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CNN Belief Blog

Editor’s Note: Rachel Held Evans is a popular blogger from Dayton, Tennessee, and author of “A Year of Biblical Womanhood.”

By Rachel Held Evans, Special to CNN

On “The Daily Show” recently, Jon Stewart grilled Mike Huckabee about a TV ad in which Huckabee urged voters to support “biblical values” at the voting box.

When Huckabee said that he supported the “biblical model of marriage,” Stewart shot back that “the biblical model of marriage is polygamy.”

And there’s a big problem, Stewart went on, with reducing “biblical values” to one or two social issues such as abortion and gay marriage, while ignoring issues such as poverty and immigration reform.

It may come as some surprise that as an evangelical Christian, I cheered Stewart on from my living room couch.

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3 Comments

  1. Not to say I agree or disagree with Evans’ position – I’ve read some of her posts and find her thought provoking – but I also came across this review of her Biblical Womanhood book (http://www.girlsgonewise.com/review-of-a-year-of-biblical-womanhood/). If Evans went to the trouble of interviewing a Jew, an Amish, a polygamist, a Quaker, etc, without also interviewing a non-extreme complementarian, then it seems kind of caricature-ish.

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  2. Thanks Bob for the Mary Kassan’s response. I have not read Rachel Held Evans’ _A Year of Biblical Womanhood_, so have no basis to assess that book. I think that Kassan may have a case that Evans’ caricatures the complementary position. But I don’t think Kassan (at least not in this blog) makes a compelling case either. The only quote in which she describes complementarity is here: “complementarity is not about a checklist of mandatory behavior or a stringent division of labor, but about becoming who God created us to be as male and female, so that we might showcase and exalt the spectacular relationship between Christ and his Church.” I surmise that she means that God created male and female as distinct and different. Evangelical egalitarians don’t usually have a problem with this. But it is the other part of the complementarian position that Kassan doesn’t really spell out that is the issue. Namely, the emphasis on male headship. The Danvers Statement (1988) ] http://keithwalters.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/the-danvers-statement-on-biblical-manhood-and-womanhood.pdf ] makes it very clear that male headship is the only way to interpret scripture on this issue. I wonder if Kassan makes this point clear in her other writings? In any case, this is exactly why egalitarians like Evans emphasize the danger of cherry-picking views and naming them “bliblical.” On a practical side, I personally know of at least one church in which the pastor, having been convinced of the truth of the Danvers’ statement, removed all women from church leadership. Within one Asian American campus ministry, young Asian American men, citing Piper and McArthur, have attempted to force women staff from their positions. All in the name of complementarianism! So I don’t mind debating the issue, but some of these practical outcomes really bother me. BTW, two of the members of ISAAC Board were complementarian – including Russ Yee! We disagreed theologically, but agreed in the importance of affirming women’s leadership in ministry, nevertheless. Thanks again for giving this blog some thought. I’m not really that familiar with Rachel Held Evans, but I do agree that we have to be aware of how we read scripture and cautious about calling something “biblical” without careful attention to our hermeneutics.

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  3. Tim,

    I don’t think Evans is consistent within her own critiques. I wrote a long reply attempting to show as much. Cf. A Reply to the Danger of Calling Behavior ‘Biblical’

    Reply

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