The Washington Post once called Rachel Held Evans “the most polarizing woman in evangelicalism.” The controversial blogger, speaker, and author made a career of writing about her transition from a conservative evangelical youth to a progressive Episcopalian wife and mother. The self-described “doubt-filled” believer was a well-known opponent of evangelicalism’s conservatism and was a prominent voice for LGBTQ inclusion in the local church. Now, her controversial career is over. Rachel Held Evans doubts her beliefs no more. At age 37, Evan’s has died as a result of severe swelling on the brain. It is appointed once a man to die, and then the judgment (Hebrews 9:27).
Rachel Held Evans was a heretic. While she was not a professional theologian or clergy person, her influential writings no doubt led many sinners astray or, at the very least, provided false assurance to those living in sin that they stood justified before God. The Lord takes no pleasure in the destruction of the wicked. The death of Rachel Held Evans is not an occasion for joy but for mourning. We should be in serious prayer for her family and loved ones, who have to mourn without assurance that they mourn with hope.
No one is guaranteed tomorrow. Rachel Held Evans was a relatively young wife and mother who most likely expected to come back home from the hospital when she was admitted in April for the flu and a urinary tract infection.
She leaves behind a husband and two young children. Remember her. The church has a lot to learn from her life. Like many others of her generation, Evans grew tired of entertainment-driven worship services and politically-fueled religious culture wars. Instead of pushing for reform, Evans left the (evangelical) faith and rejected biblical fidelity. It’s very likely that the Christian readers of this article know at least one person a lot like Evans. As a fellow evangelical native Tennesseean, I know I do. Let’s take the time, while they are still with us, to provide a gospel witness to our doubting and erring friends and family members.
While many conservative evangelicals will signal their virtue in coming days, lauding RHE’s memory and her many good qualities (her smile, her laugh, her misplaced convictions, her passionately wrong theology, her denial of essential Christian doctrines with whimsy and sassy personality), we will remember Ecclesiastes 11:3…
If a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it will lie.
[Contributed by Seth Dunn]
*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.