Random Ramblings Ruminations Resources

Random Ramblings, Ruminations, and Resources

What a summer! From a lovely trip to visit with my family to the Open Letter to Beth Moore (by the way, ladies, you can still sign it if you haven’t already) to podcast interviews to a hurricane (everything’s fine, thanks – praise God!) to both of my young adult children’s cars dying in the same week and my husband and me playing chauffeur for them (please pray that God will provide the vehicles they need), my summer has been a non-stop whirlwind. I can’t believe next week will already be August!

Let’s jump into some Random Ramblings, Ruminations, and Resources, shall we?

Light (Blog) Housekeeping

If you’re relatively new to the blog, you might not be aware of all the features and resources available to you here. Check out Blog Orientation for New Readers and Old Friends.

But even if you’ve been around a while, I’ve updated a few things you might not have noticed:

I’ve changed the Popular False Teachers tab (at the top of this page) to Popular False Teachers & Unbiblical Trends. That’s because I’ve added resources on the Enneagram and I’m planning to add info on more unbiblical trends in the future. I’ve also added information on MOPS to this tab in case I forgot to mention it.

I think The Servanthood Survey (published last week) is going to be a helpful resource for churches (and individuals), so I created a new tab to have that always at the ready.

If you’ve used my discernment article on Beth Moore lately, you may have noticed that it has a new look. I’ve changed the title and the introduction, fixed broken links and added a few new ones, and added some updated material, but it’s still the same article with the same link: Living Proof You Should Follow Beth (No) Moore.

Recently, I was put in “Facebook timeout” (I couldn’t post to my Facebook page from certain devices) for sharing what the powers that be deemed to be “hate speech” – a meme that quoted 1 Timothy 2:12. If you’re on Facebook, you’re probably hearing more and more about things like this happening to Christians for posting biblical views (no matter how kindly worded).

As many are predicting, there will probably come a time when Christians who share biblical posts will be banned from Facebook. In case something like this happens to me, I’ve opened up a MeWe page. MeWe is a social media platform that’s extremely similar to Facebook, except they pride themselves on their customer service, their privacy policy, and their “no political agenda” policy (meaning they don’t censor every little thing like Facebook does). If you’re familiar with Facebook, you’ll find MeWe’s interface nearly identical, plus it has a few neat features Facebook doesn’t have.

If you’d like to connect on MeWe, set up an account, then, just search Michelle Lesley, or go directly to my page and click the “add contact” button. If you’d rather do it later, I’ve added a link to my MeWe page to the Contact and Social Media tab at the top of this page.

And finally, would you like to write up a testimony (anything from a paragraph to a full length article) for Testimony Tuesday or an article or book review for a guest post? If your theology pretty much matches up with mine (see the Statement of Faith and Welcome tabs at the top of this page), look over the articles at these two links to get a feel for what I’m looking for and drop me an e-mail so we can chat about it.

Book Report

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t write solicited book reviews, but there are extremely rare circumstances in which I will break that rule. There are also occasions when I will pick up a book of my own volition and commend it to you if I end up liking it. Today, you’re getting one of each.

A few months ago, Costi Hinn reached out and asked if I’d read and write an endorsement for his new book, God, Greed, and the (Prosperity) Gospel. While his first book, Defining Deception, was an instructional introduction to the history and doctrine of the New Apostolic Reformation, I had been keeping up with Costi, and I knew that this second book was going to approach NAR/prosperity gospel false doctrine from the perspective of his personal testimony of growing up in (and being saved out of) Benny Hinn’s “ministry”. I had already heard Costi’s testimony several times and I knew my readers would find it encouraging and edifying. God, Greed, and the (Prosperity) Gospel did not disappoint, and it is my joy to commend it to you:

A helpful primer on the prosperity gospel. The perfect blend of testimony, teaching, and tried-and-true tips for ministering to those caught in unbiblical teaching.

 

My two favorite genres of fiction are biblical historical fiction, and legal/political thrillers. Chris Skates writes both, so I’m looking forward to reading more of his books.

In order for me to enjoy a work of biblical historical fiction (a fictionalized account of a true Bible story), it has to be true to everything Scripture actually says happened (events, dialogue, chronology, etc.), and whatever the author “fills in the blanks” of the biblical account with has to be biblically and culturally plausible, and must not directly contradict clear Scripture.

Chris accomplished this beautifully in his first book, The Rain, his rendition of Noah and the ark. Chris paints a grim picture of a debauched society that refuses to repent. Noah’s wife and daughters-in-law receive names, and we get to imagine what they and Ham, Shem, and Japheth might have been like. It was interesting to ponder along with the story just how long, tedious, and treacherous the journey on the ark was. And let’s not forget the lack of light and air conditioning and…well…the lovely smells of all those animals!

The Rain is a fun, leisure time read. I think you’ll like it if you enjoy biblical historical fiction.

Stop Jumping the Gun 

Y’all know I’m all about discernment, right? I mean, I think my track record speaks for itself. But there’s an area of discernment we all need to get serious about right quick.

It’s that “right quick” part. We need to stop being reactionary and haphazardly tossing the “false teacher” label (or other spiritual aspersions) around any time somebody says something that causes us to raise an eyebrow, especially when that person has an impeccable record of sound doctrine, faithful preaching, and contending for the faith once for all delivered to the saints.

Since Tuesday’s release of the Founders Ministries cinedoc trailer By What Standard? God’s World…God’s Rules, I have been appalled at the rush to judgment regarding Tom Ascol and Albert Mohler. Neither of these brothers has committed any clear-cut sin, but I want to put the details of the accusations aside and focus on the general principle of jump-the-gun aspersion-casting against these two men and others like them.

Each of these gentlemen, as well as Founders Ministries itself, has a decades-long track record of being doctrinally sound and fighting the good fight for biblical truth – longer than some of you younger sisters have been alive. They, and other pastors, teachers, and folks in long-time doctrinally sound ministry, have earned the right to have brothers and sisters in Christ – especially mature and discerning brothers and sisters in Christ – give them the benefit of the doubt when no clear-cut sin has been committed.

Obviously, when we’re talking about high profile pastors and teachers we don’t know personally, this isn’t a local church issue, but I think we would do well to remember the principles behind 1 Timothy 5:17,19-20.

Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching…Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.

We rebuke those who persist in sin in the presence of all. We do not make off the cuff accusations, based on a single “iffy” incident or presumptions, against doctrinally sound elders who have proven themselves faithful through the years. And we also need to remember that in situations like these we don’t know the whole behind-the-scenes story. I think we could extend some grace, give them the honor and respect Scripture says they’re due, and reserve judgment until sin is committed or the incident is resolved.

Scripture calls us to be better than this to our elders. Let’s live up to that.

Is it really God’s judgment?

My daughter texted me this shortly after the recent earthquake in California. And when your heart of hearts asks you to write an article, you write an article! (Only I didn’t think it needed to be as long as a full article, so you’re getting it here instead, Sweetie.)

For those of us who don’t live in California, some of the news stories we hear about the sinful things going on there leave us slack-jawed. And for Christians, our frame of reference for gobsmacking sin is the Old Testament. God dealt with sin in some pretty intense ways in the OT, not the least of which, in one case, was causing the ground to split apart and swallow sinners alive. So I guess there is precedent for God using an earthquake to deal with sin. Is it possible the earthquake in California was God’s judgment upon their sin? Yes, it’s within the realm of possibility.

However, that kind of judgment is not normative, especially after the cross, and there are a lot of holes in that theory. If you’re tempted to use the line of reasoning that a natural disaster is, definitively, God’s judgment on California (or any other place) for their sin, could I just encourage you to think through the following points?

•In the past few months New York and Illinois have both passed hideous, from-the-bowels-of-hell laws protecting the sins of abortion and infanticide. Where are their earthquakes?

•Louisiana just passed one of the most abortion-restrictive laws in the nation. And then we had a hurricane. Was that storm a judgment on Louisiana?

•If “it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God…” (1 Peter 4:17), why wasn’t Redding, California – where Bethel “Church” is located – at the epicenter of the earthquake?

•Is it God’s judgment on sin if a tornado hits a doctrinally sound church in the Midwest?

•North Korea has been at the top of the list for years as the world’s worst persecutor of Christians. Why don’t we ever hear about natural disasters there?

•There are scads of doctrinally sound churches (including John MacArthur’s church) and Christians in California. Wouldn’t God protect California on their account or at least get them out of California before He exercises judgment there? There’s biblical precedent for that, too.

I don’t think we can biblically say that a natural disaster is definitely God’s judgment on California’s, or any other state’s or nation’s sin. God will judge the world in righteousness when Christ returns. Until that time, what we can biblically say about natural disasters is that they are the result of the Fall. And that sometimes they’re the best thing in that could ever happen to someone. Because sometimes during a natural disaster, people hear the gospel or cry out to God and get saved.

Movies

Coming Attraction: “By What Standard?” A Founders Ministries Cinedoc

Dangerous ideologies like Critical Theory and Intersectionality are gaining inroads into the thinking of some leaders, churches and organizations. These ideologies are even being promoted among some evangelicals as reliable analytical tools that can assist our understandings and efforts in gospel ministry. The result is that, in the name of social justice, many unbiblical agendas are being advanced under the guise of honoring and protecting women, promoting racial reconciliation, and showing love and compassion to people experiencing sexual dysphoria. It is time for Bible-believing Christians to stand up and say to those who are promoting such agendas,

“Whose standard of justice is being followed? God’s, or this world’s?”
“To what authority are we submitting? The Holy Scriptures, or worldly ideologies?”

Have you seen these kinds of dangerous ideologies making their way into your church or denomination? Founders Ministries is developing a resource, due out this fall, that has the potential to impact thousands of churches and Christian leaders with the biblical perspective on race, intersectionality, feminism, sexuality, and social justice.

It’s a documentary movie, or “cinedoc,” called By What Standard? God’s World…God’s Rules. I’ve had the privilege of looking over the trailer for the movie for the past few days before its public release, and every time I watch it, my anticipation increases. I think this is going to be a powerful tool for churches to use to educate themselves about how to scripturally handle these mammoth issues the world is throwing at us.

You’ll hear from pastors and teachers you know and love for their fidelity to Scripture such as Tom Ascol, Josh Buice, Tom Buck, Voddie Baucham, Owen Strachan, Albert Mohler, and many more, men unafraid and unashamed to boldly proclaim the truth of God’s Word.

If you’d like, you’ll also have the opportunity to partner with Founders in making this film a reality by making a financial contribution to the project. And you can sign up for e-mail updates on how the project is going.

Are you as excited as I am? Click the link below and see the trailer for yourself! Then come back here and leave a comment with your thoughts!

Click here to watch the trailer.

Doctrinally Sound Teachers

A Few Good Men, Again!: 10 Doctrinally Sound Male Teachers

Sometimes we ladies fall for the mindset that if we’re going to pick up a Bible study book, read a blog, or listen to Bible teaching, it has to be from a female author or teacher. Not so! There are a lot of fantastic, doctrinally sound, male Bible teachers, pastors, and writers out there – far more males than females, actually – and you’ll really be missing out if you limit yourself to women teachers and writers.

In A Few Good Men, and A Few MORE Good Men, I recommended some of my favorite male pastors, writers, and podcasters. Here are ten more; and these lists are by no means exhaustive!

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.


1. A.W. Pink – “Biographer Iain Murray observes of Pink, ‘the widespread circulation of his writings after his death made him one of the most influential evangelical authors in the second half of the twentieth century.’ His writing sparked a revival of expository preaching and focused readers’ hearts on biblical living.”¹ Pink pastored churches in Britain, Australia, and across the United States. During that time (1922-1953), Pink published a monthly magazine, Studies in the Scriptures. Each edition contained several articles expositing Scripture. He also authored scads of pamphlets and books on a number of theological topics. Perhaps two of his best known books are The Attributes of God and The Sovereignty of God. You can read these and many others of Pink’s works online for free at CCEL and Chapel Library or buy a bound or Kindle copy at Amazon.  Facebook 

2. Tom Ascol – Tom has served as pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida for over thirty years and has taught theology courses at several seminaries. He is one of the founders, and current executive director of Founders Ministries, and a popular author, conference speaker, podcaster, journal contributor, and blogger. Check out Tom’s books Traditional Theology & the SBC and From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist Convention: What Hath Geneva to Do with Nashville?read one of his excellent articles, listen to his sermons, or subscribe to The Sword and the Trowel podcast, which Tom co-hosts with his associate pastor, Jared Longshore.  Facebook  Twitter

3. Allen Nelson – Better known as “Cuatro” to his friends (because he’s Allen Nelson IV), Allen pastors Perryville Second Baptist Church in Perryville, Arkansas. You can hear Allen’s heart for the life and health of the rural church on the podcast he hosts with fellow rural church pastor, Eddie Ragsdale, The Rural Church Podcast (also on iTunes), and you don’t have to be a pastor or member of a rural church to benefit from listening in. You might recall reading a review here on the blog of Allen’s recently published first book From Death to Life: How Salvation Works (ordering info. included). It’s a helpful treatment of the ordo salutis in plain English for plain Bible Belt “Christians,” a discouraging proportion of whom do not understand the biblical gospel. Allen is also contributing writer and roundtable member of the Things Above Us blog and podcast, and don’t forget to check out his sermons, too!  Facebook  Twitter

4. James White – An expert in apologetics, textual criticism, and theology, “James White is the director of Alpha and Omega Ministries, a Christian apologetics organization based in Phoenix, Arizona. He is a professor, having taught Greek, Systematic Theology, and various topics in the field of apologetics. He has authored or contributed to more than twenty-four books…is an accomplished debater, having engaged in more than one-hundred sixty moderated, public debates around the world with leading proponents of Roman Catholicism, Islam, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Mormonism, as well as critics such as Bart Ehrman, John Dominic Crossan, Marcus Borg, and John Shelby Spong. [Dr. White] is an elder of the Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church.” Check out Dr. White’s many books and debates, his blog, and The Dividing Line webcast (also on iTunes).  Facebook  Twitter 

(A word of caution: Dr. White maintains a personal friendship and occasional ministerial partnership with Dr. Michael Brown, who, although doctrinally sound in many areas of his theology, has become a safe haven for the worst of the worst New Apostolic Reformation heretics. To my knowledge, Dr. White does not endorse this behavior of Dr. Brown, and certainly does not endorse NAR heresy. I strongly discourage you from following Dr. Brown.)

5. Tim Challies – Founder of one of the most widely read conservative Christian blogs on the web, Tim Challies has been writing on a variety of theological and “Christian Living” topics for over fifteen years. An avid book reviewer, Tim is also an author in his own right. Two fun features of Tim’s blog are his daily “A la Carte” column, a curation of articles and other resources from around the web, and Free Stuff Fridays, a weekly giveaway of books, conference tickets, software, music, and all kinds of other awesome Christian resources and materials. Catch Tim at a speaking engagement or on his YouTube channel, listen to his sermons, and take a look at his terrific products over at Visual Theology, and Tim’s publishing company, Cruciform Press.  Facebook  Twitter

6. Kevin DeYoung – Kevin is the senior pastor of Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina, serves as board chairman for The Gospel Coalition, and holds the position of assistant professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary. Kevin is the author of several books, including Crazy Busy and The Biggest Story, the story arc of redemption for children. Read Kevin’s articles at his blog, DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed, check out his books, tune in to his sermons and videos, or catch him at an upcoming conference like Faithful.  Facebook  Twitter

7. Darrell Harrison – “An expository Bible teacher with a passion for helping Christians understand what they believe and why they believe it,” Darrell’s love for God’s Word and God’s people is evident no matter which ministry “hat” he wears. Darrell is a faithful member of Rockdale Community Church in Conyers, Georgia, and is training to become an ACBC certified biblical counselor. But Darrell is probably best known for blogging and podcasting. At Just Thinking…For Myself, Darrell writes eloquently on a variety of theological topics and current events. “The Just Thinking podcast is an extension of the Just Thinking blog and is hosted weekly by Darrell Harrison and Virgil Walker. The mission of the podcast mirrors the mission of the blog: applying biblical truth to social, cultural, political, and theological issues in our world.”  Facebook  Twitter

8. Tom Buck – Tom’s no nonsense quips and keen insight into the current affairs of Southern Baptist life have made him something of a legend on Twitter, but Tom is first and foremost a pastor. “Tom has a strong passion for the local church and a desire to lead the church to be Word-centered in everything it does. He is committed to the expositional preaching and teaching of God’s Word” as senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Lindale, Texas. Listen to Tom’s sermons online or on iTunes. You can read some of Tom’s compelling articles at The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel (which Tom contributed to), Delivered by Grace, and Reformation 21.  Facebook Twitter

9. Costi Hinn – Costi is “the Executive Pastor of Mission Bible Church in Orange County, CA. He is passionate about equipping Christians to live boldly for Jesus Christ. Due to his background and expertise, he educates people around the world on strategies for dealing with the prosperity gospel.” Though not one to capitalize on the family name, much of Costi’s background and expertise that uniquely qualify him to address the blight of the prosperity gospel and New Apostolic Reformation, stem from his personal experiences as nephew and ministry assistant of NAR faith healer Benny Hinn. I highly recommend Costi’s excellent book on the NAR, Defining Deception: Freeing the Church from the Mystical-Miracle Movement (co-authored with MBC’s pastor, Anthony Wood) as well as his Truth & Transformation video series with Justin Peters. Check out all of Costi’s sermons, videos, and podcast appearances, and be sure to subscribe to his blog at For the Gospel.  Facebook  Twitter

10. Jerry Bridges – Jerry Bridges spent most of his professional career in parachurch ministry, serving in a variety of positions and capacities with The Navigators. He is remembered for his clear and easy to grasp writing style which has endeared to the hearts of millions his books The Pursuit of Holiness, The Practice of Godliness, Trusting God, and over twenty others dealing with topics in theology and discipleship. Get a list (with links) of all of Jerry’s books, listen to his sermons, talks, and interviews here and here, and watch his videos on YouTube.  Twitter


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

Mailbag

The Mailbag: Resource Round-Up: The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel

What are your thoughts on the Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel?

So much has been written and said about the Statement that I really didn’t have much unique material to add. In this vlog, I explain why I signed the Statement and give a few of my own thoughts on both the Statement and on social justice in general, but I’d mainly like to point you to the excellent resources below.

 

The Statement:

The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel

Essays (articles) on the Statement Articles by crafters of the Statement – John MacArthur, Justin Peters, Josh Buice, Tom Buck, Phil Johnson, Darrell Harrison, and more – expounding on various issues related to the Statement.

Please note: I am not familiar with a few of the blogs, websites, and podcasts linked below. The links below are not an endorsement of any content these sites may have created which contradicts the information at my Statement of Faith or Welcome tabs at the top of this page.

Articles on the Statement or on social justice in general

Social Injustice and the Gospel – John MacArthur

Is the Controversy over “Social Justice” Really Necessary? – John MacArthur

The Injustice of Social Justice – John MacArthur

The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel – Tom Ascol

Why I Signed the Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel – Josh Buice

The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel – Pyromaniacs

Is Social Justice a Gospel Issue? – Kevin DeYoung

Covenant Theology, the Law, and Biblical Justice – Founders Ministries

What Does the Bible Say About Social Justice? – Gabriel Hughes

Social justice statement spurs ‘productive conversation’ – Baptist Press

If We Lose the Meaning of “Justice,” We Lose the Gospel – Stand to Reason

Social Justice: Why Jesus Didn’t Pursue it & Why the Church Shouldn’t Fight for It – Truth + Fire

Podcasts, Sermons, and Videos on the Statement or on social justice in general

Social Justice and the Gospel: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 – John MacArthur

The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel: Background, Exegesis, Application – The Dividing Line (James White)

The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel with Tom Ascol – Sheologians (Summer Jaeger and Joy Temby)

Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3 (ongoing) – The Sword and the Trowel (Tom Ascol and Jared Longshore)

Tom Ascol and the SJ&G – Doctrine and Devotion

Social Justice and the Gospel – Just Thinking (Darrell Harrison and Virgil Walker)

MLK 50 Conference – Just Thinking (Darrell Harrison and Virgil Walker)

Darrell Harrison on The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel – Airing the Addisons

Statement on Social Justice with Josh Buice – The Rapp Report (Andrew Rappaport)

Josh Buice, G3, & The Statement on Social Justice & the Gospel – Dead Men Podcast

Social Justice & Issues with Parts of Social Justice Statement – The Briefing (Al Mohler)

President Reagan’s Faith, Interaction with Dr. Albert Mohler, Brief Comments on Justice – The Dividing Line (James White)

The Statement – Theology Driven

The Coming Social Justice Storm – Voice of Reason Radio

The Left Can’t Not Be Crazy – Relatable (Allie Stuckey) 8:20-13:10


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.