Discernment, Southern Baptist/SBC

Say “Nah” in Nashville to These Problematic Speakers at SBC21

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.

Photo credit: sbcannualmeeting.net

The 2021 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention is coming up June 15-16, and you’re probably already sick of hearing about all the problems in the SBC.

Believe me, I am too.

But problems can’t be solved until they’re exposed and recognized as problems. And since I don’t hold a position of leadership in the SBC that would allow me to do anything to actually solve any of the problems, exposing and awareness is my ministry jam. Maybe it’ll help those who do have the power to help solve the problems.

You may recall the 2020 SBC Pastors’ Conference scandal in which David Uth, pastor of First Baptist Church, Orlando, and president of the 2020 Pastors’ Conference (a conference for SBC pastors immediately prior to the annual meeting) had planned to platform a host of unbiblical characters, including a female “pastor,” male pastors with female “pastors” on their church staff, pastors with unbiblical theology and ecclesiology, etc., as featured speakers.

That problem has not gone away, it has just been repackaged and rebranded and seems to be flying under the radar this year with all the (very good and needed) focus on repudiating 2019’s Resolution 9 and Critical Race Theory in general, the SBC presidential campaign, women “pastors,” and other issues, which are totally worthy of the attention they’re receiving.

But the issue of SBC leaders, entities – funded by your offerings, by the way – and other organizations platforming false and unbiblical teachers is also worthy of attention. It has been going on for decades and is only worsening. And that’s exactly what’s happening at some of the ancillary conferences, luncheons, and other events taking place at this year’s Convention.

There are so many of these ancillary events taking place it would have been impossible to vet every one of them, and several of the organizations sponsoring these events have not posted any information about the event online. Additionally, some of the speakers who may, indeed, be very unbiblical, have almost no online presence, so it’s not feasible to try to vet them. So in order to highlight the pervasiveness of the problem, I’m hitting some of the most prolific problematic speakers at a few of the events I think will be of most interest to you.

If you’re unfamiliar with the way I vet teachers and speakers, I’ve explained the criteria I use, and why, in my article Is She a False Teacher? 7 Steps to Figuring it Out on Your Own, as well as in the introduction to my articles on false teachers (for example). In a nutshell, two of the top biblically disqualifying issues with contemporary teachers are: a) women preaching to men (or men/pastors allowing women to preach to men), and b) yoking with false teachers. Those are not the only two issues which biblically disqualify a teacher, but they are two of the fastest and easiest things to check when vetting several teachers in a limited amount of time, so much of what you see below will fall into those two categories.

Rather than adding a zillion links, if you’re unclear as to why someone with whom one of these teachers is yoking is a false or unbiblical teacher, please see my Popular False Teachers & Unbiblical Trends link in the blue menu bar at the top of this page.

Additionally, aside from the full length articles linked to some of the teachers’ names, the information on each teacher below is nowhere near exhaustive, but rather, a thumbnail sketch of some of the major issues with each.

Send Conference (NAMB / IMB)
June 13-14

Photo credit: sendconference.com

Send Conference, sponsored by the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and the International Mission Board (IMB), is basically taking the place of the SBC Pastors’ Conference this year, and is open to all. One of NAMB’s major areas of focus is church planting in North America, and they have lately come under fire when it was discovered that several of their church plants had women pastors and that they are requiring their church planters to teach an adulterated gospel. Remember, NAMB and IMB are supported by your church’s contributions (your offerings) to the Cooperative Program and by your Annie Armstrong Easter offerings and Lottie Moon Christmas offerings, respectively.

Some of the problematic speakers at Send Conference include:

Tony Evans

Donna Gaines – Wife of former SBC president Steve Gaines (who, while sitting president, spoke glowingly on Twitter about an evangelical celebrity headlining his church’s women’s conference and promptly blocked me when I gently informed him said celeb is a false teacher. This conference took place under Donna’s leadership in the women’s ministry.)

Donna is on the steering committee of the SBC Women’s Leadership Network (see below). Her church has at least two adult co-ed life groups co-taught by women, and several groups that use materials by false teachers (Chrystal Evans Hurst, Priscilla Shirer, Anne Graham Lotz, Rick Warren, etc.) She has preached to co-ed audiences. She’s friends with, and endorsed by, Beth Moore, who has spoken at her church. Donna is on the “team” of She Loves Out Loud (alongside some women “pastors”), which in 2020 staged a prayer event including false teachers Priscilla Shirer and Sheila Walsh, which Donna hosted at her church, and which men were allowed to attend. Here she speaks out in support of fellow SBCWLN leader, Jacki C. King (see below) preaching to a co-ed audience and tells those calling Jacki to account to “chill”. And here, she says, “the diversity of your friends may be a mark of your spiritual maturity.”

J.D. Greear– Current SBC president. J.D. Greear has stated (quoting Jen Wilkin) in a sermon that the Bible “whispers about sexual sin,” publicly supports and defends false teachers like Beth Moore, and maintains a friendship with at least one female “pastor” – among many other things. And with his attention-grabbing stand on retiring the Broadus gavel and his unsubstantiated claim that “closet racists and neo confederates feel more at home in our [SBC] churches than do many of our people of color,” his continual references to “Great Commission Baptists” instead of “Southern Baptists,” yet standing with the seminary presidents in their statement repudiating Critical Race Theory, his stand on racial issues feels like a muddled attempt at straddling the fence.

Jamie Ivey LifeWay Women frequently endorses Jamie, which, unfortunately, is a red flag due to their habitual endorsement of false and problematic teachers. And, indeed, Jamie is appearing at LifeWay Women Live 2021 with Lisa Harper, Jackie Hill Perry, Jen Wilkin, Kelly Minter, Jennifer Rothschild, Angie Smith, and Lauren Chandler. She also spoke at IF: Gathering 2021 with a plethora of false teachers. Just since the beginning of 2021, Jamie has hosted Tony Evans, Lisa Harper, racialist Jemar Tisby, Francis Chan, Lisa Bevere’s son, Lauren Chandler, and Amanda Bible Williams on her podcast. Jamie has appeared on TBN’s Better Together show (several times, actually) with Laurie Crouch (co-head of TBN), Christine Caine, diversity trainer Janice Gaines, and female “pastor” Jada Edwards.

Jamie is also quite the proponent of the Enneagram and diversity (appearing at TGC 2018 with Jackie Hill Perry), and has been a featured speaker at co-ed conferences such as ETCH 2020, and the Enneagram Conference.

Jamie is also speaking at the Women & Work Forum (below) and the SEBTS Women’s Breakfast.

Katie McCoy– Assistant Professor of Theology in Women’s Studies at Southwestern Theological Baptist Seminary (SWBTS). Katie is friends with Jacki C. King and serves with her on the steering committee of SBCWLN (see below). She’s a supporter of Beth Moore (also here), and has favorably retweeted Christine Caine (also here) Jen Wilkin, Priscilla Shirer, and Jackie Hill Perry, all of whom preach to men and most of whom are false teachers. And here’s Katie sharing the stage with Kathy Litton (see below).

Katie’s church (where she is minister to women) allows women to co-teach adult co-ed Bible study classes. (The women’s ministry Facebook page of Katie’s church also promotes several events with problematic/false teachers, here, here, here, and further back, but it is unclear whether or not Katie was the women’s ministry leader at that time. It is my hope that she was not and that, under her leadership events like this have ceased.)

Sheila Walsh

SBC Women’s Leadership Network Event
June 14

Photo credit: sbcwomen.net/events

I found and joined the SBC Women’s Leadership Network Facebook group before I realized there was a “network” behind it. I left said Facebook group when it became obvious that various admins of the group (some of whom are members of the network’s steering committee) were at least somewhat favorably disposed to women holding pastoral positions and that my questions about this and citing Scripture regarding the biblical role of women in the church were not welcome (despite the network’s claim to be “convictionally complementarian“).

The SBCWLN event is to be a panel discussion with Kathy Litton, Missie Branch (not included below as there is very little online information on her), Susie Hawkins, and moderated by Jacki C. King. All of these are members of the SBCWLN steering committee:

Kathy Litton– Kathy is the wife of current SBC presidential candidate, Ed Litton. This man who wants to be at the helm of your entire denomination, violates Scripture by allowing Kathy to “co-preach” the Sunday sermon at their Southern Baptist church here, and here, and several more sermons can be found at their church’s website. (UPDATE – July 2021: Not surprisingly, once Ed Litton was publicly taken to task for allowing his wife to preach, he deleted the sermon videos.) And here’s Kathy preaching to a co-ed audience at the 2017 MBC Great Commission Conference. Frighteningly, Kathy also serves as Director of Planting Spouse Development, with the Send Network (see above – interesting that it’s planter “spouse” instead of planters’ “wives” as it should be), the church planting arm of the North American Mission Board, which means she heavily influences other pastors’ wives.

Kathy and Beth Moore admire each other. Kathy and Ed “grieved” the SBC’s “loss” of Beth Moore, whose materials were apparently used in their church. Kathy participated in the 2018 SBC Pastors’ Wives conference headlined by Beth Moore and Lisa Harper, where Kathy conducted an interview with Beth’s daughter Melissa. Kathy follows Jackie Hill Perry. and Priscilla Shirer. Kathy wrote an article for Lois Evans’ (Tony Evans‘ late wife) blog, and has shared the stage with Lysa TerKeurst.

Susie Hawkins– Susie is the wife of O.S. Hawkins, president of the SBC’s Guidestone Financial Resources, and former board member of SBC compassion ministry, Baptist Global Response. Susie is a fan of Priscilla Shirer, and Beth Moore is a fan of Susie’s book. Susie participated in a conference with Jennifer Rothschild. Susie calls (false teacher) Ed and (female “pastor”) Lisa Young “dear friends“.

Susie retweeted her husband’s loving well-wishes to Beth Moore when she left the SBC (“And for the record she has not advocated women as senior pastors,” he defended Beth, which is hardly the point with her.) Her husband partnered with TBN to provide his book as a gift to their donors and partners (her retweets signal approval). Susie and her husband also appeared on TBN’s 2015 “Hope for the Holidays” show with heads of TBN Matt and Laurie Crouch, Joel and Victoria Osteen, Beth Moore, James and Betty Robison, New Apostolic Reformation leader Samuel and Eva Rodriguez, and John Gray (former Osteen associate “pastor” and recently revealed serial adulterer).

Susie also occasionally writes for her husband’s blog, in this article, Woman Devotional Writers of the Church touting the works of Catholic mystics. She has instructed a co-ed group in the Scriptures on at least one occasion.

Jacki C. King- Jacki is a pastor’s wife, podcaster, and speaker. Though she normally teaches women, Jacki recently came under fire for preaching the (co-ed) chapel service at Criswell College. She is on board with the “women need a seat at the table in church leadershipmovement typical of so called “narrow (anything but senior pastor) complementarianism”. And then there’s this tweet (hint: egalitarians, not “convictional complementarians” are the ones always focusing on the women of Romans 16, especially Junia).

Under Jacki’s leadership as women’s minister at her church, the women’s ministry has been a host site for IF: Gathering, attended a Jennifer Rothschild/Angie Smith conference, attended an event headlined by (Lysa TerKeurst’s) Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker Whitney Capps, and participated in a Lysa TerKeurst book study.

Jacki has declared herself to be “in [Beth Moore’s] corner” and warned pastors not to brush off women’s feelings about Beth’s departure from the SBC. It seems as though she believes Russell Moore’s recent slanderous and false allegations against Mike Stone and other conservative SBC leaders and has publicly declared that she will vote for Ed Litton (see “Kathy Litton” above) for SBC president. And indeed, if you run in the same circles I do on Twitter (doctrinally sound, actually complementarian, discerning, etc.) although she’s usually careful not to name names or be too specific in her tweets, her carping disdain for, and “correction” of biblically conservative Southern Baptists and other Christians is palpable.

My friend, Robin, attended a conference at which Jacki was the speaker. Check out some of the content of Jacki’s teaching (including the Enneagram, psychiatry, quoting false teachers, and out of context Scripture) here.

(Also, “everybody in leadership needs to get a therapist“?)

Women & Work Forum
June 15

Photo credit: Women & Work Twitter page (@womenwork_net)

Although much of the material at the Women & Work website looks reasonably biblical on the surface, the organization tips its hand with the last line of their statement of faith: “As it relates to the church, men and women are both expected to lead; however, the office of pastor is reserved for biblically qualified men.” (emphasis mine) If you’re as immersed in the pop-women’s ministry milieu as I am, you know what this means: so-called “narrow complementarianism.” In other words, women can fill any capacity or function in the church except the office of head pastor.

The Women & Work Forum event is to be an interview with Jamie Ivey conducted by Missie Branch (not included due to lack of online information) and Courtney L. Moore.

Jamie Ivey– See “Send Conference” above

Courtney L. Moore– Courtney is a pastor’s wife and the founder and president of Women & Work. As such, she is responsible for Jamie Ivey’s appearance at this year’s event and Jen Wilkin’s appearance at W&W’s 2019 event.

Courtney has taught at LifeWay Women’s YouLead conferences, so she has yoked with an organization that habitually promotes false teachers in general, and I have personal knowledge of a YouLead speaker Courtney has appeared with who is not doctrinally sound. Courtney is a fan of Jennie Allen, Beth Moore (“[Beth] loves Jesus and others no matter what is thrown at her. [Beth Moore], you are a treasure, and it was an honor to spend a few minutes with you.”), Christine Caine, and Proverbs 31 (where she apparently heard God speak to her {extra-biblical revelation} at a P31 event). Courtney was also involved in MOPS, speaking twice at MOPS events.

LifeWay Ministers’ Wives Luncheon
June 15

Photo credit: lifeway.com/en/events/

I’ve mentioned the issues with LifeWay selling materials by false teachers numerous times over the years, particularly in their women’s division. The LifeWay Ministers’ Wives Luncheon at this year’s Convention is placarded as, “An inspirational time for all ministry wives attending the Southern Baptist Convention to meet, fellowship, and worship together,” and features speaker…

Jen Wilkin

These are just a few of the problematic and unbiblical speakers who will be appearing at SBC21 events, but they highlight the pervasive problem in the SBC of lack of discernment and sound doctrine, yoking with false teachers, and women preaching to men.

Just say “Nah,” in Nashville.


Might I recommend the Founders Conference instead of the above events? Doctrinally sound speakers. Biblical teaching.

Church, Southern Baptist/SBC

10 Things I Wish Southern Baptists Knew About Southern Baptists

Originally published June 26, 2015

Note: A number of things have changed in the SBC, at LifeWay, the ERLC, etc., since this article was originally written in 2015, however the bulk of what is mentioned here is still relevant.

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“. Although 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:²

“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

Throwback Thursday ~ Weak Women and the Idolatry of Personal Experience

Originally published April 17, 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 Burpo-Malarkey Doctrine

Heaven Tourism

LifeWay Christian Stores Remove All ‘Heaven Tourism’ Books From Shelves After ‘Boy Who Came Back From Heaven’ Story Confirmed as a Lie

Mailbag

The Mailbag: Potpourri (Imprecatory prayers, Woman leading co-ed small group, LifeWay litmus test…)

Welcome to another “potpourri” edition of The Mailbag, where I give short(er) answers to several questions rather than a long answer to one question.

I like to take the opportunity in these potpourri editions to let new readers know about my comments/e-mail/messages policy. I’m not able to respond individually to most e-mails and messages, so here are some helpful hints for getting your questions answered more quickly. Remember, the search bar (at the very bottom of each page) can be a helpful tool!

Or maybe I answered your question already? Check out my article The Mailbag: Top 10 FAQs to see if your question has been answered and to get some helpful resources.


I tried subscribing to your blog using the email subscription box, but I wasn’t able to. Here’s my email address. Can you do it for me?

First of all, thank you so much to all of you who subscribe (or are trying to) to the blog via email. I really appreciate it.

I’ve received this question from two or three of y’all over the past couple of weeks, so I reached out to WordPress (my blog host) just to make sure there wasn’t anything technologically wrong. They checked things on their end and said everything seemed to be working fine, and indicated that a number of people had been successful in subscribing to the blog via email in recent days. So, after chatting with the customer service guy for a few minutes here are some suggestions we came up with if you’re having trouble subscribing via email:

  • Unfortunately, I cannot subscribe to the blog for you. You have to do it yourself, so sending me your email address and asking me to subscribe for you won’t work.
  • Try using a different device. For example, if you’re trying to subscribe on your phone, switch to your computer, or try using a friend’s phone.
  • Try clearing your browser cache
  • Make sure you’re typing in your email address correctly- no typos – and into the correct box (the one that says “enter your email address”).
  • If all else fails, ask a friend who’s there with you to help.
  • If nothing works, you can always follow me on social media. I post my blog articles on my social media accounts every day.

Is it OK for Christians to pray imprecatory prayers against evil people?

I’m going to say “yes,” but with some New Testament provisos:

Examine your heart first. What is motivating you to want to pray an imprecatory prayer against this person? Do you hate her? Want revenge? Are you jealous of her? If the motive of your heart is ungodly, you need to deal with that first. You should not enter into any sort of prayer about anything if your motives are sinful (unless, of course, you’re praying that God will change your motives!)

Just as God’s greatest desire for you was for you to repent and be forgiven in Christ, that should be your greatest desire for others. Do you desire, from the heart, that God would save this person, or do you find yourself hoping God will hurt her or send her to Hell? Again, examine the motives of your heart.

It’s never wrong to ask God to stop someone from sinning or to protect you or others from that person’s sin. (Which is not the same as an imprecatory prayer).

Is the person you want to pray the imprecatory prayer against someone you know personally? If so, a better prayer would be to ask God to help you love her, forgive her, and give you opportunities to be a godly influence on her.

Is the person you want to pray the imprecatory prayer against someone you don’t know and have virtually no access to such as a well known false teacher or an evil governmental leader? This is probably the best fit for praying what we would think of as an imprecatory prayer. When I pray for false teachers, here’s what that prayer generally sounds like:

Dear Lord- I pray for Teacher X. Would you please pour out your grace and mercy on her, give her the gift of repentance, and graciously save her? However, You know all things, and you know whether or not she will be saved. If You know she will not bow the knee to Christ, I am asking You to please remove her from all positions and relationships of influence she has. Even though I know that You may be using her as an instrument of judgment against those who want their itching ears scratched, I am asking you to show mercy – to her, to them, and to the visible church – by sitting her down and shutting her up. But whatever You decide, I trust You.

Some people would probably say that’s not really an imprecatory prayer, and I might agree with them, but, to me, that’s what an imprecatory prayer sounds like when run through a New Testament filter.


We have a co-ed small group in our home which my husband leads, however due to work, sometimes he is gone. There isn’t another person who feels comfortable enough to lead so I usually just keep us on track by getting us through our questions which are based on Sunday’s sermon. So, does this mean that when my husband is gone, we should cancel our Small Group?

Though it is very servant-hearted and loving toward your husband and church for you to be willing, you should not be leading the group when your husband is gone. There would be nothing wrong with reading aloud some questions you’ve been provided if that’s all it was, but I would assume the leader has to at least provide some biblical guidance. What if someone answers a question with false doctrine that needs to be biblically corrected? What if no one can answer the question and answering it yourself requires you to teach Scripture to the group? That’s going to put you in the position of possibly violating Scripture and/or your conscience by teaching the Bible to a mixed group. That’s not fair to you or to the group.

Here are some things I would suggest:

  • If your husband can change his work schedule around or change the date or time of the small group meeting so he doesn’t have to be absent (at all or as much), that would be helpful.
  • Your husband should talk things over with your pastor and ask him for suggestions of other men (outside the group) who can lead when he has to be gone.
  • I’m sorry, but there’s no other way to say this (and please understand, this is not directed at you, personally, but a general statement about so many churches these days). The men in your group need to man up. I’m sorry they feel uncomfortable, but that has never been a biblical excuse for men failing to do what God has called them to do – lead. Barak felt uncomfortable doing what God had called him to do, and look how that turned out. Godly men manage to find a way to do things that make them uncomfortable all the time out of obedience to Christ. Your husband can mentor them, the pastor can train them, whatever. They all need to get together, figure it out, and step up. This shouldn’t be something you even need to worry about. It’s not your burden to carry, it’s theirs.

    And besides that, you’re uncomfortable too, aren’t you? At least uncomfortable enough to write and ask me whether or not you should be doing this or if the meeting should be canceled. So you – a woman – feel uncomfortable about doing something you shouldn’t be doing but you have to do it anyway, but these men feel uncomfortable about doing something they should be doing – leading – and they don’t have to do it because they feel uncomfortable? Does that sound biblical? Or even fair?

Perhaps it’s time for evangelical pastors and elders to start giving some thought to what is going on in the culture of their churches that makes men comfortable slacking off and shoving their God-given responsibilities off onto the shoulders of women.

So no, it shouldn’t come down to you leading or canceling the meeting all together. The best and healthiest thing that could happen here is for the men to step up and lead.

Additional Resources:

Adam 3.0: Meanwhile, Back in the Garden, It’s Deja Vu All Over Again

The Mailbag: I Have to Preach Because No Man Will Step Up


I’ve discovered your podcast and started listening to the one on how to study the Bible. You speak of LifeWay in it. Am I to avoid ANY and all books and authors they sell/endorse on their website? Like Mr. X Preacher and Mr. Y Author? I have a library full of books listed on LifeWay!

Thank you so much for listening in to A Word Fitly Spoken!

I’m sorry, but I think you may have misunderstood what I said on our How to Study the Bible – And How Not To! episode.

We started off the episode by discussing how not to study the Bible, and one of our first points was that you should not use “Bible” studies authored by false teachers. I gave a list of some of the best selling women’s “Bible” study authors to avoid (Beth Moore, Lysa TerKeurst, Priscilla Shirer, Christine Caine, etc.), and then I followed that up by saying this:

And I’m going to add one more. This is actually the first time I’m publicly saying this, and as a Southern Baptist, it pains me to say it, but if you need a quick way to rule someone out without doing hours of research on an author you’re not familiar with, I would avoid any author or conference speaker promoted by LifeWay Women – that’s the women’s division of LifeWay.

Now hear me, I’m not saying that every woman in LifeWay Women’s stable of women’s Bible study authors is necessarily unbiblical or a false teacher, but the majority of them are – certainly enough that I feel comfortable saying you could use their endorsement as a litmus test of who to avoid.

I was specifically talking about authors and conference speakers endorsed and promoted by LifeWay Women (the women’s division of LifeWay). I wasn’t talking about LifeWay in general, and I wasn’t saying that every single author you can find in LifeWay’s online store is a false teacher.

What I was trying to get across is this: Say you’ve heard of a new women’s Bible study by Jane Doe. You’ve never heard of her and don’t know anything about her, but you’ve heard other women raving about her. You’re wondering, “Is Jane Doe doctrinally sound?”.

I’m saying if you go to the LifeWay Women website and you see Jane’s picture plastered all over the place as their latest and greatest author and conference speaker, she’s probably not doctrinally sound, and if you don’t have time to read the book and compare all of her teachings to Scripture, you can take their endorsement of her as a signal that you should probably avoid her.

A brief note on the two particular men you mentioned. I would not recommend either of them – not because their materials are sold by LifeWay, but because there are theological issues with both of them. If you want to listen to or read some godly pastors and authors who rightly handle Scripture and will help you grow properly in Christ, please check out the Recommended Bible Teachers tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page. (If you need the list narrowed down a little, I would recommend starting with John MacArthur, Steve Lawson, Gabriel Hughes, or Josh Buice).


I’m trying to remember the name of a recent release book that warns of singing the Hillsong/Bethel songs in church but I’m drawing a blank! Can you help me? I thought Costi Hinn wrote it but he just helped promote it maybe?

I personally haven’t read any recent books that I recall mentioning this (lots of blog articles, videos, podcasts, etc., but not books).

It is possible that Costi mentioned this in one or both of his books, Defining Deception or God, Greed, and the Prosperity Gospel (both of which I would highly recommend). I’ve read both, but it’s been a couple of years, so I don’t remember whether or not he specifically mentioned churches using Hillsong, Bethel, etc., music in either of them. I know he has mentioned it several times on his blog and podcast.

The only other book that keeps coming to mind is Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel by Kate Bowler. It’s not really recent, and I only read part of it when it first came out (2013), so I don’t know if she deals with that subject or not. But it keeps coming to mind, so I thought I’d mention it. (And if nothing else, it’s a very good reference book.)

Readers, any ideas which book (not online articles, podcasts, videos, etc. – BOOK) this sister might be thinking about?
Comment below.


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

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.


This article is kept continuously updated as needed.

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

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),  Jackie’s remarks and associations (particularly on Twitter) indicate that she is increasingly identifying with the social justice/critical race theory/intersectionality movement. A couple of brief examples:

In the video So…About Racism on the With the Perrys YouTube channel, Jackie and her husband discuss Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility, white power, and de-funding the police, among other things. (In case it later gets scrubbed from YouTube, as often happens, you can find excerpts of the original video here and here.)

This Twitter thread speaks for itself:

Due to her numerous violations of God’s Word and false teaching I recommend 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