Discernment

Jen Wilkin

You are seeing this article as a part of “Project Breakdown”.


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.

 

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. The teacher below is someone I’ve been asked about recently, so I’ve done a quick check (this is brief research, not exhaustive) on her.

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 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.


Jen Wilkin
Not Recommended, but
NOT a False Teacher 

Jen is a women’s Bible study author, blogger, and conference speaker, and is on staff at The Village Church as the Executive Director of Next Gen Ministries (TVC’s ministry to “children and students ages 0–18″). To my knowledge all of Jen’s books and Bible study materials are generally doctrinally sound, but I have some concerns about her in other areas. That said, I do not believe Jen falls in the category of false teacher at this time, and I hope she never will. I’ve published a review of Jen’s book, Women of the Wordand here is one reader’s take on her book 1 Peter: A Living Hope in Christ:

“…in the foreword Jen wrote, ‘a paraphrase, such as the NLT or The Message, can be useful but should be regarded as a commentary rather than a translation.’ However, aside from that, I have found no other problems with the book at all. It is an eight week long study of 1 Peter based on the method of Bible study that she writes about in Women of the Word. My favorite thing about this study is that it causes us to focus on what the text is telling us about God. I love how Jen Wilkin is teaching women to study the Bible properly. I wish she would be more discerning about who and what she endorses though. There are so few women who bring us solid teaching and discernment.”

I’ve heard several positive reviews of Jen’s books from other trusted and discerning friends as well.

I’ve looked through all of Jen’s current (spring/summer 2020) speaking engagements. All appear to be women’s conferences or events, and her speaking engagement request form says she is a “teacher who helps women…”.

While this is a good sign that Jen usually does not preach to men or teach men the Scriptures, concerns have been raised that she may be getting too close to, or occasionally crossing this line. For example, Jen’s staff position as TVC’s “Executive Director” of children’s and student ministries, depending on the exact nature of her job responsibilities, may (I am making a reasonable inference, as TVC’s website does not explicitly say) require her to teach Scripture to, or exercise improper authority over young men in the student ministry (which includes students through age 18) and men who teach or volunteer in the student ministry. The title “Executive Director” makes it sound as though she is over the entire ministry and everyone in that ministry is under her purview.

There have also been questions about exactly where Jen stands on the biblical role of women in the church. That she presents herself as, and is known as, a strong complementarian is very clear. She has stated equally clearly that women are not to hold the office of pastor. But beyond that, in listening to and reading her articles and interviews about the importance of women leading in the church, I’m not really clear on what positions of church leadership she thinks are and are not biblical for women. For example: May a woman guest preach the Sunday sermon as long as she is not the pastor of that church? Teach co-ed adult Sunday School? Preach sermons to mixed audiences at conferences? Indeed, in the video below (~32:05), Jen says:

“We need [women’s] visible leadership. How visible? As visible as your church’s complementarianism allows.”

This answer is at best, unhelpful, and at worst, opens the door for women and pastors to rebel against Scripture. More and more churches’ so-called “complementarianism” allows women to preach the Sunday morning sermon or serve in any pastoral or leadership position short of head pastor. The biblical answer to this question (aside from the fact that the church should be far more focused on servanthood than leadership) is: Women may serve in any position in the church that does not require them to preach to, teach Scripture to, or exercise authority over men, and which does not violate any other principles of Scripture.

Perhaps, somewhere, Jen has been very clear about biblical and unbiblical positions of leadership for women and I have just missed it. I’m not saying she definitely has an unbiblical stance on these issues, I’m just saying it is often unclear as to what her stance is. (I have attempted, in the past, to contact Jen about this issue and other questions, but have not received a response.)

Adding to this confusion, Jen has spoken at several co-ed conferences leading some to question whether or not she is violating Scripture’s prohibition against women teaching the Scriptures to men. I believe she has crossed that boundary on occasion. Give the first 15 minutes of the video below a listen. Despite the fact that Jen’s very first remark is that she is not teaching the Bible in this session for pastors and church planters, she almost immediately goes on to quote and allude to the opening chapters of Genesis (and later in the video, other passages) and teach on them. I would challenge you to listen to what she says and ask yourself, “If I heard a pastor give this type of instruction, would I consider it a sermon/Bible lesson?” I think most of us could easily answer, “yes”.

(This is also the teaching session in which Jen made her infamous remarks about menstruation helping women to understand the gospel differently from men {~25:45}, which is not only a private and potentially uncomfortable subject to address in public – especially for an audience of men – it’s a patently ridiculous teaching. Menstruation teaches us nothing about the gospel. The two subjects are completely unrelated. Also, aside from Jen, I’ve never heard a single woman say her period helped her understand the shedding of Christ’s blood better.)

Again, one of the reasons it’s especially problematic for Jen to be teaching men, or to even to seem to be teaching men, is that she openly and unashamedly wears the label of complementarian. Boldly proclaiming complementarianism while actually or apparently teaching men muddies the waters and confuses the women who follow her as to what the Bible truly teaches about the role of women in the church. Are there times when it is technically not a violation of Scripture for a woman to speak with men in the audience? Yes (see #7 here). But weigh the impact Jen has on the church by speaking to men against the counter-evangelicultural impact someone of her stature could have by flagrantly refusing to teach men. Which would cause more people to sit up and take notice, set a better example for Christian women, and have a more biblical influence on the church?

Another concern about Jen is that she seems to be increasingly associating and appearing with false or problematic teachers.

In 2013, Jen wrote a blog post entitled, The Next Beth Moore in which she spoke glowingly of Beth Moore, her teaching, and one of her books. She has also had several friendly and/or affirming interactions with Beth on Twitter, and has pointed women to Beth’s writing. Jen has appeared on the IF: Gathering podcast with Jennie Allen (to discuss and promote Women of the Word), and has written a devotional for Lysa TerKeurst’s Proverbs 31 blog.

During LifeWay’s 2018 Abundance conferences, Jen appeared alongside Lisa Harper, Raechel Myers, Amanda Bible Williams, Christine Caine, Jennie Allen, Kelly Minter, Whitney Capps (of Lysa TerKeurst’s Proverbs 31 Ministries), and others.

 

L-R: Christine Caine, Lisa Harper, Raechel Myers, Whitney Capps, Amanda Bible Williams, Jen Wilkin, Jamie Ivey

In August 2020, Jen is scheduled to appear at LifeWay Women Live with Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, Jackie Hill Perry, Kelly Minter, Angie Smith, and Jennifer Rothschild. 

LifeWay Women Live 2020 Speakers

Jen has also been added to LifeWay Women’s stable of Women’s “Bible” study authors including many of the aforementioned teachers and others. In addition to my normal concerns about someone yoking with false teachers (i.e. the Bible says not to, and disobeying God’s Word is a sin), I am concerned that LifeWay is using Jen (for her reputation for being a doctrinally sound teacher and a complementarian) to lend credibility to the false teachers they promote, and I’m also concerned that Jen’s good reputation is now suffering by being associated with these false teachers.

In a strange irony, in the midst of unbiblically partnering with these false teachers, in her session, The Gospel and The Future of Bible-Centered Discipleship at the 2018 Southern Baptist Convention Pre-Conference (also to a co-ed audience), Jen teaches the following…

[Biblical literacy] guards against false teaching…Basic comprehension-level mastery of the text guards against false teaching. (~30:12)

You know what our [discipleship] formula has been for the last 20 years? [We’ve said], ‘We’re going to keep making [the level of biblical teaching] lower and lower’…It is our high calling, in the face of a biblical literacy crisis, to raise the bar in an age of low expectations. (~43:40…44:39)

And yet, Jen’s level of “mastery of the text” – to the point that she is instructing people in the text and teaching them how to improve discipleship – has not sufficiently guarded her against partnering with women who are largely responsible for the bulk of false teaching aimed at women today, who don’t teach “basic comprehension-level mastery of the text,” and who have continued to lower the bar and perpetuate low expectations for biblical literacy. Jen has associated with, talked to, and listened to the teaching of these women far more than I have, I’m certain. How does she not see this?

Finally, in the same way that the influence Steven Furtick has on Lysa TerKeurst as her pastor is worrisome, I’ve been seeing some things over the past few years with Jen’s pastor, Matt Chandler, and his wife, Lauren Chandler (with whom Jen sometimes appears at conferences), that have given me pause.

Jen is pastored by Matt, and as a ministry leader and staff member at The Village Church, she works under his direction and influence. Over the past few years, Matt has publicly praised or affirmed false teachers like Ann VoskampBeth Moore, and Jesus Culture. He has raised some questions about the extent of his continuationism by playing this video prior to a sermon, and with His notorious “pirate ship prophecy“. He allows Bethel and Israel Houghton (Joel Osteen’s former worship leader) music to be used for worship at his church. Matt allows his wife, a worship leader at TVC, to select this music, and to yoke with and be influenced by numerous false teachers. This is something to weigh when considering Jen, but weigh carefully. While it is probable that she is being influenced by Matt and Lauren and their associations, we do not know for certain the extent of her agreement with them about these associations.

In summary, my thoughts on Jen right now are that she is not a false teacher (since she is still generally teaching sound doctrine), but I still find that I’m not, in good conscience, able to encourage you to follow her, attend her conferences, or use her materials due to the red flags that are increasingly popping up with her. (As I said in the introduction to this article, there are better people you could be listening to.) We need to be cautious, watch Jen’s trajectory carefully, and pray for her, that God will deal with her heart and correct her about some of the unbiblical waters she has been wading into


Additional Resources:

Articles on Jen Wilkin by Elizabeth Prata

Discernment, Sermons

Sermon and Videos: Why Our Church No Longer Plays Bethel or Hillsong Music (or Elevation or Jesus Culture), and Neither Should Yours

 

Want to see what it looks like to have a pastor who loves God, God’s Word, and his sheep more than the applause of men? Give this sermon a listen. Pastor David Henneke, of First Baptist Church, Kingsland, Texas, walks his congregation through the Scriptures dealing with false teachers and false doctrine to explain why FBC will no longer use music associated with Bethel and Hillsong. He also warns them away from several other false teachers.

(This is also a good sermon to listen to if you’re confused about expository vs. topical preaching. This is a good example of a biblical topical sermon.)

(Technical difficulties? When you click the Play button on this video, you may get an error message. However, simply click on the line that says “Watch this video on YouTube,” and you’ll be able to watch. If that doesn’t work, copy and paste this link into your browser bar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7R6AKFlWhI& or go to YouTube and search for “‘Why our church no longer plays Bethel or Hillsong Music’ Pastor explains false teachings”.)

 

 

Justin Peters and Todd Friel discuss the theological problems with Bethel, Jesus Culture, Hillsong, and Elevation music and why your church shouldn’t use their music in this video interview: Why Your Church Shouldn’t Play Bethel and Hillsong Music.

 

 

Is it wrong to sing songs from Bethel if they are theologically correct? In this episode of Redeeming Truth, Pastors Costi Hinn, Dale Thackrah, and Kyle Swanson provide insight into the dangers of supporting ministries like Bethel [and Hillsong, Jesus Culture and Elevation Music], that have a false understanding of who Christ is.

If you are looking for theologically accurate worship music to listen to or sing in your church, we have put together a Spotify worship playlist that you can listen to.


Additional Resources

The Mailbag: What Is the New Apostolic Reformation?

The Mailbag: Should Christians Listen to Reckless Love?

God’s Not Like, “Whatever, Dude,” About How He’s Approached in Worship

The Mailbag: False Doctrine in Contemporary Christian Music

Hillsong’s Theology of Music and Worship

Discernment, Guest Posts

Guest Post: Lauren Daigle and the Fruit of “Losing her Religion”

If your theology pretty much matches up with mine (as outlined in the “Welcome” and “Statement of Faith” tabs) and you’d like to contribute a guest post, drop me an e-mail at MichelleLesley1@yahoo.com, and let’s chat about it.

 

Lauren Daigle and the Fruit of “Losing Her Religion”
by Laura M.

“It would be a sad dishonor for a child of God to be the world’s favorite. It is a very bad sign to hear a wicked world clap its hands and shout, “Well done!” to the Christian…Far be it from us to seek a crown of honor where the Lord found a crown of thorns.”  CH Spurgeon

Lauren Daigle is a 28 year old Grammy award winner. In her short career she has won many awards, secular and Christian. She has four number one songs to date and many more at the top of the billboard charts. She has over 1 million Facebook followers, and an abundance of world tour dates that she alone headlines. Her Look Up Child album just reached double platinum. She is wildly popular in the church and on Christian radio stations.

The secular world is now also paying attention. What have they learned? This is an interview with Billboard.com 

“’My home church is right here,’ [Lauren] says, gesturing toward the stage.It’s right here, every night.'”

“Daigle doesn’t preach, onstage or off. In between songs at the show, she told goofy stories — like one about her misadventures in physical therapy — but never mentioned Jesus.” 

That one interview said a lot –no church, means no pastor, no teaching, no growing…no obedience.

Sure, she is fun and cool and trendy and sincere in her desire to use her talents, but is that enough to be labeled a Christian artist? Even she does not want to be described that way, having determined to drop the word “Christian”. Yet, Christians have her at the top of their “worship” playlists.

Should we consider her as purely secular entertainment? Christian words and a great voice filled with sincerity do not make worship acceptable before God.

“When we talk about worship, we’re talking about something very specific, very objective, revelatory, unfolded for us on the pages of Scripture. It is not private, it is not personal in the sense that you define it yourself. It doesn’t rise out of your intuition. It doesn’t rise out of your experience. It doesn’t rise out of your imagination. It isn’t the invention from your own mind of what you want it to be. True worship is simply treating God in the way that God has commanded us to treat Him. That’s what it is.” The Kind of Worship God Desires, John MacArthur

We should have a great concern about the platform and influence that many so called “worship leaders” have in the church today.  Many Christians incorrectly assume that if the words are not heretical and make them “feel” good, it must be acceptable worship. Lauren Daigle is growing in her platform and influence and we should take a discerning look at whether this is a wise choice for Christians. Is the fruit of Lauren’s “Religion” good or bad?

Her Partnerships

Here are just a few, Stephen Furtick and Jesus CultureJoyce Meyer , Hillsong, Bethel Church and here Lauren is leading “worship” at Bethel.

Michelle has already written much about these false teachers and churches.

Her Testimony

Can you tell what is missing? She does not start with Christ.  Does she finish with Him? She was interviewed by the Young Salvationist here (it seems they have removed it since we copied the text). 

The interviewer asked her, “Please share with our readers how you came into a relationship with Jesus Christ?”

When I was 15 years–old I was diagnosed with a debilitating virus. It’s kind of funny how God sets things up, as I was super busy. I was in high school running all over the place and God stopped me – He stopped me in my tracks. I was placed on homebound rest for two years with this illness. It was during that season when I truly began to know God and His character. He gave me hope the entire time; I wasn’t going through this for any reason. This wasn’t just the lot I was handed in life. No, I knew, I could tell, God was setting me up for something and I needed to stay focused.

So, every morning I would get up and read my devotionals and every night before bed. Soon I started making my own devotionals. The Word was filling me up so much and during a season when I was completely alone… During that time, God would give me visions and dreams of the season that I’m walking through now! He affirmed me and who I was in Him. He showed me that my placement had to be with Him and He began to teach me that He was my comforter, He was my portion and He was my foundation. I was baptized when I was a little girl, raised in the church, and a part of a Christian family; but it changed from that to God being my source, my Savior.”

This is typical of many who have their own personal dream and attach God’s name to it. She did not say how she was changed and she did not once mention Christ or sin or the Cross. Did she mention reading the Bible? A Scripture perhaps? No, only visions.

Her website would surely have a larger testimony for us to read. However, I did not find one. The most “spiritual” she got was stating,

“It’s about remembering what it’s like to be a child again and to look up and see the clouds, the sunset, and the stars. It’s about having hope once more. You can always come back to yourself. You can come back to the things you thought were lost. You can always come back to redemption.”

She doesn’t say anything about Christ. Instead she is pointing to childhood memories, the clouds, the sunset, stars. What is the basis of renewed hope? How does one come back to yourself?

In another interview, she says, (of her teen years)

“And I kept having all of these dreams about tours, awards, charts and all of these different stages I’d be on. And I was like, ‘God what is this about? … Then He affirmed me...” 

From fear and uncertainty sprang resistance as Daigle made the personal decision to not pursue Christian music, despite messages from God telling her otherwise. “I told the Lord—yes I told Him, ‘I’m not going to do Christian music! I’ll sing whatever You want me to sing, I’ll do whatever you want me to do in the mainstream world, but I’m not doing Christian music.’”

She took her personal dream of stardom and attributed it to God.  There is much danger in this kind of mystical dream interpretation. It may have come to pass, but God does not affirm pursuit of the praise of men and I cannot say this is anything more than her pursuit of a personal desire.

The Praise of the World and Views on Sin

“The most effective servant of the Gospel of Christ crucified is crucified to the world and its applause.”  Mike Riccardi

Lauren said, “she will not compromise her faith while traveling the world ministering to those outside of the church…She vowed that her testimony would not be destroyed in any way.”

However, this is her response to being criticized for being on the Ellen DeGeneres show. Ellen is an open and proudly lesbian woman.

“I think the second we start drawing lines around which people are able to be approached and which aren’t, we’ve already completely missed the heart of God,” Daigle said during a recent interview with WAY-FM Radio.

Lauren missed the point, this is not about kindness it’s about being foolishly and sinfully drawn to the world and then affirming them because they have affirmed her. Jesus clearly drew lines in Matt 7.

And yet…after being on the Ellen DeGeneres show, she capitulated on her conviction not to compromise.

“Do you feel that homosexuality is a sin?”

After a pause, she responded: “You know I can’t honestly answer on that…I have too many people that I love that, they are homosexual, I don’t know. I actually had a conversation with someone last night about it and I was like ‘I can’t say one way or the other, I’m not God’

Pastor Gabe Hughes responds to this interview in a short video titled, Lauren Daigle doesn’t know if homosexuality is a sin?

And now, not surprisingly, Lauren Daigle Takes Issue with the Label ‘Christian Artist’

“After being in a spotlight of controversy for weeks regarding her stance on homosexuality, well-known Christian artist Lauren Daigle is now saying she doesn’t consider herself a Christian artist, but simply an “artist”….Interestingly enough, the young artist did not mention Jesus or God throughout the interview, sticking to general phrases like “faith,” while placing a large emphasis on the importance of love.”

It is not acceptable to equivocate on sins that Christ died to save us from.  He died for us to be reconciled to the Father, because we are without hope of saving ourselves, not for everyone to “feel” loved.

A 2019 article states,

“She admits the transition from a majority Christian audience to a more secular one has already been a “ride” and hints at the negative comments she’s been receiving from fans and others who are concerned the singer is leaving her Christian roots. Daigle seems unphased by the pushback, though. Risk is the best. Risk is the most beautiful thing,” she says with a smile.” source

And yet 4 years before in 2015, she said, 

God’s not a God of risks. He just says, ‘Trust me,’ because He has it all under control. To us, in our human life, it looks like a risk, but He’s like, ‘No, I’m God. I got this.’” source

This Christian Post article interviews her as well, sharing,

“Daigle went on to share a story about a megachurch pastor which was asked to step down from his ministry and lost his church, after having an affair with his secretary.

Lauren said,

I could see privately that he had some things to reconcile and I just thought about the nature of the church, to push out someone that operated in humanity,” she explained. “It’s so easy to push those people away or to build the white picket fence around our ideologies that create this counterculture that completely denies just the love of Christ, the grace of Christ, the mercy of Christ, and rejects the relationship with Christ.”

Lauren has an unbiblical view of sin, it is not in her testimony, it is not calling homosexuality the abomination that the Bible does, and it sympathizes with the poor pastor who disqualified himself by the most egregious sin against his wife. These are not the words of someone who submits to the authority of Scripture.

The Bible does not mince words (1 Cor 6:11) and neither should anyone who has been washed of the sins we have been so graciously forgiven and desire this to be true of others.

She also provocatively named a song, Losing My Religion and then comments

“This is an age where I am learning, what I believe in. We have a song on there that record called ‘Losing My Religion’ and I think one of the things that I’ve learned and one of the things that I’m embracing is the freedom of taking off the checked boxes, the rules, and all those things that kind of muddy up what faith actually is

Unfortunately, she has muddied her faith and is influencing many who flock to her and find the same muddy waters. This is exactly what we would expect from someone who claims that her church is her “stage”.

She excuses her decision to crossover by pointing to Avril Lavigne, Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin because they sing a few gospel songs as well. “There’s all these people from back in the day that did this thing as well, where they had both. And I feel like history always repeats itself.” Billboard interview  Not great role models.

Remember, it is OK to be fruit inspectors, not just of false teachers but of everyone, fruit always gives evidence of the source of life. (Matt 16:17-20) We rejoice when we find good fruit and we warn when it is bad.

Lauren is leading worship to the masses she has before her. She seems to love the world, clings to false teachers and obfuscates clear Biblical teaching when given opportunity to proclaim it. As Christians, would it not be better to stop supporting her and so give her the wakeup call she needs rather than the praise and attention she is getting for bad fruit? If she does have a clear testimony of saving faith why is it not front and center for us to see?  

Let’s pray she would get off the stage and into a Biblical church to be taught well how to worship in “spirit and truth.” (John 4:23), and give opportunity for a pastor and church family to care for her soul. (Heb 13:17)


Laura and her husband Scott have been married 25 years and have three children. They live in a suburb of Philadelphia and NYC, where they have recently planted a church. She also writes with a few friends at Where Ordinary Life Meets Divine Truth as a ministry to the local women they are privileged to disciple.

Discernment

Discernment IS Love

I’m often accused of being “unloving” for writing in a direct or firm tone against false doctrine and other unbiblical issues in the church.

I received another such accusation recently on one of my older articles, “Nine Reasons Discerning Women Are Leaving Your Church“. I thought I’d share my response to the reader with you, because it seems there’s a misunderstanding among Christian women as to the biblical definition of love. It ain’t always “sugar and spice and everything nice” y’all…

“I don’t think you have a complete understanding of the biblical definition of love. You seem to think that “love” is restricted to always being sweet and nice to people. That’s not biblical.

–Was Jesus being unloving when He cleared the temple? (Matthew 21)
–Was Jesus being unloving when He rebuked the Pharisees? (Matthew 23)
–Was Jesus being unloving when He instructed us to disfellowship unrepentant sinners from the church? (Matthew 18:15-20)
–Was Paul being unloving when he turned Hymenaeus and Alexander over to Satan so they would learn not to blaspheme? (1 Timothy 1:19-20)
–Was Paul being unloving when he anathematized anyone who preaches a false gospel? (Galatians 1:6-9)
–Was Peter being unloving when he described false teachers in 2 Peter 2?
–Was Jude being unloving when he wrote to the brothers warning them about the evils of false teachers instead of writing about the gospel?

Am I being unloving in writing this article? No. Reproof, rebuke, and biblical instruction are all part of godly love. I am demonstrating love for Christ, His Bride, and His Word by pointing out biblical error that needs to be corrected. I am demonstrating love for ignorant pastors and churches by explaining to them why their most spiritually healthy members are leaving. I am demonstrating love for the thousands of doctrinally sound Christians out there who long to attend a healthy church and can’t find one because so many churches are in error in the areas I mentioned. And, I am demonstrating love for you by helping you understand what God’s definition of love is.

Is this article loving? You bet it is.”

Additional Resources:

I Can’t Sit Down, Shut Up, and Play Nice

Discernment: What’s Love Got to Do with It?

Discernment

Amanda Bible Williams and She Reads Truth

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.

 

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. The teacher below is someone I’ve been asked about recently, so I’ve done a quick check (this is brief research, not exhaustive) on her.

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 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.


Amanda Bible Williams
Not Recommended

Amanda Bible Williams is co-founder and CCO (Chief Content Officer) of She Reads Truth (SRT), “a worldwide community of women who read God’s Word together every day. Founded in 2012, She Reads Truth invites women of all ages to engage Scripture through curated daily reading plans, as well as online conversation led by a vibrant community of contributing writers.” Amanda’s co-founder of SRT is CEO, Raechel Myers. Amanda and Raechel have co-authored two books and collaborated on the She Reads Truth Bible and the He Reads Truth Bible.

I first learned of Amanda and SRT a few years ago through my friend Elizabeth Prata’s excellent blog. Check out part 1 and part 2 of her article She Reads Truth, IF: Gathering, and Women Bible Teachers.

Though SRT’s “What We Believe” section boldly proclaims, “we believe God’s Word is Truth,” Amanda has disregarded the Bible’s truths about false doctrine and the biblical role of women in the church by inviting female “pastors” and false teachers such as Sharon Hodde Miller (more on Sharon here), Erin Rose, and Lisa Harper (more on Lisa here) to be SRT contributing writers.

Amanda has appeared at several of LifeWay Women’s Abundance Conferences alongside the likes of Christine Caine, Jennie Allen,  Lisa Harper, Lysa Terkeurst and Curtis Jones (Beth Moore’s son-in-law/pastor who allows her to preach on Sunday mornings) and others.

Amanda has been featured on IF: Gathering’s YouTube channel. Amanda’s and Raechel’s book, She Reads Truth, is sold on IF’s website.

On Twitter, Amanda has retweeted and/or shown public affinity for several false teachers including Beth Moore (tweet, tweet), Ann Voskamp (tweet), Eugene Peterson, and Rachel Held Evans.

In 2018, Amanda’s SRT partner, Raechel, was a featured speaker at the Inspired for Life Conference alongside an advocate for female pastors and a social justice activist. (See article on Raechel for more details.) Amanda both attended and helped promote the event on Twitter:

 

For someone with such a well known ministry, Amanda has a very small online footprint, so it was difficult to find pertinent information on her for this article. She doesn’t seem to have a blog or website separate from the SRT website (which has minimal information about her). She doesn’t post often on social media, and when she does, it’s usually about her family, which, frankly, I find charming and refreshing. But that means there’s scant information on events she speaks at or participates in and her ministry associations with others. This could be a positive sign. Perhaps we’re not seeing online evidence of her, for example, preaching to men, because she’s not. On the other hand, perhaps she is associating with or following far more false teachers than we know of but she isn’t posting about it on social media, so there’s no evidence of it. It’s simply impossible to tell.

With so little information available on Amanda, and with very little knowledge of her own theology and handling of God’s Word, I want to give her the benefit of the doubt and withhold the label of “false teacher” until such time as more evidence is available that would support that label. That being said, I believe there is enough evidence that Amanda is sorely lacking in discernment that it would not be wise to follow her, use her materials (and certainly not SRT’s materials, considering their contributors), or attend her speaking engagements.

Furthermore, consider her ties to female “pastors” and false teachers. As I said in the introduction to this article, it is reasonable to assume Amanda’s doctrine is acceptable to these female “pastors” and false teachers and that she is not teaching anything that would conflict with their doctrine. If she were, they would not associate with her. If she were, she would not associate with them.