Discernment, Guest Posts

Guest Post: Why I Left Elevation Church

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.

Why I Left Elevation Church
by Name Withheld


Disclaimer:
The author’s statements about her tenure at Elevation and
what particular Elevation pastors or staff said and did should be
taken as her own personal experience and not as irrefutable fact.


As you pull up to the parking lot, you are first greeted by someone directing parking traffic decked out in all orange. In the parking lot, there is a sea of Elevation Church bumper stickers plastered on everyone’s cars. You walk up to church, and you’re then greeted by volunteer after volunteer persuading you to join their eGroup or to join a volunteer team. It almost feels like you’re walking in the shopping mall and on every side of you there are sales people bombarding you trying to get you to buy their perfumes and colognes. After you dodge them all, you’re then surrounded by all sorts of people — local people, people who traveled from a few hours away, or people who flew in from out of country to attend this particular church. As you wait in line, you see to your left a merchandise table

You finally enter the auditorium of the church, and you’re ushered into your seat, or to what it may feel like, forced into your seat. “All the way down! Move all the way down, do not leave any empty chairs!” the usher tells you, because there can’t be any gaps where you sit for camera purposes. Suddenly, the lights dim and there’s a countdown on a giant screen letting you know when church will start. If you were new to the church, it would feel like you’re at a New Years Eve party. People all around you are excited and they start to stand up and clap and dance before the countdown even finishes. The person to your right is inserting the ear plugs that the church offers as you walk into the auditorium to help with the unbearably loud noise during worship. The lights come back on and the worship team comes on stage; there’s laser lights and fog machines and for a second, you think you’re at a concert. 

After some sort of high-quality, overly produced videos, the pastor then comes on stage. He first takes about five to ten minutes trying to gauge the crowd and then work the crowd to get them pumped up for whatever he is about to butcher, oh sorry, I mean preach. He puts up 1-3 Bible verses on the screen for everyone to follow along and then amazingly enough, spends about an hour and a half convincing the crowd that his Bible twisting is true. “The reason why you’re not being blessed by God, is because you don’t have enough faith!” he tells the crowd, some of whom are wealthy, and some of whom are living paycheck to paycheck, while he is on the stage dressed from head to toe in all Gucci.

After church ends, it’s an unbelievable ordeal to exit. You’re pushed and shoved, and people are stepping on your feet as you try to find your way out of the auditorium. Oh, and you’ll most definitely spend about ten to fifteen minutes sitting in your car in the parking lot trying to leave. You pull out of the church parking lot, and congratulations, you survived a visit to Elevation.

^^^^^

I was part of Elevation Church for about six years. At the time, I thought it was the greatest church on Earth and if anyone spoke negative about it, I thought they were just bitter. It felt like I was in a relationship with Elevation Church. With any relationship, in the beginning, it was puppy love and you just always want to be around them 24/7 so you volunteer extra hours and join everything that they have and buy all of their t-shirts and CDs. Then the relationship slowly became the overly attached partner that you so desperately needed to break up with, but didn’t know how to.

I eventually became the lead photographer at one of Elevation’s campuses and even was on the photography team for their live album recording, Here As In Heaven, at the Spectrum Center Arena (formerly known as the Time Warner Cable Arena). I led a team of about forty people. The majority of them were older than me so it was challenging at times to be a leader figure when my team were twice my age. I pretty much lived at church, between meetings and special events they had going on, I was always working. And when you’re around a church for that long, you see and hear a lot of things. 

I overheard the campus pastor telling potential new staff that they had to take a bullet for the church if it ever came to that point. I heard some staff getting fired when they were asked if they were “team Elevation” to which the staff member said, “I’m team Jesus.” So they were fired for not “bleeding orange.” 

Before Steven Furtick gets on stage, the photography team at the campus that he is at immediately has to upload photos of what the crowd looks like that day so he can see how big or how small his crowd is.

Eventually, I decided to quit after what I was witnessing didn’t feel like a church to me. On top of that, I was absolutely exhausted every time I got home and was starting to lose passion for photography. 

And boy oh boy, the day I told my supervisor that I was quitting was not fun. I lost all of my friends. And I’m not being dramatic when I say that I lost all my friends. Everyone I worked with and thought were my friends shunned me and ignored all my text messages and blocked me on social media. I was a total outcast. It was a pretty lonely year. I’m not going to lie. It was rough. 

I kept praying to God to give me discernment and to open up my eyes if I’m doing something wrong, to bring clarity. And God sure did answer my prayer, in a major way. 

About four months ago, my mom came into my room to where I was and all excited she tells me, “Guess who I heard on the radio?!”. I shrug my shoulders and say, “Who?” She says, “Costi Hinn, Benny Hinn’s nephew! He was saying how everything that Benny Hinn says and does, as well as other false teachers is fake, he was essentially exposing him.” My mom and I were pretty big Benny Hinn fans. When I was younger and lived in Florida, we went to his crusade and we managed to get floor seats because we thought the closer we got to Benny Hinn, the closer we got to a healing or a miracle. I was absolutely shocked when she told me. So the millennial in me started to look him up on Twitter and I found a tweet he posted about Bethel Church in Redding, California. I was intrigued, because I was accepted to Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM) but I ended up getting scammed seven thousand dollars that someone was supposed to give me and then I couldn’t go. Naturally, I was frustrated but I prayed to God to show me why I couldn’t go. This felt like an answered prayer. I replied to Costi’s tweet about Bethel and about two minutes later he replied to me, he gave me his email and out of the kindness of his heart, sent me his two books for free as well as an email full of information. I’m still trying to process all of it.

When I read Costi’s book, God, Greed, And The (Prosperity) Gospel, I read it so quick because I couldn’t put it down. It was three in the morning when I did finally finish it. I put the book down and just kept saying, “Wow.” I’ve been a Christian since I was three years old, and it felt like everything that I knew was one giant lie.

After that, I began to research more people and found so many good pastors and teachers that have shed a ton of light and information for me. Between what type of worship music you should and shouldn’t listen to, the type of church that you should attend, pastors you should stay away from, even down to the translation of the Bible that is good and which ones are bad. 

So what does my life look like now after I left Elevation? Well, I’m still in process mode. I keep doing my research and make sure that what I’m doing is biblically correct. I got rid of any books from false teachers that I had, got a different translation of the Bible, and deleted my old worship music playlist that was full of Elevation Worship, Hillsong Worship, and Bethel Music. I continue to pray for God to reveal to me what is the truth and little by little, I get new information.

This has most definitely been a journey of rediscovering Jesus, the true Jesus. It’s deconstructing everything that I was taught from false teachers and filling myself up with the true Gospel. And I am so grateful for God revealing to me the truth about Bethel Church before I got filled with even more deception by attending their school.

I share my story of leaving Elevation, because I want to help others who are being deceived by false teachers, like I once was, to be brought out so they can understand the true Gospel. I’ve seen – firsthand – false doctrine damage people so deep that they leave Christianity completely. When church becomes more about entertainment and theatrics, you have to ask yourself if it’s even a church. If you talk to anyone who goes to Elevation Church, you can tell that the focus is not centered on God, because the conversation always points to Steven Furtick and on his performance, not the actual word of God. 

I fully realize that not everyone is going to agree with me on this, especially those who I went with to Elevation Church. I love the people I worked with at Elevation Church, and it is because I love them that I am writing this because I want them to be brought out of deception. This has been no easy task, but it makes it all worth it to obey Christ.

Because good theology and sound doctrine matters.

Linked below¹ are resources that have helped me on this journey of finding the truth. I am forever grateful for their knowledge and for pouring into me and sharing with me the true Gospel.

An incredible documentary that shows how important it is to spread the true Gospel and how dangerous the word of faith movement is: American Gospel

Books by John MacArthur that have helped me: Strange Fire and Charismatic Chaos

Books by Costi Hinn that have helped me: God, Greed, And The (Prosperity) Gospel and Defining Deception

A Bible chart that breaks down different translations of the Bible.

How to find a good church near you: 9Marks

Video from Fighting For The Faith (Chris Rosebrough) on Steven Furtick from Elevation Church: Steven Furtick and The Danger of a Dream

Other helpful people to watch on YouTube:

Melissa Dougherty

Doreen Virtue

Mike Winger

Justin Peters and his Website.

Lindsay Davis who was an ex-Bethel student (BSSM) sharing her testimony: Ex Bethel Student Tells All: Lindsay Davis Testimony from Melissa Dougherty and Doreen Virtue

And Michelle Lesley who was kind enough to give me an opportunity to share my story.


The author of this guest post wished to remain anonymous. She is a resident of North Carolina and a former member of Elevation Church.


NOTEs FROM MICHELLE:
¹I AM NOT thoroughly FAMILIAR WITH All OF THESE RESOURCES AND DO NOT ENDORSE ANY OF THEM WHICH DEVIATE FROM SCRIPTURE OR MY THEOLOGY AS OUTLINED IN THE “WELCOME” AND “STATEMENT OF FAITH” TABS AT THE TOP OF THIS PAGE. AS WITH ANY RESOURCE, PLEASE THOROUGHLY VET THE THEOLOGY OF THESE BEFORE USING THEM.
²See also the Searching for a new church? tab at the top of this page, which includes not only the 9Marks church search engine but many others, and additional resources, as well.
Testimony Tuesday

Testimony Tuesday: Carey’s Story

Carey’s Story

I grew up with a mentally ill single mother. My father had had an affair with her and went back to his wife before I was born. After my Christian step mother found out about me, she would witness to my mother and I over the phone. My home life was very unstable and chaotic and I almost committed suicide at the age of 13. I had decided I did not believe in God.

A few months later, Child Protective Services took me away from my mother and placed me in foster care. The first time my father ever called me was to ask if I would like to live with him and his wife- under the condition I would go to church with her. He did not go nor was he the spiritual leader of their home.

My father was awarded temporary custody and the day I moved in with him was the day I met him face to face.

I began to go to my stepmom’s charismatic, nondenominational church when I was 14 and was saved several months later. I had a deep rooted resentment and bitterness towards my dad and it was at this church that I was introduced to being “slain in the spirit”. The leaders would pray over me at the altar and although it felt as though they were pushing me over at times, I would fall to the floor “overcome by the Holy Spirit”. I grew up around prophesy, tongues, and women in unbiblical roles. Despite- and not because of- this, the Lord was merciful and gracious and through the years He did indeed deliver me of the stronghold of hatred towards my dad and I grew in my faith of God’s sovereignty. Unfortunately, however, my stepmom was heavily influenced by televised false teachers such as Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, Marilyn Hickey, etc., and would share many unbiblical, yet convincing, ear tickling things with me. She was my number one mentor and a best friend. I also struggled tremendously in trying to be a good Christian but fell into many temptations such as extreme promiscuity and partying over the course of almost a decade. It seriously is only by God’s unfailing mercy that I am alive today.

In my early 20s, I married my second husband while in the Army. We were a “dual military couple”. I became pregnant with our son and discharged from the service to become a stay at home mom. I found a Southern Baptist Church while we were stationed in Texas and it was there that I grew tremendously in my love for God’s infallible Word and was discipled by our Sunday school leaders, particularly the wife. I was baptized and my husband soon began attending after initially refusing to.

However, our marriage was in a very terrible state and he was abusive.

Being an Army wife afforded me many opportunities and it was through joining the military ministry, PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel) that in many ways stunted my growth in biblical discernment, wisdom, and Truth. I became super involved and volunteered on and off for several years. I did many Bible “studies” by Beth Moore and others by leaders such as Priscilla Shirer.

At our next duty station, which was in my home state, we joined a church where I joined a prayer group that was led by the worship and youth pastor. He was a young man that was deeply deceived by the teachings of Bethel Church in Redding, California and many like-minded leaders, including the “Toronto Blessing”. The focus is on bringing heaven to earth, spiritual gifts, and signs and wonders. It is all very much based on emotionalism and New Age mysticism, but laced with Christian lingo and severely twisted Scriptures. I became even more influenced by leaders in the Word of Faith, “Name it and claim it”, NAR, post-modern Christianity, etc.

It was during this time that I fell into going outside of God’s Word and I would literally beg God for “more”, to be “undone” by the Holy Spirit and for Him to “visit” me. I wanted the power that I was duped into believing I deserved more of and was entitled to as a child of God. I would ask and even sing along to the song, “Fill me up, God”. I experienced being “drunk in the spirit”, received numerous visions, words of knowledge, operated in the gifts of tongues and prophesy, and had many incredibly convincing experiences. Much of what I was caught up in was contemplative prayer- emptying ourselves and letting “jesus” speak to us and giving “him” control over our prayer times. Only occasionally was a Bible actually opened (honestly, I used it the most during our meetings) yet we took precious care of the journal we would write in to document our prophesies and visions. Some of the other prayer group “members” would travel up to the “Toronto Blessing” church and even attended Sozo meetings out in the west. We also operated in automatic writing and speaking, and spoke in tongues without interpretation. The pastor also would take the teenagers on “treasure hunts”. They would pray, receive “clues” in visions and other ways “the spirit” would tell them, then go out into the city and find their targets. They would then approach the people and pray for them. This of course was very special, secretive operations only to be known by certain people.

We were taught that every decision in life should be directed by “the spirit”, neglecting the truth that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness (2 Tim. 3.16). It was all very mystical and completely unbiblical.

During all of this I was still in the Word and there were many red flags that would wave, yet I was so caught up in the feelings and “power” of the experiences I was having. Not to mention I was being taught by a pastor who seemed very knowledgeable and had a “passion for the Lord” so what did I know? Truly he must know more than me.

When you are caught up in this heresy, you are always looking for the next high. You are never satisfied with God, despite the fact that Psalm 107.9 says “For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.” One is truly enslaved by greed, lust, and idolatry.

You will do anything you think is necessary to remain on the mountaintop and avoid the valleys at all costs. Although I never wavered in faith of God, my walk was extremely chaotic and like a roller coaster. I would go through severe bouts of depression. Yet I also would experience extreme highs and excitement while reading Scripture eisegetically. I based my “spiritual maturity” and my relationship with Jesus on my feelings and by whether or not I could “feel His presence”, as the focus in most of these “ministries” is on how you feel. Because I was always “up and down”, I actually wondered if I was mentally ill, given family history. Throughout the years – I would “storm the gates of hell”, interceding for my kids and “binding” the devil of his plans for myself and my family. I would actually yell at satan, deceived of what true Biblical spiritual warfare is.

Keep in mind, it was during this time that the abuse in my marriage was close to being at its worst. My husband was not at all the spiritual leader of our home and I held a tremendous hatred towards him and would fantasize and even pray that he would die. I knew that this was wrong; I just kept begging God to deliver me in whatever way He saw fit.

Our group was very secretive and the attitude among us was prideful; we had elevated opinions of ourselves and “our gifts”. But never would we have admitted that. Thankfully the other pastor and elders of the church soon caught on to what the pastor was teaching the teenagers and the heresy that he was spreading. He was removed from his position and it caused a division within the church. This threw my world upside down and our prayer group split, with certain members leaving the church. One lady actually said “my gifts are not welcome here”. However, I had never felt like I was a true member of the group- something was always off and I felt as if they didn’t fully trust me. Another former “member” I have since spoken with admitted to feeling the same. I’m pretty confident that I don’t even know the full extent of the dangers they were involved with. And for that – I am now thankful!

I also was incredibly involved in the church and volunteered in many areas. I even had a key to the building- which was a source of pride, one sin that I was very enslaved by.

I love to read so it was also during this time I had many “Christian” books and I began to be very confused and unsure of what exactly I believed because I had so many “teachers”.

We are currently at another duty station and it has been during this last year and a half that God placed someone in our Facebook newsfeed that will at times biblically expose false teachers. Despite other times where I would start to research and seek the truth, yet fall right back into the lies, this time I dove in. I have found legitimate sources and people who shine the light on Biblical truth. With the Lord removing the blinders I had on for so long, reading the Word exegetically and for how God inspired it to be written, and resolving to not look outside of His Truth, I am coming to a true, Biblical understanding of Who He really is (and who He is not).

It has taken me many months to let go of the “mind blowing” experiences I have had throughout the years and accept the realization that the majority of what I thought was the Holy Spirit was not Him. I had opened myself up to the occult- all in the name of Christianity and being tricked into believing I was “anointed”.

I am thankful that during all these years I had been journaling almost every day so I have proof of the horrendous dangers I was caught in. I have considered destroying them but have chosen to keep them and instead plan to write a letter such as this testimony to precede the journals for anyone who may someday read them. I want people to understand that where I am in life now and in my understanding of God and His sovereignty does not come from a fundamentalist, legalistic, outside opinion. I was very much involved in and deceived as you have read.

When we arrived at our current duty station, I was not as discerning as I am now growing to be. We started attending and stayed at a church for over a year. In the time the Lord has been exposing the lies I have been trapped by, He showed me that it is not a church to be at. There are many reasons we left, but one is that their “worship” music is more self and “spirit” focused. Much of it comes from Bethel, Jesus Culture, and Hillsong. We have since made the move and now attend one where God is truly glorified in the exegesis preaching, studying of the Scriptures (not some topical study some “teacher” has written), music worship, and fellowship.

I am truly thankful for all the Lord has done, is doing, and will continue to do in my life. Especially for delivering me from the stronghold of false teaching. Now that I am being led in truth and I’m growing in discernment, my mind is clear, and I am on a steady path walking with my Lord.

And as a side note (which is another testimony in itself!)- He has delivered me from my abusive marriage by way of revealing to my husband his sin- he has since admitted to and has repented of the abuse. He truly is not the man I was married to all those years. He no longer treats me the way he did for 9.5 years. Although he is not a “super spiritual leader”, God continues to work in him. And I am continuing to learn to follow the whole counsel of God- to not pick Scriptures out of context to support my opinions or what someone is trying to teach. It was in doing this with verses on marriage that kept me bound in abuse and almost destroyed our family. Our marriage is definitely not perfect and there are still things that the Lord is working on in my heart, but we overcame almost divorcing and the Lord continues to heal us.

I truly believe that our marriage- as well as my father and stepmother’s- is an example of the destruction that can happen when men do not accept their God-given roles in leading their families centered on Christ and grounded in the Bible. Of course, women also neglect their ordained roles and our society suffers because of each person’s choices.

For everyone reading this – please know that God’s inspired Word and His grace is all sufficient. We do not need to- nor should we- look to any false gospel (which is no Gospel at all) to have our needs and/or desires met. Every need/desire we will ever have in this life has already been provided for by Jesus Christ dying on the cross and His resurrection.

I want to thank Michelle for her work in contending for the faith once for all delivered (Jude 1.3) and for allowing me to share my condensed (at least I tried to keep it short!) testimony.


Ladies, God is still at work in the hearts and lives of His people, including yours! Would you like to share a testimony of how God saved you, how He has blessed you, convicted you, taught you something from His word, brought you out from under false doctrine, placed you in a good church or done something otherwise awesome in your life? Private/direct message me on social media, e-mail me (MichelleLesley1@yahoo.com), or comment below. Try to be brief (3-4 paragraphs or less) if possible. I’ll select a few to share on the blog another time. Let’s encourage one another with God’s work in our lives!

Mailbag

The Mailbag: Potpourri (Female officiant, JMac attack, Google 101…)

 

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!


I noticed you’ve written lists of recommended teachers and false teachers. Just curious if you could help in the same way with Contemporary Christian music and artists.

I took a stab at that in my article False Doctrine in Contemporary Christian Music. I will add any CCM artists I stumble across in the future that I think need to be warned against or recommended, but I’m afraid that article is going to be the extent of any “list” of doctrinally sound or unsound Christian musicians. It’s not an issue I research much, and CCM isn’t a music genre I enjoy listening to. I’m really more of a podcast gal. I would, however, highly recommend the Additional Resources I’ve listed at the end of that article as well as the comments section.


I was recently invited to a wedding where the officiant will be a female “pastor”. I’m not close to the bride, but I honestly can’t bear the thought of attending even if we were close. Your thoughts, please?

This is really less of a biblical question than it is an etiquette question. Fortunately for all of us, I have read a lot of Miss Manners in my day :0)

Since you’re not close to her, that makes things a lot easier than if it were a family member or close friend. If the invitation contains an RSVP card, you can just send it back with “regrets” or “will not attend” (or whatever) marked and not say anything else about it.

If it’s a situation like she’s a co-worker you see face to face frequently and she asks point blank if you’re coming, you could say something, like “I’m so sorry, but I have a conflict that prevents me from attending.” It’s not necessary to go into any further detail.

If she’s pushy and presses you about it, you could either say something like, “I’m sorry, it’s personal,” or you could kindly, gently, and briefly get into the actual theology of why a woman shouldn’t be serving in the position of pastor, explain that this conflicts with your beliefs as a Christian, and that you wouldn’t feel comfortable attending. Ask God to give you wisdom as to what is the best approach with this particular person.

Just bear in mind, a social invitation isn’t a subpoena and it’s really nobody’s business why you won’t be attending.


Can a church use Hillsong or Bethel/Jesus Culture music in the worship service as long as the lyrics of the particular songs that are selected don’t conflict with the Bible?

If I were queen of the evangelical world and it were up to me to make a binding law about this, my answer would be no. No church would use any music by any heretical organization or doctrinally unsound musician. I briefly addressed my reasons for this in my article False Doctrine in Contemporary Christian Music:

It’s imperative for churches to be discerning about the CCM they use in worship. If Jane Churchmember hears a CCM song in church and likes it, she’s likely to Google the song (probably right there in church- I’ve done it!), find out who sings it, and begin following that artist. Worship pastors who use CCM have a responsibility to vet the artists who perform the songs they select for the worship service to make sure they’re not sending Jane into the arms of a heretic. Additionally, music costs money, and you don’t want your church’s offerings supporting false doctrine.

I think the principles and Scriptures in this article generally apply to this question as well: Four Reasons Why It Matters Who We Share, Pin, and Re-Tweet


Today on Facebook, I saw a post saying John MacArthur is a false teacher. Can you enlighten me please? After being part of your blog and being more discerning of who I read, I’m bummed. I even purchased the John MacArthur ESV Study Bible on your recommendation and also read the Grace To You blog.

Let me start by saying this: Just because someone (including me) says a certain teacher is a false teacher doesn’t mean you should automatically believe her.

I can assure you that John MacArthur is not a false teacher. In fact, he is one of the finest and most doctrinally sound teachers out there today, and I highly recommend him. But you shouldn’t just blindly take my word for that any more than you should just blindly take the word of the Facebook post you saw that says he is a false teacher. You shouldn’t believe anything in Christianity because a person says so, but because the Bible says so. Every Christian should be discerning about every sermon she listens to, every book she reads, and every pastor or teacher she follows, including the pastor at her own church. We must each practice biblical discernment for ourselves, comparing everything to rightly handled Scripture and discarding anything that doesn’t match up to what the Bible says in context.

I’m not familiar with the Facebook page you mentioned by name in your e-mail, but my guess is that it is a group that incorrectly and unbiblically believes that Reformed theology (or Calvinism) is false doctrine. John MacArthur is a Calvinist, so naturally they believe he is a false teacher. They’re judging his sound doctrine by their own false doctrine. That’s what people who hold to false doctrine do. Extreme anti-Calvinists believe Calvinists are false teachers, New Apostolic Reformationists believe doctrinally sound cessationists are false teachers, Catholics believe that Protestants are false teachers, and so on. It helps to know what kind theology (or false theology) someone is coming from when he labels a person as a false teacher.

I would encourage you to do the biblical work of discernment for yourself. Compare John MacArthur’s materials to Scripture and be convinced by God’s written Word whether or not you should follow him.

Here are a couple of articles I think you will find helpful on this issue:

Clinging to the Golden Calf: 7 Godly Responses When Someone Says You’re Following a False Teacher

Is She a False Teacher? 7 Steps to Figuring it Out on Your Own


You had this Google result that talks about Kelly Minter supporting gay marriage:

I have searched the Internet and your website and I can’t find it. I’m thinking of doing her Bible study on Nehemiah but don’t want to do it if this information is true so I need to see her exact quote myself in order to decide.

This is the first time I’ve received a question like this, but it concerns me that a lack of understanding of how Google works might lead someone to think I’ve said something I haven’t, and if there are others out there who are drawing the same kinds of conclusions as this reader just because they need a little help understanding the mechanics of Google, I’m glad to give a little tutorial.

It looks like you may have Googled something like “Does Kelly Minter support homosexual marriage?” but didn’t click on my article that popped up.

(Here’s the top result I got when I Googled the phrase “Does Kelly Minter support homosexual marriage”.)

When you Google something, Google pulls the key words from your search and that’s what it displays in boldtype in the result. You have to click on the article and read it to get the full picture.

Here is the direct link to my article that contains information about Kelly Minter. My article doesn’t say Kelly Minter supports homosexual marriage, but there is another teacher in the article who does. Your Google result pulled Kelly Minter’s name from the section on her and the “supports homosexual marriage” phrase from the section on Rachel Held Evans.

To my knowledge, Kelly Minter does not support homosexual marriage, however, I would still urge you not to use her materials for the reasons given in the article. Just because someone doesn’t support homosexual marriage doesn’t mean everything else she’s teaching is biblical, and this is certainly the case with Kelly Minter. Her materials would be detrimental to your spiritual growth. I would strongly recommend that you simply pick up the Bible and study it for yourself rather than relying on someone else’s book.

You might find the “Popular False Teachers” tab, “Recommended Bible Teachers” tab, and “Bible Study” tab (all at the very top of this page) helpful.


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.

False Doctrine, New Apostolic Reformation

SBC President Ronnie Floyd, Featured Speaker at New Apostolic Reformation’s IHOP

Screenshot_2015-11-18-10-15-50_kindlephoto-738691

As a lifelong Southern Baptist it grieves me to have to report this, but if you’re Southern Baptist, you deserve to know and need to know what the president of your denomination is doing.

Above is a screen grab from the International House of Prayer’s (IHOP) web site. (If they don’t take it down, you can click here and see the page for yourself.) This page lists the speakers and worship leaders for IHOP’s Onething 2015 conference scheduled for late December. As you can see, SBC president, Dr. Ronnie Floyd is a featured speaker.

Why is this a problem?

IHOP is a demonic, New Apostolic Reformation organization which often cooperates with Bethel Church in Redding, California. Just to give a shorthand frame of reference you might be familiar with, these are the people who do “holy laughter” and faith healing, crawl around on the floor barking like dogs during worship services, get “drunk” on the Holy Spirit, go into spasms and convulsions when “possessed” by the Holy Spirit,  etc. Any weird signs and wonders type of thing you’re familiar with most likely started at or is practiced by Bethel/IHOP.

THIS IS NOT A MINOR, UNIMPORTANT DIFFERENCE OF WORSHIP STYLE. THIS IS BLATANT AND DANGEROUS FALSE DOCTRINE.

And your SBC president is joining cooperatively with proponents of this false doctrine to put on Onething in defiance of 2 Corinthians 6:14-17, 2 John 9-11, 1 Corinthians 5:11 and all of the other passages that tell us we are not to give aid or quarter to those who are damned because they preach another gospel.

Now, either Dr. Floyd knows about the false doctrine of IHOP, or he does not. If he knows, then he is in egregious sin for choosing to defy Scripture by cooperating with this demonic organization. If he doesn’t know, it says a great deal about his lack of discernment. There is no excuse for someone at the highest level of leadership in our denomination, with a master’s degree and a doctoral degree from seminary, to be ignorant about the theology of a group he is choosing to work with, or at least not to do a modicum of research about them before agreeing to speak.

But don’t take my word for it. I’m listing below some links explaining the problems with Bethel and IHOP. Educate yourself, then share this information with your pastor and others you know in local or national SBC leadership. If you know Ronnie Floyd personally, contact him, ask him why he’s doing this, and urge him not to. Galatians 6:1 tells us:

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.

Dr. Floyd may be president of the SBC, but he is first and foremost our brother in Christ, and he deserves that we love him by correcting him, helping him, and restoring him to obedience to God’s word, and preventing him from leading others astray.

Resources:

What is the International House of Prayer (IHOP)?

The Dangers of the International House of Prayer (IHOP)

The International House of Prayer?

Love and Death in the House of Prayer

The Deception of the International House of Prayer (additional resources listed under the video)

IHOP is Dangerous! Stephanie’s Testimony

SHOCKING DOCUMENTARY- False spirits invade the church – KUNDALINI WARNING Parts 1-3

What Is The New Apostolic Reformation?

New Apostolic Reformation

Thanks to My Word Like Fire, Berean Research, Christian Research Network, and Psalm 21 Outreach for breaking this story.