Rachel Held Evans Returns to Church

58592Rachel Held Evans grew up in a conservative, evangelical, nondenominational church, and went to a conservative, nondenominational college, where one of her professors reportedly said, “You can believe the Bible or you can believe evolution, but you can’t believe both. You have to choose.”

After graduating from college and returning to her conservative, evangelical, and nondenominational roots, for Rachel, statements like the above became distracting,

“Evangelicalism gave me many gifts, but the ability to distinguish between foundational, orthodox beliefs and peripheral ones was not among them.  That recurring choice—between faith and science, Christianity and feminism, the Bible and historical criticism, doctrine and compassion—kept tripping me up like roots on a forest trail” (emphasis added).

For sure, Ms. Evans has been on a journey (her popular blog demonstrates this).  But it’s a journey that has taken her away from those early conservative, evangelical roots, which, according to her, “kept tripping me up like roots on a forest trail” (though she claims to remain evangelical and appreciates the knowledge of Scripture it has given her).

Ms. Evans now finds a home the Episcopalian church–a church known for its support of women leaders, the LGBT community, among other things.

According to the Christianity Today (CT) article, like many who grew up in low-church evangelical settings, Evans says she’s drawn to the Anglican-Episcopal tradition for, “the liturgy, the lectionary, the centrality of the Eucharist in worship, the Book of Common PrayerThe sacraments gave me the language to name all those things I see as worthy and valuable about the church” (This, I get).

And in the spirit of John Piper, who said farewell to Rob Bell after the release of Love Wins in 2011, the author of the CT piece, writes, “may the evangelical family respond to Evans’s joining the Episcopal Church with a sincere, ‘Fare Well, Rachel. Strength for the journey.'”

This entry was posted in Episcopalian Church, John Piper, Rachel Held Evans, Rob Bell and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Rachel Held Evans Returns to Church

  1. nwroadrat says:

    I am not going to get into whether evolution is a correct, but yes you can believe in the Bible and evolution. The ancient Church has no dogmatic teaching on the literalness of the creation story. To make this a demarcation whether you are in or out I would put in the category of “strange fire …”.

    • Jon Hughes says:

      I once had an Answers In Genesis speaker tell me (with a straight face) that extending the age of the earth from 6,000 to 10,000 years was compromise. To those who believe that multiple lines of evidence point to billions of years, this renders us not only an irrelevance but a complete laughingstock.

    • TC Robinson says:

      Guys like John MacArthur still do. In fact, he thinks the fellows at Biologos are nonChristians, for challenging our traditional readings of the first 11 chapters of Genesis.

      • Jon Hughes says:

        He’ll have to write Augustine and C.S. Lewis off as well then. What I want to know is, who made John MacArthur the Pope? 😉

  2. Jon Hughes says:

    I didn’t get the impression that John Piper’s “farewell” to Rob Bell was a particularly gracious one. Hopefully, this CT response to Rachel Held Evans is a touch more sincere.

  3. Jim K says:

    What? There’s a dichotomy between faith/science, Christianity/feminism, Bible/historical criticism? Indeed we’ve done a poor job of educating our young.

  4. TC Robinson says:


    According to the CT article, Piper clarified what he really meant by “farewell, Rob Bell.” But I get the impression the the CT writer is clear about the use of “fare well, Rachel Held Evans.”

    We’ve done a poor job, indeed. 😉

  5. TC Robinson says:

    [He’ll have to write Augustine and C.S. Lewis off as well then. What I want to know is, who made John MacArthur the Pope? ;-)]

    Well, I know he believes he’s something akin to Spurgeon during the Downgrade Controversy. 😉

    • Jon Hughes says:

      Sounds like you’ve read “Ashamed of the Gospel” too 🙂

      • TC Robinson says:

        Back in the day when I was pro-MacArthur. 😦

      • Jon Hughes says:

        Likewise. I read it in 2003, and found it to be the most stirring Christian book I’d ever read – so much so, that I left my church as a consequence. I still don’t like pragmatism, but prefer more expansive horizons than MacArthur will allow.

  6. TC Robinson says:

    Much of his fundamentalism aside, I believe the young pastor can learn much from MacArthur. But yes, if one wishes to expand their horizons, MacArthur has to be seriously questioned.

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