David Evans

Hello RZIM Community

I have just joined and am not fully sure how to navigate this app yet but I appreciate the starter checklist so much I’m simply diving into the introduction part.

My late sister-in-law was the author Rachel Held Evans who passed away last month unexpectedly. It breaks my heart as we were dear family members who loved each other very much even as we disagreed on a great deal of theological points. I truly hope to gain practice learning and “sharpening my sword” even as I help others sharpen theirs in this community so that I can continue to develop my intellect to “have an answer for this hope that I have in Christ Jesus the author and perfecter of my salvation”. My heart and hope for speaking coherently about Christ goes out to my brother who has completely lost his faith as a fruit of my sister-in-law’s influence.

I was first introduced to Ravi when I attended Urbana in 1993 and he came out on stage dressed and acting like a Muslim critic of the Christian faith before revealing his identity to the shocked crowd. I was in college studying Mechanical Engineering then and that certainly made a major impact on me. Now I greatly enjoy and am encouraged by Ravi with his YouTube videos I watch from time to time.

I have a deep passion for understanding and communicating the deepest truths of all matters in this life and the next and as I have grown in my spiritual maturity I find a steadily increasing commitment to wrapping my discoveries of truth inside a communication package of grace.

As so many of us do I have a unique perspective from a unique journey and I hope to encourage others in the ministry of life in Christ we are all called to even as I draw encouragement from others.

8 Likes

Hello David! It’s such a pleasure to have more and more people like you around. I am so sorry about Rachel. I pray that the God who lives in her and you too gives you peace and comfort. I actually heard about her from a friend of mine who sent me the blog post she wrote in response to Kathy Keller’s review. And I honestly loved how she proposed her thoughts. I am looking forward to checking out ‘Biblical womanhood’.

My heart goes out to him too. Have you communicated with him lately? How is he expressing it?

2 Likes

Hi Sara,

Thank you for your warm welcome to the community.

I am still in regular touch with my brother as I love him very much despite our differences in belief.

I’m curious how you respond to Rachel’s book on biblical womanhood. I will caution you that as time went on since writing that book, Rachel moved more and more into a space of being an authority unto herself by which the church could turn to help find its redefinition rather than pointing to a humble submission to Jesus Christ as her Savior and furthering His kingdom. Ironically, despite writing a whole book about church with “Searching for Sunday” she really wasn’t even closely involved in her local church that she most closely associated with in the last year of her life. Oddly, her funeral wasn’t even in the church she had most recently attended.

What started as seeds of a bit of tongue in cheek fun with literalism in “Biblical Womanhood” seemed to grow into outright insubordination of the authority of scripture under the guise of creating straw man arguments around much of scripture being a culturally bound work to the time of writing that is irrelevant in today’s culture and often self-contradictory with her later work “Inspired”. All of these arguments played off as rather self serving and an excuse to deny God’s authority due to doubt and confusion as to what is the origin of truth so that her own definition of moral authority could be slipped into its place. Rachel’s philosophies came off eventually to me in the discussions over the years as classic moral relativism with no absolute truth and a feeling of superiority driven by subjective application of grace.

I was also sad to note that there was no acknowledgement of God being the true author of Scripture or even how her faith is sustained by God’s Word in the acknowledgement section of “Inspired”.

Kindly,

Dave

2 Likes

Thank you so much for you heartfelt introduction. Welcome @David_Evans :heart: I am truly sorry for your loss. I only heard of Rachael in a very respectful “Thinking out Loud” podcast.
I can hear your heart concerning your brother. I will lift you both up in prayer.

Me too David. So thankful you are here and I am looking forward to your insight.

3 Likes

Thank you very much Sig. The shear intellectualism of this group has me a little bit intimidated as I haven’t formally studied philosophy, religion or the scriptures. Fortunately, I also realize it’s those who are often the least qualified with man’s credentials and who submit to Him that God can use the most to serve His purposes as there is no doubt that God is the sustainer in their lives (eg. Moses, Ruth, Joseph, etc). My hope is that I’ll have something to contribute as I learn from others here in this community.

3 Likes

My heart goes out to you and your heart @David_Evans. Welcome aboard! Thanks for coming alongside us. As you indicate I am confident that your unique perspective will help the entire site. Perhaps this very site will grant the platform that is best for you to share your maturity and discoveries. God-bless you and your journey – I look forward to reading your posts.

4 Likes

Bless your heart, Ican certainly relate! When I first joined I was very intimidated and I have made some mistakes, but that’s okay. This is a very friendly environment and I have learned a great deal. Occasionally I will put my swimmy‘s on and drive out in the deep. I dog paddle there for a minute and if I feel I can’t engage I quickly get out of the pool take my swimmy’s off and get back to where I feel safe :grimacing:
I was listening to a sermon one day from Allister Begg titled “ The strength of weakness” which helped me overcome my fear a little.
Hope to see you around engaging. We all need each other’s gifts. And we all could certainly use encouragement :slightly_smiling_face:

5 Likes

Hi David! @David_Evans
My interest certainly peaked when I read who’s brother-in-law you are!

I am very sorry for your loss- and equally burdened to hear that your brother’s faith has faltered in the process.

I am so very interested in your story/perspective.
Thanks so much for sharing with us- I have followed the impact Rachel has had on many women that I know- as I sifted through more and more of her writing…my heart sank at the message she sent. She was one of my first encounters with the Progressive Christianity movement.
She certainly had a way with words and many women loved her ease and confidence in her version of faith.

I imagine how you felt when she became so well-known? The love and care you had for her and your brother…such a difficult place to be in, I’d imagine.

I’d love to sit and listen to more of your story- as progressive forms of Christianity seem so prevalent these days.

I hope you’ll start some conversations out in the forums…many would love to glean from your perspective!

I liked what you said here:

I have a hope in this, as well. That He would use all of us in spite of ourselves…that His words would speak through each one in just the right way.

And @sig you crack me up! I love your analogy of putting your swimmy’s on!! Me too!! Haha still giggling :joy:

So glad you’re here, David!

5 Likes

Welcome, @David_Evans! We’re glad you’ve joined us. :slight_smile: I’ve not actually read anything by your sister-in-law, but I am familiar with her as a personality. Praying that God will continue to draw near to your brother as he grieves the loss of his wife, and I pray that God’s abounding and grace-full love would overflow out of your own life into his. :pensive:

And I wouldn’t be too concerned with any ‘intellectualism’ here; it’s more thoughtful conversation than intellectual. :grinning: We pray that this community would be one that strengthens and encourages you in your own journey with God!

4 Likes

Thank you @KMac for the warm welcome and encouraging prayer.

This also helps me engage.

Also just learning the ropes on this website so I’ve now officially learned how to quote someone. :smile:

5 Likes

Thank you @HeidiMitchell for the condolences. I’m happy to share my story and learn from yours as well. I’ve just filled out a brief summary on my profile to give an overview of my background for reference.

This was a challenge as she had established a platform that was reinforced very much by the “powers that be” of this world. Frankly, I didn’t really operate in the same circles as she did due to not being significantly engaged in the subculture of full-time Christian service, publications or most any of the other areas she was most prominent in. I also was transitioning and living outside the country during some of her rise in popularity so I heard about it from a distance. Philosophical engagement was an occasional conversation during visits or I would see her tweeting or facebooking things that I had to basically take to God in prayer rather than responding in a public forum with my own voice for the sake of family relations. We did get into a brief exchange regarding evolution in the past year once when she commented on a post I placed on FaceBook about it but that was about it.

3 Likes

And I’d wager that you earned a badge for that. :laughing: :100:

2 Likes

Hey David!
I am sure that you have better insight into what Rachel believed in more than any of us by her being your sister-in-law. When I read the article she wrote about Biblical Womanhood, I deeply wanted her to draw into a conclusion. But it ended with the “Herminuetic of Love” which is of course a must but would have loved something more conclusive that could have reconcilated the examples about women she gave from the Bible, with the “Holistic” view that she was inviting us to. I agree with her when she said that not everything in the bible is biblical without taking away its authority. But the question is, to what extent? She made sure not address neither complemntarianism nor egalitarianism themselves but rather the process of selectivity by which we declare “X” is the biblical view. But in my opinion, based on very limited awareness of her view, it seemed to me that when she talked about the fact that all hermenuetics are based on selectivity, she failed to acknowledge the distinction between selection of what to apply vs what to consider. You consider the ‘whole’ and apply the ‘part’ to explain a certain matter.
I heard that she at some point preached that it’s okay to be part of LGBT community and a christian at the same time. But I wasn’t thrown off at all by her views on Biblical womanhood. I think this an ongoing hazard with every text you encounter. Some people would feel pretty much the same way if we started talking about the historicity of Adam or young/old earth discussions.

I am sure she just started out more as a liberal but slipped into this vague area later on.

I hope God opens doors for you to engage with your brother in thoughtful conversations.

I am really looking forward to your contributions David!
Be blessed!

1 Like

I’m having a very hard time navigating through this technology! Maybe we can learn together??? Welcome and God bless you and give you strength :pray:.

1 Like

Thank you for the thoughtful response. In many ways Rachel really wore her heart on her sleeve. I think her work itself represents the very best way to get to know her philosophies intellectually. I just have the advantage of observing the reality of how many of those philosophies were practiced.

Not drawing a conclusion on many items was part of Rachel’s method of publicly struggling with her doubts. As time went on I believe the struggling with doubt combined with her very sharp intellect in stark contrast to the intellect of the people of her hometown resulted in her to looking within for truth rather than outside herself.

1 Like

May God Bless you! Hope this technology doesn’t discourage you from sharing what God is doing in you. It’s so encouraging for me to hear testimony from newer believers.

3 Likes