Should We Follow Ann Voskamp?
Reforming like a woman takes on many forms. It is certainly not a passive role to take. In fact, we are never passive in our relationship with Christ. It is either one of great hostility, militantly running from His Truth with open hatred. Or hopefully, Christ has extended His grace and mercy to you and because the faith he has granted you, you are in pursuit of his truth and are serving Him. There is no neutrality–ever. Even Jesus said, “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34) He goes on to say that if we even love our families more than Him, we are not worthy of Him (Matthew 10:37) This is not the Jesus that we typically read, speak or share about. Somehow our pursuit of “Peace on Earth,” no longer involves the Prince of Peace, and we carry Him around on our mission, instead of His people on mission for His gospel.
Focusing on Christ is a daily battle. We are called to be constantly “on guard” (1 Peter 5:8), we have an adversary and he is looking to attack. These attacks come in several forms. Often, these attacks are masked with inspiring speeches or they are masked by poetic prose, and those not-so-subtle nuances are undermining scripture and taking captive the Bride of Christ.
I recently discovered Ann Voskamp a few months ago. I know, I’m pretty late to the party, but I am okay with this. Although she has been endorsed by Matt Chandler, her teachings are troubling. In one of her most recent blogs which accepts the celebration of the pagan practice of Lent (To Lent or reLent?), as the norm, there is also theological error. This is that moment when we stand hard for the truth. For God’s Word, that is infallible. It is worth fighting for. We do not casually sweep the misrepresentation of God under the rug for the sake of literary freedom. Who are you, Oh man?
“People wearing these sooty crosses right there on their faces, right above their eyes. Right there on their heads, the shaping of their minds. Like they want to be known and marked and boldly counted, come what may, as one of His.
There are these sooty crosses smudged on countless foreheads and that’s what is murmured like a brave and honest refrain around the world today, words from our Genesis beginning:
Dust you are and to dust you will return.
There is nothing admirable in practicing Lent. A vain ritual, stroking the egos of the insecure. Having a graven image placed on your forehead carries no weight in eternity, so it most certainly means nothing on a day ordained important by men. Ash Wednesday is nothing more than the start of Lent. Genesis 3:19 is God handing down the curse of sin to Adam, and this very verse is speaking of our mortality. “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:16-18 I believe that scripture can speak for itself.
“There’s real active evil that’s not simply people acting — there’s real evil that’s more than a social construct, that’s more than someone’s bad choices, that’s not from any heart in this world, that’s not from any place in this world, that’s not from any mind in this world — there’s a supernatural evil that slithers into the corners of this world and pythons around hearts and minds until it strangles out the light and we scream against the dark.”
According to Ann’s logic, we fall prey to a “supernatural evil” in the world, that our hearts do not delight in. However, according to the Bible, our hearts are deceitfully wicked. (Jeremiah 17:9) Evil is most certainly not separate from us and we are not victims of it. This dangerous fallacy allows us to constantly create a scapegoat in our lives. Something or someone taking the fall for our wicked desires. “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” (James 1:14) We constantly need to keep the gospel in perspective. Christ chose to die for His people, who at best, our greatest offerings are but filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6)
Her writing also suggests a false dichotomy between good and evil. As Christians, we do not believe in karma or Yin and Yang. Christ triumphed over sin and death, and that’s that. Good and evil are not equal in strength. The devil or wickedness are not equal in power or dominion on earth, as Jesus. “Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” (Ephesians 1:21-23)
The blog links Ephesians 6:12 in order to justify her point. This verse is in the middle of the scripture commanding us to put on the Armor of God. “Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth (Eph. 6:14).” The truth that we need to fasten around our waist here is that we are called to wage war against our sin and our adversary. God did not deliver us from darkness to wallow in self-pity. Christ was and is victorious, so let’s act like it.
The whole story isn’t “Everyone’s in.” It’s “Everybody’s invited.”
Everybody’s wanted. Everybody’s loved. For God so loved the world.
Everybody’s given the offer, the invitation. Absolutely every single person is invited in, everybody’s invited in.
Our love will eventually fail and leave somebody out — but Cross love never fails to take all the willing in.
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. –Romans 8:29-30
God’s word is sufficient. There are a few words in this verse that leave some triggered, but God’s word is infallible. If we do not hold to the doctrine of limited atonement, there are only two possible avenues of logic.
- Christ’s blood was shed in vain, for those who will not “accept” Him, creating a weak God, who is that guy at the party, hanging in the corner, waiting, wondering who will suddenly want to be his friend?
- Since we are not Universalists, and we better know that you cannot serve whatever god your heart desires and know the One True God in eternity, this causes us to have to work for our salvation. How? If God is just waiting for you, yearning and longing, what separates you from a Buddhist? Your self-given desire to believe in Christ.
This creates a twisted view of grace. How can it be that some have enough sense to choose and believe and others do not? We must have worked pretty hard to be that special.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. –Ephesians 2:8
The rest of her blog gives an exhaustive review of a false hope in an unbiblical practice. Let it be our mantra until we die, our only hope is Christ! We cannot place false hope in a man-made ritual in pursuit of change. This is idolatry. If you want to see lives changed, do what the Bible says. Go into all the world, share the gospel, and make disciples. If we fail to tell people of the grace and mercy of Jesus’ sacrifice, then we have truly failed to love our neighbor.
I could say that I appreciate Ann Voskamp’s “heart for God,” but to be honest, I’m not sure that I do. This, unfortunately, is not the first time I have witnessed her mishandle God’s word with such irreverence. According to Facebook, I have several friends that follow her. For what reasons I am unsure, but if any of it is trusting that she speaks wisely and truthfully about God, it is unnerving. Therefore, because I love my sisters, I wrote this blog and I will write more. This is a war we are waging against the spiritual forces of darkness, and I don’t know about you, but I am going to wear that belt of truth.
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