Discernment

Jackie Hill-Perry

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.


Jackie Hill Perry
Not Recommended,
but I am not applying the
label of “false teacher” at this time.*

Jackie Hill-Perry is a writer, speaker, and artist…[she shares] the light of gospel truth through teaching, writing, poetry, and music as authentically as she can.” Jackie is a Christian hip hop and spoken word artist who has released two albums, and two books. She first began to gain a following with her debut book, Gay Girl, Good God, her personal testimony of God saving her out of a life of rebellion and homosexuality.

Jackie’s initial foray into public ministry had her associating with well known Reformed (or, Reformed-ish) organizations with a reputation for doctrinal soundness such as Desiring God and The Gospel Coalition. She was even featured in the film American Gospel: Christ Alone, a documentary which presented the biblical gospel juxtaposed against the prosperity gospel. And, indeed, she still maintains many of these types of ties. For example, she is a featured speaker at the upcoming 2020 TGC Women’s Conference, and she recently announced that she will be pursuing her Master’s of Divinity degree at RTS (Reformed Theological Seminary).

Over the past several years, Jackie has publicly associated herself and/or yoked in ministry with a plethora of false teachers. I believe part of this stems from the fact that Jackie, like Jen Wikin, has has been added to LifeWay Women’s stable of women’s “Bible” study authors which, through LifeWay ministry events, has affiliated her with a number of false and problematic teachers. 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 Jackie (for her reputation for being doctrinally sound) to lend credibility to the false teachers they promote, and I’m also concerned that Jackie’s previously doctrinally sound reputation is now suffering by being associated with these false teachers.

Since 2017, Jackie has partnered in ministry with Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, Christine Caine, Lysa TerKeurst, Lisa Harper, Lauren Chandler, and Amanda Bible Williams at various LifeWay Abundance and LifeWay Women Live conferences.

 

Jackie has partnered with Jennie Allen and Jamie Ivey in an IF: Equip (an arm of IF:Gathering) study, The Good Gospel.

 

In 2019, Jackie appeared at Rebekah and Gabe Lyons’ Q-ideas Conference(see also):

 

Jackie has been partnering with Christine Cane for a few years now in her Propel Women’s Activate conferences. Activate 2018 had her sharing a stage with Lisa Harper, Lisa Beverefemale “pastor” Dianna Nepstad, and Jenn Johnson of Bethel Music. Activate 2019, partnered Jackie in ministry with Lisa Harper (again), Sarah Jakes Roberts (daughter of modalist and prosperity heretic, T.D. Jakes, and co-“pastor” of two of his “churches”), female “pastors” Nona Jones and Oneka McClellan, and, once again, Jenn Johnson of Bethel Music.

In August 2019, largely due to the fact that Jackie posted this picture calling Bethel’s Jenn Johnson her “friend”

…many of Jackie’s followers were awakened, for the first time, to the fact that she has been sinfully yoking in ministry with false teachers for some time. She was rebuked by many of her followers and was even disinvited from speaking at Answers in Genesis‘ 2020 women’s conference (at which she had previously been invited to speak) when this news came to their attention. Unfortunately, instead of heeding these biblical warnings and rebukes, Jackie dug her heels in and defended both her actions and the false teachers in this Instagram post

…and in this Twitter post

…disdainfully characterizing those who were biblically right to call her to account as judgmental, arrogant, slanderous, loveless, critical, etc.

You might notice that while Jackie does cite a few Scriptures in these posts, she provides none which support her yoking with false teachers (because there aren’t any). She defends her actions and perspective only with her personal opinions and experiences (note how many times she says “I think,” “to me,” etc.). “…How are we deciding where the lines are drawn?” Jackie asks. The answer should be clear to any Christian and was certainly clear to those rebuking her: the Bible. God decides where the lines are drawn between doctrinally sound and false teacher, not Jackie or anyone else, and He makes that very clear in His written Word.

Jackie repeatedly says that she believes people like Jenn Johnson are just misguided and in need of correction, which would require us to ask, “Jackie, did you correct Jenn and the others you’ve been associating with who hold to unbiblical doctrine? If they did not repent and correct their doctrine (as appears to be the case) do you now consider them false teachers? And if you now consider them false teachers, why are you still partnering with them in ministry?”.

My friend Constance over at the Truth+Fire blog wrote a thoughtful, compassionate, and Scripture-filled article responding to this incident entitled Bye…Jackie?, which I would encourage you to read, as well as Elizabeth Prata’s excellent article (in the “Additional Resources” section below).

In addition to multiple partnerships with false teachers, Jackie, unfortunately, also preaches to men. Just a few of the copious examples:

Preaching the Sunday morning sermon (June 2019) at Progressive Baptist Church:

Preaching at the (co-ed) 2017 Urban Youth Workers Institute National Conference:

Preaching at the (co-ed) Jubilee 2020 conference:

Preaching at the (co-ed) 2019 Legacy ATL conference:

 

In addition to the concerns about Jackie yoking with false teachers and preaching to men (either of which, as I stated in the preface to this article are sufficient biblical reason to avoid a particular teacher), are some of Jackie’s remarks and associations that many perceive as her leaning toward or actually identifying with the social justice/critical race theory/intersectionality movement. While this is concerning if true, it is beyond the scope of this article and is something you will need to research for yourself if this is an aspect of her beliefs that concerns you.

*Despite the overwhelming number of examples of Jackie yoking with false teachers, preaching to men, and refusing correction, in my spirit, I do not feel comfortable applying the label of false teacher to her at this time, and I hope this label will never be necessary. There are two reasons for my reticence.

First, Jackie is young – only about 30 years old and 11 years saved as I write this. She is in desperate need of a godly, spiritually mature, discerning older woman to come alongside her, disciple her, and give her wise counsel as she grows up in Christ. Pretty much the same thing we all need at that stage of life and spiritual development. It is my hope that she will receive this kind of discipleship and that she will respond to it by repenting of the sins she is currently committing and begin walking in obedience to Christ and His Word in these areas. Let us hope she “is open to discussion” and “has ears to hear” about her errors instead of being “one who is uncorrectable and who resists correction,” and, as she requested, let us pray that where she is right now is not “where she ends up”.

Second, though I have not had the opportunity to peruse many of Jackie’s materials, it is my understanding that her teaching, while in need of improvement, is generally doctrinally sound, and that she neither blatantly twists Scripture nor teaches any overt false doctrine.

All of that being said, due to her numerous violations of God’s Word, and while we wait and prayerfully watch to see if she corrects these issues biblically, I am going to recommend for now that you not follow Jackie Hill-Perry or use her materials.


Additional Resources:

Jackie Hill Perry: Discernment Review by Elizabeth Prata

A Review of Jackie Hill-Perry’s “Jude: Contending for the Faith in Today’s Culture” by Thomas Coutouzis

Discernment

Jen Wilkin

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

Speaking Engagements

Report Back: Reliance on God and His Word Women’s Conference

It was such a blessing to speak last weekend at Princeton Bible Church’s Reliance on God and His Word women’s conference. I was tremendously encouraged, and I hope you will be too as I share a bit about the conference with you.

PBC is beautiful and homey

Thursday evening was a delicious potluck dinner with the ladies of PBC. I’ve learned two things from traveling around to different churches: 1) church ladies are the same everywhere you go (And why wouldn’t we be? We’re all sisters in the same family!) so I always feel at home, and 2) church ladies know how to cook! A wonderful time of good food and sweet fellowship was had by all (which is why I forgot to take a picture – I was too busy enjoying myself!).

Amy Spreeman and me

On Friday, at long last, I got to meet my dear friend, Amy Spreeman, for the first time face to face. What a gift this woman is to the body of Christ! Intelligent and well-studied, wrapped in the grace, humility, and compassion becoming of a woman of God, Amy is a joy and a delight. It has been my pleasure to recommend Amy and her uber-helpful materials at Berean Research and Berean Examiner many times here at the blog. I was honored to share the stage with her at the conference.

Getting ready for the first session

Friday night was the opening conference session. My talk centered around the theme of the conference, Reliance on God and His Word, and dealt with the authority and sufficiency of Scripture, and the necessity of God’s Word in our daily lives.

Saturday’s festivities kicked off with an ample breakfast in the gym for all. Sustenance is necessary for a full day of Bible teaching!

Amy’s main sessions and breakout session centered around discernment, false gospels, and the New Apostolic Reformation. I found the sessions helpful and informative, and I’m sure all the other ladies did, as well.

My main session explored applying the sufficiency and authority of God’s word to our every day lives in the areas of obedience and godly decision-making. In my breakout session we discussed the application of Scripture when dealing with situations of sin and suffering.

The ladies were also treated to sessions from one of the lovely ladies of PBC, Deb Bullington, as well as a missionary who spoke about her experiences.

You can listen to the audio from the conference at PBC’s website.

First Thessalonians 5:18 was a verse I used in one of my sessions, so I was delighted to see this hanging just outside the sanctuary.

A long day of teaching, fellowshipping, and answering questions builds up quite an appetite, so after parting from these wonderful women of God, PBC’s Pam, Erika, and Erika’s husband, Mike, whisked me off to The Prime Quarter Steak House where I continued my travel tradition of eschewing souvenirs in favor of eating the food most iconic to the locale – in this case, hearty Midwestern beef.

The Prime Quarter offers the option of grilling your own steak!
I decided I had had enough excitement for one day and left it to the professionals.

I loved seeing the picturesque farmland of Illinois.
This beauty is right across the street from the church.

PBC’s women’s committee kindly made sure I got some souvenirs anyway: regionally harvested honey, locally made chocolates, a magnet of Princeton, and a journal (which just happens to have my favorite flower {pink roses} and a verse from my favorite Psalm {37} on the front).

After a lovely Sunday morning service worshiping with my brothers and sisters at PBC, it was time to say goodbye. Many thanks to Pam, Erika, Mike, Justin, Curtis, Jessica, and all the hard-working men and women of Princeton Bible Church for your sweet hospitality and for putting on such a wonderful conference. I highly recommend this warm and welcoming church to anyone in the Princeton area who is looking for a doctrinally sound body of Believers to join.

If your church is ever in need of a speaker for a women’s event, I’d love to come share with your ladies as well. Click here for more information.


Photo Credits:

1- Photos courtesy of Princeton Bible Church
2- Photo courtesy of Amy Spreeman
3- Photos courtesy of The Prime Quarter Steakhouse (Facebook)
(All other photos by Michelle Lesley)

Speaking Engagements

Report Back: Memphis

A couple of weekends ago I had the blessing of speaking at Providence Baptist Church’s spring women’s conference. It was such an encouraging experience I wanted to share a little about it with you.

Pastor Kelly & Gayle Smith, Scott & Michelle Lesley

What a joy it was to finally meet my Twitter friend Gayle, who heads up the women’s ministry at Providence, and her husband, Pastor Kelly. PBC generously and graciously hosted not only me, but also my husband and two of our sons, for the weekend. After we arrived in Memphis Friday afternoon and got settled in to our lovely hotel rooms – hospitably stocked by Gayle with every snack two teenage boys (and their parents!) could dream of, as well as some charming locally made gifts – Gayle and Kelly took us out for – what else? – barbecue!

Corky’s BBQ not only had this amazing sweet and spicy barbecue sauce, they had a phenomenal Memphis specialty, the Sweet Tea Fried Chicken Sandwich. They marinate the chicken filet in sweet tea overnight before frying it. There are not words, y’all. You’ll just have to find a Corky’s and order this delicacy for yourself.

On Saturday, the gents set off to see the sights of Memphis, including the iconic Memphis Pyramid, which now houses a spacious Bass Pro Shop (yeah, you might have to be Southern to grasp the attraction)…

…while I was treated to the sights of a beautifully bedecked PBC, all set to welcome the ladies coming to the conference.


(Trust me, if you want to be sure
the women of your church see something,
put a flier in the ladies room!) 

One of the primary issues Christian women need instruction on today is the centrality of the Bible in our lives and our churches, so that was the core message of the two sessions I taught. In the morning session, The Necessity of the Bible, we focused on the fact that Scripture is the very words from the lips of God Himself, our desperate need for the Bible, and practical ways to import more of God’s Word into our daily lives.

After a delicious luncheon and warm fellowship, we gathered again for Recapturing Sola Scriptura: The Sufficiency and Authority of Scripture. In this session, we zeroed in on the folly of extrabiblical revelation, the supremacy of God’s Word, and the need for our lives and our churches to be ruled by rightly handled Scripture.

You can read some of what I spoke about in my Basic Training series articles:

The Bible is Necessary
The Bible is Sufficient
The Bible is Our Authority

I couldn’t have asked for a kinder reception
or a sweeter group of ladies!

There was just enough time for a brief rest, and then it was off to another Memphis favorite, Gus’ World Famous Fried Chicken, for supper. These folks know how to do chicken spicy, just like I like it!

Sunday morning was a warm time of worship and fellowship with the saints at PBC under the excellent preaching of Pastor Kelly. What a kind and welcoming church body this is! If you’re looking for a friendly, doctrinally sound church in the Memphis area, I couldn’t recommend one more highly than Providence Baptist of Bartlett.

If your church is ever in need of a speaker for a women’s event, I’d love to come share with your ladies as well. Click here for more information.


Photo Credits:

1- Photos courtesy of Gayle Smith, Providence Baptist Church
2- Photo courtesy of Corky’s Memphis (Facebook)
(All other photos by Michelle Lesley)

Speaking Engagements

Report Back: New Jersey

Last weekend I had a wonderful time speaking at Corbin City Baptist Church’s women’s conference and fellowshipping with some sweet, godly sisters (and their equally awesome pastor!). I wanted to share a bit about it with y’all, my co-laborers in Christ.

After Randy (CCBC’s pastor), Cathy (his wife), and Linda (who graciously opened her home to me for the weekend) picked me up from the Philadelphia airport, we went to Adelphia Restaurant for supper- a must visit if you’re ever in the area. Great food and a fun atmosphere.

A good night’s sleep was had by all, and the next morning it was conference time! I taught two sessions: Foundations of Discernment: The Centrality of Christ, His Word, and His Bride and Discernment 101, followed later by a Q&A session, which I thoroughly enjoyed. (Normally, I would re-post the conference sessions here on the blog in article form, but both were largely drawn from my Basic Training articles, Is She a False Teacher?, Clinging to the Golden Calf, Popular False Teachers, and other discernment articles.)

Several of the ladies drove quite a way to attend the conference, as doctrinally sound churches are few and far between in the Northeast. There was a broad range of spiritual maturity and experience represented, but these ladies were sharp, attentive, receptive, and asked great questions. I sensed a real hunger among them for sound doctrine and the unadulterated truth of God’s word. What an encouragement it was to be with them!

The lovely ladies of CCBC

And, speaking of hunger, CCBC’s ladies put on a lovely brunch with a seaside theme between the two sessions. They also presented me with a humongous tote bag full of goodies and New Jersey souvenirs. These ladies treated me like a queen and epitomized biblical hospitality and kindness. It was extremely humbling and I was deeply honored.

After the conference, Cathy, Linda, and another CCBC sister, Theresa, whisked me off to the Ocean City boardwalk, which would have been worth the trip solely for the mouth-watering aromas wafting from dozens of food stands. Oh. my. good. ness. I’d like to stay for about a week and eat my way from one end to the other! We stopped at Shriver’s, a huge candy shop famous for its fudge and salt water taffy, where we got to watch part of the process of taffy-making.

I was so sorry I hadn’t been able to bring my husband and children with me. They would have loved the arcades, mini golf, ferris wheel, water slides, shops, and, of course, the beach. It was unbelievably kind of Cathy to buy some world famous Johnson’s Popcorn to send back to my kiddos.

              Wonderland Arcade                    Johnson’s Popcorn

Those dots in the sky are people parasailing

It was fun to walk back across the intracoastal waterway bridge to the car, and the breeze coming off the ocean was cool and energizing. It was the perfect appetite-builder for an awesome dinner of fish and chips (I love that they put Old Bay spice on the “chips”!) before heading back to the house, and a much needed soak in Linda’s relaxing hot tub.

Sunday, it was such a joy to worship with the CCBC family and sit under Randy’s excellent expository preaching. After hugs goodbye, it was time to head back to the airport. I had a wonderful time chatting about ministry with Cathy and Randy on the way. When we stopped for lunch, I had the opportunity to try one more specialty food of the area: scrapple. Not too bad, but I think I’ll stick with the taffy and fish ‘n’ chips!

It was a wonderful trip filled with such sweet people. Would you take just a moment right now to pray for Pastor Randy and our brothers and sisters at CCBC? And, if you live in, or travel to, the Corbin City area, I highly recommend visiting Corbin City Baptist Church.

There’s a historic bell up in that tower
that they still ring every Sunday!

If your church is ever in need of a speaker for a women’s event, I’d love to come share with your ladies as well. Click here for more information.


Photo Credits:

1- Photo courtesy of Adelphia Restaurant, Deptford, New Jersey
2- Photos courtesy of Leslie Kohler, Corbin City Baptist Church
(All other photos by Michelle Lesley)