Discernment, Mailbag

The Mailbag: Do you recommend these teachers/authors? Volume 1

If you are considering commenting or sending me an e-mail objecting to the fact that I warn against false 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.

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Volume 2, Volume 3

I get lots of questions about particular authors, pastors, and Bible teachers, and whether or not I recommend them. Some of the best known can be found above at my Popular False Teachers tab. Below are some others I’ve been asked about recently, so I’ve done a quick check (this is brief research, not exhaustive) on each of them.

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 am not very familiar with the women listed below and have not had the opportunity to examine their writings or hear them speak, so most of the “quick checking” I did involved 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). On a few of these, I have also enlisted the help of theologically sound friends who are more familiar with these women than I am.

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).

Photo courtesy of prayinglife.org.

Jennifer Kennedy Dean– Not recommended. Jennifer’s calendar of events includes a column titled “Women Only?” which implies that she does teach men (at this time she has one co-ed event listed). An April 17, 2016 Facebook post also mentions she will be speaking to inmates at a men’s prison who are using one of her book studies.

Jennifer’s web site features endorsements by Lysa TerKeurst and Beth Moore, but I did not find any other obvious partnerships or appearances between Jennifer and well-known false teachers.

Some of Jennifer’s wording in quotes from her books and book descriptions give me pause because they sound similar to some of the phraseology false teachers use. However, I want to stress that I did not find any quotes in my quick check of Jennifer that seemed overtly unbiblical. She does favorably quote The Message and does not seem to understand that it is a paraphrase, not a translation, which does concern me since she is a Bible study author. I would need to examine her books and teaching more closely to get a better grip on where she’s coming from doctrinally.

12046903_1052179321495503_6933066421813121772_nLisa Harper– Not recommended. Lisa is a contributing writer at Proverbs 31. She has partnered with Christine Caine, Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, Lisa Bevere, and Victoria Osteen in at least one conference at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood. Lisa is also connected to IF: Gathering. Lisa considers Sheila Walsh (see below) a friend. And, she seems to think Joyce Meyer, Christine Caine, and Priscilla Shirer are kosher.

Photo courtesy of karenkingsbury.com

Karen Kingsbury– Recommended only for discerning, mature Christians. Karen Kingsbury is in a bit of a different category since she is a fiction writer. I asked about her in a group of theologically sound women I’m a member of. Here’s what they said:

“Her books are very “evanjellyfish.” Lots of personal words from God. Jeremiah 29:11 is quoted and misapplied several times per book. Ask Jesus into your heart. All the usual stuff.”

“There are absolutely problems with KK’s theology. Her latest series is about angels sent by God to earth to direct the lives of four chosen people and keep them alive so that one of the couples can bear a child named Dallas Garner who will turn the hearts of people back to God.”

“I actually saw The Bridge Part 1 and 2 on Hallmark that is based on her books. I would no way look to her for theology, but the movies were decent for a Christmas feel good movie. But that’s as far as I’d ever go with her stuff.”

“I really enjoyed the Baxter family series. As fiction. Not for theology. I’m pretty sure I rolled my eyes quite a bit at those parts. But – it’s fiction. I don’t hold fiction to the same standard that I would a theological book.”

“The angels series is way out there and could lead to very bad theology. If you read those books, you might want to compare it with a study of angels in Scripture.”

I would echo the respondent who said she does not hold fiction to the same level of doctrinal purity as non-fiction Bible studies, Christian living, or theology books. If you are a new Christian or not very knowledgeable of the Bible, it would probably be a good idea for to stay away from Karen Kingsbury books until you’re more mature in Christ and can spot and reject the theological problems in the books.

Photo courtesy of twitter.com/rebekahlyons

Rebekah Lyons– Not recommended. Rebekah and her husband Gabe (who previously helped co-found the Catalyst conference, which has featured false teachers Beth Moore and Christine Caine) are the founders of “Q,” an organization which attempts to join Christians with secular cultural and governmental leaders as well as other non-Christians, including Muslims, in order to make a Christian impact on culture through “The 7 Channels of Cultural Influence.” These “7 Channels” are identical to the seven mountains found in the Seven Mountain Mandate of the New Apostolic Reformation’s false teaching of Dominionism. Scripture does not tell us to partner with non-Christians to impact culture, in fact, it explicitly tells us not to.

Rebekah has appeared at IF: Gathering. The transcript of her speech is Ann Voskamp-esque sloppy theology at best, emergent at worst. Rebekah also appeared at Q with IF: Gathering founder Jennie Allen speaking on Women in the Church. You’ll notice that Gabe commends IF for not “getting into doctrine” when it comes to women’s roles in the church, and virtually no Scripture is cited in the entire talk, only opinions (there was so much double speak in the video that I was unable to glean anything else of substance).

Among other topics, including marijuana and robots, Q Denver 2016 will feature speaker Melinda Selmys, a Catholic blogger and author who wiil share “My Struggle with Gender Dysphoria.” She “encourages faith communities to provide trans people with the social, emotional, and spiritual support that they need in order to heal.”

Photo courtesy of raechelmyers.com

Raechel Myers– Not recommended (nor anyone associated with She Reads Truth). Check out this resource and this one. Elizabeth Prata, author of these two resources adds:

“I had direct interaction with Raechel Myers regarding the concerns I’d written about. She falls far below the ‘unrepentant … false doctrine’ benchmark. As an elder woman attempting to teach her, the younger, sound doctrine and to be self-controlled (Titus 2:2, 4-5) she not only was unrepentant but she was very angry and decidedly UNcontrolled. She would not listen one bit and so, she did not hear. The entire scene made me very sad for all the IF:Gathering women, because they are intelligent and have energy, verve, and dedication. If they’d put all that in the right direction they all could have been role model women and wives for the glory of Jesus.”

snShauna Niequist– Not recommended. In addition to regularly preaching the Sunday sermon at Willow Creek, this information is from a friend who knows Shauna’s family personally:

“[Shauna is] the daughter of Bill Hybels, the founder and pastor of Willow Creek in Barrington, IL. Because of very personal experience with it, I will tell you that this stuff they peddle has proven to be the worst kind of Christianity, and probably a Matthew 23:14-15 type of situation, at least in my opinion.

Next, this post right here ought to really be enough.

She is a friend of Rachel Held Evans. She is touring with Jen Hatmaker, who is a complete mess. Really, there is no other way to describe her than secularism covered with some bible words.

Aaron [Shauna’s husband] is a worship leader at Willow Creek. He began a HUGE movement with contemplative prayer a couple of years ago. Because of his music, he comes off as very spiritual and sound, but there is nothing inherently Christian about anything he says or does, really. Take a look at Aaron’s blog here, which will give you more insight.

There is ZERO discernment with this family, they either promote or flock to whoever is popular, and they are all about using words that sound really great, but have no substance to them at all. They are on this big thing lately about “Holy Spaces”, which sounds great, but is so anti-biblical when you really think about it. You don’t create a space that is holy, only God can do that. Anyway…

This is the Willow Creek legacy, in a nutshell: their lack of sound doctrine, lack of bible, lack of biblical discernment, and their false teaching and false gospel. Shauna, and Aaron, are simply products of what her dad has built, which is a huge gathering of people who neither know Christ, nor have reverence for His word.”

Shauna also publicly congratulated Jen Hatmaker for affirming homosexuality.

screenshot-2016-10-29-at-5-00-58-pm

jrJennifer Rothschild– Not recommended. Although a dear, godly, discerning friend heard her speak several years ago and recounted to me that Jennifer handled God’s word correctly and taught the biblical gospel at the conference she attended, a brief perusal of Jennifer’s blog raises too many red flags for me to recommend her at this time. Perhaps Jennifer is slipping in her discernment.

Jennifer has several endorsements from the likes of Beth Moore and Lysa TerKeurst prominently displayed on her web site, says she “loves James and Betty Robison,” and speaks 25- 30 times per year “to groups – mostly women,” (implying that she does teach men). She also calls Ann Voskamp a “dear, dear friend” in the introduction to a guest post Ann wrote for Jennifer’s blog, and will appear with Ann (again) at an upcoming event.

susiesquare-300x300Susie Shellenberger– Not recommended. According to her website Susie is  “an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene” (The office of elder is expressly limited to men in Scripture.) and spent several years serving as a youth pastor.

In the About Susie’s Speaking and Schedule sections of her website, several events which are usually co-ed (such as church revivals and college chapels) are suggested as events at which she might speak. “People” and “audiences,” rather than “women,” are the terms used for her listeners at these venues, implying that she teaches men.

Most of Susie’s books are for or about teens, and, while I haven’t read any of them, some of the titles and descriptions seem a bit troubling:

Masterpiece: 18 Encounters with Jesus that Prove it’s All About You (Even Rick Warren knows “It’s not about you.”)

Girl Talk With God: It’s Actually About Talking With Him and Listening to Him Talk Back (God speaks to us through His word, not an audible voice.)

Secret Power to Faith, Family, and Getting a Guy: A Personal Bible Study on the Book of Ruth (The book of Ruth is not “a Cinderella story” as the description purports, nor God’s instructions on how to get a boyfriend.)

headshot_newSheila Walsh– Not recommended. Sheila was a co-host of The 700 Club for several years, and recently announced she’s joining the leadership team of Life Today (James Robison). She has appeared at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood alongside false teachers Beth Moore, Prisicilla Shirer, Christine Caine, and Victoria Osteen, and is a contributor at Hillsong’s web site. She gave an enthusiastic Instagram recommendation of an event at which Bobbie Houston (Hillsong), Christine Caine, and Sarah Jakes Roberts (T.D. Jakes’ daughter) are the featured speakers. I also skimmed this interview with Sheila and found some of her answers troubling, particularly the one towards the end where the interviewer asks her about “people of other faiths who sincerely love God.”

awAmanda Bible Williams– Not recommended (nor anyone associated with She Reads Truth). Check out this resource and this one.

 

 

I truly regret that I’m unable to give a wholehearted endorsement to any of these women. I’m sure they’re all perfectly nice people who, in their own hearts, have only the best of intentions, but Christian leaders and teachers have a grave responsibility to Christ and to their listeners to teach sound doctrine and walk in obedience to Scripture. Please understand that this is not a personal attack on any of these women, only answers to readers’ questions about whether or not I recommend them and their materials.


If you have a question about: a well-known Christian author/leader, 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.

27 thoughts on “The Mailbag: Do you recommend these teachers/authors? Volume 1”

    1. Thanks for the great resources, Elizabeth! I copied and pasted the remainder of your comment about Raechel Myers into the article itself. Thanks for the addtional information :0)

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  1. “…which is a huge gathering of people who neither know Christ, nor have reverence for His word”. Wow. I am a member of Willow Creek Church. That was a bit quick to judge an entire congregation. It is one thing to recommend or not recommend authors but quite another to be so vastly assuming. I was legitimately looking for reviews of Lysa TerKeurst’s work and was intrigued by your reviews. But this?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Natasha-

      Just to clarify, I didn’t write that part. It was written by a doctrinally sound, trustworthy friend who knows the family personally and is far more familiar with Willow Creek than I am. I will touch base with him and see if he would like to respond.

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      1. Hi again, Natasha. Here is my friend’s response:

        “Natasha,

        I understand your concerns about my statement. There are a few questions to consider:

        1. Is the concern that there might be believers at Willow Creek, but the statements seemed to condemn all who enter their doors? If so, I apologize. That was not the intent. I do believe it is possible to have a true follower of Christ within the church, but I would suggest that there would have to be something they misunderstand in order to remain. The fact that you say you attend there tells me that you either agree with what they teach, or you haven’t compared their teaching to scripture. I would encourage you to do just that.

        2. If your concern is about the church as an institution, then my comments remain. Willow Creek has taught and continues to teach in an anti-biblical, self-help, seeker-sensitive way, which is nothing like the teaching of the bible. While there may be a few things here and there that seem to align with biblical truth, the church as a whole does not teach that which accords with sound doctrine, nor is the mission of the church to teach all that Jesus taught. I can cite many examples if needed, but the main point must be that a church is to be an institution based on truth and sound doctrine. Willow Creek is designed for unbelieving people, not the gathered saints for worship, which seems to be the opposite of what scripture teaches and demonstrates.

        If you have further questions, or would like some resources to consider, please contact Michelle via e-mail through the “Contact and Social Media” link and she can get us in touch.”

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      2. Natasha- I have gone back and added in some links to the section on Shauna that show evidence of the false teaching at Willow Creek plus the fact that they regularly allow women and false teachers to preach, which are definitely prohibited by Scripture.

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  2. Hi Michelle, I’m newer to your blog and am enjoying the discernment and wisdom you share.

    I’ve spent the past 5 months researching both the NAR and the WoF movements. What I have found time and again is that the same names are always connected to one another in some way. Cain, Moore, Meyer / Johnson, Bickle, Joyner / Young, Terkeurst, Hatmaker / Osteen, Warren, Driscoll / Hillsong, Bethel, Catalyst / One Thing Conference, Asuza Revival, Presence Conference / B. Johnson, Baker, Bentley …oh, I could go on and on. And the groups aren’t exclusive, as any one person from one group can be connected to another person from another group. It is so intermingled it’s exhausting. I’m surprised they all don’t get sick of each other.

    For those of us who are able to discern, it’s a circus. But sadly, these false teachers are esteemed by young Christians who are being led away from the Truth. Big conferences, emotional worship, and slick websites help to cater to those who are easily woo’d by the dishonest salesman to purchase something that appears beautiful but is unknowingly bad for them. Sad. So, so sad.

    Thank you for publicly sharing the truth about these false teachers in love. Sharing truth isn’t always fun. At first, the truth might be taken offensively by someone who doesn’t want to be told what they are doing is wrong. They might get mad. They might get REALLY mad. But, for some, the truth makes them uncomfortable enough to cause them to want to find out WHY they feel uncomfortable. Those are the precious few who open their Bible and STUDY God’s Word.

    It is not hard to discover the teachings of the persons named above (and many others) are in grave error in light of Scripture. Sadly, too many women (and men) would rather read a “good” book telling them what the Bible says (along with all the feel good “applicable” stories) instead of reading the Bible for themselves.

    To the woman from Willow, I encourage you to, first, dig in God’s Word to see if what your church is teaching is sound doctrine and not feel good fluff. Quoting a verse or two from the Bible doesn’t count. Are they TEACHING the Bible? Are they teaching hard stuff? Test everything your pastor says. Secondly, search the internet (especially YouTube) for some of those “teachers” to hear them speak their own false words. There are also several good bloggers (such as this one) who have done their research. Other trustworthy bloggers/sites are listed down the left side of Michelle’s page. And even if someone you are particularly fond of appears to be a sound teacher, check to see who they associate with. If they are truly sound teachers, they won’t be associated with Moore, Meyer, and the like listed above.

    Thank you again, Michelle, for speaking Truth in love.

    ~Emily

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  3. I would also say to Natasha….Its kinda like being a believer in the catholic church. You really have to eventually leave, or die a s l o w spiritual death. True converts can not put up with heresy. Once you know the truth, you will flee. Im saying it because we fled the word of faith…..
    Sincerely .
    Gail

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  4. I have a question on Csn radio broadcasts and the teachers on the programs. Have you researched any of these? You do list Alistair Beggs one of my favorites.

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    1. Hi JD. I’m not familiar with CSN radio, but I pulled up their programming roster to take a look. I would not recommend James MacDonald, David Jeremiah, Jack Graham, Greg Laurie, Ed Young, Sr., Robert Jeffress, or Tony Evans. They are all either wonky in their doctrine in some way or hang around with too many false teachers, or both.

      As far as I know, Warren Wiersbe, Adrian Rogers, James Dobson (on family issues), Jay Sekulow (on ACLJ issues), J. Vernon McGee, Todd Friel, (phenomenal- Wretched is one of my favorite programs), and, of course, Alistair Begg are all good.

      I’m afraid I don’t recognize any of the other names on the list. Wish I could be of more help :0)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Michelle, your positive feedback was on some of my favorites. I’ve been listening to csn for many years it on our local radio. I appreciate having this opportunity for discussion. Have you seen the documentaries by Chris. Pinto? Light in the Dark and Tares in the Wheat?

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      2. Hi Michelle, sorry, I am a little late to this discussion.

        With respect, and with respect to Dr Dobson, while he seems like an exceptionally caring man, his ideology, and methodology, should be FAR more concerning to the Church. In fact, while I greatly appreciate your work, I was very disappointed to see his name as acceptable in your eyes.

        On a broader note: I’ve noticed that when it comes to those who (rightly) esteem discernment, perhaps the most common (and biggest) shortcoming is that they overlook, and do not adequately discern, and often endorse, the very deceptive/destructive area of man’s wisdom/psychology.

        Dr Dobson, and other Christians (and non-believers) with similar beliefs and practices, have spent years and years studying and applying the ideology of Freud, Maslow, Jung, etc. In addition, they study, endorse, and apply the ever-shifting-and-false notions in the “bible of psychologists”: the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (all of the various versions).

        In one way or another, in belief and in practice, they find the Bible to be insufficient (although many of them would protest this and say they do believe in the sufficiency of Scripture, their actions, and their investments of money and time, prove otherwise). Therefore they espouse the doctrines of those who have ardently rejected the Spirit of truth and God’s Word of truth…and then apply this false ideology to the hearts and lives of Believers.

        One of the objections to discerning and questioning the teachings of psychology is that it is science (cp 1 Tim 6:20-21). Nothing could be further from the truth. While there may be small aspects here and there that attempt to do research, counseling psychology is virtually all theoretical (hence, the “theorists”), subjective-NOT-objective, non-factual, agenda-driven, always-changing, frequently nonsensical, greatly lack in personal responsibility, frequently anti-Scripture, and distorts and perverts who man is (neutral, innocent, basically good), what our problems are, what the solutions are, and how to change. I could go on and on…

        Despite this, countless Christians flock to and sit under the authority of this. And if discerning people do not sound the alarm, if they do not, instead, point us back to Scripture, then what? Then here we are today…

        If an individual claims this to be science then that is quite revealing on many different levels.

        Other objections, and attempts to defend the reliance upon man’s wisdom include the known fallacies of:

        “All truth is God’s truth”

        “Yeah, but it works” (Prov 14:12)

        “Why are you against this, I personally know how much it has helped ____ (me; my sister; etc)”

        “Yeah, but there is some truth in it.”

        “I just eat the good stuff and spit out the bad stuff”

        “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.”

        [As well as other things that you are all-too-familiar with: you’re a Pharisee; you’re a hater; etc]

        Do these defenses truly reflect ardent and accurate discernment? No, just the opposite, and they are likely things you have heard many times regarding many other questionable or false teachings. [I am NOT saying that these are your responses]

        The question should be, how does it match up with Scripture? It doesn’t. In fact, it goes against God’s Word. In addition, the method of going away from God and His Word–and to the world and its wisdom and ways–is precisely what a Christian psychologist does (wittingly or not, it small or big ways).

        Furthermore, I have found that those Believers who have anything invested in man’s wisdom/psychology [e.g. they have a loved one involved in it (studying it; receiving or have received secular counseling), or they are or have been involved] then it is virtually impossible to admit the errors therein. They often willingly forfeit any previous discernment (they realize that if they doubt psychology, let alone admit its egregious errors, then they will find themselves in a very challenging predicament with other people).

        Lastly, even though Dr Dobson is very conservative, and his intentions may be in the right place, few, if anything, has done more damage to absolute truth–and objective truth and being objective–than the endorsement of, application of, and proliferation of man’s wisdom/counseling psychology. And no one is more responsible for the credibility of this particular branch of man’s wisdom growing in the church than Dobson. So to endorse this man is to go directly against and undermine all of the many other wonderful things you are doing.

        Thank you for the work that you do.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Hello MB-

        Thank you so much for your kind words and your detailed comment. I appreciate that you think I’m discerning and doing good work here. It might, therefore, surprise you to learn that my bachelor’s degree is in psychology and I did my master’s work in marriage and family counseling. And I think (and you seem to, too) I turned out OK :0)

        While you’re right that there is a great deal that is unbiblical about secular psychology, there are also a number of helpful things which are not unbiblical that have come out of the disciplines of psychology and counseling. (As someone who is a discerning, mature Christian, with a degree and post grad work in this field, I feel adequately qualified to speak to this issue.)

        It’s ironic that you mention “throwing the baby out with the bathwater,” because that’s just what you’ve done. We don’t throw out all of astronomy just because the vast majority of astronomers believe in evolution and the Big Bang Theory and apply their knowledge and discoveries accordingly, do we? And we don’t throw out all of geology because so many geologists deny Noah’s flood and think the earth is billions of years old, right? Of course not. We do exactly what you’ve rightly said to do- we hold every single tenet of of those disciplines up against Scripture, rejecting what conflicts with Scripture and accepting what is supported by Scripture. And that’s exactly what we need to do with the discipline of psychology.

        To clarify- I do not “endorse” or “recommend” James Dobson or Focus on the Family. A reader asked and I answered to the best of my knowledge that Dobson is OK “on family issues.” (I don’t think I’ve even mentioned him or FOF anywhere else on the blog in my 8 years of blogging.) I don’t follow Dobson extremely closely because he’s not someone I’m often asked about, but I have read several of his materials on practical approaches to parenting and family issues and have not found any glaring biblical problems with them, nor have I seen any other discernment outlets take him to task over false doctrine. That being said, he’s not someone I proactively endorse either because I think there are better alternatives, such as discipleship training at one’s own church and biblical counseling.

        I will keep an eye out for any problems with him in the future, but I try to keep up with current trends in evangelicalism, and I really don’t think you have a lot to worry about. Dobson’s day in the sun is pretty much over. He really just doesn’t have that much impact on the vast majority of Christians today. I doubt most would even recognize his name if they heard it.

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  5. Thank you Michelle for replying. (for some reason I cannot reply directly to your reply?! Or maybe it is and I don’t know it yet?)

    Actually, it not only does not surprise me, it makes perfect sense (and I even speculated in what I wrote about this) that you had/have an investment in this area–and I’m more than glad that you turned out more than OK ; )

    You mentioned there are “a number of helpful things” (which was one of my points, as far as how people often defend this), but this same thing could be said about almost all ideologies (e.g. Mormonism; NAR; TM; etc). Of course there will be some good things, or even some truth, in false ideologies. That is how deception is made more effective.

    Pointing to some truth or good does not validate it, it should give us even more concern and alarm! There was, by definition, good in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. There were at least 3 “good” things listed in Gen 3:6 about the tree, and that was the main impetus for consuming the forbidden-death-producing fruit.

    Yet, by this methodology, we should also immerse ourselves in all other ideologies (and perhaps spend tens of thousands of dollars and hours in them).

    You call this “the disciples of psychology and counseling.” There is no discipline about what is subjective and filled with error. That is impossible. If we seek to discipline ourselves in what is filled with falsehood, the world’s wisdom, and always changing, then what kind of disciples will we become? [It is interesting to note that many “disciplines” (that are not disciplines, and are error filled, man-made techniques) are lumped in as “Spiritual disciplines”–and so they are given truth and Scriptural status. by false teachers. Then they are practiced by many Christians, because of that label, to their harm.]

    What are those numerous things that are unbiblical? How much harm and deception have they caused? There is no way to quantify the deceit and destruction these have caused, and will continue to cause. Therefore, we cannot just simply say there are numerous errors, should we not run away? Beth Moore has fewer errors (ok, maybe not), so should we read and study her material? Jen Hatmaker does many good things, so should we recommend her books and send our loved ones to her blog and conferences? Glennon Doyle Melton is so authentic, so is this a place where we should not throw the baby out with the bathwater, or should we?

    I often ask people, especially those who have, or are about to, invest a great deal into the study of man’s wisdom/psychology: “How many absolute truths has counseling psychology given us?” They always answer: “None.” And then I ask: “How many absolute and harmful lies, errors, and falsehoods has psychology given us?” They always say something like: “Too many to count.” Yet rarely does this deter them. Why is that? Mainly because of pragmatism (“Yeah, but I know it is helpful, it is doing a lot of good things for people;” an answer worthy of Rick Warren and Bill Hybels)

    [We could then, look at Scripture and ask the same things (“How many absolute truths has Scripture given us…”), and we would get the opposite answers. Yet this, too, rarely deters anyone. Why is that?]

    I mentioned the baby/bathwater as a faulty defense that is mistakenly used. It is an analogy that does not apply, and, therefore, is misleading and deceptive. There is no “baby” (i.e. something of significant value worth saving). Again, would we apply this to Mormonism? Satanism? We could try, but should we? This begs the question (which I did not see you address): is God’s Word sufficient for these matters? Yes! If so, then why wade through the sewer of known corruption, falsehood, and error that causes so much deception and destruction?

    You mentioned an irony? There is an irony that I have often seen (or, actually, heard), and that is when I have heard Focus on the Family use the analogy of making brownies mixed with manure. How much manure are we willing to consume? Yet that is the analogy that applies to FOF and psychology (ironically, at least in its use).

    Astronomy is an actual scientific study (again, you did not address the “science” part of psychology, yet you are comparing it to science, if not implying it is science by comparison). All science is biased, but counseling psych is not only fully biased, it is founded, as mentioned before, entirely by people have adamantly rejected, if not aggressively hated, God and Scripture.

    Also, in astronomy or geology (or science) it is not “their” knowledge or our knowledge. There is truth, there are facts. And we can pursue this truth, and know it. But psychology is not like this in any way imaginable. As you must know very well, the DSM is hyper-subjective. A few people decide what goes into the bible for counseling…and then it changes. What truth changes? What reliable knowledge (or disciple) is in constant flux? What wisdom cows to political pressure and makes changes on what is popular? Isn’t that what we are up against all the more today?

    I know I can’t change your mind, but please do not refer to this as the discipline of psychology. Or, if you must, then please explain how a discipline can completely lack discipline (I am not saying that in any snarky way). Even well-travel, well-educated psychologists and psychiatrists know and admit the undisciplined, ever-morphing, and lack of foundation that counseling psych is all about.

    What is the threshold, what number of changes and contradictions in the DSM and elsewhere, will prove this to not be a discipline or science, let alone very deceptive and destructive?

    The follow quote comes from men who served on the committee that decided what makes it into the DSM:

    “The category of [mental illness] itself is an invention, a creation. It may be a good and useful invention, or it may be a confusing one. DSM is a compendium of constructs. And like a large and popular mutual fund, DSM’s holdings are constantly changing as the managers’ estimates and beliefs about the value of those holdings change.”

    I am glad you do not endorse or recommend Dobson, and he may be on his way out, but it is more about what he did, what he believes, what he wrought on the Church, and the legacy of undermining objective, absolute truth and replacing it with man’s wisdom–and then teaching and applying man’s wisdom on the hearts of Believers (and non).

    Evangelicalism is what it is today (weak; low view of truth; weak usage/knowledge of Scripture), in large part, due to Dobson and his making man’s wisdom “good” in the eyes of many. That was my original point and concern! I’m with you on the concerns and problems in the Evangelical church (whatever that means now, it has changed so much), but we must fight against all error, and, as I mentioned, this is perhaps the one area of error that is accepted the most, even by otherwise discerning, biblical people (no offense, rather, to your credit in discerning and being biblical).

    [By the way, I know of many who not only recognize his name, but LOVE him and see him as fatherly/grandfatherly figure they can trust, and entrust their counseling and family to, that is a big deal.]

    Also, as far as other discernment ministries, you are partly correct (to my earlier point), yet there are many that have addressed him/psychology. One main ministry (psychoheresy, while maybe harshly) goes in great detail (for what it is worth); and the Berean Call often carries a lot of material on psychology, especially psychology in the Church and regarding Dobson.

    Again, it is not merely about Dobson, but what he represents. And, as I said before, and with respect, there are many people I know, love, and deeply respect, but to the degree they have investment in psychology they tend to fall short in seeing or admitting the many problems therein (and described above).

    Thank you again for your reply, and for the work you do.

    [Note: it is at this point that people want to say something like, “Well, we are not going to change each others mind, so we will have to leave it at that.” and I agree, but this is often an excuse not to address what was pointed out. I know you are discerning, I know you have a high view of Scripture, but you also know that you can be wrong, and that you likely see one or more areas here where your same answers (from the past) are not really answers. So please take the time to reconsider. Blessings to you.]

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  6. Excellent article. You are obeying the very unpopular command given to us by Paul in Romans 16:17-18, to MARK and avoid false teachers. We are called to name them publicly in order to protect the one thing that matters most….the gospel of Jesus Christ. As Paul challenged Peter in front of the brethren ,when he was leading the beloved flock astray (See, Galatians 2), so must we risk hatred, scorn and rejection to honor God over men and women. We must contend for the faith vigorously, living not for the praise of this wicked and fading world, but for the praise of the King of the next one…He is the one who loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood(Revelation 1:5b).

    Romans 16
    17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
    18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

    (On a side note, the KJV does a much better rendering of Jeremiah 29:11 than do the new versions. It’s not about prosperity, but eternity)

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  7. I wonder if you would recommend Priscilla of Acts 18?? Or Philips daughters who prophesied – Acts 21:9 ?? Can women be endowed with the gifts of the spirit i.e. word of knowledge, word of wisdom – 1 Corinthians 12?? If so, after having been bestowed with such precious gifts by the Holy Spirit, are they required to only share their knowledge and wisdom to women?? These questions beg to be answered

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      1. Aubrey- I apologize for not being clearer, but the link I provided was to a series of articles (not just the one by Matt Slick) that explain the biblical roles of women in the church.

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  8. Hello! I’m new to your site, and started reading this post out of curiosity.

    I was very interested in your comments about Karen Kingsbury. I have not read any of her books; my comment is not about their theological content, but rather the idea that we need not “hold fiction to the same level of doctrinal purity as non-fiction Bible studies, Christian living, or theology books.”

    On a certain level, I completely agree; fiction is in a totally different realm than non-fiction, and theologically speaking it usually works at the level of analogy. Nonetheless, I find the fiction defense problematic. Ideas don’t lose their power because they are encased in a “story” (or Jesus wouldn’t have used parables), and I see this argument used far too often in defense of clearly heretical books and films, like The Shack.

    Is there gray area in fiction? Sure, not least because it’s usually written by lay-people. But I think Christian fiction books *should* be held to the same standard as non-fiction theological texts, insofar as they directly engage theological ideas (which it sounds like Kingsbury does).

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  9. For years we have had a summer bible study for woman at our church. Many years of Beth Moore, until I got tired of “disclaimers” because of her teaching. I tried Priscilla and others on your list, and while they might even be 95 % on the mark, I know they are grouping together for unbiblical stances and I can no longer endorse them. WHO DO YOU RECOMMEND? I have used John MacArthur studies even though I am not a Calvinist and have had to present “the other side” of that coin…have you put out a list of those you would say have sound studies for us to use? We did BEHOLD YOUR GOD recently and while it was deeper than most. We loved it.

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    1. Hi Mary Anne- I don’t recommend what I call “canned” Bible studies (book/workbook/DVD studies), and one of the reasons is exactly the problem you’ve run into – most of the ones for women are written by false teachers and/or contain false doctrine. I recommend that women study straight from the Bible itself – a skill most Christian women are sorely lacking in. To that end I have written a number of studies that help women learn how to study the Bible for themselves. You can find them at the “Bible studies” tab at the top of this page. Also at the top of this page you will find a tab labeled “Recommended Bible Teachers.” I would feel comfortable recommending any materials written by anyone listed there for leisure time reading.

      Hope this helps. :0)

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