Mailbag

The Mailbag: Potpourri (The Bible Project, leaving Elevation, Bible study supplements, Attend the study?…)

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.


A friend recently recommended your website for guidance with deciphering false teachers. I am wondering what do I do with all the books that I will now be getting rid of. I can’t in my right mind donate them or sell them. Is it enough to recycle them? Should they be trashed or even burned? Thanks in advance for your time and wisdom in this question. Thank you for your site and all the research and resources you have put together. I appreciate you.

How very kind of you to say! It is my absolute pleasure to serve you, and all my readers, in Christ.

I rejoice with you that God is growing you in discernment. Your instinct not to donate or sell these materials is correct. Throwing them out (render them unreadable first) or burning them is the best thing to do. (See section 3 of this article for more – you are not alone!)

(Long time readers- I know you’ve seen me address this question several times, but it is so encouraging to me to hear from women whose eyes have been opened to biblical truth, and I figured it would be encouraging to you, too. I might address this question every time I receive it just for the encouragement factor! :0)


Have you researched The Bible Project?

I have not, but my friend Gabriel Hughes has done a bunch of research on it. The short version is that he doesn’t recommend it. Click here for the long version.


I read your article about leaving Elevation Church. I am interested in hearing more about your experience.

Thank you for asking. I’d love to help you out, but as you can see from the title of the article and other remarks before, after, and in the article, this was a guest post, written by one of my readers who wishes to remain anonymous. I didn’t write it. I’ve never been to Elevation nor laid eyes on Steven Furtick.

If you have a question for the author of the article, I would suggest leaving a comment in the comment box on that article (click “leaving Elevation church” above, and leave your comment there, or she probably won’t see it). I will leave it up to her to check the comments from time to time and reply as she feels appropriate. (Just to save fans of Furtick, Elevation, and false doctrine some time: I will not be publishing your comments.)

Or, seeing as I’ve received several comments and questions about this article, if someone would like to start a “Survivors of Elevation” sort of Facebook group, send me the link. As long as I don’t receive any reports of unbiblical shenanigans, I’ll refer any inquiries I receive to the group.


Do you know if any good resources to study 1 Corinthians? Any good books, sermons, teachings you know about? It’s for my church’s ladies Bible Study. We read from the Bible but always like an extra sound resource.

While I don’t make recommendations for what I call “canned” (book, workbook, DVD, etc.) Bible studies, if you’re already studying straight from the Bible itself it can be helpful to use some good study aids, sermons, etc. as supplements from time to time. Here’s what I’d recommend for 1 Corinthians or any other book of the Bible:

Bible Book Backgrounds: Why You Need Them and Where to Find Them (I would also recommend any of the other materials at these three sites, not just the book backgrounds.)

Study Bibles, Commentaries, Dictionaries, and Bible Study Helps (see #4)

Recordings / transcripts of any previous sermons your own pastor has preached on the passage you’re studying.

Anything John MacArthur / Grace to You has preached, taught, or written on the passage. (Use the search bar)

Anything R.C. Sproul / Ligonier has preached, taught, or written on the passage. (Use the search bar. Also note that this is a Presbyterian ministry, so if you are more in the Baptistic stream, there will be a few perspectives you don’t align with,  but it’s always helpful to hear the other side of the issue from a doctrinally sound source.)

When using these resources (except for the Bible book backgrounds), I would strongly recommend studying the passage yourself first, and then listening to someone else’s sermon, reading someone else’s article, etc. Do the work of digging in by yourself, without being influenced by anybody else’s voice.

Why? A) It’s good discipline. We need to be able to mine the Scriptures and hear God speaking to us through His word for ourselves, without someone else doing the work for us and telling us what the passage means or how it applies. B) It’s such an amazing experience to grasp what God is saying in a particular passage and then turn to other Christians – maybe even Christians who lived hundreds of years ago and thousands of miles away – to whom God revealed the exact same thing by the exact same Holy Spirit. It will help you get a bigger sense of the inspiration of Scripture, the Holy Spirit’s work through His living and active Word, God’s sovereignty, and your connection to, and fellowship with the church catholic (“little ‘c'” / universal).


Regarding the steps listed in “How should I approach my church leaders about a false teacher they’re introducing”: If I talk to the Women’s Ministry Team and they decide to use the wrong teaching regardless, is it best to AVOID the classes or attend and be quiet? Previously, I attended and stayed quiet. I did not like that strategy, but to bow out totally feels uncomfortable as well. Just wondered whether anyone else has this issue. Pretty sure I will bow out next time.

Great question – and yes, it’s an issue for many women, unfortunately.

First, just in case you or another reader might need clarity on this part of the article (in #4a), when I say “approach [the women’s ministry leader] first before going over her head to the elders or pastor. You want to win your sister over to the truth, if possible, not simply force her to change things because a superior tells her she has to,” and “it’s usually best to approach the lower level leader, if any, before going over his head,” I don’t mean to approach only the women’s ministry leader or other lower level leader(s).

If you go to the women’s ministry leader, following the steps in the article, and she ends up saying, “Sorry, but I think you’re wrong and we’re going to do this study anyway,” you don’t stop there. You start over at step 1 with the next person up the chain of command – for example, the elder or associate pastor who handles discipleship/Bible study. You go through all the steps with him. If he gives you the same answer as the women’s ministry leader, you keep going up the chain of command until somebody listens and does what’s biblical or until you get to the top of the chain (in most cases, the pastor), whichever comes first.

If you’ve gotten all the way to the pastor and he, despite the evidence you’ve given him essentially says, “I don’t care. I’m going to allow the women’s ministry to keep using materials by false teachers,” it is then time for you (and your husband, if you’re married) to start considering whether or not you need to move your membership to another, more doctrinally sound church.

Deciding whether or not to attend the “Bible” study class is only necessary if you can’t find a more doctrinally sound church to move to, or if it’s something like, for example, you and your husband prayerfully come to the conclusion that you need to give this church six more months before you decide to leave it.

If you’re in a similar situation to one of those scenarios, I would not recommend attending the study and remaining quiet about the false doctrine being taught. This makes it appear that you either aren’t discerning enough to know there’s false doctrine in the study, or worse, that you either don’t care about the false doctrine being taught, or that you actually agree with it. I think you’ll find my article The Mailbag: Should I attend the “Bible” study to correct false doctrine? to be helpful.


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

Favorite Finds

Favorite Finds ~ ALL THE FREEBIES! ~ April 14, 2020

 

Here are a few of my favorite online finds…and this time, they’re all FREE!

Scripture TypeHave you worked all the jigsaw puzzles in the house and watched all the movies and listened to all the podcasts? How do you feel about coloring or painting? Scripture Type is offering lots of their beautiful Bible verses and Christian quotes in coloring page format (you can also download the full color originals as wallpaper/lock screen for your computer, tablet, or phone). Great for keeping the kids busy too!

Tell you what – let’s make this even more fun. You download one of the coloring pages and get crafty with it – color it, paint it, embroider it on a pillow, paint it on your car…whatever…and send me a decent quality picture of it, and I’ll feature it on my social media pages (let me know if it’s OK to include your name in the post). I can’t wait to see your creativity!

 

  But if you still have a hankering to watch a movie, you might consider giving RedeemTV a try. It is basically a “Christian” and family friendly Netflix (and yes, it’s really free!). I say “Christian” because, just having done a brief scroll through, I can already see that some of their offerings aren’t going to meet the biblical definition of Christianity. But I did notice several movies that look promising (I’ve watched some of the biographies of the Reformers, which were good, and I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews of the animated Pilgrim’s Progress movie.). You’ll need to have your discernment radar on high alert and ditch anything that doesn’t match up with rightly handled Scripture.

 

Prayer: How Praying Together Shapes the Church (9Marks: Building Healthy Churches): Onwuchekwa, John

Or how about a good book to read? Check out John Onwuchekwa’s contribution to 9Marks’ Building Healthy Churches series: Prayer: How Praying Together Shapes the Church.

And if you’d like to write a review of this book (or another one) as a guest post for the blog, drop me an e-mail, and let’s chat about it.

 

Trustworthy Bible Teaching and Discipleship Resources

Ligonier is going all out with the freebies! They are offering their entire library of teaching series available to stream and the study guides that accompany many of these series free “until at least June 30”. Dig in and get what’s probably the content equivalent of a seminary degree during quarantine!

 

How were people saved in the Old Testament? Ever wondered about that?


The resources listed above are not to be understood as a blanket endorsement for the websites on which they appear, or of everything the author or subject of the resource says or does. I do not endorse any person, website, or resource that conflicts with Scripture or the theology outlined in the Statement of Faith and Welcome tabs at the top of this page.
Doctrinally Sound Teachers

A Few Good Men: 10 Doctrinally Sound Male Teachers

a few good men 1Ladies, the Christian retailing machine isn’t doing us any favors when it comes to Bible study and theology.

First, they’ve created the impression that in order to study God’s word, we have to buy a book, workbook, or DVD by a Christian author. Next, they show us the materials we have to choose from by cordoning off part of the store or web site under the heading “Women’s Bible Study.” Finally, they fill the shelves in that department with materials penned almost exclusively by women, the majority of whom (even at supposedly trustworthy LifeWay) are false teachers.

Let’s think outside that box, shall we?

First, you do not have to use someone’s book to study the Bible. In fact, I recommend that you don’t. Just pick up your Bible and study it in a systematic way. Next, if you do decide to use a Bible study book or other resource, it does not have to be written by a woman (though there are some great female teachers I’ve recommended herehere, and here). If you limit yourself to women authors, you’re going to miss out on some wonderful teaching by the many doctrinally sound male teachers out there. Let me introduce you to a few of my favorite pastors and male authors of Bible studies and other great Christian books and resources.

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Don’t take my (or anyone else’s) word for it that any ministry, podcast, book, or blog is biblical in its doctrine. You MUST do the work of comparing with Scripture everything you read and hear. If it doesn’t match up with God’s word (in context), chuck it.

download1. Charles Spurgeon– “The Prince of Preachers,” Spurgeon was “England’s best-known preacher for most of the second half of the nineteenth century…Spurgeon frequently preached to audiences numbering more than 10,000.” Most of his works are still in print in both hardcover and e-book format, and many are available on line for free. You may wish to use his sermons as individual Bible study lessons, or try his commentaries as you study. The brief devotions in Spurgeons’ Morning and Evening  are a favorite of many, and you’re sure to be edified by his many other books as well.  Facebook  Twitter

2.  John MacArthur– “John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, as well as an author, conference speaker, president of The Master’s College and Seminary, and featured teacher with the Grace to You media ministry.” Dr. MacArthur has written approximately 400 books, including study guides, commenataries, Bible studies, and more. You might enjoy one of his free on line daily devotions, one of his study books, a sermon on the passage of Scripture you’re studying, or one of his books on a variety of biblical topics.  Facebook  Twitter

3. Steve Lawson – A pastor for 34 years, Dr. Lawson is now founder and president of OnePassion Ministries, “a ministry designed to equip biblical expositors to bring zEWv7vOI_400x400about a new reformation in the church.” He serves on the board of Ligonier Ministries and The Master’s Seminary, where he is also Professor of Preaching. Dr. Lawson has written twenty books, from commentaries to preaching texts, to an interesting series of profiles of godly men of the past such as Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, William Tyndale, and others. Study the Bible with Dr. Lawson’s transcribed sermons and Bible study lessons, or listen to one of his many excellent messages.  Facebook  Twitter

4. Todd Friel– Todd is the host of Wretched Radio, a daily two hour program dealing with discernment, evangelism, the church, theological aspects of current events, and various other topics (Wretched TV is a daily 30 minute television version of the show). “Witness Wednesday” is a great way to get “boots on the ground” training in how to share the gospel. Todd has produced a myriad of materials for both churches and individuals on biblical topics such as marriage, church history, parenting, anxiety, pornography, and more. His most recent book, Judge Not, deals with the false doctrine dreck and seeker-driven shenanigans that are currently infiltrating the church.  Facebook  Twitter

paul_washer_profile5. Paul Washer– An echo of Paul the Apostle, Paul Washer served as a missionary in Peru for ten years where he also founded the HeartCry Missionary Society. HeartCry now supports church planters in Peru and indigenous missionaries world wide. Paul is a challenging author and a sought after speaker who boldly exhorts the church. You might enjoy working through one of his studies, The One True God or The Truth about Man, or being built up by one of his sermons.  Facebook  Twitter

6. Chris Rosebrough– Chris is the host of the daily discernment and Bible teaching radio program, Fighting for the Faith. He is also the pastor of Kongsvinger Lutheran Church in Oslo, Minnesota. If you want to learn discernment, how to rightly handle God’s word in context, and keep up with the latest false doctrine infiltrating the church, look no further. In addition to the daily broadcast, listen to Rosebrough’s Ramblings as Chris takes his Sunday School class through various books of the Bible, and explore the other recommended teaching resources on the web site.  Facebook  Twitter

7. R. C. Sproul– A former seminary professor, ”Dr. R.C. Sproul was co-pastor of Saint Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, Florida, and chancellor of Reformation Bible College. He was the author of more than ninety books,” headed up Ligonier Ministries, and recorded a daily radio broadcast, Renewing Your Mind. Find teaching materials on nearly any passage you’re studying, follow the daily devotional, or order biblical books, music, and other resources.  Facebook  Twitter

Update: Dr. Sproul went home to be with the Lord on December 14, 2017. He is greatly missed, but his materials are still phenomenally beneficial to the church and remain available at the links above.

img18. Phil Johnson–  “Phil is the Executive Director of Grace to You. He has been closely associated with John MacArthur since 1981 and edits most of John’s major books…Phil was an editor at Moody Press before coming to Grace Community Church. He is an elder at Grace Community Church and pastors the GraceLife fellowship group.” Phil is an amazing lecturer and preacher with an incredible depth of knowledge of church and biblical history. You’ll enjoy the theological richness of Phil’s sermons (check out his “Bible Q & A” teachings) and be challenged by his blog articles at Pyromaniacs.  Facebook  Twitter

9. Alistair Begg– “Alistair Begg has been in pastoral ministry since 1975.” Formerly of Scotland, “in 1983, he became the senior pastor at Parkside Church near Cleveland, Ohio.  He has written several books and is heard daily and weekly on the radio program, Truth For Life.” Subscribe to the daily Truth for Life devotion or get the app, listen to a sermon on the passage of Scripture you’re studying, check in with the Truth for Life blog, or read one of Alistair’s fine books.  Facebook  Twitter

preaching-w-logo-copy10. Voddie Baucham– After serving as a pastor and seminary professor in Texas for several years, Voddie recently accepted a position as Dean of Seminary at African Christian University in Zambia. “Whether teaching on classical apologetic issues such as the validity and historicity of the Bible or the resurrection of Christ or teaching on cultural issues, such as gender roles, marriage, and family, he says his goal is to help people understand the significance of thinking and living biblically in every area of life.” Listen to one of Voddie’s many fine sermons, or check out his books on a variety of biblical topics.  Facebook  Twitter


Also check out:
A Few MORE Good Men: 10 Doctrinally Sound Male Teachers
A Few Good Men, Again!: 10 Doctrinally Sound Male Teachers