Top 10

Top 10 Articles of 2019

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

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

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


 10 Biblically Sound Blogs and Podcasts by Christian Women

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


Christine Caine: Have No Regard for the Offerings of Caine

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


 A Few Good Men: 10 Doctrinally Sound Male Teachers

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


An Open Letter to Beth Moore – Timeline of Events

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


Living Proof You Should Follow Beth (No) Moore

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


Guest Post: Why I Left Elevation Church

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


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

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


 An Open Letter to Beth Moore

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


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

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


What was YOUR favorite article of 2019?

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.
False Doctrine, False Teachers

Throwback Thursday ~ Audacious

Originally published September 12, 201712973105_1070863252960443_6289054134204793871_o

au·da·cious
ôˈdāSHəs
adjective
1. showing a willingness to take surprisingly bold risks.
2. showing an impudent lack of respect.

Audacious. It’s a hot new buzzword that false teachers like Steven Furtick and Beth Moore like to throw around, and “average Jane” Christians are starting to pick up.

“Pray audacious prayers!”
“Live an audacious life!”

Sounds great, right? Rah! Rah! Let’s get out there and be audacious for Jesus!

The only problem with that is… well…the Bible. The Bible doesn’t tell us to live or pray audaciously in either sense of the word. In fact, I checked seven or eight of the most reliable English translations, and the word “audacious” isn’t even in the Bible. (Even The Message doesn’t have it!)

The Bible says nothing about being willing to “take surprisingly bold risks.” Quite the opposite, in fact.

But we urge you, brothers, to [love one another] more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.
1 Thessalonians 4:10b-12

Love one another, live quietly, mind your business, go to work, walk in a godly way before a watching world, and be self-supporting. How bold, risky, or audacious does that sound?

Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.
Titus 2:2-10

Self-control, dignity, reverence, submission, good works. Nope, nothing about risk-taking there either.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

Hmmm….still nothing about being audacious….

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Matthew 6:9-13

Honoring God, asking Him to help us obey, to provide basic food, to forgive us. This is how Jesus Himself taught us to pray, and there’s not a hint of risk or audaciousness to be found.

The Bible doesn’t teach us to be audacious. That’s false doctrine dreamed up in the minds of false teachers. The Bible teaches us to live in humility, patience, kindness, love, and obedience to God’s word.

False Doctrine, False Teachers

Audacious

12973105_1070863252960443_6289054134204793871_o

au·da·cious
ôˈdāSHəs
adjective
1. showing a willingness to take surprisingly bold risks.
2. showing an impudent lack of respect.

Audacious. It’s a hot new buzzword that false teachers like Steven Furtick and Beth Moore like to throw around, and “average Jane” Christians are starting to pick up.

“Pray audacious prayers!”
“Live an audacious life!”

Sounds great, right? Rah! Rah! Let’s get out there and be audacious for Jesus!

The only problem with that is… well…the Bible. The Bible doesn’t tell us to live or pray audaciously in either sense of the word. In fact, I checked seven or eight of the most reliable English translations, and the word “audacious” isn’t even in the Bible. (Even The Message doesn’t have it!)

The Bible says nothing about being willing to “take surprisingly bold risks.” Quite the opposite, in fact.

But we urge you, brothers, to [love one another] more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.
1 Thessalonians 4:10b-12

Love one another, live quietly, mind your business, go to work, walk in a godly way before a watching world, and be self-supporting. How bold, risky, or audacious does that sound?

Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.
Titus 2:2-10

Self-control, dignity, reverence, submission, good works. Nope, nothing about risk-taking there either.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

Hmmm….still nothing about being audacious….

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Matthew 6:9-13

Honoring God, asking Him to help us obey, to provide basic food, to forgive us. This is how Jesus Himself taught us to pray, and there’s not a hint of risk or audaciousness to be found.

The Bible doesn’t teach us to be audacious. That’s false doctrine dreamed up in the minds of false teachers. The Bible teaches us to live in humility, patience, kindness, love, and obedience to God’s word.

Discernment, False Teachers

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

If you are considering commenting or sending me an e-mail objecting to the fact that I warn against false 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.

leaving lysa

According to her web site, “Lysa TerKeurst is president of Proverbs 31 Ministries and the New York Times best-selling author of The Best Yes, Unglued, Made to Crave, and 16 other books.” She also blogs prolifically and speaks at numerous Christian women’s conferences.

Lysa is charming, friendly, and down to earth- the type of person I would probably want to be friends with if I knew her personally. We have several things in common: a big family (she has 5 kids, I have 6), women’s ministry, we’re even just a couple of months apart in age (which shocked me, since she looks so much younger!).

I first became familiar with Lysa a year or so ago when her name, articles, and memes of her quotes (and those of Proverbs 31 Ministries) began appearing in my news feed on Facebook. What I was seeing sounded good, and I hoped against hope that she was a doctrinally sound teacher of God’s word that I could recommend to my friends and readers. In fact, I resisted vetting her for a while because I was afraid of being disappointed by another popular Christian women’s author and teacher who seemed biblical on the surface but turned out not to be.

Sadly (and I genuinely mean that- I was sad), that is exactly what I found when I began to research Lysa TerKeurst at the request of several of my friends and readers. It’s my prayer that Lysa will repent of the areas in which she is acting against Scripture, learn biblical hermeneutics so she can rightly handle God’s word, and have a tremendous – doctrinally sound – impact on the thousands of women who love her so much. I would love nothing more than to give her a virtual “high five” and highly recommend her to others if she would do so.

Until such time, I regret that I must recommend that women not follow Lysa TerKeurst or Proverbs 31 Ministries (including the other women who write for and are leaders in this ministry) for the following reasons:

Preaching to men

Lysa unrepentantly preaches to and instructs men at church worship services (see below under “Unbiblical Training” for more links) and co-ed Christian conferences such as The Most Excellent Way to Lead and Catalyst in violation of 1 Timothy 2:12-14 (as well as the many other passages of Scripture that do not allow this). Without exception, every female Bible teacher I know of who unrepentantly instructs men also teaches other doctrinal error (usually Word of Faith or seeker driven false doctrine).

If a woman is supposedly knowledgeable enough about the Bible to be in the position of teaching and authoring, yet doesn’t understand or obey such a basic biblical truth, what does that say about the rest of her knowledge of the Bible? How can you trust that anything else she teaches you about the Bible is accurate and true?

In the past year or two (post-2015, when I originally wrote this article) it seems as though Lysa has at least decreased the number events she speaks at which are open to men. All of the events on her website (I can’t vouch for any which may not be listed on her website) for the latter half of 2018 seem to to be women’s events. If Lysa has intentionally made the decision to speak at fewer (or no) co-ed events, this is indeed a positive sign. I cannot, however, find any evidence that she has publicly announced this decision or repented for previously disobeying Scripture by preaching to men. Public sin requires public repentance.

Unbiblical Training

Lysa is a member of Steven Furtick’s Elevation Church (where she has preached the Sunday worship service – at her own church and others, including Perry Noble’s NewSpring Church – on several occasions), and has written articles and made videos supporting his false and eisegetical teaching.

If you are not familiar with either of these men, you should know that they both egregiously and narcissistically mishandle God’s word (click links above). Both of them support and agree with prosperity preachers such as T.D. Jakes (also a modalist), Joyce Meyer, Christine Caine, etc., and many of these have preached at their churches. Perry Noble is perhaps most famous for having AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” played during his Easter Sunday service a few years ago. He has been publicly rebuked by the president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention for unbiblical teaching. And, in 2016, was removed from the pastorate for alcoholism and his “posture toward marriage” (he and his wife have since divorced).

This is the type of false teaching Lysa supports and is being fed each time she attends her home church. The old adage, “You are what you eat,” is true in both the physical and the spiritual realm.

Partnering with false teachers

Lysa partners with false teachers in violation of Scripture.

•Lysa calls Christine Caine a “dear friend” and has partnered with her at conferences such as LifeWay Women Live. Christine Caine is a proponent of the false Word of Faith (prosperity gospel) doctrine, as a leader at Word of Faith “church,” Hillsong. Because this is “another gospel,” (Galatians 1:6-9), partnering with Caine is a violation of 2 Corinthians 6:14-18

Here, Lysa appears on the Jesus Calling podcast.

•Lysa has shared the stage at conferences with Beth Moore. Beth has written for Lysa’s blog and has recommended Lysa at her own blog.

•Lysa will partner with Lisa Harper for several upcoming conferences including LifeWay’s The Word Alive Israel TourLifeWay Women Live, and Women of Joy.

•Lysa spoke at the 2017 IF:Gathering conference.

•Lysa appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Network (and features this fact on her website).

•Lysa partnered with Ann Voskamp and Bianca Olthoff at the 2017 Thrive Conference.

Teaching false doctrine

As many other popular Christian teachers do these days, Lysa promotes the unbiblical practice of “listening prayer,” which is a form of contemplative prayer. Not only is this practice itself not mentioned or taught anywhere in Scripture, the mere suggestion that we need to be hearing – audibly or inaudibly – the voice of God during prayer flies in the face of clear biblical pronouncements that God’s word, and God’s word alone, is all we need and all we are to look to for the doctrine and practice of the Christian faith.

Lysa proves this out in her PDF entitled “How to Hear God’s Voice,” a piece pointing women toward her book, What Happens When Women Say Yes To God.

In the PDF, Lysa’s opening sentences say:

“Every day, God speaks to us. Sometimes He invites us to draw close and listen as He reveals Himself, His character, and His direction. Other times He calls us to participate in His purposes. Still other times He simply whispers to remind us of His amazing love for us.”

Where, chapter and verse, in context, does Scripture say this? Where does Scripture say we need to be hearing from God as the PDF goes on to talk about? It doesn’t.

Lysa goes on to say:

“God will never speak to us or tell us to do something that is contrary to His Word. But unless we know Scripture, we will not be able to discern whether what we are hearing is consistent or not with the Word.”

My question to Lysa would be, “Did God speak to you and tell you to preach to men, partner with false teachers, and promote false doctrine?” Because all of these things are “contrary to His word.” Either Lysa doesn’t know Scripture well enough to know that these things are not consistent with the Word, or she is not discerning enough while she is “listening to God’s voice” to know that these things are not consistent with the Word, neither of which speak in favor of heeding her teaching about listening prayer.

Furthermore, extra-biblical revelation is unnecessary. We already have God’s sure and certain Word in the Bible. We don’t need God to “speak” to us. He has already spoken – and had men write down – everything we need for living out the Christian life. All we have to do is study it. So, if God “speaks” something to us and it matches what the Bible says, we didn’t really need God to “speak” it. It was already in the Bible in the first place. And if God “speaks” something to us and it doesn’t match up with the Bible, we know it wasn’t God. Either way, we don’t need to be hearing voices. We only need to study God’s Word.

So we can see that “listening prayer” is both unbiblical, and – from Lysa’s own words and according to her own parameters – doesn’t even work for the person who is teaching it. When the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, he gave them a very simple model. No guess work or instructions to listen to God’s voice. We would do well to follow His teaching.

Twisted Scripture

From the doctrinally sound reviews of her books, it seems Lysa’s main method of teaching is eisegesis. Her books contain a plethora of stories and personal experiences, which she uses to formulate her own spiritual principles, and then adds in portions of Scripture (often out of context) to support her ideas.

Another improper teaching method Lysa uses is to imagine how a character in the biblical text might have felt, or what might have been going on behind the scenes in a Bible story, present these imaginings as fact, and build doctrine off of them instead of just sticking to what the text actually says.

The proper method of teaching Scripture is exegesis. Exegesis is taking a passage of Scripture in context, and “leading out” of it- teaching what the passage says and means.

Lysa also tends to use inaccurate and unreliable paraphrases of Scripture in her books, such as The Message and The Voice. When we study God’s Word, we need to study God’s Word, not what somebody else thinks God’s Word says.

Here are several fair and doctrinally sound reviews of some of Lysa’s books. Most of them contain excerpts and quotes from the books demonstrating Lysa’s mishandling of Scripture and other theological issues.

Review of The Best Yes by Aimee Byrd

The Best Yes? at Housewife Theologian

Unglued at The Gospel Coalition

Review of Unglued at Wise in His Eyes

Book Review: Uninvited at A Beautiful Inheritance

A Review of Lysa TerKeurst’s Book: Uninvited by Lois Putnam

What Happens When Women Walk In Faith by Nana Dolce

 

Lysa does not strike me as someone who is consciously and intentionally trying to maliciously deceive women and lead them astray, but rather as a (sadly) typical evangelical woman – undiscerning, centered on feelings and personal experiences rather than fidelity to Scripture, and a woman who has – like countless others – received poor instruction in her church and has no idea how to rightly handle God’s Word. Unfortunately, Lysa has not heeded God’s warning in James 3:1 that she will be held to a higher standard than those other women because she has chosen to teach when she is not qualified to do so.

For the reasons outlined in this article, I regret I must recommend that women not follow, support, or receive teaching from Lysa TerKeurst or Proverbs 31 Ministries (including any writers or speakers affiliated with Proverbs 31 Ministries).


Addendum

Before I address these two issues, I want to make crystal clear that they have nothing to do with why you should not receive teaching from Lysa or Proverbs 31 Ministries. Nothing. Furthermore, I am not, in any way saying that these things are her fault or any sort of punishment from God for any of her past behavior or teaching. Conversely, though these have have been terrible and painful situations in Lysa’s life that we can only sympathize with, they do not excuse her unbiblical teaching or other wrong behavior. But, as God is rich in grace and mercy, it is my prayer that He is using these circumstances in her life to do His good work in her heart.

The only reason I address these issues here is because they are major events in Lysa’s life, and to leave them out would give the impression I was not aware of them. Additionally, I would invite you to take a moment to pray that God would comfort and heal Lysa and her family. And, finally – if you read the subsequent information and feel any sense of glee over Lysa’s hardships, I rebuke you in the strongest of terms. You are in sin and you need to repent. Christians do not celebrate the pain of others, we pray and demonstrate compassion.

Lysa’s marriage:

In June 2017, Lysa announced that she was pursuing a divorce from her husband of 25 years due to his multiple and persistent infidelities and substance abuse.

While some criticized Lysa for giving specific details of her husband’s failures in her announcement, I believe she did the right thing in order to demonstrate that she was pursuing the divorce for biblical reasons (ongoing unrepentant adultery) – not only to protect her own reputation, but to make sure her followers understood that divorce is not something that should be pursued lightly or for unbiblical reasons.

My only concern with her announcement are her statements: “God has now revealed to me that I have done all I can…” and “…I have decided that Art has abandoned our marriage.” Though she may not mean anything unbiblical by these statements, I’m concerned that, coupled with her feelings/personal experience-based approach to teaching Scripture and her promotion of extra-biblical revelation, a follower could easily be led to say, “I’ve decided that my husband has abandoned our marriage and God has revealed to me that I’ve done all I can,” even if that reader does not have biblical grounds for divorce. (Again, this is why Lysa’s teaching of extra-biblical revelation is problematic and dangerous.)

On June 17, 2018, Lysa posted a positive-sounding, yet somewhat indefinite message to her Facebook followers:

Although Lysa doesn’t seem to have elaborated on her family situation beyond this one comment, there has been speculation that she and her husband have reunited. Certainly, this would be wonderful news.

In December 2018, Lysa announced that she and her husband had reunited with a renewal of their wedding vows. I rejoice to know that God has blessed her and her family with this reconciliation.

Lysa’s health:

In October 2017, Lysa publicly announced that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer and would be pursuing treatment. In November 2017, Lysa underwent a successful double mastectomy. Her doctors subsequently declared her to be cancer free. It is good and right to rejoice in her healing and to hope she remains in remission.


Additional Resources:

Disclaimer: The specific links below are provided and endorsed as evidence pertaining to this article only. I do not endorse any of these sites in so far as any of them might deviate from Scripture or conflict with my beliefs as outlined in the “Welcome” or “Statement of Faith” tabs at the top of this page.

Steven Furtick, Lysa TerKeurst, and Code Orange by The Wartburg Watch

Lysa TerKeurst, Proverbs 31 Ministries, and Two-Way Conversations with God by Jono Martin

Need help exchanging “whispers with God”? at Berean Research

Lysa TerKeurst Is Coming to Athens at The End Time

Lysa TerKeurst- Some Helpful Articles at Truth in Word Publishing

One more reason to avoid Lysa TerKeurst of Elevation Church at The End Time

Listening to God by Lysa TerKeurst

A Few Questions for Lysa Terkeurst at Where Ordinary Life Meets Divine Truth