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Joined: 2008/10/30
Posts: 2077

 Rachel Held Evans Dead at 37

Rachel Held Evans, an influential progressive Christian writer and speaker who cheerfully challenged American evangelical culture, died on Saturday at a hospital in Nashville, Tennessee. Evans, 37, entered the hospital in mid-April with the flu, and then had a severe allergic reaction to antibiotics, as she wrote on Twitter several weeks ago. According to her husband, Dan Evans, she then developed sustained seizures. Doctors put her in a medically induced coma, but some seizures returned when her medical team attempted to wean her from the medications that were maintaining her coma. Her condition worsened on Thursday morning, and her medical team discovered severe swelling of her brain. She died early on Saturday morning.

“She put others before herself,” her husband, Dan Evans, said in an email on Saturday. “She shared her platform. She always remembered how others had helped her. She enjoyed seeing other people in contexts where they thrived. She didn’t hold grudges, would forget as well as forgive. She had little time for pettiness and a big heart for people. And these are all things I wish I had told her more while I still had the privilege to keep her company.”

Evans was a forceful and winsome public voice for progressive evangelicalism, first as a blogger and later as an author and sought-after speaker. She started her eponymous site more than a decade ago, and in her years of writing she confronted every controversial issue in American evangelical culture. She wrote about biblical literalism, racism, abortion, evolution, theology, marriage, patriarchy, women in leadership, and evangelical support for Donald Trump. She advocated for the full inclusion of LGBTQ people in the church and analyzed her own complicity in racial bias after the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The Washington Post once called her “the most polarizing woman in evangelicalism.”

Evans’ political and cultural polemics attracted the most attention. But she also wrote passionately about her own evolving faith, her prayer life, her wrestling with doubt, and her love for the church. “Anyone who has loved the Bible as much as I have, and who has lost it and found it again, knows how a relationship with the Bible can be as real and as complicated as a relationship with a family member or close friend,” she wrote in her most recent book, Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again.

Evans announced in 2014 that she was leaving evangelicalism, exhausted by “wearing out my voice in calling for an end to evangelicalism’s culture wars.” She began attending an Episcopal church. But she remained widely read within evangelical circles and among Christians and others who had left evangelicalism but still felt connected to it in some way. Evans was famous enough among Christians that many referred to her online simply as “RHE.” When her friends and colleagues, the writers Sarah Bessey and Jeff Chu, announced an online prayer vigil for her on April 19, the hashtag #PrayforRHE became a trending topic on Twitter.

High-profile female writers and speakers in American evangelicalism have traditionally focused on spiritual questions and shied away from controversy and confrontation. But Evans often used her platform to challenge male pastors and leaders. Over the years, she sparred about theology, culture, and politics with prominent Christian men including Russell Moore, John Piper, Rod Dreher, and Mark Driscoll. (Many of them have expressed their prayers for her in recent weeks, after Evans shared the news of her illness.)

Evans reacted righteously to injustice wherever she saw it: She published a series on her blog about abuse in the church in 2013, years before many evangelical institutions began to seriously confront the problem. But her writing was also warm and funny. For her second book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, she spent a year following the Bible’s instructions for women literally, gamely camping out in her yard in obedience to Levitical instructions for menstruating women. “She put so much of herself into her books,” her husband said. “I tell people: If you want to know Rachel, read her work.” She was the author of four books, and the co-founder of two major conferences aimed at progressive Christians, Why Christian and Evolving Faith.

 2019/5/4 19:38Profile

Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4529

 Re: Rachel Held Evans Dead at 37

It is strange that I have never heard of this woman before reading this. It is also quite sad that so many very liberal magazines, websites and writers considered her an "evangelical Christian" despite adhering to views that are far outside of the norms for both evangelical and traditional Christian teachings and doctrines.


 2019/5/5 1:44Profile

Joined: 2008/10/30
Posts: 2077

 Re: How Do We Respond

Chris said re:RHE,

"...despite adhering to views that are far outside of the norms for both evangelical and traditional Christian teachings and doctrines."

Despite RHE's apostacy...

How Do we Respond to the Death of an Apostate?

The Untimely passing of Rachel Held Evans.


· UPDATED MAY 4, 2019

Rachel Held Evans was on the wrong side of every controversial issue and point of doctrine plaguing the western church today. With full knowledge she loudly and publicly chronicled her departure from anything that could be considered the historical Christian faith. No need to establish and or document that here and now. It is beyond dispute for anyone with a modicum of commitment to the biblical gospel.

In that light, how do we respond when a person like this passes into eternity, by all biblically reasonable accounts, apart from the saving blood and knowledge of the true and holy only begotten Son of the living God?

We should certainly not shrink from the realities that such a situation confronts us with. Only God Himself can pass final judgement on a human soul, however He has given us His word whereby we are to declare His revealed mind on all things, including the standards by which yes, we ARE to judge the state of others when it is this clear according to the evidence their life has shown us.

If we do not warn that the denial of the saving truth as it in Christ Jesus IS eternal death, then we are presuming ourselves to be wiser and holier than God who commands exactly that. The blood of those who hear us would then be on our hands as the Lord proclaimed through the prophet Ezekiel.

With that in mind, we also should never rejoice or sneer at the loss of another, no matter who or what they are. To do so is to demonstrate a profound lack of the knowledge of our own sin and the grace and power of God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit required to save us from it.

It is in the spirit of both of these biblical principles that Pulpit and Pen expresses it’s sorrow and regret at the passing of Rachel Held Evans. Both for the loss of her soul and for the unbiblical and further soul damning treatment that her already tragic death will inevitably give occasion to.

 2019/5/5 8:32Profile

Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4529


Hi savannah,

That is a good question. I read a bit about her yesterday. The false doctrines that this woman espoused were dangerous. Moreover, she was very combative against truth.

I think that we should approach their deaths with sadness. After all, the Lord does not delight in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11, Ezekiel 18:23, etc.).

I think that the best and most meaningful response is NOT to rub-in what we see to be their eternal condition --especially given that we do not know the finality of that person's spiritual condition when they died. Even if we are right with what we say, it does little more than exasperate the pain of loss in those deceased individuals' loved ones.

Rather, I believe that the best response is to speak the truth in love. Instead of cursing or preaching against the darkness, we can turn on the Light. Some individuals will perceive the difference between darkness and light.

Before I was a believer, I was a bit antagonistic to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

My mother and siblings had come to Christ and "forced" me to "go to church" every Sunday. The church was somewhat "modern" and filled with programs, music, events, etc. As an unbeliever, I hated it -- but I would try to make the best of what I perceived to be a bad circumstance. Since I didn't really believe in God, I felt that going to church was little more than wasting time.

One day at Sunday school, I argued with the Sunday school teacher. I argued that every religion is filled with people who think that they are right and everyone else is wrong. The teacher had trouble rationalizing my questions aside from the typical tropes about faith.

When we moved to another state and another church, I had a youth pastor who was very different. He would preach "hellfire and brimstone." He railed against the pleasures of this world and things like rock music (and even Christian rock and roll).

You would think that this guy would be more of a turnoff than the Sunday school teacher and youth ministers at the other, larger and more modern church. The church wasn't very modern. The youth group didn't take us on fun trips very often (other than summer camp). The youth pastor was something of a "country" guy too -- very different from a teenager who was raised in the city. Yet, the opposite was true. The guy had a major impact on my life.

I remember once going home after a youth meeting (which I still hated attending btw). I remember thinking that I wasn't sure if God was real, but I was sure that the youth pastor truly believed in God with everything in him.

This man really believed what he said. Moreover, he truly seemed to passionately love the God that he believed in. And, of course, his message seemed as though he truly cared about each and every soul in his care.

The words that this man spoke stuck with me. They actually made me afraid -- afraid of dying, afraid of hell and afraid of the very idea that God exists. I was afraid of the idea of one day standing before this God in judgment.

I think that this is a good example of what to do. The best way to fight apostasy is with truth. Instead of convincing the person who proudly argues on behalf of that apostasy, it is better to reach the lost -- the same target audience.

The Word of God is powerful. It is a double-edged sword -- dividing soul and spirit. When this powerful truth is used when motivated by love (for God and those who are lost), it can reach even those who are antagonistic toward the truth.


 2019/5/5 13:35Profile

Joined: 2008/10/30
Posts: 2077

 Re: rub-ins

Chris said,

"I think that the best and most meaningful response is NOT to rub-in what we see to be their eternal condition -"

Right - why would we ever do so!!! It's not as though they're sick and will recover after awhile. The 'eternal condition' is final!

We all love John 3:16 don't we...

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

But we often forget that in that same chapter, verses 18 and 36, it is written;

Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of God’s only begotten Son.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life. Whoever rejects the Son will not see life. Instead, the wrath of God abides on him.”

It's a fearful and sobering truth, that all those we know who are not christians, are condemned and have God's wrath abiding upon them.

What on earth could be more terrifying than that truth. We who are sure that such is the case, how can we look upon such persons when we see them without crying out, "OH MY GOD."

Such thoughts, if we are always mindful of this reality, surely should cure us of a love for this world and its pleasures, and by no means could we ever be of the 'rub-in what we see to be their eternal condition' mindset.

May God be merciful to us and help us!

 2019/5/6 18:45Profile

Joined: 2008/8/13
Posts: 643


Othodoxy and obedience are commanded to all christians:

1 Cor 15:1-2

1Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

Matt 28:19-20

19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you...

 2019/5/7 2:27Profile

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