Sara Miles was an atheist journalist who walked into an Episcopal Church in San Francisco and was handed a piece of bread along with a goblet of cheap wine and became a Christian! From there she organized a food pantry now feeding more than 600 families each Friday. She wrote in Take This Bread, “It changed everything.” No, it did not change her sleeping arrangements since she is a lesbian who refers to “my wife” in interviews? However, we must never be judgmental.
Those who are Bible-oriented and Bible-directed have problems with her chosen life of perversion. Yes, I could have been less direct and offensive but some slow readers would not have comprehended my message which is Bible-sourced in Rom. 1:26: “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature.” The Bible teaches that when a person comes to Christ, he or she is a new person. Old things pass away and everything becomes new. New includes a bed partner of the opposite sex to whom one has made a lifetime commitment in marriage, or no bed partner.
From my limited reading about her, she seems to be very sincere and very dedicated to helping the displaced, the discouraged, and the diseased. All very commendable, but the social gospel (where social work is emphasized and the true Gospel is eliminated) has never worked, is not working now, and will never work. It will serve some helpless, hopeless, and hapless people but such activities did not take my grandmother or “Mother” Teresa to Heaven and good works won’t help Sara.
That said, my big concern is her “conversion” experience. Now, all conversion experiences are not identical; however there are some common denominators: the risen Christ; the Word of God; repentance; and belief. It doesn’t have to be in church with an organ playing and the choir singing “Just as I am” but it does have to be a New Birth experience. If not, there is no conversion. Sara gives no indication of such a Bible experience. In fact, she said that “Salvation is not an experience; it is a journey.” False! The New Birth is comparable to the physical birth and all birth certificates have a name, place, time, and parents listed. Rather definite like the New Birth. Both births are the starting point of a new life.
Sara wrote, “Eating Jesus, as I did that day to my great astonishment, led me against all my expectations to a faith I’d scorned and work I’d never imagined. The mysterious sacrament turned out to be not a symbolic wafer but actual food—indeed, the bread of life.” What a twisted understanding of the Gospel. There is no salvation in a ritual. It is the old Roman Catholic heresy of the bread and wine actually becoming the body of Christ. A reviewer of Sara’s book, Take this Bread: A Radical Conversion, wrote, “But she ate a piece of bread, took a sip of wine, and found herself radically transformed.” Afraid not. She became a doer of good but that is not salvation. Good works proceed from the New Birth; they do not produce the New Birth.
In The Jesus Freak: Feeding Healing Raising the Dead (Rob Bell said: “one of the most inspiring books I’ve ever read.”) she writes, “that Jesus has given us the power to be Jesus.” No, He gives us power to live so that we remind people of Him. Such godly living would determine our sleeping arrangements. Christians cannot become “little gods” or “human Christs.” Such teaching is heresy. Sara continues her heresy when she wrote: “You have the authority to forgive sins. Raise the dead.” No, that is not true. No human can forgive sins, only God does that. Additionally, Christ gave authority to the Apostles that He did not give to other followers. And none of her Episcopal or Catholic fiends are raising the dead either.
She compares John the Baptist (calling him a “nutcase”) to an unwashed guy with “skanky dreadlocks” sleeping at the library entrance. She shows no understanding or appreciation for the local church that Christ died for.
One reviewer wrote, “Sara Miles shows genuine transformation and her life has clearly been changed. Repentance in the Bible is often NOT about contrition but about ‘metanoia’ which means ‘to live in a new direction.’ Miles seems to display this in clear and meaningful ways as a part of her conversion and encounter with Christ.” The shallowness is appalling. Yes, there was a change in her life. She stopped being an atheist but that commendable change did not make her a Christian. When a person becomes a Christian, change follows that experience.
Furthermore, the reviewer’s differentiation between repentance and contrition is bogus. Paul clearly wrote in II Cor. 7:10 “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation.” Repentance is a change of mind and heart that results in a reverse of direction. It means “to change one’s mind, repent, a fundamental change of character.”
Christianity Today, in a review, was unable to be judgmental about Sara’s conversion and her subsequent lifestyle; however, it can be very judgmental about Fundamentalists! It reported, “Miles became pregnant. She and the father, Bob, another journalist, settled in San Francisco, where their daughter Katie was born. Here Miles’s life took on a new domesticity, rooted in one place. Bob, ‘who had come out as a gay man,’ lived nearby. And Miles and Katie…began to share their home with Martha, an editor with whom Miles had fallen in love.”
The review continues, “But it would be a shame if such lapses kept evangelicals from reading Miles, who has no doubt been at the receiving end of plenty of caricatures (not least, the preposterous claim that living arrangements such as hers constitute a great threat to ‘the family’).” Yeah, a real shame.
So, Christianity Today recommends her books and even defends her lesbianism (although characterizing such as “lapses”) saying it is “preposterous” that such a life could be a threat to “the family.” I wonder if the magazine could muster up enough courage to declare that such a life is not conducive to a normal, Christian family? Does the magazine recommend that homosexuality be accepted and recognized as normal? Just asking.
Maybe someday CT will acquire enough biblical certainty, courage, convictions, and candor to make a judgment about sin even if it agitates, angers and alienates their subscribers.