Rachel Held Evans

May 4, 2019

On the Passing of Progressive Christian Author Rachel Held Evans

You can have confidence in God and trust in His will, but still feel saddened by the outcome. Sincere sadness is how I am feeling after hearing the news that progressive Christian author Rachel Held Evans died early this morning after severe swelling of her brain after weeks in a medically induced coma. Briefly, I want to offer my condolences to the Evans family and express a simple reflection.

Obviously, Rachel and I disagreed on significant Christian teachings. But as she and I once acknowledged, there were likely many other areas in life that we had in common. For instance, we were both wives and mothers of small children, which is why my heart, prayers, and support go out especially to Rachel’s toddler son, baby daughter, and husband Dan. May God comfort their aching souls as they mourn the loss of Rachel–who no doubt loved her family dearly.

Such unexpected loss of such a vibrant young woman causes me to think that perhaps the Church would be better off if we called a moratorium on our inner debating, if only for a short while, to truly empathize with the grieving, hurting, doubting, and searching that our Christian neighbors across the theological aisle are facing right now. On this, I believe Rachel Held Evans and I would have agreed.

A GoFundMe page was started shortly after Rachel was hospitalized for her serious illness. Please visit https://www.gofundme.com/supporting-rachel-held-evans to offer your support for Rachel’s family during this devastating time.

16 Responses to On the Passing of Progressive Christian Author Rachel Held Evans

  1. Of course we are compassionate towards any family losing a loved one like that. But we should not use those feelings to assume that everyone self-identifying as a Christian is/was in fact one, especially when their livelihood was based on teaching things that mocked the Bible. Words mean things, and Evans disagreed with the Bible and did great damage to people by affirming them in sin.

    • John says:

      ‘ … everyone self-identifying as a Christian is/was in fact one.’ I couldn’t disagree with you there.

    • Joan Wesley says:

      Chelsen did not judge Rachel on her beliefs, she simply admitted that she disagreed with her beliefs. A lack of agreement between people does not equal judgment. We are all flawed and we are all trying to navigate this life as best as we know how. Who know, at final judgment we may all discover we have missed the point and will all be in equal need of God’s great mercy as expressed in the birth, death. life, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ who was God himself paying the price He required for our human failings.

      • Lawrence Kreh says:

        Your comments are wise and compassionate. We can judge opinions and actions according to our own discernment but we cannot judge souls. Indeed we are saved neither by works or right doctrine, andin the end we will be surprised at some of our own errors.

  2. Diane says:

    Beloved of God, may her energizing, life-giving spirit live on in the lives of those she touched anc continues to touch. May she rest in the eternal peace and grace of the Giver and Creator of all that is good and holy. And may those dearest and closer to her be sustained and comforted by the Love that surpasses all love.

  3. Diane says:

    Correction -Closest, not closer

  4. Jim says:

    I think some miss the point of this article. Chelsen is suggesting that this is not the time to evaluate the work and message of Rachel Held Evans. This is a time to grief with the family and support them in prayers if nothing else. There will be time to evaluate the worth of her work and message but his is not one of them.

  5. Sam Buick says:

    I am sorry for her passing and very sorry for the loss the family has to endure, from the kids to the husband. I saw first hand the damage her writing did to the faith of people. I only hope she had time before the coma to come to repentance with God for what she did. Her writing was filled with errors and heresies, damnable ones. She will, like ALL of us be held to account for what we have done, when we too face our Lord and Maker. What we say and do in this life has eternal ramifications, not just for ourselves, but the people we influence. Evans had a massive audience who all drank the oxymoron “Progressive Christian” Kool-Aid. Remember Jonestown? Same kind of thing here. Beliefs have consequences. I pray she made things right with God. Before it was too late.

  6. John Hackney says:

    The New York Times, Slate, CNN, Washington Post, Atlantic and NPR have all published obituaries bursting with praise for this woman. Put that in your pipe and smoke on it for a while.

  7. SN says:

    Don’t judge anyone by your human limitations. Only God’s judgments are flawless (John 8:15-16).
    Don’t be quick to condemn someone else’s actions. God is patient, but He doesn’t overlook anyone’s disobedience, especially yours (Romans 2:1-5).
    Don’t attack each other. Try to be a good example so others won’t copy your bad behavior (Romans 14:13).
    Don’t speak destructive things about others. Are you qualified to perfectly judge someone else? (James 4:11-12).
    Judging Others – You Lose
    By judging others in an unbiblical and hypocritical way, we pay an enormous price. In every case, our choice to criticize another person causes severe damage in our lives. Ridiculing others exposes us to the righteous judgment of God, and we bring more suffering on ourselves by our complaints against one another than we are aware of (James 5:9). Judging people and accusing them is what Satan does (Revelation 12:10).1 In addition to ruining other people’s lives, judging others in an unbiblical way:

    Robs us of hope – Our critical spirit steals our joy and peace, making it impossible to trust in God’s power (Romans 15:13).
    Attempts to question God’s authority – When we judge another, our sins become magnified in God’s eyes (John 8:3-7).

    • David Taylor says:

      I’m not sure what to make of this comment. If it’s intended as a general admonition about judging others, then there’s some truth in it (albeit awkwardly expressed).

      If it’s directed at critics of Held Evans, including other commenters here, then it’s about the clearest example of projection I’ve seen in a long time.

  8. Donald says:

    I appreciate Ms. Vicari’s graciousness. How often individuals on the other side of this theological-political debate have imaged for – and then praised – the death the death of leaders who hold traditional values.
    Ms. Vicari is a credit to the faith.

  9. joe m says:

    Great piece. 100% on target.

  10. Shelia says:

    I think the term “discern” needs to be used here instead of “judge”. Discernment is something the Christian needs to rightly divide the Word of God. I never was a ‘fan’ of Rachel Held Evans for that reason. I’m not judging her.

  11. Susanne Johnson says:

    I’m disappointed that anyone — much less a fellow Christian — would reduce and equate the writings of Rachel Held Evans with the work of Jim Jones, and the evil his work produced. Based on the many testimonies I’ve read, the writings of Evans prompted many persons who’d dropped out and given up on the church and Christianity to return, and become an even more committed follower of Jesus Christ.

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