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List of important Christians to follow on social media (not). Plus, ridiculous books

Crosswalk Ministry recently posted a story titled 20 Important Christians You Should Follow on Social Media. Crosswalk.com’s About says,

Crosswalk.com aims to offer the most compelling biblically-based content to Christians on their walk with Jesus. Crosswalk.com is your online destination for all areas of Christian Living – faith, family, fun, and community.

After seeing the list of “important” Christians you should follow, Crosswalk should not be your destination for anything. Why? Most of their list is populated by false teachers. Sadly, the author of this list states that she is a teacher/leader at her church. It is apparent that the author lacks discernment, which is terrible for a church teacher/leader. It’s clear that the publication’s editors lack discernment, too, because they allowed it to be published.

paul meme

We can pair this list of who (not) to follow with a recent vlog by Challies-

5 Most Ridiculous Books to Ever Become Christian Bestsellers

If you were to scan the lists of the best selling Christian books of all time you’d see some truly amazing books there. You’d see some books that have helped us better understand who God is and books that have instructed us. and how we as Christians can live lives of obedience to Him, and like you, I’m genuinely thankful for these books. Sadly though, you’d also see some truly flat-out awful books. Today I’ve narrowed down that list to the five most ridiculous books to ever become Christian bestsellers.

Asked what the biggest problem facing the American church is, John MacArthur replied that it is a lack of biblical knowledge, a lack of biblical discernment. When you see a list like Crosswalk’s, this certainly seems to be sadly true.

And besides, didn’t the Bible tell us that no believer is more “important” than another? (Galatians 3:28, James 2). Their list is a who’s who of false teachers. The list is a slideshow, and as each page came up it got worse and worse. I couldn’t think of any worse people to put on the list if I tried. They’re all there. I thought to myself, “Surely they won’t put Joel Osteen on their list, but when he popped up at #15 my heart sank lower than the floor.

Anyway, here is Crosswalk’s list of “important” Christians you should follow in their order:

  1. Beth Moore
  2. Steven Furtick
  3. Toby Mac
  4. Lysa TerKeurst
  5. Franklin Graham
  6. Max Lucado
  7. Judah Smith
  8. Joyce Meyer
  9. Andy Stanley
  10. Rick Warren
  11. Jen Hatmaker
  12. Tim Keller
  13. Candace Cameron Bure
  14. Levi Lusko
  15. Joel Osteen
  16. Sadie Robertson
  17. John Piper
  18. Shauna Niequist
  19. Christine Caine
  20. Brian Houston

Most of these people teach a false doctrine of one kind or another. I know that no one is perfect, and we all hold to some error at one time or another before being graciously corrected. However many of these people on the list teach not immature and temporary error, but permanently damning heresy. Meyer teaches (or taught) that she isn’t a sinner, and that Jesus went to hell and allowed satan to stomp all over His back. Joel Osteen refuses to preach half the Gospel (sin and wrath). Beth Moore gets extra-biblical revelation knowledge and purports to add to the canon by the prophecies and directives Jesus supposedly gives her.

These are actions that by God’s own word, the one who teaches them are doomed. (2 Timothy 4:3-4, Acts 20:28-30, 1 John 4:6, Titus 1:16, 2 Peter 2:3, Romans 16:18…)

Others teach error (Piper, for example) but at this point he can’t said to be false.

I’ve looked at Bure’s statement of faith and her life trajectory and can’t find anything that seems to contradict a foundational tenet or is a damaging teaching. So 1 out of the 20 might be solid, and she isn’t even a Bible teacher or preacher or ministry leader but is an actress (one who albeit takes her platform seriously and promotes Christian standards through the transparency of her life).

Discernment is spiritual insight that is honed by experience and age. However, discernment isn’t by osmosis. It doesn’t just drop in one’s lap. Wisdom is accrued through careful study of God’s word, prayer, and constant application. Through study, one becomes instantly familiar with what is true and what is false, even a little false. In other words, the discerning person has nuance and a humble spirit. The person who can discern displays biblical knowledge, wisdom, and the ability to proclaim it, apply it, and use it.

Ultimately, though, discernment comes from God. David prayed for discernment. Psalm 119:125 says (NIV)

I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.

 It’s obvious that the current global church lacks discernment in tremendous and devastating ways. Just as over the centuries, the leaders of Israel and eventually the Pharisees turned God’s glorious light and truth into a dark and perverse religion, today’s leaders of the Christian church have turned Christianity into a perverse and ridiculous paper tiger religion that saves no one.
Fortunately, God always has a remnant, which is what true believers are. We are certainly not the majority, if we ever were. A remnant, standing on the rock, proclaiming truth for the glorification of Jesus’ name remains unsullied. The rest, the so-called Christians on the top 20 list and their followers, are a crowd that lacks discernment, to their detriment, perhaps eternally.

Here is my list. Top 20 people not to follow- and why

  1. Beth Moore (no)
  2. Steven Furtick (Steve Kozar says no) (Todd Friel says Furtick’s false)
  3. Toby Mac (Ryan Martin at Religious Affections says no)
  4. Lysa TerKeurst (Michelle Lesley says no)
  5. Franklin Graham (no)
  6. Max Lucado (no)
  7. Judah Smith (no)
  8. Joyce Meyer (CARM says no)
  9. Andy Stanley (Josh Buice says no), (no), (And just no)
  10. Rick Warren (Challies says no), (Warren publicly prayed to Islam’s false god),  (JMac negatively reviews Purpose Driven)
  11. Jen Hatmaker (Christine Pack says no), (Denny Burk says no)
  12. Tim Keller (no)
  13. Candace Cameron Bure
  14. Levi Lusko
  15. Joel Osteen (nope)
  16. Sadie Robertson (maybe)
  17. John Piper (there’s issues…) (and other issues)
  18. Shauna Niequist (Michelle Lesley gives her a ‘not recommended‘)
  19. Christine Caine (Rosebrough says no)
  20. Brian Houston (no, with a lot of other NO’s inside)

Pray to the Spirit for wisdom and He will give it without reproach (James 1:5). Be wise as serpents regarding “Christian” publications including mine and others listed on this page. Use your eyes to see and ears to hear when reading or listening to Christian material. Compare to scripture and give no place to falsity. Jesus is too precious and His torture, death, separation from the Father too heart-rending to cover with any compromise in doctrine by accepting false teachers.

It’s too bad about Crosswalk. That list sure is ridiculous.

Lifestyles of the mega-rich pastors with estates and private jets: You’ll be shocked to see who is among them (OK it’s Beth Moore)

I know that we’re all familiar with the ridiculous extravagance of some of the word of faith preachers. Kenneth Copeland, Jesse Duplantis, Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen with their jets and mansions and vacation homes and gold commodes and the like. Occasionally when someone comments on their over-the-top lifestyles of these supposed men and women of God, especially the private jets, replies often veer to the extreme in defending their purchase and use for a ‘ministry’. Duplantis said he needed the plane so he could work. Copeland said the same, the private plane is his sanctuary. They agreed they could talk to God better and there would not be distractions of people coming up to them asking for prayer. They needed the plane so they could work. Remember these reasons later. For work.

Can you picture Paul spending ministry money to hire this palanquin, the Lear Jet of the day?

We chortle and giggle at these obvious extremes, and wonder how much money could be spent elsewhere if only the preacher would cut down on the luxury living and donate the funds to worthy ministries, their own congregation, or anywhere else except to support their self-indulgent lifestyle choices.

The Bible is clear on life and doctrine. Ministers and leaders must be pure, humble, and Godly. It is not a sin to be rich, not at all. Abraham and Job and Solomon and Joseph of Arimathea were extremely wealthy. Lydia was rich. Joseph and Mary were nearly peasants and many of the disciples were simple fishermen. The Bible runs the gamut on the sliding scale of wealth, showing us many different people and lifestyles in its pantheon of heroes and villains. The point isn’t having the money. The point is what you do with it.

The Bible does warn, however, that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to gain heaven. (Matthew 19:24). Barnes’ Notes explains well:

The difficulties in the way of the salvation of a rich man are:
1. that riches engross the affections.
2. that people consider wealth as the chief good, and when this is obtained they think they have gained all.
3. that they are proud of their wealth, and unwilling to be numbered with the poor and despised followers of Jesus.
4. that riches engross the time, and fill the mind with cares and anxieties, and leave little for God.
5. that they often produce luxury, dissipation, and vice. that it is difficult to obtain wealth without sin, without avarice, without covetousness, fraud, and oppression, 1 Timothy 6:9-10, 1 Timothy 6:17; James 5:1-5; Luke 12:16-21; Luke 16:19-31.
Still, Jesus says Matthew 19:26, all these may be overcome. God can give grace to do it. Though to people it may appear impossible, yet it is easy for God.

When we think of mega-rich pastors and leaders living luxuriant lifestyles, we usually think of Copeland, Duplantis, Dollar, Meyer, and Osteen. Yet there are other leaders who live similarly to the megapastors I’ve just mentioned. I’d like to bring your attention to Beth Moore’s lifestyle. Yes, Beth Moore.

Moore puts forth the deliberate image that she is just a sister to us all, living a struggling life with her man, eatin’ Ramen, and listening to the crickets for entertainment. The lifestyle image she carefully cultivates is a Ma Ingalls type. Here’s her description under her photo of the creek by their home on their property. It’s true. Read for yourself.

We have a tiny little sliver of water not far from us that you could call a creek if you were in a particularly generous mood. It’s got some sand by it that the kids really like. Be blessed that this is not a scratch and sniff picture because the creek doesn’t always smell all that good, especially if it hasn’t rained in a while. But if your nose is slightly stuffy, it can be pretty fun.

Here’s her description of her home they moved into several years ago:

So, three years to the day later, we’re making it out in these modest woods. These acres would not be beautiful to everybody but they’re beautiful to us. Life has been brand new out here. I won’t kid you. It’s been an adjustment. A lot less eating out. A lot more cooking. A lot more driving to work. The cars stay filthy. The raccoons won’t stay out of the trash. Fed Ex never can find us. But we don’t mind. Because it was time to make a move. For us, it was out where the dawn breaks to the crow of a rooster.

She presents that veritably, she’s scrimping and saving, eating peanut butter sandwiches by firelight to save on electricity but sighing contentedly amid all this hayseed hardship. What Moore doesn’t tell you is that the Moore property in Tomball TX, these “modest woods,” as she puts it, that “would not be beautiful to everybody,” is part of a 46 acre enclave with its own road, two houses with total of 7 bedrooms and 7 1/2 baths, custom outdoor kitchens and fireplaces, a combined square footage of 6600 sf, and assessed by Harris County TX at $1.8 million dollars. What she wants to evoke in your mind with her carefully worded PR is this:

source

when what her property really is, is this:

Note the size of the lot compared to surrounding lots. Ahem. Modest? No.
Clip shows about a quarter the actual size of the lot

It’s an enormous private property. The house isn’t as large as other mega-rich pastors’, to be sure. Her home, house A on the tax map, is 4500 square feet, (still 10X the size of my home), with 4 bedrooms, which does make sense as a family with two grown daughters and lots of grandchildren running around. But the land is a huge parcel, YUGE. The other home, House B, is for the in-laws, a 3BR home 2,200 sf in size.

To be fair, Moore moved to this enclave of 46 wooded private acres with creek and two homes, according to her blogs, was so that she and her husband Keith could give Keith’s father a quality of life in his final days, close to the family and away from the busy city. I say if you have the means to provide a house and atmosphere for elderly parents close to the nuclear family, more power to you. It honors the mother and the father as the Commandment said.

But the down-home, aw shucks lifestyle is an image, not the reality. It’s PR, and it’s not honest. The reality is, Beth Moore is President of a globally known corporation, with a constant annual salary of a quarter of a million dollars, and its net worth last year of 15 million, living in a large home in pristine wooded enclave of 46 acres outside a major city, held in a trust, with all the toys and machines one could hope for in this enclave like tractors and golf carts etc. Her social-collegial sphere is populated with other mega-rich pastors and leaders, hobnobbing with the glitterati, and flying by private plane, just like Kenneth Copeland, Jesse Duplantis, and Benny Hinn do. This is NOT a “modest” lifestyle.

This is a screen shot from the tax return FY ending 2015 for
net worth of Living Proof Ministry.

Below, Moore with mega-rich pastrix Victoria Osteen and friends. Joel Osteen’s net worth (and his wife Victoria’s, pictured below) is estimated at $40 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. Meanwhile, BeliefNet has Osteen, 54, listed as the fifth richest pastor in America. Source heavy.com, Aug, 2017. Friends of a feather.

Source

I’ll tell you what’s “modest”. Modest woods and filthy cars and sandy creeks, bah. Let’s get real about these terms Moore uses.

Me, I live modest. All my clothes are hand me downs. I drive a 20-year-old car that’s constantly in the repair shop. I live paycheck to paycheck, most of which is gone the first day I receive it each month. My domicile is a 400 sf apartment. A luxury for me would be to get my hair styled in a salon, and not the assembly line barbershop I usually go to. Or, not having to buy food that is expiring because I can save a dollar, is modest. My sphere is populated with other lower middle to middle-class folks who are just trying to make it, too. My sphere does not include private planes, fellow rich friends, wooded enclaves, and custom outdoor kitchens. It’s populated with middle class folks who really scrimp and save.

My concern is not so much the income or the large property Moore lives on, but the carefully curated image designed to deceive people into thinking she is less well-off than she is. It’s the hypocrisy. But wait, there’s more.

Beth Moore does not own a private jet, (yet) but she is given one to use. LifeWay, who partners with her in producing the Living Proof Live events, jets her around on a private plane, half the cost of which is paid by LifeWay and half by Living Proof Ministry. Is this any different than Kenneth Copeland or Jesse Duplantis jetting around in their jets for “ministry,”? Is this how LifeWay spends its ministry money, jetting Beth Moore from state to state?

These screen shots below are from publicly available Living Proof Ministry’s posted tax returns. Their returns are open for public inspection.

The screen shot below says “President Beth Moore on ocassion [sic] traveled by private plane to events as the ministry saw necessary. LifeWay, a partnering nonprofit, paid for 50% of the cost of the private plane, the remaining 50% was paid by Living Proof Ministries.”

Below, is this what Hillsong congregants expect their tithes and offerings to go, subsidizing a celebrity speaker’s luxury travel?

“Elizabeth Moore flew first class for a speaking engagement to Australia for the Hillsong Conference. Her daughter Melissa Moore, who is also an employee of Living Proof Ministries, traveled with Mrs Moore as her assistant. As per contract, Hillsong reimbursed Living Proof for the price of two coach tickets. Living Proof paid the difference. The benefit was not included as taxable compensation since it was ministry related, allowing Elizabeth and Melissa Moore to both work on the flight and continue working immediately upon arriving in Australia.”

Oh! Just like when Jesse Duplantis said he needed a private plane. For work. Or when Kenneth Copeland said he needed a private plane. For work.

LifeWay Christian resources is under the umbrella of the Southern Baptist Convention, as is the International Mission Board. (also here).

I want to relate these facts I’ve shared to the Bible. Paul sent Timothy to the baby church at Corinth. (1 Corinthians 4:17). The Southern Baptist Convention through its sub-arm International Mission Board sends missionaries abroad to plant churches and to help baby churches. Same-same. So far so good.

Last year (2016) the IMB recalled about 1000 missionaries in a cost-cutting measure. Not good. The other part of the SBC ‘body’, its sub-arm Lifeway, subsidizes private planes for Beth Moore.

Would Paul recall Timothy’s mission from Corinth in a cost-cutting measure, and then turn around and use the money the very poor church in Macedonia collected (2 Corinthians 8:1-3) to fund his luxury travel? Would he? Think on this: while the SBC-IMB is calling missionaries home to save money, the SBC-Lifeway is spending money for Beth Moore & family’s private plane.

This should not be.

When Beth Moore traveled to Hillsong Australia with her daughter, Hillsong paid her Coach plane fare, but that wasn’t good enough. Beth Moore then used her LP Ministry money to upgrade herself and her daughter’s travel to luxury First Class. For work.

The Living Proof Ministry does donate to worthy causes, their philanthropy is clear and present. It’s not all bad. But the hypocrisy evident in Beth Moore’s carefully presented down-home image and the reality of the money-money-money that includes private plane travel for her and her daughter needs to be exposed.

It’s a fact that Moore is not a down-home sister, but is in theology and in lifestyle more similar to Joyce Meyer and Victoria Osteen.

Paul had advice on how to engage with Believers and Gentiles.

19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. (1 Corinthians 9:19-23).

Paul did not say he needed a pillowed palanquin, for work. He did not take the Macedonian church’s ministry offering and upgrade himself to a first class cabin on the ship. He did not pretend to sew tents for work by a sandy, smelly creek while actually writing his epistle from a palace filled with luxury comforts on the personal estate of Felix. Paul was real. His life was transparent and open, and he well knew how it would look to present one image while living another. It’s called hypocrisy.

Birds of a feather flock together.

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 9:18,
What is my reward then? Truly that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.

Paul had a right to be supported. All true ministers do. It is good for the minister to be supported and good for the hearer to give. But for the sake of those who are weak, and for several other reasons, Paul chose to give up his right, for the sake of the Gospel. Gill’s Exposition says of the verse,

that I abuse not my power in the Gospel; his right of having a maintenance, whilst he was preaching the Gospel; to have made use of which would have been an abuse of it, since it would have given occasion to the false apostles to reproach and calumniate, and might have been an hindrance to the Gospel of Christ, and a stumbling to some weak minds.

Leaders must make wise choices about their lifestyle for the sake of the Gospel and not appear to be abusing it like Beth Moore does for self-indulgences and personal luxuries.

I’m a reasonable person. I know that weather, illness, and emergencies sometimes impact the travel plans of a busy and sought-after speaker. Earlier on in Moore’s ministry, the tax records show an occasional chartered plane. I understand this. Sometimes you’ve got to get to where you’re going in order to honor a commitment. However, Moore’s upgrading herself and her daughter to first class on the Living Proof Ministry’s dime for the excuse that she can “work” isn’t any different from the word of faith preachers’ excuses. Also, using ministry money for private jet travel on both Lifeway’s and LPL’s dime is extremely questionable. This is how a person gets to be a Jesse Duplantis or a Kenneth Copeland. This is how it begins. And for Beth Moore, it has  begun.

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Further Reading

What Does The Bible Say About Material Possessions?

Is owning material things bad? If you are very wealthy, are you in sin? Is there a line drawn in the sand about owning material possessions? Well, the Bible does talk about money and material things quite a bit and doesn’t leave anything for debate. Can you own lots of material possessions and be without sin? The answer is yes, but that road, my friends, is a very treacherous and hard road to walk rightly with the Lord. Let’s look into scripture and see what the Bible says about material things.

From October 2017: Top 15 Richest and most Successful Pastors In the World 

You can’t get on a long tube with a bunch of demons. It’s deadly!

Megachurches and mega-rich pastors, a graphic

Non-Profit tax returns: search

 

Was this devoted Catholic man swept to heaven upon his death as the obituary states?

Here is the opening of an obituary that was publicly posted online.

On Monday night, May 18, 2015, the Lord swept Marcell “John” Moore, the dearly loved patriarch of our family, to Heaven, after he’d overcome enormous health challenges for years, valiantly cheating death again and again.

That is a sweet and loving opening sentence honoring a man who was obviously dearly loved by his family.

Who are swept to heaven upon death? We know from the Bible that those who go to heaven are people who do the will of the Father, repenting of sins and believing in the Son, in faith alone by grace alone. The obituary continues:

Alongside his wife, John was a devoted Catholic and his faith in Jesus Christ grew dearer and dearer to him. They were members of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Houston for many years then, after moving to the country beside their son and daughter-in-law, they became members of Saint Anne Catholic Church in Tomball, Texas.

Uh-oh. If a person believes in the dogmas of Rome, they are believing in a very different Jesus. The Roman Catholic beliefs are heretical, and aberrant.

This obituary is now so sad! It states that his wife is also Catholic, and I know that the man’s adult son is Catholic and so is/was an elderly aunt. Being a devoted Catholic for all one’s life does not bode well for the man’s eternity!

I hope and pray that someone is sharing the true Gospel of Jesus with this family, so they can repent and believe. Catholic men and women are a mission field, and should be treated with respect but told the truth. Their dangerous state should not be whitewashed over, nor hidden from them. Confident declarations about their entrance to heaven must definitely not be part of their spiritual landscape nor codified forever in a widely read blog obit.

Witnessing to family is the hardest mission, I personally believe. I’ve had most of my own trials with family, who range from Jewish to Episcopalian/Catholic to atheist to Unitarian etc. I know it must be hard to face a family member and share the Gospel with them as their growing realization dawns that the sharer is telling them the Gospel because they think he isn’t part of the family of faith. Truthful discussions with Catholic family members about Mary as co-redemptrix, purgatory, baptismal regeneration and the like will likely spark tension, if not fury. Anger ensues, heartache, perhaps even a family rift. No one likes that. But the alternative, an eternity possibly in hell if the Catholic does not repent and believe, is worse.

No I take that back. Just as bad is the family member who claims to be a Southern Baptist Bible teacher, writing an obituary that confidently asserts that the staunch Catholic loved one who passed is now being swept into heaven. That’s bad.

The Moore family being spoken of here is Beth Moore’s. Her beloved father-in-law John Moore, husband Keith’s father, passed away two years ago and the above obit was posted on Moore’s Living Proof blog.

Beth Moore’s assertions gloss over the hard truth that people who hold to heretical beliefs about Jesus and His Church are under His wrath, not His love. Their destination, if they do not repent, is eternal darkness. Do we ignore an entire mission field? Are the other Moore family members now assured of their own eternal destination because of the confident but sadly erroneous assertions of the wayward daughter-in-law, who, after all, holds an honorary Doctorate and has spent the last thirty years teaching the Bible?

The truth of the matter is that Beth Moore married into a situation where she is spiritually mismatched. She is unequally yoked. (2 Corinthians 6:14). Her husband Keith is a Catholic. Inevitably when one is spiritually mismatched one begins to compromise. This is one reason it says in the Bible not to do it. Believers and unbelievers (and Catholics are unbelievers if they hold to the doctrines of Rome) are opposites, just as light and darkness are opposites. They have nothing in common and indeed cannot become “one flesh” as Jesus said that married partners do become. Unless both partners are unbelievers. Then of course they are one flesh. Sadly, many think they are saved but they are not, as Jesus said will be revealed on His day (Matthew 7:21).

Regarding the unequally yoked,

Paul is drawing his analogy from the Old Testament prohibition against yoking an ox with a donkey (Deuteronomy 22:10). Related to this verse is Leviticus 19:19 which warns of breeding differing kinds of livestock. Animals that were yoked had a piece of wood used to connect them, each with their own collar, so that their combined abilities could more easily perform a particular task. Oxen, horses, donkeys, and mules paired in this fashion were good for pulling a load, plowing a field and so on. Farmers knew that it was not wise to unequally yoke animals together.

When people like Moore compromise, glossing over the drastic differences of the belief systems of believers and Catholics, it destroys hope. Here is John MacArthur at Ligonier:

Compromised truth has no hope of rescuing the eternal souls of men and women who have been unwittingly ensnared by the trap of devilish deception. … Furthermore, embracing those heretical systems falsely reassures their followers that all is well between them and God, when actually they are headed for eternal damnation. Partnering in a spiritual enterprise with unbelievers helps Satan muddy the doctrinal waters, and it cripples our ability to preach the need for repentance.

Now you know why Moore pushes for “unity” and includes that unity with the Catholic Church. And now you know why she has ‘visions’ from some person claiming to be Jesus of the global church which contains the Catholic “denomination”. Now you know why she teaches with a host of women from many denominations on her stage, including Catholics, and calls them all sisters. Now you know why Moore teaches Catholic practices like Lectio Divina and contemplative meditation and labyrinths.

LifeWay estimates that in 2017 alone Beth Moore’s Living Proof Live conferences plus her simulcasts reached 268,000 women. This figure does not include the impact her books & studies have, and her television broadcast.  Now you know where the real money is. Compare that below with LifeWay’s ministry to men. What a sad state of aberrant theological influence.

lifeway
It is a serious thing for a woman with this much influence to claim with certainty that her Catholic father-in-law is swept into heaven.

I pray someone shares the true Gospel with the Moores. All of them.

Michael did not rebuke satan

But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” These men, however, slander what they do not understand, and like irrational animals,  (Jude 1:9-10a).

V. 9. The archangel Michael was sent to bury Moses’ body, but … the devil argued with the angel about the body, apparently claiming the right to dispose of it. But Michael, though powerful and authoritative, did not dare dispute with Satan, so he left the matter in God’s hands, saying, The Lord rebuke you! The false teachers Jude spoke of had no respect for authority or for angels. The apostates’ slandering of celestial beings (v. 8) stands in arrogant contrast to the chief angelic being, Michael, who would not dare slander Satan, chief of the fallen angels.
V. 10. Whereas Michael did not dare accuse the devil, these apostates, by contrast spoke abusively against what they did not understand. This abusive speech may refer to their slandering of angels (v. 8). Their understanding was debased, for it followed only natural animal instinct. The apostates’ only “reasoning” was like that of unreasoning animals. Rather than comprehending what was above them (the angels), they really understood only what was below them (the animals).

Pentecost, E. C. (1985). Jude. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 921). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

And yet today, how daringly some make claims and slander celestial beings. People prance around, “binding” satan, calling him names, asserting power over territory, and claiming to have understandings that only show their brutishness as unreasoning animals.

We (I) should be careful not to disrespect saints, pagans, or celestial beings of God’s order. Glimpses of angels holy and unholy in books like Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Revelation, and glimpses like this one in Jude of the archangel Michael, show how majestic and powerful they are. We don’t have the right to slander them, or each other, nor certainly Jesus. Yet we hear things all the time that impugn Jesus’ nature or His created order and His people.

Today’s prayer:

Lord help me to mind the example shown to us here in Jude. I pray for your intervening help on matters involving satan, let me not rebuke him but rely on You and Your power only. Help guard my tongue, let me speak holy things, helpful things, hospitable things. In Your name I pray this.

abilgaard

N.A Abilgaard, L’Archange saint Michel et Satan se disputant le corps de Moïse, 1782, ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Danemark.

What does your church use your pulpit for?

A church is not just a building.

It is special.

I am a fan of traditional church architecture and its traditional uses. More on that in a moment.

Reminiscing:
Exterior_of_Trinity_Church,_Newport,_RI

Traditional white steepled churches dotted the New England landscape wherever I went as a kid growing up in that part of the country. Some had bells atop the steeple, which I liked very much. There was something comforting about the ever-present visual of the white church steeple against a blue sky ringing out peals of music or the sound of bells, echoing across the foliage laden hills.

However, I was unfamiliar with what went on inside a church. The flip side of the comforting feeling I felt when looking at the outside of a church or of hearing its bells was changed to one of forbidding mystery and deep disquiet if I ever dared to go inside. I wasn’t saved and never attended church services, even as a kid.

Above, Trinity Episcopal, Newport RI, 1920s postcard

I did visit churches sometimes. I was interested in them from a historical aspect. For example, Trinity Church in Newport Rhode Island was established in 1698, and it is reported that George Washington attended services there. This is not the typical “George Washington slept here” stuff of legend. Washington was heavily present in Rhode Island during the Revolutionary War and Newport was the one among the state’s rotating capitals. Trinity is a gorgeous church, a New England traditional church building for sure.

I was married in a church. That seemed proper.

My mother took me to several churches as a kid, very occasionally when her conscience got too prickly to ignore. I remember the Unitarian Church, sunlight and people sitting on the floor in a circle singing along with a hippie holding a guitar in his lap. That seemed wrong. Although I didn’t like churches much when I went in one, I thought that there should be rows of pews be arranged in such a way that they faced a pulpit. If there was going to be a speaker and a message (some mysterious and incomprehensible message people kept reappearing week after week to hear) then it seemed logical that people would sit in such a way as to give attention to the message that indicated its singular importance.

I was at once attracted and repelled by the church building, its unstated message given through its appearance enough to unsettle my spirit. Church people perturbed me. I watched the church people emerge from the building week after week, but I did not dare join. It was like those folks in Acts:

Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. 13None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem. (Acts 5:12-13).

Churches look the way they do for a reason. And I am of the strong opinion that they should remain looking like they look. The people inside are a set apart people, the pastor inside is set apart and called to preach the true words of heaven. I’m not suggesting churches are holy ground. However, but their existence, looks, architecture, and what goes on inside has meaning and import distinct from any other building and any other activity. Churches should look and act the part.

The church building should be used exclusively for worship, religious education, leader training, and ecclesiastical meetings.

Sadly today, many inside think little of giving over their building and/or their pulpit for profane purposes.

In 2010, a porn star and a pastor held a debate about pornography, the porn star on the “for” side. This “debate” was held in a San Diego church.

In 2014 the very Protestant church built to honor Martin Luther in Speyer Germany was host to an interfaith, ecumenical concert in which an Imam made the call to Muslim prayer.

In 2017, pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Dallas spent 15 minutes of the Sunday service interviewing Roman Catholic television political pundit Sean Hannity at his pulpit.

The Pulpit

The pulpit is the most sacred and exalted place in the church. He who occupies this position stands as the representative of Christ. This is the minister’s first line of offense. From this honored and dedicated place he boldly denounces sin and courageously challenges the devil. From the sacred desk are heard the truths of God, which cut as a two-edged sword, bringing both conviction and contrition to the worshiper. Words of life and death flow from this fount. To this vantage point the penitent looks for the heavenly balm of Gilead. Is it not important then that one’s comportment in the desk give no cause for needless offense and bring no reproach against the name of Christ?

Phil Johnson of Grace Community Church’s stance on using the pulpit follows:

The reason we don’t have debates and dialogues with unbelievers in the worship center at Grace Community Church is the same reason we don’t use the facility for drama, secular music concerts, comedy routines, political rallies, variety shows, Amway meetings, or a host of other activities where an auditorium like that would be useful. Namely, the facility is dedicated to the proclamation of God’s Word and the corporate worship of God’s people. That was a purposeful decision made years ago. The point is not that the physical building itself is a shrine or an idol, but this is one of the ways we keep a sharp focus on what we as a church are most committed to. In other words, our unwillingness to use our pulpit for non-worship events is a strategy, not a superstition.

BTW, although people often use the word _pulpit_ to refer to the lectern on which a preacher places the Bible and his notes, the actual _pulpit_ is the raised platform on which that lectern rests. Remove the lectern and replace it with a table or a stage set, and whatever takes place on that platform is still being done “in the pulpit.”

Just some food for thought for you today. How is your pulpit used?

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Reformation Day 500 and counting!

Today marks the 500th year anniversary of the widely accepted start of The Reformation.

Roman Catholic Monk Martin Luther had found John Hus’s Gospel-drenched sermons, and had been studying the Bible for himself, when his conscience convicted him that the Roman Catholic structure of indulgences and other aberrant doctrines were unacceptable compared to what was taught via the Bible.

He nailed 95 theses to the All Saints’ Chapel doors at the church in Wittenberg Germany, for public discussion as per usual among the theologians of the day.

Because Luther’s propositions and questions could not be reconciled with what the Catholic dogma taught, there arose a controversy which only entrenched Luther further into his stance, when at the conclusion of his heresy trial he refused to recant and is alleged to have said,

“Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me.”

Christianity Today wrote,

Luther asserted that his conscience was captive to the Word of God and that he could not go against conscience. This was not, however, a modern plea for the supremacy of the individual conscience or for religious freedom. Though already excommunicated by Rome, Luther saw himself as a sworn teacher of Scripture who must advocate the right of all Christians to hear and live by the gospel.

Praise the Lord for His timing in bringing His word back to the people.

The Reformation is ongoing because the spiritual battle is ongoing. Satan hasn’t quit deluding the unwary and he hasn’t stopped growing his church (Roman Catholic, among others, such as Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc). He is still at it. Despite the blessed knowledge that many of today’s leaders have regarding the differences between the Protestant and the Catholic, many other of today’s leaders seem to have forgotten the point of the Reformation was to protest the perverse twisting of the Gospel and other biblical doctrines away from truth to devilish lies a la the Roman Catholic Church.

Ultimately, though Luther wanted reform within the RCC, it was not possible, and the Protestant denominations were born.

For example, today we have well-known Protestant leaders retracting their former truthful words that Roman view of justification is heresy, and also and perpetuating their stance that works add to something called final salvation.

We have well-known so-called Reformed pastors teaching Catholic methods, sourcing Catholic authors, and naming their church classes “The Way of the Monk” led by Catholic-trained female teachers, and teaching that Catholicism is another Christian denomination, or tradition, or stream, not the heresy and affront to God that it is.

We have so-called evangelicals usurping God from the Sunday pulpit to host Catholic political celebrities, who are treated as a brother and not as a mission field.

We have whole congregations (Episcopal) in the US converting en masse back to Catholicism. Granted Episcopalians don’t have far to go, but the quote that struck me was from one lay leader of this congregation that mass converted back to Rome: “It feels fantastic,” Delaney said. “It’s like correcting 500 years of history.”

No. Not it’s not.

Despite all that, today is a great day to celebrate our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, His church, His Spirit’s work in the world to bring men into the kingdom on the glowing carpet of truths known as The Gospel of Salvation. We celebrate the simple Gospel, the understandable Gospel, the Gospel we read in the word of God thanks to the translators and Reformers and protestors who yanked it from the dark into the Light, even on the funeral pyres of their own mortality.

We celebrate the knowledge that Jesus saves, as it is written, and so many other truths we know because He revealed it to us in His word.

We celebrate fiery, or quiet, or diligent, or intelligent, or clumsy, pastors who perpetuate the truths unadorned with skits or personal stories, just preaching, some at risk to their own lives.

We celebrate the brave men and women who circulated the word back to the people. But Reformation Day 500 ultimately celebrates One.

We praise and thanks we Lord Jesus above for all His ways, His power, might, love, Word, redemption, suffering, sovereignty, omniscience, holiness, holiness, holiness…

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Lysa TerKeurst is coming to Athens. Do not go see her.

Lysa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries is coming to Athens, GA.

I strongly recommend that you not go see Lysa Terkeurst. Avoid her.

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Here’s why.

First, about her: Her website states Lysa TerKeurst is president of Proverbs 31 Ministries and the New York Times best-selling author of The Best Yes, Unglued, Made to Crave, and 16 other books. She is also a speaker at conferences and a daily blogger. She is also wife and mom to 5 kids.

Here are some reasons to strongly consider avoiding Lysa TerKeurst in all her venues but especially in person when she arrives at Athens.  These are in no particular order. All are a concern.

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1. Lysa’s home church is Elevation Church led by pastor Steven Furtick. Furtick is a prosperity teacher who opposes deep doctrine and mocks those who enjoy it, and has taken the title of Super Apostle. He also unsurprisingly preaches blasphemous things.

On August 9, 2016 in the Uninvited Book Release party held at Elevation on behalf of Lysa, (photo above) she once again claimed Elevation as her church and Furtick as her pastor, violating the degree of separation from false teachers demanded by the Bible. (2 Timothy 3:5, 2 Corinthians 6:14, Ephesians 5:7). Instead, she partners with them.  (source- Uninvited Book Release Celebration webcast).

1a. In another recent partnership, Lysa recently spoke alongside these men. Aside from Furtick, an additional two have been fired from their pastorates for being unqualified because they fell below reproach. (1 Timothy 3:2). Not excellent. TerKeurst should be separating herself from these ‘leaders’, not supporting, promoting, and partnering with them.

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The person speaking here is Perry Noble, who was fired from NewSpring Church 5 months later. Driscoll had already quit ahead of certain discipline
and likely firing from Mars Hill Church.

A student will rise no higher than her teacher. So ladies, avoid Lysa TerKeurst, because her teachers, associates, and spiritual influences are very low.

2. Lysa preaches at the pulpit and at other venues in church, to men, violating a basic and clear scripture that women must not do so.

Source 1, TerKeurst at the Sunday morning service at Perry Noble’s church NewSpring;

Source 2, Steven Furtick introducing TerKeurst’s series of Sunday morning messages at Elevation Church, messages based NOT on the word of God but as a church they instead studied her book The Best Yes. Can you imagine not only violating a clear scripture that women do not preach, but using your own book as the basis for the message?!

Source 3, Mark Batterson (who is another false teacher), introducing TerKeurst at his church and asking the audience to receive the word she is about to bring.

I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.

(1 Timothy 2:12). Also see 1 Corinthians 14:34. As Michelle Lesley said in her piece on TerKeurst,

If a woman is supposedly knowledgeable enough about the Bible to be in the position of teaching and authoring, yet doesn’t understand or obey such a basic biblical truth, what does that say about the rest of her knowledge of the Bible? How can you trust that anything else she teaches you about the Bible is accurate and true?

If you follow Lysa you are partnering with her in her usurping rebellion, which is a sin. (James 4:17).

3. Lysa TerKerst teaches how to listen for the voice of God and to receive personal revelations.

As Learn to Discern Granny cited, with source page numbers from Uninvited, TerKeurst teaches that if you’re silent you’ll receive secrets and whispers and new information from Jesus, directly.

Now, Lysa also confesses she hears whispers from God. She relates, “I’ve got to spend time getting quiet so I can be prepared to hear new things from the Lord. Isn’t it a lovely thought that God might be waiting for silence … in order to share some of His best secrets with you? … in the silence, He whispered to my soul, You are not set aside, you are set apart ….” (p.112). Much like Sarah Young’s messages in Jesus Calling, Lysa, too, is saying she gets new revelations from the Lord.

Ladies, the canon is closed. (Revelation 22:18-19). Jesus is not currently speaking to individuals. He did that Himself in His incarnation, and via the Apostles and NT writers via His Spirit.

Therefore it is not surprising that TerKeurst teaches how to hear the voice of God in her video and pamphlet, also does so in prayer journals for sale and a book called Saying Yes to God.

For example, she said at her book release party, emphasis mine:

I have this feeling that Uninvited is not going to be just a book. I have a deep feeling in my heart Jesus has decided that too many of His people have been held back by rejection. I want to know if you are in this room tonight and you are ready to embrace that the devil might be vicious but he will not be victorious. Can I get an Amen! Uninvited Book Release Celebration webcast

Bible teachers should not be saying they have any inkling at all of what Jesus has decided. Of all the things on this page and of the ones I listened to and read, this is the worst for me. It is highly dangerous for a ‘Bible’ teacher to go around purporting to speak for the secret things that Jesus has decided in His power and will. It is a gross perversion of our calling as submissive witnesses to His glory and exaltation.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9).

All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, But He does according to His will in the host of heaven And among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’ (Daniel 4:35).

Please avoid Lysa TerKeurst for these and other reasons, as noted in the articles linked below (which also have further links). It’s one thing when teachers such as this are ‘out there,’ but when they come to my city, a college town with vulnerable Christians and new babes in Christ who sit in the pews with me, it’s another thing entirely.

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Further Reading

Michelle Lesley has written graciously and fairly about Lysa, here: Leaving Lysa: Why You Shouldn’t Be Following Lysa TerKeurst or Proverbs 31 Ministries

Discerning Granny reviewed Lysa’s 2016 book, Uninvited hereA Review of Lysa TerKeurst’s Book: Uninvited

Grace To You: What is Biblical discernment and why is it important?

Ligonier: What is discernment?