Discernment

Kelly Minter

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.


Kelly Minter
Not Recommended

The “about” page of Kelly Minter’s web site used to describe false teacher, Beth Moore, as “one of [Kelly’s] favorite bible [sic] study teachers.” Kelly also said, “Beth’s teachings were much of what God used in my earlier life to teach and transform me…”.  (This information has been removed from Kelly’s website since the original publication of my article on her in 2016.)

And, indeed the most glaring theological problem with Kelly is that she considers Beth Moore to be “one of my spiritual mothers.”

The “particularly unkind week on Twitter” Kelly is referring to is doctrinally sound Christians biblically rebuking Beth Moore for coyly announcing that she would be preaching the Sunday morning sermon at her home church on Mother’s Day 2019. Where Beth Moore…

  • preaches to men in violation of Scripture
  • consistently allegorizes, mishandles, and takes Scripture out of context
  • partners with demonstrably false teachers and heretics
  • is on a trajectory toward affirming homosexuality
  • not only refuses biblical correction in all these areas but publicly taunts, insults, and name-calls those who rebuke her…

…Kelly thinks Beth has taught her “the whole counsel of God,” “brings glory to Jesus,” and is worthy of being her “spiritual mother.” If Kelly thinks these things, she is at the very least so undiscerning, or so unknowledgeable of the many Scriptures that condemn these things, or she knows that Scripture condemns these things but disregards Scripture in favor of her love for Beth, that she should not be teaching anyone, but should be sitting in a good local church under the teaching of a solid pastor so she can learn Scripture and sound doctrine.

More of Kelly honoring Beth:

If Kelly has such a fundamental misunderstanding of biblical obedience that she thinks Beth Moore – who defies Scripture in a myriad of ways – has taught her (“and countless others”) to obey Jesus, do you think she is qualified to teach the Bible to you or the women of your church, either in person or through the use of her materials?

Beth Moore is also fond of Kelly, (“I LOVE HER, I LOVE HER, I LOVE HER, I LOVE HER!!”) and has featured three of Kelly’s Bible studies during her summer Bible study series on her LPM blog: No Other Gods, Ruth and Nehemiah.

Since Beth Moore preaches to men, it is not surprising that we would find Kelly has preached to men as well. While it is commendable that Kelly doesn’t seem to preach to men often, and the FAQ page for her “Cultivate” conferences specifically says that these conferences are for women, it is troubling that she has preached in a Sunday worship service as recently as 2019 and that the woman she considers her mentor has no qualms about preaching to men.

Kelly seems to have unbiblical ideas about how people should study the Bible. In this video she recommends that people who want to understand the Bible need to get a study (in addition to her own, she recommends Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer) and “if you feel comfortable” get involved in a church to study “in community”. The biblical model for being taught Scripture is to join a church – this is not optional – and be taught the Word by the pastor, elders, and teachers. Doctrinally sound studies can sometimes be helpful, but they are supplementary to church instruction, not the primary source of instruction.

Kelly maintains friendly relationships and/or ministry partnerships with a plethora of false and problematic teachers. Here, Kelly recommends not only Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer, but also Jen Hatmaker, Jennie Allen, Jennifer Rothschild, Lisa Harper, and Margaret Feinberg. Kelly has guest blogged for Priscilla Shirer, and is an admirer of Christine Caine. Kelly has been featured on Angie Smith’s blog, is a fan of Catholic mystic, Henri Nouwen, and was included in The Faithful, a book of collected Bible studies by Kelly, Priscilla Shirer, Beth Moore, Jennifer Rothschild, and Lisa Harper. Kelly will be partnering with Lysa TerKeurst at a conference in October 2019, with Christine Caine at a LifeWay women’s leadership forum in November 2019, and with Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, Jackie Hill Perry, and Jennifer Rothschild at LifeWay Women Live in 2020 (Kelly also appeared at the 2019 LifeWay Women Live with Christine Caine, Lysa TerKeurst, Lisa Harper.) Kelly has partnered with these and other false/problematic teachers at various other events, but I don’t wish to belabor the point. Kelly has little discernment and is disobeying Scripture’s admonition not to partner with false teachers.

When a women’s Bible study teacher is willing to preach to men and shows such a dearth of discernment, she is not someone you or the women of your church should follow or receive teaching from.

Homosexuality

The Peterson Predicament and LifeWay’s Peculiar Policies

Last week, the news broke that Eugene Peterson, author of The Message, (a popular mutilation paraphrase of the Bible) has, for quite some time, held the position that there’s nothing wrong with homosexuality, that he was on staff at a church that considered hiring a homosexual minister of music, and that he would perform a homosexual wedding if asked. (It was quite the kerfuffle. Play by play at the end of this article if you’re interested.)

LifeWay quickly – and rightly – released a statement saying that if they could verify that these are, in fact, Peterson’s beliefs, they would pull “The Message” and all of his other materials from their stores.

The next day, Peterson publicly retracted his statement about being willing to perform a same sex wedding – saying he affirms the biblical view of marriage – and LifeWay said they’d keep his materials on the shelf.

I commend LifeWay for pulling authors who support homosexuality. That’s a good and right thing and I don’t want to minimize it. This is absolutely something they should do, and I’m glad this is their policy.

However, what about the fact that The Message is such a poor and misleading paraphrase that, as many have said, it should never have been on the shelves at LifeWay in the first place?

What about the fact that Eugene Peterson wrote a front cover endorsement for The Shack– a book that teaches the heresies of universalism, patripassianism, and blasphemies regarding the Trinity? Why was that sin not grievous enough, but his endorsement of homosexuality was?

When LifeWay only makes a splash in the media about removing books whose authors endorse homosexuality, they’re sending two very important messages:

1. Things like false doctrine, female authors/celebrities who defy Scripture by preaching to men, and teachers and authors who disobey God’s word by partnering with false teachers, don’t matter. All that matters is if you’re on the right side of homosexuality.

2. It sends the message to homosexuals and the rest of the world – not to mention members of our own SBC churches – that Southern Baptists think homosexuality is the worst sin out there and the only one we really care about people repenting from.

How hypocritical that LifeWay will turn a blind eye to Beth Moore’s sins of teaching false doctrine, preaching to men, and partnering with false teachers, and make her a wealthy celebrity, but will take a stand against other authors (whose materials don’t sell as well as Moore’s) for the sin of endorsing homosexuality.

Sin is sin in God’s eyes, but not in LifeWay’s, apparently.


Play by Play of the Peterson Predicament

Wednesday, July 12:
News breaks that Eugene Peterson has “changed his mind” regarding the biblical view of marriage.
LifeWay announces that if Peterson’s remarks can be confirmed, they will cease selling all of his materials including The Message.

Thursday, July 13:
Peterson retracts his original comments about same sex marriage and says he “affirms a biblical view of marriage.”
LifeWay announces that, due to the retraction, they will continue to carry Peterson’s materials.
♦ The reporter (Jonathan Merritt) who originally broke the Peterson story offers his take and behind the scenes insights on the retraction.
♦ In an additional article, Merritt offers evidence that Peterson made statements affirming homosexuality as recently as 2014.

Church

10 Things I Wish Southern Baptists Knew About Southern Baptists

This week, I’ll be sharing a few of my favorite
articles from recent years. Enjoy!

Originally published June 26, 2015sbc 10 things

Earlier this week, Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission published a nifty little article called “10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Southern Baptists“. Althought I disagree with Dr. Moore on a number of things, I thought the article was pretty good, overall.

But it got me thinking. Yes, there is a lot of ignorance about Southern Baptists out there among those who aren’t part of our denomination. However, there’s also a lot of ignorance inside the SBC about what’s really going on in our denomination, our doctrine, practices, leadership, and so on. These are ten SBC realities I wish the average Southern Baptist church member were more aware of.

1. LifeWay sells lies and heresy, and they don’t want you to know.
Now I’m not saying everything they sell is lies and heresy. I’ve bought lots of good doctrinally sound materials from them over the years. However, the fact remains that they continue to sell books and materials from false teachers like T.D. Jakes, Sarah Young, and Andy Stanley on their shelves. They will order books by false teachers like Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen for you if you just ask at the counter.¹ They continued to sell The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven (a book recounting Alex Malarkey’s supposed trip to Heaven after a car accident) for nearly a year even after Alex, his mother, Beth, and respected SBC pastor, speaker, and author Justin Peters repeatedly told LifeWay leadership that the story was a lie. Emails and phone calls about heretical materials at LifeWay are either ignored or the caller placated (I know this from first hand experience). Questions from the floor at the Southern Baptist Convention about LifeWay carrying false doctrine are quashed.

This entity of your denomination which purports to love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ is selling lies about Him to make a fast buck, and they need to stop.

2. There are plenty of apostate Southern Baptist churches, and we have no mechanism in place for kicking them out of the SBC.
This is a verbatim quote from the FAQ section (5th question from the top) of the SBC’s web site

“According to our constitution, if a church no longer makes a bona fide contribution to the Convention’s work, or if it acts to ‘affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior,’ it no longer complies with the Constitution of the Southern Baptist Convention and is not permitted to send messengers to the annual meeting. These, however, are the only explicitly stated instances in which the SBC has the prerogative to take action.”

What does that mean? As long as your church doesn’t affirm homosexuality and gives to the Cooperative Program, you’re in. Never mind if your pastor twists God’s word until it’s unrecognizable. Or lets women and false teachers get behind the pulpit like Steven Furtick does. Or plays AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” on Easter Sunday and says he probably wouldn’t have strippers on stage like Perry Noble does. Or any of the other ridiculous and blasphemous shenanigans so many of the seeker sensitive types in our denomination pull. Nope, as long as you give your money and stand on the right side of homosexuality, you’re good to go.

3. Beth Moore is a false teacher.
That’s right, the queen of SBC women’s Bible study, divangelista Beth Moore, does not rightly handle God’s word, partners with false teachers, and violates Scripture by preaching to men, among other things. And Priscilla Shirer is right there with her.

4. Having a small church isn’t a sin and it doesn’t necessarily mean your pastor (or your church) isn’t trying hard enough.
The average church size in America is 186 members, and 94% of church goers attend a church of 500 or fewer people, yet the constant drumbeat of SBC leadership is “bigger is better.” Countless articles harangue exhausted pastors about breaking the 200 or 250 or 300 member attendance “barrier.”

Listen, if your pastor is faithfully preaching and rightly handling God’s word and your church members are serving one another and carrying out the Great Commission in their daily lives, that’s what counts in God’s eyes, not how many butts are in a pew.

5. The Bible doesn’t require you to tithe, and neither should your church.
The tithe is part of the Old Testament law that Christians today are no longer bound by because we are under the covenant of grace, not the Mosaic covenant. Christians are to gladly give the amount we determine in our own hearts to give out of love for our Savior and a desire to serve Him- not under compulsion from someone else.

6. The “sinner’s prayer” won’t save you.
If you think you’re saved because you parroted a prayer someone led you in when you were five but your life shows no love of Christ and no evidence that you belong to Him, then your faith is in the prayer you prayed, not in Christ, and you are not saved. The evidence that you’re a Christian is that you love the Lord, and are growing in holiness, not that you once repeated a prayer (or that you were baptized, attend church regularly, are a “good person,” etc.) Examine yourself to see if you’re really in the faith.

7. Your church probably has a significant number of lost people in it.
Jesus Himself said, there are few who find eternal life and that there are many who call Him “Lord” whom He does not know and will turn away on the Day of Judgment. This is why it is absolutely imperative that pastors, Sunday School teachers, and all other church leaders know the gospel inside out and teach it incessantly, even to people who claim to know Christ.

8. Lots of Southern Baptist churches violate 1 Timothy 2:12ff.
We do fairly well at not permitting women to serve as pastors, but beyond that there are plenty of churches and pastors who sin by allowing women to serve in positions in the church that are restricted to men. Do women in your church teach co-ed Sunday School classes? Do they head up committees or ministries that put them in authority over men? Do they, as worship leaders or in some other capacity, stand before the congregation and instruct or exhort them? Then your church is in sin.

9. Politics won’t save America.
This country is imploding. You don’t have to be a prophet to see that. Voting according to biblical principles, running for office, working through the system to right wrongs, signing petitions, and other political activity is fine, but don’t put your eggs in those baskets. The Titanic has hit the ice berg, and Christians in this country will soon be facing real persecution like we see overseas. We need to rescue the perishing with the gospel. It can’t be done with the White House or the state house. When is the last time you shared the gospel with someone?

10. Jesus wins.
Things are bad and getting worse. In our world, in our country, in our denomination, in our churches. But the good news of Scripture for all people is that, in the end, Jesus is coming back for His bride. He will conquer evil and those of us who truly belong to Him will spend eternity with Him. This world is not all there is. Jesus wins.


¹It is possible LifeWay has changed this policy. I called my local LifeWay last week (Jan. 2017) and asked them to order a Joyce Meyer book and a Joel Osteen book. I was told the store could not order books by either of these authors. I applaud LifeWay for this step in the right direction.

²As of 2019, this verbiage has been removed from the FAQ section of the SBC website. Conceptually similar language can be found here (see Article III: Composition).

Christian women, Heaven

Weak Women and the Idolatry of Personal Experience

I’m still out sick.
Please enjoy this selected article (April, 2015).
weak women

Well, here we go again. Another child claims to have taken another trip to Heaven complete with another face to face conversation with Jesus. Oh, and the child’s mother has written a book about it which prosperity pimp, T.D. Jakes, has optioned for his second unbiblical “I went to Heaven” movie. (Heaven is for Real was the first one.)

The gist of the story is that this sweet little girl, Annabel, was climbing a tree when a branch broke, causing her to fall head first, thirty feet into a hollow tree, where she was stuck for five hours. It’s unclear from the reports I’ve read whether this was actually a near death experience, the reports mentioning only that she was “unconscious” at some point (this is when she supposedly “went to Heaven”), and that she was rescued without injury. Additionally, Annabel had suffered for years with a very serious intenstinal disease, and after her accident, became asymptomatic.

These are nice people. Sincere people. The kind of people I’d probably be friends with if they went to my church.

And they have nicely, sincerely, and with the best of intentions fallen into what I think is the number one theological error facing Christian women today, namely, believing and trusting in human experience over God’s word.

Now, I don’t doubt the facts of this story: that Annabel had a dangerous and frightening accident, that she lost consciousness and had some sort of experience before awakening, that she had a serious intestinal disease, and that, in God’s perfect timing, He chose to heal Annabel shortly after this tree accident.

And the reason I don’t doubt any of that is that it is all based in verifiable fact (unless someone comes forward with documented evidence to the contrary) and none of it conflicts with God’s word.

But an actual “trip to Heaven”? That’s not based in verifiable fact and it does conflict with God’s word.

If you feel upset with me right now for saying that, I’d like to ask you to examine why that is. Why are you upset? On what do you base your belief that this child (or anyone else outside of documented cases in Scripture) has actually made a real trip to Heaven and come back to tell about it? Her say so? This child was nine years old when this happened. Nine. Colton Burpo (Heaven is for Real) was three. Alex Malarkey (The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven– which Alex has been recanting for years) was six.

Have you ever spent any time talking to a nine year old, a six year old, a three year old? A lot of them will tell you they believe in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy, or that they have an imaginary friend, or that they’re a super hero. They’re very sincere and they aren’t lying, but they’re also very wrong because their beliefs are not based in fact and are strongly influenced by their immaturity. So why are we so quick to believe, based solely on their own say so, that the experiences these children had while unconscious were actual trips to Heaven?

For the same reason we love chick flicks and fairy tales and Hallmark movies, ladies. These stories appeal to our emotions. They make us feel good just like a rich piece of chocolate on a stressful day. And when you slap the “God” label on a story of childlike wonder coming out of a nice Christian family, our belief not only makes us feel good, we also feel justified in believing the story.

And God’s word says that kind of mindset is not for strong, discerning, godly women, it’s for weak women.

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.
2 Timothy 3:1-7

When we hold these “I went to Heaven” experiences (whether from children or adults) up to the light of Scripture, they crumble, from Hebrews 9:27, to the descriptions of God, Jesus, and Heaven that clearly contradict Scripture (and the descriptions from other people who supposedly went to Heaven and came back), to the sufficiency of Scripture, to the stark difference between Paul’s and John’s scripturally verified trips to Heaven and the trips being taken today (interestingly, Paul was stricken with a “thorn” after his trip to Heaven “to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations” while Annabel’s healing is being offered, in a whirlwind of publicity events, as proof that she went to Heaven), to the fact that the Bible doesn’t say anywhere that this kind of spiritual experience is valid or appropriate for Christians today.

The people who claim to have gone to Heaven had some sort of experience while unconscious, no doubt, but if they say that experience was an actual trip to Heaven, they are either mistaken or lying. It could have been a dream, a hallucination, an experience initiated by demons (let’s not forget that Satan was once an angel and continues to disguise himself as an angel of light), or a lie they’ve concocted, as was the case with Alex Malarkey. Yet, for some reason, Christian women, who, if asked point blank, would say that they believe the Bible is our ultimate authority for Christian belief, plunk down money for these books, movies, and other accessories, and eat these stories up with a spoon without ever engaging their brains and checking these supposed eyewitness accounts of Heaven against Scripture.

But “heavenly tourism” stories aren’t the only area in which we’re choosing to believe someone’s experience over Scripture.

Do you follow someone like Joyce Meyer, Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, Christine Caine, Lysa TerKeurst, or Paula White? These women all say that God “called” them to do what they do, which includes preaching to and instructing men in the church setting. Do you believe them when they say God “called” them? If so, you’re believing their supposed experience over the crystal clear word of God in 1 Timothy 2:12-14 (and plenty of other passages) which expressly forbids women from instructing men in the Scriptures or holding authority over men in the church.

And even putting aside the false and unbiblical doctrine these women teach, how many times have you heard one of them begin a sermon or teaching – not by reading God’s word and accurately teaching what the Bible says- but by telling a story about how God ostensibly “spoke” to them, acted in their lives in some way, or sent them a dream or a sign, and then basing their teaching on that experience rather than on God’s word? If you heed that kind of teaching, you’re believing their experience, not God’s word.

What about when it hits a little closer to home? You know God’s word says that homosexuality is a sin, but your 20 year old comes home and announces he’s marrying his boyfriend. So you just throw out that part of God’s word in favor of a happy experience with your son. You defend your right to swear like a sailor despite what God’s word says to the contrary. You “feel” that it was just fine for you to divorce your husband because you fell out of love with him, even though that’s not a biblically acceptable reason for divorce.

Ladies, if God’s word says it ain’t so, it ain’t so, no matter what you or I or anyone else experiences to the contrary. And it doesn’t matter how real or vivid or intense that experience was or how right or godly it seemed– God’s word, and God’s word alone defines reality, truth, existence, right and wrong. And we’d better get with the program and submit to its authority. If not, well, I guess we’ll prove the truth of what Paul said by choosing to be those women he talked about: weak, burdened with sins, led astray by our emotions, and always learning yet never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.

God doesn’t want you to be weak. He wants you to be a mighty woman of His word.

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
John 17:17

 

Additional Resources:

90 Minutes in Heaven on the Big Screen?

“The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven” Recants Story, Rebukes Christian Retailers

The Burpo-Malarkey Doctrine

Heaven Tourism

LifeWay Pulls Heaven Tourism for Good

Discernment, False Teachers

Perceptions of Kay Arthur and Precept Ministries International

I want to be clear from the outset of this article that, while I regret that I cannot endorse Kay Arthur’s materials or conferences, I do not believe the content of her written or verbal teaching contains or promotes false doctrine, and I am not labeling her a false teacher or a heretic.

perceptions kay arthur

Kay Arthur might be considered, and deservedly so, one of the “founding mothers” of women’s Bible study. Kay and her husband Jack served as missionaries in Mexico for 3½ years before returning to the United States and founding Precept Ministries International in 1970. The teaching goal of Precept is to instruct Christians in the Bible “book by book, verse by verse, using the Inductive Bible Study method.” Now in her eighties, Kay is still going strong. She has written numerous books, teaches all over the world, and hosts Precepts for Life, a daily television, radio, and on-line Bible study program.¹

Kay seems to be a lovely person with an almost tangible passion for people to study and rightly handle the word of God. She is a fine role model for younger women, showcasing growth to godly maturity, and a solid example to older women that serving Christ is something we never retire from. Kay comports herself like a lady and exudes warmth, grace, kindness, and a sort of motherly love towards those under her teaching. She is the kind of woman I aspire to be, and I would very much like to be able to wholeheartedly endorse her.

Because of the plethora of false teachers in the women’s Bible study realm, and due to other issues in question, several readers have written to me asking if I recommend Kay Arthur as a trustworthy Bible study author and speaker. With most teachers this answer comes easily, because there is ample evidence of the teacher’s Bible twisting (or doctrinal soundness) and/or sinful (or godly) behavior. Kay’s case, however, is more complex, so I would like to address the issues which are components in whether or not I endorse a particular teacher.

In order to address these issues, on top of my usual research, I have attempted to contact Kay Arthur with some questions (at this time she has not responded). I have also interviewed a doctrinally sound, discerning source who has been a Precept leader for several years and taught many of Kay Arthur’s studies. She has sat under Kay Arthur’s teaching in person at various Precept meetings and conferences, and has interacted with many other Precept leaders. For personal reasons, my source prefers to remain anonymous, so I will refer to her as “Jill.”

When evaluating a female teacher or author to determine whether or not I will recommend her, I research her teaching and habits in three main areas: her doctrine and hermeneutics, her ministry partnerships and associations, and her behavior. Another major consideration is whether or not any problems in these three areas are current, ongoing, and unrepentant, or if there were issues of sin in these areas in the past that have since been repented of and corrected. We need to remember that even the godliest teacher is still a human being who sins as well as a Christian who learns God’s word and grows to maturity over the span of her lifetime. The issue is not whether a teacher has ever sinned in these areas, but whether a teacher knowingly persists in sin or is teachable, repents, and avoids sin when it is pointed out to her. Let’s examine Kay Arthur’s teaching and habits in these three areas.

Doctrine and Hermeneutics

Kay Arthur has been publicly teaching the Bible for nearly fifty years. That’s an extremely large body of teaching, books, and materials. Yet citations of biblical error in her doctrine and teaching from credible sources are nearly non-existent in comparison.

The one major red flag that has been raised by discerning sources about Kay’s doctrine is her endorsement of Neil Anderson’s books The Bondage Breaker  and Victory Over the Darkness. Neil Anderson teaches an unbiblical view of spiritual warfare, and Kay should not have endorsed his books. It was unwise, undiscerning, and may indicate that she, herself, holds to an unbiblical doctrine of spiritual warfare.

That being said, Id like to point out that Victory Over the Darkness was published in 2000. Sixteen years ago. The Bondage Breaker was originally published in 1990, and a revised, second edition of the book came out in 2000. Does the revised edition of the book still carry Kay’s endorsement? Does she currently teach the aberrant view of spiritual warfare Anderson is known for? In the last sixteen years has Kay grown in her discernment and knowledge of the Bible to the point that she would never consider endorsing Anderson’s books now? I don’t know the answer to any of these questions, but I’m not seeing any accusations out there that Kay is currently teaching unbiblical doctrine concerning spiritual warfare or any other essential tenet of Christianity.

Jill comments:

“The association with Neil Anderson…I am completely unaware of that. I will say in regard to her teaching on spiritual warfare that I have led the Precept Ephesians study and read the book Lord, Is It Warfare? and I see nothing out of line in either of those. She is very clear that we are not to engage the enemy (my words, not hers). That our line of defense is the sword of the Spirit – the Bible – just like Jesus defense against Satan when tempted was the Word. She brought out passages like Jude 9 where even the archangel Michael didn’t rebuke the devil.”

Jill’s experience is puzzling in light of another citation of unbiblical teaching on spiritual warfare in this quote from Kay’s 2006 book, Lord, I Give You this Day: 366 Appointments with God:

“When I deal with recurring thoughts that are contrary to Philippians 4:8, I often will say something like this: “Satan, those thoughts are not from God. You have no place in me. Therefore, in the name of Jesus Christ and by His blood, I command you to leave me alone.” Why address Satan? Jesus did. He rebuked him and told him to leave.

If you’re harassed by persistent evil or demoralizing thoughts, then verbally address Satan in this way. Claim the blood of Jesus Christ, which defeated Satan. The devil may come back with a second round of fire—and maybe more. But when you continue to hold your ground in faithful obedience, you’ll know the joy of victory.”

Just because Jesus said or did something doesn’t mean we’re to say or do that same thing (Jesus also equated Himself with God and rebuked a storm, for example.). Jesus, being God, has the authority to address Satan directly. We do not. Scripture doesn’t teach us anywhere to address Satan. We don’t see any of the apostles addressing Satan. Jude 9 indicates that even Michael the archangel wouldn’t presume to address Satan. In this quote, Kay has not only taught an unbiblical premise, she has demonstrated poor hermeneutics, taking a descriptive passage (Jesus addressing Satan) and making it into a prescriptive passage (a command to follow).

Again, this book was written over ten years ago, in 2006. The Ephesians study Jill cites was published (revised edition) in 2012. Is it possible that, some time in those six years, Kay repented of this false teaching on spiritual warfare and is now handling God’s word correctly in this area of theology? This may be the case, but the elementary hermeneutical mistake of confusing descriptive and prescriptive passages should certainly warn us to examine all of her teachings extremely carefully.

Ministry Partnerships and Associations:

This is the area that seems to be of most concern to the average Christian woman who is trying to decide whether or not to follow Kay Arthur. For four years, Kay partnered with false teachers Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer in LifeWay’s Deeper Still women’s conferences. The last of these joint conferences took place in June 2011. During that time LifeWay “packaged” the three women together in a variety of ways. I, myself, recall quipping that they were LifeWay’s “holy trinity of women’s Bible study.” However, I cannot find any evidence of Kay partnering with either Beth or Priscilla in the last five years. So far as I can tell, they have not shared a stage or co-authored any materials since 2011. (Kay does, however, still sell the two Deeper Still companion books she co-authored with Beth and Priscilla on the Precept web site.)

Jill comments:

“Concerning the yoking with Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer – she has said that her hope in doing that was to take these young women under her wing and teach them as an older woman. That was not what happened, so she distanced herself from them.”

“I can tell you that I have heard her caution women against following people who teach contemplative prayer without naming those people directly. But it was very clear the way she described the people she was cautioning against that she was describing Beth Moore (and probably Priscilla Shirer, too). She used words like “great influence,” “large following,” “thousands of people are listening to these women.” She also said specifically about the book Jesus Calling without saying the title itself.. .”Jesus only spoke in the first person in one book and this (held up her Bible) is it. If you are allowing that sort of stuff in your life, you need to stop.”

In 2002, Kay was one of the featured speakers at THRIVE: Becoming a Woman of Influence, a women’s conference simulcast. One of the other speakers was Joyce Meyer. As far as I can tell, they have not shared a stage since.

Jill comments:

“Concerning the speaking at the Joyce Meyer conference many years ago – what is MUCH harder to find is what she actually said at that event. She actually went behind Joyce and corrected her false teaching… She wasn’t invited back.”

In 2011, a staffer with Transform Student Ministries (an arm of Precept ministering to college students) posted a blog article on the TSM site containing an excerpt of false teacher Steven Furtick’s book Sun Stand Still. The article encouraged readers to put Furtick’s teaching from the excerpt into practice. When this was brought to the attention of TSM’s leadership, the blog post was removed and there have been no reports of TSM, Precept, or Kay Arthur using Furtick’s materials since that time.

More recently Kay has appeared at Break Forth Canada in 2013 and 2015 as well as in earlier years (she is not scheduled to appear in 2016). Break Forth Canada routinely features contemplative and Emergent speakers such as Tony Campolo, Erwin McManus, and Leonard Sweet.

Kay Arthur’s position has long been that she will speak anywhere she is invited in order to get her message out. To my knowledge, her messages in all of these venues have been doctrinally sound and possibly even correcting of false doctrine taught by some she shared a stage with. It does not seem that she acquiesced to any false doctrine of the sponsors of these conferences or of others on the dais. What is in question is her decision to appear along with those who are false teachers.

While the desire to speak biblical truth anywhere you’re invited is admirable, it is not always necessarily biblical. God’s word is abundantly clear that we are to mark and avoid false teachers and that we are not to partner with them. The Bible doesn’t say avoid false teachers and don’t partner with them unless you’re teaching a doctrinally sound message alongside them or at their conference. It just says “don’t.”

Because Kay has chosen to speak alongside false teachers, we now have an illustration of why the Bible says not to do this. First, because Kay is regarded as a doctrinally sound teacher, she lends credibility to the false teachers and doctrine she is associating herself with. Second, Kay’s own reputation as a doctrinally sound teacher is being called into question by discerning Christians who are knowledgeable about the false teachers and doctrine she is associating herself with.

Kay and her staff need to do a better and more discerning job of vetting the people she shares a stage with and the doctrine of the conferences she speaks at. Her policy regarding accepting speaking engagements should be modified to line up with God’s word.

Behavior

While, as I’ve already stated, Kay is the quintessence of ladylike behavior, grace, and kindness, there is a major area of her behavior which is unbiblical. One of the important things I look for when evaluating a female teacher is whether or not she teaches men (co-ed audiences) in violation of 1 Timothy 2:12. I do not endorse female teachers who unrepentantly persist in this sin any more than I would endorse a male pastor or teacher who unrepentantly persists in another sin.

Jill comments:

“In regard to how Kay handles teaching over men…. When I have watched a Precept-produced video, I have seen men in the audience of Kay’s recordings. But only the men that are on staff. Usually one or two. The only time I have been on campus is for a women’s conference. There are men floating around, but they’re usually popping in to handle facility matters – or audio visual technicians and that’s about it. Every now and then her son or husband would sneak in the back and sit and listen. But the women pretty much take over the whole campus…They offer both male and female video lessons for their studies so that mixed audiences can have a male teacher. The male teachers are an assortment of men on their staff and the female are always Kay. I will agree that she does not say “women only” on all her speaking engagements in churches she goes to speak to.”

If it were only a matter of male staff members, her son (who is the CEO of Precept), or her husband (who is also on staff at Precept) sitting in on Kay’s teaching sessions occasionally as part of their jobs, there would be no problem. As I have written in the past, there are some biblically legitimate reasons why a man might be present when a woman is teaching, and this is one of them.

Unfortunately the men in Kay’s audiences are not limited to her male staff members, and she goes beyond merely failing to indicate that her lectures are for women only. Kay seems to have no qualms about speaking at co-ed events and conferences (such as the aforementioned Break Forth Canada), and the Eventbrite page for the June 2016 Prepared for the Days Ahead conference, which the Precept site links to, actually invites men in the very first sentence:

Screenshot_2016-05-02-07-53-22

Ladies, when the Bible clearly says not to do something and we do it anyway, justifying our behavior with excuses and caveats, that is sin. And when we have lots of eyes on us like Kay does, we have an even greater responsibility to set a godly example with our behavior. As good an example as Kay sets in other areas of her life and teaching, she sets a very poor and damaging example by unrepentantly persisting in the sin of teaching men.

 

Because her doctrine seems to be generally sound and she handles God’s word correctly for the most part, I will not say that Kay Arthur is a false teacher or a heretic. However, because she continues in the sin of teaching men and doesn’t see that speaking at conferences which use her good name to promote false doctrine is biblically problematic, I cannot commend her or her materials and conferences to others. There are many other fine Bible teachers and authors out there, both male and female, whose doctrine is sound and whose behavior in these areas is not in question.

It is my hope that Kay will repent where repentance is needed and bring these areas of her life and ministry into submission to and alignment with God’s word. It would then give me great joy to enthusiastically endorse her.


¹Kay Arthur – Co-Founder of Precept Ministries on the Precept Ministries International web site.


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.
Additionally, I would urge you, when examining these resources, to take note of the dates of the events referred to and consider whether or not Kay Arthur is still engaging in these beliefs and practices.

The Question of Recommending Kay Arthur by Lori Williams

Women Teachers? Kay Arthur, Beth Moore, and Priscilla Shirer Believe In Teaching Men Too at Surph’s Side

The Bomb Was Bound To Burst About Kay Arthur From Precept Ministries International at For the Love of His Truth

Kay Arthur to Join Contemplative/Emergents at Canadian Conference Breakforth Again this Month at Discern the Time

Is Kay Arthur More Biblically Sound? at Branded

Kay Arthur at Apprising Ministries

Happy Birthday, Kay Arthur! by Elizabeth Prata


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