Ezekiel Bible Study

Ezekiel ~ Lesson 9

 

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Read Ezekiel 17-19

Questions to Consider

1. Review your notes from last week’s lesson and be reminded of the things that lead into, and set the stage for, this week’s passage.

2. Chapter 17

Read 17:1-10- Think back through what we’ve read in Ezekiel so far. What are some of the various methods God has used to get His message across to His people? Which method is He using now? (17:2) What does God say is His purpose in using parables? Have you noticed as we’ve been studying Ezekiel that God usually explains what He meant by the parable He told, or the diorama or drama Ezekiel enacted?

Read 17:11-15- Explain in your own words what the parable meant. (Don’t forget to use your cross-references.) What should “the royal offspring” (17:13) of Jerusalem (use your cross-references to find out who this was) have done instead of making a covenant with the king of Babylon or attempting to secure military help from Egypt?

Read 17:16-21- What will be the consequences for “the royal offspring” (17:13) for breaking his oath and covenant with the king of Babylon? Look carefully at 19-20. Who does God say he has actually sinned against by breaking the oath and covenant? Why? (Hint: Think about swearing an oath, even in a court of law today. Who do you swear by?) Compare what God says here to David’s assessment of his own sin in Psalm 51.

Explain why all sin and wrongdoing is, at its foundation, rebellion against God.

Read 17:22-24- What does this passage point ahead to? Explore the tree motif.

3. Read chapter 18.

Explain 18:4 in your own words.

In 18:5-18, God presents two different father/son scenarios. Briefly summarize the character of the father, the character of the son, and the consequences for the actions of each in the following sections:

Father              Son             Consequences (father)       Consequences (son)

5-13:

14-18

In 18:21-32, explain the heart of God toward sinners. Does God delight or take joy in exercising His wrath against sinners? What is His posture toward sinners? How does this passage explain repentance and God’s forgiveness of sin? How does it showcase God’s mercy toward sinners?

Chapter 18 talks a great deal about people’s wicked or righteous behavior. Is this chapter teaching works righteousness (that we can earn right standing with God by our good behavior or obeying His laws)? How do you know – based on specific Scriptures and the fact that the Bible doesn’t contradict itself – that it is not? What is the spiritual motivation for the righteous behavior described in chapter 18?

Is 18:24 saying that a person can lose her salvation? How do you know – based on specific Scriptures and the fact that the Bible doesn’t contradict itself – that it is not?

How does 18:21-32 show that God’s way of reckoning sin and righteousness is just and Israel’s way is unjust?

Imagine you’re one of the few faithful Israelites during this time. You love the Lord and do your best to obey Him. How would chapter 18 comfort you and reassure you as you keep hearing these messages of God’s impending wrath?

4. Read chapter 19.

Read through this chapter examining all of the cross-references. Who are the people alluded to in this chapter? What are the historical events alluded to in this chapter? Summarize in your own words what this chapter is referring to.

What is a lamentation, and why would it have been appropriate for the people to lament over the events of this chapter?

Have you ever lamented over your sin? Explain why, for Christians, lament should always lead to repentance and gratitude for God’s forgiveness.


Homework

• Add 17:21,24 to your “And you/they shall know that I am the Lord” list. Write down who will know that He is the Lord, what will cause them to know He is the Lord, and why God wants them to know He is the Lord.

• How would you use the principles in chapter 18 to explain to a friend why things like generational curses, reparations for slavery, systemic racism, “I’m a Christian because my parents are faithful church members,” etc., are unbiblical? Why is it important to God that we know that He holds every person responsible to Him individually for our sin, and that He applies Christ’s righteousness to us individually when we repent and place our faith in Him? How does this reflect God’s attribute of justice?


Suggested Memory Verse

Testimony Tuesday

Testimony Tuesday: Audrey’s Story

Audrey’s Story

A few months ago, I was scrolling on Twitter when a tweet from Michelle Lesley got my attention. She said, in her experience, false teachings enter the church through women’s ministries and worship music. I was aware of this. Many other evangelicals voiced similar concerns on doctrinal errors in women’s ministries and contemporary worship music. What stood out to me wasn’t what the tweet said, but what it didn’t.

In my experience, there is a third entrance through which false doctrines sneak into the church. It is a small door, but it was through it that I got introduced to false teachers.

This entrance is the young adult ministries.

Most churches have ministries for Christians who are in their 20’s and 30’s. I have been a member of several of them, and I noticed other young adults almost always led them. They get attracted to popular young pastors the same way women are drawn to popular female teachers. These pastors are trendy, funny, relatable, and have a substantial social media presence. They, however, are not doctrinally sound.

They, however, are not doctrinally sound…

Being a social media recluse, I only discovered these pastors through the 20’s/30’s ministry at my former church.

My first “Bible study” there was Good or God by John Bevere, and it was the first Christian book I ever read. Since I was a new Christian with little discernment, I believed everything Bevere taught. I got a few of his other books and watched several of his lessons from his preaching ministry, Messenger International. He quickly became one of my favorite teachers.

But as I learned much later, John Bevere is a questionable teacher. He teaches extra-biblical revelations — he once said God told him He was about to do new things in the church that would make Pentecost day child’s play. He teaches tongues is a supernatural language that helps us communicate with God so that the devil doesn’t understand us. And his wife, Lisa Bevere, disobeys Scriptures by teaching men and partnering with false teachers.

The next study we did was Transformed by Rick Warren.

Rick Warren is the pioneer of the seeker-sensitive movement, and he is not a trustworthy teacher. His book, The Purpose-Driven Church, has caused many churches to water down the gospel, and add worldly components in their services to keep unregenerated hearts entertained. In Transformed, Warren frequently twists Scriptures and uses dubious translations to make incorrect statements.

I just wanted to study the Bible…

After a while, I got frustrated with these types of studies and my life group. I just wanted to study the Bible. I hoped that after Transformed, we would finally dig in the Word. But the leader dashed my hopes when she announced yet another canned study from yet another popular pastor. I wanted to say something, but I was new and shy. So I kept quiet. By God’s grace, someone else in the group voiced the concerns I had about our Bible study sessions. The leader considered them, and we started studying books of the Bible.

But ironically, it gave me even more exposure to dangerous teachers.

As we discussed our weekly readings, my mates frequently mentioned pertinent quotes or sermons by their favorite pastors. That’s how I discovered names like Steven Furtick, Robert Morris, and Judah Smith. Trusting their judgment, I listened to these pastors and others associated with them. And for me, Christianity’s best and brightest were men like Craig Groeschel, Michael Todd, T. D. Jakes, Joel Osteen, Chad Veach, and John Gray. (I don’t consider all these men false teachers, but I don’t recommend them.)

After a shallow diet of Bible books studies, we eventually returned to canned studies. The next one we did was undoubtedly the worst of them all. It was Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer.

Joyce Meyer is a certified false teacher who teaches heresy like the Prosperity Gospel and Word of Faith theology. I bought her book intending to read it, but by God’s providence, my schedule changed, and I only attended three sessions. I still shudder when I think of the damning doctrines I almost learned.

I still shudder when I think of the damning doctrines…

Shortly after, I moved to another state, and I have never been back to that church. It’s been almost two years since then, and I realize now there were several other issues with that church. Nevertheless, young adult ministries can still be an avenue for false teaching even in sound churches, and need close oversight.

They are tomorrow’s leaders, and they have a profound influence on today’s youths. Most of the people in my life group worked in the children’s ministry or mentored teens in the church. If these kids get exposed to false teachers at such an impressionable age, it will be difficult to break that hold later. It is evidenced by the visceral reactions of Christians online when someone critiques their favorite teachers.

I used to be one of them. Someone once called my favorite pastor a false teacher, and I passionately defended him. I am ashamed to say that I even used the p-word (“Pharisee”). But today, I no longer follow him and his like.

The Lord is faithful…

I credit this change to American Gospel: Christ Alone, that exposed counterfeit gospels and their leaders, many of whom I respected even though I didn’t follow them; Justin Peters who set me free from false teachings like extra-biblical revelations and mysticism that have been a stumbling block in my faith; Michelle Lesley, who pulled me off the path of egalitarianism, made me appreciate my role as a woman, and exposed dangerous women teaching otherwise; and What Shall I Cry Ministry that taught me the difference between expository preaching and man-centered preaching.

My deepest gratitude goes to the Holy Spirit, who provided me with these excellent resources and opened my eyes to the truth.

The Lord is faithful, and He will protect His elect.

Grace and peace to you!


Ladies, God is still at work in the hearts and lives of His people, including yours! Would you like to share a testimony of how God saved you, how He has blessed you, convicted you, taught you something from His Word, brought you out from under false doctrine, placed you in a good church or done something otherwise awesome in your life? Private/direct message me on social media, e-mail me (MichelleLesley1@yahoo.com), or comment below. Your testimony can be as brief as a few sentences or as long as 1500 words. Let’s encourage one another with God’s work in our lives!

Mailbag, Marriage

The Mailbag: Regrets, I’ve had a few…more.

 

Your article The Mailbag: Regrets…I Still Have a Few is excellent! I have a related question…what if the thing you regret isn’t a sin? What if it is a decision you made that now you wish you hadn’t made? I don’t know how to deal with something like this.

Thank you!

It’s always good to try to think these things through biblically. I’m glad you’re doing that! It’s a little difficult to answer without knowing what the circumstances are, but sometimes that’s good because it allows me to take a more “general principles” approach that can help other readers out with their own situations. So here are some principles we can all consider in a situation like this:

⇒ Get out your Bible and make absolutely certain that whatever you’re regretting isn’t a sin, because we have to deal with sins one way and non-sins another way. When the reader mentions “something you regret that isn’t a sin,” I’m thinking of things like: “I wish I had taken job A instead of job B.” “I wish I hadn’t moved so far away from my extended family.” “I wish we had homeschooled our kids instead of putting them in public school.” Things like that are not sins. Things like, “I wish I hadn’t committed adultery and ruined my marriage,” are.

⇒ Spend some time in prayer and in Scripture examining your heart about why you regret the decision you made. Maybe the decision itself wasn’t sinful, but the regrets you’re having are? Do you wish you had taken that other job because you’re coveting the higher income it would have given you? Do you wish you had homeschooled so the other moms would look up to you and admire you?

Or maybe what’s motivating your regret isn’t sinful. Maybe you regret being so far from your extended family because you were the only gospel influence in their lives. May you now see that taking the other job would have allowed you to spend more time with your kids. Only you and God can sort out the motives of your heart.

⇒ Is there a way to fix things in a biblical direction? If what’s motivating your regret is sinful (pride, coveting, etc.), job one is to repent and ask God to change your heart about the situation. If your regrets aren’t sinful, is there anything you can do to alleviate the situation in a godly way? Could you cut back on your hours to spend more time with your kids? Video chat with your extended family more often to continue being that gospel witness? Think about whether or not there’s anything you can do about the situation.

⇒ Be content:

…I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. Philippians 4:11b
…But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 1 Timothy 6:8
…Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
…O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. Psalm 131:1-2

⇒ Trust God’s sovereignty- especially if, at the time, you were trying to make the most godly decision you could make and be as obedient to Him as you knew how to be. God has put you in the situation you’re in right now for His glory and your good. You didn’t end up where you are by accident. And the God who has brought you to where you are is capable of using the decision you made that you now regret to bring Himself glory, to do something for you, in you, through you, or with you, and maybe even to minister to someone else.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. Proverbs 3:5-7

⇒ Move forward, and keep striving to make godly decisions in the future.

But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, Philippians 3:13b-15a
Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. Psalm 37:3-5

Dwelling on regrets isn’t spiritually healthy. We certainly never see God praising anyone for looking back on the past and fretting. (After all, look what happened when Lot’s wife looked back! :0) There’s nothing you can do to change the past. All we can do is press on and live today for the glory of God.


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

Todd White

If you are considering commenting or sending me an e-mail objecting to the fact that I warn against certain teachers, please click here and read this article first. Your objection is most likely answered here. I won’t be publishing comments or answering emails that are answered by this article.

This article is what I call a “clearinghouse article”. It is a collection of articles written by others on the teacher, ministry, or unbiblical trend named below. Either I have not had the time to write a full blown article on it myself, or I felt that the articles listed did a fine job of explaining the biblical issues and there was no need to reinvent the wheel.

Disclaimer: I did not write the articles below, and I am not thoroughly familiar with all of the websites used in my clearinghouse articles. I do not endorse anything on these sites that deviates from Scripture or conflicts with my beliefs as outlined in the “Welcome” or “Statement of Faith” tabs in the blue menu bar at the top of this page.

Here are the  biblical criteria I use when deciding whether or not to recommend a teacher, ministry, etc.:

Generally speaking, in order for me to recommend a teacher, speaker, or author, he or she has to meet three criteria:

a) A female teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly preach to or teach men in violation of 1 Timothy 2:12. A male teacher or pastor cannot allow women to carry out this violation of Scripture in his ministry. The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be living in any other sin (for example, cohabiting with her boyfriend or living as a homosexual).

b) The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be partnering with or frequently appearing with false teachers. This is a violation of Scripture.

c) The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be teaching false doctrine.

I recommend against any teacher or ministry who violates one or more of these biblical tenets.

I am not very familiar with most of the teachers I’m asked about (there are so many out there!) and have not had the opportunity to examine their writings or hear them speak, so most of the “quick checking” I do involves items a and b (although in order to partner with false teachers (b) it is reasonable to assume their doctrine is acceptable to the false teacher and that they are not teaching anything that would conflict with the false teacher’s doctrine). Partnering with false teachers and women preaching to men are each sufficient biblical reasons not to follow a pastor, teacher, or author, or use his/her materials.

Just to be clear, “not recommended” is a spectrum. On one end of this spectrum are people like Nancy Leigh DeMoss Wolgemuth and Kay Arthur. These are people I would not label as false teachers because their doctrine is generally sound, but because of some red flags I’m seeing with them, you won’t find me proactively endorsing them or suggesting them as a good resource, either. There are better people you could be listening to. On the other end of the spectrum are people like Joyce Meyer and Rachel Held Evans- complete heretics whose teachings, if believed, might lead you to an eternity in Hell. Most of the teachers I review fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum (leaning toward the latter).

If you’d like to check out some pastors and teachers I heartily recommend, click the Recommended Bible Teachers tab at the top of this page.


Todd White
Not Recommended

 

Primary issues with Todd White: New Apostolic Reformation heresy, fake faith healing, yokes with numerous false teachers

 

New Apostolic Reformation

New Apostolic Reformation articles

The Mailbag: What is the New Apostolic Reformation?

The Mailbag: Should Christians listen to “Reckless Love”? (Contains videos and discussion of blasphemous NAR music, practices, and beliefs)

 

Theological Issues

Todd White Flips the Gospel Upside Down at Messed Up Church

Are Bethel Church and Todd White False Teachers? at WWUTT

Todd White Said the Cross Determined Your Value? at WWUTT

Responding to the False Teaching of Bethel Church, Jesus Culture, and Todd White by Gabriel Hughes

Todd White False Healer Witchcraft New Age Agenda by Justin Peters

Faith Healing

Todd White Exposed-Fake Leg Lengthening Trick! an excerpt from American Gospel

Fake Healing Videos Evaluated: Todd White, Tom Fischer and more by Mike Winger

Todd White Doubles Down on False Leg Lengthening Miracle at Fighting for the Faith

“I’m sinless.”

Todd White Says “I Am Sinless” (Just Like Jesus) by Steven Kozar

Does Todd White Claim to Be Sinless? by Popular Gospel

Mentored by Kenneth Copeland and Benny Hinn

Todd White’s Mentor is Kenneth Copeland! Be Careful of Todd White’s False Gospel Teachings at Berean Perspective Apologetics & Evangelism Ministry

Todd White’s Experience At A Benny Hinn Meeting at Nathan Griffith

“Encounter Gospel”

The Fortune-Telling “Encounter Gospel” of Bethel & the NAR Explained at Messed Up Church

 

Specific Incidents with Todd White

Todd receives American Gospel movie and letter from Costi Hinn

Todd calls American Gospel “demonically inspired” and “persecution”

Todd’s “Repentance” Sermon

Discerning Todd White at A Word Fitly Spoken

Has Todd White Repented? by Justin Peters

Todd’s Wealth

Todd White: How Much Money Does He Actually Make? by Steven Kozar

 

Collections of Articles/Episodes

The Todd White Cornucopia of False Teaching at Messed Up Church

Todd White at Fighting for the Faith

Todd White at Berean Research

Discernment, False Teachers

Ann Voskamp

If you are considering commenting or sending me an e-mail objecting to the fact that I warn against certain teachers, please click here and read this article first. Your objection is most likely answered here. I won’t be publishing comments or answering emails that are answered by this article.

This article is what I call a “clearinghouse article”. It is a collection of articles written by others on the teacher, ministry, or unbiblical trend named below. Either I have not had the time to write a full blown article on it myself, or I felt that the articles listed did a fine job of explaining the biblical issues and there was no need to reinvent the wheel.

Disclaimer: I did not write the articles below, and I am not thoroughly familiar with all of the websites used in my clearinghouse articles. I do not endorse anything on these sites that deviates from Scripture or conflicts with my beliefs as outlined in the “Welcome” or “Statement of Faith” tabs in the blue menu bar at the top of this page.

Here are the  biblical criteria I use when deciding whether or not to recommend a teacher, ministry, etc.:

Generally speaking, in order for me to recommend a teacher, speaker, or author, he or she has to meet three criteria:

a) A female teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly preach to or teach men in violation of 1 Timothy 2:12. A male teacher or pastor cannot allow women to carry out this violation of Scripture in his ministry. The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be living in any other sin (for example, cohabiting with her boyfriend or living as a homosexual).

b) The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be partnering with or frequently appearing with false teachers. This is a violation of Scripture.

c) The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be teaching false doctrine.

I recommend against any teacher or ministry who violates one or more of these biblical tenets.

I am not very familiar with most of the teachers I’m asked about (there are so many out there!) and have not had the opportunity to examine their writings or hear them speak, so most of the “quick checking” I do involves items a and b (although in order to partner with false teachers (b) it is reasonable to assume their doctrine is acceptable to the false teacher and that they are not teaching anything that would conflict with the false teacher’s doctrine). Partnering with false teachers and women preaching to men are each sufficient biblical reasons not to follow a pastor, teacher, or author, or use his/her materials.

Just to be clear, “not recommended” is a spectrum. On one end of this spectrum are people like Nancy Leigh DeMoss Wolgemuth and Kay Arthur. These are people I would not label as false teachers because their doctrine is generally sound, but because of some red flags I’m seeing with them, you won’t find me proactively endorsing them or suggesting them as a good resource, either. There are better people you could be listening to. On the other end of the spectrum are people like Joyce Meyer and Rachel Held Evans- complete heretics whose teachings, if believed, might lead you to an eternity in Hell. Most of the teachers I review fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum (leaning toward the latter).

If you’d like to check out some pastors and teachers I heartily recommend, click the Recommended Bible Teachers tab at the top of this page.


Ann Voskamp
Not Recommended

 

Primary issues with Ann Voskamp: False doctrine (New Age mysticism, panentheism, “theological erotica”), twists and mishandles Scripture, yokes with numerous false teachers, preaches to men

 

Theological Issues

Mystical Estrogen at Fighting for the Faith

Ann Voskamp’s Dangerous View of God’s Love at Berean Research

Panentheism

One Thousand Gifts at Christian Answers for the New Age

Panentheism and Hollow Words by Marcia Montenegro

“Theological Erotica”

One Thousand Gifts at Christian Answers for the New Age

 

Book Reviews

Romantic Panentheism: A Review of One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp by Bob DeWaay

Interview With Marcia Montenegro: “One Thousand Gifts” Review with Steven Kozar

One Thousand Gifts by Tim Challies (please see also this companion piece: In which Tim Challies realizes Ann Voskamp is a real person by Elizabeth Prata)

The Broken Way at Wise in His Eyes

 

Examples of Ann Voskamp Preaching to Men

Hillsong Sunday sermon (Hillsong/Brian Houston)

The Way of the Lamb (instructing pastors at a pastors’ conference)

Founder’s Week at Moody Bible Institute (Other problematic speakers were on the roster, but normally at an event like this, each speaker comes in on a different day, they do not share a stage, and they have no contact with one another. I do not consider this “partnering” with other teachers.)

The Justice Conference (social justice)

Evangelicals for Life

 

Examples of Ann Voskamp Partnering with False Teachers

Women of Joy Conferences (Sheila Walsh, Chrystal Evans Hurst, Jennie Allen)

Hillsong’s Colour Conference 2020 (multiple) (Hillsong/Bobbie Houston, female “pastor,” Leanne Matthesius)

Q-Conference/Q-Ideas (multiple) (Rebekah and Gabe Lyons, Francis Chan, Priscilla Shirer, Jennie Allen, Bill Johnson. others)

Beth Moore: Guest post on Ann’s blog

IF:Gathering (Ann is on the leadership team of IF and has spoken at IF numerous times alongside false teachers and female “pastors”/preachers)

Thrive 2017 (Lysa TerKeurst, Bianca Olthoff, female “pastor,” Carolyn Haas)

 

Specific Incidents with Ann Voskamp

Ann Voskamp: Whoever Tells the Church Mothers to Go Home Are Homewreckers in Our Father’s Church at Relevant (not a recommended site) – After John MacArthur’s 2019 remarks that false teacher, Beth Moore, should not be preaching to men and should “go home,” Ann apparently wrote a response in support of Beth and some form of egalitarianism. She has since deleted the article.

Social Justice/Racial Issues

Ann Voskamp Among Protestors Outside the National Prayer Breakfast at Church Leaders (not a recommended site)

Ann promotes Black Lives Matter, White Fragility, and other unbiblical teachings (and teachers) on race on her blog