Testimony Tuesday

Testimony Tuesday: Katie’s Story

Katie’s Story

Hi, my name is Katie. I am a wife to a great husband and mom to young children like many of you; loving the Lord and trying to live for His glory, and this is my story…

I became a believer in the summer before eighth grade. I had lived in the “Bible Belt” south all my life, but had not heard the full gospel until then. My family did not attend church. It was only my older sister who had started going to church, became a believer, and relentlessly kept inviting me until I at least starting going to youth group meetings. Once I finally came, I realized that the youth there were different from all the other kids I had met moving around and going to a few different public elementary schools. I was intrigued, and quickly became a regular in youth activities at the church. I started going to the Sunday morning services too. At a back to school rally, it finally all clicked for me and I fully understood the gospel and fully and completely gave my life to the Lord, asking Him alone to save me from my sin, and grant me new life in Him.

It was such a transformation! The Lord gave me a newfound desire to read His Word; to try and understand better who I was now as a believer.

It was such a transformation!

Fast forward a couple of years to about age 21. I started reading the “Christian” books for women that I was finding at LifeWay and other Christian stores. I found Beth Moore’s materials, and her style of writing and speaking was very interesting to me. She had a very likable persona when she spoke. She seemed like the coolest Christian woman ever. Always smiling and joking, telling stories with spiritual messages. Always seemed well put together. “Who would not like to be her?” I thought.

I just did not know that her Bible teaching was not exactly rightly dividing the Word of Truth. I quickly accumulated a bunch of her studies, books, and started going to some of her events. I became a regular on her blog on her ministry website too. I would check her blog everyday, comment on virtually anything her or her writing staff posted. I know, I had completely bought into her teachings. I even met her once at an event, very briefly, and she recognized who I was by my screen name on the blog. She even gave a shout out to me on her blog once.

The red flags started popping up…

I did not want to think that there was anything wrong with her teachings. That is, until the “red flags” started popping up. I came across some critiques of her on the internet on discernment blogs of various kinds. Some of them were written thoughtfully and fairly I thought, but some were just downright mean and hateful. Did they even know her or follow her teachings all that much? I didn’t think any of these critics knew her personally.

I started to see it though. She wasn’t actually dividing the Word of Truth very accurately. She would not listen to anyone either that tried to alert her or warn her. Not enough to change the theological direction she was heading in anyway. It concerned me that she seemed to be trying to bring in the Catholic Church into fellowship with Protestant denominations in her Believing God study videos. It concerned me that she seemed OK with preaching to men. I tried writing many letters to her, but the replies I received, just a few sentences from her or a pre-made letter from her writing staff did not satisfy my questions about what she was teaching or doing at her events and in her Bible studies. It really broke my heart because I think that Beth and her staff really cared a bunch for me, and I for them. I had followed the blog so closely that I felt like I “knew” Beth as a friend. As a spiritual mentor even. She seemed almost like family.

I felt like I knew Beth…She seemed almost like family.

However, after Beth appeared on Joyce Meyer’s TV show and endorsed her to her face, I knew enough to know that I couldn’t follow her blog anymore or recommend her or her teachings to anyone. I, who had actually facilitated her studies at my church, now did not want her studies at my church. I wrote to her by hand to tell her that I could not follow her or recommend her anymore, but I would at least pray for her. I had told her on her blog that I would always pray for her and her family, and I wanted to keep my promise. I truly meant that. She had been through such an awful childhood experience and I felt such sadness that she was so deceived, and was now deceiving others, not rightly teaching God’s Word. I told her I really wished it was not her who was doing and teaching these things. I still pray that one day, if it is possible, that she would repent.

It has taken a few years now for me to separate myself from who I was and how I thought that I should relate to God to who I am now, and how to truly, biblically relate to God and His Word as a true believer. It has been a journey of sorts, having to go back to the pure truths of God’s Word. I became legitimately depressed because, come to find out, not just Beth Moore; but quite a few of the women authors who sold studies and books at Lifeway and other Christian bookstores are not rightly teaching God’s Word either. I had no idea. Naive? Yes, for sure, I think, looking back now.

But I can warn other women…

But, I can warn other women like myself. Other Christian young or older women need to be told to be Bereans. Research the teachers that you listen to! Even look into the Christian music that you listen to! You need to know God’s Word. The Bible is truth without error. Do not be ignorant of the Scriptures and proper hermeneutics- how to properly understand and interpret the Scriptures. Do not just blindly follow any so called Christian celebrity teacher that you think is interesting. Really look into what they believe and teach and see if it does square with the Bible or not. If it doesn’t match up, even if you love their personality, don’t follow them anymore.

Hopefully, my story can help you in your walk with the Lord, my sisters in Christ.

With much love, Katie.


Ladies, God is still at work in the hearts and lives of His people, including yours! Would you like to share a testimony of how God saved you, how He has blessed you, convicted you, taught you something from His Word, brought you out from under false doctrine, placed you in a good church or done something otherwise awesome in your life? Contact me, or comment below. Your testimony can be as brief as a few sentences or as long as 1500 words. Let’s encourage one another with God’s work in our lives!

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.

Celebrity Pastors, Discernment

Throwback Thursday ~ Stricter Judgment, Even for MY Favorite Teacher

Originally published September 29, 2017

It’s a funny thing that it’s so easy for us to see the far away faults and foibles of others, but the ones in our own hearts – the sins and hypocrisy we know most intimately – are constantly in our spiritual blind spot. Jesus understood this all too well and admonished us to make sure our own hands are clean before taking the tweezers to the mote in a sister’s eye.

Often, it’s not that we’re ignoring the plank that’s obscuring our vision, we’re just not even aware that it’s there. When I evaluate my own heart to confess my sins to the Lord, the ones that weigh heaviest on my spirit are not those that I know I’ve committed and need to repent of, it’s the ones I’m sure are lurking somewhere… but I can’t quite put my finger on them.

One of the subtle hypocrisies theologically orthodox, blameless and upright, discerning Christians can have trouble seeing in ourselves is our failure to hold our favorite pastors and teachers to the same biblical standards we apply to other pastors and teachers.

We correctly criticize Steven Furtick and Beth Moore for palling around with the likes of Joyce Meyer and T.D. Jakes, but when Lauren Chandler speaks at IF:Gathering several years in a row, co-hosts a summer Bible study with Beth Moore, and publicly declares her desire to meet Christine Caine, suddenly, it’s “touch not mine anointed” just because she’s married to our darling Matt?

What if John MacArthur decided it would be a good idea to invite Joel Osteen to speak at ShepCon next year?

Or R.C. Sproul annually celebrated Reformation Day by getting snockered at a local pub?

Or you found out Alistair Begg’s style of “shepherding” was to intimidate his staff and church members through outbursts of rage?

Would you make excuses for them? Sweep this stuff under the rug and continue to listen to their sermons and read their books without batting an eye?

Pastors and teachers don’t get a pass on sin just because they’re Reformed, or discerning, or have a virtually unblemished record of doctrinal soundness, or because they’re “one of the good guys.” If they’re called to account, and they repent and strive toward holiness, hallelujah! That’s what God requires of all Christians – that we walk before Him blamelessly and bear fruit in keeping with repentance. But if they unrepentantly persist in sin despite biblical correction, there’s a problem there- with their own hearts, and with ours, if we knowingly turn a blind eye to their willful disobedience just because they’re our favorites.

God makes it clear throughout His Word that pastors, teachers, and others in positions of spiritual leadership bear a grave responsibility to set a godly example for those who look to them for teaching and guidance. And, in certain ways, God requires a higher standard for those in spiritual leadership than He requires of Christians He has not called to lead.

…No man of the offspring of Aaron the priest who has a blemish shall come near to offer the Lord’s food offerings; since he has a blemish, he shall not come near to offer the bread of his God. He may eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy and of the holy things, but he shall not go through the veil or approach the altar, because he has a blemish, that he may not profane my sanctuaries, for I am the Lord who sanctifies them…
Leviticus 21

…And Moses said to Aaron and to Eleazar and Ithamar his sons, “Do not let the hair of your heads hang loose, and do not tear your clothes, lest you die, and wrath come upon all the congregation; but let your brothers, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning that the Lord has kindled. And do not go outside the entrance of the tent of meeting, lest you die, for the anointing oil of the Lord is upon you.” And they did according to the word of Moses…
Leviticus 10:1-11

Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
1 Timothy 4:12

Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.
Titus 2:7-8

not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.
1 Peter 5:3

Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.
Philippians 3:17

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:1

But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.
Luke 12:45-48

you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. 
Romans 2:21-23

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 
James 3:1

As the passages above allude to, sound doctrine, while crucial, is not God’s only requirement for pastors and teachers. They are also required to rebuke those who contradict sound doctrine (not befriend them or join them on the conference dais). And Paul outlines the numerous behavioral requirements for pastors, elders, and deacons not once but twice, even going so far as to say that deacons must “prove themselves blameless” and that “an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach.” Right theology does not excuse wrong behavior.

Why, then, when God’s standards for those who lead are so high, are we quick to sweep aside unrepentant wrongdoing by the teachers we hold most dear, sometimes even holding them to lower standards than we would hold ourselves? “I would never preach to men, but I’ll give Teacher X a pass on it.” “There’s no way I’d partner with a false teacher, but it’s not a big deal that Preacher Y does it.”

The Jesus who says “be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect,” who says that even one sin is one sin too many, is not a God who is OK with His people glossing over disobedience. God wants sin dealt with, repented of, and forsaken, especially in those who lead, because receiving correction and repenting of sin sets a rare and phenomenal biblical example for Christians to follow.

Do we go off the deep end and reject a trustworthy teacher the first time she does something a little iffy? Of course not. But should we step back, keep a closer, more objective eye on her and her trajectory as time goes by to see if she corrects her course? Yes. Should we stop following her if she continues to dive deeper and deeper into sin with no signs of turning around? Even if she’s always been doctrinally sound? Even if she’s complementarian? Even if she attends a church with a good theological reputation? Even if we’ve enjoyed all of her books thus far? Definitely.

Let’s shed some light on those blind spots our favorite teachers occupy and let our highest loyalty be to Christ, His Word, and His standards for leadership.

Mailbag

The Mailbag: Potpourri (Soul Ties, SBC Communion, Women in children’s ministry, Heretical book disposal)

Originally published January 15, 2018

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 also like to take the opportunity in these potpourrri 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 can be a helpful tool!


I was wondering what your views were on “ungodly soul ties”, in reference to past relationships? If I was in a previous relationship with someone who I was involved with physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally, how would I loose myself from that?

The concept of “soul ties” is not biblical. It is not mentioned or even hinted at in the Bible. Proponents of this heretical doctrine, as you can see in this article, Basic Introduction to Soul Ties,¹ will try to convince you that soul ties are biblical by taking all manner of Bible verses out of context and stretching and twisting them like Silly Putty to try get them to mean what they want them to mean. All you have to do is look up the verses they cite, and read them in context to see that none of these passages say that one person’s soul can be literally bound to another person’s soul.

I find it especially laughable that many of the verses they cite in support of soul ties are the “one flesh” verses, such as Ephesians 5:31 (which is actually a quote of Genesis 2:24). Don’t you think that if God, the creator of language, meant to convey in these verses that two people’s souls were tied together, that He would have said “one soul” instead of “one flesh“? Or that He would have clearly said: “In this type of close relationship, the two people’s souls are bound together.”? This is God we’re talking about, here. He’s perfectly capable of explaining Himself clearly. He knows what words mean, and He never makes a mistake and chooses the wrong word. And yet, time and time again in Scripture, He uses the words “one flesh” to describe the intimacy of marriage and sexuality, and He never, anywhere in Scripture, even suggests that the souls of two people are bound together under any circumstances.

Soul ties is just one more piece of false doctrine usually taught by those in the heretical New Apostolic Reformation camp. (When I Googled “soul ties”, articles by Kris Vallotton {Bethel}, Terri Savelle Foy, and Paula White – all among the worst of the worst of the NAR and prosperity preaching – were on the first page of results. That should tell you something.) There is no way your spirit can be tied or bound to someone else’s spirit.

I’m not sure what you mean by being involved with someone “mentally” and “spiritually”, but I’m assuming you don’t mean that you were in Mensa together or that you had long talks about theology and frequently prayed together. Those might be fond memories that make you wistful, but no mental or spiritual activity you participate in with someone else binds your soul to his or is something you need to be “loosed” from.

What you need to do is read your Bible, understand what it says about sin, and if you sinned in any way in this relationship (for example, sex outside of wedlock, putting your love for this person ahead of your love for the Lord, being influenced by this person to lie, etc.) you need to repent, not “be loosed” (because you’re not bound to this person, and because repentance from sin is the biblical way of thinking about this situation). You may also need to avoid spending time with or talking to this person for a while. And if you’re really having trouble getting over the relationship, you might want to seek counsel from a doctrinally sound pastor (one who understands that soul ties are unbiblical) or an ACBC certified Biblical Counselor.

That’s truly all there is to it. The spirit-realm mumbo jumbo of “soul ties” is a bunch of mystical malarkey. Your spirit isn’t tied to anyone else’s spirit, you’re just sad that the relationship is over, having difficulty moving on with your life, and, perhaps missing the person. And it’s OK if that sounds earthly and pedestrian. Because it is. But if Christ is your Savior, you can trust Him to carry you through it.

Here are some resources you might find helpful:

What does the Bible say about soul ties? at Got Questions

Soul Ties? I at Fighting for the Faith (starts around 34:14)

Soul Ties? II at Fighting for the Faith

¹Just in case it isn’t abundantly obvious, this is a heretical New Apostolic Reformation article/website, and I certainly don’t recommend it.

We recently moved and have been attending a Southern Baptist church. They have not had communion for over two months. Isn’t it the norm to have communion at least once a month? 

Also there is no women’s ministry that I can be involved with which is very disappointing to me. I would even be willing to teach/lead a women’s study but since we are new to this church we are still waiting and learning our place. We hesitate to make ourselves known as possibly unsubmissive or question why they do things the way they do.

Why no communion or women’s Bible study? Your thoughts would be enlightening.

These are such great questions because they help me, as a Southern Baptist, think about the way we do things and how those practices might be perceived by visitors or new members.

Communion/Lord’s Supper: Every Southern Baptist church is autonomous, so each church has its own policy or practice about how often the Lord’s Supper is observed. There are probably some SBC churches out there who hold the Lord’s Supper every week and others who hold it only once or twice a year, although I don’t personally know of any who hold it that frequently or infrequently.

In my experience, most Southern Baptist churches observe the Lord’s Supper several times a year, usually on a schedule like the first Sunday of the month, once a quarter, or every “fifth Sunday” (in months that have five Sundays). In addition to these scheduled observances, many churches also observe the Lord’s Supper at their Christmas Eve, Good Friday, or Easter service.

Women’s Ministry: I understand your disappointment in the lack of women’s ministry at the church. I would be somewhat disappointed too. There could be a variety of reasons for this. Maybe they had a women’s ministry that veered off into error or personality conflicts, so the pastor put it on hiatus for a while. Maybe no one stepped up to volunteer to lead it. Or, maybe the pastor wants everyone’s focus to be on the worship service and Sunday School with no distractions. But even if there isn’t a formal women’s ministry, you can still invite women over to your home, go out for coffee or dinner together, or study God’s word and pray together with a few others. I found this 9 Marks article Ministry to Women When There’s No “Women’s Ministry” really helpful.

Asking Questions: I would encourage you and your husband to set up an appointment with the pastor and ask away! It is certainly not unsubmissive to sit in his office and politely say, “We’re new here and we were just wondering about…” Most pastors I know would love for potential members to do this. (In fact at my church, once a month my pastor holds a sort of “orientation”/Q&A class for potential members during the Sunday School hour.) You need to know where he and the church stand on various doctrinal issues and practices so you won’t be unpleasantly surprised after you’re already members. This is especially important if you’re new to being a Southern Baptist as well as being new to the church. If the pastor in any way discourages you from asking genuine, courteous questions or sees your questions as a threat to his authority, that’s a red flag telling you that you should not join this church.


In the past I purchased books and “studies” by authors I now know are false teachers- an embarrassing amount of them really. I am wondering now what do with all of them…I don’t feel I am mature enough in my walk with Christ yet to read any of them and test them against Scripture myself, but I also don’t feel like passing them on to someone else is right either. Just wondering your thoughts on this.

You’re correct, you should not pass on books containing false doctrine to others, donate them to libraries (especially church libraries), Goodwill, or thrift stores, or sell them in a garage sale. The only scenario I can think of in which passing along a book authored by a false teacher would be OK is if it is to someone you know is a mature, doctrinally sound Christian who needs it for research purposes or to write a review of it warning people away from it.

I would also suggest that you not simply throw throw the books in the trash or recycling unless you render them unreadable (ex: scribbling on or tearing up the pages) first. People have been known to take “freebies” out of the trash.

Here are two ways I’ve handled heretical books I’ve been given:

1. Keep them for research purposes. (If you think you might be tempted to read them and you don’t feel like you’re spiritually mature enough to handle that yet, maybe box them up and put them in storage for a later date.) You might want to mark them in some sort of way – in case you lose the book and someone else finds it or something like that – indicating that the book is false doctrine. My friend, Pastor Nate Pickowicz, has an awesome stamp for his “research only” books:

2. Burn them. I know it reeks of Nazism and censorship by wild-eyed preachers of yesteryear, but it’s biblical, it keeps false doctrine out of the hands of others, and these books can actually have a positive use for kindling if you have a fireplace or chiminea. (Please use all fire safety precautions. Also, it is not necessary to burn the books publicly.)


Is it Biblical for a woman to be in charge of the children’s ministry? Especially one who is not doctrinally sound?

It isn’t biblical for anyone who’s unrepentantly and unteachably doctrinally unsound to be in charge of anything in the church.

If it’s a case like Apollos, in which the person in question simply doesn’t know any better, but changes her ways and embraces sound doctrine when corrected, that’s cause for giving glory to God. (Also, she might need more training in the Scriptures before she resumes her position of service.)

But if it’s a case in which the person persists in teaching false doctrine or acting sinfully, that’s cause for church discipline. And if she steadfastly refuses to repent despite biblical rebuke, she needs to be disfellowshipped from membership in the church. Of course, it should go without saying (unfortunately, it doesn’t these days) that people who aren’t church members and/or aren’t saved should not be given any position of service or leadership in the church.

It could be OK for a doctrinally sound woman to be in charge of the children’s ministry, depending what you mean by “in charge”, and depending on whether or not she can do so without violating Scripture:

1. She should not be considered as, or bear the professional title of, “pastor” or “minister”. It is unbiblical for a woman to be a pastor, and if she’s not a pastor, then bearing the professional title of “pastor” is lying.

2. In her leadership duties, she should not teach adult men (for example, men who teach children’s Sunday School classes, if she oversees children’s Sunday School) the Scriptures or exercise authority over them.

3. The pastor, or an appropriate elder, should vet and approve any curricula and materials, guest speakers, activities, etc., she wishes to use.

If a pastor or elder oversees her leadership so that she is acting under his authority and at his direction, and she is not violating Scripture by preaching to men, teaching men Scripture, or exercising authority over men, I don’t see why it would be a problem for a woman to lead the children’s ministry. In fact, Christian women and churches who handle this properly could be a superb example and model for other Christian women and churches.


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.

Testimony Tuesday

Testimony Tuesday: Audrey’s Story

Audrey’s Story

A few months ago, I was scrolling on Twitter when a tweet from Michelle Lesley got my attention. She said, in her experience, false teachings enter the church through women’s ministries and worship music. I was aware of this. Many other evangelicals voiced similar concerns on doctrinal errors in women’s ministries and contemporary worship music. What stood out to me wasn’t what the tweet said, but what it didn’t.

In my experience, there is a third entrance through which false doctrines sneak into the church. It is a small door, but it was through it that I got introduced to false teachers.

This entrance is the young adult ministries.

Most churches have ministries for Christians who are in their 20’s and 30’s. I have been a member of several of them, and I noticed other young adults almost always led them. They get attracted to popular young pastors the same way women are drawn to popular female teachers. These pastors are trendy, funny, relatable, and have a substantial social media presence. They, however, are not doctrinally sound.

They, however, are not doctrinally sound…

Being a social media recluse, I only discovered these pastors through the 20’s/30’s ministry at my former church.

My first “Bible study” there was Good or God by John Bevere, and it was the first Christian book I ever read. Since I was a new Christian with little discernment, I believed everything Bevere taught. I got a few of his other books and watched several of his lessons from his preaching ministry, Messenger International. He quickly became one of my favorite teachers.

But as I learned much later, John Bevere is a questionable teacher. He teaches extra-biblical revelations — he once said God told him He was about to do new things in the church that would make Pentecost day child’s play. He teaches tongues is a supernatural language that helps us communicate with God so that the devil doesn’t understand us. And his wife, Lisa Bevere, disobeys Scriptures by teaching men and partnering with false teachers.

The next study we did was Transformed by Rick Warren.

Rick Warren is the pioneer of the seeker-sensitive movement, and he is not a trustworthy teacher. His book, The Purpose-Driven Church, has caused many churches to water down the gospel, and add worldly components in their services to keep unregenerated hearts entertained. In Transformed, Warren frequently twists Scriptures and uses dubious translations to make incorrect statements.

I just wanted to study the Bible…

After a while, I got frustrated with these types of studies and my life group. I just wanted to study the Bible. I hoped that after Transformed, we would finally dig in the Word. But the leader dashed my hopes when she announced yet another canned study from yet another popular pastor. I wanted to say something, but I was new and shy. So I kept quiet. By God’s grace, someone else in the group voiced the concerns I had about our Bible study sessions. The leader considered them, and we started studying books of the Bible.

But ironically, it gave me even more exposure to dangerous teachers.

As we discussed our weekly readings, my mates frequently mentioned pertinent quotes or sermons by their favorite pastors. That’s how I discovered names like Steven Furtick, Robert Morris, and Judah Smith. Trusting their judgment, I listened to these pastors and others associated with them. And for me, Christianity’s best and brightest were men like Craig Groeschel, Michael Todd, T. D. Jakes, Joel Osteen, Chad Veach, and John Gray. (I don’t consider all these men false teachers, but I don’t recommend them.)

After a shallow diet of Bible books studies, we eventually returned to canned studies. The next one we did was undoubtedly the worst of them all. It was Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer.

Joyce Meyer is a certified false teacher who teaches heresy like the Prosperity Gospel and Word of Faith theology. I bought her book intending to read it, but by God’s providence, my schedule changed, and I only attended three sessions. I still shudder when I think of the damning doctrines I almost learned.

I still shudder when I think of the damning doctrines…

Shortly after, I moved to another state, and I have never been back to that church. It’s been almost two years since then, and I realize now there were several other issues with that church. Nevertheless, young adult ministries can still be an avenue for false teaching even in sound churches, and need close oversight.

They are tomorrow’s leaders, and they have a profound influence on today’s youths. Most of the people in my life group worked in the children’s ministry or mentored teens in the church. If these kids get exposed to false teachers at such an impressionable age, it will be difficult to break that hold later. It is evidenced by the visceral reactions of Christians online when someone critiques their favorite teachers.

I used to be one of them. Someone once called my favorite pastor a false teacher, and I passionately defended him. I am ashamed to say that I even used the p-word (“Pharisee”). But today, I no longer follow him and his like.

The Lord is faithful…

I credit this change to American Gospel: Christ Alone, that exposed counterfeit gospels and their leaders, many of whom I respected even though I didn’t follow them; Justin Peters who set me free from false teachings like extra-biblical revelations and mysticism that have been a stumbling block in my faith; Michelle Lesley, who pulled me off the path of egalitarianism, made me appreciate my role as a woman, and exposed dangerous women teaching otherwise; and What Shall I Cry Ministry that taught me the difference between expository preaching and man-centered preaching.

My deepest gratitude goes to the Holy Spirit, who provided me with these excellent resources and opened my eyes to the truth.

The Lord is faithful, and He will protect His elect.

Grace and peace to you!


Ladies, God is still at work in the hearts and lives of His people, including yours! Would you like to share a testimony of how God saved you, how He has blessed you, convicted you, taught you something from His Word, brought you out from under false doctrine, placed you in a good church or done something otherwise awesome in your life? Private/direct message me on social media, e-mail me (MichelleLesley1@yahoo.com), or comment below. Your testimony can be as brief as a few sentences or as long as 1500 words. Let’s encourage one another with God’s work in our lives!