Wednesday, May 08, 2019


Thus far I haven't made any direct comments on the life, death, and legacy of Rachel Held Evans:

1. It's a family tragedy that she died at 37, leaving behind two young kids and a bereaved husband. 

2. Some of her defenders are striving to have it both ways. On the one hand they treat her as a fearless theological shieldmaiden. On the other hand, they treat her as untouchable. Take the Christianity Today article that was pulled a few hours after publication because, apparently, it was insufficiently adulatory. 

I don't bow to their double standard. RHE was an outspoken critic of conservative evangelical theology. She was a public figure by choice. Some folks are dragged into the limelight against their will, but she courted publicity. 

When Hans Küng dies, that will be an occasion for lots of commentary, from supporters and critics alike, about his theology and legacy. There's nothing hateful about that.

3. Both on Twitter and on his blog, progressive theologian Randal Rauser has been hunting for reactions to be offended by. Essentially daring or baiting anyone to say something he can offended by. On the lookout for something outrageous, he moused over to Pulpit & Pen. In my deliberately limited experience of Pulpit and Pen, it's like an internet version of the Westboro cult. That's a reliable source of spite. Mission accomplished! 

4. Over the years I've posted almost nothing about RHE. Up until now, I haven't made any public comments about her theology, "apostasy" or eternal destiny for a couple of reasons:

i) My understanding of her theology is almost entirely secondhand. I know her by reputation. But I have almost no direct knowledge of her theology, so I'm not qualified to offer a detailed assessment. 

ii) It'a my impression that she was a popularizer. From what I can tell, her following was personality-driven. I doubt that will have a lasting impact. In critiquing progressive theology, I aim higher up the food chain, viz. Randal Rauser Gregory Boyd, Peter Enns, Marilyn McCord Adams. 


  1. "Progressive" Christianity present itself as the good vibes, don't-harsh-my-mellow camp. But they are intolerant of historic Christianity, and its heresies are, in fact, cruel and soul-destroying.

    1. I have difficulty distinguishing progressive Christianity from progressivism in general. :)

  2. Here's everything you need to know about Rachel Held Evans. She was a rank heretic, and sadly unsaved.

    1. Thanks for this link. I had no idea who RHE was. Nice read. Sounds like she was a dime a dozen apostate.

  3. with regard to your 4(ii) in that sense RHE was much like her one time foil, Mark Driscoll, a popularizer of other writers more than a substantial thinker in their own terms.

    I tend to see Pulpit and Pen as the Dale Gribble of the Christian blogosphere but that may be too negative a take on the King of the Hill character, since he does have some likable qualities besides being paranoid and prone to conspiracy theorizing.

    But I made it plain enough at my blog that I regarded writers such as RHE and Mark Driscoll as the sorts of popular level writers we need less of on both the progressive and conservative side of popular level Christian publishing but in a lot of ways the burden of responsibility is in the popular level publishing industry itself that transforms theses sorts of writers who wield social media into stars.