Michael Brown: Reflections on the Death of a Progressive Christian

Rachel Held Evans, wife, mother, blogger, and influential Christian author, is dead at the age of 37. Although we never met, and despite our serious theological differences, I am truly saddened by her passing. It was just last month she was hospitalized with the flu, and that quickly, she is gone.

My ministry reached out to her on more than one occasion to dialogue about our differences, but without success. At no point, though, did I question Rachel’s sincerity. That she came to very different conclusions than I (and other evangelicals) did, especially in terms of God’s view of LGBT issues, was a cause of deep concern, given her influence. But I always felt she arrived at her (wrong) conclusions after wrestling with Scripture and interacting with people.

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You might say to me, “Out of respect for her family and followers, now would be a good time to be quiet. We don’t need to hear about your differences.”

But that’s not why I’m writing this article.

I believe what I believe, based on Scripture, and I will continue to preach and teach with conviction. That is not in question. And I will continue to warn and confront.

What is in question is how we respond to news of the tragic death of this young wife and mother who leaves behind a husband two children.

When I learned about Rachel’s passing, I tweeted, “I had strong differences with some of the Christian expression of Rachel Held Evans but am truly saddened and shocked to hear of her death at age of 37. May God comfort her husband and family.”

In response, one conservative Christian wrote, “How could you be sad? I pray for these kinds of things to happen.”

I tweeted back, “Those are ugly and dangerous prayers to pray. You might find yourself the victim of your own praying one day.”

He responded with, “1 Corinthians 5 says we judge the church. The lady was misleading the church, defiling it.”

I wrote, “Paul did not teach the Corinthians to pray for the death of sinning church members. He taught them to excommunicate them. (My last comment to you. May God give you the grace to see things from His perspective.)”

He continued to defend his position, citing other scriptures, but by then I had muted him.

Sadly, he was not alone in his attacks. As a progressive pastor tweeted to me, “I appreciate your irenic words and spirit. We’ve seen some really mean stuff from the Christian Right out here today. Peace and every blessing.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Brown

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