Rachel Held Evans appeared yesterday on NBC’s Today Show for an interview for her upcoming book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood. Denny Burk has a few responses to comments she made during that interview with Natalie Morales that are very much worth reading [here]. While he makes many excellent points regarding her view of Scripture, I would like to highlight one part regarding her repeated designation as “evangelical”:
“Both Natalie Morales and the author identify Evans as an evangelical. I have already written about this elsewhere at length, but I will reiterate here. Evans definition of evangelical misses the mark on a number of points. Evans denies the inerrancy of scripture and says that “as a woman I have been nursing a secret grudge against the apostle Paul for about eight years.” As a young adult, she says that she stopped believing in the “Bible’s exclusive authority, inerrancy, perspicuity, and internal consistency.” She came to the conclusion that “the Bible wasn’t what I’d once believed it to be.” Evans has also pressed the case for inclusivism—the view that says people need not have conscious faith in Jesus Christ in order to be saved—and she rejects exclusivism. In a recent post, she defines the gospel without reference to the death and resurrection of Jesus and adopts the reductionism of counterimperial interpreters who say that the “good news” is “Jesus is Lord and Caesar is not.” She supports gay marriage, and she has served communion to practicing homosexuals. We could go on, but that is enough to make it clear that her definition of “evangelical” is strained at best. At worse, it’s not anything close to approaching evangelical. She is not a representative of evangelical faith, despite the assumptions of the reporters at the Today Show.”
Historically, to be evangelical would be to affirm the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture, that the atoning work of Christ on the cross was central to the message of salvation, that persons must be converted by repenting of sin and turning to Christ by faith, and that this faith resulted in a change of life in gratitude for that salvation. It is clear Evans does not hold to many if any of these tenets. Her views would be more in line with mainline Protestant liberalism, or even progressive Christianity.
I will be reviewing her book in the coming weeks after it is released.