Favorite Finds

Favorite Finds ~ May 1, 2018

Here are a few of my favorite recent online finds…

I’ve recommended Verity Fellowship in the past as a doctrinally sound resource for Christian women. In this article, VF’s Katherine Roberts recommends a great resource for women who want to learn how to study and teach the Bible better without going to seminary: The Simeon Trust.

 

Crossway recently published a fascinating article, 10 Crucial Archaeological Discoveries Related to the Bible as part of the promotion for their new ESV Archaeology Study Bible.

 

 

 

Justin Peters and Costi Hinn have recorded several helpful YouTube videos in a series called Truth & Transformation refuting the false teaching coming out of the Word of Faith and New Apostolic Reformation movements. I’ve been told more videos are on the way, and there’s talk of a podcast!

 

Looking for a fun family trip this summer? Check out the Answers in Genesis Equipping Families to Stand Conference. It will be held at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, July 16-20. Your registration fee for the conference includes a seven day pass to both the Creation Museum and the nearby Ark Encounter.

 

I really appreciated Clint Archer’s article Bleep! Why Christians Shouldn’t Cuss over at The Cripplegate. I have no idea why anyone who’s a Christian would think profanity is acceptable to God, but, for folks who do, Clint will quickly, deftly, and biblically disabuse them of that mindset.

Mailbag

The Mailbag: Potpourri (Female missionaries, quantum physics, book recommendations…)

Welcome to another “potpourri” edition of The Mailbag, where I give short(er) answers to several questions rather than a long answer to one question. I also like to take the opportunity in these potpourrri editions to let new readers know about my comments/e-mail/messages policy. I’m not able to respond individually to most e-mails and messages, so here are some helpful hints for getting your questions answered more quickly. Remember, the search bar can be a helpful tool!


In the last Potpourri edition of The Mailbaga reader asked if I could enlarge the font of my articles. I played around with several different fonts and sizes, and what you’re currently seeing is the best I can do to enlarge the font without throwing the layout of the whole page out of whack. Personally, I think it’s still too small, but I hope it has helped at least a little.


I am wanting to start a Bible study for my coworkers after work maybe once a week or every two weeks but I don’t know where to start. Many of them are young women in their early twenties and either new in the faith or no faith at all. I want to start slowly so I don’t overwhelm them but I have no idea the first step I should take. Do you have any resources for sound Bible studies for new believers or young women? 

Yes, I recommend you choose a book of the Bible, maybe a shorter one to start with, start at the beginning, and work your way through it with your ladies, teaching and discussing as you go. If you need some help in the beginning knowing what kinds of questions to ask or which issues in the text to focus on, you are more than welcome to use any of the studies I’ve written free of charge (see the “Bible Studies” tab at the top of this page), and even print them out if you like. Once you get a feel for teaching this way, I’m sure you’ll do fine on your own coming up with questions and pointing out important points in the passage.

You might want to start out with my study on Colossians since it’s fairly short and will give your group a good grounding in biblical Christology (who Jesus is, what He did, and why).

Another option might be for the group to choose a Bible reading plan (again, maybe one of the shorter ones to start off with), do the reading at home, and come together weekly to discuss the readings.

I don’t recommend “canned” book or DVD studies anymore. First of all, the overwhelming majority of them contain false doctrine. Studying the Bible itself sidesteps that problem altogether. Second, Christian women need to learn and practice the skill of picking up God’s Word and studying it for themselves. You have the unique opportunity with new Christians and non-Christians to start them off on the right foot of studying the Bible itself rather than getting them hooked on other people’s books. Below are a few more resources that might be helpful. Let me know how it goes!

Bible Study resource articles

The Mailbag: We Want Bible Study Answers

10 Simple Steps to Plain Vanilla Bible Study

You’re Not as Dumb as You Think You Are: Five Reasons to Put Down that Devotional and Pick Up the Actual Bible

10 Bookmarkable Biblical Resources for Christian Women

Rightly Dividing: 12 Do’s and Don’ts for Effective Bible Study

Bible Book Backgrounds: Why you need them and where to find them


What is your take on quantum physics and God?

Oh my! My take is that I really don’t know enough about quantum physics to speak intelligently on this. You might want to check out Answers in Genesis or the Biblical Science Institute. The founder of BSI, Dr. Jason Lisle, is a doctrinally sound Christian who has a double-major bachelor’s degree in physics and astronomy with a minor in mathematics, and a Master’s degree and Ph.D. in astrophysics. He would be the one to ask.


Book Recommendations
I need some help from you readers on these!

Readers have written in requesting doctrinally sound recommendations of books on the following topics:

Theology books for teenagers
Neither of these are written specifically for teenagers, but they’re both written simply enough that teenagers shouldn’t have any trouble with them:
None Other by John MacArthur
Everyone’s a Theologian by R.C. Sproul

A whole Bible commentary
Here
are some you can try out for free. MacArthur’s commentaries are excellent, as are Boice’s.

Explaining sex/where babies come from (8 year old level)
Clueless. My husband and I just explained it to our children verbally.

If you have a recommendation for a doctrinally sound book on any of these topics, please comment below with the title, and the author’s name and a link if possible. Thank you!


I read your blog regularly and haven’t seen you write about a particular topic: Christian wives, especially mothers, working outside the home. 

The reader went on to answer her own question quite beautifully, I thought. I couldn’t say it any better, so here’s the rest of her e-mail:

As I have read and studied Titus 2:3-5 lately, as an older woman (62 this year), I was struck by this phrase, workers at home:

Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. (emphasis mine)

Interestingly, our pastor is doing a series on evangelism. He has started out in a different place, sort of laying the groundwork. He is showing us particular passages in the Scriptures regarding practical things that Scripture says Christians can do to perhaps provide openings and help to overcome some of the unsaved person’s natural enmity to the gospel. He preached on this passage because it says that women are to do/not do these things “so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” This has made this issue seem even more compelling to me. I know of Christian wives that are working outside the home, some against the counsel of godly people in their lives and even the wishes of their own husbands.

Lest you misunderstand me, I am not saying that a Christian woman should never work outside the home. Every Christian couple must decide together before the Lord how this looks in their own family. Obviously, a woman who has children in school all day, or grown children, or no children, has more leeway. If a husband is absolutely unable to work because of ill health, or whatever, I am sure there are some exceptions. But still the Scriptures teach that the Christian wife’s primary focus and attention is to be in her home, that the word of God will not be dishonored. I agree with what Grace to You wrote here.


Should women be missionaries?

Yes. Absolutely. In fact, we need more women – single and married – to serve as missionaries (more men, too). The only caveat is that women who serve as missionaries need to do so in a way that is in keeping with Scriptural principles of women’s roles in the church. (For example, female missionaries should not be pastoring churches on the mission field. A missionary’s job is to share the gospel with people and then disciple them in sound doctrine, and you don’t want to be teaching false doctrine through the act of preaching to men.) But there are oodles of mission opportunities that fit the bill.

It is my understanding that there is a great need for women missionaries to minister to women in countries whose cultures discourage or prohibit their women from interacting with men. A male missionary could not reach out to women in those countries, but a female missionary could be very effective.

My denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, has a rich history of female missionaries and mission work, starting with our Women’s Missionary Union, celebrating its 130th anniversary this year. Our yearly offering for international missions is named after female missionary, Lottie Moon. Likewise, our annual North American missions offering is the Annie Armstrong offering, and my state convention collects the Georgia Barnette missions offering every year. You might enjoy reading about these female missionaries and others such as Amy Carmichael and Amy Medina.

There are many reputable missions organizations out there, but the two I’m most familiar with are the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board, which, even if you’re not Southern Baptist could give you some ideas of the types of mission work out there and the countries needing missionaries.

If you’re thinking about becoming a missionary, set up an appointment with your pastor to talk it over. He can probably give you some great pointers and put you in touch with people and organizations that can help you.


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.

Bible, Church, Creation, Discernment, Evolution, False Teachers, New Apostolic Reformation, Prayer, Throwback Thursday, Word of Faith Movement, Worship

Throwback Thursday ~ Keep On Keeping Up: 6 More Issues Christians Need Guidance About From Our Pastors ~ Part 2

Originally published January 23, 201414333562683841

Recently, I read a great article by Justin Peters entitled “Ignorance Is Not An Option.” I would call this article a response to that one, but it’s really more of a…well, I guess you could call it a “ricochet”. Last week, in Part 1 of this article, I discussed five current issues in evangelicalism that we folks in the pew need some guidance on from our pastors. Following are six more issues we all, pastors and church members alike, need to learn about and and keep a biblical perspective on.

Creation vs. Evolution:  Sorely missing from some pulpits these days is the exhortation to Christians that the Bible is our final authority on every issue in life and that we are called to believe God’s word- believe it intelligently, yes, but believe it, even in the face of worldly opposition. This admonition does not begin with Genesis 3, it begins with Genesis 1.  We are called to believe that God created the world and that He created it the way the Bible says He created it.

*Resources:
Answers in Genesis– From Creation apologetics to scholarly scientific articles to colleges that teach Creation to VBS curricula, you would be hard put to find a more comprehensive, gospel-centered Creation resource.
The Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel

Denominational Differences: Do you know the basics of what the major Christian denominations teach (salvation, baptism, communion, membership, etc.) and the differences between their doctrine and the doctrine of your own denomination? Are you aware that some denominations which are considered by many to be “Christian” hold to doctrines- including soteriology- that conflicts with God’s word? Are you fairly well acquainted with the doctrines of the denomination or religion that is predominant (or secondary if your own denomination predominates) in your area? Pastoral instruction on the basics of other denominational beliefs (as well as their own!) can be quite helpful as we church members relate to friends and family members or help new church members who come from a different denominational background.

Resources: 
GotQuestions.org For a brief overview of most of the major religions and denominations, type “Methodist,” “Mormon,” etc., in the search box.

For more detailed information, find the denomination’s main web site and click on their “statement of faith” or “what we believe” page (Keep in mind that there are several different “flavors” of Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, etc., whose doctrines and practices may vary significantly from each other.), or get to know local pastors of other denominations and just ask what they teach.

The Word of Faith Movement:  Used almost interchangeably with the term “prosperity gospel,” anti-biblical Word of Faith concepts such as the “little gods” doctrine (we have a divine nature), health and wealth prosperity (it is never God’s will for you to be sick or poor, and if you are, it’s because of your lack of faith), positive confession (Our words have the power to create reality or speak things into existence. Conversely, negative words create negative circumstances.), and twisted teachings about tithing (“sow your seed so God will multiply it back to you”), among others, are infiltrating unsuspecting churches at an alarming rate, and many are being deceived.

Because church members are often introduced to these doctrines by seemingly innocuous, popular speakers and leaders such as Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, Christine Caine, Hillsong personnel, Robert Morris, John and Lisa Bevere, John Hagee, Kari Jobe, and Judah Smith, whose materials are sold at Christian stores, conferences, and web sites, church members, and even some pastors, have no way of knowing they’re encountering false teaching unless they understand sound biblical doctrine and have a modicum of discernment skills.  It is now more necessary than ever for Christians to be trained in the basics of hermeneutics and discernment. 

Resources:
A Call for Discernment by Justin Peters
Word Faith Movement at Stand Up For the Truth
Sound the Alarm: The Dangers of the Word of Faith Movement by Emmanuel Davis
A Softer Prosperity Gospel: More Common Than You Think at 9Marks

The New Apostolic ReformationHopefully, your church members have never encountered NAR leaders, doctrines, or manifestations, or, if they have, were immediately turned off by its weirdness and because it is so blatantly anti-biblical. NAR takes the Word of Faith movement, and –BAM!– kicks it up a notch. But, as a gateway drug can lead to addiction and addiction can lead to a fatal overdose, so exposure to Joel Osteen can lead to T.D. Jakes to Benny Hinn to holy laughterstrange “anointings,” glory clouds of gold dust, tremoring, false prophecy, and being “drunk in the Spirit.” This is signs and wonders on steroids.

The NAR is also largely responsible for many of the corrupt teachings on prayer (mainly through Bethel Church in Redding, California) that have become popular in recent years, such as: contemplative/centering prayer, lectio divina, the International House of Prayer, Sozo prayer, healing rooms, and soaking prayer, as well as the false teaching of dominionism.

Resources:
False Spirits Invade the Church: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3  A Documentary by Andrew Strom
What is the New Apostolic Reformation? (And Why Should We Be Concerned About It?) by Christine Pack of Sola Sisters- This article is not only very helpful in and of itself, it provides links to many related articles and resources.
Love and Death in the House of Prayer by Jeff Tietz of Rolling Stone

The Emergent/Emerging Church MovementEver heard the old joke, “The only rule is…there are no rules!” Well, replace the word “rule” with “doctrine” and you’ve got a somewhat loose definition of the emergent church. It’s a post-modern mix of ethereal non-traditionalism, feelings, experiences, and mysticism as a means of worship, anti-absolute truth, ideological inclusivism, and anything goes universalism, topped off with a heaping helping of “did God really say…?“. Everything in the Bible, from moral absolutes to the divinity of Christ to the atonement to every other jot and tittle of the Word is questioned, if not outright denied. The only doctrine is…there is no doctrine. And, unfortunately, we church members can find any number of emergent books and materials on the shelves at our local Christian bookstores.

Resources:
What is the Emerging Church? by CARM.org
Exposing the Emergent Movement by Stand Up For the Truth

Bible Translations and Paraphrases, Study Bibles, and Theme BiblesIf the members of your church are carrying the LOLCat Bible or the KLV (yes, folks, that’s the Klingon Language Version of the Bible {Thanks a lot, Aaron. I’ll never be able to unsee that.}) into the sanctuary every week, you probably need more doctrinal intervention than I’m qualified to offer. But, while there are a number of theologically sound study Bibles and theme Bibles out there, there are some that may be just as theologically off base as the gospel according to kitty cats and Star Trek. Joyce Meyer’s Everyday Life Bible, Joel Osteen’s Hope for Today Bible, Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling Devotional Bible, and T.D. Jakes’ Woman Thou Art Loosed Bible are a few that come to mind. (Notice that these are all sold on a Christian web site right alongside materials that teach sound doctrine.)

Are you somewhat familiar with the most common Bible translations being used today, and which ones are the most accurate? Do your church members understand the difference between a translation and a paraphrase? What about gender neutral Bibles? There is such a variety of Bible options available today that the members of your congregation could likely use some guidance in selecting an accurate translation for studying God’s word.

Resources: 
BibleGateway.com– Just about every Bible translation and paraphrase you can imagine, all on line, all free. Compare a few versions side by side, and, if you’re thinking of buying a new version, try it out at BG before you buy.
Comparison of English Bible Translations
Translation Comparison Charts
How the Use of Some Bible Versions Can Twist God’s Truth at The Sacred Sandwich

*The resources given are obviously not an exhaustive list. For the most part, they are resources I have used myself, found to be helpful, and trust to be generally doctrinally sound. There are many other wonderful resources out there, but our most important resource is to compare all things and people to God’s word in context.

Christian women, Faith, Old Testament, Salvation, Sunday School, Women

Rahab: From Floozy to Faithful ~ Sunday School Lesson ~ 3-30-14

sunday school

These are my notes from my ladies’ Sunday School class this morning. I’ll be posting the notes from my class here each week. Click here for last week’s lesson.

Through the Bible in 2014 ~ Week 13 ~ Mar. 23-29
Joshua 1-24
Rahab: From Floozy to Faithful

rahab-scarlet-thread

By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient,
because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.
Hebrews 11:31


Background- Joshua 1
Joshua 1 sets the stage for the story of Rahab and the spies. Moses had recently died, and God “promoted” Joshua to take his place. It was finally time for the Israelites to enter and take possession of the Promised Land. As God “installed” Joshua into his new position, He reminded Him:

  • Stay true to My word and you’ll be successful in what I command you to do.
  • Be strong and courageous (4 times in ch. 1); I will never leave you nor forsake you.
  • Here is the extent of the land I promised. I will keep my promise.

Cities had to be conquered, and first on the agenda was Jericho. Joshua began planning for the conquest by readying the people and by gathering intelligence about the city.

Joshua 2

Gathering Intel (1-2, 9-11, 24)
Do you remember one of the first stories we studied in which Joshua played a major role? He was one of the two spies in Numbers 13-14 who brought back a good report about taking the land of Canaan. I wonder if Joshua was thinking about that incident here, forty years later.

Joshua sent two spies, compared to the twelve who went to spy out Canaan, of which he was a part. Jericho was a much smaller area than Canaan, only two were needed, and a larger group would have been more easily discovered. Interestingly, unlike the story of Joshua and Caleb, we never discover the names of these brave spies who risked their lives and their reputations to bring back a good and faithful report. What did they find out and report back to Joshua about Jericho? (v. 9-11,24)

The Hiding Place (1-6)
Why would two nice, godly Jewish boys hide out in a prostitute’s house? Why not a nice, clean hotel? Well, first of all, they generally didn’t have hotels as we know them back then. When people traveled, they brought tents with them and camped out, stayed with friends or relatives, spent the night in the town square (Gen. 19:2), etc. And, sometimes, if it was immoral men traveling without their families, a prostitute’s house was a preferred option for a night’s lodging.

Rahab’s house would have been the perfect place for the spies 212wall_sketchto hide. They were foreigners, they were travelers, and it wouldn’t have been abnormal for them to be surreptitious (covering or disguising themselves) when entering and leaving her house. Plus, Rahab had men arriving and departing at all hours. Since she was a prostitute, many of the townspeople may have avoided her and her clientele, so it was probably the best option available for the spies.

Rahab’s house was built into the city wall. At that time, kings of various cities/countries would regularly attack each other, so many cities were built like fortresses with tall, thick walls around them and gates that could be opened or closed. The back wall of Rahab’s house was also the city wall and had a window the spies could escape from. After the gates had been shut, there would have been no other way to get out of the city.

The Faith of the Spies (24)
The main focus of this story is, rightfully, on Rahab’s faith. But, what about the faith of the spies? These men, out of faithfulness to God, and loyalty to Joshua and Israel could have been tortured and killed had they been discovered. They stayed in the home of an unclean prostitute, which was a BIG deal. (Think back over all the clean/unclean laws we just studied.) They followed the instructions of someone who was: a) a woman, b) a prostitute, c) an enemy and an pagan, and d) had no military/spy experience of her own that we know of. (Although, perhaps, in her profession, she was skilled in hiding men who were being hunted down by people on the warpath). They found an impossibly heavily fortified city. There was no human way to successfully attack it. And still, they were confident in their trust that God would somehow keep them safe and give Israel the city.

The Faith of Rahab (9-13, Romans 1:19-20, 2:14-15)
Rahab was a pagan. How could she have had faith in God? How did she even know about Him? The Bible tells us that ALL human beings have a basic knowledge of God in two ways: through creation (Rom.1) and through our consciences (Rom.2).

But Rahab knew some other things, too. She knew how God treated His children and His enemies. She had heard what God had done at the Red Sea (10)—how God had protected His children and destroyed the Egyptians. She knew how God had defeated the kings of Sihon and Og (10). She knew that out of all the gods she had ever heard of, this One was the real thing- God of heaven and earth. She knew, and she was afraid. Her fear and her defection prove her faith. If she had not believed in who God was, and that He was able to do all these things she would have had no reason to be afraid, nor would she have helped the spies and aligned herself with them against her own people.

Rahab became so convinced in her mind that God was indeed who He had shown Himself to be that she gambled everything on it. Think of what the king would have done to her if she had turned out to be wrong and had gotten caught. At the very least, she would have been killed. but as a traitor, she certainly would have been made and example of. She probably would have been publicly tortured to death, and maybe her family too. This was no small thing she did. She bet her life on a God she didn’t know. That’s the faith that saved her and led her to hide the spies and her other actions. The actions did not save her, it was the overwhelming belief in God which drove those actions.

Two Different Faiths Then (John 4:22, Luke 10:21, Deuteronomy 32:39)
There is a qualitative difference between the faith of the spies and the faith of Rahab. As Jesus said to the woman at the well, “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.” (John 4)

The spies were God’s people. They knew Him personally. They were born into God’s house and grew up as obedient sons. They were chosen by Him and belonged to Him. They had seen Him work as eyewitnesses. They had, and knew, His word. They would have been like the older brother in the prodigal son story if he had been faithful.

Rahab, on the other hand, had none of that. She was the prodigal. She did not know God personally, but only, as an outsider, by reputation. She likely knew nothing of God’s love and promised blessings for obedience, but only of His wrath towards sinners. She was not born into God’s house; she was a pagan. She was not an obedient son; she was a woman, and as sinful a woman as she could be. She was not chosen by God and did not belong to Him. She was an outcast. She had no idea what God might do next. All she knew was that she didn’t want to die.

The spies knew. God had laid it all out for them. They were obeying God, not out of fear, but out of love.

Two Different Faiths Now
Rahab’s faith versus the spies’ faith reminds me of unchurched people coming to Christ versus churched people coming to Christ. We “spies” who were raised in church by Christian families grew up knowing all the Bible Stories, all the whys and wherefores of Jesus and salvation. It is the blessing of a godly heritage.

Rahab, like the unchurched, lived her whole life not knowing God, just doing what sinners do. When she finally heard about Him, all she had was the basics, and, knowing only that He was “Lord of Heaven and earth” (Luke) and “able to kill and make alive” (Deut.), she flung herself unashamedly on His mercy—which, at the time, she probably wasn’t sure would catch a woman like her—all because she wanted to live instead of die.

The Object and Outcome of Our Faith (Joshua 6:17, 22-25, Matthew 1:5, James 2:25)
But no matter our background or how we come to faith in Christ—Rahab or spies, unchurched or churched—the object of our faith is what matters, and the object of our faith is Christ. And because the object of our faith is the same, the outcome of our faith is also the same.

What was the outcome of this whole scenario for the spies? For Rahab? They were saved despite the destruction all around them. After it was over, they all lived in the Promised Land together. Rahab and her family became part of God’s family just like the spies were. She even got to be one of Jesus’ great, great…grandmothers (Matt.), was commended in the “Hall of Faith” (Heb. 11, above), and was cited as an example of good works giving evidence of our faith (Jas.).

God loves the prostitute just like He loves the good little girls. He sent His precious Son to save both of us and to display us as trophies of His grace.

Additional Resources
The Walls of Jericho by Answers in Genesis

Bible, Church, Creation, Discernment, Evolution, False Teachers, New Apostolic Reformation, Prayer, Word of Faith Movement, Worship

Keep On Keeping Up: 6 More Issues Christians Need Guidance About From Our Pastors ~ Part 2

14333562683841

Recently, I read a great article by Justin Peters entitled “Ignorance Is Not An Option.” I would call this article a response to that one, but it’s really more of a…well, I guess you could call it a “ricochet”. Last week, in Part 1 of this article, I discussed five current issues in evangelicalism that we folks in the pew need some guidance on from our pastors. Following are six more issues we all, pastors and church members alike, need to learn about and and keep a biblical perspective on.

Creation vs. Evolution:  Sorely missing from some pulpits these days is the exhortation to Christians that the Bible is our final authority on every issue in life and that we are called to believe God’s word- believe it intelligently, yes, but believe it, even in the face of worldly opposition. This admonition does not begin with Genesis 3, it begins with Genesis 1.  We are called to believe that God created the world and that He created it the way the Bible says He created it.

*Resources:
Answers in Genesis– From Creation apologetics to scholarly scientific articles to colleges that teach Creation to VBS curricula, you would be hard put to find a more comprehensive, gospel-centered Creation resource.
The Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel

Denominational Differences: Do you know the basics of what the major Christian denominations teach (salvation, baptism, communion, membership, etc.) and the differences between their doctrine and the doctrine of your own denomination? Are you aware that some denominations which are considered by many to be “Christian” hold to doctrines- including soteriology- that conflicts with God’s word? Are you fairly well acquainted with the doctrines of the denomination or religion that is predominant (or secondary if your own denomination predominates) in your area? Pastoral instruction on the basics of other denominational beliefs (as well as their own!) can be quite helpful as we church members relate to friends and family members or help new church members who come from a different denominational background.

Resources: 
GotQuestions.org For a brief overview of most of the major religions and denominations, type “Methodist,” “Mormon,” etc., in the search box.

For more detailed information, find the denomination’s main web site and click on their “statement of faith” or “what we believe” page (Keep in mind that there are several different “flavors” of Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, etc., whose doctrines and practices may vary significantly from each other.), or get to know local pastors of other denominations and just ask what they teach.

The Word of Faith Movement:  Used almost interchangeably with the term “prosperity gospel,” anti-biblical Word of Faith concepts such as the “little gods” doctrine (we have a divine nature), health and wealth prosperity (it is never God’s will for you to be sick or poor, and if you are, it’s because of your lack of faith), positive confession (Our words have the power to create reality or speak things into existence. Conversely, negative words create negative circumstances.), and twisted teachings about tithing (“sow your seed so God will multiply it back to you”), among others, are infiltrating unsuspecting churches at an alarming rate, and many are being deceived.

Because church members are often introduced to these doctrines by seemingly innocuous, popular speakers and leaders such as Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, Christine Caine, Hillsong personnel, Robert Morris, John and Lisa Bevere, John Hagee, Kari Jobe, and Judah Smith, whose materials are sold at Christian stores, conferences, and web sites, church members, and even some pastors, have no way of knowing they’re encountering false teaching unless they understand sound biblical doctrine and have a modicum of discernment skills.  It is now more necessary than ever for Christians to be trained in the basics of hermeneutics and discernment. 

Resources:
A Call for Discernment by Justin Peters
Word Faith Movement at Stand Up For the Truth
Sound the Alarm: The Dangers of the Word of Faith Movement by Emmanuel Davis
A Softer Prosperity Gospel: More Common Than You Think at 9Marks

The New Apostolic ReformationHopefully, your church members have never encountered NAR leaders, doctrines, or manifestations, or, if they have, were immediately turned off by its weirdness and because it is so blatantly anti-biblical. NAR takes the Word of Faith movement, and –BAM!– kicks it up a notch. But, as a gateway drug can lead to addiction and addiction can lead to a fatal overdose, so exposure to Joel Osteen can lead to T.D. Jakes to Benny Hinn to holy laughterstrange “anointings,” glory clouds of gold dust, tremoring, false prophecy, and being “drunk in the Spirit.” This is signs and wonders on steroids.

The NAR is also largely responsible for many of the corrupt teachings on prayer (mainly through Bethel Church in Redding, California) that have become popular in recent years, such as: contemplative/centering prayer, lectio divina, the International House of Prayer, Sozo prayer, healing rooms, and soaking prayer, as well as the false teaching of dominionism.

Resources:
False Spirits Invade the Church: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3  A Documentary by Andrew Strom
What is the New Apostolic Reformation? (And Why Should We Be Concerned About It?) by Christine Pack of Sola Sisters- This article is not only very helpful in and of itself, it provides links to many related articles and resources.
Love and Death in the House of Prayer by Jeff Tietz of Rolling Stone

The Emergent/Emerging Church MovementEver heard the old joke, “The only rule is…there are no rules!” Well, replace the word “rule” with “doctrine” and you’ve got a somewhat loose definition of the emergent church. It’s a post-modern mix of ethereal non-traditionalism, feelings, experiences, and mysticism as a means of worship, anti-absolute truth, ideological inclusivism, and anything goes universalism, topped off with a heaping helping of “did God really say…?“. Everything in the Bible, from moral absolutes to the divinity of Christ to the atonement to every other jot and tittle of the Word is questioned, if not outright denied. The only doctrine is…there is no doctrine. And, unfortunately, we church members can find any number of emergent books and materials on the shelves at our local Christian bookstores.

Resources:
What is the Emerging Church? by CARM.org
Exposing the Emergent Movement by Stand Up For the Truth

Bible Translations and Paraphrases, Study Bibles, and Theme BiblesIf the members of your church are carrying the LOLCat Bible or the KLV (yes, folks, that’s the Klingon Language Version of the Bible {Thanks a lot, Aaron. I’ll never be able to unsee that.}) into the sanctuary every week, you probably need more doctrinal intervention than I’m qualified to offer. But, while there are a number of theologically sound study Bibles and theme Bibles out there, there are some that may be just as theologically off base as the gospel according to kitty cats and Star Trek. Joyce Meyer’s Everyday Life Bible, Joel Osteen’s Hope for Today Bible, Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling Devotional Bible, and T.D. Jakes’ Woman Thou Art Loosed Bible are a few that come to mind. (Notice that these are all sold on a Christian web site right alongside materials that teach sound doctrine.)

Are you somewhat familiar with the most common Bible translations being used today, and which ones are the most accurate? Do your church members understand the difference between a translation and a paraphrase? What about gender neutral Bibles? There is such a variety of Bible options available today that the members of your congregation could likely use some guidance in selecting an accurate translation for studying God’s word.

Resources: 
BibleGateway.com– Just about every Bible translation and paraphrase you can imagine, all on line, all free. Compare a few versions side by side, and, if you’re thinking of buying a new version, try it out at BG before you buy.
Comparison of English Bible Translations
Translation Comparison Charts
How the Use of Some Bible Versions Can Twist God’s Truth at The Sacred Sandwich

*The resources given are obviously not an exhaustive list. For the most part, they are resources I have used myself, found to be helpful, and trust to be generally doctrinally sound. There are many other wonderful resources out there, but our most important resource is to compare all things and people to God’s word in context.