A Response to Rachel Held Evans on the Today Show
By Denny Burk
Earlier this morning, Rachel Held Evans appeared on NBC’s “Today Show” to promote her book A Year of Biblical Womanhood (see above). I have the book and intend to review it, but some of the errors in her remarks this morning were so serious that I thought they deserved a response in advance of the review.
1. Christians are hypocrites for not obeying Old Testament law. Evans reinforces the canard often brought against Christians by critics of our faith. The canard goes like this: “You people claim to believe the Bible, yet you do not obey Old Testament law. You are all hypocrites.” It amazes me that people think this to be a powerful critique, but it is still very popular today. It completely overlooks 2,000 years of Christian history in which the overwhelming majority of Christians have held that the Old Testament ceremonial and civil codes apply to the historic nation of Israel alone and not to the New Covenant church. Christians have recognized that it was Jesus himself, for instance, who abrogated the Old Testament kosher food laws (e.g., Mark 7:19; Acts 10:15). Evans allows the impression that Christians are hypocrites for embracing biblical gender roles while not embracing the rest of the Old Testament. With a smile and a giggle, she puts forth a false charge that gives our critics occasion to blaspheme (Romans 2:24).
2. Mockery of the Bible. The Bible is not a book to be trifled with. Much less should it be used as fodder to promote false teaching before a watching world. This piece presents the Bible as hopelessly irrelevant to the modern people. It presents its Old Testament prescriptions as silliness and folly, and it transfers that scorn by way of analogy to New Testament texts as well. The tragedy of this spectacle is that the person driving this impression is supposed to be a Christian. Those who form their impressions of the Bible from this piece will not conclude that the Old Testament law is “holy and righteous and good” (Roman 7:12). On the contrary, this presentation will give scoffers grounds to continue in their scoffing.
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3. Misrepresentation of complementarians. Evans says the goal of her book is to challenge the idea that anyone is actually practicing biblical womanhood. Yet no complementarian would say that obeying Old Testament law is a fulfillment of biblical womanhood. It is not. Yet Morales seems to be under the impression that it is! Morales says, “There are Christian groups who live by this ideal of biblical womanhood,” and then she wonders aloud how widespread this strange teaching is. Morales asks her questions from a position of scrutiny and skepticism of the Bible, and Evans only reinforces that skepticism…
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