Rachel Held Evans, author, blogger, has died

By Elizabeth Prata

rhe
Rachel Held Evans, age 37, has died.

Columnist, author, mother of two, Evans had been in a medically induced coma since April 19, 2019. According to updates provided by her husband of 16 years, Dan, during treatment for an infection Rachel began exhibiting unexpected symptoms. Doctors found that her brain was experiencing constant seizures. The coma was induced in order to calm the seizures. On April 30th Dan wrote that the neurology team at the 3rd hospital they admitted Rachel to were now attempting to wean Rachel off of the coma medication without the seizures restarting, as there were complications that could occur if she was kept in a coma for too long. On May 2, 2019, Rachel experienced a sudden swelling of the brain that was not survivable. Rachel never regained consciousness.

Evans died early Saturday morning, May 4, 2019.

Evans was influential not only in the Christian world but in the secular world, too, for her liberal views of Christianity. Her openness about her personal doubt in the faith, her acceptance of homosexuality, her feminism, her promotion of gender egalitarianism, her waffling stance on abortion, and rage against an evangelical machine resonated with many.

Since her first book, “Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions”, was published in 2010, Rachel had begun accumulating a massive following on her website, Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram; about a quarter of a million followers as of this month.

Her next book two years later was even more popular, making it to the NY Times’ Best Seller list. Titled, “A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master”, Rachel had decided to follow every Old Testament command for living as a wife/woman and wrote about it. Two other books followed, in 2015 and in 2018, as well as speaking engagements and broadcast interviews. Her recently established GoFundMe page to help with medical expenses rapidly exceeded the targeted amount of $70,000, raising $111,810 in just 11 days and rose even more after her death was announced. Rachel was popular.

Rachel’s supporters were many but so were her detractors. Espousing a liberalism that many (including me) understood to be beyond the bounds of God’s actual word, many feared for Rachel’s soul as much as we feared her influence.

Open Letters were written, rebukes were proffered, counseling was given. Sadly, as it appears to occur with most people who drift from the Word of God, she only entrenched herself further into aberrant views, drifting away from the Rock.

Her supporters are vociferous about Rachel’s goodness and her necessary and righteous theology. As this tragedy was agonizingly drawn out for her family over these last two weeks it adds to the upheaval as usually occurs when a public figure lingers tantalizingly in the twilight between life and death.

Oftentimes we are not given an opportunity to pray so well and so long for a person’s soul. Death comes suddenly in many cases, unexpectedly. For Rachel, many who were praying, including me, were praying for a physical and a spiritual awakening. Having looked so long into the deepness of the dark abyss, these two weeks were a time to publicly ponder eternity with or without a Holy God, much to many people’s discomfort.

The death of someone who lived the life of an apostate is sobering, never joyful to anyone who knows the truth of judgment for those outside the Lord. Though there are many who teach falsely in the world, some who anger me, some who puzzle me, there are some, like Rachel, that the Lord inexplicably put on my heart as if she was a close family member wandering from the fold. I cried real tears when I wrote my Open Letter to her 6 years ago, I cried real tears in Mid-April when I learned she was in dire medical condition, and I cried sorrowful grief-ridden tears over her death when I learned of it this morning.

I prayed that Rachel Held Evans, at some point, had repented. I know not of her final state, but here is a warning to her followers, as one pastor who wrote (not directly of Rachel’s death but in general):

The world’s favorite Christian is an apostate Christian; but that love is a suicidal love (Matthew 5:13-16).

May these two weeks have been a sobering time for people who cling to a theology that is of Rachel Held Evans and not of God, and had heeded the warnings of myself and many others who took a moment to warn in love. May that be the good that comes out of this tragedy.

46 thoughts on “Rachel Held Evans, author, blogger, has died

  1. I praise God for Rachel’s witness and all of the people she led to God through Christ Jesus! Well done, good and faithful servant! There are many in God’s Kingdom today who would be far from God without her important ministry.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Marianne, I’m sad to say that Rachel had theologies that were far from Christ, and led no one anywhere except away from Jesus. Her witness was one of rebellion and apostasy…

      She was a false teacher, and I’m grieved over this news because of what it means for her and her followers, when they, too, pass into eternity.

      Liked by 8 people

      1. You seem to claim authority that only God has. I would rather see people come to the Lord than be forced out by Pharisaical Christians who believe they know who’s in and who’s out. Jesus fought to make sure that Pharisees were corrected and the people who were considered irreligious knew they could access God. Rachel fought for the same and was criticized by Pharisaical folks just as Jesus was.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. See, that is the problem with liberal theologies like Rachel’s and yours. There IS such a thing as propositional truth, absolute truth. Studying it and proclaiming it isn’t Pharisaical, it’s Christian, it is what we are called to do. (Matthew 28:18-20).

        Jesus told us who is in and who is out and how to recognize them-

        “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them.” Mt 7:15-16. Also Romans 16:17, 2 Timothy 3:5, 2 Peter 2:1,1 John 4:1. MUCH is said in His word about how to tell those who bear no fruit, AND what to do about it when we encounter them. It doesn’t make anyone ‘Phairisaical”, it makes us wise.

        Here is a good article on Neo-Pharisaism, what it means- https://michellelesley.com/2019/05/03/neo-pharisaism/

        Liked by 8 people

      3. Gail Crouch

        It’s amazing how you so-called whatever you wanna call yourselves are so judgmental ! God is the one that judges, not you! You have no right to call anyone a false teacher! Exactly who died on the cross and left you a judge! Rachel was a wonderful loving woman and you have no right to dirty her name. God told us to love one another that’s the greatest commandment after loving God, and that’s what she did! Too bad you can’t do that!

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      4. Hi Gail,

        I know that these early days after Rachel’s death are hard for her followers who loved her. But the truth is the truth. God judges the heart and the final state of every person, but we do judge whether a person’s teaching is aligned with His word or not. The Bible tells us to do that in every New Testament book (except Philemon). So to answer your question, “Exactly who died on the cross and left you a judge!” Jesus did. Here is a page of scriptures telling His children to discern, judge with right judgment, and be wise about who we follow.
        https://www.openbible.info/topics/false_teachers

        Loving someone does not include loving them into hell, nor does it mean loving a false teacher’s followers into hell. Love isn’t tolerant of false teaching. Those scriptures above tell us to warn, mark, avoid, and turn away from these teachers. Also to snatch those who follow from the fire, if we can. I’m sorry you care more about dirtying Rachel’s name than how Rachel dirtied Jesus’s through her aberrant theology.

        Liked by 5 people

      5. triplejaymom

        Hi Elizabeth. I’m so glad you referenced the Michelle Lesley article. I was thinking of it the whole time I was reading the comment calling you a Pharisee. How fitting is it that Michelle’s latest blog post was perfectly timed for those who call out RHE’s bad theology at her passing? I knew this barrage would be coming against those who, although mourning her tragic death, will stand on God’s truth rather than praise the unbiblical things she said and believed.

        Liked by 3 people

    2. Lisa

      I pray for the family left behind. I pray for the people led away from God by her influence. He decides when we take our last breath. To God be the glory.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Those who are in Christ never walk away, Jesus preserves them. (John 10:29). Those who walk away, never were of Him (As the Bible says-They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 1 John 2:19).

        The Jesus that Rachel helped them come back to was NOT this same Jesus of the Bible (Acts 1:11) but a god of her own making. He was no God and her witness was false. Romans 16:17-18 applies here, with RHE being the one creating obstacles and divisions-

        Now I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who create divisions and obstacles that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Turn away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.

        Liked by 5 people

    1. Truly heartbreaking news. I prayed that she would be healed physically and spiritually. Now, I will continue in prayer for her family that their eyes might be opened and that they might come to repentance. May the Lord of all comfort bring comfort and the light of truth to her family. May He also open the eyes of those who were deceived by what she taught. Soli Deo Gloria!

      Liked by 5 people

  2. You have posted this article pronouncing this beloved child of God as beyond salvation on the day she died. Because I know Jesus’ grace and mercy, I believe this is in error, and I also know it is very hurtful. For the sake of Christian love, I urge you to take down the post. Especially for the sake of her family, grieving her death today.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. That is true. Given her aberrant theology, rebellious life, and obvious apostasy, yes, it is highly likely RHE will be one of the people to whom Jesus will say,

        “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matt 7:21-23.

        The reason this situation is so tragic is that RHE embodies the type of person being spoken to above. Again, I can’t say with certainty, but it is likely. I don’t condemn, but Jesus does, as we plainly see in the above series of devastating verses. Sobering to think about

        Liked by 8 people

      2. I would argue the opposite, because the fruit of her life was to bring God’s children back to the Father, which is clearly God’s will. She clearly knew God in Christ personally from the way she lived and the Gospel of grace she proclaimed.

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      3. Agreed. I do encourage you to take down this post out of respect for the grieving, because of our obligation to Christian Love and compassion. This would be hurtful to Rachel’s family. Thanks for considering it prayerfully, putting yourself in their shoes.

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      4. I agree it’s a sensitive time. I believe I wrote it sensitively. I also believe it’s important to try and state the truth, and to try and reach her followers with it. I am also processing my own grief. It’s real. The post will be staying up. But thank you for your concern and your kindness during this exchange. 🙂

        Liked by 5 people

  3. Pingback: Rachel Held-Evans, author and blogger, has died.

  4. Thank you for lovingly warning the world of this reality. If anyone follows her teaching, I pray for them to repent. We all can compare her teachings to God’s word, and I pray many now feel convicted to do just that.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. So many people become popular by selling the Kool-Aid that many long to drink. God’s truth isn’t always comfortable -self deprivation can seem so fleshly difficult.
      Mark 8:34 -And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.
      And His word is so very ‘unAmerican woman-like’. I have walked in both the dark, the light, and dark… The Kool-Aid only tastes good for a little while… If you focus on passing around the Kool-Aid to others -the dark is far less lonely. Yet, no matter how many people are in the dark with you, you never feel okay inside. You have to keep passing out more Kool-Aid and more Kool-Aid.
      But the light – The Truth – like it or not, this is where we come to know things, a peace that doesn’t always make sense but is restful, nonetheless, and God is there! Shining! Like light in the darkness… Oh, I pray she saw that light before …

      Liked by 5 people

    2. Hi stephlookingup, I agree. This whole thing was an opportunity to bring truth to those who are deceived. I’m writing more about that tomorrow. I have been praying for the Lord to bring many, or at least *one* out of RHE’s false teaching.

      Liked by 4 people

  5. Reading of her death made my heart sink. I hope she repented. Elizabeth, you wrote this post with greater sensitivity and commitment to God’s Word. It’s a sad, sobering thing when someone who consistently compromised Scripture dies. Very sobering indeed.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Thank you DebbieLynne. I’ve been deeply studying Matthew 7:21-23 all the more. I remember in many different interviews, John MacArthur said that particular verse spoke to him deeply, the “Lord, Lord didn’t we…” It does with me too. I have a horror and a stomach churning fear of that verse, not for myself, but for others who are self-deceived. On that day they will hear the awful words. There but for the grace of God, I would be also deceived! (Though the Spirit would bring me out of false teaching if I am really saved). For the many it’s absolutely heartbreaking. HELL IS REAL, and FOREVER. I think it should be required reading or listening for every Christian, whether true or self-deceived, to sit for a session on Jonathan Edwards’ Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. jk, of course, but I keep a salient portion of that sermon in my Bible flap and re-read it just to make sure I remember from time ot time that God is love, but He is 3X HOLY.

      Liked by 4 people

  6. Elizabeth, thanks so much for your wise words and for graciously standing up for the truth!

    Yes, Evans led many back to “church,” but it begs the question to assume she pointed them to a saving relationship with the real Jesus. God’s terms are as clear as they are gracious: Repent and believe. Evans made a living undermining and even mocking the word of God.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. “I would argue the opposite, because the fruit of her life was to bring God’s children back to the Father, which is clearly God’s will. She clearly knew God in Christ personally from the way she lived and the Gospel of grace she proclaimed.”

    But I never saw her “bring God’s children back” according to his terms. It was always her made-up terms, which were the opposite of what the Bible teaches.

    Her main self-descriptor was that she was “doubt-filled,” but she expressed zero doubts about her “biblical” beliefs that LGBTQX behavior is acceptable to God and not something to be repented of, her support of pro-abortion policies, etc.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Eternity Matters, you brought up a good point: “Her main self-descriptor was that she was “doubt-filled,” but she expressed zero doubts about her “biblical” beliefs that LGBTQX behavior is acceptable to God and not something to be repented of, her support of pro-abortion policies, etc.” Good point!

      Liked by 4 people

    2. God’s terms are that we recognize that we need God and turn for Home, and when He sees us a long way off, He runs to embrace us! Rachel helped many to start on the path to Home and their Father. I am so grateful for her important witness! She was not ministering to those who were already Christians but to those who needed to know the Gospel is for THEM TOO. These are the folks Jesus also reached out for, and He was criticized for doing so.
      And Heaven rejoiced when they started on the path Home, and the Father embraced every one of them, because His mercy and grace are deeper and wider than we have yet imagined. That is the Gospel…..good news. It’s the only reason you and I are part of the Family, too.

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      1. “God’s terms are that we recognize that we need God and turn for Home, and when He sees us a long way off, He runs to embrace us! Rachel helped many to start on the path to Home and their Father. I am so grateful for her important witness! She was not ministering to those who were already Christians but to those who needed to know the Gospel is for THEM TOO. These are the folks Jesus also reached out for, and He was criticized for doing so.”

        No. She peddled a false gospel and gave them a false hope. She didn’t tell them to repent and believe, she affirmed them in their sin. Jesus didn’t do that. She was a Romans 1:32 poster child.

        She taught a false inclusiveness. Yes, ALL are included if they come on Jesus’ terms, but those who don’t are excluded.

        She made a god in her own image. Sad.

        Admin note: I edited out the link included in the comment. I don’t have time to vet every link included with a comment, but rather than dismiss this comment entirely as I usually do others, I edited the comment to keep the thought but delete the url.

        Liked by 4 people

  8. Anon

    I knew I could count on you still chugging along and up to date on current church related news. I remembered she was a false teacher but wanted to name specifics and you came through. My first reaction was not to rejoice in the death of the wicked so much as (I hope I’m not deceiving myself) be grateful to God for ending a person’s false teaching, so I appreciated your more empathetic tone as a check. Knowing you’re on the spectrum makes your weeping more poignant because it reveals the glory of Christ transforming us into his image. I’m not on the spectrum but could false-positive to a careless screener, and I’ve similarly found myself grieving for people more than I ever would’ve before being saved, especially unusual examples like strangers, eg the director/leads of Frozen and Jordan Peterson. He changes our desires and that’s the most encouraging witness to my own salvation that I have experienced. I sure went off on a tangent there, but in summary, thanks for being timely with this article

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Pingback: Now That Rachel Held Evans Has Died,Should We Stop Calling Her A False Teacher? | The Outspoken TULIP

  10. Thank you for such a kind and thoughtful post. Sadly, many followers of RHE are being anything BUT kind in response to posts like this. I have read some truly hateful words the last day or so, all from supposed followers of Christ. This only proves to me that they are all actually followers of Rachel, and that is not even CLOSE to being the same thing. Something else I’ve noted in the some of the comments I’ve been reading….the DESPAIR over her death. I find this curious given their certainty of her being in Heaven now. Even Christians grieve the loss of a fellow saint, but what I’ve been reading… isn’t that. At any rate – thank you for the reminder to pray. God may reach a lost soul through all of this conversation, and even one would be precious. I also believe that God is winnowing out the false church from the true church in these end times.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “Something else I’ve noted in the some of the comments I’ve been reading….the DESPAIR over her death. I find this curious given their certainty of her being in Heaven now. ”

      Very wise insight! Now that you wrote it, I see it clearly.

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      1. sarahwolf2017Sarah

        The despair comes from the fact that her voice was so important for those for whom the Church has rejected. She was instrumental in getting many to give their faith another try. Get off your high horses.

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      2. Sarah, I have a sincere question. Can you help me understand what you mean when you write “her voice was so important for those for whom the Church has rejected”? How does the global church (or a local church) reject a believer? What is that about?

        Also, sincerely again, why do people look to RHE for a voice when we have the Ultimate voice in Christ? Isn’t His throne where we are supposed to take our hurts and wounds? Please help me out.

        Liked by 2 people

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