Trueman: What “Big Eva” Is And Why It Matters To Reformed Churches

…Big Eva is not a large German who works in border control for the Bundesrepublik but my term for the network of large evangelical organizations and conferences that seeks to shape the thinking and strategy of the American evangelical churches….

What Big Eva has done is create an economy of power, people, and indeed money which is non-ecclesiastical but highly influential within evangelical churches. It is a populist movement of tremendous influence and minimal accountability. It provides an identity for its most passionate acolytes. And because it promises rewards to individuals and organizations – influence, students, platform – it is both very hard to criticize and functionally unaccountable to any but its own. The Trinity controversy of two years ago was a case in point: no church creed had ever taught the nonsense that had become so pervasive in evangelicalism. Quite the contrary – the creedal history of the church was arguably constructed to exclude precisely the kind of views that were being espoused. But key conferences and key organizations had a vested interest in sidestepping orthodoxy and demonizing any who pointed that out.

…Unfortunately, the culture of Big Eva both facilitates the influence of a conference such as Revoice and makes an effective response unlikely. To repeat one of my mantras, Big Eva is built around big conferences and big personalities. Neither need to be problematic. I have enjoyed attending the occasional big conference and have profited from books by big names. What is problematic is that some of these conferences and their concomitant celebrities have an intentional significance beyond offering a time for some fellowship and some good teaching. They are a movement. Revoice is only playing the same populist, extra-ecclesiastical game as Big Eva — building momentum via conferences, networks and its own stable of celebrities. And if Big Eva responds as it usually does—with an alternative conference or some blog posts or yet another statement/petition—then boundaries will for sure be more sharply drawn, it will be clearer who plays on which team, and maybe some laity will be genuinely helped to think more clearly about the issues—but nothing of ecclesiastical substance will really be accomplished. Read more»

Carl Trueman, “Revoice, Evangelical Culture, and the Return of an Old Friend” (July 31, 2018).

Resources

    Post authored by:

  • R. Scott Clark
    Author Image

    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

    More by R. Scott Clark ›

Subscribe to the Heidelblog today!


9 comments

  1. It makes my heart ache, to think that teachers, pastors and elders, the very people that God has entrusted with the protection and feeding of His sheep are the very ones that are undermining the churches, and that it is then up to the abused sheep to bring ecclesiastical charges against their false shepherds, only to be condemned as stupid, and possibly malicious. By organizing their efforts as a movement, as we see in Revoice, it does indeed make an effective response unlikely because the target is a many headed Hydra, and for every one that is successfully prosecuted, two more will take their place. Still, every member has the truth on their side, in the form of our confessions, and the book of the church order, and our God who is ultimately in control, will yet use faithful Davids such as the elderly couple who relentlessly pursued ecclesiastical charges against the heresy of the Federal Vision, through due process, armed with authority of our confessions.

    • Mathew 7:15“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

      Their fruits are obvious.

  2. As a current member of the PCA, I am very concerned about the trend within the denomination of those wanting to be “relevant to the culture”. I was previously a member of an OPC congregation for years and cannot imagine that a conference such as Revoice would ever be allowed in an OPC church. As Presbyterians, we have a well developed, Scripture-based theology as reflected in our Creeds and Confessions. Why would we seek anything else? If Revoice was being held in an Evangelical church, I would not be surprised, but in a Reformed church…!

    • It wouldn’t be. The PCA is going the way of the PCUSA. It would be better if those congregations weren’t so addicted to the money and would be addicted to doctrine.

  3. It is best for Christians to reject celebrity pastors, mega church masters. No thank you. We need to look closer to home for our wisdom and to other pastors buried in the day to day duties of shepherding a flock. These men are more likely to have wisdom than the men who have gathered a large crowd.

  4. I have enjoyed the conferences I’ve been to for the fellowship and opportunities to hear excellent teachers like drs. Godfrey and Trueman. But if there’s ever been a time to remind the churches of what a valuable treasure we possess in the Reformed confessions it’s now! And we don’t even have to travel to access them.

  5. The Revoice conference was brought up by a lay member at a recent called congregational meeting in our PCA church. The pastor’s response was pretty much ho-hum because it wasn’t in our presbytery so it’s not our concern. The PCA has all the infrastructure of church courts but seemingly does not have the will to employ them. It seems to be rapidly losing one of the marks of a true church: church discipline. If a poor individual soul steps out of line he can get raked over the ecclesiastical coals. But let a session host a Revoice conference and the ruling and teaching elders are ignored when their actions are far more harmful.

  6. Eva die Große ist die große, übergewichtige, fromme, gottesfürchtige, gnädige Frau eines Freundes von mir …

    One thing about the “Big Eva” discussed in the post is that these personalities and conferences seem to be like the Athenians whom Paul encountered–always seeking something new.

Comments are closed.