Rachel Held Evans Comments on Newtown School Shooting

Jan 3, 2013 by

Rachel Held Evans makes some excellent points in her article “God Can’t Be Kept Out.” (http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/god-kept-out) And while she is critical of recent comments by Mike Huckabee (http://www.christianpost.com/news/huckabee-clarifies-remarks-about-newtown-shooting-and-god-in-schools-86739/) and others, because they are arguing that “people” are trying to chase God out of our culture, I don’t think her position is much different from the very people she is critical of.

Note in her article that she states, “God showed up as a Jew in the Roman empire.” In this statement Evans validates that Jesus was not just a great philosopher who spoke of love. He was God! Evans states, “If the incarnation tells us anything it’s that God can’t be kept out.” Evans has validated the supremacy of Christ. He is above all. He is God incarnate (John 1:1). He is the ONLY path to the Father (John 14:6). And by no other name (Jesus) can anyone receive salvation (Acts 4:12). No other religion makes such a claim and no other religion can make such a claim. Jesus is available to all, but he alone is the path to salvation by virtue of His death on the cross and His overcoming death via His resurrection.

Evans acknowledges the resurrection when she says, “Only to rise from a borrowed grave three days later because God can’t be kept out”. That’s a crucial acknowledgment of a Biblical truth that many people today try to say is an allegory. Evans is right, Jesus can’t be kept out. His death and resurrection didn’t happen so you could get into Him, but rather so He could get into you. And all you need to do is ask. As Evans correctly points out, He shows up, “everywhere: in a cattle trough, on a throne, among the poor, with the sick, on a donkey, in a fishing boat, with the junkie, with the prostitute, with the hypocrite, with the forgotten, in places of power, in places of oppression, in poverty, in wealth, where God’s name is known, where it is unknown, with our friends, with our enemies, in our convictions, in our doubts, in life, in death, at the table, on the cross, and in every kindergarten classroom from Sandy Hook to Shanghai.”

Jesus couldn’t be kept out of Texas either. His grace came all the way from Calvary to find a sinner like me!

Evan concludes her article with an acknowledgment of God’s sovereignty. This is a hard lesson. It’s easy for people to say that God is sovereign and that He is sovereign over all, but when things like Sandy Hook happen, people who don’t know their Bibles often ask, “Where was God?”. Evans makes the comment, “May their flames (advent candles) be a reminder to all of us that we don’t have to know why God let this happen to know that God was there.” Note that Evans acknowledges that, “God let this happen.” This is where people like Evans and Huckabee intersect even if they don’t realize it. God is sovereign. He is sovereign over all. There is not one instance of evil in the Bible where evil was not subject to God’s sovereignty. Examples are Job, Genesis 3:15, Luke 8:32-33 and there are countless others.

Evans is answering the question of where God was during the Sandy Hook shootings. He was there. He let it happen. For whatever reason it was His will. It was within His sovereignty. As Jesus says in Matthew 10:29, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.” A bird does not die outside of the sovereignty of God. And neither does any man, woman or child die outside of the will of God. No one dies young. No one dies before their time. God is sovereign over death. God (Jesus) overcame death.

People like Mike Huckabee are not saying that God can be kept out, but rather that they are turning from Him and His plan for humanity. That is emphatically true in this nation. In the Old Testament God consistently used evil to call the nation of Israel to repentance. That is the purpose of the darkness of evil. It points us to the light of grace. Evans analogy of the advent candles is a powerful illustration. The light of Christ surely does shine into the dark places.

The dichotomy in play after Sandy Hook was profound. In a nation where prayer is not permitted in schools, we had a school literally surrounded by prayer. Churches that were formerly scorned were packed with SRO crowds. Schools and people that embrace Darwinism and forbid any mention of creationism turned to a creator God. Any mention of those children being anything other than created in the image of God would have been shunned. The idea that they evolved from some random single cell in a primordial soup, through apes, didn’t make sense in the days following Sandy Hook. No one would have stood and sang John Lennon’s song “Imagine” after Sandy Hook.

Evans is correct, God can’t be kept out. Huckabee is correct, we are trying hard to push Him out. Will we hear His call to repentance?

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