Top 10

Top 10 Articles of 2019

I always enjoy the annual “year in review” articles and TV shows that run in abundance in late December, so I thought I’d contribute my own. Several Mailbag articles were among this year’s most popular, so I decided to make two separate lists, the Top 10 Mailbag Articles of 2019, and the top 10 non-Mailbag articles of 2019. Here are my ten most popular non-Mailbag blog articles from 2019:

Answering the Opposition:
Responses to the Most Frequently Raised Discernment Objections

There are also occasional comments and messages from women who are disciples of the false teachers I warn against, who take me to task for doing so. The same unscriptural accusations are raised again and again against me and against others who take a biblical stand against false teachers and false doctrine. Here, in no particular order, are the most frequently raised objections to my discernment work and my answers to them…


 10 Biblically Sound Blogs and Podcasts by Christian Women

False teachers. You can’t throw a rock out the window these days without hitting one. But are there any “good guys” out there who are getting it right? Discipleship, Bible study,and theological issues bloggers who rightly divide God’s word? You bet…


Christine Caine: Have No Regard for the Offerings of Caine

Unfortunately, Christine’s teachings and some of her actions do not meet even these basic biblical standards, and it is my sad duty to recommend that you not sit under her teaching for the following reasons…


 A Few Good Men: 10 Doctrinally Sound Male Teachers

Let me introduce you to a few of my favorite male authors of Bible studies
and other great Christian books and resources…


An Open Letter to Beth Moore – Timeline of Events

Since the discussion of the events and commentary surrounding the open letter have mostly taken place on Twitter, and many who have an interest in these events and comments are not Twitter users, this article is intended to be a timeline outlining the sequence of events, beginning with the publication of the open letter.


Living Proof You Should Follow Beth (No) Moore

For these reasons it is my sad duty to recommend that you not follow Beth Moore or receive any teaching from her or anyone connected to Living Proof Ministries.


Guest Post: Why I Left Elevation Church

I was part of Elevation Church for about six years. At the time, I thought it was the greatest church on Earth..


Going Beyond Scripture:
Why It’s Time to Say Good-Bye to Priscilla Shirer and Going Beyond Ministries

Should she repent in these areas in which she has broken Scripture and align herself with biblical principles, she would have no bigger fan than I, and I would rejoice to be able to point Christian women to her as a doctrinally sound resource. Until that time, however, it saddens me to have to recommend that Christian women not follow Priscilla Shirer or any materials or activities from Going Beyond Ministries for the following reasons…


 An Open Letter to Beth Moore

We as female Bible teachers ourselves write this letter to you in hopes of receiving clarification of your views on an important issue: homosexuality.


Leaving Lysa:
Why You Shouldn’t Be Following Lysa TerKeurst or Proverbs 31 Ministries

For these reasons, plus her habitual mishandling of Scripture, unfortunately, I must recommend that women not follow, support, or receive teaching from Lysa TerKeurst or Proverbs 31 Ministries(including any writers or speakers affiliated with Proverbs 31 Ministries)…


What was YOUR favorite article of 2019?

Mailbag, Top 10

Top 10 Mailbag Articles of 2019

I always enjoy the annual “year in review” articles and TV shows that run in abundance in late December, so I thought I’d contribute my own. Several Mailbag articles were among this year’s most popular, so I decided to make two separate lists. Check out my top 10 non-Mailbag articles of 2019 tomorrow. Here are my ten most popular Mailbag blog articles from 2019:

Vaxxers, Anti-Vaxxers, and the Health of the Body

To vaccinate, or not to vaccinate? It’s a tough issue to discuss these days. 


Do You Recommend Angie Smith (“Seamless”)?

Wife of Todd Smith of the Christian music group, Selah, Angie started out as a blogger, then blossomed into a Christian author and speaker. Her best known book to date is a women’s study: Seamless: Understanding the Bible as One Complete Story


Potpourri (Todd Friel on Rick Warren, Enneagram, Should I stay or should I go?…)

Todd says Rick isn’t a heretic?…Sharply, yet gently, rebuking false teachers…What is an Enneagram?…Books vs. interactions…Should I leave my women’s Bible study group?


BSF (Bible Study Fellowship)

While I totally support the idea of delving deeply into the Scriptures with other women, there are a few of aspects of BSF that concern me… 


Should My Church Participate in Operation Christmas Child’s Shoebox Ministry?

Should my church participate in Operation Christmas Child? What are some other good international ministries my church could participate in instead?


Do you recommend these teachers/authors? Volume 1

Jennifer Kennedy Dean, Lisa Harper, Karen Kingsbury, Rebekah Lyons, Raechel Myers, Shauna Niequist, Jennifer Rothschild, Susie Shellenberger, Sheila Walsh, Amanda Bible Williams

(After today, I’ll be retiring this article. Thanks to Project Breakdown, I have completed updated, individual articles on each of these teachers which you may access at the Popular False Teachers and Unbiblical Trends tab at the top of this page, or by entering the teacher’s name in the search bar.)


Should Christians listen to “Reckless Love”?

Remember, everything we do should be governed by Scripture, not our opinions and preferences, or whether we happen to like a particular song or not…


Questions about the Open Letter to Beth Moore

Since the publication of the Open Letter to Beth Moore, several questions have arisen that I’d like to address…


Do you recommend these teachers/authors? Volume 3

Jill Briscoe, Lauren Chandler, Tony Evans, Rachel Hollis, Chrystal Evans Hurst, Brenda Leavenworth, Leslie Ludy, Bianca Olthoff, Wellspring Group, Jen Wilkin


Do you recommend these teachers/authors? Volume 2

Jennie Allen, Lisa Bevere, Rachel Held Evans, Heather Lindsey, Ann Graham Lotz, Kelly Minter, Nancy Leigh (DeMoss) Wolgemuth

(Project Breakdown begins on this list next!)


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.

Christmas

Merry Christmas 2019!

Glorious Impossible isn’t technically a Christmas carol in the traditional sense, but it has quickly become one of my favorite modern Christmas worship songs precisely because of lyrics like this. This is our final meme for The Gospel According to Carols.

Merry Christmas. May God bless you this day with the knowledge and hope that the incarnation made possible the sinless perfection, the passion and crucifixion, and the glorious resurrection of our wonderful Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Christmas, Mailbag

The Mailbag: Merry “X-mas”?

When people use the term “X-mas” instead of “Christmas,” isn’t that taking Christ out of Christmas? Should Christians use the term “X-mas”?

What a great Christmas time question! It’s kind of understandable that people would think that the “X” in X-mas is removing Christ or genericizing Christmas. We use the letter X as an unknown variable in math. We might see a detergent commercial in which one of the bottles is labeled ‘brand X’ instead of its real name. So it can kind of seem like X is a place-filler or that it can stand for practically anything. 

But that’s not the case with the X in X-mas. That X has a finite value. X = 1, the One and only, Jesus Christ. How do we know that?

First, let’s take a look at where the term “X-mas” came from. GotQuestions’ article Is it wrong to say Xmas instead of Christmas? provides us with a nice, succinct answer:

In Greek, the original language of the New Testament, the word for “Christ” is Χριστός, which begins with the Greek letter that is essentially the same letter as the English letter X. So, originally, Xmas was simply an abbreviation of Christmas. No grand conspiracy to take Christ out of Christmas. Just an abbreviation.

What this means is that, in the term X-mas, rather than the letter X taking Christ out of Christmas, the letter X actually stands for Christ. It is used in the same way that we might use “H.S.” to stand for “Holy Spirit” or “OT/NT” to stand for “Old Testament” or “New Testament” when we’re writing informally (I’ve never actually heard someone say X-mas, H.S., OT/NT, have you?), we’re pressed for space, and the people in our audience probably know what those letters mean.

But it’s obvious from the number of people questioning the term “X-mas” as “taking Christ out of Christmas,” that most people – in any audience – don’t know what that letter means. So we need to go a bit further.

Is it possible that advertisers or atheists or others with an active, outward animosity toward the things of God are using the term “X-mas” as a way to mention Christmas without actually having to write the letters in the word “Christ”? To intentionally try to “take Christ out of Christmas”? Yes, it’s possible. But it’s a pretty silly thing to do if you think about it. Everybody who sees “X-mas” in their ad or e-mail or whatever they’ve written knows they mean Christmas, they know they mean Christmas, and, as we’ve just seen, the “X” means “Christ”. So what is the ever-lovin’ point? To parade their “Ooooo, I’m gonna stick it to Christians” pettiness and intolerance before the world?

Yes, such people exist, but I really believe, for the moment anyway, that, despite what it may look like on the news or social media, they’re still the fringe minority. It seems to me that most regular non-Christians who use the term “X-mas” simply do so to save time and space in whatever they’re writing. When I Googled “X-mas,” the two main uses I saw for the term were a) articles with titles like, “Why Do People Use X-mas Instead of Christmas?” and b) space-saving product descriptors (ex: xmas tee- red, LS/SS S,M,L) on sales websites.

But what about Christians using the term “X-mas”?

There is nothing fundamentally sinful or unbiblical about using the term “X-mas” (especially since the X stands for Christ) when necessary since there’s no Bible verse or principle that prohibits it. I have occasionally used both “Xmas” and “Xian” (Christian) on Twitter due to the character limit. My audience is mostly mature Christians (many of whom know what X-mas means), and my theology is an open book to the public, so no one could credibly accuse me of trying to take Christ out of Christmas (or Christian).

But there are a couple of other issues we should think about when it comes to the term “X-mas”.

The first issue is weaker brothers. If you’re not familiar with God’s admonition to us to lay down our Christian liberties so as not to wound the faith of new Christians or Christians who have a weakness of conscience in a particular area, I encourage you to study 1 Corinthians 8 and 1 Corinthians 10:23-33.

But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 1 Corinthians 8:9

If you know that a recipient of your annual Christmas newsletter or someone at church who sees your flier for the upcoming “X-mas Party” is going to be offended by your use of “X-mas” because they don’t understand that it’s not unbiblical, and that your’e not waging some sort of “war on Christmas,” just don’t use it. Why cause unnecessary offense over something so insignificant? Why not take a small, loving step toward living at peace with our weaker brothers and sisters? (I know it can be tough. I need a lot of improvement in this area, myself!)

The second issue has nothing to do with theology, but as an advocate for good writing, I feel I must mention it. Using “X-mas” in anything but the most informal pieces of writing (text messages, social media posts, a note to your husband, a label on your ornament storage container, etc.) looks sloppy and lazy, especially if your writing reaches a moderate to large audience. If you wouldn’t use abbreviations like “TBH” (to be honest) or “IMHO” (in my humble opinion) in what you’re writing, don’t use “X-mas”.

Merry Christmas!


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.

Christmas

Top 10 Best Christmas Songs of All Time ~ 2

Christmas – there’s no other holiday in which music plays such a major role. And what a blessing that so much of the music of Christmas centers around the incarnation of our Savior! At no other time of the year are you likely to turn on a secular radio station or walk into a store and hear songs about Jesus. It’s one of the things that makes Christmas music so special.

You’ve heard my picks for the ten worst Christmas songs (and volume 2!) and my top ten favorites, and you’ve asked for more! So, here, in no particular order, and according to nothing other than my own preferences, is my next round of nominations for the ten best Christmas songs ever.

Need a playlist? Here you go!

(Note: I do not necessarily endorse all of the songwriters or performers listed below, the churches/organizations they represent, any other songs they may have written or performed, or their theology. If you decide to follow any of these people or groups, check out their theology first to make sure it’s biblical.)

1.
Joy to the World

As Christians, many things in this life bring us sadness and discouragement: grief over our sin, prodigal children, death of loved ones, persecution, suffering. There is no better antidote to our sorrows than to focus on the joy we have in Christ. This is a beautiful, classical-style rendition of Joy to the World.

2.
Light of the Stable

I love this song’s upbeat focus on Jesus as Light, King, and Savior. I can almost imagine myself in Bethlehem, bowing down before my infant King.

3.
Silent Night

What Christmas music collective would be complete without Silent Night? Does your congregation sing this hymn at your Christmas Eve service or other special worship times? Grace Community Church does, and they sound just lovely.

4.
Come on Ring those Bells

Were you even a Christian in the 80’s if you didn’t have Evie’s Christmas album? This song probably sounds cheesy to younger ears today, but approaching the birth of Christ as “the greatest celebration of them all” definitely has a nice ring to it. (Yes, I went there. :0)

5.
Go Tell

There’s an undeniable evangelism motif in the story of Christ’s birth. Gabriel told Mary about Jesus. The angels told the shepherds the good news. And the shepherds…well they told everyone what they’d witnessed. That’s the theme of this Great Commission toe-tapper: GO. TELL.

6.
O Little Town of Bethlehem

In the eyes of the world, Bethlehem was nothing special. It wasn’t the center of commerce or the seat of governmental power. It was just a little town of no consequence. Until…Jesus. This song, sung so delightfully by these four brothers in Christ, reminds us that Jesus is what makes the ordinary… extraordinary.

7.
Beautiful Star of Bethlehem

In a magnificent use of metaphor, this song casts Jesus Himself as the beautiful “star” of Bethlehem. And indeed, for Believers, Jesus is that “star divine,” lighting and guiding the way “unto the land of perfect day,” when we finally see Him, in all of His glory, face to face.

8.
Ordinary Baby

Jesus was fully God, but sometimes we forget that He was also fully man. And not just fully man, but an ordinary, nondescript man. He was approachable, not elite. Personable, not intimidating. Accessible to kings and paupers alike. The Erwin siblings deliver this simple song with smooth and mellow charm.

9.
We Are the Reason

The tradition of Christmas time gift giving is an homage to the gifts the wise men gave Jesus. But what about the “greatest gift of our lives” that Jesus gave us? He gave all He could give to us: His life, forgiveness of sin, salvation. Avalon handily dusts off this CCM classic and freshens it up for a 21st century audience.

10.
O Holy Night

Christ, the thrill of hope, entered our darkened world on that holy night so long ago. As the soft, plaintive melody gradually swells into a great and glorious crescendo, we are reminded of how long the world pined away in sin and error, punctuated by the resplendent arrival of her Savior and King, much the same way we await His second coming today.

Bonus Nomination: Best Christmas Album

This is largely a nostalgic, rather than theological, nomination. My favorite Christmas record album growing up was Have a Happy Holiday with Lorne Greene. If you appreciate a classic, masculine baritone, you’ll want to grab a copy. (I still have mine!)

In part 1 of the album – The Stories of Christmas – Lorne reads ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and The Gift of the MagiPart 2 – The Songs of Christmas – includes Home for the Holidays, Jingle Bells, Christmas Is A-Comin’and We Wish You a Merry Christmas. Part 3 – The Holy Night: A Christmas Cantata – (below) is a reading of the birth narrative from the gospels interspersed with various Christmas carols. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I still do.

What’s your favorite Christmas song of all time?