The True Legacy of Rachel Held Evans

The True Legacy of Rachel Held Evans May 9, 2019

I have spent the past few days pondering the events surrounding the death of Rachel Held Evans and wondering of what use it would be to contribute towards the discussion that has ensued in her passing. In some sense, I feel there is little to contribute, as many finer writers than I have given commentary on the event, expressing not only condolences to her family and those impacted by her, but have even set up GoFundMe fundraisers in order to facilitate aid for the swath of medical bills left behind. However, as I have read through the various posts from others, I did find I desired to say something about the passing of Rachel Held Evans. The reason being: death is a constant reminder for the alive to reflect, ponder, and in many cases, repent. My thoughts are varied; it is a sensitive time no doubt, but my honest hope is that in the midst of this, someone might be moved to think about what actually stands to come at the end of their own life. Think of this as more of an appeal than anything. I am appealing that you will join me in examining this occasion with the sobriety it truly deserves.

There is no shortage of words to say to this end. The death of Rachel Held Evans is tragic. It is a sobering reminder of the frailty of life–even in the midst of our booming technological advances in the field of medicine. It is a jarring wake-up call, or at least it should be, for us to recognize the power of death still consumes our loved ones and strangers alike. Things are not as they should be. Sin has broken and distorted everything; children should grow up with their mother and father; mothers should be able to rush to the help of their children and nurse their scraped knees, sweetly kiss them goodnight, and laugh at fart jokes with their little ones, despite their best efforts to explain when and where such humor is appropriate. As far as we have come and no matter how far we will go, death comes for us all. It is truly the great enemy. It is the ever-present shadow looming over our lives–our constant bedfellow. No man, woman, or child knows the day when we shall meet this adversary face to face, even though we do all we can to avoid this reality.

There is a simple pastoral wisdom in all pausing here for a moment and reflecting on the brevity of life. Most of us live with the skewed understanding that we will live to see another day tomorrow, when the reality is that no man is guaranteed even today. As my pastor (formerly an officer in the L.A. area) has aptly reflected on responding to a call, “No one ever marks the day they die on their calendar. Instead, you see, ‘Doctor’s Appointment’ for next Thursday and ‘Niece’s Birthday Party’ for Saturday. But you never see the words, ‘Today I Die.’” No man, woman, or child knows the day they will return to the dust.

For every person, death is this constant, nagging reminder to not take this life we have been given for granted. Yet we are prone to do just that as we move from one death to the next. We sense death’s shadowy presence when our beloved dies, yet do not truly contemplate the significance of what just happened. We wallow in grief, find something else to turn our attention, or simply get swept back up in the rhythm of the world around us that doesn’t seem to notice when one’s flame gets snuffed out beyond a series of online statements in memoriam.

If we will simply sit in the moment and contemplate its gravitas though, we would be better for it. Perhaps, we might ask how we can spend more meaningful time with those we love and truly cherish their life, as fleeting of a gift as that might be. Perhaps we might be moved to serve others in selflessness, bestowing generosity and love upon even those who would call us an enemy. Yet in the midst of this, what is of superlative value is to be candidly introspective in asking how we relate to God. Can we be said to be one who fears God and keeps His commandments, or have we made a name for ourselves through what can only be construed as the antithesis to this caution Solomon gives us? Do we live with an intense awareness that God will bring every deed into judgment, along with every hidden thing, whether good or evil (Ec. 12:13-14)?

For the one professing Christ, this ought to spur us on to think on how we will die. Will we die well? Will our life be one that has clearly expressed Christ, or muddied the waters? Will our lives be consistent with what the Scriptures teach is a true expression of the Christian faith, or will our life be one of constant doubt, double-mindedness, and vitriolic opposition toward that historic faith? These are questions for all who profess Christ, whether socially conservative or liberal, for death comes for us all. Likewise, these times are also for observation of another’s life when the wick has been extinguished. These observations we make can be quite alarming and revealing, if we can soberly approach them in humility. They can reveal not only the characteristics of that person, but aid in that process of introspection as we wade through the waters of our own heart’s ills.

An individual may have plumed the depths of the Bible’s teachings and articulated the gospel more clearly than veteran believers, yet he doesn’t “get it” any more than the unorthodox if he lacks the most basic of Christian practice: love. Likewise, one may overflow in an abundance of kindness, benevolence, generosity, and the like, yet if they do not embrace the historic faith, it is a false “love”. It is an expressionless “love” as its source is not rooted in a love of the Creator, nor His commands. They may manifest a quality and expression of a particular form of kindness and benevolence, but with a false conception of God, the natural result is that one embraces a false notion of love. God is the One Scripture declares is love, and thereby, love is God.

Love is not a component part of God, which is in some measure greater or lesser than all His attributes, but rather, it is identical with His essence. Apart from God, there is no such thing as love – inasmuch as there are no such things as holy, mercy, good, etc. apart from His being. Thus it must be stated unequivocally: if our conception of who God is, is at odds with the way Scripture reveals Him to be, we cannot be said to bear His qualities. We may share in some likeness to these qualities, as common grace pervades, but this does not necessitate one be in Christ to demonstrate likeness to them.

The ultimate expression of love in the believer culminates in a right doxology; proper worship involves the focus of living to the praise of God’s glory by walking in truth. It encompasses a correct conception of God and His decree, a life marked out by proper obedience to God and His decree, and jubilant praise flowing to God in recognition of His supremely excellent decree. In other words – it is wholly God-centered and born out of God’s own thoughts about Himself, which are consistent with His simple nature; His goodness, holiness, and ultimately–love.

This is particularly why we must start, continue, and end with God Himself if we are to properly understand the doctrine of love, or any other doctrine for that matter. We know that no individual loves God without God first loving them. Therefore, the one without a true conception of God cannot genuinely love, but can only express a marred shadow of genuine love upon the object of their desires. It is nothing more than a semblance of love, yet a semblance that is bound within the folly of unbelief, and thereby, it is not love at all. A concocted god matching one’s desires that is not subject to criterion outside of one’s own aspersions on the true God, only yields a concocted form of love.

If there is anything we can learn from recent events, it’s that this false dichotomy often so prevalent within those professing Christ needs to be put to death. We must not only rightly understand God to rightly relate to Him, but that right understanding must manifest itself horizontally. More clearly: a love of God for who He is will manifest itself in a love for His Word, and a love for His Word will manifest itself in a love for unbelievers and believers alike. It is this intimate marriage of truth and its manifest qualities being expressed in our lives that will evidence Christ. Yet this intimate marriage can only be expressed as a result of the One who is as He is and works as He does.

I have no doubts to the sincerity of Rachel Held Evans. She was a woman who took time out of her own day to seek to care for the masses who came to her. However noble her goals though, however vast her influence, she is culpable now for the souls misled to Hell. This is not something I rejoice in, it is frankly sad and terrifying to me in so many ways. I cannot say as others have that she is in heaven with Christ–that she was my sister in Christ–because I don’t know if she believed in the biblical Christ prior to her death. I truly hope that by the grace of God she came to see Christ as He is and love Him, truly love Him. As it stands, if I were to examine her exclusively on her teaching, barring the last-minute miracle from God, I could not in any way, shape, or form say with a clean conscience that she is in heaven. I hope that I am wrong, I truly do, but given her trajectory, I am more prone to see the consistency of the Scripture’s witness in the permanence of apostasy.

However one stretches it, she paved the path to hell for many in her desire to be inclusive in all aspects. In essence, Rachel Held Evans held in juxtaposition that the road to eternal life was broad and everyone was on it, save the many who tore down the damnable unity she fought so hard to erect. She gave a false hope–she proffered a false love, and thereby, a false god. She erected an LGTBQ calf to the known God, the God she grew up knowing, and approached Him as if He would accept such worship. She was not content to stop here though, for she took to social media quite aptly and deceived the masses.

I imagine there are many under her influence who, though they genuinely love Christ, have been deluded, much like the double-minded man. They are tossed about in every direction, blown by every new wind of doctrine, and if they are not able to be rid of the poisonous rot of Progressive Christianity, they shall be such until their own untimely death. Others have apostatized due to her teaching, being deceived into thinking that they too shall find rest at that Final Day. They have embraced a version of God that does not mirror the Scripture’s, and have scorned His Word even though, “…[God] has exalted [His] Word above [His] name” and “…[magnified] His Law and [made] it glorious” (Ps. 138:2; 140:13).

I think of how difficult her writings, Tweets, and statements have made it for small-town pastors simply seeking to be faithful to the text, their people, and their God, and how difficult that will prove to be in her lingering influence. We must recognize that even if the grace of God so overwhelmed her in a mysterious way, whatever labor she had shall be revealed with fire, and if she was saved, it will only be as if through flames (1 Cor. 3:12-15). What is truly frightening to me in this though are the verses just following, which speaks to the one destroying temple of Christ (the church):

“Do you not know that you yourselves are God’s temple, and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple” (1 Cor. 3:16-17).

While the immediate context speaks toward divisions within the church at Corinth, the biblical witness gives several other prominent ways one can destroy a church, one of which being through false teaching. In the wake of Rachel’s death, I have read more glowing commendations than truthful appeals to a life not worth imitating. Some have appropriately drawn sobriety from the events to remind us of several important truths, but the vast majority, even from conservative Evangelicals, have softened the blow death really brings, especially for the one who denies the God of the Bible. The truth we mustn’t shy away from, the truth that genuinely highlights why the house of mourning is better than the house of feasting, is that death comes for us all, and in that moment we shall either be swept up in inexhaustible wrath or inexhaustible grace.

Death does not canonize one as a saint, remove the stain of their teaching, or diminish the vitriol they attacked the historic Christian faith with. We are at no liberties to whitewash the extent of her damage to the church. One’s theological liberalism is not absolved in death, unless, of course, it is absolved in the death of Christ as one flees from their former ways. Death then doesn’t change the nature and character of the individual. Death doesn’t alter which side of the spiritual realm one exists in, it simply removes the veil and regardless of one’s former thoughts, awakens us to the full truth of the matter: the contents of our beliefs matter inasmuch as the outworking of these beliefs. The true legacy of Rachel Held Evans isn’t that she helped people stay in the church, that she was an advocate, or that she knew how to ask just the right questions. The legacy of Rachel Held Evans is one where, for those who believe the Scripture’s teaching, looks and says to the one who stumbles upon her resources, “Flee from her.”

To give three brief examples: an individual posted about the tower of Siloam, drawing out the necessary implications for conservative Christians that they ought not rejoice over the death of Rachel Held Evans, and her constituents, no doubt in their grief, blasted the man. Another posted a similar warning to my own today: that we ought to consider that one’s trajectory on earth espousing unbiblical ideals because it has grave, eternal consequences. However, she was bombarded and attacked by those who would hold they have a higher understanding of love than conservative Christians. The third comes from the retraction of John Stonestreet’s reflection originally found on Christianity Today. In his post, he had conveyed not only profound respect, but irenic reflection of the disagreements he held with Rachel Held Evans. In no sense did he say something off color, but fans of Rachel Held Evans demanded the article be taken down because it was believed to be done in malice. All of these people spoke things which were true and right to say–and these individuals found themselves in the sights of progressive Christians simply for suggesting we ought to approach death with ultimate reference to our Creator and acknowledge the plain fact that we believe radically different things about the God of the Bible. They ushered caution, without real specificity or slander, and were flogged for daring to say one word edgewise to complete praise.

The flurry of people who swarmed upon them for having the audacity to speak toward any disagreement at all was not surprising, but it only remains unsurprising because of what they learned from their mentor. This is the true legacy of Rachel Held Evans. This is the mark she left upon the world. She trained an incredibly large group of people to be devoted to making much trouble for those who proclaim the true gospel of the Scriptures; she left a rather well-equipped group of “Alex the Coppersmiths” (2 Tim. 4:14). While the pattern in the Scriptures has clearly been laid that we can and should imitate those as they follow Christ, I fear many didn’t stop to ask, “What Christ do you follow?”

In all the talk of God’s love, it makes me wonder what place there still is, even in the conservative world, to speak toward God’s wrath and holiness toward a false teacher. It is not a matter of simple disagreement. These things aren’t adiaphora. Truly, her life contains an incredibly sober warning that there are dire consequences to being found a false teacher, just as Paul gave to young Timothy (1 Tim. 4:46), just as James gave to those who wished to teach (Ja. 3:1). The amount of time in Scripture where an opponent of the gospel is spoken of in kind terms is: none. The language of rebuke toward those who mislead people, intentionally so even, ought to strike fear in our hearts when we realize that they have made an enemy of the very God who molded them in their mother’s womb. I recognize people are mourning, I recognize the pain involved; in some sense, I feel it too because I don’t delight in writing any of this–yet this is precisely why contemplating the significance of her death is crucial at this moment. Like all events on this earth, the sting of it shall fade, for some more quickly than others. If we will simply sit in this moment and contemplate the gravitas of it, truly contemplate it in all its significance, we would be far better for it.

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  • Al Cruise

    I have posted this before, I thought it would be good to re-post again here. This particular phenomenon seemed to happen to those who lived with an attitude of religious based judgmental-ism. In the west it is seen mostly among-st conservative Christians and Christian fundamentalists. However speaking to people of other faiths it does occur within their faiths also with people of the same attitude.
    Here are some observations from 40 years of street ministry. A fairly common thing that occurs in street ministry over time, is you inevitably end up being with people who are dying and being with them in their last moments of life. Often it can be because they are homeless and have no one, or estranged from family. In our group of outreach workers there is one lady, Marie, who is a professional nurse and trained in hospice care. Over the years she has been with 200+ people at their final moments of life. People tend to fall into three categories. 1. Quiet and silent, 2. In varying degrees of euphoria, seeing loved ones, and/or figures of light. 3. horrific agony. The following things did not seem to play a roll in what category people fell into. They are. What doctrine about God and the afterlife they believed in, being atheist and sexual orientation. I am not suggesting that I know what really happens after death , I do not, and I do not believe anyone else knows either. Marie shared a recent case where an individual who was a professed believer and Church elder [ evangelical Christian fundamentalism], dying in horrific agony. His last moments were screaming in terror and about seeing demons and fire coming through the windows, with his family fleeing the room. Many hospice care workers will share the same experiences , that conservative religious believers [of all faiths] more frequently than others, die painful emotional deaths with extreme visions of terror and desperately plead not to be taken.This is the real world, not the academic world were claims are made about life after death based only on human assumption from theologies that are bias to time and place of birth . The condition of ones heart , loving or judgmental/hateful, seems to be the determining factor to the point where it can be quantified. Out of respect for the dead and their family’s, no one really wants to research this area. Rachel Held Evans is in Heaven with God and Jesus.

    • Nick Hassan

      Hang on. Does the bible teach men go to heaven when they die?
      This is before the Judgement.
      Did I miss it?

  • Pig.Pen

    I fear that we as Christians have fallen into the worldly way of thinking and have conflated love with being polite. Is it loving to let others continue on their march to hell? Certainly not. If that is true, then should we not, as gently or as forcefully as required attempt to get them to see that the heresy and apostasy taught by Rachel Held Evans leads to hell because it worships a different Christ than the Christ of the Bible. Either we believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God or Sola Scriptura, or we worship a christ twisted and bent to fit how we believe he should look and in doing so really worship ourselves.

  • Salvatore Anthony Luiso

    Thank you for this article, which was difficult for you to write.

    I respectfully disagree with the notion that “the one without a true conception of God cannot genuinely love”. I would say that no one, other than God, can love perfectly, and that the better one’s conception of God, the better one can love–although not necessarily the better one will love. Although I agree that “God is the One Scripture declares is love”, I do not agree that “love is God”.

    That said: I much appreciate your willingness to criticize Rachel Held Evans and her teachings so soon after her death, and to warn about them. Despite the fact that she died only a few days ago, I do not believe it is improper to criticize her and her teachings now. To the contrary: With so much undue respect and praise flooding out for her, the time calls for standing for the truth amid the flood. Whatever her intentions, however good they may have been, Evans was a dangerous, deceitful, and destructive author. However good her personality, character, and skills may have been, they do nothing to mitigate this fact.

    The fact that her writings were so highly regarded, admired, loved, and influential during her life should have be troubling to anyone who was familiar with them and who regarded and loved the Scriptures as God’s word. One should be saddened by her death, and yet still abhor the dangerous falsehoods about God, sin, sexuality, and salvation which she spread. One should be sympathetic toward her family, friends, and followers, and yet deplore the popularity and pernicious influence of those falsehood. One should be sympathetic, too, toward those who are and will be deceived by them.

    I’m surprised and dismayed by the number of positive assessments of her that have been published in the so-called “Evangelical” section of Patheos since she was put into a medically-induced coma last month–although I know that one need not be an evangelical to have a blog there. I’m not surprised, but dismayed, to see that Mark Galli, editor in chief of Christianity Today, ended his apology for the publication of John Stonestreet’s tribute by referring to Evans as “this dynamic sister in Christ”. These are signs of the confusion and carelessness about sound doctrine among self-identified evangelicals in America.

    • Sarah Flood

      If Evans was deceitful (and that would assume you know her motives and that they were bad; one may be unintentionally mistaken, but deceit is intentional), how exactly could she have “good character”? Do you have evidence of this deceit or are you just assuming she actually thought differently than what she said and lied to people intentionally? I didn’t agree with Evans on everything (for different reasons than you), but she never struck me as anything but honest. Honestly mistaken, perhaps, but honest.

      • Salvatore Anthony Luiso

        Among Merriam-Webster’s definition of the word “deceive”, this is the first: “to cause to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid”.

        I believe an honestly mistaken person can unintentionally deceive others.

        Regardless as to whether Evans was honestly mistaken, or dishonest, I believe she deceived others through her writings. I do not need to know her motives to believe this: I can simply know that she promoted falsehoods which misled her readers.

  • Peg

    “Apart from God, there is no such thing as love – inasmuch as there are no such things as holy, mercy, good, etc. apart from Him being. ” You can’t really believe this. Such nonsense.
    “However noble her goals though, however vast her influence, she is culpable now for the souls misled to Hell.” LOL. What a ridiculous statement and what a nonsensical religion you have.

    • MB

      Can you tell me…by what standard and authority you summarily judged and condemned him and his “religion”?

      • Peg

        I think you are confused. I didn’t condemn the author or his religion. In truth, he is the one who attempted to condemn Rachel and I imagine he does the same with others, based on his very narrow view. I dismissed him and his religion; hence the use of the words “nonsense” and “nonsensical”.

        • stevedawe

          You are saying that his religion is “narrow” because he condemns Rachel Held Evans and her teachings. You dismiss him and his religion as nonsense and nonsensical. If we’re going to be consistent, doesn’t that mean you and your religion are similarly narrow?

          • Peg

            Not at all. I don’t have a religion, nor do I have a desire to have one or belong to one.

        • MB

          I think you are trying to put this back on me, and some how blame me. May be that works somewhere else, but not here. Even more, “What a ridiculous statement …” is not only a judgment, but is clearly a condemnation. If you said, “what a wonderful statement” then that, too, would be a judgment, but not a condemnation. In this case, it was, by every measure, clearly a condemnation. You clearly condemned his “religion” as “nonsensical.” Whether that is an accurate judgment/condemnation is not the point, it is that you did this, but will not admit it.

          While I am not sure how you can deny this objective reality that all can see, I have seen many other wonderful people do essentially the same thing: they judge and condemn others, but, when asked about it, they deny what is clear to all, and even what they almost assuredly know is true. That, Peg, is my biggest concern here. If you choose to judge and condemn someone else then that is what it is, but please do not deny it, at least for your sake. But I think you made it worse by twisting your condemnation into a “dismissal” (and then trying to put this on me). Please ask someone you know who truly cares about you, and will objectively tell you the truth, no matter what … ask them to assess your own words and responses.

          It never ceases to amaze me how people have a stated belief that it is wrong to judge (you did not say that here) and then freely judge and condemn others, AND do so without a standard (or without an unchanging, objective standard) by which to judge/condemn, AND deny that they judged/condemned, AND twist this behavior into something else (“I didn’t judge, I just made an ‘observation.'”) Again, I am not saying that is exactly what happened here, I pointing out a pattern I frequently see in situations likes this.

          Either way, my question still stands: by what standard and authority did you summarily judge and condemn this individual and his religion?

  • DavidC

    I’m not sure if the author can really comprehend how disturbing and grotesque a post like this comes off to many who don’t share much of his worldview. Even if he did, I’m also not sure that he’d care.

    • Sarah Flood

      It’s appalling. Like, I’m no fan of John McCain, but when he died, I had no urge to dance on his grave. I was sad for his family and friends. They loved him and didn’t deserve to be confronted at every turn with damning screeds about a person they cared deeply for. Neither does Rachel’s. She tried hard to be kind. Even if she missed the mark, she TRIED so very hard. Harder than most people do.

      • Mitch Hurst

        The writing reflects the core problems with modern evangelicalism. No understanding of differing world views, unrelenting reliance on dogmatism, and a smugness and sureness about ownership of the truth. It’s what happens when people convert rather than think.

        • Sarah Flood

          Yep. And if you can feel comfortable dragging a very, very loved human being who was very, very kind and very, very loving after her death, after she is no longer around to answer you, especially when you have literally never written anything (as far as I could find) about her before, it says a whoooooole lot more about you than about them.

  • Sara

    Posts like this are the reason why so many people are turned off from religion. Such vile, hateful words masquerading as love and concern. It doesn’t take much to see through it. You have no idea what happens in the afterlife any more than any other mortal on earth. To presume that Rachel is burning in hell for all eternity because she doesn’t share your exact interpretation of the Bible is arrogant beyond belief. And also incredibly hurtful to her friends and family and all those who she helped. And believe me, Rachel helped a lot of people. She helped people who felt alienated by the church. Those on the “fringes” who felt like there was no place for them within the judgemental, exclusionary fundamentalism that people like you continue to prop up. She showed a lot of people that God is much bigger than our puny minds can comprehend. She did incredibly important work in her short time on this earth and, even if she got things wrong, I think God understands that she just wanted to do good and spread some love and acceptance in a world where it is sorely needed. No one should be punished for that. And if your God does punish people for that, maybe he’s not worth worshiping.

  • Neil Carter

    Your faith has constricted the size of your heart, man. I hope life teaches you how small is the world that you’ve made for yourself. Or how small the God.

    • Gilsongraybert

      Neil, if we are both honest here – you’ve read enough of the Scriptures to know that what I am speaking toward here is contained within them. Now, you and I depart on what we believe on these things and their authority – we both know that, but something you may not know is that we have reverse trajectories (I started as an atheist whose only experience with the church was funerals and weddings, and came to faith in my early twenties). For me the world has always been small; formerly, I was awed at the cosmos, now I am awed at the God of the cosmos. In terms of who God is, I can come up with all sorts of novel ideas – but those ideas would simply be projections of my own desires and thoughts, which again, are not all that great if the God that is has revealed Himself plainly. Now, we could jump into all sorts of pscyhoanalysis on why a person like me (who in your mind would be said to apostatised from the truth of atheism) might come to this point in my life and believe the things I do, but the real answer simply comes down to a point in my life where I resigned myself to the entirely plausible notion that what I formerly held to was absurd, comparative religions didn’t yield the internal and external consistency and veracity of the Scriptures, and the notion that if there is a God – He sets the parameters and has every right to do so. That doesn’t make me any less sad about this. I am legitimately saddened that the toll of death perhaps brought even greater depth to that sadness than we know based on those parameters. But what I do know for a fact is that God is merciful to forgive even the worst of us and bring us into His rest through Christ. The way “home” has not been made a secret.

      • Mitch Hurst

        Here’s a thought, dude. Don’t piss on people’s graves. It’s really not that hard to think the concept through.

      • Neil Carter

        I am being honest. And to your point, evidently only one of us has read the Bible studiously enough to discover that it doesn’t speak with univocality about much of anything. Honest readers who wrestle with their own theological biases (like Rachel did) discover a ton of change and development of ideas therein, finding that even the concept of the sovereignty of God evolved over centuries to become what you most likely believe has always been the biblical view. That most certainly goes for the concept of posthumous torture as well.

        I don’t know how small your world was before you found your current theological home, but I can tell you the real cosmos is very, very large and is full of mysteries. Your current deity, on the other hand, seems to fit neatly into a box in which you confidently know what he thinks about virtually everything. I would argue that means you found a God much smaller than the cosmos he was supposed to have created.

        The fundamentalism to which you have been drawn shrinks the world down into a tiny, black-and-white grid where all the questions and answers fit neatly into charts you can memorize and spout off with the utmost of confidence. One day you may find yourself looking back on the certainties of your youth and cringe. I very much hope you do. Because your current theology is a monstrosity.

        • Gilsongraybert

          Right, because I’ve come to a vastly different set of conclusions than one who has departed the faith altogether, that must mean I’ve not read the Scriptures seriously enough and have a rudimentary understanding of church history. You’ve also inserted much into this by saying I have claimed to understand every single mystery as it is concerned with God or His creation. I haven’t, I’m simply stating that there are some things which have been historic doctrines of the church for literally thousands of years that aren’t a mystery, which have been plainly revealed. All one must do to figure these things out is open up the book and read. To use your example of the sovereignty of God in the scheme that I’d hold, the writings of Augustine are replete with this. The point being: these aren’t new doctrines – Christians have also seen the univocality of the Scriptures for thousands of years. In fact, this is just one of the criterion for canonization. Again, these things aren’t held to as a result of willful ignorance, nor simply to fill “charts [I] can memorize and spout off with the utmost confidence.” Doctrine for the sake of doctrine is a hell-bound endeavor inasmuch as false teaching. I made this clear even above, and genuinely believe it. You don’t have to take me on my word at that one, but it is rather interesting to me that one who holds to such profound levels of mystery – you are quite certain about what you believe as well.

          • Neil Carter

            All one must do to figure these things out is open up the book and read.” This is exactly what I’m talking about. Black and white. No real mysteries. It’s all plain and simple to you, and evidently even the history of Christian doctrine is univocal to you.

            But the primacy of the Pope was “historic doctrine” for thousands of years as well. As was purgatory. And transubstantiation. The Christian faith has broken into hundreds of pieces precisely because neither the Bible nor Christian tradition are univocal.

            I would characterize my worldview as full of uncertainties. I think you misunderstand me. The only thing I have asserted with certainty is that you are oversimplifying your own religion’s history.

          • Neil Carter

            Also, to bring this back to the real point, like Mitch says in this thread, you’re pissing on someone’s grave. It’s a really bad look, and it makes you look a bit like a douche.

          • Jesse H

            You mention a few Catholic doctrines and then assert there is vast mystery across all orthodox doctrine? Not so. Certainly there are doctrines that are non-essential, but this doesn’t mean that there is universal mystery.

          • Mitch Hurst

            Can’t speak for Neil, but one of the more freeing aspects for me of turning in my Evangelicaland passport was losing the compulsion to scrutinize every other form of Christianity (not to mention other faiths), parsing words, looking for “evidence” of heresy. It was like a sport. As someone else wrote on the larger thread, the instinct to do that is rooted in an I’m right/you’re wrong narcissism that makes one feel better, perhaps, in the short-term, but damn it proves to be a hollow exercise. As evidenced by the original post.

          • MB

            Yes, I can see how that would not only be draining, but exhausting and demoralizing, and not leading to much encouragement…if that was your approach. Or we can do something similar, but entirely different. We a “love for the truth” we can be exceptionally discerning and cautious when it comes to what anyone else’s says or teaches. Who wants to be in error? We know be in error and deceived and apart from the truth always harms us, and others. So, out of love (for God, others, and the truth) we can seek to detect and avoid harmful deceits and errors, and warn others, out of love. That, too, can be draining, but it is supremely loving and helpful in real and tangible ways. I am sorry to hear about your past experience.

          • Mitch Hurst

            Your point would be well taken if we were discussing a math problem. Get your calculations right, kids! But we’re talking about an invisible entity whose existence is wholly unproven. So the fight to be theologically correct (out of love or obedience to faith or whatever) is just silly. And to utilize someone’s death to pump your chest is just really bad form. You need just read the first word of this jackasses’s essay to understand who this is about.

          • MB

            Actually, it is THE point. Everything hinges on if this is right or not. That is why so many people (not enough people) are trying to tell people the truth, help them avoid the harm the comes with error, and avoid the consequences of sin and rejecting God’s forgiveness. [And yes, many people do a horrible job in this, and are often very unloving, etc] So if we get this wrong, then nothing else really matters (in eternity).

          • MB

            For what it is worth, there is something called the Over Correction Syndrome (and OCS is often combined with bitterness). It is when a person finds himself in error (often real, sometimes perceived), yet instead of making specific corrections, or correcting the actual problems accurately, they over-correct. As some have called this, “Going from the gutter on one side of the street to the gutter on the other side.” In somewhat of an irony, I read RHE refer to this metaphor herself for this very syndrome (as I believe someone cautioned her about this). This happens a lot, but more so with legalistic-type situations, but some times it goes in the other direction, and people become more legalistic! Ideally we would separate the good from bad, the right from wrong, and the truth from error, and not cast in all in a generalized bag of “bad.”

          • Mitch Hurst

            Jesus, man. Can you even listen to yourself type? You bring new meaning to the word “pompous.” Not even pious, just pompous. The oldest theological trope is the one that attributes nonbelief to bitterness. The minds of simpletons.

      • Al Cruise

        Your parameters are based on information subjective to time and place of birth and casts millions into hell simply because they were born in the wrong place and time in history. That is something that no conservative evangelical has ever been able to reconcile. Those of us who actually comfort the dying as they pass through that door to the other side, witness reality. There’s a saying we use called ” they had a hard exit” . You can read about it in my previous comment. You personally need to take special note. Many seasoned hospice care workers can see ahead of time , those who are going to experience a “hard exit”.

      • Sandy Shore

        Thou art lost.

  • Sarah Flood

    I do not understand this rush to condemn a woman no longer around to defend herself as a heretic less than a week after her death. What about this will draw others to Christ who do not already know him? Those who agree with you will likely nod along and laud you as brave. I frankly see no bravery in “calling out” a woman who is dead and can no longer respond. Maybe certain things “need to be said”, but you know what? They can wait. Let those who loved her mourn without being constantly confronted with articles accusing her of everything from heresy to witchcraft to deliberately leading souls into hell. It is not in any way edifying. It is shameful.

    • Ken McLain

      Been going on for some time

      • Sarah Flood

        What has? The mourning? The rush to condemn? Grayson Gilbert’s unnecessary criticism of various dead people?

        • Ken McLain

          There is/was no rush to condemn – its been going on for years

  • Sarah Flood

    I also find it incredibly telling that you felt no urge to write ANYTHING on Rachel prior to her death. She’s been a well-known evangelical figure for at least seven years. Where was your examination of her work while she was alive and able to respond to you? Why did this not need to be said while she was around and breathing and capable of replying or even perhaps benefiting from your criticism? To me, if you felt all of this BEFORE she died, you did her a deep, deep disservice by not saying anything until she was gone and could no longer be helped. If this is truly what you believe, YOU FAILED. Think on that.

    • *Salt’nLight*

      Sarah, are you really putting the full responsibility of RHE’s fate on this author’s shoulders?? Or mine?? That’s not true. None of us failed RHE…she made her choice. God has graciously granted us sentience; we have choice when it comes to our personal decisions. Rachel Held Evans had many people commenting on her posts in various places (I saw them)–some were more gracious than others. Nevertheless, I know that Rachel was given many, many opportunities to correct her beliefs. In the end, SHE decided what happened to her, not the rest of us.

      • Sarah Flood

        Full responsibility? Of course not. But if you are genuinely worried about someone’s eternal fate and leading-astray of others, the time to write something is not days after their tragic death but while they’re still alive, well, and able to both benefit and respond. Otherwise you just seem like a vulture picking at a corpse. Its horrifically insensitive to her family and loved ones in the very least. Its interesting that this author suddenly feels a responsibility NOW, when the woman is dead and unable to benefit, when he apparently was entirely unbothered by her existence or views before she died.

        • *Salt’nLight*

          Mhm. I can understand your point. I do empathize with the feeling that it’s like a vulture picking at a corpse. However, if you’ve read the article, surely you can understand that the author is not intending to denigrate anyone. For myself, having dealt with the deaths of my husband and son together in an accident that was not their fault, I can understand the desire to give someone the status of “sainthood”, so to speak. But the truth is that neither of my guys were following God when they died. Discussing our eternal destiny is difficult at any point of time–it’s really difficult when a person is dead and can’t make another choice. I can’t agree with you that the author is “suddenly” feeling responsible and was uncaring about her state before she died. I feel that that view is ungenerous. Best wishes to you. 🙂

          • Sarah Flood

            I feel the entire article was ungenerous. The author had nearly a decade to be concerned, to warn his readers, etc. This was bandwagon-jumping. There were literally dozens of articles written in this vein when she died. The author said nothing new or edifying that others had not said. If it did not need to be said prior to her death, there was even less need now.

            No matter what the state of your husband and son’s souls when they died (and I am sorry for your loss), I am sure you would have not appreciated receiving dozens of letters and emails describing in great detail a litany of their perceived errors and eternal fate with varying degrees of condescension, pity, anger, and thinly veiled glee (some articles seemed downright thrilled she was dead) only days after their death. That is cruel and ghoulish and badly misguided no matter what “needed to be said”. It can be said once and dropped, if at all.

          • *Salt’nLight*

            I’m not sure how to respond to you, Sarah. You seem determined to be angry at a perceived injustice. So be it. I have tried to be gentle with you. What others have said about Rachel Held Evans is not this author’s fault. Attributing everyone else’s actions or motives (who are you? God? to determine them!) to another person is exceedingly ungenerous. My goodness. It’s not Grayson’s fault that RHE may not have been saved. Preposterous. Our salvation is between us and God. We are NOT the ones who save….Jesus Christ is! You are attaching vicious motives to someone I’m assuming you don’t even know. You also seem to be triggered by the number of articles being written about a public figure. What exactly did you expect? Were all the bloggers to get together and cooperatively decide to write ONE article? Seriously. You need to drop this. I won’t be responding to you again.

  • Mitch Hurst

    What a big word salad of bullshit. Examine yourself. You’re just an awful human being.

  • Mitch Hurst

    The world would be such a better place if evangelicals stopped obsessing about what gay men do with their penises.

    • Joel

      We couldn’t care less what you do.
      Gays think about Christians 24/7. Get help for this obsession, it is not healthy.

      • Mitch Hurst

        Lots of gays are Christian and lots of Christians are gay (I happen to be neither). The fact that people like yourself think you must be one or the other was one of RHE’s many astute theological observations.

        • Jesse H

          RHE didn’t come up with that. Christians can be all sorts of people, and Christians can sin just as deviously as anyone.

  • Frater Cerno

    What a disgusting and sanctimonious little cunt of a man you are!

    She rocked! You are an excellent example of why the churches are emptying.

    • Zenith

      Evangelical church attendance is actually growing across many countries. Other denominations not so much

  • Questioning54

    Well I guess the words of horrible people like you send many scurrying to follow Rachel Held Evans and hear what somebody who truly loves and empathises with others has to say. I don’t believe you had any trouble at all writing as you did. You finished feeling so self-righteous and good about yourself. What about Jesus’s words when he said let he who is without sin cast the first stone? You not only cast the first stone but a shower of them. You should be ashamed of yourself. (The main people Jesus condemned were the greedy and selfish as in the rich man and Lazarus, and those who were religious hypocrites.)

    • *Salt’nLight*

      Your words are very sad. Loving someone means telling them THE TRUTH, not the version their itching ears want to hear. I don’t doubt that Rachel Held Evans scratched many, many ears…look at the numbers of followers she had! However, look at what God said through the Apostle James: My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins (James 5:19-20, NIV). When we are in error, we NEED to be brought back to truth. Leaving someone in error is NOT love. I do not feel at all self-righteous saying this, btw, so don’t bother with that retort. We are required to judge properly and discern the spirit of what is being said; any other approach is completely lacking in wisdom. God go with you!

      • Sarah Flood

        That would have been loving if he’d “told the truth” before she was dead.

        • Jesse H

          There are thousands of articles, blogs and even books that told the truth in opposition to RHE’s beliefs.

      • Patrick Howell

        Where did the author say, one time, that he loved Rachel Held?

        • Sigrid aka *Salt’nLight*

          Hi Patrick. 🙂 If I may ask, what does your question have to do with my statement above?

          • Patrick Howell

            I’m certain that you know. Honesty is a must for real conversations.

          • Sigrid aka *Salt’nLight*

            Honesty is a must for real conversations.

            Yes! I agree absolutely. I’m not going to answer your question until you explain what your comment above has to do with my original comment. If you are honest, you will answer. Thank you.

  • Caleb Scales

    This is a disgusting article in every way. He thoroughly lacks meaningful thought, creativity, organization and efficiency.
    It’s an obnoxious article and he should be banned from ever submitting anything ever for the foreseeable future anywhere. What an abhorrent douche-bag of an individual to say such things about a person who loved hard, spoke truth, and overflowed with mercy, forgiveness and humility. Dogma is the death of true faith and this man is the poster child for pharisaical dogmatism. He can rot in his white-washed tomb.

    • Zenith

      Interesting how you say he should be banned. Classic, silence someone who’s views you disagree with. Welcome to the modern leftist Era

  • Jackie

    This overly long article demonstrates just how fearful Evangelical/Fundamentalist Christians are. They even see in Jesus a violent nature .. referring to his overturning the tables at the temple in a rage and his speaking of Hell more than anyone else. Jesus spoke of Gehenna often, but Gehenna was a burning garbage dump! More to the point: Jesus, Son of God, preached love thy neighbor. I am pretty sure he meant all of them. Jesus, the Prince of Peace also said forgive 77 x 7 … in other words, INFINITELY. Does this sound like the small god that the author believes in?
    Rachel asked the difficult questions and she believed that we are to LIVE our faith, not just follow the rules. At the end of the day, belief without action is nothing. There are many people who are not Christians who are good people and they, too, will be with God. God is love.

    • Jesse H

      Jesus said (paraphrased), “He who believes in me has eternal life, He who does not believe will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on Him.” John 3:16, 3:36, 5:24, 6:47 Did Jesus also mean these words?

  • MeredithEugeneHunt

    The vile comments below give immense potential credibility to the article. I say potential because I have not and will not read it. It is of no interest to me except that it has generated such hate-filled and/or dishonest opposition.

    • Mitch Hurst

      What’s more vile than taking a pen and scribbling on someone’s grave? The blindness with which evangelicals can identify hate in others and not see it in themselves is breathtaking.

      • MeredithEugeneHunt

        What’s more vile? First, the writer was not scribbling on anyone’s grave. Second, your remarks are more vile and perverted than what you imagine the writer doing. (I was thinking of your comments in particular when I wrote mine.) Third, your idea of hate is twisted, and how you use the word is a weapon is an example of hatred. Hate is a verb, not a noun, by the way.

        • Mitch Hurst

          This is why evangelical Christians might think twice prior to showing their faces in public. I’m sure there’s a sandbox somewhere in which you can play that has toys you recognize.

          • MB

            You are correct. There are certain faithful believers who should and DO think twice about being known publically for what they believe. Why is that? Who would threaten them? Who would feel threatened by their message of being saved from hell/the lake of fire? If hatred for the Gospel (how to be saved from the consequences of sin) is allowed, if hatred for those who seek to spread this is accepted and perhaps growing in popularity, AND those who want others to know Jesus and His salvation are still blamed as the bad guys, evil, etc, then what does that say about our society, the Church, and beyond? What does it say about those who do not get this, and try to twist this reality?

          • Mitch Hurst

            Spare me the victim complex. So old. So tired. So you do not see the intellectual shallowness in comparing criticism with threats? This is the narcissistic underpinning of modern Christian evangelicalism in America. Any argument that, you know, you just might have it wrong is an affront. Grow your mind the fuck up.

          • Zenith

            Meanwhile, you are the one getting triggered here. You are attributing this to hate – really? Who’s playing the victim now? The author has a viewpoint you disagree with… It’s as simple as that

          • Mitch Hurst

            The author is saying a week after a woman has died that he’s fairly certain she’s swimming in a lake of fire where she will feel the pain of her skin melting from her bones in perpetuity. That people who believe in a literal hell can’t see the affront this is to human emotion is startling.

          • MeredithEugeneHunt

            Why don’t you debate the claim of a literal lake of fire, or is this beyond your scope, preferring to attack the claim maker?

          • Zenith

            Only if you believe in hell, if you don’t why would you be offended? What do you think happens to you when you die?

          • MB

            “What does it say about those who do not get this, and try to twist this reality?”

            Sadly, this turned out to be too accurate. How do you turn this is to a victim complex? This is an observable pattern, and the real life experience of many people. Stating that people get hot in the summer, and cold in the winter cannot be a “complex.” But you twist observable reality into a victim complex? Yikes! Even more you twist this into a false accusation of “intellectual shallowness” and “narcissistic underpinning(s)”?!?! I am sure if you meant this to be funny, but then you top this off with what we can all agree is an “intellectually shallow” “affront” and insult. Yikes?! Where do you go from there? Emotions are great, but if you are led by your feelings then you will increasingly drift from the truth, and even reality itself. And, of course, you will find yourself on the wrong side of many things.

          • MeredithEugeneHunt

            Words are defined by how they are used. A contemporary use of the word “hate” is as a noun and it has a particular meaning, usually to categorize certain real or imagined social offences, usually offences against a liberal perspective, a perspective that denies reality. It also associates with other four letter words and is likewise used as a curse. As intended, it grates on the ear. So, I avoid using the word as a noun, preferring “hatred.”

    • Questioning54

      How can you say that without reading it?

      • MeredithEugeneHunt

        How can I say it? Easy. Evidenced based on opposition, though it is not conclusive, only indicative.

  • Mumford Welding

    Even with many signs
    They failed to see
    They had the special seats
    Up close and personal
    But it afforded them nothing
    Nothing of value
    They were offered the Kingdom
    But preferred their set patterns

    What would it take
    To cause them to see the Truth?
    Many will want to see in these times
    Because the death toll
    Will be immense
    Especially within the churches
    Those fine, sought after establishments of honor and prose
    But not truly so
    Not as God sees them

    He knows the sin
    He knows the hearts
    He hears the blasphemy
    By those who claim it to be simple doubt

    Big names will be gone in a blink
    And the rest of us will shudder
    We won’t even have time for grief
    Before another drops to the dust
    But it did not have to be this way
    You could have asked to SEE
    For yourselves what the Truth is

    The prophets have been sent already
    And they are now silent
    Because there were no listeners

    You would think that death
    Would open the door
    For people to choose Truth
    But rarely so
    The heart and mind usually returns
    To its norm
    After trauma
    And what we have is a stalemate

    God’s actions of Justice
    Will not bring many to repentance
    But it will stop the liars
    From gathering more souls
    Beneath their widespread wings

    God will lay siege against His Church
    And what we will have
    Is unfathomable to our minds
    At this time

    He is a God of mercy
    This is true
    But wherein lies the mercy
    In allowing pastors, leaders, prophets, teachers
    To present a false gospel
    Guaranteeing the innocent
    A seat in Hell?

    So much has been done
    To woo the True Church
    So much has been afforded
    To teach Truth
    So much grace has been given
    So much mercy poured out
    So many prayers and pleas
    Before God’s Throne
    But there is a point in time
    In the entire scope of things
    Which is now
    When the process is complete
    And Judgment begins

    One after another
    Names you know
    Most you don’t
    Pew sitters
    Book writers
    Even children
    Taken before their time
    Because you refuse to see

    Dust to dust . . .
    But it was never meant to be this way
    We were created in the image of God
    We were given Breath by our Creator
    We were implanted with a desire
    To know Him
    But the voices of the many snakes
    Drown out His sweet song over us
    And we can no longer hear Him

    We follow the most articulate
    Or the most humorous
    Or the one writes the most books
    Or allows us to continue in our sin
    We follow man
    Because we have lost sight
    Of our Creator

    And only in death
    Will He be seen and known
    Once more

    Grieve for the losses
    That is what we do
    But it’s not enough
    It will never be enough
    It cannot bring anyone back
    From the grave

    What we must do
    Is bow down and repent
    For not choosing to see
    For hating the Truth
    For taking hold of lies
    As if they held each breath we took

    Open our eyes, Father God
    To see You as You are
    To see our condition as You see it
    To know that the death of the apostates
    Stands forever
    They will not be given another chance
    They will not enter Your Kingdom
    May their deaths open our eyes
    To SEE as we were always meant to SEE


    “Hasten forward in time
    See how the clock has brought forth
    An illusion of time to spare
    It is not so
    Today is the day of Salvation
    You may not be given
    Any more breaths
    Today is almost past . . .
    And there is only
    One True Salvation

    The liars go to their graves
    In record number
    Funeral after funeral
    And the weeping begins to wane
    For how much sorrow
    Can the people bear?

    It would have been better
    If many had never been born
    For the sorrow they will carry
    In these end times

    Sorrow does accumulate
    And those who fashion themselves
    As leaders
    And sweep down upon the people
    With falsehoods,
    Promises of hope,
    Illusions of safety,
    Kind gestures
    And open arms
    That lead directly to Hell
    Will carry within their mortal bodies and souls
    The Judgment due them on that last day

    You can choose to open your eyes
    You can ask to be cleansed of your sin
    You can offer yourselves as a sacrifice
    To bring Truth to this last generation
    But I will wait no longer
    For those who fail to see
    For any reason.

    Habbakuk 2”

    Father God

  • Jon

    What a narcissistic article about a loving and gentle dead person who loved people. Some self reflection by the author would be hightl recommended. Its not hard to tell who the wolf in sheep’s clothing is when you’ve ready Rachel’s loving and thoughtful writing and this egotistical bullshit wrapped in mock piety. Glad you believe your beliefs about the Bible are the only correct ones! Moody has served you well in reinforcing your beliefs in an echo chamber.

  • Nix

    This article is another shining example of why leaving christianity was and continues to be a great decision. What a self-important egotist Grayson Gilbert is! Because Evans didn’t follow his personal interpretation of his personal religion, she’s probably in hell (hell being another shining indication of the love of his god). The only right way is to follow his religion in the way he says it should be followed. Gilbert doesn’t believe in god, he clearly believes himself to BE a god! It’s sad that voices like Evans, who openly spoke against christian extremism, die young while extremists like this keep going.

  • MB

    The Pharisees that Jesus confronted and condemned were not merely “judgmental,” He condemned those who did not like God’s actual ways, and so they made up their own ways. They rejected God’s Word, and then elevated their own constructs–all while perverting and displacing God’s Word (Matt 15:1ff).

    This, of course, still happens, even more so today. Yet the same people who participate in this Pharisaical practice today also frequently falsely accuse and condemn OTHERS of being Pharisaical, judgmental, lacking compassion, twisting God’s Word, being haters, bigots, being unchristian, being unloving, etc. Furthermore, they make these false accusations particularly against those who do not yield to the errors and anti-Christ nature of the world’s ways and “wisdom.” They also tend to lack concern about making false accusations. Why? Likely because they believe their heart is in the right place–and because they care so much, they must be right. They are also distinguished by how they often mock, if not viciously attack others who ardently work to be accurate in their beliefs and teachings. Are these not the true “modern day Pharisees”? Yet, in profound irony and full lack of self-awareness, they falsely accuse others of the very thing of which they are doing.

    • Questioning54

      You twist what Jesus said about the Pharisees in an incredible way! They were all for right belief over clean hearts that genuinely loved others and lived in love. So are you.

      • MB

        “You twist what Jesus said…” “So are you.” I hope you do not miss the irony of that.

        Please show me specifically how I twisted His Words. I gave several specifics, which ones were twisted? I think we all see these patterns. The Pharisees were clearly not for correct beliefs, otherwise Jesus would not have condemned their beliefs, He would not have warned others about their TEACHINGS and “twisting” of Scripture, and, as mentioned, elevating their own wants and constructs over His Word. These were false teachers. They had false beliefs. The emphasized works and self-righteousness. NOT BELIEFS. … AND they made absolute judgments of others…condemnations that were entirely false.

        Jesus, and those who seek to teach what is right…which is to have the accurate beliefs, teach that we can have “clean hearts” through believing in the truth (e.g. 2 Thess 2:9-13). Faith, not works. Grace, not our goodness, or self-righteousness, or our own man-made ways that reject God’s ways and Word.

        • Questioning54

          You obviously don’t think about what others say but just continue your rant about how right YOU are. Maybe the man protests too much. Maybe you deep down fear you might be wrong after all.

          • MB

            Well, I guess you could avoid what I wrote, not speak to the specifics, blame-shift, and cast wild accusations against me (that are false), or you could kindly address what I wrote. I am sorry if your approach has worked in other places. If so, then they did not do you any favors, nor did they love you. And if you refuse to address what I wrote then I do give up : )

            As for the faith without works … that is great, I wholeheartedly agree, but it is not clear why you put it there. It could be confusion on one or both of our parts.

            If we are to live in love (1 Jn 4:16)–which I wholeheartedly agree with, as well–then we must absolutely also live in the truth (e.g. 1 Jn 3:18; 1 Cor 13:6). This requires accurate beliefs as well. To have great intentions, but to, wittingly or not, live in and/or teach error/falsehoods is the opposite of love (at least in the outcome). It is the right and accurate belief that precedes the right and loving “works”/behavior. This, then, is truly love, and not a counterfeit love which is dominating much of the Church (and world) today.

            The Pharisees did not care about the truth, clearly, otherwise Jesus would not rebuke them, etc. Again, they rejected His Word, especially when they made up their own constructs, and then enforced that on to others–often through shaming, coercion, false accusations, condemnation, etc. And while we all can fall for one or more of these, we can all see who is relying on this today.

            So it is not having *a* faith, but having the right faith: truly believing in the truth about the true God, and the true ways to love AND avoiding the errors, false teachings, and counterfeits that always deceive the multitudes … and then destroys if not kills them.

            That was not the concern of the Pharisees. They not only rejected the true faith–and the true Jesus–they aggressively attacked those who would not yield to their error. You know this to be true, but will you deny it, blame-shift, etc … or will you objectively connect the dots, and openly admit the truth?

        • Questioning54

          Faith without works is dead. Where did I get that from?

  • Questioning54

    A huge vomit of Christian jargon. There are many who call themselves Christians and can point clearly to scripture supporting their different views. How can you be so smugly certain YOU have it right? YOU might be the blind leading the blind so all fall in a ditch. Your religion is all about correct (in your eyes) doctrine and can’t see people as anything more than objects to preach at or vilify and threaten for disagreeing with you.

  • Tianzhu

    Gilson, after reading half the comments here (they all sound pretty much alike), let me say to you: I know just how you feel. I too called down the wrath of Evans’s fans upon my head. Years ago, I read Year of Biblical Womanhood and posted on Amazon a very detailed – and quote-filled – review. (I gave it 2 stars, and was being generous.) Within a matter of a few hours, there were more than a hundred comments, mostly variations on “You’re not a Christian!” and “You obviously didn’t read the book!” and “Why do you hate Rachel so much?” My review had no ad hominems whatsoever, just actual quotations from her book, and my take on those quotations. The longer the review stayed online, the more comments it collected, all taking the review very personally (on Evans’s behalf), and most emphatically NOT engaging with my actual (and detailed) criticisms of the book itself. I could not help but note that none of the many 5-star reviews of the book went into much detail.

    Considering that all her books bash Christian “patriarchy” and “misogyny” for the silencing and suppression of dissenting voices, I could not help noticing the irony – the shrill shouting at the guy who dared to post a negative review of a book by their beloved author. They claim to be big fans of Evans and her unmasking of the oppressive and stifling patriarchy, and yet cannot bear to listen to any criticisms of HER views. So they are irate about voices being stifled – unless those voices express ideas that they don’t agree with, and to that they respond with “You obviously aren’t a Christian yourself.” So, no questioning of Rachel’s writings, just a very shrill ad hominem response to the questioner. I will be honest: I felt like I was hearing from members of a cult. I’m sure there are thousands of pastors in America who wish they could inspire that kind of devotion in their parishioners. But I don’t think it’s at all healthy, and I don’t think that shrill tone that they take is Christian. The suggestions of many commenters that I take down the review did not strike me as Christian either – nor was it in keeping with Evans’s supposed support for letting stifled voices be heard.

    If I could compress my long review of Year of Biblical Womanhood into one pargraph: Evans claims that “living according to the Bible” is both impossible and ridiculous, and Christianity is oppressive of women anyway, so “women of valor” (one of her catchphrases) should never forget that the Bible is “perpetuating a three-thousand-year-long inferiority complex” in women and is a “collection of texts that routine describe women as property.” She claimed to be speaking on behalf of “those who suffered abuse at the hands of Bible-wielding literalists” and the “countless women who have lived and died between the lines of Scripture, exploited, ravaged, and crushed at the hands of patriarchy.” In other words, it’s garden-variety secular feminism, teaching women to feel victimized and oppressed (it’s rather obvious that “women as victims” strikes more of a chord with the readers than “women of valor”). The liberal denominations were doing it 40 yrs ago, and now the evangelicals are playing catch-up. There’s nothing in her writings about sin and repentance and salvation – on the contrary, the sinners in her religion are the patriarchy and abusers. She urged evangelical women to feel “woke,” not humble nor repentant (nor forgiving).

    So, in her religion, what purpose does the Bible in fact serve – if any. She claims that “rules that left people guilt-ridden, exhausted, and confused were not from God” (I guess we could call that the “hermeneutic of convenience” – if I don’t like this passage, it must not be divinely inspired.) Then there’s this: “The most instructive thing to bring to the text is not, What does it say? but, What am I looking for?” (That’s from page 296 of Year of Biblical Womanhood.)

    I am not Evans’s judge, God is. But I can honestly say that I do not regard her writings as Christian. They represent generic feminism, and her fans, like generic feminists, become very shrill when you question them. I just don’t see how they can reconcile that shrillness and intolerance with the agape love described in the New Testament.

    Thank you so much – you’ve had mud flung at you, and I know how that feels. “You dare to question Rachel Evans, so clearly you are NOT a Christian!” Been there, heard that – and don’t believe it. I will not lose one second of sleep over being dissed by the cultlike followers of a feminist who, IMO, should have not only abandoned the label “evangelical” but the label “Christian” as well.

    • MB

      Yes, we live in an increasingly inverted context, as well as delusion (2 Thess 2:9-13).

      Good is evil, evil is good; sweet is bitter, bitter is sweet; hate is love, and love is hate. (Is 5:20) Those who try to be objective, who seek to truth, who do not conform with the world are evil. Those who have world-approved-theology are more than justified in hurling any and every insult and false accusation at those who love the truth. There is no accountability. When was the last time someone expressed remorse (or even true godly sorrow) over falsely accusing a conservative?

      Furthermore, we need no authority over us, including the truth and God’s Word, we are now the authority (Jer 5:30-31; Gen 3:1ff; Is 8:19-20). Furthermore, people can say to others that judging is wrong, and that YOU are wrong to judge, AND freely judge and condemn others, yet lack the awareness to see their error, folly, and self-defeating ways. Or, what is worse, they do see it and do not care, or just blame and attack and falsely accuse those who point out their hypocrisy and foolishness. That device of doubling-down perfectly explains why they do not come out of their erroneous ways.

      • Questioning54

        Another long word salad to simply say you think you are persecuted for supposedly being right. Simply saying you are wrong is persecution and vilification to you.
        You took a very long piece of writing to edge around to saying you think Rachel Held Evans has gone to hell. Can’t you write consicely?
        Cherry picking bible verses does not constitute a rational argument because people can do that to justify all sorts of beliefs and actions, including deciding who can’t have gone to heaven and having no regard for a dead person’s loved ones.

        • MB

          “You took a very long piece of writing to edge around to saying you think Rachel Held Evans has gone to hell. Can’t you write consicely? [sic] Cherry picking bible verses does not constitute a rational argument because people can do that to justify all sorts of beliefs and actions, including deciding who can’t have gone to heaven and having no regard for a dead person’s loved ones.”

          [you have a way of confirming what I say]

          Judge much? In fact, I really don’t mind being judged, especially if I am wrong, I just ask that it be accurate. Also, judging is not wrong. We all judge. Some judge better than others. It is a skill, yet a part of our heart as well. And how well we judge determines so much of our lives.

          Where did I say that she has gone to hell? That is yet another flagrantly false accusation (if that matters anymore … ). I have never said that about anyone. Where did I say anything about RHE? Please improve your judging, especially when it comes to condemning others (Yes, there is a lot of irony in all this). I don’t know who is in heaven or hell (unless otherwise specified in Scripture). I hate that some people are confidently stating that RHE is in hell (as well as when they do that with anyone else). In fact, I truly hope she is in heaven. Where did I show no regard for a dead person’s loved ones? For what it is worth, false accusations are false accusations, no matter who makes them. More importantly, God takes these particularly sins very seriously.

          PLEASE improve your judging of others, and your overall judgment.

          • Questioning54

            “I could not in any way, shape, or form say with a clean conscience that she is in heaven. I hope that I am wrong, I truly do, but given her trajectory, I am more prone to see the consistency of the Scripture’s witness in the permanence of apostasy.”
            A long way of saying you believe she is in hell.
            You really think writing about her as you did is not to show disregard for her mourning loved ones?
            You just don’t get it do you?

          • MB

            um? Why are you attributing to me what SOMEONE ELSE said?

            Who does that? This is taking the whole making-up-constructs to a new level.

            Why not take what *I* actually said?

            Why do you want homosexuals to die and go to hell?!

            See? We can all take what someone else said and ascribe it to yet another person. If truth were more important then, well, we would not be talking about this.

            And then you say that *I* don’t get it?

            Perhaps I am the fool for trying to engage with you. There is hope. However, if you cannot take responsibility THEN there is no hope. If you want to own your mistakes and false accusations, then that is only the start.

          • Questioning54

            I quoted you!

          • MB

            If this is what the cool kids call “trolling” someone, then well played. You got me. But you continue to believe what is clearly false then, well, YIKES. Have you confused me with the author of the article? … or someone else? Why is this so hard?

          • Questioning54

            Yes i did confuse you with the author of the article, sorry about that. The way you wrote gave me that idea but I should have checked. My mistake. (I can at least admit when I am wrong.)

          • MB

            Apparently not (see all of the other errors, mistakes, wrongs, false accusations, etc).

            The “way that I wrote”? And then you “quoted” me? We all make mistakes, but you had to work hard at this one. For what it is worth, this also included repetitive false accusations, and distracted from the bigger issues.

            Although you do deserve a little credit … after having to have it pulled out of you … you FINALLY admit … the most obvious error. And then you applaud yourself? Here is a serious question: If it takes all of that to finally own an obvious-to-everyone error, what might it take to admit the other errors in your life (we all have them, of course).

  • MB

    True Christians are trying to help others avoid THE condemnation. If you claim Christ, but are not condemned by counterfeit, quasi-, or misled Christians then perhaps you lack faithfulness in speaking the truth in love in order to help others avoid this eternal condemnation? (2 Tim 3:12-13; Matt 5:11-12; 1 Kgs 18:17-18; 2 Cor 2:15-16)

    • Questioning54


      • MB

        Thank you for the confirmation : )

        • Questioning54

          Right doctrine is not even mentioned. I thought you could figure that out yourself. Maybe not.

          • MB

            Really? It’s as if you are intentionally avoiding the truth. Thanks … again.

          • Questioning54

            Just quoted the bible. I suppose what it says does not have to be true, especially when it contradicts itself,

          • MB

            You did not quote the Bible. You listed a reference in the Bible. If someone puts Deuteronomy 12:11 then so what? What is their point? We are left to guess, at best. Which part is the point? Yet if someone merely leaves a Scripture reference, and then thinks they have somehow profoundly settled a matter, then, well….YIKES.

          • Questioning54

            I thought the bible could speak for itself. But it seems it needs all those writings about the bible to try to make sense of it.

          • MB

            no. no, and no…at least as far as it goes with your misapplication of certain realities. AND you KNOW THIS TO BE TRUE. Now you are just willingly distorting truth, but for what purpose. Do you think helps you avoid the truth, or win some argument? Twisting truth does help anyone, it hurts them. Not admitting failure, sin, or being wrong only hurts you, it does not help you. And it hurts those around you, including those who care about you.

  • Mumford Welding

    Interesting censorship . . . Is it because I am British or prophetic?

  • Redboyds

    It’s very telling that the Friendly Atheist website posted an effusive eulogy for Evans, in particular praising her hostility to “right-wing evangelicals.” After reading the article, I asked myself: When I die, do I want to be praised by atheists? Would the apostles have been pleased to know that they were praised by people who openly despise the religion they sacrificed their lives for? Would a “good and faith servant” who had ‘fought the good fight” take any pleasure in being lauded by atheists? Had the apostles conformed to the pagan culture, there would have been no martyrs, and Christianity would not even exist today. Had Paul written “Do your best to fit in with unbelievers and make them like you” instead of “Be not conformed to this world,” Christianity would not exit.

    One thing we know about progressive Christianity: it has never attracted or converted atheists. C. S. Lewis made the astute observation that when an atheist or agnostic converts, he “goes all the way” to traditional, orthodox Christianity, not to the progressive variety. Lewis, an ex-atheist himself, had no use for the Christian left and was pained to see the growing liberalism in the Church of England of his day. As the Friendly Atheist article shows, atheists have a favorable view of the Christian left for the obvious reason that they see such people as Evans as being on their team, not the Christian team. I have never yet heard of any atheist who was converted by the writings of Evans – or of anyone on the Christian left. Her fans are people like herself – people raised in conservative Christianity but no longer comfortable with it, but not quite ready to let go of the Christian label. There are no converts from atheism joining the liberal churches today – just people like Evans, disgruntled ex-evangelicals. They are far outnumbered by people moving in the opposite direction – members of liberal churches who finally had enough of their trendy, post-Christian, world-conforming churches and left to find a traditional, Christ-centered, Bible-believing church home.

    “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you” (John 15:19).

    • Mitch Hurst

      You don’t know fuck all about atheists. And I love how right-wing Christians claim C.S. Lewis as one of their own. Lewis was more academic than theologian. It’s a simple mind that needs to divide the world up into teams, to reduce everything to us and them. So damn intellectually lazy. What drew me to RHE is that she was on the Christian “team” and was willing to call her own team out on their bullshit. That an atheist writer might have welcomed her voice to discussions about faith has as much relevance, to use a sports analogy, as a ballet dancer enjoying football game.

      • centerleftυsa

        No excuse for gutter language.

        • Jon

          This article was gutter language. Try flagging that!

          • Jack Lee

            There is no need for that kind of language. Your comment was deleted.

  • NorrinRadd

    A few comments…

    — First and foremost, I’m not familiar with the details of Rachel’s beliefs. Which of her supposed errors do you consider to NOT be “adiaphora,” but rather matters of actual damning heresy or apostasy?

    — Regarding your (too) many stern and hifalutin words about how to properly view God’s love, and how to properly love God — Matthew quotes Jesus as saying that the greatest Commandment is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind,” and that the second, “Love your neighbor as yourself” is (literally) “the same as” the first; he also quotes Him as saying the entire Law and Prophets amount to “Treat others as you wish others to treat you” and “I desire mercy, not sacrifices.” Why should we not use verses such as these as the primary lenses through which to understand “love”?

  • Herrnhut

    “They journey from Be-thel (House of God), and there is yet a distance before entering Ephratha (Bethlehem), and Rachel bear and is sharply pained in her bearing; and it come to pass, in her being sharply pained in her bearing, that the midwife saith to her, ‘Fear not, for this also is a son for thee.’ (in time in the same land, the angels said the same to the shepherds.) And it come to pass in the going out of her soul (for she died), that she call his name Ben-Oni (son of sorrow); and his father called him Benjamin (son on right hand); and Rachel die, and is buried in the way to Ephratha, which is Bethlehem (where Jesus was born two thousand years later), and Jacob set up a standing pillar over her grave; which is the standing pillar of Rachel’s grave unto this day. And Israel journey, and stretch out his tent beyond the tower of Edar;” (Genesis 35)

    The first Rachel died early like thirty something. She also had two lovely sons. She did not get to see Isaac (picture of Jesus). Go to sleep now. Soon the trumpet call and the end is the beginning! He already prepare rooms for His people. (He who was son of sorrow to Mary became the Son on the right hand of our Father)

  • Brenda Dyck

    Hopefully you watched Rachel’s streamed funeral yesterday. I think you would be very surprised how much Rachel got it right, and how many beliefs you had in common. Important, deal breaking beliefs.
    Your judgement and absolute sureness of the mystery of God and the interpretations of the Scriptures is disturbing. You voiced concern about how Rachel misled people towards hell and questioned her own salvation. I think it’s exactly the opposite. There is a massive band of people who found it in their heart the ability to reconsider faith, church and God because of Rachel. Judgements like yours continue to wound and turn people away. Please rethink how sure you are and how the mystery of God is much broader then you could ever imagine.

    • Jesse H

      Why is it noble to question assurance of salvation? Isn’t assurance of the essence of belief in the promise of Jesus?

      Do you think that Rachel’s influence was in bringing many more people to faith in Christ, or in making many more people leave the faith and be okay with doing so?

  • Brad

    I truly hope, Grayson, that you will come to see why many of us see your writing as dangerously arrogant. You are too sure of yourself and your reading of the Bible. Consider the possibility (probability?) that the RHE’s of this world are entering the kingdom ahead of you.

    • Jesse H

      I’ve considered it. And now based on a scholarly reading of Scripture, 2000 years of historic Church and Christian tradition, and the Holy Spirit illuminating me I’ve rejected it. Is this arrogant?

  • YOur comments took my breath away! Having stopped following RHE years and years ago because of the direction she was going, I assumed only the glowing positive comments would come out at her death. To have someone actually report that “the king has no clothes” shows, to me, courage. We are not called to judge people but we ARE commanded to judge teachings!

  • *Salt’nLight*

    “…death is a constant reminder for the alive to reflect, ponder, and in many cases, repent. My thoughts are varied; it is a sensitive time no doubt, but my honest hope is that in the midst of this, someone might be moved to think about what actually stands to come at the end of their own life. Think of this as more of an appeal than anything. I am appealing that you will join me in examining this occasion with the sobriety it truly deserves.” Your comments are wise, Grayson. Thank you for taking time to challenge us to think about what awaits us all at the end of our lives. 🙂 God bless you.

  • Patrick Howell

    Your audacity to suggest that someone like Rachel isn’t rejoicing with her Heavenly Father right now is stunning – and damning. Rachel Held led more people to Christ in her short life than you will if given a millennia. Rachel surrounded herself with folks from every walk of life, just like Jesus taught us to do. You seek and receive the adulations of the Pharisees. I urge you to reject your piety and get on your knees, right now, and beg Jesus to show you the true way.