Now That Rachel Held Evans Has Died,Should We Stop Calling Her A False Teacher?


Because I spent all day Saturday enjoying our church’s women’s conference and most of yesterday at church (we had a coffee fellowship after the service), I didn’t see  Elizabeth Prata’s announcement that Rachel Held Evans had died until late yesterday afternoon. My heart sank. RHE leaves behind a young husband and two small children. Having lost my father mere days before my tenth birthday, I feel sad for her children — it’s a hole in childhood that never gets filled.

I also understand the cultural notion that we should “never speak ill of the dead.” That’s generally a good policy, I guess. Especially when the death is fresh and the wounds of grief are raw. Consequently, we face a huge temptation to fold away our theological differences with RHE in favor of showing respect for her family. I get that.

Along those lines, I quite agree that any pronouncements about her eternal state are inappropriate. Her theology definitely veered south, causing grave concern, but we have no idea what transpired between her and the Lord during those weeks she was in the coma. It would be highly arrogant to presume she went to hell…and just as arrogant to presume she went to heaven.

Ad hominem statements about Rachel Held Evans only betray immaturity, and by all means must be avoided. At the same time, we must not pretend that her teachings honored the Lord.  Both Denny Burk and Allen Nelson IV have documented the serious errors in her theology, and I strongly urge you to read their articles.  Rachel Held Evans espoused a liberal theology that strips the Bible of it’s authority, thereby putting her followers in danger of becoming false converts. And, of course, calling her own salvation into question.

Her liberal positions on homosexuality and the authority of Scripture leave us no option but to consider her a false teacher.

I take no pleasure in calling anyone a false teacher. Those who regularly read this blog know that I shy away from writing about false teachers as a whole, preferring to teach discernment through sound doctrine.  And when a false teacher like Rachel Held Evans dies, it gives me no joy to remind people of her errors.

Yet often a celebrity’s death sparks renewed interest in their works. I don’t doubt that more people are buying her books and reading her blog in response to her death, opening themselves up to her liberal theology and thus questioning the Bible’s authority. Undiscerning readers risk falling into deception if people conflate respect for the dead with unwillingness to acknowledge that person’s errors.  Perhaps especially now, we must warn against the teachings of Rachel Held Evans.

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11 thoughts on “Now That Rachel Held Evans Has Died,Should We Stop Calling Her A False Teacher?

  1. I agree with 100 percent! Her death will spark an interest in her work. We must always be speak truth, in love, regardless of timing. Thank you so much for the reminder. Much love to you


  2. Well done, Deb. Thank you for your wise and mature voice in this sensitive matter. It is a good example for us all.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Both you, and Elizabeth Prata have written with love, maturity, and concern. When I learned of her death, I had tears, for her little ones, her husband, and for her, as she had so many doubts. While I felt sad for her, I could never hold hands with the world. Praying for her followers, to see truth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for pointing out that her followers need prayer. They’re deceived, but they’re also grieving right now. May the Lord comfort them by restoring their confidence in His Word.

      Liked by 1 person

      • “They’re deceived.”. How utterly arrogant and self-righteous. RHE deeply connected with those who were dismayed and broken by the Evangelical church’s hypocrisy and their rejection of the Christ’s teachings. She has passed now. Show a little Christ-like compassion.


      • Bradley, given that, RHE espoused very unbiblical positions (especially regarding homosexuality), it’s most appropriate to say that her followers are deceived and that she was a false teacher. If we compromise truth just because she made people feel good, that’s a serious problem.


  4. Without repentance no one will go to heaven. RHE never repented. Repented is more than asking for forgiveness. Given the way she died I am certain that she is in hell. In a coma she h=never repented. Wake up and be strong, stop fence sitting. She was deceived and deceived many others and they are not things that just disappear over night. The woman didn’t even believe in repentance. Come on now, seriously. Even if the mere chance that she asked for forgiveness, in her heart she still hung on to the lies. The Bible makes it clear the way is narrow. She went to hell, I don’t take joy in this. But I am a realist.


    • You’re probably right, but unless you know what happened in her heart during her coma, you might want to be careful about pronouncing a final judgment. Yes, it’s highly unlikely that she repented. She most likely is in hell. But I don’t believe we can presume to make dogmatic statement regarding anyone’s final condition. We can say that evidence indicates that she never repented, and that her salvation is extremely doubtful. But only the Lord has authority to declare a final judgment. verdict. Be careful to avoid the sin of presumption.


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