? Isn’t that more *her* call than yours? And If she declares with her mouth that Jesus is Lord and believes in her heart that God raised her from the dead, then is that not sufficient to know that she is a Christian? Or do you know better about salvation than the scriptures themselves, for they declare in Rom 10:9 that such a proclamation and such a belief is sufficient for salvation. And if she’s Christian enough for God to save her, she should be Christian enough for you to love her.

              3. I have read Rachel’s blog and her book. There is no heresy in anything she says or suggests. Your doctrines are NOT the gospel, they are merely inventions of man in his struggle to interpret the Gospel. There are many different “theologies” you are free to choose the one that best suits you. You are not free to decide who is IN and who is OUT, because Jesus, Himself, tells us that this is solely up to Him as He is the Gate, He is the Way, not you and certainly not your feeble little doctrines. (Don’t feel too insulted I feel that way about all doctrines, they may be useful but all of them fail, because God is far too great to be contained in our philosophies.) You are free, of course, to exclude yourselves from the Table of the church catholic with extremist views, but you have NO powers to exclude.

              4. Theology Samurai says:

                Apparently Paul D. is a relativist.

                Rachel,

                Postmodern, liberal, feminist, egalitarians who reject the inerrancy of Scripture admittedly have a lot to overcome.

              5. TS, Thank you. I’m actually a process theist, used to claim open and relational, but I must admit to process. God is a process theist if we are to judge by the Bible.

                My faith doesn’t require a literal, error free Bible and I’m assuming that this applies to Rachel and the majority of her readers.

              6. Kacie says:

                Um wow, ya’ll.
                Whatever happened to a central foundation of Orthodoxy and then leaving room for fellowship with those you disagree with under the umbrella orthodoxy? I’m astounded by your divisive attitudes.

              7. Theology Samurai says:

                Right Paul, in other words…you can’t assert what you believe anymore than anyone else. You don’t need a literal, error free Bible because you can piece together whatever you like. Very convenient. The fact that this applies to Rachel and most of her readers is the very point of contention, isn’t is? Thankfully, Jesus believes in an error free Bible, and quoted it as such.

              8. TS, Jesus believes in an error free Bible? Really? Quoted it as such? Okay, if YOU say so. You actually go miles further than the Bible when you make statements like that. But He loves you anyway. And I will still call you Brother in Christ, I just think you’re wrong, but that’s okay. If you think you have it all figured out and know every opinion you hold to be the absolute truth and the full truth then don’t you contain god rather than being contained by God? God bless you.

              9. Sarah Moon says:

                Awesome response to all these comments, RHE! And thanks, Justin, for being willing to holding this conversation with your brothers and sisters in Christ who don’t agree. Thanks for trying to help bridge the fellowship gap between you folks and those of us who disagree with you on certain theologies. Much appreciated. I hate having to type “you” and “us.” It’s great to see people getting along so that one day we can just be an “us” even if we don’t agree on theology!

              10. Theology Samurai says:

                Paul, perhaps you missed the way in which Christ quoted Scripture. However, I’m not surprised you missed it, given your approach to the Bible as a divine jigsaw puzzle you piece together just th eway you like.

                I never said I have it all figured out, however, one doesn’t have to have it all figured out perfectly to have some things figured out biblically. That’s just a little card you pull out of your sleeve so you can feel that process theology is just as valid as any other theology. Truth and reality aren’t a smorgasbord from which you can choose whatever you like and leave everything else.

              11. Michael says:

                Even when given proof that someone mocks the Scriptures, we are still not supposed “to judge if she believes the Bible”.

                Another example of how Postmodern evanjellyism is becoming.

              12. TS, Yu don’t actually have to say that you have it all figured out and you can pretend to humility, but…. It’s okay I don’t have a dog in this fight. You do NOT have to believe as I do. The Catholic Spirit and all. Maybe adding modern inerrancy to the essentials works for your community it is by no means an essential for all communities. Professing Jesus is Lord and knowing that He was crucified and resurrected are the true, biblical essentials and if someone confesses this I can extend the hand of fellowship and call him my Christian brother.

              13. Theology Samurai says:

                Paul,

                “Professing Jesus is Lord and knowing that He was crucified and resurrected are the true, biblical essentials…”

                All of which you heard from your fallible, error-riddled Bible, right? Somehow, those sure fire true essentials pass your importance filter. The rest? Can’t tell what God “really” means…

              14. So, if there is any error in the various texts, which was assembled into the Bible hundreds of years after the fact, faith fails? That makes no sense at all to me. Faith is NOT some fragile Jenga tower ready to topple over if a piece is removed.

                I believe that the Bible is infallible in its purpose, to relate God’s story of love and redemption. It has no error in what it tells me I need to participate in Christ’s redemption/reconciliation of the world, of those things necessary for our salvation.

                We are never going to agree. We are probably talking past one another and therefore not communicating. We are making statements at one another. Before we anger the other and sink into ad hominems, I bow out.

              15. Anne says:

                They will know we are Christians by our… what? By our what? Hate? Ignorance? Inability to love? Inability to allow grace and truth? Refusal to listen to other people, since God is infinite and we are finite? Oh, no? Weird…

              16. Andy says:

                Ms. Evans, whether I consider you a “sister” depends on what definition of “sister” we’re using. If sister means someone who I would feel comfortable being in fellowship with, then the answer is no; if sister means someone who is a Christian and going to heaven, then I don’t know, though I think that there are sufficient reasons to have doubts in this area. To clarify, I’ve tried to make my posts as much “you” as possible – letting your words speak for themselves instead of putting words in your mouth, and from that, I made the observation that you are not a “Bible-believing Christian.” Clearly, this is the most subjective part of what I wrote (especially when I don’t know you personally, although people can gather quite a bit from your writings), but not subjective in the way that you were understanding it: while I do consider you, if you are indeed a Christian, to be a very poor example of a true Christian (and others are free to feel the same away about me), the point was made with no reference to your salvation due to the negative adjective-noun structure. For example, if I said “this is not a colorful shirt” it could be possible that the statement is true because there is no shirt or because it is not colorful. If I am not absolutely certain whether the object in front of me is a shirt, I can still be absolutely certain that my argument is correct if I know that it is not colorful. (The example is simply meant as an illustration to elucidate the structure of the phrase I used, not as any sort of comparison of human beings to shirts). And I will stand by my analysis that you are not a Bible-believing Christian. How could you when, as Mr. DeBaufer so kindly pointed out, “My faith doesn’t require a literal, error free Bible and I’m assuming that this applies to Rachel and the majority of her readers.”? Now, no one’s saying that he speaks for you: we’re all just drawing this conclusion in light of what you’ve written (the conclusion I’m speaking about obviously being the fact that you don’t think the Bible is inerrant, which is simply a paraphrase of the quoted comment). However, even here we may need clarification about what we mean by “inerrant.” You may not think that the Bible is “wrong” per se; you’d just say that the Bible is culturally outdated/irrelevant in some areas, it’s likely that some of the events did not happen exactly as the text says, that it’s good to interpret seemingly contraditory/”unloving” passages in terms of our beliefs today… Which I think means that it’s fair to say that you don’t believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, never mind the sufficiency of Scripture (which I believe is very important, but I digress). If I had to sum up your stance (which is troublesome to many) in a few words, it would be this: you exalt your own views over God’s revealed Word. Feel free to disagree or better yet, disprove that claim, but when one looks at the way that you look at the world and your religion, one cannot help escaping with the feeling that if you don’t like it, there must be something wrong with what I consider to be God’s perfect revealed Word. By the way, whether you like it or not, Jesus was pro what you call “unfairness”; if you remember one of his parables, He basically told those who got paid less for their work to shut up – they got what He said that He would give them/they got what they deserved – who are they/we to get upset when God shows more favor toward someone else? This is just one of many examples of truths in Scripture that you feel compelled to reinterpret. As for your “response,” I’m not here to judge your faith, only to make observations about what you’ve said yourself, but I would approach your recitation of the creed by asking: Are we praying the same thing when say the prayer? Or do we (and perhaps the composers) mean something completely different? To take just one line from the creed: “I believe in…the holy catholic church”-What do we mean by the holy catholic church? Do we mean all humans? All humans not named Hilter? All people who say that they believe in Jesus? Can we say that certain people are part of the holy catholic church if we don’t believe that they’ll be in heaven? What do we mean by “believe in”? That we think it exists? That we build our lives around it? That we believe this group is God’s chosen representative for sharing the Gospel? Who is this Jesus you love and would give your life to? Are you giving Him characteristics that you wish Him to have? Does this Lamb wish for the smoke of the sinners’ torment to be before Him day and night (Rev 14)? These are questions that we all must ask – indeed, the Scriptures tell us to test and examine ourselves in light of the Scriptures. Hopefully this will not be a futile task before it begins (after all, it is hard for someone to use the Bible to sharpen themself when they don’t believe the part about using it to sharpen themselves is error-free).

                While I’m at it (even though I don’t expect to be back) I might as well address some other comments. Mr. Fischer asks me if I can judge whether she believes the Bible. When Ms. Evans says herself that she doesn’t believe certain parts/aspects of the Bible, I don’t believe it’s incorrect to say she’s not a Bible-believing Christian (clearly, this must be understood in terms of what I explained above; for example, I believe that I am pro-choice (on numerous issues), but any leader of the pro-abortion side would designate me a pro-life fanatic. For Mr. Fischer’s Romans exegesis, I never said that Ms. Evans is not saved, although I do have doubts, which fits right in with what he said because the fuzziness would be on the “believe in your heart” part. He then says that I don’t love her. This is similar to Anne’s point that we ought to love each other. The funny and ironic part, and I’ll direct this statement at all those to whom I am responding, is that I made all these comments before any of you got on here are started commenting. So your point is that someone is capable of being “unloving” towards another person who they don’t even know exists? The comments were meant to shed light on what I believe to be dangerous errors and to share my belief that the reformed community ought not promote those errors; they were not directed at any of you, so there shouldn’t have been a reason for you to feel any of it as a personal attack (an attack on false theology, sure). Similarly, Mr. DeBaufer’s initial comment is baseless, since I never said who is “in” or “out.” I said that Ms. Evans is not a Bible-believing Christian, and under one reasonable defintion of “Bible-believing” as holding the most obvious meaning of what the Biblical authors say above our own interpretation to fit what we feel is “right,” Ms. Evans probably doesn’t fit. I’ll let the last part slide since Mr. DeBaufer did not say that I have “extremist views” only “if I have extremist views”, since he not only does not know me, but has read (in my previous 2 posts) perhaps a grand total of 3 sentences of my own opinions. Lastly, Kacie believes that we’re being divisive. Perhaps, although dividing along certain lines may not be a bad thing. Her assumption is that it is a bad thing because everyone should be in some big, happy orthodox family. Some may believe we are, but just as some believe that others hold extremist views, others may believe that others have heretical views.

                This all sounds pretty depressing, which is why I won’t be returning to this thread. But I still want to recap my main point. The first post was supposed to be my only one; it is the reason for my 2 others: Ms. Evan’s work, from which I reproduced several samples, articulates a way of understanding God and the world that I believe to be wrong and dangerous (but which the reader was left to decide for him/herself since 80% of the post was her writing), and so I wished to dissade those who found these tidbits of her views to be disconcerting from going over to her blog, or at least be prepared for what they would read (I was not, during my first time).

              17. Theology Samurai says:

                Paul,

                You’re being completely arbitrary, which is one of the characteristics of irrationality.

                God superintended the formation of the text and the canon of Scripture. To use your analogy, if I’m building a Jenga tower of faith, I’m at least using the building blocks God gave me for this purpose. You, however, only use the pieces that suit you, that fit into your preconceptions about who God could or couldn’t be. Your Jenga tower looks a lot less like the one God intended to be assembled, therefore it’s lacking and distorted.

                Either the Bible is inerrant and infallible, or we get to decide what is true in it and what isn’t. That makes the individual the final arbiter of truth and not God. Which fits in nicely with the postmodern deconstructionism typically championed by Rachel & friends.

                No one should feel compelled to follow you in your arbitrariness.

  6. Jason says:

    Justin,
    Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. The angry responses to the doctrines of grace, and even to the God of the doctrines of grace, in the combox, was heartbreaking. It seems that many of the respondents on Evans’ blog were responding from their hearts, but not defending their positions biblically.

    It seems that Calvinists are so often mis-cast as cold-hearted, unloving and antievangelical, yet if we look through church history, so many of the great movements were begun by those with reformed tendencies.

  7. Brian says:

    Jason,

    Regarding your comment about Calvinists being mis-cast as cold-hearted and unloving, quick question for you:

    Is the Calvinist of reprobation (passing over the non elect) a loving doctrine?

  8. steve hays says:

    Jason,

    “Regarding your comment about Calvinists being mis-cast as cold-hearted and unloving, quick question for you: Is the Calvinist of reprobation (passing over the non elect) a loving doctrine?”

    You could pose the same accusatorial question about lots of things in the Bible: God sending the flood, God’s judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah, God’s command to execute the Canaanites, the plague of the firstborn, various capital punishments in the Mosaic Law, everlasting punishment, &c.

  9. steve hays says:

    Henry

    “Justin, Are you aware what kind of things Rachel Held Evans has on her blog? It seems like by going on her blog you are facilitating her setting herself up as a false-teacher of the church.”

    There’s always a tradeoff. She’s using him and he’s using her. Justin could play it safe on his own blog, addressing his established constituency, or he can reach out to an audience that doesn’t normally read Gospel Coalition type stuff. As long as she didn’t edit his answers, I think the tradeoff is justifiable.

  10. Jason Kanz says:

    Brian,
    We all deserve to be “passed over”. Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved even though they don’t deserve it–now that is love!

  11. Brian says:

    Jason,

    That is not what Calvinism teaches. In Calvinism God can call a man to repent but not give him the ability to repent. As Piper has said it is God who “decides who will believe and undeservingly be saved and who will rebel and deservingly perish.” It’s like telling a man in a wheel chair to stand up and grab the potion that will cure his paralysis, knowing full well that the man cannot stand up because it’s been determined that he cannot.

  12. steve hays says:

    Brian

    “That is not what Calvinism teaches. In Calvinism God can call a man to repent but not give him the ability to repent. As Piper has said it is God who ‘decides who will believe and undeservingly be saved and who will rebel and deservingly perish.’ It’s like telling a man in a wheel chair to stand up and grab the potion that will cure his paralysis, knowing full well that the man cannot stand up because it’s been determined that he cannot.”

    i) That objection, if valid, applies with equal force to divine foreknowledge. Do you even believe in God?

    ii) Of course, the “man in the wheelchair” illustration is designed to evoke sympathy. Let’s try a different illustration:

    A mugger hits an old woman in the face, then steals her purse. He blows her money gambling.

    So now he can’t afford to make restitution. He’s broke. Does his inability to make restitution mean he isn’t morally obligated to make restitution?

  13. Brian says:

    Steve,

    I disagree that it applies with equal force to divine foreknowledge. Have you heard of the philosopher Dave Hunt? I’m not going to say anything regarding your illustration as I don’t feel it is relevant to the discussion.

  14. steve hays says:

    To use your own illustration, God foreknows that the man in the wheelchair can’t stand up and grab the potion that will cure his paralysis.

  15. steve hays says:

    Brian

    “I disagree that it applies with equal force to divine foreknowledge. Have you heard of the philosopher Dave Hunt?”

    Yes I have. Have you heard of the philosophers William Hasker, Alan Rhoda, and Linda Zagzebski?

    “I’m not going to say anything regarding your illustration as I don’t feel it is relevant to the discussion.”

    Well that’s convenient. I guess I’m not going to say anything regarding your illustration as I don’t feel it is relevant to the discussion.

  16. Nate says:

    I’m part Rachel’s blog community and I’d just like to thank you, Justin, for taking the time to answer some of the questions asked over at her blog. I don’t hold to Reformed theology myself, but I appreciate your willingness to engage in dialogue. Thanks much!

  17. Rachel,

    I count you as a sister. I don’t believe God chooses between various Christian denominations, selecting one with the correct interpretations and rejecting the others.

    We are all different people with different experiences and different lenses through which we view the world, read the Bible, and relate to God. God knows this. His kingdom has room for all of us.

  18. PraiseFSM says:

    ROFLcopter at the Christians fighting with each other here. Especially at excluding Rachel’s thoughts/opinions/questions because she “believes in” evolution. I’ve been following Rachel’s blog (and associated entries) through these various “Ask a ____” segments and this is by far the most odd response I’ve seen.

    Let’s be clear. You all believe that a cosmic Jewish zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.

    So for any of you to post here about your “good” theology versus her “bad” theology is a joke. At least Rachel comes at it from a perspective based in reality, and at least her faith isn’t based on Jenga tower theology.

    The criticism of her here would be pathetically hilarious if it weren’t so sad.

    1. Michael says:

      PraiseFSM, let’s be clear.

      You probably believe “that there was nothing and nothing happened to nothing and then nothing magically exploded for no reason, creating everything then a bunch of everything magically rearranged for no reason what so ever into self-replicating tiny bits which then turned into dinosaurs!”

      1. Loo says:

        It must be time for bed – when both of you make each other’s POV sound so hilarious. For the record – that Cosmic Jewish Zombie has been worshiped through out the world as a “creator” in most pre-agrarian societies for the last 150,000 years (I don’t “believe in evolution, the evidence leads me to conclude it is true). And Michael, does this mean you “believe in” the Big Bang Theory? Evolution? or are you just making fun of PraiseFSM and secretly believe in a 6,000 year old earth – Making the Flintstones a documentary?

  19. Timothy says:

    Justin,

    I really appreciated your comments and (from a personal perspective), I have a family member who reads Rachel’s blog, comments on it fairly often, and I’m glad that she can read some of your thoughts on that blog as well.

    I have ONE BIG QUESTION I HAVE as it relates to the question regarding the situation with Bell. Do you think the recent interview that Keller had with Bashir warrants a similar response? I am afraid that conservative evangelicals (like myself) will comment about Bell and how he is wrong with great force, but when it comes to Keller’s comments with Bashir, we will remain silent and let some mysterious folks talk to him “behind the scenes.”

    What are your thoughts on this?

  20. steve hays says:

    PraiseFSM

    Let’s be clear. To copy/paste a popular caricature of a Christian faith which you read on the Internet illustrates your lack of critical thinking skills. That’s rote learning. Reciting verbatim what someone else said. Can’t you think for yourself?

  21. Justin, do you intend to answer any of the questions left in the comments of Rachel’s blog? Might be an effective way to keep the conversation going.

  22. A. Amos Love says:

    Justin – A well written article – In a hostile enviroment. Kudos.

    You end your article with…
    “Finally, be careful to avoid a Lone-Ranger form of Christianity, influenced more by American individualism and pietistic evangelism than biblical Christianity. God has ordained that the ordinary means of grace (Bible reading, prayer, fellowship, sacraments, preaching) be done in the context of a local church. The fight of faith is a community project.”

    Funny – I always thought “The Lone Ranger” was the good guy. ;-)
    Helping all the folks being bullied by the bad guys and NOT being able to fend for themselves.

    And “The Lone Ranger” was never alone. Someone, he didn’t even know, saved him, rescued him from death, and stayed by his side while he was challenging those who were abusive, controlling, and manipulating the defenseless.

    Jesus spent time with, and received, the sinners and the tax collectors – the unrighteous – the ones who needed a physician. Seems the only folks Jesus gave a hard time to were the so-called “Religious Leaders” of the day who “Lorded it over the community” and placed heavy weights on folks shoulders and did nothing to lift them off.

    Jesus didn’t ** reform** “The Religious System” of His day. He left it. ;-)
    And took a bunch of folks with Him, and called them into a relationship with Him. And that was “The System” Jesus set up. Those were His priests he called snakes, and “of your father the devil.”

    Sounds similar today as more and more folks are challenging “the Abusive Religious System” of today and the heavy weights they place on believers. Heirarchy. Submission to God Ordained Authority. Tithes and offerings.
    “God has ordained that the ordinary means of grace (Bible reading, prayer, fellowship, sacraments, preaching) be done in the context of a local church.” Nope – that’s NOT in the Bible. Just more heavy weights, ;-)

    Seems Jesus, as man, taught – lower-archy.
    He humbled Himself, made Himself of NO reputation
    and took on the form of a servant. Phil 2:7-8.

    That’s NOT been my experience with “the Neo Reformed Movement.” Or Calvinists.
    Seems all the young guns are looking to make “a Reputation” and be known as “Leaders.” :-(
    Just look at all the “Titles” NOT in the Bible – Senior Pastor – Executive Pastor – Lead Pastor, Doctor,
    that come with – Power – Profit – Prestige – Glory – Honor. “Titles” that give you a Reputation.

    Be blessed in your search for truth… Jesus…

    Jer 50:6
    “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
    **their shepherds** have caused them to *go astray,*

    1 Pet 2:25
    For ye were as *sheep going astray;*
    but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

    I’m Blest… I’ve returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of my soul…

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

  23. Kamilla says:

    So, Mrs Evans can quote a version of the Apostle’s Creed. Bully for her. And Kacie wants to gather under an umbrella of orthodoxy (I’m quite sure she didn’t really mean Orthodoxy) and probably get us all singing Kum-ba-yah.

    The trouble is, Mrs, Evans gives us no evidence (on her blog) that she is an orthodox believer with whom we can fellowship. Her incessant snarkiness, the whining about looking frumpy in a headcovering, her confusions between old covenant and new, and her contention that she is following “biblical womanhood” for a year when she can’t even manage to hew to the strictures of the most famous “commandment” of that movement (being quiet in the assembly and not teaching men) for the year, along with her recent imaginings about “imaginary” fences between Quakers and Roman Catholics and others — well, she may be able to recite a creed or two but she gives little evidence of understanding what the Church has always held the Creeds and the Holy Scriptures to mean.

    Mrs. Evans also pretends to be investigating the “dark underbelly” of “biblical womanhood”. It is here she fails most spectacularly to show her understanding of the two sides of this issue – she appears blissfully unaware of the great and dark underbelly of religious feminism. Yes, I know they deny there is one. But I used to be a religious feminist and I still know the playbook – and denying even the existence of the merest possibility that there just might be the teeniest sliver of a hint of a dark underbelly is the first play in that book.

    Kamilla, Repentant religious feminist

    1. Thomas says:

      Kamilla,

      I seem to remember a certain teacher at one point in time having a comment on people without sins casting the first stones. We would do wise before laying claim to a king’s daugter, even if you don’t think she’s very pretty.

      1. steve hays says:

        Thomas

        “I seem to remember a certain teacher at one point in time having a comment on people without sins casting the first stones.”

        That’s a scribal interpolation. Try again.

        1. Thomas says:

          Steve, I am sure you misspoke. Maybe you meant to say that “some scholars have argued that it’s a scribal interpolation”. That is probably a more accurate statement. I wasn’t aware there was such certainty. Isn’t it then a dangerous road to interpret the “modern bible” through any kind of cultural lens? I only ask, because that seems to be the sin committed my Ms. Evans, in her “mockery of the scripture” as one commenter has mentioned here.

          Is the splinter and the plank an interpolation as well? Just curous, and I don’t want to google it.

        2. Kamilla says:

          That’s fine Steve, because I also remember a Little thing called The Great Commission.

          Discipling requires we make judgments about beliefs. It does not require us to pick up stones to effect punishment for sins (real or perceived). It does, however, require we speak honestly about beliefs. It also requires we be honest about the very real fences that are there lest we encourage someone to eat and drink damnation on their souls.

          1. Thomas says:

            Kamilla,

            I agree with you, except your comment is not in the context of a discipling relationship. It is comment on a blog about and in regards to someone you have no relationship with at all. In that context, my “scribal interpolation” holds.

              1. Thomas says:

                To you have trouble understanding, or do you think that “making disciples” means typing comments on blogs?

              2. Kamilla says:

                I have trouble understanding why your reference to a “scribal interpolation” has anything to do with me. I don’t have to view the Sripture referenced as a scribal interpretation to hold that you are using it incorrectly.

                And no, I don’t reduce discipling to something that requires a “relationship” as you appear to conceive it. Books, blogs and comments can all be part of discipleship. I kbow they have functioned that way in my life and don’t see why that shouldn’t hold true for others. I may be a bit different but am not so arrogant to think myself unique in that respect.

              3. Thomas says:

                Kamilla, my “scribal interpolation” comment was directed as a bit of a plug at Steve, as he interjected himself into the conversation.

                But first, please, if you cannot see that your statement of my interpretation of that scripture can possibly be wrong, then this ceases to be a discussion. There is no discussion among individuals that can only see their own rightness and no value in others interpretations. All we have been talking about on this whole blog string is about an interpretation of Jesus, using the Bible.

                Please, it is not my conception of discipling that I was referencing. It was Jesus’. Show me where biblically it is appropriate to write a book, comment on a blog, or have a blog in the first place as a means of “discipling”. Maybe I am being snarky, but I only bring to bear that to say my definition of discipling is not biblical, well, you must be taking into account your own preferences, conveniences, and interpretations. It’s not “biblical”, since that seems to be means by which you measure godliness. And if is am reading correctly from the comments in this thread, to be snarky, or look for modern interpretations of biblical passages, that is a sin.

                So again, I affirm that those that have not sinned should cast the first stone. Even more to I think it applicable and useful in this rebuke, based on your comment in another place here that in comparison to Rachel, you too once had to face your “sin”. I can only then deduce that her action in her blog, interpretations of scripture, and in sharing it with others (due to your inter retain of it’s validity) you also view as sin, throwing her to the ground, and picking up a stone.

                Heaven help us if we were all alive at the time of Chirst. No doubt we would be shouting to have him be crucified along with the crowd. How dare he change our long-standing assumptions about the nature of God and his relationship with us.

  24. PraiseFSM says:

    Steve Hays:

    “Reciting verbatim what someone else said. Can’t you think for yourself?”

    I could say the same thing for all of the bible quotes you folks toss around at each other.

    In my opinion sometimes someone says it so right that it’s worth repeating. That is the case for what I posted above, which I’ll note was done with a particular intent that you seem to have missed entirely. If you want to maintain that doing so illustrates a lack of critical thinking skills on my part, then you are free to do so and I will simply disagree. However, I must note that to immediately go ad hominem in your response tells the tale of your own deficiencies quite well.

    Lest ye miss the forest for the trees in my post, I will simplify: As a non-Christian who feels no need whatsoever to argue the finer points of your ridiculous theology with you all, the way you’re treating an interaction with Rachel in these comments does nothing positive for you and everything positive for her. That you can’t even stomach a dialogue with someone of a different opinion indicates just how fragile, delicate and easily toppled your faith is. I can tell you as a total outsider which blog I’ll continue to pay attention to. And while such a statement from someone like me may make you feel good about the position you’ve taken here in these comments, I assure you that it should not.

    1. Theology Samurai says:

      Who said we couldn’t “stomach” it?

      I’m fine with it. I’m just waiting for some cogent argumentation defending postmodern theological salad mix.

      I haven’t seen any here yet. I think I’ll be waiting in vain.

      However, PraiseFSM, you’ve got a much bigger problem than Rachel and her friends. As an atheist, you’re worldview doesn’t even have a veneer of plausibility.

  25. steve hays says:

    PraiseFSM

    “However, I must note that to immediately go ad hominem in your response tells the tale of your own deficiencies quite well. Lest ye miss the forest for the trees in my post, I will simplify: As a non-Christian who feels no need whatsoever to argue the finer points of your ridiculous theology with you all, the way you’re treating an interaction with Rachel in these comments does nothing positive for you and everything positive for her. That you can’t even stomach a dialogue with someone of a different opinion indicates just how fragile, delicate and easily toppled your faith is.”

    For you to immediately go ad hominem in your response to various commenters tells the tale of your own deficiencies quite well.

  26. steve hays says:

    PraiseFSM

    “In my opinion sometimes someone says it so right that it’s worth repeating.”

    You’re long on opinion, and short on reason. What the quote illustrates is the contrast between the rationalistic pose which militant atheists like to project and anything resembling a rational argument for atheism.

    1. Thomas says:

      Actually, Steve, PraiseFSM’s logic on why someone might cease to listen to you or read this blog … is actually pretty sound … the conclusions are pretty well drawn from the premise.

  27. steve hays says:

    Thomas

    “Actually, Steve, PraiseFSM’s logic on why someone might cease to listen to you or read this blog … is actually pretty sound … the conclusions are pretty well drawn from the premise.”

    Actually, Thomas, that’s another assertion in search of an argument. That’s the nice thing about being a rationalist. You don’t actually have to use reason.

    1. Thomas says:

      Actually, Steve, you skip right over the statement that his logic is sound, even if as a rationalist you don’t need it. And don’t claim to understand intent from my post. I mean, it’s not 140 characters, but it was pretty short, you don’t really know me, so it’s a pretty far stretch to claim my intent. I just thought your complaint was errant as to the soundness of Praise’s logic … regardless of what you thought of logic and reason in the first place. Apples and oranges.

      This is fun.

  28. steve hays says:

    Paul DeBaufer

    “Your doctrines are NOT the gospel, they are merely inventions of man in his struggle to interpret the Gospel. There are many different ‘theologies’ you are free to choose the one that best suits you. You are not free to decide who is IN and who is OUT, because Jesus, Himself, tells us that this is solely up to Him as He is the Gate, He is the Way, not you and certainly not your feeble little doctrines.”

    Of course, the problem with DeBaufer’s relativism is that it neutralizes his own appeal to Scripture.

    “…because God is far too great to be contained in our philosophies.”

    Aside from the fact that that, itself, is a philosophical claim, the “God” of process theism is a very mundane entity.

    “You are free, of course, to exclude yourselves from the Table of the church catholic with extremist views, but you have NO powers to exclude.”

    Given DeBaufer’s process theology, the religious imagery of “Table of the church catholic” is just a quaint relic, emptied of meaning.

    1. Thank you Steve. Why yes mine is a philosophical claim, that’s all we have,that’s all our theologies and doctrines are: philosophical claims and opinions. How we view scripture is directly related to how we view the meaning of Inspiration and that in turn is dependent upon how we perceive God. Because we come from vastly different starting points, philosophical assumptions we had when we first engaged the Bible we will always be speaking past one another. Therefore, I bow out. A forum of and for fundamentalists is not the place for one like me to try to change minds or even argue for my position. yours is well within the bounds of orthodoxy and is apparently working for you and your faith and hopefully community, God bless you.

      1. When I said, “all our theologies and doctrines are: philosophical claims and opinions” I should’ve made clear that I did not mean fleeting, unfounded opinion. I believe all of our theologies are well reasoned, logically well founded. However, opinions they are due to the preconceptions we bring with us when we engage the texts and begin our reasoning. We all have our preconceptions, none of us are truly objective.

        1. steve hays says:

          Paul DeBaufer

          “We all have our preconceptions, none of us are truly objective.”

          Is the statement that none of us is truly objective a truly objective statement?

          1. Let it go Steve. Those who agree with you will continue to agree with you. Those that do not never will. There is NO conversation, no dialogue here. I leave you to your world and retreat to mine. Good bye. I’ll not participate in the hijacking of the comments of this man’s blog any further.

            Justin, I apologize for the rabbit trail. I should not have come to your site arguing a dissenting opinion with your followers. I am sorry.

            1. Theology Samurai says:

              Yeah, let it go Steve. Incoherence is OK in Monkey Town…

          2. jasdye says:

            “Is the statement that none of us is truly objective a truly objective statement?”

            For all the pondering that you all make that we non-conservative Evangelicals are purely post-modern, you sure do like to stick to your silly modernist binary positions and arguments, don’t you?

            ergo:
            – if it’s not objective, it must be an opinion.
            – if it’s feminist, it must be anti-man and therefore anti-biblical.
            – if it doesn’t elevate our understanding of hell to an essential orthodox position of the faith, it is anti-Christian.
            – if she writes a book about the contradictions of literacy, she must be mocking the Holy Word of God.

            This is not worshiping God and the Living Word (Jesus). It is worshiping a worldview.

  29. steve hays says:

    Thomas

    “Actually, Steve, you skip right over the statement that his logic is sound, even if as a rationalist you don’t need it.”

    I skip over it because your claim that his logic is sound is not, itself, a logical argument, but just another assertion in search of an argument. You and he like to talk about logic, but you’re not actually giving us any logically sound arguments. Calling something logically sound doesn’t make it logically sound. Try again–if you can.

    “And don’t claim to understand intent from my post.”

    You reveal more about yourself than you intend.

  30. Eric Blauer says:

    I remember something in the initial conversations about Calvies being ‘mean’ and a few reads from this downlist of comments and I’m leaving this site and running for the hills! Wow, sorry Rachel, you deserve better than this kind of treatment.

    1. God's Away On Business (Business!) says:

      When you see these folks raking one of their own over the coals because of three words uttered in the middle of a two-hour interview (Timothy Keller), it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that they’d take this opportunity to scour Rachel’s blog for things to disagree with.

      Thanks to Mr. Taylor for his thoughtful responses (and the copious references!).

  31. steve hays says:

    Thomas:

    “Steve, I am sure you misspoke. Maybe you meant to say that ‘some scholars have argued that it’s a scribal interpolation’. That is probably a more accurate statement. I wasn’t aware there was such certainty.”

    That’s a pretty standard text-critical conclusion. Unless you’re a closet KJV-onlyist.

    “Is the splinter and the plank an interpolation as well?”

    Aren’t you afraid that you’re interpreting the Sermon on the Mount through your cultural lens?

    1. Thomas says:

      Steve, the fact is that you made a statement, stating it as a fact, when in fact it is not. It is a theory, and heaven forbid, maybe you have to have faith in that statement (that the reference is an interpolation) … well, you most certainly have to have faith in the assertion, as I am sure you weren’t there to see the transcriptions as they were occurring.

      I only bring this to light because of the two-faceness of what people are contending with Rachel over, most hurtfully, the “mockery of scripture” that is alleged, and that she isn’t a “Bible-believing Christian”, because her study of the bible (which she believes in) involves also ideas of intent and culture. And she is crucified on these forums for it. The irony screams at me when I qoute a scripture, and someone on this very forum claims that it is invalid because it is a “scriptural interpolation” – and for those of you that don’t have a degree in theology (I admit, I had to google it myself, as I try to stray away from complex language when it hinders understanding – kinda like Jesus did), scribal interpolation means that the verse that I reference wasn’t in the original text, and therefore was not a valid comment. So, which was is it:

      1. That the bible has some content that was added after the original manuscripts, and therefore is “errant” or …

      2. Is there value in understanding the historical and cultural context of the scripture itself, and one should not ignore those ideas as part of thorough scriptural analysis.

      It seems there are folks that want their cake and want to eat it too.

      While I don’t agree with Rachel on several topics, the rebuke that she has received here is intolereable, and that there is blindness to that, is frightening. For anyone that actually reads the blog, she is in search for the total meaning of scripture … Which by the way is where tradition comes from (or “Orthodoxy as you may call it), in the sense that people agreed on the means and content of the interpretation of a scripture … Heck what we even have in the bible right now, was inserted by men under inspiration. To remove the humanity from the scripture is to kill it. It is a story of Gods glory and his relationship with man, to remove the man is to rewrite the story.

      So try not to stone someone for doing what your precious tradition does all the time, yet seems blind to see.

  32. brambonius says:

    Justin,

    Thank you for answering those questions. Your tradition is stil strange to me, but it makes me understand more of where calvinists are coming from. I’m a more Wesleyan charismatic from a post-catholic country where there’s hardly any calvinism.

    Even then, the way some of the people on this blog act (and I’ve met more calvinists like this online) really do not make me want to dig deeper into your tradition.

  33. Steve D says:

    Justin,

    Thank you for participating in Rachel’s blog. Your answers were well thought out, reasoned, and civil.

    For those who are questioning Rachel’s salvation and her beliefs, I would suggest that you actually read her book as well as her blog. She raises questions that are valid and have unfortunately been glazed over in the past. To question one’s faith should be seen not as a weakness, but a strength. The God that I believe in can hold up to those questions and in many ways encourages them.

    I have been a Christian for about 35 years. Walked the aisle in a Baptist church. Over the years I have bumped into many who claim to be Calvinist. One thing that I have noted in some Calvinists is an arrogance of belief. Other Christians must align to the Calvinist belief or they are not considered Christian. In reading some of the comments on this blog, I would suggest that that arrogance is showing here. It is also one of the reasons why I am not a Calvinist.

  34. steve hays says:

    Steve D

    “I have been a Christian for about 35 years. Walked the aisle in a Baptist church. Over the years I have bumped into many who claim to be Calvinist. One thing that I have noted in some Calvinists is an arrogance of belief. Other Christians must align to the Calvinist belief or they are not considered Christian. In reading some of the comments on this blog, I would suggest that that arrogance is showing here. It is also one of the reasons why I am not a Calvinist.”

    Can you quote any commenter here who suggested she’s not a Christian because she’s not a Calvinist?

    1. Steve D says:

      Steve Hays-
      Most of Andy’s posts. Of course, he took some of Ms Evans quotes out of context. A five minute read of Rachel Held Evans blog would barely scratch the surface.

      I believe that part of the problem is that people are attracted to Calvinism because it offers what seems to be unambiguous answers to tough questions. I’ve learned over the years that when a Calvinist is unsure of the answer to the question, invariably the answer is the Sovereignty of God. Some Calvinists are very uncomfortable with ambiguity.

  35. Henry says:

    Dear Rachel,

    I hope this does not come across as unloving, but the decision as to whether or not you count as a ‘sister’ is really up to you.

    Please don’t blank out but try and see it from our perspective: how can we believe that you have repented of your own ways given your pervasive and systemic questioning/rejection of historic Christian doctrine? Having just cited the Apostle’s creed, I invite you in the interests of honesty to also list the areas of historic Christian orthodoxy that you question/reject.

    It is not that you just have one or two errors here or there, rather the very root of submission to God’s will as revealed in Scripture is rejected.

    So when you call Christ ‘Lord’ how can you expect us to believe you? I would gladly accept you as a sister in the Lord but would have to see some evidence of repentance first such as no longer refusing to submit to your husband and rejecting his God-given role as head over you.

    1. Steve D says:

      Henry,

      Unless you are personal friends with Rachel, I suggest that you be aware of the speck in your own eye. Far as I can see, you are very out of line with this.

      Steve Hays, this is another example of what I was referring to.

  36. jeremiah says:

    After all of this, I can’t imagine anyone having the audacity of labeling Calvinist as “mean and graceless”.

    1. Timbo says:

      I am ashamed to call myself a Calvinist after reading some of the comments on this post. Do you people realize that Rachel Held Evans is a person? Would you say these things to her if she were standing in front of you? Fellow Calvinists, if our message is the message of God’s amazing grace, then we’ve got to show some of that grace in our interactions with everyone, regardless of whether or not they affirm every jot and tittle found in the Reformed Confessions of faith. Try beating your samurai swords into plowshares and harvest the field instead of beating people over the head with doctrines of grace that have failed to effect the way you treat others who disagree with you.

      1. Kamilla says:

        Timbo,

        I had things such as this said to me, and worse probably – and you know what? I repented of my rebellion. It wasn’t the molycoddling that forced me to face my sin, it was the brothers who cared enough to tell me the truth without any sugar-coating who helped to win me back into the fold.

        What might appear strangest of all, is those are also the men I now count as my dearest brothers in all the world.

        Kamilla

        1. Timbo says:

          This isn’t about a brother confronting a sister without any sugar-coating. This is about how some are speaking to and about a person who has stated that she isn’t counted as a sister as all. If there are things that need to be called out, they need to be called out in love, not in inquisition.

          1. Kamilla says:

            Call me freeky, but I’m guessing we have different operative definitions of “inquisition” and “love”.

            A loving rebuke looks an awful lot like an inquisition to someone who is already drinking the kool-aid. And there is nothing the “inquisitor” can say to the kool-aid drinker and their friends to convince them otherwise.

            Sigh.

            1. Timbo says:

              We indeed have different operative definitions. Since I am the man in this conversation, you must provide me with a Scriptural basis for accepting your definitions over mine. Am I wrong to ask for this? Would this be a loving rebuke that looks like an inquisition to you? If so, can I not simply say that it only looks like an inquisition to you because you are a kool-aid drinker?

              It seems that you fail to recognize the gracelessness of categorizing people as kool-aid drinkers.

            2. Steve D says:

              Maybe you feel justified in the way you’ve treated Rachel. Frankly, (as I stated in a previous response), this is the major reason why I don’t subscribe to Calvinism. What you are showing is NOT love. It is NOT a loving rebuke. Some of you need to reread good chunks of the Bible. I suspect that you’ve been reading Calvin too much.

  37. I believe the Bible is authoritative and inspired by God, and that it should be used for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.

    I love Jesus Christ with all my heart and I would give my life to follow him.

    I can affirm the historic Christian creeds – The Apostle’s and Nicene.

    I strive to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love my neighbor as myself, just as Jesus taught.

    I am a sinner, saved by grace.

    I am a Christian.

    It has become clear that I cannot convince you of the sincerity of my faith with my words, and that’s okay. It’s more important that the people who know me see it exhibited in my life.

    Grace to you, and peace.

    1. Steve D says:

      Rachel, You are talking to a group of people who will never listen to you. They wear their prejudices like a badge of honor.

    2. Theology Samurai says:

      Rachel,

      Your comments here are well and good. It’s just all that stuff on your blog that’s problematic. Your above comments don’t seem to comport with other things you’ve written. Hard to reconcile the two…

    3. Henry says:

      Dear Rachel,

      Can you not understand why these affirmations comes across to those of us who have read your blog as disingenuous?

      Scripture says that those who love God obey his commandments. It is easy to affirm a creed that is no longer controversial because the doctrinal battle has been won in a bygone era, but what of the scriptures that are being challenged in our day? They will be your judges.

      I believe the Bible is authoritative

      How can you say this when so often on your blog you have tacitly conceded that in reality you ‘pick and choose’ which verses to obey (just like you accuse everyone else of doing), and seem quite happy to continue in this state of affairs?

      that it should be used for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.

      If you really mean this, then why don’t you submit to this function of Scripture on the following verses:

      Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. Eph 5:22

      But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. 1Cor11:3

      wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word… 1Pet 3:1

      For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. 1Pet 3:5-6

      the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church Eph 5:23

      Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord Col 3:18

      Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands Eph 5:24

      This command is repeated 7 times. It is pretty much the only specific command given in the Bible to wives, but this one thing singled out for you, a wife, you will not do. How can you ask us to believe that your profession of the Bible being ‘authoritative’ is credible when you will not yield your will to God in this matter?

      One last thing, you bemoan the lack of acceptance you receive here, but don’t you think it is terribly inconsistent that whilst you are happy to accept people of all sorts of unbiblical opinions to your table of ‘Christian’ fellowship, you communicate by your words and your tone that there is one group of people whose beliefs are unwelcome – those Christians who believe scripture to call you to repentance from your trifling with God’s word. We are bigots, and we are unwelcome.

      Dear Rachel, I hope and have prayed for you that you would come to turn from your own ways and yield your heart to the God of the Bible, submitting to your husband as unto the Lord and no longer giving a platform to those who are led by the spirit of the age rather than by scripture. I would dearly love to welcome you into the fold as a sister in the Lord.

  38. Kamilla says:

    Rachel, you’re a smart girl. You know very well that you will not convince people of the sincerity of your faith with new words without repudiating some of your old words. I’ve done it, it’s really not that hard once you take the first step.

    Your blog has convinced me and others that while you may be able to recite a creed or two, and clearly know your Bible — the meaning your pour into those is substantively different from the meaning the Church has held and which orthodox Christians have submitted themselves to.

    For instance, as I pointed out on your blog earlier today, there is a disconnect between your words above and your description of Soularize as a “really cool event”. Christians who truly hold to what you have written above, submitting themselves to the orthodox meaning and historic teaching regarding all that you have written above — *do* *not* also get excited about appearing at an event with blasphemers like Rita Nakashima Brock who invites women to re-create Eve’s rebellion and take another bite of the apple.

    Kamilla

    1. Steve D says:

      Kamilla

      How about a reference (in context) for Rita Nakashima Brock . I wouldn’t want to gossip or spread false rumors about someone.

  39. FBB says:

    for Steve D:

    http://www.theologymatters.com/JULAUG98.PDF

    It wasn’t hard to find, I’m sure there’s more like it if you care to look for yourself.

    1. Kamilla says:

      “FBB” is me – my first response to Steve D got hung up in moderation, possibly because I included two links. Since the first link went through, here is the second:

      https://eerdword.wordpress.com/2011/07/14/%E2%80%9Csaving-desire%E2%80%9D-by-f-leron-shults/

      1. Steve D says:

        Okay, Kamilla, let’s try this can you reference a *direct quote* from Rita Nakashima Brock? Passing mentions in articles don’t suffice.

    2. Steve D says:

      Try again, the article mentions Rita Nakashima Brock in a list. However, doe not mention that she was involved in anything that was listed afterward. She’s definitely guilty of being mentioned in a list of “Radical Feminists” but there is no quotation that actually links her to a quote or an action. Solid guilt by association.

      1. Kamilla says:

        Yep, right. I’m done. I know the history of the Re-Imaginig movement almost as well as my friends who attended the conference as observers. But hey, unless I can provide you with a direct quote proving she actually said those exact words her real true self, it ain’t going to be good enough – never mind that she was one of the organizers and leaders, unless she said it herself . . .

        Oh bother.

        I’m perfectly content with my post above. Anyone who was a willing participant in those rituals stands under the same judgment as the one who actually spoke the words from the microphone. I’ll stand by that without apology and don’t feel the need to provide further evidence.

        Kamilla

        1. Steve D says:

          Kamilla, you didn’t prove anything except that Rita Nakashima Brock was in a list of Radical Feminists. Your second link doesn’t even mention her. Is this how you base your proof? Talk about illogical!

  40. Adam Ellis says:

    Dear Calvinist Commenters,
    Thank you for so thoroughly disproving the stereotypes that others have of you, by way of your behavior in this comment thread and particularly in the Christ-like character displayed in your comments directed toward Rachel Held Evans. Not only has this comment thread shattered the perception that you feel justified in treating those who disagree with you with incredible disrespect (as if your theology acts as a kind of trump card that exempts you from basic Christian ethics at an interpersonal level), but it has also made your entire position more attractive by way of the kinds of people it has served to form you into. Indeed, it stands in stark contrast to the uncivil way that Ms. Evans treated Mr. Taylor on her blog. By the way, I’m being sarcastic…on everything I’ve said except this last sentence.

    1. Thomas says:

      /like

    2. Timbo says:

      Sad but true. “They will know we are Christians by our love” has turned into “They know we are Calvinists by how we attack others.”

  41. steve hays says:

    Steve D

    “Most of Andy’s posts.”

    That’s unresponsive. I asked you if you could *quote* a commenter on this thread who limited Christians to Calvinists. Are you able to actually *quote* a commenter to that effect?

    1. Steve D says:

      Steve, try reading Kamilla’s posts. I’m not going to requote them, just look up the page a bit.

  42. steve hays says:

    Adam Ellis

    “Dear Calvinist Commenters, Thank you for so thoroughly disproving the stereotypes that others have of you, by way of your behavior in this comment thread and particularly in the Christ-like character displayed in your comments directed toward Rachel Held Evans.”

    Actually, what’s been illustrated are anti-Calvinist commenters who in the name of charity and tolerance engage in a bigoted smear campaign against Calvinists. Funny how some folks are quick to blame others for their own faults.

    1. Timbo says:

      Steve Hays,

      Speaking as a Calvinist, the reason we are smeared is because we consistenly fail to exhibit grace to those with whom we disagree.

      And yes, it is “funny how some folks are quick to blame others for their own faults.”

      1. Adam Ellis says:

        Timbo,
        In all seriousness, thank you for actually displaying something different.

  43. steve hays says:

    Timbo

    “Speaking as a Calvinist, the reason we are smeared is because we consistenly fail to exhibit grace to those with whom we disagree.”

    Is that why Justin Taylor came under attack? Because he’s so graceless?

  44. steve hays says:

    Timbo

    “Sad but true. ‘They will know we are Christians by our love’ has turned into ‘They know we are Calvinists by how we attack others.'”

    You yourself are on the attack. Slandering the brethren.

  45. Timbo says:

    If pointing out that Calvinists consistently fail to exhibit grace to those with whom we disagree and that Calvinists are more known for being attacking than loving is slander, then I suppose I am on the attack. I am, after all, a Calvinist. :)

  46. steve hays says:

    Timbo

    “If pointing out that Calvinists consistently fail to exhibit grace to those with whom we disagree…”

    Would you apply that to Justin Taylor? D. A. Carson? John Piper? Roger Nicole? Tom Schreiner? John Frame? Jim Hamilton? J. I. Packer? Vern Poythress? James Anderson? John Murray?

  47. steve hays says:

    Timbo

    “…that Calvinists are more known for being attacking than loving is slander…”

    The question at issue is whether that imputation is justified. For instance, I see the Tea Party demonized in the mainstream media as Nazis, racists, &c. That says less about the Tea Party than the mainstream media.

  48. Timbo says:

    Justin is the only one of those people who comments on this blog, and he embodies his Calvinist beliefs well. But many other commenters do not (see above), and the point is that Calvinists indeed have a reputation for being graceless and harsh. You may find this reputation unjustified, but others here have stated that many of the comments on this particular thread have reinforced their perception of Calvinists as being graceless and harsh. Your comment complaining about a “smear campaign against Calvinists” which included an extraordinarily ironic remark about how “some folks are quick to blame others for their own faults” only succeeded in blaming others (those who are smearing Calvinists) for the gracelessness, harshness, and lack of self-awareness that many Calvinists are perceived to exhibit in spades. Methinks thou dost protest too much at the allegation that Calvinists are ***more known for being*** attacking than loving. I did not comment on the fairness of the allegation. It’s the perception whether it’s fair or not (and there are many graceless comments above which reinforce the notion that it is an accurate characterization). If you want to refute it, be a graceful Calvinist and take the log out of your own eye rather than complain about the speck in another’s eye, which thereby reinforces the perception that Calvinists are graceless, harsh, and lacking self-awareness.

  49. Henry says:

    One or two here have criticised some of the rebukes as not stemming from love. I think there is some fairness to that charge, and will try harder to guard my heart from speaking out of anger and hate.

    Having said that, many of those who make that charge are guilty not only of doing the same (looking down in derision of those nasty Calvinists) but also of not bringing any correction to Rachel’s false doctrine whatsoever.

    So instead of failing like me by speaking the truth without love you are doing worse by not only failing to love but also having no regard for the truth. So please, in light of the speck and the plank, is it not right that you repent of your low regard for truth?

    1. God's Away On Business (Business!) says:

      “So please, in light of the speck and the plank, is it not right that you repent of your low regard for truth?”

      Hahahahahaha, wow. Christians are amazing. Is that really your best attempt at treating someone who disagrees with you like a human being? Because, again, wow.

  50. steve hays says:

    Timbo

    “Justin is the only one of those people who comments on this blog, and he embodies his Calvinist beliefs well.”

    You didn’t limit your statement to commenters on Justin’s blog. Rather, you made a statement about Calvinists en masse.

    “But many other commenters do not (see above), and the point is that Calvinists indeed have a reputation for being graceless and harsh.”

    Of course, that’s viciously circular. You’re appealing to defamatory accusations to justify defamatory accusations, as if the accusation is self-validating.

    “You may find this reputation unjustified, but others here have stated that many of the comments on this particular thread have reinforced their perception of Calvinists as being graceless and harsh.”

    Of course, that’s circular. When accusers like you continue to recycle in false, defamatory accusations, then, of course, that reinforces the meme.

    “Your comment complaining about a ‘smear campaign against Calvinists’ which included an extraordinarily ironic remark about how ‘some folks are quick to blame others for their own faults’ only succeeded in blaming others (those who are smearing Calvinists) for the gracelessness, harshness, and lack of self-awareness that many Calvinists are perceived to exhibit in spades.”

    Because accusers like you keep fueling a defamatory perception, then appeal to the defamatory perception you’ve been stoking to justify the outcome.

    “Methinks thou dost protest too much at the allegation that Calvinists are ***more known for being*** attacking than loving. I did not comment on the fairness of the allegation.”

    Why not? You don’t think honesty is a Christian duty?

    “It’s the perception whether it’s fair or not (and there are many graceless comments above which reinforce the notion that it is an accurate characterization).”

    Accusers are not entitled to false, defamatory perceptions. If they misperceive reality, they are culpable.

    “If you want to refute it, be a graceful Calvinist and take the log out of your own eye rather than complain about the speck in another’s eye, which thereby reinforces the perception that Calvinists are graceless, harsh, and lacking self-awareness.”

    Are you imputing a real log, or a merely “perceived” log? Why are you so indifferent to elementary standards of honesty?

    1. Timbo says:

      Congratulations, Steve. You’ve won the argument. I give up trying to get you to see that Calvinism has a reputation for being graceless. You seem intent on fueling that perception yourself, so you don’t need my help. Convince yourself that there isn’t a real log in your eye, that the fault lies only with accusers like me (who want Calvinism to attract people rather than disgust them). I will keep trying to introduce people to a Calvinism that doesn’t beat them over the head.

  51. steve hays says:

    Timbo

    “Speaking as a Calvinist…”

    Are you really? Sure you’re not Tim Gray in real life?

  52. Darren says:

    It seems a bit strange to me that Justin has, except for a quick comment at the beginning, chosen not to chime in to this conversation. If he agrees with the vitriolic and decidedly uncharitable things being said about Rachel on this comment page, then I have to wonder why he would choose to engage in conversation on her blog. If he does not agree with what is being said, then I must wonder why he has chosen not to make any comments here in her defense.

    I think we as Christians need to remember that loving God and each other was Christ’s primary instruction to us … it seems to be sadly lacking from many commenters here.

Comments are closed.

Justin Taylor


Justin Taylor is senior vice president and publisher for books at Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

Justin Taylor's Books