After spending over two weeks in a medically induced coma, on Saturday, May 4, 2019, Rachel Held Evans passed away. She leaves behind a husband and two small children to wrestle grief that I cannot begin to comprehend. Many expressed sadness and shock at the unexpected turn of her young life as news began to spread that morning.
As quickly as the those who mourned her loss spoke, so did those who expressed their warnings of her lost life. Pulpit and Pen led the charge by posting two articles within hours of her passing. The first, “How Do we Respond to the Death of an Apostate? The Untimely passing of Rachel Held Evans” in one breath notes Rachel was an apostate and the fate of her soul is very clear:
In that light, how do we respond when a person like this passes into eternity, by all biblically reasonable accounts, apart from the saving blood and knowledge of the true and holy only begotten Son of the living God?
We should certainly not shrink from the realities that such a situation confronts us with. Only God Himself can pass final judgement on a human soul, however He has given us His word whereby we are to declare His revealed mind on all things, including the standards by which yes, we ARE to judge the state of others when it is this clear according to the evidence their life has shown us.
And in the next breath offers insincere condolences:
It is in the spirit of both of these biblical principles that Pulpit and Pen expresses it’s sorrow and regret at the passing of Rachel Held Evans. Both for the loss of her soul and for the unbiblical and further soul damning treatment that her already tragic death will inevitably give occasion to.
In the second article, “Heretical Author, Rachel Held Evans, Dead at Age 37” reminds readers that Rachel’s loved ones cannot mourn with hope:
Rachel Held Evans was a heretic. While she was not a professional theologian or clergy person, her influential writings no doubt led many sinners astray or, at the very least, provided false assurance to those living in sin that they stood justified before God. The Lord takes no pleasure in the destruction of the wicked. The death of Rachel Held Evans is not an occasion for joy but for mourning. We should be in serious prayer for her family and loved ones, who have to mourn without assurance that they mourn with hope.
And tells readers to learn something out Rachel’s passing:
It’s very likely that the Christian readers of this article know at least one person a lot like Evans. As a fellow evangelical native Tennesseean, I know I do. Let’s take the time, while they are still with us, to provide a gospel witness to our doubting and erring friends and family members.
Instead of offering compassion and empathy to Rachel’s family, Pulpit and Pen declared her to be an apostate and heretic (something they already have done) and sent a very strong message that they know she is in hell. They could have simply said, “While we did not agree with Rachel’s theological beliefs, we offer our sincere condolences.” That would have been the kind thing to do.
Pulpit and Pen’s message carried over on their Facebook page where readers commented with blessed assurance that Rachel was learning that God is a man and in fact was not saved. An attempt to reason with a commentor left me banned from the page.
Thankfully, Pulpit and Pen received lots of push back. Wade Burleson wrote an excellent piece. This led to JD Hall doubling down today with “Rachel Held Evans and the Rightness of Post-Mortem Discernment“:
Pulpit & Pen ran two articles over the weekend about Rachel Held Evans, one by Greg Smith and one by Seth Dunn. Both pointed out that (this is my paraphrase) she was an apostate, is probably in hell, that we should mourn the loss of her soul, and pray for her family.
Some of the Survivor Blog women with whom Evans’ feminism resonated so well, sent me messages asking us to refrain from commenting for the time being. They were already too late with their request at the time of publication.
Well, thanks for trying, Julie Anne.
Essentially, this is nothing but spiritual bullying by people who think their “truth” is the only truth. And, if you don’t believe this truth, then you question God and the Bible. Never mind that there is a wide depth to Christian practices. If you don’t believe this way, then you are a heretic and apostate, and will face the same soul-damning fate. There is a reason why Pulpit and Pen chose to place the word “polemic” in their tag line. Their spirit resonates this word so well.
My heart remains heavy for those wounded by leaders whose arrogance use the Bible as a weapon to harm instead of to heal. I’ve been on the receiving end of that arrogance and it is not pleasant. The Bible is God’s story of redemption, salvation, and freedom from oppression. It’s not a story of slavery and damnation. The gospel is the hope that comes from the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, not the torment of a fiery pit of hell.
In the end, I understand where Pulpit and Pen is coming from. I don’t agree with them, but I understand because they have stated before their thoughts on Rachel Held Evans. This time, what hit the hardest was the timing of the articles which showed a lack of respect to those grieving the loss of a loved one. I don’t think JD Hall and the writers at Pulpit and Pen can understand this because their theology is more important. At this, all I can say is that empathy and compassion goes a lot farther than condemnation.
Ecclesiates 3: 1 – 8
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.