Alisa Childers and Lori Alexander ask: does Rachel Hollis have a Biblical worldview?

Christians seem to have lost the ability to say no to "follow your heart"
Christians seem to have lost the ability to say no to “follow your heart”

(Image source)

I’ve sometimes struggled with getting young, unmarried Christians to follow my advice, especially about learning apologetics and developing a Biblical worldview. For some, their priorities seem to be more in line with the secular culture than what I would expect from a follower of Jesus. So, I am thankful for wise Christian women like Alisa and Lori who are able to make a persuasive case to them.

Let’s start with The Transformed Wife (Lori Alexander), who responds to a Facebook post by Rachel Hollis. (H/T Lindsay)

She writes:

There is a post going around Facebook that was written by a popular “Christian” woman named Rachel Hollis. I am going to share it with you and my comments are in parenthesis.

[…]I love Jesus, and I cuss a little. ( I love Jesus and I don’t cuss because God doesn’t want any unwholesome words to come out of our mouths.) I love Jesus, and I drink alcohol. (I love Jesus and I don’t drink alcohol. No, it’s not a sin to drink alcohol as long as it “just a little” or “not much” as clearly outlined in Scripture; for we are commanded to be sober.) I love Jesus, and some of my best friends are gay. (I love Jesus but my gay friends are struggling against their sins.) I love Jesus, and I adore hip hop music. (I love Jesus, and I adore worship and praise music! Most hip hop music promotes worldliness which we are to have no part with.) I love Jesus, and I totally read romance novels where vampires fall in love with librarians or school teachers or female detectives with a tortured backstory. (I love Jesus and I try to only read those things that are true, honest, just, pure, and of good report as stated in Philippians 4:8.)

[…]Diversity is our jam. (Christlikeness is our jam.)
Judgment is our enemy. (We are to make righteous judgments and clearly judge between right and wrong. “Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good” – Romans 12:9)

[…]I love everyone AS THEY ARE and if you’re in this community that means you commit to loving everyone as well. You know, just like Jesus would do. (The same Jesus that said that if your right eye causes you to sin, then pluck it out and if your arm causes you to sin, then cut it off? And the same Jesus that told the adulterous woman to go and sin no more? Are you talking about this Jesus? Yes, He loved people but he hated the sin that so easily entangled them and kept them in bondage…)

Alisa Childers did a more apologetics-oriented review of Rachel’s book on her blog. (H/T Eric, Terrell, Lindsay)

She has five points:

  1. Lie #1: You come first, and your happiness depends on you
  2. Lie #2: You should never give up on your dreams
  3. Lie #3: Religious Pluralism is true
  4. Lie #4: Judgment is bad
  5. Lie #5: Sin is not the problem

Let’s look at #2:

Lie #2: You should never give up on your dreams.

[…]]​What is Rachel Hollis’ dream? I felt actual sadness when I read it:

I’m a big fan of displaying visuals inside my closet door to remind me every single day of what my aim is. Currently taped to my door: the cover of Forbes featuring self-made female CEOs, a vacation house in Hawaii . . . and a picture of Beyoncé, obvi.

Jesus never called us to chase after power, money, and fame (and He actually had quite a bit to say about those things). He called us to lay our pursuit of all that stuff down and follow Him. He said, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:39)

Are female CEOs and Beyonce advancing the Kingdom of God? How does a vacation house in Hawaii advance the Kingdom of God?

And also #3:

#3. Religious Pluralism is basically the idea that all roads lead to God. There is no right way or wrong way to think about God, and my religion is no better or more “right” than yours. This is a message Hollis shouts from the proverbial rooftops. The only problem? It’s a worldview. It’s an actual religious belief about God that claims to trump all others.

What do I mean? If you claim that all religions are equally valid and true, then you are excluding all religions that don’t affirm that.

Hollis writes,

. . .Just because you believe it doesn’t mean it’s true for everyone. . .Faith is one of the most abused instances of this. We decide that our religion is right; therefore, every other religion must be wrong.

Logically, this sentiment can’t be true—because all religions contradict each other at some point. And Christianity is, by nature, exclusive. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but by me.” (John 14:6) Religious Pluralism is a dogmatic religious belief—and it contradicts Christianity.

If I had to take the spin off what Rachel is saying, it would be this:

  1. Be your own Lord instead of accepting Jesus as Lord (e.g. – Jesus defines marriage as one man and one woman, for life)
  2. Don’t worry about sanctification or holiness or discipleship
  3. Get your worldview from culture: feel good, be liked, don’t judge

I have non-Christian co-workers that I speak to regularly, and her view is essentially the same as their secular left worldview. Making herself God, inventing her own morality by consulting the secular left culture around her, embracing postmodernism and moral relativism, demanding acceptance and approval from Bible-believing Christians for doing what feels right to her, etc.

Christians should plan so they avoid doing evil and harming others

What sort of life outcomes should we expect from Rachel, when she surrounds herself with non-Christian peers and advisors? I would argue that she is less likely to achieve the life outcomes that a Christian is supposed to be aiming for. It’s not just that Rachel doesn’t want to do what the Bible says. It’s that she is taking action to go down a path that leads to outcomes that no Bible-believing Christian would want.

OK, the next paragraph is the most difficult paragraph in the post, so just be ready to read something a bit rough.

When a Christian woman wants to have premarital sex with a non-Christian she is attracted to, she doesn’t write on Facebook how she is setting out on a course that will result in an abortion, or a divorce that deprives her children of a father, or dependency on social programs paid for by her neighbors. She starts out by writing a post like Rachel wrote, explaining how she has managed to reconcile her Christian upbringing with all her new non-Christian behaviors, non-Christian influences, and non-Christian friends. Her parents and pastors remain silent, because after all, she is so tolerant and accepting, it just seems “nice”. But when the predictable damaging outcome arrives later, then she will holler to everyone about Jesus, grace and forgiveness, i.e. – “who are you to judge me?”.

What happened? The function that Christianity plays in such a person’s worldview is 1) as a feeling that the universe will mysteriously make her desires work out, so that she feels good. And 2) as a “get out of judgment free” card, so that no one can disagree with her or teach her. Jesus is not her leader. He is her cosmic butler.

Note: Christian men do the exact same thing.

Well, God does forgive sin. But only those who sincerely repent of it, and who don’t encourage others to do it. If your priority is to do what you want, then punt to grace when your own bad choices blow up in your face, it’s a very good sign that you were never a Christian at all. David sinned with Bathsheba because he was far from the battlefield. To be a Christian means that you never stop fighting against your own sin, and you’re always arguing against sin in the marketplace of ideas. No Christian should ever publicly assert that a sin is “acceptable”. If we do it, we should regret it, not “accept” it.

The Christian life is not a life of following your heart, avoiding the wisdom of proven Christians, and then acting surprised when your sin destroys you. You need to be actively planning out how to avoid sinning, and arguing persuasively against sin in public. For example, you can can make wise choices with your education, career and finances in order to avoid the temptation to steal, gamble or defraud others. Since the Bible is against premarital sex, abortion, divorce and same-sex marriage, but the culture is not, then you can change your convictions about these things to be in line with the Bible instead of culture by reading research papers on these topics. Instead of putting Christianity down to the level of “faith”, you should study so that you can trust Jesus’ teachings and be ready to promote the truth claims and moral values of the Bible to others.

Christians ought to be about protecting others from the damage caused by selfish adults who want to choose immoral behaviors. Doing the right thing is an engineering project. With your choices, you build a worldview, a peer group and a set of influences on you that makes sin very hard to choose. That’s the real Christian life.

Christians disagree with non-Christians

When Christians don’t study apologetics, then they often find themselves uncritically coming under the influence of the secular culture. To transform the secular culture, Christians should learn how to demonstrate the truth of Christianity with evidence.

I know that women tend to be motivated to avoid conflicts with others, and so they tend to avoid apologetics. But truth matters. Non-Christians need to know what’s true so they can make good decisions – including becoming a Christian.

I recommend everyone read this excellent post by Dr. Michael Brown, entitled “Love Warns“.

14 thoughts on “Alisa Childers and Lori Alexander ask: does Rachel Hollis have a Biblical worldview?”

  1. The Bible also goes against running away from the result of your sin.

    Thre are many examples of prophets telling a king about the consequences of their sin, or the northern or southern kingdom of the twelve tribes of Israel would suffer various things due to toleration of sin.

    If we continue in sin God will leave us to the consequences of the sin. We may in an era of grace not be condemned to hell, if we are truly saved and we sin.

    But God won’t magically keep the cost of sin from our lives. Even in her case the cost of poor choices will be left for her to deal with and it isn’t God’s duty to remove all the negative results of her life

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    1. What’s strange is that there is this disconnect between sin and the consequences of sin. People are not very good at understanding “what happens next” when they swallow the secular culture’s line on things like premarital sex, cohabitation, same-sex marriage, etc. They don’t want to read anything about it, they want to do the sin and then act surprised: how did this terrible thing happen to me! It’s so unexpected!

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      1. Their magic God belief means that as sin goes they can be like kids that won’t listen to rules like don’t touch hot things, that keep doing that act and shocked that it results in a burn. A loving God would magically wrap their body in a cosmic shield so they can continue on in disobedience and not feel pain.

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      2. People too often think that because God forgives sin when we repent, that He must magically take away all the consequences of sin also. Thus, pointing out that the consequences are still there, even if God forgives, is met with horror and avoidance. Of course, there’s also no guarantee that they will be repentant after they purposely sin, and thus they might not even get forgiven. But even if they do repent and receive forgiveness, the consequences remain. Yet if you bring up the consequences as a reason to avoid the sin in the first place, as a warning to others, they tell you that you must not believe in God’s forgiveness and accuse you of legalism.

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        1. I hear that word “legalism” every time I try to have a conversation about what is wise, and not just on moral issues, but just on prudence with education, career and money. There can be no overruling of feelings. Feelings are a hotline to God’s mysterious will. We wouldn’t want to stifle “spontaneity” with boring discussions about planning, expectations, obligations and responsibility.

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          1. I only view legalism as an issue when people are saying if you sin get saved again or you may go to hell. That is legalism and wrong.

            But the Bible does say be holy because God is holy.

            It never says have fun and do what you want

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  2. You know, the Gospel of John must be problematic for people who say they love Jesus and then ignore commands (or maybe “delude themselves thinking they already do all these things”) such as:

    “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

    “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” (John 14:15-21, ESV)

    Moreover, ten times, in chapters 14-17, God (Jesus, the Holy Spirit) is associated with truth.

    14:6 “I am the Way/the Road [to God], the truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me. ” (Should be a defeater for pluralism. There may be many ways to Jesus but Jesus is the only way to God. Otherwise, Rachel Hollis makes Jesus out to be a liar.)

    14:17, 15:26, 16:13 “the Spirit of Truth”

    16:13 … who will guide believers to all truth.

    17:8 “For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.” (receiving the words = have come to know in truth that Jesus came from God and that they believed that God sent Jesus)

    17:17-19 “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.”

    Sounds like we need to develop our worldview in truth to me!

    (Credits: Del Tackett, The Truth Project)

    (Rachel also makes untenable worldview statements. Like “Just because you believe it doesn’t mean it’s true for everyone…” so that means what she believes isn’t true for everyone either? So if we applied what she said to her own statement, it’s untenable.)

    As for sin, well, my retired senior pastor was fond of saying,
    “God loves you right where you are, BUT God loves you too much to allow you stay right where you” (i.e., He wants you to get the most out of life by becoming more holy).

    Translations:
    #1. For a Christian, God comes first.
    The best thing to ever hear is: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

    #2. Let God transform your dreams.
    Seek His kingdom and His glory.

    #3. Jesus is the only way to God.

    #4. Discernment is all over the Bible.
    Adam was supposed to obey God and to judge Satan. He failed.
    Cain was supposed to do the right thing and overcome sin. He failed.
    Proverbs is all about judgment.
    Historical OT literature is filled with negative examples of not being discerning (or deciding that your way is better than God’s way, e.g., 1Samuel 15) and sometimes positive examples of obedience. Good kings? Obeyed God and destroyed idols. Bad kings? Listened to the surrounding culture (including its polytheism and idolatry).
    For all of Jesus’ love, he liked to talk about judgment, woe to Pharisees (Matthew 23), and Hell. Not to mention the first few chapters of Revelation…

    #5. Sin is the problem.
    Even Jesus said that sin enslaves.

    If we truly want to emancipate people or if we wanted to help people truly live “the most abundant life” which Jesus promises, it is one of holiness.

    Or put differently, “Who is the most free human being?”

    Is it 1) one who is able to do whatever he or she pleases or 2) one who is not presently enslaved nor hindered/prevented?

    Let’s put it this way since I have some familiarity of narcotics and controlled substances due to my wife:

    Is the most free person a crack head who does whatever drug/narcotic/benzo/controlled substance he or she pleases and whenever —

    or is the most free person the drug-free person?

    The most free human being, I would argue, is #2 and the latter — meaning the most free human being would be Jesus.

    And Jesus lived a life of perfect holiness.

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    1. That’s a good point about being free.

      Regarding her “dream” should be to become a woman CEO, own a vacation home in Hawaii, and so on, I agree what Alisa said, which is basically that God’s will for us is not that we achieve worldly success. I do think Christians should try to be successful, but her dream just seems to be the same kind of secular fame and fortune that any atheist wishes for. Instead of Beyonce on her wall, she should put up William Lane Craig, or someone who is actually all about promoting and presenting Jesus’ views as true to a secular world.

      The point of pursuing fame and wealth is that it does not satisfy, while having being obedient to Christ and renewing your mind does satisfy. That’s what we were made for.

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      1. If she REALLY wants a strong female role model, I would recommend a picture of Mary, Perpetua, Felicity, Joan of Arc, Harriet Tubman, Corrie ten Boom, Lila Rose, etc.

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  3. I GET the desire to be wordly – to follow the money, prestige, and worldly power. I GET that, because I LIVED that for the first 42 years of my life.

    What I do NOT get is doing this and calling yourself a “Christian.” My view as an atheist was that Christians were just atheists with one fewer hour on Sunday mornings. Now, that is a strawman, obviously, but unfortunately it is not as much of a strawman as it should be.

    Get your abortions, engage in homosexual behavior, scream about “separation of church and state,” be a serial adulterer. Just don’t drag Christ through your depraved sins, because your punishment will be FAR worse.

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    1. Yeah, and I’m not saying that she is some horrible sinner. I’m just saying that people who surround themselves with non-Christians, say that sin is no big deal, and have goals and influences that are non-Christian, are not setting themselves up to do what the Bible says when their desires conflict with the Bible.

      That’s why I explained that Christians shouldn’t just be passive to the culture. There has to be an active plan in place to renew your mind through study, so that doing the right thing seems reasonable to you. I don’t think Rachel is going in that direction, from what she said. Not everyone who says Lord, Lord really accepts Jesus as Lord. Like I said, they may be pursuing their own agenda, and just apply the word “Christianity” to the view that “the universe” is somehow going to give them what they want if they sincerely go after it and take wild risks. Certainly, her message has struck a cord with many. But that doesn’t make it right. Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) is very popular. 50 Shades of Grey is very popular. Glennon Doyle Melton is very popular. Jen Hatmaker is very popular.

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  4. I have said to my children since they were very young: Putting good food in the fridge with spoiled food wont make the spoiled food better, it makes the good food go bad faster. This is what happens when we mix the world with Christ in our hearts. We cant pick and choose like a smorgasbord, “Oh, a little Jesus here, a little world there, but not too much! Now a little more Jesus over here, etc., etc.” Adding worldly living to our lives wont increase our holiness, only corrupt it faster. Its a shame that so many Christians dont understand this, or maybe they do but they dont care so long as they can do what they want and feel good about it.

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