Celebrity Pastors, Discernment

Throwback Thursday ~ Stricter Judgment, Even for MY Favorite Teacher

Originally published September 29, 2017

It’s a funny thing that it’s so easy for us to see the far away faults and foibles of others, but the ones in our own hearts – the sins and hypocrisy we know most intimately – are constantly in our spiritual blind spot. Jesus understood this all too well and admonished us to make sure our own hands are clean before taking the tweezers to the mote in a sister’s eye.

Often, it’s not that we’re ignoring the plank that’s obscuring our vision, we’re just not even aware that it’s there. When I evaluate my own heart to confess my sins to the Lord, the ones that weigh heaviest on my spirit are not those that I know I’ve committed and need to repent of, it’s the ones I’m sure are lurking somewhere… but I can’t quite put my finger on them.

One of the subtle hypocrisies theologically orthodox, blameless and upright, discerning Christians can have trouble seeing in ourselves is our failure to hold our favorite pastors and teachers to the same biblical standards we apply to other pastors and teachers.

We correctly criticize Steven Furtick and Beth Moore for palling around with the likes of Joyce Meyer and T.D. Jakes, but when Lauren Chandler speaks at IF:Gathering several years in a row, co-hosts a summer Bible study with Beth Moore, and publicly declares her desire to meet Christine Caine, suddenly, it’s “touch not mine anointed” just because she’s married to our darling Matt1?

What if John MacArthur decided it would be a good idea to invite Joel Osteen to speak at ShepCon next year?

Or it came to light that Elisabeth Elliot preached to men?

Or you found out Paul Washer was a drunkard?

Would you make excuses for them? Sweep this stuff under the rug and continue to listen to their sermons and read their books without batting an eye?

Pastors and teachers don’t get a pass on sin just because they’re Reformed, or discerning, or have a virtually unblemished record of doctrinal soundness, or because they’re “one of the good guys.”

Pastors and teachers don’t get a pass on sin just because they’re Reformed, or discerning, or have a virtually unblemished record of doctrinal soundness, or because they’re “one of the good guys.” If they’re called to account, and they repent and strive toward holiness, hallelujah! That’s what God requires of all Christians – that we walk before Him blamelessly and bear fruit in keeping with repentance. But if they unrepentantly persist in sin despite biblical correction, there’s a problem there- with their own hearts, and with ours, if we knowingly turn a blind eye to their willful disobedience just because they’re our favorites.

God makes it clear throughout His Word that pastors, teachers, and others in positions of spiritual leadership bear a grave responsibility to set a godly example for those who look to them for teaching and guidance. And, in certain ways, God requires a higher standard for those in spiritual leadership than He requires of Christians He has not called to lead.

…No man of the offspring of Aaron the priest who has a blemish shall come near to offer the Lord’s food offerings; since he has a blemish, he shall not come near to offer the bread of his God. He may eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy and of the holy things, but he shall not go through the veil or approach the altar, because he has a blemish, that he may not profane my sanctuaries, for I am the Lord who sanctifies them…
Leviticus 21

…And Moses said to Aaron and to Eleazar and Ithamar his sons, “Do not let the hair of your heads hang loose, and do not tear your clothes, lest you die, and wrath come upon all the congregation; but let your brothers, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning that the Lord has kindled. And do not go outside the entrance of the tent of meeting, lest you die, for the anointing oil of the Lord is upon you.” And they did according to the word of Moses…
Leviticus 10:1-11

Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
1 Timothy 4:12

Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.
Titus 2:7-8

not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.
1 Peter 5:3

Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.
Philippians 3:17

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:1

But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.
Luke 12:45-48

you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. 
Romans 2:21-23

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 
James 3:1

As the passages above allude to, sound doctrine, while crucial, is not God’s only requirement for pastors and teachers. They are also required to rebuke those who contradict sound doctrine (not befriend them or join them on the conference dais). And Paul outlines the numerous behavioral requirements for pastors, elders, and deacons not once but twice, even going so far as to say that deacons must “prove themselves blameless” and that “an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach.” Right theology does not excuse wrong behavior.

Right theology does not excuse wrong behavior.

Why, then, when God’s standards for those who lead are so high, are we quick to sweep aside unrepentant wrongdoing by the teachers we hold most dear, sometimes even holding them to lower standards than we would hold ourselves? “I would never preach to men, but I’ll give Teacher X a pass on it.” “There’s no way I’d partner with a false teacher, but it’s not a big deal that Preacher Y does it.”

The Jesus who says “be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect,” who says that even one sin is one sin too many, is not a God who is OK with His people glossing over disobedience. God wants sin dealt with, repented of, and forsaken, especially in those who lead, because receiving correction and repenting of sin sets a rare and phenomenal biblical example for Christians to follow.

The Jesus who says “be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect,” who says that even one sin is one sin too many, is not a God who is OK with His people glossing over disobedience.

Do we go off the deep end and reject a trustworthy teacher the first time she does something a little iffy? Of course not. But should we step back, keep a closer, more objective eye on her and her trajectory as time goes by to see if she corrects her course? Yes. Should we stop following her if she continues to dive deeper and deeper into sin with no signs of turning around? Even if she’s always been doctrinally sound? Even if she’s complementarian? Even if she attends a church with a good theological reputation? Even if we’ve enjoyed all of her books thus far? Definitely.

Let’s shed some light on those blind spots our favorite teachers occupy and let our highest loyalty be to Christ, His Word, and His standards for leadership.


¹Sadly (click link on Lauren Chandler’s name), since the original publication of this article, Matt Chandler should no longer be “our darling Matt,” either.

Titus Bible Study

Titus: God’s Order of Service ~ Lesson 4

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3

Read Titus 2:1-6

Questions to Consider

1. Review your notes from last week’s lesson. How does that passage carry over to, impact, and set the tone and context for this week’s passage?

2. Look back over the latter part of chapter 1 (9-16). How do 1:9 and 2:1 “bookend” this section on false teachers? How is the teaching of sound doctrine both the prevention and the cure for false doctrine? To what group of people (2:1-6) is Titus to teach sound doctrine?

3. In 1:5, Paul instructed Titus to “put what remained into order”. Examine the orderliness of the structure of 1:5-2:6. Notice the “first things, first” order of priority of Paul’s instructions. What is first, second, etc. on Paul’s “to do list” for Titus, and why?

  • 1:5b-
    • 1:6-9-
  • 1:10-16-
  • 2:1-
  • 2:2-
  • 2:3-5-
  • 2:6-

4. Compare the style and tone of 2:1-6 to 1:5-9. Titus 1:5-9 gives us the qualifications and character traits of an elder. Similarly, Titus 2:1-6 gives us what? Which three categories of church members are listed in verses 1-6?

  • 2-
  • 3-
  • 6-

Make a four column chart for each category: older men, older women, and younger men. In column 1, list each qualification or character trait of a godly, healthy church member. In column 2, explain this qualification / trait according to what you know of Scripture. In column 3, explain how this qualification / trait helps the church, makes it healthier, or contributes to its orderliness. In column 4, indicate whether or not this qualification / trait is the same or similar to a qualification / trait in either of the other two categories. Which are common to all three, and why?

When a church considers hiring a new pastor, we examine whether or not he meets the qualifications / traits of 1:5-9. In a similar way, should a church examine, when possible, the qualifications / traits in 2:1-6 of a potential new church member when considering whether or not to accept that person into membership? Why or why not? How might a church go about this? Does your church do this in some way?

We typically deem a pastor or elder “disqualified” for his office if he violates the qualifications / traits in 1:5-9. Consider the qualifications / traits of church members in 2:1-6 in light of the church discipline process in Matthew 18:15-20. How does a church that properly practices church discipline help to build and grow these godly qualifications / traits in church members? Should a church discipline a church member who violates the qualifications / traits in 2:1-6? Why or why not? How might a church covenant (for example) fit in to all of this?

5. Compare these requirements for elders, with the requirements for older men (2:2), older women (2:3-5) and younger men (2:6). For which groups does Paul give only character requirements? For which two groups does he give character and behavior / action requirements? Are any of these character and behavior requirements the same? Why? Which two groups does he address at greatest length? Why? For which two groups is teaching a requirement? Why?

Compare the pastor / elder leadership (over men and the entire church) and older women’s leadership and guidance (over younger women and children in the church) to the dynamic of husband as head and wife as helpmeet in a marriage. What are some ways the women of the church can serve as a “fit helper” to the pastors / elders and the church at large?

6. Often, the backlash against the extreme of antinomianism is the opposite extreme of legalism. This is what happened with the Pharisees during the intertestamental period after Israel returned from exile. There was such extreme concern about falling back into lawlessness that the Pharisees made up their own laws for God’s people that were even more restrictive than God’s laws. The same thing sometimes happens with Titus 2:3-5. There is such extreme concern about egalitarianism, that some Christians backlash against it with legalism. They twist Titus 2:3-5 to do so, basically saying that the only things women can teach other women are practical domestic skills, like cooking, cleaning, and child rearing. No Bible teaching, no discipling other women in the Scriptures, and so on. Is this what Titus 2:3-5 actually teaches? What does “teach what is good” mean? How is an older woman to teach a younger woman to “love her husband and children” without teaching her what the Bible instructs us about love? Or to be kind, self-controlled, or submissive to her husband without training her in the Scriptures about those things? I would encourage you to watch my teaching session Teach What is Good: Discipling Younger Women in the 21st Century (starting at 1:18:02 on the video) to learn more.


Homework

Consider again the paradigm of the women of the church serving as a fit helper to the pastors / elders and the church at large. How are the women of your church doing in this regard? Are they a loving and hard working Proverbs 31-type “helpmeet,” striving to nurture and do what’s best for the church? Or are they more like the quarrelsome wife of Proverbs?

Think, pray, and talk with other women and your pastor / elders about ways the women of your church could be a better “helpmeet”. Just as Paul prioritized what was most needful for the orderliness of the church in Crete, come to a wise and prayerful consensus on what is the highest priority issue that needs to be addressed for the women of your church, whether that’s learning the Bible better, hospitality, quelling gossip, servanthood, or whatever it might be. Rally a few other godly women, formulate a plan to address this issue, and, under your pastor’s / elders’ leadership, implement it.


Suggested Memory Verse

Mailbag

The Mailbag: Potpourri (Female pastor in 2 John?… Pronouns for pre-schoolers… Women’s ministry “how to”… Video studies for women?)

Welcome to another “potpourri” edition of The Mailbag, where I give short(er) answers to several questions rather than a long answer to one question.

I like to take the opportunity in these potpourri editions to let new readers know about my comments/e-mail/messages policy. I’m not able to respond individually to most e-mails and messages, so here are some helpful hints for getting your questions answered more quickly. Remember, the search bar (at the very bottom of each page) can be a helpful tool!

Or maybe I answered your question already? Check out my article The Mailbag: Top 10 FAQs to see if your question has been answered and to get some helpful resources.


Is the epistle of 2 John addressed to a female pastor? I just read a social media debate on this topic. One poster is focusing on the “children” in the verse, seeing them as God’s spiritual children (the church) and only considering the “chosen” or “elected” lady as the leader/pastor of the church. I took “chosen or elect” to mean she’s a “godly” woman, one predestined (chosen by God) like other believers.

Great question! It is so important to pay attention to details like this in Scripture.

No, 2 John is not addressed to a female “pastor”. If it were, it would be a stern letter of rebuke because such a woman would be in egregious sin and rebellion. The verses that are being twisted in an attempt to argue this fallacy are parts of verses 1, 4-5, and maybe a bit of 13:

The elder to the elect lady and her children … some of your children … I ask you, dear lady … The children of your elect sister greet you.

Excerpted from 2 John 1, 4-5, 13

You are definitely on the right track in your thinking. Some people think 2 John was written to a church and John was riffing off the “church as the Bride of Christ” metaphor by using this female personification of the church. “Elect” or “chosen lady” would then mean elect or chosen in the sense that the church is elect or chosen out of the world. This “lady’s” “children” would, metaphorically, be the members of that church.

Others think 2 John was written to a particular woman in the church, namely the woman who had offered her home as a place for the church to meet. Verse 10 would be a good fit with this idea, warning her that, though it was customary and good Christian hospitality to open her home to godly pastors and teachers who were traveling around and needed a place to stay, that she should not extend hospitality to those preaching a false gospel. This individual woman would be elect or chosen in the sense that every individual Christian is elect or chosen. Her “children” would be understood to be her own biological children.

Personally, I can see where a good argument could be made for both of these perspectives, and that maybe John had both in mind as God moved him to write this letter.

But whichever perspective you lean toward, one thing we know for sure is that it was not written to a female “pastor”. John would not have commended someone that Paul’s epistles rebuke. That would make Scripture contradict itself, and, thus, God contradict Himself, since He is the author of Scripture. And we know that can’t happen.


How would you respond (or how have you responded) when someone prefers to be called by the opposite gender?

I had a man correct my daughter (she’s only 2, almost 3) today because she referred to him as “he”. I told him out of deep love for him I could not in good conscience refer to him as “her,” but how do I explain that to an almost 3 year old? How have you informed your kids about this? Would love any feedback you have on this.

I do not envy you young moms who are having to deal with things like this with your small children. My youngest child is 19, so this was not an issue when he or any of his older siblings were toddlers or even young teens. Isn’t it amazing how fast the world has plunged headlong into this depth of sin?

I think you handled the situation just fine, and with a two or three year old who likely had zero memory of this incident the next day, you probably don’t even need to broach the subject. But if you do, I would suggest keeping your focus broad and shallow. “Honey, you need to whisper to me when you have a question about another person, or wait until later to ask. That person’s feelings might get hurt, and we don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings if we can avoid it.”.

Honestly, for a two or three year old, even the part about hurting someone else’s feelings is going to go right over her head (as is the “wait until later” part, and she’s also unlikely to remember the “whisper to me” part for the future). Children that young rarely have the capacity to grasp the concept that another person even has feelings. They certainly aren’t going to understand the concept of adults “identifying” as the opposite sex. This is really not something you need to worry about trying to explain to her at this young age, and no amount of talking or explaining is going to keep a pre-schooler from verbalizing any and every thought that comes to mind. Ask any parent – that’s just what they do at that age.

In another year or two, if you encounter a person like this again and your daughter asks you why that man is dressed like a woman, you might say something like,

“Well, you know how sometimes you think you’d like to be a dog or a fairy princess instead of a little girl so that’s what you pretend to be? Do you ever see Mommy doing that? No? That’s because when we grow up, the Bible tells us we’re to put childish ways behind us. We’re to be happy with the way God made us and do our best to love Him and serve Him as the person He created us to be.

It’s really sad, but sometimes a boy [or vice versa for a girl] who doesn’t know God will grow up and think he would rather be a lady than a man, kind of like you think you’d rather be a fairy princess or a dog than a little girl. But instead of acting like a grown up and asking God to help him be happy with the way He made him, the man will dress up like a lady and pretend to be a lady. Let’s take a moment to pray for him, that He will come to know Jesus and be happy that God made him a man.”

Additional Resources:

The Mailbag: What’s In a Name?

pride, pronouns & prodigals at A Word Fitly Spoken


My church is looking at getting our women’s ministry off the ground and I was asked to be on the team. Do you have any pointers for what works best for your women’s ministry? I definitely want the focus to be growing women in the Word, but I’m unsure how to go about structuring the meeting.

I’m going to give you some resources below that can help jump start your brainstorming, but first a few very simple suggestions:

  • Trust God and pray for wisdom and direction. God promises to give them to you if you ask, so why not take Him up on His offer?
  • Gather your ladies together (or create a survey and email it out) and ask them what sort of structure or class would be most helpful to them.
  • With their feedback in hand, talk things over with your pastor. He should be able to give you some guidance that’s tailor made for the ladies at your particular church.

Additional Resources:

Teach What Is Good: Discipling Younger Women in the 21st Century– Listen in to my teaching session from last year’s OHCW conference. In fact, you might find all of last year’s sessions to be helpful (you’ll find the links below the video).

All Word and No Play: The Importance of Fun and Fellowship in the Doctrinally Sound Church

Guest Post: Building a Biblically Healthy Women’s Ministry (by a pastor, for pastors)


The small church I pastor in the process of launching a women’s ministry and I’m curious if there are any specific video studies led by women that you recommend. I hope to compose a menu of studies for them. Thanks for your assistance.

In case anyone is confused, this email is from a (male) pastor, not a woman pretending to be a pastor. Just wanted to clear that up, there. :0)

Brother pastor, my husband is a retired worship pastor, and God always had us at small churches too, so I not only sympathize with the challenges small churches face, but I also have a lot of experience with women’s ministry at small churches.

And still, I encourage women’s ministries (men’s ministries too, if that were my wheelhouse) not to use what I call “canned” studies (workbooks, videos, etc.) but to study and teach straight from the text of Scripture itself. That’s the primary reason why, on principle, I don’t make recommendations for any women’s Bible study materials other than the Bible itself. The second reason I don’t recommend “canned” studies is that, as you have probably discovered in your search, the overwhelming majority of women’s “Bible” studies are authored by false teachers and consist mainly of fluff and false doctrine. Even if I wanted to make recommendations, it would be nearly impossible.

What I would recommend instead is that you find at least one woman, and maybe up to five or six women, should your church be so blessed, who are spiritually mature and seem to have the gift of teaching, and begin training them to rightly handle and teach Scripture to other women, since this is the biblical instruction we’re given.

As they’re learning, you may wish to take them through or have them practice teaching some of the Bible studies I’ve written as “training wheels” to help them learn. My studies (all free) are designed to teach women how to study straight from the text of Scripture in a “learn by doing” way. Once they get the hang of it, they’ll never have to rely on anyone else’s materials again, even mine! Plus, they’ll eventually be able to teach other women how to teach the Bible. Here are some other resources I think will help:

Additional Resources:

Bible Studies

McBible Study and the Famine of God’s Word

4 Ways We’re Getting Women’s Discipleship Wrong, and How We Can Get it Right!

The Mailbag: Can you recommend a good Bible study for women/teens/kids?

The Mailbag: “We need to stop relying on canned studies,” doesn’t mean, “We need to rely on doctrinally sound canned studies.”.

Teach What Is Good: Discipling Younger Women in the 21st Century (Session 2 on video)

How to Study the Bible – and How Not To


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Discernment, False Teachers, Social Media

Throwback Thursday ~ Four Reasons Why It Matters Who We Share, Pin, and Re-Tweet

Originally published May 22, 2014

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Scroll…scroll…wince…

Scroll…scroll…wince…

I find myself wincing a bit when I see people –who I know genuinely love Jesus—sharing, pinning, and re-tweeting quotes from false teachers such as Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, T.D. Jakes, and Christine Caine, just to name a few. Why? What’s wrong with the encouraging, even biblical, at times, things these people say?

First of all, let me back up a little. What is a “false teacher”? A false teacher is someone who is billed as a Christian pastor or Bible teacher who habitually and unrepentantly writes, teaches, or preaches things that conflict with the clear teaching of Scripture. For example, all four of the people I listed above teach some version of the prosperity gospel, the false teaching that is most rampant in the Western church today. Additionally, T.D. Jakes adheres to the false doctrine of modalism, and Joyce Meyer and Christine Caine blatantly disobey the Bible’s teaching that women are not to be pastors or instruct men in the Scriptures in the church.

These days, it can be difficult to keep up with who teaches sound doctrine and who does not, especially when pastors and teachers we thought were theologically orthodox seem to be turning apostate at an alarming rate. I myself have been a fan of more than one popular writer/teacher/preacher that I later realized was a false teacher (Joyce Meyer was one of them.) as I delved into what they actually taught and believed and compared it to God’s word. I know first hand that it’s easy to think that these people are good biblical teachers and preachers when what they say sounds good, makes us feel good, and has an occasional Bible verse sprinkled in.

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Because I’ve been there myself and know how easy it can be to be drawn in by false teachers, I don’t have any less respect for folks who re-tweet the occasional Osteen-ism of the day. In fact, I have more respect for them, because I know they love the Lord, they’re making an effort to find biblical teaching to listen to, and they have the courage to try to share the gospel with their friends and family via social media. Those are all fantastically good things, and they are to be commended.

But, still, the quotes we share and the people who said them matter. Why?

The quotes we share and the people who said them matter. Here are four reasons why…

1.
Lost people’s eternities are at stake.

Seriously? From hitting the “share” button on a false teacher’s status? Seriously. I don’t think that’s overstating the gravity of the matter. There’s no way to take the possibility of an eternity in hell too seriously.

Think about it: You have an unsaved Facebook friend. She’s getting to the point in her life where she figures it’s time to get her stuff together, so she starts looking into this whole Jesus thing. Where to start? She’s never even set foot inside a church. Aha! She remembers you’re a Christian. Maybe you’ll have a good lead for her. As she’s thinking about all this, you share Joyce Meyer’s status, and it appears in your friend’s news feed. “Ah,” your friend thinks, “this must be a good Bible teacher if my Christian friend follows her.” So she “likes” Joyce Meyer’s Facebook page and follows her on Twitter. Then she starts watching her on TV. Buys some of her books. Maybe attends one of her conferences. Because your friend has zero knowledge of the Bible, she believes everything Joyce Meyer says. It sounds good. It makes her feel good. She’s hearing a few out of context Bible verses here and there. But the problem is that Joyce Meyer doesn’t teach the Jesus of the Bible. She teaches a false god of her own creation. And if your friend doesn’t put her faith in the true Jesus of the Bible, she’s just as lost as she was before. Only now she thinks she’s a Christian. And you can’t convince her otherwise.

Sound far fetched? Maybe. Maybe not. But if there’s even the slightest chance something like that could happen, is it really worth justifying that status share? Furthermore, is it worth even following a teacher who could lead someone you love to an eternity in hell?

2.
It gives false teachers free publicity and a broader platform.

One thing I was very surprised to learn when I first began the process of having my book published1 is that publishers want non-fiction writers to have a built in audience, or “platform,” before they will publish your book. That means you’re already doing speaking engagements and/or have a decent sized ministry, have lots of followers on social media, etc. As I once explained to someone, “You don’t get your book published and then become [celebrity Bible teacher] you have to be [celebrity Bible teacher] in order to get published.”

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Social media stats are a big factor in a celebrity preacher’s/teacher’s platform. If T.D. Jakes suddenly lost the majority of his social media followers, you can bet the TV stations he’s on and the conferences he gets invited to would be taking a serious look at whether or not they’d continue to affiliate with him, because it would indicate that his audience is shrinking.

Conversely, when we re-pin, re-post, or re-tweet these folks, their social media stats go up. They not only get a broader platform on social media from which to spread their unbiblical teaching, they continue to get more book, radio, TV, and other media deals, get invited to speak at more conferences, and even start exporting their false teaching overseas (“missions”) to people who have never heard the gospel before and have no way of knowing they’re being lied to.

When we promote false teachers on social media, we bear some of the responsibility for the spread of their false doctrine.

If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.

2 John 10-11

When we promote false teachers on social media, we bear some of the responsibility for the spread of their false doctrine.

3.
It is disobedient to Scripture.

Often, when a Christian is told she’s following a false teacher, the common response is, “Oh, I just chew up the meat and spit out the bones,” meaning that she takes to heart the “good” things the false teacher has to say and ignores the bad.

The question is: where does the Bible say this is the correct way to deal with false teachers? Answer: it doesn’t. In fact Scripture says exactly the opposite.

For starters, Galatians 1:6-9 says that if anyone preaches a different gospel (such as the prosperity gospel) from the one that’s set down in Scripture, “let him be accursed.” “Accursed” means “damned,” sentenced to hell for eternity.

1 Timothy 4:7 and Titus 3:10 say that we are to have nothing to do with people who teach “irreverent or silly myths” or cause division by teaching false doctrine.

2 Corinthians 6:14-16 tells us not to be joined together or partner with unbelievers, lawlessness, darkness, Belial (the devil), or idols.

1 Corinthians 5:7-13 tells us that when a person infiltrates the church who claims to be a Christian, yet is greedy, an idolater, or a swindler— all of which are things that prosperity preachers are guilty of— we are to “cleanse out the old leaven.” We are “not to associate” with them. We are to “purge the evil person from among you.”

Titus 1:10-16 says of false teachers, “They must be silenced,” because they teach “for shameful gain what they ought not to teach.” Paul instructs Titus to “rebuke them sharply,” and that, “they profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.”

The entire second chapter of 2 Peter paints a dismal picture of the motives, the behavior, and the fate of false teachers:

“Because of them, the way of truth will be blasphemed.”

“In their greed they will exploit you with false words.”

They will “be destroyed in their destruction, suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing.”

“They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you.”

“They entice unsteady souls.”

“For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved.”

“They promise them [people who listen to their false teaching] freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption.”

The entire epistle of Jude is dedicated to exhorting Christians to “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” Of false teachers, Jude says:

“Certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ…Woe to them!”

There’s more, because a large portion of the New Testament is dedicated to exhorting Christians to stay away from false doctrine and rebuke those who teach it, but I think you get the picture. Is it obedient to Christ and to His word to follow and promote someone He says is damnable? People who teach another gospel, such as the prosperity gospel, are the enemies of Christ. Who are we going to side with, Christ or His enemies?

People who teach another gospel, such as the prosperity gospel, are the enemies of Christ. Who are we going to side with, Christ or His enemies?

 4.
It is unloving and disloyal to our Master.

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Think about the person you love the most in this world. Maybe it’s your spouse, your child, a parent, or a friend. Next, think about your favorite celebrity, perhaps a movie star, a TV personality, or a famous author or athlete. Now try to imagine that that celebrity, in interviews with journalists, on talk shows he appears on, at personal appearances and speaking engagements, in books he writes, etc., routinely tells lies about the character of your dearest loved one. And thousands, maybe millions, of people believe him.

Would you continue to be a fan of that celebrity?

What if your loved one found out you were a fan of that celebrity? How would she feel to know you were a fan of someone who spreads lies about her?

If we wouldn’t follow someone who lies about a loved one, how much less should we as Christians have anything to do with a celebrity preacher, teacher, or author who drags the name of our precious Savior through the mud and lies about the gospel?

How can we as Christians have anything to do with a celebrity preacher, teacher, or author who drags the name of our precious Savior through the mud and lies about the gospel?

Friends, for all of these reasons and more, let’s stop promoting these false teachers on social media by publicizing their quotes and other materials. Looking for an encouraging quote to share? There’s nothing better than a verse of Scripture. Because Scripture can offer people something that false teachers can’t: truth and hope. As Jesus Himself said,

“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:17


¹My book, Jacob, Journaling the Journey is no longer in print, and that’s a good thing! I wrote it before learning good hermeneutics and how to handle God’s Word properly. You can probably still find copies of it at online merchants, but I would not recommend that you buy or use it. If you want a good Bible study, the best thing is to simply pick up the Bible and study it for yourself. Right now, I have no plans to rewrite Jacob for future re-release.

Speaking Engagements

Report Back: Women Thriving God’s Way Retreat

What a joy it was, last weekend, to share with my sisters from Highland Bible Church of Woodland Park, Colorado at their fall retreat: Women Thriving God’s Way! Conferences are great for reaching out to women in your community and surrounding areas, but sometimes you need an event where it’s just family. Retreats provide an intimate atmosphere for the women of a local church to bond together as sisters in Christ. It was an honor to speak into HBC women’s family time.

I grew up in southern New Mexico, but I had never crossed our northern border into Colorado before, so it was exciting to touch down at the Colorado Springs airport.

First on the agenda was dinner with Pastor Jeff and his wife, Sharon (who kindly picked me up at the airport), and Adriana (who organized the retreat) and her husband Asa. In the body of Christ, you never meet a stranger, only extended family, and we had a wonderful time of fellowship together.

After dinner, Adriana and Asa checked me into the delightfully rustic Golden Bell Camp and Conference Center:

On Friday morning, Adriana and her daughter Jenny Lynn were so kind to take me around and show me some of the sights. The Colorado Springs area is home to a number of notable sites, including the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center, the United States Air Force Academy, Pike’s Peak, Focus on the Family, The Navigators, and their striking conference center, Glen Eyrie Castle.

Since our time was limited, we focused on two other sites I was particularly interested in, The Garden of the Gods, and Charis Bible College.

The Garden of the Gods is a beautiful area just outside of town, with huge sandstone rock formations set against Pike’s Peak as a majestic backdrop. It’s easy to ignore the evolutionary fairy tales about how the rocks and mountains were formed, because it’s more than obvious that God’s awesome creative hand was at work here!

After a great lunch at a local deli, we did a quick drive through tour of Charis Bible College. I know, kind of a weird choice for sightseeing if you know anything about the school. Or me.

Charis “Bible” College was founded by Andrew Wommack, a key figure in the New Apostolic Reformation / Word of Faith movement. If you’re at all familiar with Bethel’s School of Supernatural Ministry, Charis is kind of like that but with more of a “real” college atmosphere and approach. Still, students are required to take courses with titles like “Healing,” “Holy Spirit I & II,” “Establishing a Prosperous Soul,” and “Operating in God’s Best”. And yet the code of student conduct has the audacity to admonish:

“Spreading false doctrine is not allowed…it is not appropriate to…teach against the doctrines in Charis’ statement of faith.”

The campus is gorgeous and the surroundings enchanting.

I was intrigued by this unique speed limit sign (below). No explanation was posted, and I searched Charis’ website and the internet extensively to no avail. At first I thought it was a reference for a Bible verse, but I looked at every chapter 22 in the Bible, and the only 22:53 references I found were:

1 Kings 22:53: He served Baal and worshiped him and provoked the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger in every way that his father had done.

Luke 22:53: When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.

Pretty appropriate if you ask me, but I doubt Andrew Wommack would have chosen either of those verses.

The only other thing I found is that 22.53 km/hr is roughly equivalent to 14 mph, so…maybe that’s it? I don’t know. If you know, comment below. Curiosity is about to kill me! :0)

Not long ago, my friend Justin Peters was preaching at HBC, and he and Pastor Jeff took the time to visit a class. Needless to say, their questions weren’t welcome, and they were Kicked Out of Charis. I didn’t have time to do anything that would get me kicked out. :0) (You can see more of the opulent insides of the buildings in this video, too.)

We arrived back at Golden Bell in plenty of time to rest up for a fun and delicious dinner and “getting to know each other better” time of fellowship, followed by our first teaching session on biblical womanhood: Rock Your Role at Home and at Church.

Participant gift bags. Thanks, ladies! I really needed a new journal!

Saturday after breakfast, we got right down to business with our second session: Holy Mothers (and Others) of God’s Word, one of my favorites. We strolled through the Bible and took a brief look at the lives of several of our Old and New Testament sisters, and their examples of holiness to us.

Between teaching sessions and other activities, the ladies had the opportunity to craft these cute Christmas ornaments. They kindly gave me a couple to take home. What a treat!

Session 3, Practical Holiness, a look at practical ways to pursue holiness in our daily lives, came right after lunch. And after a fun afternoon of rest and recreation, capped off by a mouth-watering supper, we ended the day with teaching session 4, God’s Word: Our Foundation, addressing the necessity, authority, and sufficiency of Scripture.

I had to get up at 4 a.m. to catch my flight home the next morning, but it was worth it to be able to be with my own church family Sunday night. Flying on 9/11 was an interesting experience. The Colorado Springs airport asked us to observe a moment of silence in remembrance, and everyone respectfully complied.


Many thanks to Pastor Jeff, Sharon, Adriana, Jenny Lynn, Russ, Ely, and all of the HBC ladies who worked so hard to host a great retreat, took care of all my needs, and made me feel so welcome. If you’re ever in the Woodland Park area, be sure to stop in to Highland Bible Church for a visit!


If your church or organization is ever in need of a speaker for a women’s event, I’d love to come share with your ladies as well. Click here for more information.


Photo Credits

All photos marked with a white star were taken by retreat attendees.

All other photos by Michelle Lesley