Sunday, May 05, 2019

Pulpit and Pen and the Death of Rachel Held Evans

Rachel Held Evans died early in the morning, Friday, May 4, 2019, with her family surrounding her bedside. 

Rachel, 37-years old, entered the hospital a few weeks ago with the flu and a urinary tract infection. A mysterious reaction to antibiotics caused seizures that required a medically induced coma to control them.

This week, doctors unsuccessfully tried to bring Rachel out of her coma. She leaves behind a husband, two small children, and many fans from her best-selling books

Though I never had the opportunity to meet Rachel, she corresponded with me via email several times.

Rachel took a different perspective on some theological, social, and political issues than I, but she is a beloved sister in Christ, a wonderful spokesperson for the Royal Law of Love, and an intelligent and articulate Christian author. 

However, Pulpit and Pen, a small group of men who self-identify as reformed, conservative, and "biblical," took to their blog on the day Rachel Evans died and called Rachel Held Evans "a heretic," an "apostate," and suggested her soul was now damned in hell

Be careful Pulpit and Pen, be very careful. 

The Sanhedrin served as the Supreme Court of Israel in the days of the Law. They pronounced judgment on people, including capital punishment by stoning. 

The Sanhedrin met in two places during the days of Jesus. 

First, the Sanhedrin met in a building called The Chamber of Hewn Stone next to Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It was here that Jesus was taken from Caiaphas' house early on the morning of His crucifixion. At the Chamber of Hewn Stone, the Sanhedrin condemned the Messiah to death

The Sanhedrin then went with Jesus to Antonio's Fortress to obtain Roman permission to kill Him. 

They needed Pontius Pilate's permission to put Jesus to death because Judah had lost the ability of capital punishment during Jesus' lifetime, fulfilling the prophecy that"the scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between His feet until Shiloh come" Genesis 49:10

Shiloh, an ancient Hebrew name for the Messiah, had indeed come. 

Second, the Sanhedrin also met at a place "outside the camp" of Jerusalem. On top of the Mount of Olives, in a little community of Jewish priests called Bethphage, the Sanhedrin met in a meeting hall where they would make judgments on the "unclean" who were not able to enter the Temple Mount. At Bethphage, the Sanhedrin met to pronounce judgment and death on all those they deemed unworthy of Yawheh. 

Bethphage means "House of the Unripe Fig." 

During Jesus' last visit to Bethpage, He cursed the unripe fig tree, and it died. It's no accident Jesus cursed the unripe fig tree at Bethphage.

Bethphage, "The House of the Unripe Fig," was where the Sanhedrin met to promote the Law and condemn the unclean. 

When Jesus curses the unripe fig tree at Bethphage, He visually portrays what He thinks of religious people who condemn those they deem unclean and unworthy.

One should pause and seriously consider the consequences before choosing to take a seat among the Sanhedrin in the House of the Unripe Fig.

It's far better to endure the curse of the religious Sanhedrin for violations of Law than to be cursed by the relational Savior for violations of Love. 

Pulpit and Pen, I call on you to remember Bethphage and take down your Rachel Held Evans posts. 

For those who wish to help in the medical and funeral expenses of Rachel Held Evans, a GoFund Me page can be found here.


Debbie Kaufman said...

Amen and amen.

Tom Callaghan said...

Well said, Amen!

Celeste said...

As someone who works with people who die more often than we would like, I have learned that it is not our place to understand. Our God has a plan that is sometimes not for us to see or appreciate. May her grieving family feel God's presence in their lives at this difficult time. May her children always remember their mother's love and know that they are loved.

Anonymous said...


"We were a diverse group: evangelical and Lutheran, Baptist and Episcopalian, Latina and black and white and Indian and Korean, high church and low church, Catholic and Protestant, Reformed and Methodist, straight and gay and bisexual and transgender, pastors and scholars, writers and activists, crunchy dreadlocked mamas, tattooed and foul-mouthed priests, sweet-talkin’ southerners, and stiletto-boasting fashionistas. Looking at us from the outside, you’d have no idea what we all had in common. While there were variations in the verses, our shared refrain remained unapologetically orthodox, undeniably Christian. We spoke of sin, repentance, baptism, confession, incarnation, resurrection, and Scripture. We proclaimed the great mystery of the faith—that Christ has died, Christ has risen, and Christ will come again. We served and received communion. We ran out of tissue."


"Jesus invites us into a story that is bigger than ourselves, bigger than our culture, bigger even than our imaginations, and yet we get to tell that story with the scandalous particularity of our particular moment and place in time. We are storytelling creatures because we are fashioned in the image of a storytelling God.

May we never neglect the gift of that. May we never lose our love for telling the tale."

(Rachel Held Evans)

Rest in peace, Rachel, child of light, daughter of the Church, she who loved the Lord.

Unknown said...

Rest in peace, sister Rachel!

Elijah2012 said...

I'd think it would be far more advantageous to shutting down the stance of Pulpit and Pen to actually cite the ways in which Rachel Held Evans was not a heretic or apostate. Can people who were nice and died not be heretics? The whole thing with Bethpage and the Sanhedrin is an analogy that only has merit if the comparison is apt. The apostles called people heretics at times were they to consider bethpage?

Wade Burleson said...


Rachel had faith in Jesus.

Rachel had hope for sinners.

Rachel had a love for people.

Faith, hope, and love.

Rachel Held Evans was not a heretic.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Elijah: If you think Christianity as taught in the Bible is just doctrine or correct doctrine, or totally agreeing with your interpretation of the Bible, you have a very wrong view of Christianity according to the scriptures.

Ken F said...

How do you define what is heresy and what is not? It's a serious question. I used to think I knew the answer, but I found there is huge disagreement among Christians over what is and is not heresy. Thanks.

John Roland said...

Very well said. RIP Rachel and praying for your precious family.

Unknown said...

Just as my tongue slaps the roof of my mouth (the definition of "larapin") when I've had a delicious piece of peach cobbler, I have to slap my leg or clap my hands, or sometimes just sit & vibrate with joy when I read one of your blogs, Wade.

Kathi said...

Thank you, Wade, for this response! Yesterday I felt my anger burning after reading P&P's two posts, not to mention the insensitive comments left by posters on their FB page affirming her as an apostate and heretic and questioning her salvation. The articles and comments lacked empathy beyond my understanding. The fact that they can't acknowledge there are wide and vast view of Christianity and that their "truth" is their interpretation exposes their arrogance.

Lee Saunders said...

Well said. I am beyond words to add anything to your comments. I think of the words of the apostle in 1 John 4 where he makes it clear that the spirit that comes from God declares that Jesus is the Christ, and that declaration alone divides believers from antichrist. Rachel Held Evans was, by the life she lived and the words she spoke and wrote, a believer and declarer of Jesus as the Christ. And that's the final word on it.

Father Joshua Lickter said...

Historically heresy has been defined in light if the Apostles and Nicene Creeds. Rachel affirmed both. So while she may have been wrong in some of her beliefs, she was not a heretic.

Paul said...

I did not agree with RHE on more than one issue but I am guessing P&P has turned away far more people from the gospel than most of the "heretics" they love to attack. Sadly they would wear that reality as a badge of honor for standing for the "truth" and yet what the NT makes crystal clear in terms of how we are to be known is visibly evident from their attempts to defend the very gospel they repeatedly contradict.

If your "discernment" abilities cannot even discern properly the when, how, and why of voicing your opinion, you cannot and should not be trusted with the what (content).

Fortunately I have never met someone who takes the gospel seriously who also takes P&P seriously ... and that is a good thing.

Rex Ray said...


Wonder if P&P knows the Scripture, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:35 NLT) because they don’t practice it.

Michael Harrison said...

thank you for your post, Wade. Spot on once again. Rachel may have shared opposing views, but she made many examine their faith and decisions. We must continue to grow, learn and be compassionate toward others, whether they agree with us or not. Rachel was a gifted writer and brought much light to those seeking to make church and living by faith clearer and stronger.

Jordan said...

To be clear, Pulpit & Pen did not "suggest" Rachel Held Evans is in hell. Based upon what the Scripture teaches about salvation, we have *asserted* it. Preaching "in season and out of season" (2 Timothy 4:2), and taking from Jesus' own example in Luke 13 in the face of tragic death, we proclaim to the misguided fans and followers of Rachel Held Evans to "Repent, lest ye likewise also perish."

The consequences for heresy do not stop at death. That's when they begin.

- JD Hall (Pulpit & Pen)

nettiemac said...

Absolutely correct!

Paul said...

One of the "survivor blog gals" (a derogatory term JD loves to employ regularly) has already dismantled JD's faulty use of Luke 13 to try and validate his beyond inappropriate response to RHE's death. This obvious misuse of 2 Timothy 4:2 to try and defend his action continues to validate that P&P's use of the word "discernment" to describe their constant efforts to self-promote reveals what the vast majority of gospel-centered people already know: to take anything P&P says seriously is to show an obvious absence of biblical discernment.

Wade Burleson said...


I think you will remember our conversation over the phone during the aftermath of the Braxton Caner suicide. I know at that time you publicly repented over your interaction with Braxton before his suicide (see

I know you understand the concept of repentance.

To assert a sister in Christ is in hell, a judgment similar to one the Sanhedrin would have made at the House of the Unripe Fig (Bethphage), is the very thing Jesus Himself cursed.

As I stated earlier, "It is far better to endure the curse of the Sanhedrin (JD Hall) for violations of the Law than to be cursed by the Savior for violations of Love."

I would encourage you to repent before your fig tree withers.

Christiane said...

I don't know from Pulpit and Pen.

But I do know this.
That those who love live in God and He in them, and that love is eternal.
So for those who knew of Rachel's great love for people, that is all the confirmation they need that she is now safely with the Source of that compassionate love.

For those who are unable to understand, no explanation is possible.

Bob Cleveland said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rex Ray said...


Good to hear your comment. I like the way the NLT states that verse: “…an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.”

Bob Cleveland said...

Let's try this again ....

A verse comes to mind:

Luke 6:45: An evil person produces evil out of the evil stored up in his heart, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.

Not to say the folks at P&P are evil, but their post surely came from the storehouse of the heart ... the inner being.

Bob Cleveland said...

And let me add this: When we disagree with someone over theological matters, we are announcing that we know better than they, what God means. Which seems to stem from our thinking that we have it all down pat. And we don't.

Gee ... it seems God would've at least told us to express our love for others, for all the world to see.

Oh ... wait ..

Christiane said...

thank you, REX RAY and BOB CLEVELAND

it gets harder to figure out the mystery of the darkness in peoples' hearts, but I think it comes more from a place of fearfulness and pain;
but to then turn that darkness against someone like Rachel . . . that is a difficult thing to see, yes

I am so sad for Rachel's family, for her little ones, so very young. May God send His peace to them and comfort them.

Headless Unicorn Guy said...

Bethphage means "House of the Unripe Fig."

It was during Jesus' last visit to this city of Bethpage that He cursed the unripe fig tree and it died.

Ah, this is another bit of context I hadn't heard of before.

(But then, the bane of historians is the background context nobody bothered to record at the time because "Everybody Knows That(TM)!")

everette said...

Thanks for this post, Wade, and for being willing to take on the modern Pharisees at P&P.

Pauline said...

Go away and take your hate elsewhere.

Jeremy W. said...

Jesus said, "I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality"

Dee Parsons said...


As you know, I was part of the original conversation about Braxton and have maintained a cordial relationship with JD since that time albeit deeply disagreeing on just about everything. I was one of the ones who sent him an email asking him to reconsider the RHE post. I told him that I believe that it made Seth and him sound like jerks. I begged him to show kindness to this family who has lost a mother, wife and daughter. He dug in even deeper with this post.

I tried. I really tried. I tried back then and am still trying.

Anonymous said...

"… Why is that not relevant, and why can’t I say it? Well, kids are off limits! Great! You got a verse that says that?"- JD Hall

Debbie Kaufman said...

Lord Jesus, please stop JD. Show him the truth of who you really are.

"22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Gal 5:22-23.

Steve said...

Of course JD doubled down. He is delusional. His entire construct is built upon falsehoods and deception. He believes "traffic" lends credibility and then P&P constantly deletes comments that reveal the majority of people who interact with their false narrative are critics of P&P. They delete comments to create a false narrative of support. And if you are a vocal critic, they line up their troops to attack publicly.

JD Hall has built his entire circus on creating and reinforcing story lines that are simply not true. He somehow believes that if you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes true and perhaps in his mind it is true (there are more examples of this than can be counted - easy one: the narrative that KSP is not pro-life).

JD Hall will double down every single time because he has no other option. His entire identity is built on this persona he has created. If it shows any sign of humanity or genuine Christ-likeness, he would fade into further oblivion. He takes opportunities like these to force himself into the spotlight and then pretends that he is there because people believe what he says. It is one of the most pathetic examples of "crowds of people stop to see the train wreck" that I have ever witnessed.

Can you name one gospel-centered, reputable evangelical scholar or pastor who affirms JD Hall? That alone is enough evidence to know he is merely a clanging cymbal seeking human attention ... and as evidenced by his last blog seeking financial gains ... he is attempting to earn a living at cymbal clanging.

I do not think it is possible for JD Hall to lose any more credibility. He is a proven liar and if you believe his lies you will follow the same self-focused path he stomps every single day. And yes we should heed the Scriptures warning that one's words & actions reveal the inside of the cup.

Simple case & point of JD Hall being a proven liar? He has repeatedly claimed he was leaving the internet for good. He has yet to come back and say "Hello world - I lied"

We can only pray one day he finally keeps his word, repents, and disappears.

Headless Unicorn Guy said...

It's the Pulpiteers of Pulpit and Pen, Defenders of the Faith channeling God Himself.


Whatever would God do on the Great White Throne on J-Day without Pulpit and Pen sitting at His right hand, whispering in His ear like Grima Wormtongue as to who's REALLY Saved and who's NOT?

Headless Unicorn Guy said...

JD Hall has built his entire circus on creating and reinforcing story lines that are simply not true. He somehow believes that if you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes true and perhaps in his mind it is true (there are more examples of this than can be counted - easy one: the narrative that KSP is not pro-life).

In such a case JD Hall, MoG, is channeling both Reichsminister Goebbels and Comrade Lenin:


And maybe a character from Seinfeld:

"Remember... It's not really a lie if YOU believe it."

Unknown said...

Absolutely right! Thank you for that truth.

Anonymous said...

if Rachel was looking for a Christian community for those who were broken, then she was not a 'heretic', far from it

JD Hall has forgotten the lesson of the pharisee and the publican in the temple; he has chosen the wrong 'model' to emulate, the one who pointed the finger

better he had realized that it was the humble one who asked for mercy from God that was the one God blessed in the end

maybe this JD will stumble across that parable in Scripture again, and reading it, recognize the puffed up pride-poisoned being he has become, and instead, repent and seek God's healing mercy

maybe . . . all things are possible in Christ

James said...

First of all, I don't like JD's tone and it isn't helpful.
At what point does a person become a false teacher? I'm asking an honest question. Is there a line someone crosses from true to false witness? I am praying that God will use Rachel and the tragic circumstances of her death to help people everywhere. But the tragedy and untimeliness of her death has literally no bearing on whether she was a true prophet (one who accurately directs people to God as He has revealed Himself) or whether she was a false prophet.
I've been reading and watching what Rachel said for almost 10 years and she basically built her reputation by denigrating those who interpret Scripture by standard orthodox and evangelical beliefs. For instance, she went on an NBC morning show and mocked people and women who hold to very standard views about men and women's roles - even egalitarians. She was really out there in left field and yet you are presenting RHE as if she had a different belief about baptism than most of us have. So I'm left to wonder, is there any line that is crossed where a person becomes a teacher to be avoided, rejected for violations against God's revealed Word, (as Jeremy mentioned on this comment thread) or even rebuked? Wade, do you believe in I Timothy 5:20, or is that irrelevant for pastors and elders in the 21st century? It's an honest question.

Christiane said...

Why is it 'required' to 'take a stand' against people who are wounded in this world, in order to be 'acceptable' in certain 'evangelical' circles?????

I don't understand this.

Sallie Borrink said...

Someone close to me lost their father at a very young age. It still impacts this person decades later. I am deeply grieved for her children and the fact that they will not know their mother. The fact that RHE won't even be there for her daughter's first birthday is profoundly sad.

I've often thought RHE's husband sounded a lot like my husband - kind, supportive, and loving. I am very sorry for his loss as well.

I appreciate what James wrote just above because I find myself somewhere in the middle of most of the responses. I've really not known what to make of so many of the responses I've seen.

What has struck me while reading many comments about her passing is how many people who freely identify as atheists have stated that RHE gave them the courage to walk away from God/the Evangelical church/Christianity. Some have said that their life is so much better now as an atheist. I find this deeply troubling.

No, RHE is not responsible for how every person responds to what she said and wrote. But if I had a platform of that size and had many people openly stating that what I did led them away from God, away from Christianity, etc. I would be seriously alarmed and fearful of the accountability I have before God for the message I'm sharing. And yet she continued on with that message for years.

I thought it was both sad and telling that Warren Wiersbe's death was completely overshadowed by RHE's death. Yes, hers was more tragic because of her young age. Wiersbe was almost 90 and lived a long and very fruitful life.

But in reality, he touched far more people with the Gospel and the truth of the Scriptures than Rachel ever came close to doing. He directly touched many through his pastoring, teaching ministries, and seminary work. He touched vast numbers indirectly through the writing he did, especially as his books are so widely used by pastors in sermon preparation and in Bible studies.

I don't have to wonder what Wiersbe believed. It is clear that he believed that the Bible was God's Word and that it brought the Gospel to people. He labored his entire life to help even average people understand and apply God's Word.

I honestly don't know what RHE truly believed. She was loving and kind, yes. But there are many who are loving and kind apart from Christ. Whereas Wiersbe pointed people to the Scriptures, RHE wrote in a way that made people doubt them. Wiersbe proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ. RHE was known for saying things like "When I believe this" and "If this is really true." She embraced doubt and made it acceptable, even fashionable. I find this hard to square with verses such as Hebrews 11:6.

My heart breaks for the people she "freed" from Christianity who now apparently do not know Christ or even desire to know Him.

James said...

A couple of comments. First of all, maybe it doesn't feel like it, because maybe you agreed with much of what RHE said, but she had a lot to say in criticism of Christians. I mentioned just one example, one where she spoke to millions of people via NBC television, where she openly ridiculed those who held to very mainstream and orthodox beliefs. She also misrepresented the Bible as well. So it's a little curious that some of her followers would not expect people to critique her in response, especially when many things she's said directly violate Scripture. Even she admitted that she disliked the writings of Paul because she simply disagreed with much of what he wrote Romans, Colossians, Ephesians, etc, so take it from her own testimony, that she did not agree with the Bible on various points.

Second point. I provided just one passage as an example, but spiritual leaders have not only the right, but the responsibility to warn those under their care about false beliefs and teachings. Jeremy (above on this comment thread) also gave a scripture from Revelation where Jesus explicitly condemns the mere toleration of false teachings, because the false teachings were leading people into destruction.


Christiane said...

"But there are many who are loving and kind apart from Christ."


"love is of God; and every one that loves is born of God, and knows God"
(from 1 John 4:7)

I think this is something to think about . . . that love has the power to overcome many human failings in this world

James said...

I really appreciate what you said about Warren Weirsbe, that is a very nice tribute. I have 5 of his commentaries and his work will be remembered and remain fruitful not just for decades, but possibly for centuries.


Christiane said...

Hello James,

What I do know about Rachel is that she loved people.

What I do know about Rachel is that she valued the 'love' chapter written by St.Paul to the Corinthians. So I would challenge that she had a problem with St. Paul himself; more than likely she may have had a problem with those who interpreted St. Paul's words WITHOUT using the lens of Christ.

Throwing stones was once something Paul did when he was present at the martyrdom of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr. But Our Lord Himself changed this. The same man who threw stones at Stephen was able later to write this:

(1 Corinthians 13)
13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

James, I think Rachel valued St. Paul very highly indeed,in that she advocated for people to put their stones down and to cease their targeting of 'those other sinners'.

I guess we see things differently, but thank you for communicating with me here.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Sallie: I suggest you read her blog. I have been reading Rachel since 2012. I have seen nothing that encouraged atheists at all. She understood them I am sure, but she would have ministered to them, not encouraging them to walk away unless the church was hurting them, which unfortunately we have a tendency to do with fervor. I have no doubt she was born again. No doubt whatsoever.

Debbie Kaufman said...

This article is also worth reading to describe what I found to be the truth about Rachel. I have read and followed her closely for several years and these are my conclusions about her.

Christiane said...

thanks, Debbie

Christiane said...

I totally identified with Rachel here,

some women 'justified' what happened to these mothers and children;
some women encouraged SILENCE when this happened to mothers and their children;
some women SCREAMED when this happened to mothers and their children

I'd say you could learn a lot about a person from how they reacted to children forcibly taken from their mothers' arms ..... and a person might learn a lot about themselves also

it was for many people a 'knowing' where you stood in your OWN character, and believe me, some folks were as far from others as the East is from the West

Did our country NEED this terrible test to reveal to ourselves who WE WERE?
Maybe we did.

I understood Rachel's 'tweet' and I was very happy to see that there were some evangelical women who weren't 'silent' in the face of the torment of vulnerable people; I needed to see that and I am so grateful for the encouragement.

Sallie Borrink said...

Debbie - Thank you for the suggestion and link. I have read RHE's writings off and on over the years. I've also read thoughtful reviews of some of her books. I struggle to find her overall body of work to be orthodox in even the broadest use of that term.

I have no problem with people asking sincere questions and trying to understand their Christian faith and know God more fully. I expect that. But from observing her at a distance, it seemed like her approach went from earnestly asking questions to better understand her faith to tearing down the historic Christian faith in order to remake it into something more socially acceptable today. I don't know if or where she crossed that line, but I would never send someone to her works to gain an accurate picture of the historic and orthodox Christian faith.

Christiane - You've made it abundantly clear over the past months that you think how someone responded to that incident is a litmus test of their Christian faith. I try to look at the entirety of their life and beliefs, not just one event.

Christiane said...

I do not address the commentator 'Sallie' personally, no. Nor can I. I am not the conscience of any person and only God can judge the hearts of any of our kind.

In our 'Christian' teaching, this:

'and who is my neighbor'? For purposes of teaching us about the futility of 'labeling',Our Lord noted that was a SAMARITAN who stopped to help the helpless man. And the others who knew better ignored the suffering man and walked by quickly, they who worshiped God in form, if not in substance

but maybe it's not about 'Christian' or 'alien' or any of those 'labels' after all, maybe it goes far deeper into our collective humanity.

maybe it's just that 'looking away' and 'walking on by nothing to see here' diminishes our humanity in the light of 'and who is that weeping mother and her poor torn-away infant' in the eyes of the One Who made them from the same elements that He made us, and then breathed the same life into their bodies? They are human beings, for the love of God!

I was addressing 'who we are' as a people, as a country, as a nation. Where are we at?
And why? And where are we headed? And 'who is our neighbor'? Sure. Maybe we needed to witness what has happened in our country AND our response to it AS A PEOPLE. All of us. Together. We are better than the act of separating families as a government 'policy' of intimidation, this terrorizing of very vulnerable refugees. We as a country are NOT so evil, no. And in time, as we learn the full extent of the cruelty done, we will have an opportunity to search our collective souls and to ask what happened TO US that this cruelty came and was meant with 'silence', 'looking away', and 'nothing to be concerned about'.

The damage was to ourselves, our national ethos. We as a 'nation' acted to hurt helpless people and in process of our great collective act of cruelty, what terrible harm did WE do TO OURSELVES and WHY???

This time, 'we' acted to hurt vulnerable people as a 'policy' of our nation in a way that was SO evil as to break the hearts of many who love the Lord.

I honor Rachel Held Evans' memory that she cared enough to realize this and was courageous enough to respond to it publicly. For this alone, I can honor her memory as 'a righteous person' of blessed memory.

Anonymous said...

I admit that I have chegrined at statements that Rachel have made publicly but I am aghast at this going off on her like this by Pulpit and the Pen.

Debbie Kaufman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debbie Kaufman said...

Ultimately Sallie it is not your decision that matters does it? And to be humane maybe saying nothing is best.

This is what else I got from reading Rachel. She did not want to see anyone excluded from the church, not even gay people. Her love for people was great. She loved the Bible and the study of it, but she could not bring herself to turn away anyone, no matter who they were, their current story or their past story. Those she were against were abusers and oppressors, racism. But otherwise she loved all people. I think that was the hardest thing for her critics to see about her.

WestCanuck said...

Are none of you concerned in the direction Rachel was headed? I don't know where she stood before the Lord....that isn't my call...but surely some of you have enough discernment to recognize she was going in a bad direction that last few years of her life....where if the Love for Truth here.....amazing the times in which we live!

Debbie Kaufman said...

West: Honestly, I am more concerned for JD Hall, P&P, Elizabeth Prata etc. all who wrote horrible things that should not have been written, and especially when they were written, than I am about the direction Rachel is headed.

“What’s offensive about the Gospel isn’t who it keeps out. It’s not who it keeps away from the table, it’s who it invites in." - Rachel Held Evans

Christiane said...

Thanks Debbie,

I LOVE that comment by Rachel.

Anonymous said...

From an exvangelical: Rachel Held Evans doubted but chose to believe anyways. This seems to me the very definition of faith. And I cling to it every day because it's where I am too, if I'm being completely honest. I didn't read the P & P piece but I can get the gist of what it says. And it is Wade's response to it that keeps me in the fold.

Sallie Borrink said...

Rod Dreher did a good job of dealing with the issue of whether or not it's appropriate to talk about the good and bad of someone's legacy and life work when they die. He rightly points out that a general discussion or recap always happens whenever anyone of note dies in our culture. What has changed is that the Progressive Left allows for no pushback or critique of anything they believe. That's why even mentioning RHE was controversial or simply writing things she actually said/wrote is somehow seen as a terrible attack.

There are many excellent comments over there as well. Some of them are so spot on.

WestCanuck - I believe there are many who care about the Truth. Unfortunately most of them are too weary or too afraid to speak up any longer for fear of unleashing the wrath of the Progressive Left. (That also comes up in the article and comments.)

Rex Ray said...


The link you gave ended with a shock/surprise to me. Besides being a great read, I know the lady that wrote it.

Becky Castle was our church youth minister many years ago. Once she took the kids on a hike up a mountain. A couple of hours later I joined them. She had dislocated her knee. It was cold and everyone had coats. We made a stretcher with two limbs and coats. Halfway down, the kids on one side of the stretcher tripped and dumped her off. Well, not all of her. Her best girlfriend grabbed her bad leg and held on which made her a lot worst. She was hurting so bad, I sent two boys for help. Some men brought a stretcher and carried her the rest of the way.

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debbie Kaufman said...

Good story Ray.

Debbie Kaufman said...

I am sorry, I meant Rex.

James said...

West Canuck and Sallie,
Yes, many people do believe in truth but of course for RHE and those who believe as she did, there is truth but it always evolving in the never ending dialectic. Hegel, Marx, etc gave us this paradigm and oddly enough this line of thinking thrives in religious contexts because it only works and grows in environments where people have a general sense that right and wrong exist. The sad thing is that this constant search for truth as it currently exists and has evolved is so completely opposite of the Gospel and is completely works based. If you fail to evolve with truth as it is currently understood, you are shamed until you repent and conform.

Sorry for the philosophical answer here, but the irony to West Canuck's question is that RHE was deeply committed to truth, but in a very different way than some of us are. The perplexing thing for me is that people like Wade should actually be aware of this and yet doesn't seem to appreciate that RHE was committed to a fundamentally different paradigm than historical, orthodox Christianity. He seems to think they are different only by degrees and I think he's terribly mistaken. And on this point, I think RHE would agree with me.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Listen, I am pretty plain spoken, so I will say this. When your theology is where you have to be a jerk, I am not listening. It's wrong and it's the wrong kind of Christianity. Damning someone to hell who I believe names the name of Christ, but has been more inclusive than some would be or has questions(read Wade's answer) is the same as dancing on her grave and I as a Christian, and a lover of Christ and the scriptures, won't have anything to do with it. Period. It's wrong, and it in and of itself is a sin.

This isn't going to stop, it hasn't, but it's wrong to do and especially now, no matter how one tries to defend it as "saving others." That is simply a cover for continuing to do this heinous thing in the name of God.

Christiane said...

" RHE was committed to a fundamentally different paradigm than historical, orthodox Christianity"

'historical, orthodox Christianity'?

so Rachel rejected 'pointing the finger' and touting herself and 'having all the answers';
and that means she REJECTED what had been handed down from the Apostles?

I don't understand this thinking, no.

As far as I am aware, the historical, orthodox Christianity of the Church Fathers prized humility and compassion for others, which Rachel most certainly did NOT reject.

The finger-pointing, judgmental, self-righteous reject the ancient faith, but that was not Rachel, no. She was not smug. She had a heart for suffering children, yes, even the 'brown' children of the refugee people from central American persecution, even them. They didn't have to be 'American' and 'white' for her to care: they were human children. They were beloved of Christ. NO. Rachel did not abandon the Way. NO. She did not follow the ones who preach fear and encourage inhumanity towards others.

My thoughts? Yeah. Because she befriended 'the others' and now she is not able to speak.
But the kindness and love she showed to 'the others' still speaks for her. She needs no defense in the light of that kindness. :)

Sallie Borrink said...

James said:

"If you fail to evolve with truth as it is currently understood, you are shamed until you repent and conform."

This is exactly right and what the Progressive Left has become extremely skilled at accomplishing. They shut down every conversation they can with shaming and every time someone caves, the rest of us lose.

And you are correct as well about the Marxist connection to it all.

Anonymous said...

GOD'S WORD® Translation John 1:17
"The Teachings were given through Moses, but kindness and truth came into existence through Jesus Christ."

Christiane said...

"“Love not just those of your own tribe,
your own class, family or people,

but those who are different,
those who are strangers,
who are strange to your ways,

who come from different cultural and religious traditions,
who seem odd,
those you do not understand.

Love as the Samaritan loved the man he found
beaten up by robbers,
somewhere on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho.”

(Jean Vanier, ‘The Body Broken’)

Rest in peace, Jean Vanier, vaya con Dios

Rex Ray said...


Good Scripture.
I like the NLT: “For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ.”

Rex Ray said...


My daughter, Beth, who was about ten at the time, remembered Becky Castle and knew how to contact a Becky Castle here:

"Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram @bcastlemiller."

Beth told me she was not the Becky we knew. Our Becky had graduated from Southwestern, but her salary was peanuts. We complained to our pastor, but he said, “She’s just a girl.”

Becky would take each kid out to eat for some ‘one on one time’. She paid for the kids meal but ate a sandwich as she didn’t have much money.

We gave our money to the church with a check made out to Becky, but found out she never got it. So we mailed her cash each week with no return address. (She never found out where it came from.)

Debbie Kaufman said...

Christiane and Rex: I have not said this lately, but I love the both of you even though we have not met, and I appreciate you both so much.

Rex Ray said...


That’s the nicest compliment that’s been said to me on the blog. Also, being included with such a lovely person as Christiane is a plus.

Today’s newspaper from the Washington Post shows a picture of Rachel Evans and a half page write-up:

“Questions surround death of popular Christian writer. The symptoms experienced by the 37-year-old-writer…do not fit into an easily explainable diagnosis, medical experts say…she may have developed encephalitis (an inflammation of the brain)…caused by a host of things…the most common cause is viral infection, including viruses born by mosquitoes, such as West Nile…her death has led to an outpouring of grief and tributes online. In 2012, she was named by Christianity Today magazine as “50 Women to Watch.”

Headless Unicorn Guy said...

Why is it 'required' to 'take a stand' against people who are wounded in this world, in order to be 'acceptable' in certain 'evangelical' circles?????

I don't understand this.

I do.
It's the Christianese form of Virtue Signalling, announcing your Identity in the Tribe and parading MY Righteousness before everybody. Before it was called Virtue Signalling, it was called being publicly Holier Than Thou.

And "taking a stand" on the Party Line of subjects is a Loyalty Announcement if not a Loyalty Test.

Christiane said...

Hello Headless,

I still don't get it.

there's a lot of fearful people out there, but their 'enemy' never will be a little child, no.
Like Herod Antipas, who feared the Christ Child, and who sent his soldiers to slaughter Him, so in those days also, there was the sound of mothers weeping and they could not be comforted

I am unable to understand Sarah Huckabee Sanders comments about 'biblical':

UNLESS she was thinking of Herod Antipas but that can't be true, can it???
But what WAS she thinking?

No Christian person is bound to obey an immoral law that harms the innocent. That would be a violation of moral conscience AND it would be a violation of the Judeo-Christian ethic moral code.

Nuremburg. 'I was just following orders'

It's too much for me to sort out, Headless. But thanks for trying to help.

Christiane said...


I'm so grateful that you are both out there on the side of the angels. These are difficult days. Please pray for good to come. Your encouragement was much needed and thank you both.

Jordan said...

To be fair, I have used "Survivor Blog Women" since Julie Ann told me it was offensive. In Montana, "gal" is not offensive. Is that worth a brownie point, or...?

Anonymous said...

Julie Anne
"Rude. Heartless. So inappropriate. Can you picture Christ responding like this - calling someone an apostate immediately after their untimely death? I don't think so. I don't know what god you guys are serving, but it doesn't reflect the God that I know.
Like · Reply

Jordan Hall
Yes. I can picture Christ responding **exactly** this way. He responded this way in the face of the tragic loss of life in Luke 13. It's very Christlike.

Upon hearing the news of the untimely deaths, Jesus turned to the multitudes and said, "Repent, or ye likewise shall perish."

Anonymous said...

"It is hard being both pastor and warrior. They don't go well together," he said, lamenting, however, that it was "too late to spare me from the consequences now engulfing me. In one sense, I am reaping what I sowed. When you live by the sword, you die by it."

Hall said, "This terrible, terrible tragedy has accomplished two things (1) I am broken. I am unequivocally, completely broken. I am a crushed man. My spirit is crushed. I am sorrowful. I am hurting. (2) This has forever changed me, in more ways that I can currently comprehend...."

Anonymous said...

"In Montana, "gal" is not offensive. Is that worth a brownie point, or...?"

IT IS KNOWN that in Montana there are more horses' asses than horses

Anonymous said...

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.