Tommie Marshell

Plundering Egypt: A Conversation on the Passing of Rachel Held Evans

Just two days after Stan Grenz died, David Dockery began his concluding paragraph warning Baptists, specifically Southern Baptists, that Grenz might lead his readers into orthodox inconsistency.

Unfortunately, his pietism didn’t translate into evangelical coherene or orthodox consistency.

That was fourteen year ago.

Reading some of the responses to the death of Rachel Held Evans reminded me of that incident. In fact, to demonstrate how this works, the same thing happened after the death of Jerry Falwell. No matter your theological convictions you may be sure someone will take advantage of the news of your death to point out all the error of your ways. It makes us feel better about our chosen perspective on the spectrum.

Among we Southern Baptists it appears that orthodoxy is now tied to how one interprets the Scriptures regarding women in ministry – preaching or pastoring. But, one of the oldest creeds of the Christian faith does not make that issue a matter of Christian orthodoxy. What’s more, it now appears that after claiming to be a confessional denomination, Southern Baptists indeed have a Magisterium that weighs theological positions in the balance. Welcome to the new SBC. Entity heads take your bow.

Could we benefit from splitting the hair between Christian Orthodoxy and doctrinalism? I think so. Take this simple test. If Stan Grenz, Jerry Falwell and Rachel Held Evans all would affirm the Nicene Creed, then they would be considered within the bounds of Christan orthodoxy. But, given their doctrinal differences, they would likely not share a home in the same denomination. That is the difference between orthodoxy and doctrinalism.

When Grenz and Evans moved beyond the doctrinalism of Evangelicalism that did not mean they were now unorthodox. What’s more, if Grenz identified as a Pietist with a PhD then, he is echoing what my friend Bill Borror recently described on a podcast. Bill used the imagery of Isreal leaving Egypt for his own move out of Evangelicalism and into a different Christian stream most would consider Mainline. He noted that he felt like he had left Egypt carrying with him some plunder.

Listening to Rachel Held Evans and reading her books reveals much the same. While she left her Baptist, Evangelical roots, she maintained the fervor of an Evangelical even if she found her home in the Episcopalian branch of the Christian tree. Think the late Robert Weber who followed the Canterbury Trail later in his life.

Tommie Marshell joins me on this podcast episode. We talk about her response to Rachel, public responses on social media and in major publications. We work to distinguish between orthodoxy and doctrinalism. Take a listen and leave your thoughts in the comments. Be nice.

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Backsliding Into All Souls Day

Few weeks hold as many consecutive references to events or celebrations in the Christian Calendar. Reformation Day. All Saints Day. All Souls Day. Do you find the reference to all worth considering? Read More

Look Who Is 2!

Two years ago this evening we were waiting. Regular reports let us in on how much longer we would have to wait. Our baby was having her first baby. Today Max turns 2! We are on our way to celebrate.

Happy Birthday Max!

"Max - 2" - Copyright 2013 Todd Littleton

“Max – 2” – Copyright 2013 Todd Littleton

The Ethics of Eyewear: Glasses Are Expensive or, Why BonLook

Those are not your parents’ Ray Ban’s. Why they are not even your Oakley’s. Sunday evening we watched 60 Minutes. Generally I am leading an Adult Bible Study. But Sunday I was still determining just what was going on within my body that was making me feel much less than human.

One of the segments covered the cost of glasses, eyewear. It was intriguing. In fact, if the facts indeed are accurate then there is really only one beneficiary of the huge interest in eyewear, the Italian company Luxottica. Much like in Castro’s Cuba, Luxottica has a corner on the market on both sides of the glasses, eyewear, industry whose products are worn by a half billion people.

Lesley Stahl: I can remember, not that many years ago, my mother telling me that men will never ask me out if I wear my glasses. I was to go blind if I wanted dates. Read More

New Year’s Eve Baby

“You’re not quite ready.” Words an about-to-deliver mother never wants to hear. “I’ll be back,” she replied. Hours later the drive down Wheatland Road toward Charlton Methodist Hospital was slowed by thick fog. Emergency flashers and lights signaled urgency to other travelers before 7:00 a.m. on that Saturday twenty-three years ago.

Yes, our New Year’s Eve Baby turned 23 this morning. The official time was 7:20 a.m. if my memory serves correctly. Tommie DeAnn left her hospital room on this New Year’s Eve after delivering a healthy baby Max Nolen this past Wednesday evening.

We spent the morning picking up few items for her as well as lunch from the Deli.

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