Rachel Held Evans drops evangelical pretense for mainline Christianity

by Joni B. Hannigan, Editorial Staff |
Rachel Held Evans | RachelHeldEvans.com

WASHINGTON (Christian Examiner) – After a widely popular "evangelical" blogger and writer announced she joined the Episcopal Church earlier this year, the director of the Institute on Religion and Democracy said more "evangelicals" like her should take a cue and drop the evangelical pretense instead of "exploiting the evangelical market even after they've long left evangelical beliefs."

CNS reports Evans revealed her change of heart in an interview with Jonathan Merritt (himself a controversial "evangelical" figure) – moving from a staunch evangelical position, which she describes in her blog post "Evangelicals and why we can't just get over it."

Evans, the author of "A Year of Biblical Womanhood" (Thomas Nelson), resists claims she has rejected evangelicalism, and in her blog asks for "grace."

"It was evangelicalism that told me who I was and it was evangelicalism that told me who I wasn't. You don't just get over that," she writes. "You don't just trash it all and walk away."

Chelsen Vicari, director of The Institute on Religion and Democracy, said in an article in Charisma magazine that evangelicals are drifting from the "orthodox truths" of their parents and the growing vulnerability of young people to the ideations that corrupted her should be cause for concern.

"Our churches have rarely—if ever—faced the exodus we are seeing today," Vicari said. "This will have a direct effect on the spiritual and moral values that will shape the nation in the coming years."

"The millennial generation's susceptibility to 'feel-good' teaching is playing a part in America's moral decline. Millennials' religious practices depend largely on how actions make us and others feel, biblical or not. We only attend churches that leave us feeling good about our lifestyle choices, even if those conflict with God's clear commandments," Vicari continued.

Vicari, who is the author of "Distortion," had a special warning about liberal, evangelical authors who she said tell younger evangelicals that, "if they accept abortion and same-sex marriage, then the media, academia and Hollywood will finally accept Christians."

These Millennials "are forgoing the authority of Scripture and embracing a couch potato, cafeteria-style Christianity--all in the name of tolerance," Vicari said.

"By becoming an Episcopalian, Evans is now truthfully aligned with a denomination representing her views," Vicari said. "Other like-minded 'evangelicals' should follow her example instead of exploiting the evangelical market even after they've long left evangelical beliefs."